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Evan Kiick

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SUPERMAN #25 Review

All good things come to an end. Superman #25 is the final chapter in the “BLACK DAWN” story arc. I’m sad, I’m excited, I’m scared. This has been an incredible arc and I want it to end well. As for being scared? The next issue will start a new story and I don’t want to be let down. That probably won’t happen but I’m still feeling uneasy. No time to worry about that now. Is Jon going to kick the shit out of Clark or can Superman free his son from the clutches of Black’s control?

What’s Superman #25 about? From the publisher:

“BLACK DAWN” part six! The extra-sized finale to “Black Dawn” reveals the villain tearing the Super-Family apart and destroying everything the Man of Steel holds dear!

Just to change things up a bit, let’s start with what I didn’t like. Besides for being unkillable, what good are Frankenstein and his “ex” bride? Manchester Black unraveled him like a fucking cartoon sweater, and shooting four guns at once does The Bride no better than a single pistol. Yes, that is my biggest complaint. I wish everything I disliked was so trivial.

Last time I suggested this creative team write the next Superman film. Superman #25 is a perfect example of why I said it. It’s an almost perfect (I wish Frankenstein wasn’t so useless) climax and wind down for a great story. The epilogue would even make an amazing post credit scene. Finding inner strength, the importance of family and teamwork, and a hopeful ending, Superman #25 contains everything you’d expect from a DC’s white knight.

Side Note: I finally see the connection between Clark and Lois. Half a dozen movies and three TV series failed to convey what a single page of this issue has. I’d like to give my personal thanks to the entire creative team for making my first Superman arc, one I won’t soon forget.

9
Score
Superman #25
The Bottom Line:
A great final chapter to a great arc.
Yes!
Superboy is like an american Gohan. Greater potenial than his father but will he achieve it.
No...
For the third time, Frankenstein sucks.
Read Superman #23 Now!

The Flash #24 Review

This is worse than TV. The wait between issues seems to take forever. Only getting 32 pages after two weeks of thumb twiddling is killing me. I have no patience. I wish every issue was a trade paperback or complete arc. Part One of “Color of Fear” was enough to keep me up at night. If this vibe continues in The Flash #24, I might end up having Reverse Flash nightmares.

What’s The Flash #24 about? From DC:

“RUNNING SCARED” prelude—guest-starring Hal Jordan! Green Lantern Hal Jordan has recruited Barry Allen for a dangerous mission that only The Flash can accomplish! Unfortunately, that mission is on a hostile space station deep in the cosmos, which means leaving Kid Flash alone to defend his and Barry’s loved ones from a deadly attack by their greatest enemy…

Okay, so yeah, bring on the nightmares, I guess. Eobard Thawne might have just entered my Top 5 DC Villains. It was bad enough the guy came back after being turned into something that looked like a hotdog that was left on a grill for far too long, but the lengths he goes to hurt Barry Allen, is unreal. If Joshua Williamson’s story has Thawne obtain a power ring that matches his suit, I might never sleep again.

The Flash #24 is one of, if not the most, satisfying comics I’ve ever read. If I didn’t know better I’d think I was watching a movie. The pages containing the two simultaneous battles of Barry and Wally are absolutely incredible. And, for the final ingredient of my new night terrors, I have the final page burned into my mind. When I wake up in a cold sweat, Carmine Di Giandomenico and Pop Mhan are the first two people I’m calling.

9
Score
The Flash #24 Review
The Bottom Line:
I haven't been doing this for long but The Flash #24 is easily my favorite of the series so far.
Yes!
"The Color of Fear" might give 34 year old me nightmares.
No...
Nothing. Nothing was bad.

Wonder Woman Review

Marvel, Marvel, Marvel. DC has to be feeling like Jan Brady as of late. The MCU is a money making juggernaut and with the added success of films like Logan and Deadpool, Marvel Comics is currently ruling the box office. DC, on the other hand, has hit a bit of a rough patch. Critics and fans alike have been less than thrilled with the direction DC has taken in its attempt to create its own cinematic universe. With the release of Justice League around the corner, DC is running out of time before needing a massive reboot. Wonder Woman is DC’s last chance to build excitement for its big ensemble film. Well DC, let’s see what you’ve got.

