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Suicide Squad: A review in two parts

Suicide Squad: A review in two parts published on
Suicide Squad Group Wallpaper
The cinema Squad. (L-R) Slipknot, Captain Boomerang, Enchantress, Rick Flag, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Killer Croc, El Diablo. (Front) Katana

Part 1: Before

Is this do or die, make or break for the DCEU (DC Extended Universe), so far the films have failed to impress. Man Of Steel was a disappointing mess of ideas, Batman Vs Superman well here are my thoughts. The Squad has a lot riding on it especially after DC/Warner Bros. pulled the plug upon The Arrowverses fledgling Squad.

The TV Squad. Bronze Tiger, Shrapnel, The Wall, Deadshot (L-R)

This fledgling Squad had hinted at Harley Quinn, Arrow has also featured versions of Katana and Captain Boomerang, though not as part of the Squad, and Deadshot as well as Amanda Waller and also included Bronze Tiger and Shrapnel in the team.

Clearly DC/Warner Bros. think they have a dynamite script on their hands to effectively tell The Arrowverse to pull the plug upon these recurring characters but the signs have not been great so far. There has definitely been a feeling that the cast have had fun whilst making the film, tattooing each other, with SKWAD and other behind the scenes antics including Jared Leto staying in character as The Joker, sending ‘gifts’ to his cast mates including live rats to Margot Robbie, but now reports have started to surface that there are/were two competing edits. And at the time of writing the film has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 29% and imdb has it at 7.7 out of 10, based on 16543 reviews/opinions even though the film hasn’t been released worldwide yet.

As always I’ll go in with an open mind but the trailers that were released during the films promotion were uneven in tone making it unclear what sort of film we will be getting and I draw particular issue with the sexualisation of Harley Quinn during one trailer where it appears an entire airforce base stands around and watches her get dressed.
Suicide Squad PosterPart 2: After

The film you get is far from the one that the trailers lead you to believe you are going to get, The Jokers prominence in the advertising leads you to believe that he is the main antagonist, sadly he’s a secondary character at best. Leto is fine in the role but it’s nothing special personally and the behind the scenes antics must have seriously got on the tits of everyone involved given the 20ish minutes of screen time The Joker has.

I found the tone of the film to be very uneven, obviously given either the character or the actors prominence then it wasn’t exactly a no brainer that Deadshot and Harley were going to be the most significant members of the group. They command the majority of the screen time for the group but everyone gets a moment or line that allows them to shine. Except Slipknot, which is a shame as I really like Adam Beach, he was great in Smoke Signals and Flags of Our Fathers.

But that is the issue with the advertising, no clear indication of what the film is really about which isn’t necessarily a bad thing in this day and age where trailers give away the majority of the plot and usually a big twist or reveal. As I’ve said the trailers lead you to believe that the film is about one thing but then it’s about something completely different and we are used to scenes featuring in trailers that don’t make the final cut but in the case of the SKWAD the majority of the trailers fail to make the film or are edited to within an inch of their lives.

The soundtrack is littered with rap, pop and classic rock tunes that play over huge chunks of the film, pretty much every character has song that plays over their introduction and becomes incessantly more annoying as the film progresses. As does the constant slow motion, I’m pretty certain that modern blockbusters would be about 10-15 minutes shorter if scenes played at their regular speed.

It’s not all doom and gloom, it’s just that the film is so ‘meh’, so much wasted promise. It’s loud and brash and has moments of pure joy, Will Smith is clearly having a blast playing a badass and I love the ‘gangster’ feel to Killer Croc from Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje along with Diablo’s barrio street thug turn from Jay Hernandez but for the love of god will someone please tell me why studios keep putting Jai Courtney (Captain Boomerang) in stuff.

The flashback/forward within a dream sequence!

In the run up to the film it was also unclear where this film would fit in with Man of Steel and Batman V Superman, for anyone wondering, it is post BvS with a few flashbacks thrown in. The Batman scenes personally just add confusion to how long Batman has been active or inactive for his appearance in BvS to be such a surprise to Clark Kent, especially in light of director David Ayer stating that each member of the SKWAD has a personal vendetta against The Bat, only two of the villains are seen interacting with Batman and one is apprehended by The Flash (Ezra Millar). I hope that boy gets a solo feature as he’s been in as many films as Batfleck at this point.

Another aspect that I really liked was the Dirty Dozen/Magnificent Seven not everyone survives to the end, though in this case their are obvious exceptions to this. Some we know going in are obviously going to survive through star power alone, whilst others are apparently going to be getting their own solo feature and others you think are going to survive don’t.

In Conclusion

DC/Warner Bros. have got to pull their act together, Marvel are leaving them for dust. Whilst the MCU isn’t exactly perfect and doesn’t always flow fluidly it still holds together after a decade whereas the DCEU is a car crash of forced continuity and ideas after only three films. Whilst Suicide Squad didn’t suck it didn’t live up to the hype, that same hype that supposedly had studio executives giving BvS a standing ovation and signing Affleck on for a multi-picture deal with a shit load of creative control going forward. But for the love of god someone please show Zack Snyder the door or maybe Harley’s oversized mallet now that Harley Quinn Smith has her baseball bat.

Where the hell are the Inhumans?

