Archive for May, 2021


Shipyards borg cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

The fifth volume of the encyclopedia of Star Trek ships has arrived.  This time Hero Collector is taking on the ships of Star Trek: Voyager.  It’s all in the new full color hardcover book Star Trek Shipyards: The Borg and Delta Quadrant, Volume One, available now here at Amazon.  Star Trek Shipyards is known for its colorful, high quality illustrations, providing an in-universe guide to the seemingly endless array of the franchise’s spacecraft.  Because of the timing of cutting edge computer-generated design during the seven years of Star Trek Voyager, writers Ben Robinson and Marcus Riley were able to compile two volumes worth of images, using the actual renderings used by the show’s art and visual effects departments.  But first it takes a look at the ships of The Borg, the cybernetic race first seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation.  

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theirregulars

Fiction requires willful suspension of disbelief on the part of the audience, and for Netflix’s new series, The Irregulars, you will need every dram of it you can muster.  You’ll need to disregard anything you know about the Victorian era (including clothing, language, class, and culture) and Sherlock Holmes, as well as much of your innate sense of good storytelling.  And if you can manage that, you might enjoy the ride.  Here at borg, we’re fans of mashups and we like twists on classics (Batman + Dickens’ A Christmas Carol = Lee Bermejo’s Batman: Noel = win).  We love a supernatural mystery series full of dark magics and otherworldly creatures (e.g., Grimm, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Wu Assassins).  And we love Sherlock Holmes.  We really love Sherlock Holmes plus the supernatural (as in James Lovegrove’s Sherlock Holmes/Chthulu Casebooks).  So we were obviously the ideal target audience for this new vision of Baker Street.  Unfortunately, we really struggled to warm to The Irregulars.

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  Snake Eyes 6

With a release date a little more than 2 months away, Snake Eyes–G.I. Joe Origins is the next reboot of the Hasbro G.I. Joe movie series (after 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.  Paramount released the official movie poster plus first looks at Snake Eyes, Baroness, Scarlett, and more.  Check out images from the movie below.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Sony Pictures Animation, the studio that made Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse and the LEGO movies brought its latest and greatest animated film to Netflix earlier this month with The Mitchells vs. The Machines–a sci-fi, apocalypse, coming of age story (reviewed here) about a normal but weird family that tries to dodge a planet-wide extermination resulting from the very technologies humans are so addicted to.  Much of the action takes place during a cross-country trip, and it’s that imagery that is underplayed on the big screen, but really comes to life as incredible art in The Art of The Mitchells vs. The Machines, a behind the scenes book of exploration coming to Amazon here and a bookstore near you next week.  Gravity Falls creators Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe wrote and directed the film, a visually stunning spectacle, with contributions by the Academy Award winning duo of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (both known for the LEGO movies and Into the Spider-verse).  Author Ramin Zahed interviews those creators and more and shares hundreds of concept art images for this next look into the development of cutting edge animation.

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MAND labs b

Review by C.J. Bunce

RadioShack was founded 100 years ago, and for most of those decades it has been the go-to supplier for anyone interested in electronics.  Not just for professionals, but it’s where students went to make things if they had even a remote interest in electronics.  The new incarnation of RadioShack is little different, less storefronts but an endless online supply of materials and ideas that what was once the exclusive purview of kids in the A/V Club.  It is now something any young person can–and should–become proficient in.  I knew as soon as I saw the Mand Labs kits on the new RadioShack website that this kind of product can and should be part of the future of STEM learning–whether at home or in schools.  So I reviewed the Mand Labs STEM Electronics Kit (KIT-1) to see if it’s as good as it looks. 

It is. 

Not only does the kit have everything you need–all the technological components to create more than 60 educational and fun projects–the even bigger value is the set of two textbook/workbooks, which provide all the theory, math, history, and core science so students understand the how and why.  With the books, digital videos, and online resources that come with the kit, even a young grade schooler can learn the fundamentals of electricity, physics, computer science, robotics, and electrical engineering.  And for adults, say you’re a cosplayer and you want to wire a helmet or chest box with lights and sound, or maybe you want to understand better why you can’t get your electronic fan or doorbell to work, or always wondered how the electric systems of your automobiles work, this kit will help you get started.