The Story:

Wonder Woman a.k.a. Diana, Gal Gadot (I couldn’t find a film I actually wanted to link her to), saves pilot/spy Steve Trevor, Chris Pine (Star Trek), and learns of the “war to end all wars” going on in the world outside the protected and hidden island of Themyscira. Believing Ares is responsible, and that it’s the duty of the Amazonians to stop him, she embarks on a quest to kill the God of War and prevent the killing of thousands more. Can Diana break Ares’ influence on mankind or will she learn it’s the darkness in our nature that drives us to such atrocities?

The Good:

It finally feels like DC got one right. I’m not going to say I didn’t enjoy Suicide Squad, because I did, but I certainly wouldn’t call it good, and I’ll never get the time back that I wasted watching Batman v Superman. Wonder Woman, however, was both enjoyable and pretty good. Gal Gadot has given the best performance of anybody involved in DC’s new universe, not that she really had any competition. Director Patty Jenkins does a wonderful job balancing out DC’s dark and gritty feel with Diana’s almost naïve level of optimism and sense of right and wrong. If you’re the type of fan that will be disappointed that there’s no “S&M kinkiness” or that her armor is red, gold, and blue instead of red, white and blue, as David Edelstein of Vulture seems to think some of you might be, then stay home. There’s more than enough skin shown to cause drooling over Gadot’s beauty, and not everything has to be drenched in “America,” and honesty, a golden color make way more sense than white for armor inspired by the ancient Greeks.

The Bad:

As much as I enjoyed the action sequences (seriously, watching Wonder Woman kick tons of ass is extremely satisfying), they could have eased up a bit on the computer enhanced fighting skills Diana shows off. When deflecting machine-gun fire and mortar attacks with a shield is more believable than a leg sweep, you know you have a problem. When it comes to the story, if you saw Captain America then you saw Wonder Woman. Yes, I realize there are tons of differences, but the quest of a morally righteous superhero accompanied a group of soldiers to stop the Germans from developing/using a super-weapon to win the war is the core of both movies. That being said, I for one, would prefer to watch Wonder Woman. Finally, Diana’s full power being released by her love for Steve kind of fucks up the whole empowered-woman-vibe the rest of the film does a great job of building…..but maybe that’s just me.

8
Score
Wonder Woman
The Bottom Line
Easily DC's best film in their cinematic universe.
Yes!
Gal Gadot is great as Wonder Woman
Chris Pine and David Thewlis aren't too shabby either
No...
Some of the computer effects are a bit distracting.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales | Review

Sometimes we like a movie so much we watch terrible sequel after terrible sequel hoping for a spark of the original to shine through and reignite that feeling. I personally have many. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl is one of them. Sure its two sequels (Yes, I said “two.” I know it’s technically three but just because studios break up a single story into multiple movies doesn’t mean I recognize them as separate sequels.) were kind of fun to watch but they lacked the magic of the first. Needless to say, I keep coming back. Does Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales contain that elusive spark? Only one way to find out.

The Story:

Once again, a cursed sailor seeks revenge on Jack Sparrow, Johnny Depp (Cry Baby….that’s right Cry Baby). After hearing Salazar’s, Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), story I hardly see how it’s Jack’s fault, but I digress. This time, the magical artifact everyone seems to need is Poseidon’s Trident. What follows is typical boy meets girl romance, Disney’s ability to kill dozens with almost no blood on screen, and of course a healthy dose of Jack’s cartoonishly good luck. Throw in a cameo or two (sorry Paul McCarthy but Keith Richards makes a better pirate) and a couple of heart touching moments and you have all the ingredients of a Pirates move.

The Good:

It’s fun. That may be over simplified but for this type of movie there might not be a better compliment. Nobody is going to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales because they expect to see Moonlight. It doesn’t have to be “great,” it only has to be fun. It also has much more of the feel of the original than the other sequels had. Fast paced and exciting, Dead Men Tell No Tales keeps your attention from start to finish. Full of “chuckle” humor, more than laugh out loud funny, and the fun type of fear where you know your safe and end up laughing after the scare passes, the newest addition to the Pirates Franchise is, once again, like watching a ride at Disney.

