Comic Review: Ghostbusters, Vol. 1

Published: March 20th, 2014
Written by: Erik Burnham
Art by: Dan Schoening, Tristan Jones
Based on: Ghostbusters by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis

IDW Publishing, 104 Pages

Review:

I read the first Ghostbusters/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover before this and it inspired me to checkout IDW’s regular Ghostbusters series, which starts with this collected volume.

I have been an avid fan of Ghostbusters for as long as I can remember. I watched the movies constantly and had The Real Ghostbusters cartoon on my television every single day after school.

So when IDW got the rights to publish comics on my favorite ghost busting heroes, I was pretty stoked. Granted, I didn’t pick them up until now but life is a busy bitch and there are so many damn comics to read between all the franchises I love and all the heroes I have a hard time keeping up with already.

One thing about IDW’s handling of this universe is that it feels like a true extension of the film series. This almost reads like it is Ghostbusters 3. It’s sadly missing Dana and Louis but watching the boys and Janine ham it up is always fun. Plus, that evil pencil pushing pinhead Walter Peck is back to be a thorn in the Ghostbusters’ sides.

This collection covers the first story arc in the IDW comic but it is still pretty open ended when you get through the last chapter. It calls back to Gozer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from the original film while trying to add more to the Gozer mythos. We also see the reappearance of Slimer.

Strangely, there are two weird cameos in this comic, the first is Jake from The Blues Borthers and the second is Roger Murdock from Airplane! They aren’t called by their names but it is very obvious who they are supposed to be.

This book was fun but it left me wanting more meat to sink my teeth into. Still, it was a good, quick and enjoyable read.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: Other IDW Ghostbusters comics, also the Ghostbusters/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossovers.

TV Review: Heroes Reborn (2015-2016)

Release Date: September 24th, 2015 – January 21st, 2016 (original run)
Directed by: various
Written by: various
Music by: Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman
Cast: Jack Coleman, Zachary Levi, Robbie A. Kay, Kiki Sukezane, Ryan Guzman, Rya Kihlstedt, Gatlin Green, Henry Zebrowski, Judith Shekoni, Danika Yarosh

Tailwind Productions, Imperative Entertainment, Universal Television, NBCUniversal Television, NBC, 13 Episodes, 42-43 Minutes (per episode)

Review:

*Written in 2016.

Heroes was a good show. Well, the first season was good. After that, each season got worse and worse and eventually got fairly horrible. It was cancelled after four seasons.

Many of the characters were interesting, some of the stories were engaging and there were several unresolved plot points when it met its end.

Several years later, we got the miniseries: Heroes Reborn. It was an attempt to continue the story, albeit a little bit further into the future.

Zachary Levi is in this. I like Zachary Levi. Also, Jack Coleman returns. He was one of my two favorite characters from the original series. And that is about it for the good points of this show. Granted, other Heroes characters return, it just isn’t as impactful as you think it would be and they’re mostly just small flourishes scattered over an ugly canvas. Also, in the original Heroes the timeline altered so much, I didn’t remember where many of these characters ended up, so their involvement was a bit confusing in this series.

The show is just a piss poor attempt. Granted, so were the later seasons of the original show. The thing that hurts this even more is that it was once a one-of-a-kind show but today, there are several superhero shows that are better than what Heroes was at its best. It is glaringly obvious that the Heroes franchise has been surpassed.

The new characters aren’t that interesting and it is hard to invest any emotion in them. The new plot isn’t interesting either and the villain is weak. It is just a dull piece of shit, to put it bluntly.

There are two episodes left (I think and I hope) and I will finish the series but I’m glad that NBC has decided to pull the plug on doing a sequel miniseries.

Rating: 4/10
Pairs well with: Well, obviously Heroes. Also, the CW superhero shows starring DC Comics characters.

Comic Review: Deadpool Classic, Vol. 1

Published on: May 7th, 2008
Written by: Fabian Nicieza, Joe Kelly, Mark Waid, Joe Madureira
Art by: Rob Liefeld, Ian Churchill, Lee Weeks, Ed McGuinness

Marvel Comics, 264 Pages

Review:

I recently re-read Cable & The New Mutants, which collected Cable’s first appearance and his first big story arc as the new leader of the New Mutants team before the roster was shaken up and rebranded as the original incarnation of X-Force. I enjoyed revisiting it, so I figured that I’d also pick up the earliest stories of Rob Liefeld’s other greatest creation, Deadpool.

This collection really does start at the beginning, as the first chapter is issue #98 of The New Mutants, which was the first appearance of Deadpool. Who, awesomely enough, showed up to kill Cable.

