Category Archives: Comics

The Midnight Drive-In: Dr. Strange & Doctor Mordrid

Since these comic book movies are all the rage we figured we would talk about some comic book related films.  First up is the 1978 TV movie Dr. Strange.  Lots of mustaches in this one.  After that it’s time for Full Moon’s Doctor Mordrid starring Jeffrey Combs.  Let’s face it it’s really just a Doctor Strange rip off.  But it does have a skeleton fight.  After all that we talk about Fargo, Lost In Space, Spider-Man 2, Puppet Master, Sub Species, Black Lightning, Death Race 2050, Ash vs. Evil Dead, Ruby, and the Roger Corman Fantastic Four.

Geek Nerdery Podcast: Avengers Infinity War

I’m joined by my cohosts from The Midnight Drive-In Doug and Noah to break down the culmination of 10 years of work from Marvel Studios Avengers Infinity War!  Did it live up to the hype?  Find out.  Also this review is very spoilery so we advise not listening without seeing the movie first.

Dear Jerks: An Open Letter to the CW.

Hi CW,

It’s me again. This is my 14th letter to your company despite my 13 previously unanswered correspondence.  I write to you, as always, a loyal member of the Arrowverse Aptly Ambling Society, but with a level of concern for your product that should surpass that of a 38 year old. I am well aware that I am outside your marketing demographic, and my words will fall on deaf ears. At least they have 13 times prior. That said, I find myself week in and week out further questioning my allegiance to your shows.

You know what? Let’s stuff the formality. YOU clearly have.

No need to put on airs at this point, as far as we are into the current season, so I’ll just out with it. What are you doing? Why are you doing it? What possessed you? Are you being stubbornly idiotic on purpose or is it laziness?

Not too long ago, the DC/CW universe was the strongest, most capable representation of DC properties going. It dominated over Fox’s Gotham, and even stood above the consistently ill aimed DCEU. Your stories were solid, your characters strong, and episodes tight and action packed. No one in the TV landscape could contend, not even the powerhouse that is Disney Marvel.

Perhaps, that was your own downfall.  Did the lack of true competition make you complacent? Is that why everything has fallen to pieces? If you don’t agree, rewatch the pilot of Arrow. It’s on Netflix.  Now watch ANY episode from this season.  Do you see the difference? Miles apart, isn’t it?

I am speaking specifically today about Arrow and the Flash. Supergirl is doing her best at staying relevant, if not a bit mundane, in an age where no one seems to know what to do with Kryptonians, and Legends, as I have already and will continue to shout, has figured out its voice and is being exactly what it was meant to be.

If you’ll indulge me, there are fixes here. I’ll cover two of them. One for each show.

ARROW

Make things matter again.  I know you thought that my fix for Arrow was killing Felicity. Well you would have had you read the previous 13 letters. But she’s not the probl…no, I can’t finish that sentence. I physically cannot. Because she absolutely is. You’ve gone GOTHAM levels of off canon there.  But,  she’s hardly the root of the problem.

Nothing matters anymore. There were at least 10 people on that island when it exploded at the end of the fifth season. Why are 9 of them still alive? I know you knew there were problems with the show. Your star said in more than one interview that there were, so it was at least discussed. Nothing says course correct like blowing up 90% of your cast.

I’m not suggesting kill all of them. But kill more than the woman who already wasn’t in the show. See where your biggest pain points are in the off season and simply stop writing them.  Thea hasn’t been relevant in 3 seasons. Let her go.

Example: Season 1, Oliver stopped the bad guy and saved the day. Well, he stopped the bad guy at least. He lost his best friend in the process, and the city suffered a horrific earthquake. Season 2, Slade killed Moira, a main character up until then, right in front of her kids. There were CONSEQUENCES. Stuff mattered because it could be lost in an instant. Yes, you killed off Laurel. Don’t think I’ve forgotten that.  But you still have a Black Canary.

That’s an entire argument of its own.

The point being is that now, every single character is too precious to lose, and as such, there’s nothing for them to do. People can’t even stay injured. Felicity is paralyzed. There’s a chip for that. Diggle has the shakes. Nah, there’s a chip for that. Seriously, knock it off. Kill a couple people.  Make the show mean something again. Let one of them be Felicity.

Flash

This same too many characters problem bleeds into the Flash. Everyone is a best friend now. We’re just best friends saving the best friend world all the best friend time. I mean, isn’t Joe’s fiance like a commissioner or something? How the hell does that work her dating a subordinate? Doesn’t she have other things to do besides be a pregnant, conveniently temporary psychic? Why is she always at S.T.A.R. Labs?

And help me out: what exactly does Iris DO? She’s a reporter, right? So why is she part of Team Flash? What expertise does she possess to be in a super secret science lab? Or coordinating operations? What the hell is going on here? Is she actually a double agent?

Back to my larger point.