Where the hell are the Inhumans? published on


So the Inhumans MCU film was originally announced as having a November 2018 release date, placing it in Phase 3, then as new titles were announced, Ant-Man and The Wasp and Captain Marvel, the Inhumans was then pushed back to July 2019 before finally being pulled from Marvel Studios upcoming slate altogether in April 2016. This effectively rules the film out of Phase 3 which will end in April 2019 when the fourth (Untitled) Avengers film, previously Infinity War: Part 2 is released.

Chloe Bennet as Daisy “Skye” Johnson a.k.a.Quake

It seems a strange move for Marvel to remove the Inhumans from the roster as they have been heavily involved in the plot-arcs for Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. during seasons 2 and 3 of the show with Daisy “Skye” Johnson a.k.a.Quake (Chloe Bennet) eventually revealed to be an Inhuman. Although there has not been a massive amount of crossover between the TV shows and the films beyond references to events from the film and the occasional cameo, Lady Sif (Jamie Alexander), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Marie Hill (Cobie Smulders) there was a definite feeling that the show was laying the basis for introducing the Inhumans into the cinematic series.

With the various rights to characters and titles tied up in more red tape than a villain in Spidermans web the Inhumans were a great way around the MCU not being able to feature mutants but still being able to feature super-powered characters outside of the cinematic releases and in doing so it also meant that the term, Inhumans, would not be so alien to the wider public. After all its the casual fans, the non-diehards, those who are only really familiar with the cinematic versions of the characters who are helping to push the films B.O. over the $1Billion mark on various occasions.

Marvel publishing are also featuring the Inhumans quite heavily in their periodicals with three  ongoing titles, Uncanny Inhumans, All-New Inhumans and a solo series for Karnak even if the releases for the solo series has been a bit erratic. At the time of writing only 4 issues have been published between December 2015 and August 2016, a pretty poor release rate considering it is both Marvel and Warren Ellis. So it seems a very strange move on Marvel Studios part to suddenly pull Inhumans from its release schedule with no future release date planned.

There may be some light at the end of the tunnel, Marvel Studios have announced that they plan on releasing three titles in 2020, May, July and November, it would also seem that these films will mark the beginning of Phase 4 for the studio and at present Marvel have made no announcements as to what those films will be. Following the disaster that Fantastic Four was for Fox Studios in 2016 there may some hope that one of those three dates may be reserved for the first family of comics and hopefully the Inhumans with sequels to possibly Guardians Of The Galaxy 3 or Spider-Man 2 taking up the remaining spot.

Who knows, hopefully we’ll get an Inhumans feature in the next few years, especially as various actors, Chris’s Hemsworth and Evans and Robert Downey Jr’s contracted appearances will soon be up, especially in light of two Avengers titles in 2018 fulfilling those obligations and RDJ’s paycheque increasing with each successive feature.

2020 may be the year for the Inhumans, audiences took to Guardians in a surprising way and there is definite hope that the same will happen for Doctor Strange (2016) and Black Panther (2018), Marvel Studios over the past decade have proven adapt at producing smart and intelligent features with up and coming talent both in front and behind the camera and the Inhumans mix of high fantasy and science fiction could attract an eclectic cast.

Inhumans Title Card

Continuing story lines: Part 2: Penny Dreadful

Continuing story lines: Part 2: Penny Dreadful published on

For a lot of people their first entry into the world of comic books is through material derived from comic book sources. Be it Batman through the Adam West series of the 1960’s or the X-Men universe through Fox’s Animated series from the 1990’s. But this isn’t a one way street, many TV and movie franchises have expanded their universes, and additional revenue streams, from telling additional stories whether canon or not in this medium.

One of the most famous examples, until recently, was Dark Horses Star Wars Expanded Universe stories. But Star Wars isn’t alone in expanding its universes via the comic book medium. During the 1990’s, the now defunct, Topps company licensed The X-Files from Fox, before DC and now IDW produced parallel and continuing storylines.

The list of televisual and film franchises that have continued on after the series wrapped or have been cancelled has been covered by numerous people across numerous sites all around the web. But what I’d like to do here is cover series that I feel could and should continue in the comic book world.


Okay so there has been a bit of a gap between this post and the previous post, Stargate, the good news on that is that since then American Mythology have begun putting out Stargate: Atlantis comics. The delay in part is that there isn’t always anything that I would happily continue reading in comic form once it’s ended/been cancelled and not everything translates particularly well. Who the hell was buying IDWs CSI comics in the mid-2000s?

Penny Dreadful however would be a perfect fit for comic books, it does after-all follow a similar thread to Alan Moore’s LXG, literary characters now in the public domain joining forces to fight threats both of a supernatural and of a human nature. A fourth season in comics would be great, John Logan the series creator has been adamant that by the mid-point of season 2 he planned to end the series at the end of season 3.

Eva Green as Vanessa Ives

Personally this doesn’t quite ring true to myself, there were too many new characters and possible plot threads introduced during the course of season 3 for the show to just end there. Whilst I accept that Vanessa Ives, portrayed by Eva Green, storyline had run its course Logan and the production company have given us a world far to rich to let it end with her death.

Whilst the characters and story lines of Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney), Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) and Lily/Brona Croft (Billie Piper) may also have reached their inevitable and intertwined conclusions there is certainly no reason that they could not appear at various points in the future.

