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Review by C.J. Bunce

If first impressions are everything, the first four minutes of the new CW series Superman & Lois look like a great next series to add to your DVR.  But that’s not where the writers of the series take us, leaning more into the soap opera drama audiences saw in years of Smallville.  The typical Superman tale follows Clark Kent from rural America to the big city of Metropolis, when the typical Supes story takes off.  This series reverses that plan, moving Supes and his family back to Smallville when newspaper man Clark Kent loses his job in the big city.  What happens when you take a strong-willed city woman like Lois Lane and her and Clark’s two (newly created) citified (twin) sons to Smallville?  Fans loving to watch Superman soaring in the supersuit, righting wrongs and exploring the globe, will need to take a backseat for at least part of the new series.  Economic downturns, the scam of reverse mortgages, embedded conflicts between rural and urban America–things you probably don’t turn to for your next CW superhero series–is the direction of the new series.  But what about strong-willed Lois?  Although she gets to share the title, Lois doesn’t get much to do–yet.

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You may have thought Age of Resistance was only the subtitle of The Dark Crystal television series, but no.  It’s a new identifier for the third Star Wars trilogy, and those films are part of a new behind-the-scenes book arriving in two weeks.  Star Wars: Age of Resistance–The Official Collector’s Edition, available in hardcover and trade paperback editions, the book for the first time chronicles all three films in the final Star Wars trilogy: The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker.  Beginning with a 17-page timeline of the entire nine-film Star Wars Skywalker saga, the book showcases photographs and behind the scenes concept artwork, schematics, costume designs, and close-up images of props.  Executive producer and director J.J. Abrams, key production personnel, art and effects department creators, and stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Joonas Suotamo–and more–dig into their characters, discussing key scenes, and the importance of each film to the entire Skywalker family story.

Here’s a first look inside the book, plus three variant edition covers, courtesy of publisher Titan:

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Hellboy is doing more traveling in his next adventure from Dark Horse Comics.  In 1847 we meet Hellboy–Young Hellboy–the mini red, brick-armed, demon with sawed-off horns–as a curious little chatterbox.  As you’d expect he gets into trouble in the first scene.  Taking place before Hellboy: The Midnight Circus, where we last saw the young incarnation of the character, the new mini-series Hellboy: The Hidden Land catches up with him accompanied by Professor Bruttenholm.  They’re both heading to South America for an archaeology dig, where Hellboy might just get to meet his hero–if they can get off the ground first.

Hellboy creator Mike Mignola teams up with writer Thomas Sniegoski, artist Craig Rousseau, and colorist Dave Stewart for the latest fun.  Check out our preview of the first issue and Mignola/Stewart variant cover below.

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It’s been more than 18 years since we first met Mal Reynolds and his (usually) loyal crew of the Firefly class ship Serenity.  Fans of the Firefly series and 2005 film Serenity, will never stop loving their travels around the ‘Verse, and are always looking for more adventures and tie-ins.  The next will be a celebration of artwork in the pages of Firefly Artbook: A Visual Celebration.  We’ve taken a look at multi-artist tribute concept books before at borg, including the excellent Alien: 40 Years/40 Artists, The Thing Artbook, Star Trek: 50 Artists/50 Years, and The Mike Wieringo Tellos Tribute.  Any time we showcase a major benchmark in comic book titles, like Detective Comics 1000th issue, Wonder Woman’s 750th issue, and The Amazing Spider-Man Issue #800, or charity projects like the Wonder Woman 100 showcase, we see a great new spin on favorite characters from a new vantage: a variety of artists interpreting an icon of popular culture.  In Firefly Artbook: A Visual Celebration, Browncoats everywhere will get to see the next artists’ interpretations.  The new tribute arrives in March, but you can pre-order a copy now here at Amazon, and check out a preview below:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

In many ways Stephen King’s new supernatural crime novel Later is a natural follow-on to his two earlier Hard Case Crime novels, Joyland, which I loved, and The Colorado Kid, which will have me revisiting it for years to identify what I am sure is a hidden story beneath the obvious one.  Joyland follows a coming of age vibe for an older character and King pulls from a similar quiver of creepiness in Later as he did for The Colorado Kid.  Yes, Later will get the obvious comparison to the “I see dead people” kid from The Sixth Sense–a few updates and this could be its sequel, one as good or better than that great M. Night Shyamalan shocker (a character even calls out the comparison, and King doesn’t try to shy away from it).  But even more than that, this story is a perfect launch pad for a television series, a series that should be written and directed by Shawn Piller as a natural follow-up to the King-Piller partnership’s successful series Haven and The Dead Zone.  The slow-simmering pacing reflects the perfect make-ready four season series centering on a boy burdened with an ability he cannot walk away from.  Later easily could be the next Medium, Prodigal Son, or Tru Callingjust as dark, with a bit of Fallen thrown in.  It’s a highly recommended read, available for pre-order now here at Amazon, scheduled for release March 2.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