Most recently, Barry helped save Goldberg who was serving a life sentence for jackhammering a cop. He got stabbed and Barry helped save his life. But it couldn’t just be that Barry saved the life of a murderer. We couldn’t have that. No. See the Allens, both Barry and Henry, wouldn’t save a person because its the right thing to do regardless of their crimes. It had to be that Goldberg was actually framed by Kickpuncher.

Barry doesn’t save murderers’ lives. That’s all there is to it. He will however release a man convicted of murder, run him to China and strand him there without money, passport, extra clothes, or even a small idea as to whether or not he even speaks the language, all the while foregoing the legal process because the system was wrong!

I’m not even getting into the trial, conviction and appeal of Barry. That was a joke, start to finish. I only have a baseline understanding of the judicial system, having logged well over 200 hours of Law and Order and its sister show, SVU, and even I understand how much of a farce that whole proceeding was…Alright, one note from it.

Barry is at his sentencing. HIS SENTENCING, when the villain du jour was running amok and needed to be stopped. It went thus:

“We need a speedster!”

“Ok, cool. Someone call Wally and we’ll–”

“NO! Tell Barry about it. Have him do it. Have him asked to be excused from his own trial where he’s been convicted of murder and have him go do it.”

Again, I digress. It comes down to you have too many characters scratching for screentime, and you aren’t using any of them correctly. (Dibny aside. Dibny is damn awesome and when his time is up here, get his stretchy behind on the Waverider)   Tighten up the corners, let bad guys be bad guys, wrap this whole Devoe project up, and for God sakes stop this random pregnancy powers weird plot device from happening again. It’s cheap and lazy.

Look, I know this letter has only made it as far up as some 3rd AD’s secretary’s assistant. I know that none of this matters, end of the day. You’ll do what you do and that’s all there is to it.  But I ask, NO, I IMPLORE that you, Marybelle,  somehow get word from your little desk in an office in Vancouver to one or three of your writing staff and insist they go back and watch the first season of Arrow, and the first two seasons of Flash. Understand what is possible, and find your way back there.

And as always, kill Felicity.

Your friend in time,

M

 

Deadpool 2 Gets A New Release Date

It looks like Marvel’s Merc With A Mouth will be breaking the fourth wall a bit sooner than originally planned. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news Thursday of a not insignificant shake up for Fox’s summer lineup of Marvel properties.

First up is The Merc With A Mouth, Deadpool, announcing that it will be moving UP its release date by two weeks, from June 1st back to May 18th. The new release date will set Deadpool 2 squarely in the middle of an already crowded month of serious box office draws with Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 hitting the screen on May fourth and Solo: A Star Wars Story dropping on May 25th.

In a fairly shocking bit of news, The Channing Tatum lead Gambit has been pushed back from Feb. 14, 2019, to June 7, 2019. It was announced that in the light of Director Gore Vebinski’s recent exit from the long gestating X Flick this late in pre-production has sentscrambling to find a new director, realizing they are going to need a lot more time to turn in a decent movie.

And last, but in my opinion, most upsetting, Josh Boone’s horror themed take on The New Mutant’s is being moved back a whopping 10 months from its scheduled April release. To many this looks as if there may be serious problems with the movie, however, insiders speculate it is to avoid Mutant overlap in overseas markets.

Let us know what you think of these moves in the comments below.

 

The Midnight Drive-In: Jack Frost & Jack Frost 2

We’re kicking off the Christmas season with two movies about killer snowmen.  Well really they are one franchise about killer snowmen.  We talk about Jack Frost and Jack Frost 2.  Also Noah tells us how he gets into nerd arguments with strangers, we talk about Super Dark Times, The Punisher, and the news of Disney buying 21st Century Fox.

Avengers: Infinity War Trailer Is Here!

It’s here.  The movie Marvel fans have been waiting for since the mid credits scene in the first Avengers movie is finally coming in May 2018.  Avengers: Infinity War marks the end of what Marvel has been working towards for the last 10 years since Nick Fury waked out of the darkness and told Tony Stark he wanted to talk to him about the Avengers Initiative.

Whether you are over the superhero boom, was never into it, or are still in love with it as I am since 2000’s X-Men, you have to appreciate Marvel’s commitment to making this cinematic universe play out like it has.  Rumors are we may be saying goodbye to some of our favorite heroes.  My guess is that won’t happen until Avengers 4 in 2019.

Reports seem to be Marvel may forgo the serialized format for more stand alone films heading out of 2019 but I wouldn’t count on that as fact.  I’m sure Marvel has plenty of surprises up their sleeve.  I’m still holding on for a Slapstick/Sleepwalker crossover.

Geek Nerdery Podcast: Justice League

My co-host from The Midnight Drive-In Podcast Noah drops in and we sit down to talk some Justice League.  What’s good?  What’s bad?  What just all around doesn’t make sense?  After that we do talk some comics.  There is a spoiler section so feel free to listen until the spoiler warning goes up if you are wanted to avoid spoilers.

Music provided by The Fantastic Plastics.