Wes Studi as Kaetenany and Josh Hartnett as Ethan Chandler in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode 9). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_309_
Wes Studi as Kaetenay and Josh Hartnett as Ethan Chandler

There is however, I believe, still life and stories to be told concerning the characters of Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett), Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton) and Kaetenay (Wes Studi), particularly given the revelation concerning Kaetenay in the final episodes of the series. The elder statesmen dynamic between him and Sir Malcolm with the young buck in Ethan had potential, especially if they returned to North America.

The supporting character of Ferdinand Lyle (Simon Russell Beale) leaving after 6 episodes to help a friend investigate Imoteps tomb in Cairo opened up another possible avenue for the writers. As does the introduction of his friend Catriona Hartdegen (Perdita Weeks) a particularly skilled gun fighter and fencer who more than holds her own during the shows climactic battle with Dracula and his minions. The introduction of Dr. Jekyll as a colleague of Dr. Frankenstein’s was also a character that could have been expanded upon in later episodes especially with the, off screen, death of his father bestowing upon him the title of Hyde.

The character that I’ll miss the most and who was truly the heart of the show however was The Creature (Rory Kinnear), every scene he was in elevated the show and the performances of those who interacted with him.

Rory Kinnear, the shows heart and soul.
Rory Kinnear, the shows heart and soul.

Over the course of three seasons Penny Dreadful, scared and entertained in equal measure and I for one will miss it’s presence in the schedule.

Batman Vs Superman: The 150 minute trailer

Batman Vs Superman: The 150 minute trailer published on 1 Comment on Batman Vs Superman: The 150 minute trailer
Released in 2010.

Boy can Zack Snyder construct a scene, visually this film is an absolute treat to look at. Much like Sucker Punch or Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole but like those films style over substance does not a great film make.

I’ve seen the film twice now, my first reaction was that the film is a mess, a glorious mess, but still a mess none the less. Second time around I enjoyed the film far more, watching it in 2D as opposed to 3D doesn’t influence my decision. If anything the 3D added nothing to the experience nor the film, though this probably wasn’t helped by Snyder and his editor David Brenner’s desire to induce epileptic fits in their audience during the action sequences.

So what was it I enjoyed more the second time around?

If I’m being honest, nothing.

Second time around I was able to sit back and be swept along by the film. It wasn’t that the film was or is difficult to follow first time around it was more that there was so much to follow that you couldn’t enjoy the experience.

The biggest issue and this could be levelled at most of Snyders work is that it’s a collection of scenes and moments in search of a narrative to hold it all together. It’s hardly surprising that his two best films 300 (2007) and Watchmen (2009) are based upon pre-existing material so it would have been near impossible for the man to screw them up.

Personally I think Snyder has taken more flack than maybe he deserves, no one seems to be questioning David Goyer or Chris Terrio’s screenplay. And that is probably the films biggest weakness because at its heart this should be a story about Lex Luthor manipulating both sides against each other. Drawing upon Supermans lightness and mistrust of Batmans methods whilst simultaneously drawing upon Batmans strategic thinking and forward planning SHOULD Superman become a threat.

JLA #43-46. Written by Mark Waid. Art by Howard Porter.
Released in 2012. Directed by Lauren Montgomery.

Much like in the 2000 Justice League storyline Tower of Babel, which in turn was also the basis for the DCAU feature Justice League: Doom. Batman would never allow for a 1% margin of error, it’s 100% or not at all.

Instead what we get is Clark investigating ‘The Batman’, Bruce deciding that 1% is all he needs for justification to take out Superman and Lex sort of doing this, then that for no really clear reason and no end game really in place.

The whole film is setting up the rest of Warner Bros. and DC’s slate of 9 films over the next 4 years so what we end up with here is a 2 1/2 hour trailer, with trailers in the middle of it! Another thing that further hinders the film is that the majority of the film is covered one way or another in the marketing and promotion of the film. Personally the marketing guys dropped the ball on this, the film’s big reveals should have been nowhere near the promotion of this film.

The Trinity

Snyder’s handling of Superman has faced criticism since Man Of Steel (2013), and it hasn’t improved much in the intervening 3 years. In fact it feels as though there is a whole film missing between the events of Man of … and BvS even if it weren’t another world threatening event it still feels as though there is a huge chunk in the Big Boy Scouts story, his relationship with Lois being one thing, missing from the narrative.

Batman is handled a little better, in fact there is nothing wrong with Ben Afflecks performance and portrayal of The Dark Knight, whilst it’s nice to not have to go through the whole origin story again it’s still massively unclear how long he has been active and if he was semi-retired before the events of Man Of Steel brought him back into action. Batman’s fighting style was probably the best portrayal to date, with Affleck utilising multiple techniques in the various action scenes. In fact I wasn’t too bothered that Batman used a gun, particularly during the flash-forward/dream sequence that hints at possible events in the Justice League films, for me it felt like a necessary step (dependent upon what has happened in the intervening years) especially with Para-Demons being present.

Wonder Woman/Diana Prince however, should have been the films secret weapon. Given that for the first two hours of the films running time when she is featured on screen she is never mentioned by name nor gives herself a name until she decides to leave the Turkish Airlines flight she is on, with wonderful product placement. When the flight attendant calls after her, THAT should have been the moment fanboys and girls the world over knew that the Holy Trinity of the DC universe were about to lay waste to evil doers. Gal Gadot is superb in the role and I’m looking forward to June 2017 when her solo film hits, especially as she has a kick ass theme something which none of the other characters have. Just a shame the bloody track is called Is She With You? on the soundtrack from Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL.


