Archive for May, 2021


Review by C.J. Bunce

We previewed the Firefly Artbook back in February.  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, but as we get further away from the short-lived series fans are seeing less and less content available.  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.  You’ll see how a range of dozens of less well-known artists interpret the show in the Firefly Artbook available now here at Amazon and at brick and mortar book stores everywhere.

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Raya a

Review by C.J. Bunce

Raya and the Last Dragon is the first animated movie created during the pandemic, with 900 creators working together to make a full-scale feature film from home.  The result is the best Disney animated film to date, filled with a great story combining all sorts of fantasy tropes, great visual action, exciting characters, good humor, blending historic themes with modern ideas and characters.  The entirely computer animated film also sports three strong female lead characters and is backed by an all female technical leadership team.  The result is a movie blending elements of Asian culture on par with Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind with the action of Raiders of the Lost Ark and the fantastical elements of The Lord of the Rings.  Count Raya and the Last Dragon among the creative works that shine brightly despite the adverse conditions of 2020. 

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UNFORGOTTEN: LE PASSE DETERRE

Review by C.J. Bunce

British crime dramas deserve some credit as a group–and PBS Masterpiece for re-airing them.  Viewers never quite know what hoops the police will jump through next, the twists and turns a series will take, and what unlikely villain will end up at the end of each whodunnit.  That’s the test of all mystery series, whether you’re watching a strange villain and almost as strange cop in Luther or the tempered, well-intentioned Detective Chief Inspector Cassie Stuart and her skeptical partner Detective Sergeant Sunny Khan tracking down 40-year-old crimes in Unforgotten.  With its fifth season currently in production, PBS is now streaming the first three seasons as part of its Passport membership, a chance for U.S. viewers to get caught up on the show.

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Jupiters-Legacy-Ben-Daniels-Netflix

Review by C.J. Bunce

Jupiter’s Legacy leads comic book creator Mark Millar’s “Millarworld” projects for Netflix.  The eight-episode first season of the series introduces TV audiences to the latest new superhero world that–unfortunately–primarily serves to remind us why the DC and Marvel characters stand out as timeless after 80 years–and how those kinds of beloved characters don’t come by easily.  The first season of Jupiter’s Legacy is streaming now on Netflix.  Among other things, the series pushes aside the supervillain (who we only get to see a copy of) to focus on what’s right and what’s wrong among the superior ability set, and the result is that it’s spectacular only in its ability to lack action and intrigue.

Let’s talk about what’s good first.

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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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