The Midnight Drive-In: The Punisher (1989) & Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

With the release of the Punisher series on Netflix we figured it was a good time to go back to The Punisher’s cinematic roots.  In addition it’s always a good time to go back and check out the 1990 cinematic version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Turns out these movies have a lot more in common than we thought.  Since listener Allen asks the hard questions we also find out who is everyone’s favorite turtle is.  We also talk about Baywatch, Robert Kirkman’s Secret History Of Comics, Event Horizon, and Colossal.

Thor: Ragnarok is the Best ’80s Sci-Fi/Fantasy Movie of 2017

As a child of the NES and Aqua Net generation, I cut my cinematic teeth on the movies from Cannon Films and Orion Pictures like Masters of the Universe and Robocop. It’s my firm belief that the best action movies truly came from the 1980s. Certainly, they aren’t high brow or even have intelligent or coherent plot logic in many cases, but they were fun. So why am I mentioning these film studios and this rad decade when talking about Thor: Ragnarok, Marvel’s latest cinematic universe release?

Continue reading Thor: Ragnarok is the Best ’80s Sci-Fi/Fantasy Movie of 2017

Dads, Dark Matter, and the Diggle Shakes: It’s this week’s Arrowverse Weekly Round-Up!

We know. We missed last week, making this not all that weekly of a round-up. You can thank illness of the face for that. But we’re back this week! So let’s break this one down before another week slips by us.  Worst to First, let’s do it! (A bit spoilery, but not too bad)

Supergirl

Bless her little Kryptonian heart, she’s trying. She really is. But what do you do with an all-powerful, god-like character? A question that’s plagued the Superfamily since forever.  At first, the showrunners decided to borrow some of the best of the MAN of Steel’s history the first season, then had him actually show up in National City  for what was arguably the best episode of season 2. Well, the answer this year seems to be ignore the question, because other characters not named in the title have a lot going on, and we’ll get to Kara. Promise.

This season has a lot happening to be sure. There’s Alex and Maggie’s wedding that is CLEARLY doomed to not happen as hinted at these first three episodes, Nathan Petrelli is doing his best at megolomaniacal industrialist (until his isn’t? Maybe next week?), Lena Luthor bought Catco because…um…reasons, and Odette Annable will at some point be “making it Reign”. (That’s her quote, not our quote. It’s punny as hell, but admittedly better than what we would have come up with.) Oh, and that one girl is sad about her boyfriend being maybe dead. What’s her na–OH! Kara! Right!

To be FAIR, Kara did some stuff this week. J’onn did most of it assisting M’gann and the white martian resistance though, but Supergirl helped. It was a decent bit of business with J’onn reuniting with his father he previously thought deceased.

A darker, distracted Supergirl was kind of fun. Not Snyder dark, but Kara with a chip on her shoulder that first episode would have made for an interesting sub-plot this season as she works through the idea that even with all the power in the world, she can’t save everyone she loves. It’s a good third season plot that could flesh out Kara and grow her as character. Because if she’s the role model for a generation of young girls, they need to see that even our heroes struggle and we all need to find it in ourselves to overcome.

…No? You’d rather wrap that up half-assedly after 2 eps? Alright, how about a wedding shower then? Yeah to hell with it.

Arrow

…What are we going to do with this show? The time slot change is  bad enough as it makes it a lot more difficult to get these reviews done in a timely manner–on top of all the other reasons– but the writers insist on recycling the same storylines the way Flash recycled Ollie’s apartment in last week’s episode. Yeah, we noticed. All of us noticed.

Anyway, Oliver is again this season spending more time as the mayor than as the Green Arrow like last year. Because when we go to watch superhero dramas, it’s important to us that we spend at least 10 minutes an episode worrying about new legislation.  

This week, Diggle takes over as Green Arrow as Oliver is under the watchful eye of FBI Agent Mrs. Plot Device, and wants to be a better father to William “Exasperated Sigh” Clayton. Digs got the shakes though as is having confidence issues thanks to his last season visit to Lian Yu. I don’t speak any languages beyond this sort of English and “I am a pineapple” in French, but I have to assume Lian Yu is Mandarin for “No Real Stakes Island”.  We’ll come back to that.

From there, the never-ending, white hot poker in the eye that will not be named came on screen. I  was suddenly overwhelmed by my own form of Diggle Shakes and slapped the video halfway across the room. I came to outside, standing over a burn barrel holding a box of matches as my tablet sat on top of the pile, reeking of gasoline. The tablet’s fine, but I can’t finish a review for you, because I’m on a kind of expensive laptop and I don’t want to risk another blackout.