Personal grips

As previously stated Lex Luthor’s motivations seem a little under cooked making for a somewhat weak villain with Jesse Eisenberg giving a very odd turn. Doomsday as well serves only one purpose and continues a worrying trend in comic book movies to have the final act look like a computer game as CGI figures better the crap out of each other and there surroundings. I was also left a little confused about the geography, I always put Gotham and Metropolis as being on opposites coasts or different states rather than being just across the bay from each other. The ‘trailers’ that Diana watches on her laptop of well edited security/surveillance footage of Cyborg, Flash and Aquaman also feels oddly placed and forced.

EDIT: And what the hell was that crap with Jimmy Olsen, if your gonna kill off a major character from Superman’s extended family at least have the nerve to name the character on screen.

In conclusion

As it stands the film is a missed opportunity to build towards an expanded universe, where as Marvel slowly built up to a universe that crossed over and referenced previous events, films and characters Warner Bros. and DC seem to be rushing things. I’m not as excited for DCs upcoming slate as I am for Marvels, I do hope that in the long run DC proves me wrong and that it does its characters justice on the big screen.

EDIT: I also hope that the extended, R rating, cut helps some moments during the film flow a little better particularly the ‘Martha’ moment as well as the action scenes and the completely excised character.

Deadpool (A.K.A. A Ryan Reynolds film worth seeing more than once.)

Deadpool (A.K.A. A Ryan Reynolds film worth seeing more than once.) published on

I’ve previously detailed why Deadpool is make or break for Ryan Reynolds, here, at least in terms of comic book related films and for the most part this film delivers.

IMAX Poster

The film seems to revel in the 80s/90s action clichés with the ‘hero’ done wrong by a shady agency and sets out to seek revenge. In this instance the ‘hero’ is a former soldier who upon learning he has terminal cancer is approached by said shady agency with the promise of a cure. This obviously doesn’t go well and through the course of some very aggressive treatments Wilson’s cancer spreads breaking out in tumours over his whole body but with the side effect of activating his dormant mutant genes giving him Wolverine Esq. healing/regeneration powers. With the promise of a cure Wade in the guise of his alter ego Deadpool literally carves his way up the organisations food chain to Francis, a.k.a. Ajax, played by Ed Skrein last seen in The Transporter Refueled (2015) the one without Jason Statham, who had alluded to a cure for Wade’s “testicle with teeth” appearance before he had believed he had killed Wade.

For myself it’s a film that doesn’t quite work it has its highlights and when it works it does so really well but when it doesn’t it only marginally fails, there are no major moments of disaster in this film.deadpool-nervous

Firstly this isn’t Deadpool from X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a film that has largely been wiped from continuity, and at which this film takes more than a couple of swipes.

Secondly, the fourth wall is well and truly broken, even a little molested at times. However never more than is necessary and never to the point that the plot, what there is, nor the film suffers.

Thirdly, Ryan Reynolds. This is the perfect role for the motor-mouthed gob-shit who lets face it is never going to win an Oscar. Something that the film acknowledges during a meta-moment when Wade name drops Reynolds and questions his acting chops and reliance upon his looks.

Valentine’s Parody Poster

Fourthly, Morena Baccarin, who might just be the films secret weapon as Wades equally foulmouthed ex-hooker girl-friend. One a couple of occasions she really cuts loose with the profanity even if she is reduced to a damsel in distress by the final act. It’s a far cry from her roles in Gotham or Firefly.

This man needs no introduction.

And finally this features the best Stan Lee cameo ever, even if he did have fuck all to do with Deadpools creation.

Where it doesn’t work are only minor grips and most certainly personal ones, which I doubt will be shared by many given the films continuingly impressive box office haul.

The plot, or at least the non-linear timeline, the back and forth from present to past and back again seems to cover over the cracks in the narrative and the passage of time is something we have to accept from a line of dialogue or the obligatory costume making montage.

Screen Shot 2015-12-25 at 9.58.35 AM
Gina Carano as Angel Dust

I also found the villains to be underwritten with the previously mentioned Ajax and his sidekick/muscle Angel Dust, played by the formidable Gina Carano, feel underwritten and lacking in motive. Their curing cancer patients by bringing out their dormant mutant genes to then sell them as slaves.

Carano beyond her climactic fight with Colossus is given very little to do which is a shame given her performance in Haywire (2011), like Reynolds she’s never going to trouble the Oscar voters but I’d hate for her to end up doing nothing but generic action films.

Speaking of Colossus, I definitely have issue with the character being pretty much 100% CGI and can understand why Daniel Cudmore chose to not return to the role where he’d be the body but not the voice of a character he’d played three times already.

Negasonic Teenage Warhead, aside from a cool name which Deadpool acknowledges, is given little more to do in the film than we have seem in the trailers. Brianna Hildebrand certainly holds her own as a moody teen and I hope the character returns, be it either Deadpool 2 or any future films in the X-Men franchise.

Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead

On the whole there is a great deal to recommend this film, it gets plenty of laughs and is a solid action film that certainly earns its 15 certificate, an R rating in North America. I have to be honest and say that I’ve never read a Deadpool comic so I have no idea how faithful this is to the 25 years of comic back story. I do know this is a damn sight better than the characters previous appearance but the films off centre position in the X-Men Universes continuity is both a blessing and a curse.

Fox obviously want to exploit the Marvel properties it has following the Days Of Future Past soft reboot but dependent upon how the upcoming Apocalypse and the in-development Wolverine 3 along with any future films in the franchise effect this new continuity remains to be seen. I do hope however that Deadpool is brought into the fold as it were as I look forward to some fourth wall breakage about his inability to ‘Shish kebab’ villains due to studio interference in much the same way that Deadpool comments upon the lack of X-Men due to the films small budget. Deadpool cost $58m in comparison to Days Of Future Past’ $200m or even the first X-Men film which had a $75m budget back in 2000.

I’m looking forward to Deadpool 2, how often do people say they are looking forward to a Ryan Reynolds film, and hopefully some questioning about Cables parentage, now that the character has been tipped to appear in the sequel.

Original Artwork by Vulture34. (


Directed by Tim Miller

Tipping Point. Are we there or have we passed it?

Tipping Point. Are we there or have we passed it? published on 1 Comment on Tipping Point. Are we there or have we passed it?

In 2016 we will see the release of 8 features based upon comic book sources. 6 of those are from the heavy hitters, DC has 2 features and Marvel has 4, along with the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film produced by Michael Bay as well as Joe Casey’s Officer Downe, published by Image being the only real wildcard and at the time of writing the only one without either a confirmed release date or whether it will see the insides of a cinema.

Original work by MessyPandas
Original work by MessyPandas
Release Date: February 2016
Release Date: February 2016
Release date: June 2016
Release date: June 2016

Then factor in the New Year returns of The CWs Arrow and Flash series, ABCs Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and CBSs Supergirl which is now confirmed to be getting a full season. The return of Agent Carter, The CWs third show Legends Of Tomorrow and the Luke Cage series that is due to premier on Netflix at some point along with a second season of Daredevil. Throw in returning shows Powers, Dark Matter and Fear The Walking Dead all getting second seasons, The Walking Dead which along with returning after the holiday hiatus already has a 7th season confirmed for the fall season.

Due to air January 2016
Due to air January 2016
Due to air January 2016
Due to air January 2016
Air date unknown
Air date unknown

Then there’s the debut seasons of Preacher and Lucifer at various points throughout the year, before we get onto the multitude of animated features, predominantly from DC, including Batman: Bad Blood, which features Batwoman, and the eagerly anticipated Batman: The Killing Joke. Whilst Marvel are dominating the small screen with new seasons of its animated shows Avengers Assemble, Ultimate Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy in the latter half of the year which will also see Nickelodeons Ninja Turtles returning for a fifth season.

Due to be released February 2016
Due to be released February 2016
Season 4 currently airing. Season 5 due Autumn 2016.
Season 4 currently airing, season 5 due Autumn 2016.

As comic readers, fans pick and choose the series they read, drop them as the quality declines then pick them up again if the title secures a noted creative team. But fans are less likely to do that with a TV show, we tend to watch the first half-dozen episodes before sticking with a series or dropping it. Shows like Arrow or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tend to require more commitment, due to their seasons being 22 episodes, than Agent Carter or Daredevil which tend to be referred to as ‘event series’ due to their season lengths being anywhere between 8 and 13 episodes. Animation tends to be a little easier to digest, they don’t really require the same level of commitment as a live action show. Whilst they may have an over arcing plot line, they are far easier to dip in and out of than live action shows and at about 22 minutes in length they also don’t require the same amount of time commitment. 22 episodes of Arrow are going to require about 17 hours of your time to watch the entire season where as 22 episodes of Ninja Turtles are only going to eat up about 8 hours of your free time.

But making some rough estimates and assuming that all the shows currently airing, that haven’t been renewed for what will become the 2016/17 television season, are renewed, along with the animation series, the animated features and the feature films will require about 10 days commitment from each viewer should they chose to watch every comic related show and film that will be released in 2016. Thats a lot of time to give up and that doesn’t even take into account someone watching any other number of films, shows, podcasts or even listening to music. Factor in LIFE and work and suddenly your free time becomes a lot more precious.

In Conclusion

It is inevitable that viewer fatigue will begin to set in soon, if not amongst fanboys and the diehards then eventually amongst the casual viewer, the people that helped push Avengers: Age Of Ultron past $1 Billion at the box office. It’s not much of a leap to assume that most cinema goers couldn’t careless about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or Daredevil and how they expand the MCU or how they potentially impact upon future films in the franchise, if at all. Warner Bros. and DC have a lot riding upon the success of Batman Vs Superman and sooner or later one of the Marvel films is going to tank heavily at the Box Office and regardless of how many comic book films that either have a release date on the calendar or are in development studio bosses will soon begin pulling the plugs once the bubble bursts. This could prove costly however for the studios, many actors especially with the Marvel films have multiple film deals in place and others could have ‘pay or play’ contracts in place that could cost the studios millions regardless of if the films get made or not.

Between 2016 and 2020 there are potentially 50+ feature films either, due to be released, in development or in production related to comic book material. Sooner or later these films could collapse under the weight of their own expectation or the general public will just loose interest leaving the die hards with unanswered plot threads and more questions than answers.