The New Mutants #98 was also the first appearance of two other Liefeld creations: Domino and Gideon. However, and not to spoil anything, but this isn’t the real Domino, we wouldn’t meet her for another two years and this character was Copycat posing as Domino. Copycat, for those who don’t know, is actually Vanessa Geraldine Carlysle… the same Vanessa that’s played by Morena Baccarin in the Deadpool movies.

After Deadpool’s quick debut, we get into The Circle Chase storyline, which was Deadpool’s first solo story and his debut self-titled series. This takes place after 20-plus issues of X-Force, as Copycat has been exposed and is parading around as herself in this story. This tale also features the villain team up of Black Tom Cassidy and Juggernaut with a bunch of other villains and assassins also thrown into the story.

The story after that features Black Tom and Juggernaut again but this time Deadpool has help from Banshee and his daughter Siryn. In this story, Black Tom is being torn apart from his strange physical condition and he needs Deadpool’s DNA to cure his painful ailment.

The last story is just the first issue of what was the first ongoing Deadpool comic book series. It’s a quick read but the highlight is seeing Deadpool square off with Sasquatch of Alpha Flight.

These early stories were cool to revisit but Deadpool, as a character, hadn’t quite been fleshed out to his regular level of greatness by this point. But being that he is a unique character, it took the writers some time to figure out what he was supposed to be.

Deadpool hadn’t found his groove yet but this is still entertaining and a precursor to the character’s greatness. And thing’s do get better after this.

Rating: 6.5/10
Pairs well with: The end of the original New Mutants run and the first two years of the original X-Force run.

Comic Review: Cable & The New Mutants

Published: 1992
Written by: Louise Simonson
Art by: Rob Liefeld

Marvel Comics, 154 Pages

Review:

Being that Cable is going to make his live action debut in Deadpool 2, I wanted to pick up an old collection that I bought back when I was still in middle school in 1992.

This book kicks off with Cable’s first appearance in The New Mutants #87. It then collects the six issues after it, where Cable takes the teenage mutant team under his wing and eventually turns them into X-Force, who would then get one of the best-selling series of its time.

Cable was created by Rob Liefeld, just before he gave us Deadpool. The two characters have been sort of locked together since the early ’90s and it all started right here.

The story kicks off with Cable fighting the Mutant Liberation Front and also gives us the first appearance of their leader, Stryfe. We also see Freedom Force, a group of villains somehow employed by the government. I completely forgot about Freedom Force but then quickly remembered how much I loved Pyro and the Blob in their roles within the group.

The series of seven issues collected here has a lot of cameos. You get to see the original X-Factor team, Caliban, the Morlocks, Sabretooth, Wolverine, Legion, Moira MacTaggert and Sunfire.

Picking this up, so many years later was fun. It obviously wasn’t as good as my young brain thought it was back in the day. However, it’s still a good introduction to Cable and Stryfe and the real starting point of all the events that would eventually lead to the big X-Cutioner’s Song mega event which spanned all of the X-Men titles at the time. This is also a milestone in that it closes out the long running New Mutants series and brings about the genesis of X-Force.

Rating: 6.75/10
Pairs well with: Rob Liefeld’s run on X-Force.

Comic Review: Enchanted Tiki Room

Published on: April 25th, 2017
Written by: Jon Adams
Art by: Horacio Dominigues
Based on: The Enchanted Tiki Room attraction at Walt Disney World

Marvel Comics, 128 Pages

Review:

Being a fan of all things Tiki and since my first real Tiki experience actually came from a trip where I stayed at the Disney Polynesian Resort and went to a show at the Enchanted Tiki Room, I thought that I owed it to myself to drum up some of that childhood nostalgia by reading this comic based on that classic Disney attraction.

Put out by Marvel, who Disney now owns, this is a very weird ride.

It tries to give life and some sort of a background story to the Disney attraction that has been around since Walt was alive. It takes the famous birds, gives them a tale but it also introduces characters exclusive to this story, who sort of take center stage.

All of the characters are very streamlined and unimaginative archetypes played up for their faults. There’s an old actress, a Norma Desmond type, that doesn’t get why she isn’t a star anymore. She has a little dog that starts talking once they get on the “enchanted” island. Then there is a family of greedy white people where the dad is obviously a fat slob. All they care about is buying things. The next character is a young black guy that just went through a breakup with his ditsy, self-absorbed, alpha white girlfriend. There is also a young white girl that you don’t know much about for most of the story; she acts like a total savage. Lastly, there is this guy named Chip that turns out to be a villain in the story when he rips off the idea of the Enchanted Tiki Room and turns it into a competing casino.

Again, I love Tiki stuff and I loved my experiences visiting the real attraction. I really wanted to like this book but it fell flat and was just sort of a lame attempt at being funny. As is standard with Marvel products these days, their employees don’t seem to write for comic book fans and have some sort of strange sense of humor that doesn’t work unless you’re a techie hipster that spends your entire life behind a keyboard with a social circle you’ve never met IRL. You know, the type of people that like to say that everything is “so meta.”