Even with the imminent destruction of my tablet, Arrow still ranks ahead of Supergirl this week. This show is still trying to find it’s way back, and we feel like it still can, but it needs to bring back the high stakes that the first two seasons had.  Yeah, they killed Laurel, and for this, we will never forgive them, but this show has lost it’s nerve. If you’re going to have every character on an island, and you’re going to explode that island, then have every character survive, you’ve wasted a perfectly good island explosion. They had the chance to course correct, (same as with Flashpoint) and they didn’t take it.  They keep letting all the plucky sidekicks survive. They have so many, they could Game of Thrones the hell out of the show once every two weeks, and by season end, there’s still six characters left. My math’s off, but you get the idea. Trim the fat. You have two quirky scientists. Axe one of them. You have 2 gun-toting hard asses. Axe one. You have 2 Canaries. Break one’s neck after you’ve injected bleach into her veins and set her on fire, then reform Laurel, you canon-destroying-on-a-whim, Felicity-fellating jackasses.

I’m feeling woozy..let’s move on.

FLASH

The Flash, what do you say about it? It’s a consistently good show. This week and last week were no exceptions. The writer’s have loosened up on the overly dramatic reins for the time being and everyone is having fun. We didn’t get to cover this, so we’ll touch on it here, last week’s episode made it enjoyable to watch Barry and Iris together for the first time in a while. She wasn’t constantly harping on him all episode and he didn’t spend the tenth week in a row explaining how he’ll never let anything bad happen to her. For the first time in a while, there was natural chemistry between them, and it was good to see. 

As far as the fun goes, they introduced Hazard this week; a girl with the worst luck in the world, until she’s introduced to dark matter, thanks to Barry’s return from the Speed Force. She’s a petite blonde that’s  funny and fun to watch. In the end, she’s monster of the week, so they wrap her story quick, but she’s got a bigger part to play in Junior Brainiac’s no good, very bad scheme.

This week also saw the return of Tom Cavanaugh (It’s about time you got here! Welcome home!)  and Earth 2 Harry Wells. Always good to have him back so Cisco has someone to properly bicker with. The problem there is Harry seems a bit too…not scatterbrained, but less full of himself than when he was around previously and that felt like it lost something. Still good to have him back.

Oh, and poor Wally. This town’s not big enough for two speedsters apparently. Tough Luck, Bro.

Also, I spent the episode deciding that Cecil needs to back the hell up a step. But, that’s obviously not going to happen. Nice cut to black on that one.

Legends of Tomorrow

Understand that before we get too far into this that we know. We do. We know and we understand any trepidation you might be feeling with this being the second Round-Up in a row that Legends came out as top dog. If the illness hadn’t struck last week, Legends would have been number one then too. WE KNOW! It doesn’t make sense!  After the first two seasons, we get all of it. 

Listen up, though: Legends is the current champion of the CW’s Arrowverse. If you aren’t watching, you’re missing out. Allow us to explain.

Is it a perfect show? No. Some of the worst extra acting around. Sometimes the mains’ acting isn’t all that great either. But what is it about Legends that we find so damn convincing? We said it last time: They’ve found their voice. The writers and showrunners know what they are, and they’re making it work. Not everyone wants the light-hearted approach that Marvel takes with it’s properties muddling in with the super serious world of DC, but this is exactly what the show needs to be.

The Legends aren’t a stoic band of heroes that save the space time continuum while attempting to bone each other in the meanwhile. They’re an imperfect group of screw-ups and also-rans that are doing the best they can with what they’ve got. The showrunners finally cracked that code and allowed themselves and their characters to be fun.

The introduction of the Time Bureau, run by previous captain Rip Hunter, is the perfect adversary for the Legends as they skip through time striving to put right what once went wrong (thanks to their incompetence).

Thats not to say that there aren’t moments of them potentially falling back into old habits, but we’re still cautiously optimistic. The reintroduction of Amaya to the Waverider is a slippery slope. We’re waiting for the moment when they fall back into the well-trodden drama of a relationship between her and Nate, but so far they’ve avoided it. We can only hope that they continue to steer around it so as to not get bogged down with the heavy-handedness of their relationship.

It probably feels unnatural to you, but unless you’re staunchly opposed to humor in your Arrowverse, this is the show to watch. It’s been consistently entertaining for these first three weeks, and with Matt Ryan’s Constantine slated to come aboard, hopefully it can only get better.

The Goofs, The Girl, The Green and the Lazy: Arrowverse Week One Round-Up

Well, Berlanti’s Arrowverse is back for another season of humor, heart, and spectacle. Here’s the  (Spoiler Free) Breakdown of how the first week went from worst to first.

The Flash:

I believe it was Huey Lewis, of the Marin County Lewis’s that first said that the power of love is curious thing. For example, it can make one man weep, another man sing. No better evidence is there of the power of love and it’s curious (read super ass convenient) capabilities than the Season 4 opener of The Flash. It is here where love times love divided by love will conquer all.

As you may recall, at the end of Season 3, Barry decides that he will become the Speed Force’s captive, leaving Team Flash to fend for themselves. Jumping to present day, Iris (You’ll remember her as the one whose foretold death wasted half of every episode last season) is running point for Team Kid Flash, made up of Wally, Cisco/Vibe and Joe in a police issued SUV. They’re on the job, chasing down and capturing Metas, all the while having fun as they go. But it’s bittersweet, as everyone misses Barry. This is about as far as we can go without specifically ruining anything. Oh and Caitlin isn’t evil anymore. Yeah. Like that.