A similar fate could also befall any number of the TV shows currently airing or due to air. Constantine was sadly left with unanswered questions just as it started to get really interesting, and many of the shows currently airing could end on cliffhangers. Not every show will get a ten year run like Smallville most will likely make it to a 3rd or 4th season before viewing figures drop off and the axe falls.

This may well be the golden age of comic book adaptations so perhaps we should make the most of it whilst we still can, though that doesn’t mean we should blindly watch everything just because its from DC or Marvel but sooner or later the bubble will burst.

Big Trouble In Little China #17

Big Trouble In Little China #17 published on

‘Just when I thought I was out they pull me back in.’

Written by Fred Van Lente

Illustrated by Dan McDaid

Colours by Gonzalo Duarte

Big Trouble In Little China 17
October 2015

Upon picking up issue 17 I was struck with a horrendous sinking feeling seeing that Joe Eisma was the cover artist. Not only was it poor, it looked like a panel from the comic, neither does it have any relevance to the contents of the issue. Though if you’ve been reading comics for any length of time you get used to the covers promising you things that ultimately the story itself fails to deliver. But nothing about the cover screamed ‘buy me’ or even remotely looked like a cover.

So thank god that after the quiet frankly unmitigated disaster that issues 13-16 were, I was prepared to drop the series altogether and just cut my looses. Now I love Big Trouble and the John Carpenter/Kurt Russell combos that have given us at least three cult classics, Big Trouble obviously, The Thing and Escape from New York. All three of which have now had their stories extended beyond the silver screen and into the pages of comic books.

The first 12 issues were a joy, they perfectly captured the balance of the film, and then suddenly something went horribly wrong, as covered HERE and HERE, and it all went to shit.

Page 1
Issue 17 Pg 1

Then like a bolt from the blue issue 17 came along and restored my faith in Jack Burton and the continuing adventures of the Pork Chop Express. Dan McDaid’s artwork is exquisite and as far removed from Joe Eisma’s work as Eisma’s was from Brian Churilla’s . Fred Van Lente’s dialogue is suddenly snappy and witty and a joy to read. Jack Burton once again sounds like Jack Burton and not the ‘80s parody of the previous cycle.

The only draw back to new readers is that aside from knowledge of the film, even if only cursory, is that they are going to need to have read from at least issue 13 if not the very beginning to have any tangible sense of what is going on, or how anything connects together.

However as I’ve been here from the beginning I’m going to stick with the series, just don’t let me down Dynamite! And for the love of god keep Joe Eisma away from the series.

Deadpool (A.K.A. Fifth times a charm for Ryan Reynolds)

Deadpool (A.K.A. Fifth times a charm for Ryan Reynolds) published on 1 Comment on Deadpool (A.K.A. Fifth times a charm for Ryan Reynolds)

Most actors have a few duds on their CVs , its inevitable, for various reasons be it the script they signed on for went through numerous changes by the time it gets to the screen or they were contractually obliged to take the role for another reason.

In the sub-genre of comic book films no one seems to have more duds on their CV than Ryan Reynolds, however when you look at his CV in general its filled with many unremarkable films. The 2005 remake of The Amityville Horror or comedies like Waiting… or Just Friends, both also released in 2005, to name a few. But it is with comic book films that he has truly excelled in picking dud films.

Blade: Trinity
2004 gave us Blade: Trinity, which following hot on the heels of 2002’s Blade 2 must have looked like a sure fire hit after it had made $82 million worldwide, the third is unloved by pretty much everyone. Personally it’s a mess, tonally it switches between horror and comedy in the same scene leaving the film uneven and Blade is reduced to a supporting character in his own film. Whilst Reynolds equips himself admirably with the action, the blasé attitude his character exhibits has been done hundreds of times before.


X-Men Origins: Wolverine followed in 2009, a film that so poorly handled Deadpool and the majority of the other characters in the film that it killed Fox’s planned X-Men Origins: Magneto film. Luckily we got X-Men: First Class out of the ashes of that debacle so in the end the audience won. But not before we were treated to a bastardised muted interpretation of Deadpool, referred to as Weapon XI, that in the final act wasn’t even played by Reynolds.

In 2011 we got Green Lantern with its CGI suit and well CGI everything else. A film so poorly received that even though it made $116 million its director Martin Campbell hasn’t directed a feature film since, this is a man who gave us two of the best modern day Bonds, GoldenEye and Casino Royale but his career has been reduced to TV work, and sadly not even high quality TV material. Whilst any proposed Green Lantern sequel was canned with the next time we see the Green Lantern it wont be a solo feature and it wont be until 2020 when he’s part of the Green Lantern Corps.

Green Lantern


Keeping up the trend of a crap comic book movie every couple of years saw Reynolds starring in R.I.P.D. with Jeff Bridges as two after-life Police officers, so basically its Men In Black with ghosts instead of aliens. Everybody seems to be having a great time, especially Bridges as a Wild West Lawman but the plot concerning the end of the world or something is just nonsense. By the end your brain has given up, packed its bags and said ‘screw this’. Which is exactly the same as the films audience, on a budget of $130 million, the film made back a paltry $33.5 million at the US box-office.