The Bad:

Jack’s antics are a bit over done. Sequels always try to up the ante but sometimes enough is enough. Even in a movie with cursed pirates and magic artifacts, an entire building being dragged though the streets of town is a bit far-fetched for my liking. Moments included for nostalgia seem much more like fan service than having any actual importance to the overall story. Finally, I’m getting tired of post-credit scenes teasing future films. Sure I’m already kind of excited for a 6th film but, unless it’s already in production (it isn’t), Disney has me wanting something that might never happen.

7
Score
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
The Bottom Line
Pretty much a perfect Memorial Day Weekend movie......if you've already seen Guardians and Alien.
Yes!
You certainly won't get bored.
No...
A bit over done. Sometimes less is more.

Wonder Woman #23 Review

So here’s the thing, I’m trying. I really am. That being said, I can barely even remember Wonder Woman #21. I kind of forgot how we got to this point. Was this the arc that started with Diana in an asylum? Either way this is the finale. And June 14th ends “Godwatch” and hopefully, my confusion too. Needless to say, even if the comic doesn’t excite me, the upcoming movie certainly does, but we’ll get to that another time. On to Wonder Woman #23.

So what’s Wonder Woman #23 about? From DC:

“The Truth” part five! The conclusion to Diana’s search for the truth takes her on a journey into darkness. But the price of understanding may be one sacrifice too many for Wonder Woman…

Maybe it’s because I have a soft spot for the god of war or I know what it’s like to feel like you live in madness and the love of a woman can calm the storm inside (see my love for King Kong), but Wonder Woman #23 spoke to me. After weeks of not caring, Greg Rucka finally caught my interest. He also didn’t give readers the happy ending I was expecting but was able to convey a sad beauty in the events as they unfolded. Dialogue heavy and action light, the conclusion of “The Truth” is surprisingly the best issue in the arc.

I was so ready to give up on this title. Now, I can’t. I’ll give Wonder Woman #24 the same chance to change my mind as this issue, but the true test will be issues #25 and #26. Will it start two different but similar arcs again or will it focus on delivering one great Wonder Woman story? If Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp are involved I’ll be far more than just willing to give Wonder Woman a second chance. Your move DC, your move.

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7.5
Score
Wonder Woman #23
The Bottom Line:
Best issue of the arc and good enough to want to give the next one a solid chance.
Yes!
The ending contains a sad beauty I really enjoyed.
No...
Not enough to save the arc but I'm not sure what would have been.

Alien: Covenant Review

In 1979 Ridley Scott warned us: “In space, no one can hear you scream.” He introduced us to a creature whose entire life cycle is horrifying and became one of the most iconic monsters in movie history. Now, almost 40 years later, his warning is far simpler and just as anxiety-inducing: “RUN.” While the Alien franchise has since parted from its pure horror roots into a much more action driven narrative, Alien: Covenant promises to go back to its original fear inducing ways. After Prometheus’s less than stellar reception, does the newest installment revitalize a waning franchise or is it “game over, man” for the terrifying xenomorph?

The Story:

After prematurely waking up, the crew of a colonization ship receive a transmission of a human voice. The transmission is coming from a planet significantly closer and far more suitable for sustaining life than the one they were headed for. While searching for the source of the signal and exploring the planet, the crew unleashes and gets attacked by a pair of vicious, unknown lifeforms. The android David, Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Apocalypse), the last survivor of the Prometheus Expedition, saves them and takes them to where he’s been living for the past decade. From there on, the remaining crew members must figure out the truth behind the fate of the planet, the origin of these monster, and most importantly try to survive long enough to be rescued.

The Good:

This is what a horror movie is supposed to be. For many years now, I have said that I am not a fan of horror films. That isn’t 100% accurate. Saying I am not a fan of what Horror has become is much more truthful. I love movies like Alien, Jaws, Terminator, Predator, films that actually instill fear. I don’t like gore (just because it’s too gross for me to watch doesn’t make it scary) and jump-scares are a one-trick-pony (if your method of fear is only as complex as a jack-in-the-box, I’m not sure why I should care). Alien: Covenant plays on the nature of fear and what it truly is to be a monster. Tapping into the deepest darkest places in your mind, Ridley Scott fills the audience with anxiety, suspense, trust issues, survival instinct, and fear of the unknown to create a true sense of horror. Add in an extremely talented cast (Michael Fassbender is great in everything and Danny McBride (East Bound and Down) impresses in a roll far more serious than any other movie I’ve seen him in) and you have the makings of a great horror film.