In an age where television shows continue to be stretched into a bloated ten episodes, it’s refreshing to to find a six-episode series without the filler.  One of those is the Scottish crime series Traces, a tightly, cleverly written story following a team of college forensic professors, scientists, and anthropologists and their work with the local Dundee, Scotland detective branch to solve crimes.  The first season is a fictional account centered on the case of a woman who went missing during the real-life Tall Ships festival in Dundee in August 2001, whose body was later found in a shallow grave.  The plot closely follows some of the more realistic and mysterious bits of any number of episodes of the true crime series Forensic Files, while working in some well-developed characters–enough to make for a compelling ongoing series.  Fans of television from Great Britain are also near guaranteed to find several familiar faces from some of your favorite genre films and TV series along the way.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

It never used to be this way and it didn’t have to end up this way.  Over the years and across the decades, somehow comic book publishers decided comic book readers wanted to see the death of every favorite character.  By the 1990s and 2000s it became more difficult to find a major character that hadn’t been killed off at least once.  But just like you don’t want to watch the final Lassie episode or Benji movie to witness a beloved dog’s last breath (Oh Heavenly Dog doesn’t count), or watch Baby Yoda/Grogu meet his fate at the blade of Kylo Ren’s lightsaber, maybe we don’t want to see the killing off of even one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  But the original creators of the TMNT think you do, so if you do, and for those that do, it’s happening right now in the pages of IDW Publishing’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin We’re two issues into the five-issue limited series, and the first issue has already gone to record reprints, thanks in no small part to a huge number of variant covers.  We always love our variant options, but this mini-series has at least 69 covers for Issue #1 and at least 26 covers for Issue #2.  It’s a bit odd, because the subject matter is that last turtle, so don’t expect much variation in content.  Those knowing their turtles by color, never fear: the black mask on the covers does not give anything way.  For TMNT collectors, completists, and fans of future otherworld stories and what ifs like Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, you’ll probably want to at least check out the trade edition for this one.  Take a look at a preview of The Last Ronin below.

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It’s a question that goes back to Doom, if not before:  Why make movie adaptations of video games?  Easy answer:  “Why not?”  Or “easy money.”  So why are so many so lackluster, in story, and often in production values?  The triumphs mark the exceptions, from Tron and Tron: Legacy to the Resident Evil series, and a fine enough effort by Angelina Jolie and Alicia Vikander in two efforts to get a Tomb Raider film series to take hold, for starters.  Then there’s Assassin’s Creed, Warcraft, Street Fighter, Wing Commander, and worse (at least Prince of Persia: Sands of Time had some fun in it).  Often listed among the worst of them all is 1995’s Mortal Kombat, a film that couldn’t be saved even by casting Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa as the charismatic villain or casting an ex-Bond girl (Talisa Soto).  It’s those same characters and apparently plot that will get a retry this spring with the big-screen reboot Mortal KombatHowever this movie features leads of the stellar martial arts marvels The Night Comes for Us and Wu Assassins, and the special effects are light years ahead of the prior films.  Check out the first trailer for the movie below.

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It’s been a while since the supernatural-horror-Western Syfy Channel series Wynonna Earp based on the comic book series wrapped filming its fourth and final season filming in Calgary, Canada, after budget issues and pandemic delays, but the last six episodes are finally heading our way in only two weeks.  The salty and cocky Western-throwback heroine Wynonna Earp (Melanie Scrofano) is back to pick off the remainder of the 77 “Revenant” demons–the reincarnated victims of her great-great-grandfather Wyatt–circling back like vultures on the town of Purgatory.  Once again Wyatt’s magical, legendary Peacemaker is back in Wynonna’s hands.  Will she get back with the immortal Doc Holliday (Tim Rozon)?  They had one chance to end this, and it’s been said there’s nothing they can do to right the wrongs of the O.K. Corral.  Or is there?

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With a tentative release date in October 2021, Snake Eyes–G.I. Joe Origins is a reboot of the Hasbro G.I. Joe movie series (including 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of COBRA and 2013’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation), intended to be part of a shared universe of features based on Hasbro properties including a host of familiar characters and toys, all coming to the big screen: G.I. Joe: Ever Vigilant, Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light, M.A.S.K.: Mobile Armored Strike Kommand, ROM: Spaceknight, and Micronauts.  Snake Eyes–G.I. Joe: Origins will star Henry Golding (The Gentlemen) as Snake Eyes, Andrew Koji (Fast & Furious 6) as Storm Shadow, Samara Weaving (Ready Or Not) as Scarlett, Úrsula Corberó (The Broken Crown) as Baroness, and Iko Uwais (Wu Assassins) as Hard Master.  While we’re waiting for the next movie, a new one-shot story from IDW Publishing called G.I. Joe: Castle Fall continues with characters drawn to conjure the casting of G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

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