So where does that leave Deadpool? Following the ‘leak’ of some test footage that had been shot to try to convince the studio to produce an actual feature proved so popular with the public that Fox green-lit a full feature. Hopes are high for the film which will have an R rating, in North America, though its rating in the UK is still unconfirmed and could be anything from a 15 to an 18 certificate. Following the release of the trailer, which although light on swearing, featured numerous amounts of blood letting and gun play along with the appearance of Colossus and the awesomely named Negasonic Teenage Warhead. Following the debacle of the characters handling in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, it is certainly hoped that the now altered timeline, following the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past, will provide us with a Deadpool worthy of the name. Even if we are to get a Rob Liefeld cameo in the process.


Big Trouble In Little China #14, #15 & #16

Big Trouble In Little China #14, #15 & #16 published on


Written by Fred Van Lente

Illustrated by Joe Eisma

Colours by Gonzalo Duarte

August 2015
August 2015
August 2015
August 2015
September 2015
September 2015

I had held out hope that the series would improve upon what had been a rocky first issue for the new creative team. Sadly with these three issues what I hope is the conclusion of this run/arc the artwork, plot and dialogue have remained flatlined throughout.

The spark of the first 12 issues, that had been carried through from the film, has failed to materialise. Along with the colour and vibrancy. In fact its very difficult to write about this series without feeling as though I am repeating everything I wrote about Issue 13.

Two-thirds of these issues are told in flashback, not that you can tell as it was so poorly handled in Issue 13 that like a bad date you just wanna get to the end of it so no one can accuse you of not giving it a chance.

What plot there is, is finally revealed and its a mess. It some how involves Jack Burton’s ‘Ossified’ remains being sold to a Howard Hawks-esq Japanese businessman, who has been in seclusion since the 1980’s and who buys memorabilia from the decade, by his friend Wang Chi, played by Dennis Dun in the film, who is now a depressed, balding restaurateur with a middle age spread, hilarity didn’t follow. The reason for his depression, Mia Yin, who he and Jack fought so hard to rescue in the film has left him for a ‘dotcom’ millionaire or something, I literally couldn’t careless.

Somehow this also involves Gracie Law, Kim Cattrell in the film, who has gone from ‘investigative reporter’ to ball busting lawyer in the Sigourney Weaver from Working Girl mould.

Along for the ride are the ‘Alpha Group’, a rip-off/pastiche of ‘The A-Team’ but nowhere near as likeable or funny. Instead of Hannibal we have Attila, a ‘sex-bot’ (sigh), and a couple of other guys I’m not gonna waste anymore time than I have to typing about. They even rip the opening monologue wholesale from ‘The A-Team’, three words are changed thats it. I’m literally dying inside as I write this.

In fact I’m not going to continue wasting anymore of mine or your time, but needless to say eventually the plot (ha!), catches up with its own flashback before the final panel sets up another adventure.


I hope that the sales of this title drop off soon and that its cancelled so that the memory of Jack Burton will cease to be tarnished any further and eventual obscurity will befall issues 13 onwards. The one glimmer I take from all this is that John Carpenter is no longer involved in the story process and is merely a ‘special thanks’ on the inside cover.


Fantastic Four (2015)

Fantastic Four (2015) published on


Director: Josh Trank


  • Miles Teller as Reed Richards
  • Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm
  • Kate Mara as Sue Storm
  • Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm/The Thing
  • Toby Kebbell as Victor Von Doom/Victor Domashev

I’ve always tried to hold to the opinion that any film is worth watching once, yes this has lead to some questionable films over the years. Particularly The Twilight Saga. But if I haven’t seen the film then I’m on no position to criticise it. So with the rising price of cinema tickets it forces cinema goers to be more selective of what they see.

On this occasion however I threw caution to the wind, I was also armed with a £6 student ticket and a childlike hope that it can’t be as bad as I’d been hearing. In recent years I’ve also tried to avoid as much supplementary material as possible to preserve the cinema experience with this in mind I’d chosen to not read any reviews and at the time of writing, roughly 24hrs after seeing the film, I’ve still only read two articles on “Den of Geek”, here and here, and the trivia page for the film on IMDB. So with that in mind this is largely unencumbered with outside opinions and influences. But as we all know now, about a week after the films release it has been universally derided.

A word of warning from this point forward there will be SPOILERS.

So what did the film do well?


The Thing; of all the live action versions of The Thing this is by far the best version of the character we have seen so far in cinema. There is real weight to the character, helped by the marvellous sound design, you can feel the solidity to the character as he moves. There is a sense that every movement for the character is pure agony as joints, now turned to rock, grind against one another.


Which leads me to Tranks desire to create a Cronenberg influenced body horror film. Which he does, for about 10 minutes. As events take a turn for the worse and the experiment goes horribly wrong, Tranks Cronenberg influences are clear for all to see. Reed faints upon turning around to see his body stretched beyond reasonable proportions but not before witnessing Johnny Storm as little more than a burnt husk and Ben Grimm a disembodied voice in what appears to be a pile of rumble. Sue we, the audience, have seen struck by a blast of energy from the experiment but it isn’t until a little later on that it is revealed that her body is phasing in and out of reality. Something she has no control over and another nice Cronenbergian touch.


Speaking of Sue, one of the biggest things that sent the internet into melt down was Johnny being African American. Aside from some clunky dialogue between Reed and Sue to explain the mixed ethnicity of the Storm household, the supposed controversy is a non-event. It doesn’t affect the film in any way shape or form.