The Bad:

Unfortunately some of the “twists” are a bit predictable, particularly if you’ve seen the rest of the films in the franchise. Although this does add a sense of “NO!!! DON’T OPEN THAT DOOR,” I prefer to be blindsided by a startling revelation or a “HOLY SHIT” moment. Even being sold as a more direct prequel to Alien than Prometheus was, I feel like we need at least one more film to bridge the gap between Alien: Covenant and the original horror classic. I still have more questions and I demand answers.

8
Score
Alien: Covenant
The Bottom Line
The best addition to the franchise since Aliens (1986). An absolute do not miss for fans of Ridley Scott, Michael Fassbender, the Alien franchise or horror films in general.
Yes!
Everything a great horror movie should be.
No...
A bit predictable at times.

SUPERMAN #23 Review

Superman #23
Am I the only one who gets giddy when they get to read new issues of Superman? Please say someone else does too. I was never one to collect comics but I’m definitely going to have to invest in some trade paperbacks…..and I’ll be starting with this series.
Superman #23What’s Superman #23 about? From the publisher:

“BLACK DAWN” part two! The mysterious force behind Superman’s defeat reveals itself. Superboy wonders what is so great about Truth, Justice and the American way. Will Jon turn against his father?

I honestly don’t even know where to begin. Comics like Superman #23 are the reason I love doing what I do. I’ve never had a job where the work itself was a reward. My biggest reward has to be this series. I jumped in just after “Superman Reborn” and every issue since has pulled me in deeper. Each time adding a new type of creepiness. This time it’s of the A Clockwork Orange variety.

Superman #23, like the previous issues in this arc, is fantastic so I have to resort to nitpicking if I want to have something negative to say. So, here we go. In the face of monsters destroying a town, Superman’s anti-killing stance came off as kind of preachy. I understand that the only way you can believe in him is if he always sticks with it and that it’s obviously setting us up for an emotion conflict between Clark and his son, but it was a bit overkill. Also, unless it’s Lex or Zod, chances are I don’t know who any villain is. Looks like I’m off to the Superman wiki…

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8
Score
Superman #23
The Bottom Line:
The type of comic that makes me question why I didn't get into comics sooner.
Yes!
Everything about this issue pulls you in and doesn't let go
No...
Get off the soap box Superman
Read Superman #23 Now!

HARLEY QUINN #20 Review

I’ve noticed that Harley Quinn alternates between serious and fun story arcs. Since eating homeless people is kind of dark, I’m assuming Harley Quinn #20 will start a more jovial story. There’s only one way to know for sure. So, let’s get to it.
What’s Harley Quinn #20 about? From the publisher:

“FUTURE KILL” part one! You’ve seen her story begin to unfold in prior issues…who in the world is Bat-Fan, and why does she think Harley Quinn must die to save existence itself?! And in the backup story “Harley Loves Joker” part four, Harley’s mistakes have forced her to hide out with The Joker in a low-rent motel…unfortunately, they’ve had to b ring their entire goon squad—and a pack of very poorly behaved hyenas—along!

I like that multiple stories are being told at once. It keeps things interesting and teases future arcs without being distracting from the current one. But now there’s a problem. While I enjoyed Harley Quinn #20, I didn’t get enough of anything. The back feature cuts the issue in half and then the remaining half is split up amongst three different stories. It feels more like I read the condensed pitch for an issue instead of the issue itself

I’m not sure what I did to offend him, but I’m pretty sure “Harley Loves Joker” was written by Paul Dini specifically to hurt me. He knew exactly what I wanted and built towards it with each and every panel and then……that’s how he ends it? I would have used Joker’s confession as a wedding proposal but I guess Paul doesn’t want me to be happy.

Dear Mr. Dini

You were right, that was the perfect ending. It shouldn’t have ended any other way. I’ve loved this whole story and Part 4 is no different. I’m just being a baby because I really wanted this chapter to end differently. Once again I can’t wait for the next issue.

Sincerely,

Me

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7.5
Score
Harley Quinn #20
The Bottom Line
At this point I'm only reading it for "Harley Loves Joker"
Yes!
Harley and Devani fight is great
No...
Too much going on to really get into anything
Read Harley Quinn #20 Now!