I had hoped this would be good because I wanted to check out the other comics Disney has done for their other attractions. There are two Figment series that I planned on reading but after this, I’ve lost interest.

Rating: 4.75/10
Pairs well with: Probably the other Disney comics based off of their attractions but I’m not going to waste time or money in an effort to read them.

TV Review: Doctor Who – The Tenth Doctor Era (2006-2010)

Original Run: April 15th, 2006 – January 1st, 2010
Created by: Sydney Newman, C. E. Webber, Donald Wilson
Directed by: various
Written by: various
Music by: Murray Gold
Cast: David Tennant, Billie Piper, Freema Agyeman, John Barrowman, Catherine Tate, Bernard Cribbins, Elisabeth Sladen, John Simm, Kylie Minogue, David Morrissey, Michelle Ryan, Lindsay Duncan, Noel Clarke

BBC, 44 Episodes, 45-72 Minutes (per episode)

Review:

David Tennant is considered by most to be the best Doctor of all-time. He’s my second favorite after Tom Baker but his accolades and admiration are definitely deserved, as he took what Christopher Eccleston walked away from and turned it into something that was very much his and better than anything the franchise had done since the high point of the Tom Baker era, which ended in 1981.

The Tennant era of Who is the best era of the modern incarnation of the franchise. Sure, I love all the Doctors in different ways but this was the real peak for me since the show relaunched in 2005. Russell T. Davies just had a certain magic that Stephen Moffat, who took over with the Matt Smith era, could emulate and build from but had a much harder time at maintaining it and being consistent.

I just love this era of the show. It isn’t perfect, by any means and has a few hiccups, but overall, this was a great thing to experience. For other lovers of this franchise, this span in the show’s history is almost like a love letter to you. It taps into the spirit of the original shows much better than the Eccleston stuff and it brings back some key elements that were missing in the first season, most notably the Master and some of the more famous alien villains.

Furthermore, Tennant has great chemistry with every single person that they paired him with. His relationship with Rose got heavier and more intimate than it did when Eccleston was in the role. His time with Martha was great and you hurt for her and for him, as he continued to mourn the great loss he felt with Rose. The Tennant team up with Catherine Tate as Donna Noble was the best part of the show but once that relationship extends into the Doctor also having a bond with her grandfather, Bernard Cribbins’ Wilfred Mott, it got even better. You also got to see Tennant work well with David Morrissey (the future Governor from The Walking Dead), Kylie Minogue, the former Tom Baker companion Sarah Jane (played by Elisabeth Sladen, once again), Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and a slew of others. But it’s his chemistry with the John Simm version of the Master that really showcased how good both men are.

I adore the Tennant years on Doctor Who. It is the best run of the modern era… period. Although, Matt Smith’s run after this was pretty darn good too and even if I didn’t like a lot of the Peter Capaldi stuff, I did love Capaldi’s Doctor. But David Tennant’s run will be a near impossible feat to try and top.

Rating: 9/10
Pairs well with: The Ninth and Eleventh Doctors’ runs.

Comic Review: Vampirella Archives, Vol. 1

Published: December 22nd, 2010
Written by: various
Art by: various

Dynamite, 390 Pages

Review:

I’ve read a few stories over the years with Vampirella in them. I have never gone back to check her out at her earliest though. Luckily, there was this archive edition of her first seven issues.

If you also haven’t read the earliest Vampirella stuff, then this book could be a bit of a disappointment. Not because it is bad but because what Vampirella was, in her original incarnation, was very different than what she would become.

The character was originally imagined as a horror story hostess, similar to Vampira or later, Elvira. She was created to set up short horror stories in an anthology collection, which is what her magazine was for its first eight issues. After that, she would go on to be a character with her own life and adventures.

While the original concept was really cool, I can see why they would change and evolve. Reading the seven issues collected here, the format starts to get derivative and actually loses its luster pretty quickly. Some of the short stories are fun but some just feel like quickly crafted knockoffs of stories you’ve seen before.

I really liked the art style in these old school Vampirella stories though. It kept that pulp feeling going strong well beyond the decades where it peaked.

This collection is definitely historically important but it isn’t a necessary read for those wanting to experience Vampirella. The second volume gets more into the Vampirella stuff most people would want to read. You know, where she is a total badass and gets her hands dirty while wearing only about four square inches of wardrobe.

Rating: 6.75/10
Pairs well with: Lots of old horror and pulp magazines. I would continue on from here and keep reading further into Vampirella, as she goes on to be a leading character in her own stories, as opposed to just hosting tales.