The Flash, while having been one of the best shows the last couple years while Arrow dipped into whatever the hell it dipped into, has a bad habit of high stakes cliffhangers with very underwhelming pay offs. Remember Flashpoint? The jaw-dropping season 2 ender that had all of our minds racing? What was going to happen?! A ripple in the fabric of time and space so big that it could help undo all of Arrow’s missteps! It could be the catalyst for a full season of plotlines and story arcs about Barry’s selfish mistake and–oh it’s done? With very little real consequence? Except for you, Diggle of course.  RIP Baby Sarah.

This opener was lazy. It was lazy, uninspired, and underwhelming. I’m talking Moffatt Doctor Who levels of lazy. Eric Bischoff’s Monday Nitro levels of underwhelming. My inability to come up with a third example’s level of uninspired. The writers once again couldn’t paint themselves out of the giant corner they were stuck in so they HAHA SCIENCE!!’d and YAY FOR LOVE!!’d themselves an answer.  This is getting to be a nasty habit, and it needs to change fast before the average viewer catches on. Guys, get it together. You’re better than this.

SUPERGIRL:

The Girl of Steel is back and broody as hell. That’s what happens when the alien love of your life gets lead poisoining and is sent off planet. Typical.

Well, Kara’s in a bad mood and in an attempt to cope has thrown herself into her work as Supergirl. National City is grateful for the drop in crime, but her friends and family are worried about her.

Meanwhile, Nathan Petrelli…no…Glenn Talbot…no…Morgan Edge…no…Nathan Petrelli is in National City to fill the male megalomaniacal CEO void left by Peter Facinelli’s Max Lord after the network switch.

Supergirl is a steadily consistent show, if not a little on the bland side. She serves as a strong role model for young and not as young girls alike, which is always a good thing. Season 1 and 2 benefitted from using the plots of some of Superman’s better stories, but that can also hinder it in the long run. We like the show, but it feels like it’s still finding it’s voice. It bounces back and forth between light-hearted and overly serious. There’s a medium there, and if they keep working at it, they’ll find it. (Hint: It’s more to the light-hearted side). It could really benefit from somehow finding itself on the same universal plane as the rest of the Arrowverse. A little crossover action, if even a simple cameo, never hurts. The first crossover with Flash in season one is one of the best episodes to date.

ARROW: 

At the end of last season, there were a lot of promises made. More accurately, vows. Even more accurately, ONE vow: Arrow had until the crossover to sort itself out or I was done forever. What was once my favorite hour of the Arrowverse managed to adorably trip over itself like an at first likeable but long term annoying as hell nerdy girl sidekick turned non-canonical love interest, much like the other real-world super powers predecessor, Heroes. The difference being that Heroes went bad almost immediately, while Arrow got through 2 seasons before it started to turn.
If you remember, we left our heroes on the banks of Lian Yu, where Adrian blew up all the sidekicks with an extraordinary amount of C-4 for a DA to procur. Well, we find out early on that they all survived. Well, almost all of them, you find out, as the show’s decided not to ditch the flashbacks as previously hoped, but flashback to the story of how they survived.

Meanwhile, in the present, Ollie has his hands full with fighting off a new group of terrorists led by Black Canary, while also raising his son Conn…sorry, William…who is having problems trusting his dual identitied father, if you can imagine such a thing. Also, Felicity isn’t as annoying thus far, but they made two separate hints that her and Oliver have “the talk” coming just over the horizon…there was a whole island of C-4! She couldn’t just have caught even one…never mind.

I give this show grief because I love it, and only want the best for it. And I’m not alone, thankfully, as my voice will continue to go unheard. Stephen Amell’s voice, however, that has a little more sway, and he’s made his point.
In a recent interview, while discussing a conversation that he had with Arrowverse creator Greg Berlanti, Stephen Amell said this about the show back in Season 5:

“You know, I think that there’s a lot of things that we do well,” and Greg goes, “I would agree,” and I go, “Can we do those things?”

I have to be honest, we’re only one episode in, but it feels like they really are trying to do them. Arrow was the second place winner this week. They genuinely seem to want to get back to where we all know Arrow can be, but there’s a lot of work left to do. I can’t figure that the introduction of Michael Emerson (Lost, Person of Interest) as a big bad is anything but a further step in the right direction. So I’m staying true to Arrow, but so help me if the wedding storyline comes back on the table, I will burn that bridge once and for all.
But please don’t, guys. Seriously. What am I going to watch instead? S.H.I.E.L.D.? Come on.

LEGENDS OF TOMORROW

There is a clear winner this week, and that winner is Legends.