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Black Star banner

Review by C.J. Bunce

A new sci-fi graphic novel arrives from Megascope this week called Black Star, a new spin on the stranded space traveler trope. In Eric Anthony Glover’s debut story with artist Arielle Jovellanos, it’s also a play on the pursuing animal joke: “I don’t need to outrun the tiger, I just need to outrun you,” as two astronauts fight after a disaster in space to get back to their ship and leave the planet, when the ship only has room for one. It’s based on a screenplay by Glover, and that kind of preparation makes for a survival story with all the right action beats. Black Star arrives in comic shops and here at Amazon this week.
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Carnage poster

Before Tom Hardy starred in the surprise Sony Pictures Entertainment success Venom, most of the movie-going audience didn’t know Eddie Brock.  But after Marvel Studios kept delivering very similar takes on its 50-70 years of superheroes, anti-heroes, and villains, the 2018 movie (reviewed here) was a refreshing surprise, which stands up to re-watching much better than many contemporary Marvel movies.  Why?  It didn’t take itself seriously, and it featured Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams–two actors with plenty of critical acclaim behind them.  They infused a great chemistry into their characters’ relationship and made the darker side of Marvel great fun for all ages.  Now, will the addition of Woody Harrelson’s golden touch make the autumn theatrical release Venom: Let There Be Carnage another blast for genre fans like he brought to Solo: A Star Wars Story?  It sure looks like it.  Check out the first trailer for the movie below and see if you agree.  It was shared this week by Sony along with the official poster (above).

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Wizards of the Coast and G4 are partnering for D&D Live 2021, a special two-day streaming event on July 16-17 and continuing with four all-new limited-run campaign series to premiere on G4 this Fall.  The two-day event will feature four games with star-studded casts playing with expert DMs, as well as hosted content featuring games, interviews, special product announcements, a Dungeon Master roundtable, and exclusive giveaways.  Watch the Wizards of the Coast website for more details.

A new sourcebook is heading your way next week:  The new Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition campaign sourcebook Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft may just be the D&D your mother warned you about.  Okay, not really, but it is the darkest exploration yet of horror in the world’s most popular roleplaying game.  But it’s not for younger kids, going beyond R.L. Stine horrors and skipping ahead from the dark corners of Stephen King to the gorier realms of Clive Barker… slasher realms and beyond… but only if your gaming group so chooses.  It’s all part of the mysteries of Ravenloft, mist-shrouded lands where infamous Darklords lurk among ageless vampires, zombie hordes, cosmic terrors, and bloodier things.  Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft is still a place for heroes to succeed, but not without mucking their way through terrors on their journey.   It all arrives next week.  You can pre-order the standard library cover here from Wizards of the Coast at Amazon now, or order the alternate shimmering, soft-touch edition from your local game shop.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Perhaps it’s because The Hunt for Red October was such a fantastic story and film.  It’s often in Hollywood that sequels are worse than the original, but with Tom Clancy screen projects it seems to be progressively so.  Since Tom Clancy’s death in 2013 we’ve seen his Jack “Ryanverse” come to the screen twice, first on the big screen in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014) with Chris Pine as Ryan, and later on the small screen in Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (2018) on Amazon Prime with The Office’s John Krasinski stepping into the role of Ryan previously handled by Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October (1990), Harrison Ford in Patriot Games (1992) and Clear and Present Danger (1994), and Ben Affleck in The Sum of All Fears (2002).  Nothing anyone has tried has reversed the downward trend in quality, action, and intrigue, and that includes Amazon Studios’ new movie, Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse Even worse, the latest sequel is barely recognizable from Clancy’s original novel.  Or his style.

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hitman

While creators of the ninth Fast and Furious movie and Disney’s Marvel universe are releasing movie trailers practically begging you to come back to movie theaters, it’s refreshing to see Ryan Reynolds up to his trademark snarky antics in a straight-forward trailer for The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, sequel to the 2017 action comedy The Hitman’s Bodyguard.  In the first movie Reynolds starred as bodyguard to a kingpin turning state’s evidence played by Samuel L. Jackson.  After the events of the last film, Reynolds’ bodyguard is done with it all at the beginning of this sequel.  But, like Michael Corleone, they keep pulling him back in.  And that means protecting the kingpin’s wife, played by Academy Award-winning actress Salma Hayek.

Because Reynolds & Co. are quite good at affiliating themselves with sound, moneymaking productions of late (like Netflix’s fabulous action flick 6 Underground), the result looks like it could be a big, fun, summer hit.

Check out the trailer for The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard:

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