So what did the film do wrong?

In fairness the film doesn’t specifically do anything wrong, it just doesn’t do a great deal right.

Everybody feels woefully miscast, aside from Jordan. Teller looks uncomfortable, as though he is struggling to get to grips with a role he doesn’t understand. Bell is given almost nothing to do until his transformation, other than chew gum and fold his arms, and even once he is transformed he has very little to really do. Mara also is given almost nothing to do other than being lusted after by at least two of the cast. I was also left confused as to whether Grimm was attracted to Sue as during their one scene together, before the transformation, all Grimm does is stare at her, its neither one thing or another. Just odd.

The transformations of the characters looked wonderfully promising. Following the accident they are all taken to a secret military base, which for added drama during the films conclusion is suddenly adjacent to a heavily trafficked road. The following scenes looked as though they were about to be the standout moments of the film and indeed they were. Sue, as noted, is phasing in and out of visibility, possibly sedated though this is unclear. Johnny who also has no control of his abilities appears to be constantly screaming in pain before the occasionally flare turns everything around him to ashes. Reed is strapped to a table, as we can see in one of the images above, limbs stretched about him like a grotesque vitruvian man. Whilst Grimm is locked away in a darkened room like Frankensteins monsters or Quasimodo.

This is the moment that I thought was going to set this new adaptation apart from other comic book films. Reed crawling, stretching through an air vent, having gained some semblance of control over his wayward limbs sees what has become of his childhood friend. Promises to ‘fix it’ then flees into the wilderness. In previous comic book films, characters have appeared to merely accept what happens to them with little to no issue, be it X-Men or the previous Fantastic Four adaptations.

At this moment I felt like the body horror was going to be played for all the promise that these characters offered. Psychosis, depression and insanity are all potential symptoms for what has happened to these teens. Instead were given ‘One Year Later’ and a montage of the Storms controlling their powers with the aid of some suits developed by the government and apparently none the worse for their ordeal. Grimm has been pressed into military service, though sadly this is only something we see on military monitors. Though it would appear that trousers are optional, luckily though their is no giant rock penis on display to upset the kids.

This weaponisation of the characters makes perfect sense, given that that is usually the first course of action for any ‘civilised’ nation. Nuclear power was most obviously used first as a weapon before becoming a power source, but this like the body horror is yet another missed opportunity for the film as it fails to carry through on this idea.

Doctor-Doom As is Victor Von Doom or Victor Domashev as the character was originally written. The character is introduced as a misanthropic, anti-social loner with a genius level IQ and a healthy mistrust of the government and the militaries potential involvement in the project. This version of Victor is fine for the first half of the film, I can even accept his lusting after Sue, she is pretty much the only woman in the film and therefore the universe. What doesn’t sit well with me is Victor’s motivations for being involved in the project, beyond having the hots for Sue, if he is so opposed to the projects potential to exploit another planet. Maybe its an ego thing, Victor’s desire to always be the smartest person in the room, but sadly this is never really explored. Its Victors ego which eventually costs him as well, he drunkenly encourages Reed and Johnny to be the first to another world with a wonderful analogy where he describes the whole world knowing who Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong. But nobody knows the name of the men who actually put them there.

FANTASTIC FOUR #1 (Nov. 1961), pg. 9
FANTASTIC FOUR #1 (Nov. 1961), pg. 10

For shits and giggles Reed brings Ben along as well. Why? Bros before Hoes? Or probably because Fantastic Four mythology decrees it. Its also a flip of the comic origin of the group where for reasons beyond anyones knowledge Reed and Ben being the only ones qualified to be on the mission inexplicably allow Sue and her teenage brother Johnny along for the ride.

So as we know the trip goes tits up and in this case Victor is left behind seemingly dead, having fallen into what can only be described as green lava, which melts his protective suit. Following this we have the aftermath of the experiment, the scenes at the military base and then following the jump ahead one year Reed is captured in South America because the American Government don’t seem to be able to recreate the experiment of a group of teenagers. Something Reed is able to do in about 10 minutes.

And though I have detailed some of my misgivings about the film, the miscasting of most of the cast, the failure to follow through upon a number of aspects, the body horror and weaponisation of the characters it is at this point that the film really goes off the rails.

A team return to the other planet and find Victor, who has somehow survived for a year and whose suit has been moulded/burnt to torso. Clearly these men have never seen Alien or are aware of any form of quarantine procedures, beyond Hazmat suits, as they bring him straight back to Earth. Sadly from here the film turns into a teenage boy spending his first night with a girl there has been so much build up but then the film is over in the next 10 minutes. The whole final act feels rushed, under thought and is just a mess.

Victor once back on Earth goes Scanners on everyone and starts exploding heads, his reason being that we have ruined Earth so why should we get the opportunity to do it to another planet, and promptly heads back to the other planet where he is followed by the Fantastic Four who promptly set aside their underwritten differences to defeat him and his big glowing light that is sucking the Earth through a portal.


In conclusion:

Like a parent, I’m not angry I’m just disappointed. There was a lot of potential with this film, a move away from the bright, light and fluffy version of the characters from the previous decade but what we sadly get is an uneven film that fails to satisfy anyone.

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