This is the third season for this show, and if this opener is any indication, they’ve found their tone. The Legends work as a goofy band of screw-ups that really do want to do right, but can’t get out of their own way. The episode where they have to save George Lucas from becoming an insurance agent is one of the strongest of the series thus far.

In this episode, their former captain, Rip Hunter has left them on their own, and formed the Time Bureau: a group of suits that go around fixing anachronisms in the space-time continuum, a lot of which are the doing of the Legends themselves. Not to be outdone, and as a way of proving their worth, the Legends defy the Time Bureau and try to fix the mistakes themselves.

This one has finally found the humor. They aren’t all trying to look tougher by brooding or sex each other, at least not so far, they’re trying to prove to everyone that they really are the good guys, even if they get it wrong sometimes. Their new motto is “Sometimes we screw things up for the better”.  They aren’t quite as zany and quippy as the Guardians of the Galaxy, (and hopefully they never will be), but they have that flare to them.

I enjoyed Legends most of all, and I hope they stick with this new “we do what we want” attitude as it will strengthen the core and bring this show up in the ranks as a contender instead of what it’s been so far, an also-ran.  It certainly did this week.

The Midnight Drive-In: Blankman & Meteor Man

We break away from our usual content to talk about 2 cult superhero movies from the 90s.  First up is the 1993 film Meteor Man starring Richard Townsend and a bunch of people you know.  Then after that it’s 1994s Blankman with a bunch of other people that you know. One thing binds these movies together and it’s probably not what you think.  After that we talk Cult Of Chucky, Gerald’s Game, and Rick & Morty.  Wubba lubba dub dub!

Netflix Brings The Pain With New Punisher Trailer

The highlight for me for Daredevil Season 2 was the new vision of The Punisher.  We had up till then 3 big screen versions of the deranged vigilante but none seemed to really connect with audiences.  Many claimed they had softened up the character too much to reach a broad audience.  For me when I heard him utter “You hit them they get back up.  I hit them and they stay down.” I knew they had found the right tone for the character.  It was no surprise Frank Castle would end up with his own Netflix series.  We’ve seen a few teaser trailers but today the full length trailer hit the internet.  It’s exactly what I wanted from a Punisher show.  The Metallica music gets the tone perfect.  What do you think?

First Look At Deadpool 2’s Domino

It’s no secret that Deadpool emerged as one of last years biggest movies, showing that an R rated superhero movie can work and paved the way for the phenomenal Logan. And now that Deadpool 2 is well into production, fans are slathering to get any info they can on the Merc With The Mouth’s follow outing.

Today, Ryan Reynolds tweeted out an eerily familiar picture, featuring our first look at Zazie Beetz as mutant ass-kicker and sometime Deadpool love interest Domino.

From Marvel.com – “Domino is a mutant with the ability to subliminally and psionically initiate random telekinetic acts that affect probability in her favor by making improbable (but not impossible) things to occur within her line of sight, thus causing her to have “good luck” and her opponents to have “bad luck.” This phenomenon can be anything from an enemy’s equipment failure to hitting just the right switch with a stray shot to shut down an overloading nuclear reactor.”

 

Geek Nerdery Podcast: GLOW and Spider-Man Homecoming

A few weeks ago (I got busy) I rounded up a crew and we sat down to discuss not only the new Netflix series GLOW but also the recently released Spider-Man Homecoming.  Joining me is Doug from The Last Horrorcast, Noah from Hero Unabridged, Michael from The Awesome 80’s Podcast, and Mike Patterson of being Mike fame.  There is a spoilery section but we denote it in the show so feel free to listen without worry.

Music provided by The Fantastic Plastics.

Pushing the Button: A DC Rebirth Update

Last time we talked, we looked at the recently-wrapped Superman Reborn storyline and what it meant for the ever-evolving post-Rebirth DC Universe. Now that the Batman/Flash crossover The Button has wrapped, now that even more things have changed, it’s time to do it again. I’m going to discuss and build on some of the theories and threads I mentioned in that first piece, so if you haven’t read it, give it a peek. And once again, be prepared, because spoilers are coming for The Button, but also for other stories across the DC Universe.

So That Just Happened

Let’s look at exactly where we are, shall we? In The Button, Professor Zoom attacked Batman in the Batcave, ultimately dying in a spark of blue. Batman and the Flash then used the Flash’s cosmic treadmill to try to trace the mysterious radiation signature on the blood-spattered button Bruce found in DC Universe Rebirth #1. Eventually, the two landed in the Flashpoint universe, where Bruce Wayne got to meet that world’s Batman, his father Thomas Wayne. That universe vanished, seemingly destroyed. Zoom — who can only ever be “mostly” dead because time travel — continued on his race to find those behind the power of the button. He was wiped out again, by still more blue flame, and Bruce and Barry were rescued from the timestream by the timely (get it?) intervention of Jay Garrick, who was only there for moments before the flame got him too. The button itself, judging by the epilogue, seems to have been retrieved by Dr. Manhattan, whom Geoff Johns has told us has a particular interest in Superman. He’ll be telling that story in the recently-announced Doomsday Clock event.