Aquaman #23 Review

Reviewing Aquaman feels like I walked into the wrong room and I’m too embarrassed to admit it so I just stay. I confidently reached out for Superman but I grabbed this instead and now I’ll look stupid if I put it down, since I told the counter guy I didn’t need any help. Well, since I read it I might as well tell you what I thought.

What’s Aquaman #23 about? From the publisher:

“CROWN OF ATLANTIS” part one! Beleaguered by ceaseless conflict with the surface world and rising frustration with their outsider king, the people of Atlantis take steps to depose Arthur from his throne. And he won’t let go without a fight! The next major movement of the AQUAMAN saga begins here!

The currently unstable state of the geopolitical environment of Atlantis isn’t what I had in mind. The only thing I care less about than real politics is fictional politics. I’m sure this is going to end up having significant repercussions across the DC Universe but I’m not the least bit interested. I believe Tywin Lannister said it best. “Any man who must say, “I am the king” is no true king.” Does Aquaman always whine like this or is that something new?

I’m glad the fight scene was as good as it was, but looking back the whole thing was unnecessary. The High Council could have just waited for Aquaman’s arrival in the throne room but whatever. I guess I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. At least the pictures were fun to look at.

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5.5
Score
Aquaman #23
The Bottom Line:
Meh.....
Yes!
Give me a second. I know I can think of something.
No...
I get enough politics in the real world. Go fight a kraken or something.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a movie. Why? Because nothing has come out that I was excited to see, and the best part of The Brazen Bull is that I get to do whatever I want. We were founded on the principle of “fans first” and our work, or lack thereof, shows that. What sent me back to the theater? Well, obviously you know because you’re reading the article. So, what did the fan in me think about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2?

The story:

Peter Quill, Chris Pratt (Jurassic World), and the gang continue their adventures protecting the galaxy, for a price. Rocket, Bradley Cooper (Elephant Man….it was a Broadway show, I know probably none of you had the chance to see it but I wanted to pick something I thought he was stellar in), decides to steal from the people that hired them and immediately calls down their wrath. When it seems like our heroes have reached the end of their story, Ego, Peter’s father, Kurt Russell (Big Trouble in Little China), shows up and saves the day. Can the Guardians fend off the advances of the vengeful Sovereign while simultaneously unraveling the mystery surrounding Ego and his seeming paradise-like planet?

The Good:

Where to begin? Let’s start with Awesome Mix Vol. 2. Much like the first installment Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has an amazing soundtrack. I’m not sure who’s in charge of the music for this film but job well done. The girl sitting next to me was probably annoyed that I sang every word but “Come a Little Bit Closer” by Jay and the Americans is an oddly perfect song to accompany a mass murder, or maybe I’m just a psychopath.

The story was equally as great. Wrapped in a package of humor and action, the message of family being more than just blood shines bright as the overall theme. The insight into why people do what they do, even when it seem to be in direct opposition to what they truly want, gives depth to a set of characters so diverse anybody can find one to identify with. Sprinkle in friendship, a little romance, and a jaw-dropping moment or two, and it has everything you could ever want in a film.

BABY GROOT!!! I was less than optimistic about Groot’s, Vin Diesel (Pitch Black), roll in the film. After seeing it, I only have three words to describe Baby Groot, “Steals the Show.” Every time he’s on screen, he commands attention and rewards you for giving it. For only having one line, “I am Groot,” he’s arguably the best character in the film.

The Bad:

Marvel’s new logo reveal in the opening credits sucks. I know that has nothing to do with the film itself but it was really the only thing I had a major issue with. I much preferred the old, title specific, comic book pages shuffling to the new Avengers roll-call bullshit they have now. Other than that, there are a couple of scenes that seem like they’re trying too hard to be funny or emotional. When most of the movie feels effortless, they occasions can be a little distracting.

9
Score
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review
The Bottom Line
I'm not even sure why you're still reading this. Go see it. Go now.
Yes!
Enjoyable from start to finish
No...
I still prefer the first one.....but that's certainly not a negative.
General-DC Comics

Recent Articles

SUPERMAN #25 Review

I honestly don't even know where to begin. Comics like Superman #23 are the reason I love doing what I do. I've never had a job where the work itself was a reward. My biggest reward has to be this series. I jumped in just after "Superman Reborn" and every issue since has pulled me in deeper. Each time adding a new type of creepiness. This time it's of the A Clockwork Orange variety.