But that’s the Reader’s Digest version of The Button, there’s an awful lot to unpack here. What is it all saying? What does it mean? And how does it play into the DC Universe going forward?

The Manhattan Project

First of all, let’s talk about the Dr. Manhattan connection. Although the fingerprints of Watchmen were all over this story (right down to the first chapter, Batman #21, mimicking Dave Gibbons’s famous nine-panel grid in the artwork), it gave us precious little in the way of revelation. We still don’t know exactly why the button wound up in the Batcave, and although Zoom claimed to know who was responsible, his eradication at the end of the story will make it difficult for Barry and Bruce to interrogate him. In fact, as far as a direct link to Dr. Manhattan goes, the clues can be boiled down to one word: “They.”

Zoom claims to know who is responsible for what’s happening to the universe and, in his own words, “They’ve never faced someone like me!” Granted, it’s becoming more acceptable to use “they” as a gender-neutral singular pronoun these days (something that makes the English teacher in me shudder — I’m not saying we shouldn’t have a gender-neutral pronoun, just that I wish there was another word that didn’t dilute the meaning of the word “they”), but it’s hard to imagine that’s what Zoom meant. If he’s seen Dr. Manhattan, especially if the latter is walking around without his bikini bottoms again, it’s fairly clear that he’s male, and I doubt Zoom is the sort to walk up and ask him his preferred pronouns before engaging him in battle. If he hasn’t seen Manhattan, his claim to know who’s responsible becomes much more specious. All of this is to say that this one word may support something I suggested last time: whatever is happening, it doesn’t look like Dr. Manhattan is the sole person responsible.

Homecoming

Next up, let’s talk about Jay Garrick. Much like Wally West did in the original Rebirth special, he appears and helps save the day. Unlike Wally, Jay doesn’t stick around. The question, however, is why did he vanish? He disappeared in a nimbus of blue flame, much like Pandora did in the first special, much like the Flashpoint universe did earlier in this story (more on that later). But it’s very hard to imagine that means he’s dead. DC has teased the return of the Justice Society really hard here, not only with Jay but with another appearance by Johnny Thunder in chapter one of The Button. Would they have brought him back just to wipe him out?

Barry recognizes the circumstances of Jay’s appearance as being similar to Wally’s, and when Wally appeared, he needed his emotional connection to Barry to re-ground him in reality. It doesn’t work for Jay. Barry even says that he doesn’t seem to be Jay’s “lightning rod.” Who then, would it be? Who else has a strong enough emotional connection to Jay Garrick to return him to reality?

The immediate and most obvious answer is his wife, Joan. She hasn’t been seen in Rebirth, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t in the DC Universe somewhere: alone, sad, possibly confused by a gaping hole in her life. But Wally West’s lightning rod wasn’t his wife, Linda Park. Who else could anchor Jay? Besides Barry, his best friend has historically been original Green Lantern Alan Scott, but Alan is MIA along with the rest of the Justice Society. All of Jay’s contemporaries are missing.

Everyone except for Johnny Thunder. Johnny, who in Rebirth #1, seemed to imply that he was responsible for people forgetting the Justice Society. Johnny, who in Flash #21 screams at the skies, consumed with guilt. Johnny, who is currently locked away in a nursing home, with everyone assuming he’s a raving old man. In fact, why don’t we take this a step further? What if Johnny is, unwittingly, one of the people who helped Dr. Manhattan remake the universe? He certainly wouldn’t have done it intentionally, but he was never the brightest bulb to begin with. The only reason he was in the JSA is because he commanded a Genie with Mxyzptlk-level reality-warping power. Could he have been tricked into using his Thunderbolt’s power to change the timeline? Or could he have done it independently of what was going on with Dr. Manhattan, and could Manhattan have simply taken advantage of Johnny’s mistake to further his own goals?

Lost and Found

Let’s take a moment to do a little census here. A lot of fan-favorite characters were missing at the launch of the New 52 universe. Some of them have returned: Wally West, of course, but also Stephanie Brown, Donna Troy, Cassandra Cain, Ted Kord, and probably several others I’m forgetting at the moment. Others, like the Legion of Super-Heroes and the Ray Palmer Atom, were there for the New 52 launch but have gone notably missing since then. Still others have been taken away on-panel. Doomsday, Prophecy, and Tim Drake have all been “removed” from action, and we know they’re in the clutches of Mr. Oz. Of those still unaccounted for, the Justice Society has been particularly notable in its absence. And with its absence came the absence of other characters derived from the JSA: Alan Scott’s children Jade and Obsidian, for example. If the JSA returns, can they follow suit?

And there’s one other big one that needs to be mentioned. After he was “Reborn,” Superman needed to give the readers a rundown of what his history was in this world where the older, married Superman merged with his younger New 52 counterpart. Action Comics gave us two issues where he asked his little robotic buddy Kelex (and who wouldn’t want a Kelex as their own personal assistant?) to go over his past with him. It was kind of odd, in a meta way, for Superman to essentially ask the robot to read him his diary, but it worked. The big questions were answered: Jonathan and Martha Kent are both dead in this continuity, Superman never had a relationship with Wonder Woman. He did fight and was killed by Doomsday…

…but that’s where it gets odd.

As we all know, after Superman’s death he was replaced by four different people claiming the name. John Henry Irons, Steel, is part of the cast of Superwoman these days. The Eradicator and the Cyborg Superman are both in the Superman books right now in villain roles. The fourth? Connor Kent? Superboy? Nowhere to be found, even in the history that Kelex relates to us. Superman himself notes, as he listens to his own history, that something doesn’t feel quite right. Is Conner going to be lost to the void, or is DC planning to give him his own Wally West moment, bringing him back in triumph? If, as Geoff Johns promises, Rebirth is about restoring hope and legacy to the DCU, wouldn’t Doomsday Clock be a hell of a place for Connor to come back?

Of course, Jonathan Kent the second is Superboy now, but I’d be fine with changing Connor’s name and moving him into sort of a Nightwing-type role in the Superman family. Superteen? Superkid? Ugh, those are terrible. Superguy? Sequel? Okay, maybe we have to look beyond the letter “S” for a new name.

I hear “Valor” is available.

The Dark Knight Redacted?

Anyway, let’s talk about what this story has done to Batman. Back in Flashpoint, when Barry Allen was (he thought) restoring the timeline he had damaged, Thomas Wayne gave him a letter to deliver to Bruce. It was one of the high points of that story and created a grand emotional link for Bruce to his past. In The Button, that link was made even stronger as Bruce had to face a version of his father who chose the same path he did, that of the Batman. Thomas’s Batman was darker and harsher than Bruce’s (not surprising, as Flashpoint was a darker and harsher world), and as Bruce leaves, Thomas asks him to give up being Batman, to put this life behind him, because no father would ever choose a life like that for his child. As the story ends, we have a very pointed moment where the Bat-signal blazes across the sky of Gotham, and Bruce ignores it.

What does this mean?

Well, it doesn’t mean that Bruce is hanging up the cowl, let’s start there. There have been plenty of post-Button stories solicited already where he’s still Batman. (Heck, Batman #23 came out on the same day as The Button ended). There are also two other strikes against this notion of Bruce giving up. First, they did that story just two years ago with James Gordon taking over as Batman (not to mention the countless times in the past when Dick Grayson, Jean-Paul Valley, etc. have worn the cowl). Second, Rebirth has been all about bringing DC’s heroes back to their purest, classic form. Does anyone really think that means shelving Bruce Wayne? Certainly not for any length of time.

So what does it mean?

For that, let’s take a step back and look, once again, at the apparent meta-message of Rebirth Geoff Johns (I’m assigning this thesis to him, as he seems to be the architect of the story and is the author of both DC Universe Rebirth #1 and the upcoming Doomsday Clock) seems to be arguing that the darkness that has infected the DCU started not with Flashpoint, but could be traced back to Watchmen. Last time, I argued that this is only partially true, and that there are other culprits as well, but I didn’t mention one of the bigger ones, as it didn’t appear to be relevant at the time. Now it does. I’m talking, of course, about The Dark Knight Returns. Frank Miller’s magnum opus was a masterpiece of the form, like Watchmen. Also like Watchmen, people took entirely the wrong message from the story and, for years, turned the mainstream Batman progressively darker, gloomier, and more brooding than ever.

Perhaps part of the purpose of The Button — that part of it, at least — is to do specifically for Batman what the larger Rebirth story is doing for the rest of the DCU. I’m not saying that we should go back to the days when Batman was cutting ribbons at supermarket openings or encountering aliens with huge insect heads on the main street of Gotham, but there has to be a middle ground. For much of the Bronze Age, in fact, we lived in that middle ground. Go back and read some of those great Dennis O’Neil/Neal Adams Batman stories. You’ll see a character who lives in the darkness, but carries a spark of light within him, a Batman who was not above making a joke. (Indeed, in the years since The Dark Knight Returns pretty much any time Batman has displayed a sense of humor, it’s come as a total shock to whoever he was talking to at the time.)

Bruce Wayne, we know, will never quit. Not forever, anyway. But that doesn’t mean he has to live a life totally devoid of joy. Tim Drake (who himself was thinking of hanging up the cape to go to college when he was abducted) was often living proof of that. Maybe that’s  another reason he, as Mr. Oz put it, had to be “taken off the table.”

It’s a long way until November, guys, and there are plenty of things that could happen between now and then that could cause me to adjust these thoughts (I’m looking at you, The Lazarus Contract). But for now, at least, I think I’ve tackled all the big concepts, and we’ve got an awful lot to chew on while we wait for the next course.