Friday, October 31, 2014
Corto Maltese was originally the name of a late sixties European comics series by Italian creator Hugo Pratt about a sailor adventurer named Corto Maltese. Writer/artist Frank Miller liked it so much he used the name for an embattled South American island nation in his classic The Dark Knight Returns. Later in homage to that, it appears in the photography of Vicki Vale in 1989's Batman film. It was later brought into the DC Universe proper and was even mentioned on TV's "Smallville."
Lone Gunmen" as a place Deadshot was operating. Here, it is where Malcolm Merlyn has brought Thea Queen for training. Oliver is obsessed with finding her and is off to Corto Maltese, with Roy and Diggle in tow. Diggle has a second mission while he's down there however, checking on an operative named Mark Shaw who had gone dark.
Streets of Fire." Here Mark Shaw is not quite as heroic as in the comics, and ambushes Diggle. Anyone who knows Shaw's earlier Star Tsar and Privateer background, this shouldn't be a surprise.
While Diggle and Oliver are off playing spy with Mark Shaw, Roy does what they actually came to Corto Maltese for, he talks to Thea. He seems to get through to a little, but then Oliver tries his brand of pseudo-truth, which of course he tells her everything but. Just when you think Oliver has changed, has learned something... it becomes apparent he's the same guy he was years ago.
Thea's training seems awful Batman-ish, but what can you do. John Barrowman is the perfect melding of father, mentor, and sociopath as Malcolm Merlyn, it is hard to dislike him. I want him to be Captain Jack, but I'm relishing him as Malcolm. In a nod to the comics, and the second Speedy, Thea is called Mia. Finally. I like it.
Tremors." I love that Oliver was able to fashion bows and arrows from stuff in their hotel room. I wonder how much they'll be charging his credit card?
In the end, we get no real resolution to the Mark Shaw storyline. Does he go free? Go to jail? Extradited to ARGUS? If the answer was there, I missed it. Thea comes home with the boys, but Malcolm says he'll see her soon. Felicity takes some time off to go over to "The Flash" this past week, and Ray Palmer discovers Queen Consolidated was making high tech weapons. Laurel begins her training with Ted Grant after Oliver refuses to help her. And Nyssa drops by the Arrowcave looking for Sara.
Next: The Magician!
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Remember the superheroes of the movie serials? You would get one line about where the hero came from, and then it was off into the action and the meat of the story. That's all you really need. Remember the origin of Batman in the 1966 TV series? It was there, done just like that, in one line of dialogue. Heck, they did it with the man of steel in under thirty seconds in the opening of every episode of "The Adventures of Superman."
Derrick Ferguson's Dillon, with great trepidation.
Derrick has purposely been vague about the origins of his hero Dillon, telling us just what we needed to know about his mysterious beginnings, and leaving the details in the shadows. I expected to be bored quite honestly learning the finer details of his origin. I was wrong. In Young Dillon in the Halls of Shamballah, a novel meant specifically for a young adult audience (but I notably enjoyed it as much as I have all the 'adult' Dillon novels), we meet the hero as a child, and are walked through the details of what we had been told vaguely, and I dug it.
Derrick knows the secret. He wasn't telling us the origin of Dillon even though it's in there, or at least parts of it are - he was telling us a story. This is key for beginning writers. I run into so many folks, especially in the NaNoWriMo, that have a great idea, a cool concept, some intriguing characters - but what they don't have is a story. DF pulls me happily through an origin story I didn't want with a compelling story I did want. Thumbs up.
The second part of Dillon's origin did more than give me a compelling story, it introduced me to classic pulp character I was heretofore unaware of, and a writer whose work I'm now a fan of. The Vril Agenda, written by Derrick Ferguson and Joshua Reynolds, stars a slightly older Dillon in search of training as a hero, and the adventurer known as the Super-Detective, Jim Anthony.
This novel was everything I could have wanted, and never could have imagined I wanted in a pseudo-origin story/pulp adventure. The only thing I could have wanted more of would be, well, more. The Vril Agenda has a story told in two timelines, ancient secret societies, secret empires, mad villains, brave heroes, Nazis, and pulp, so much pulp. I loved this book, and I highly recommend it, along with Young Dillon. If you crave adventure, origin or not, new pulp is calling you.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
"The forest is in all those stories that kept you awake at night. The forest is mankind's nightmare."
As we open this episode The Doctor allows a little girl, Maebh Arden, to wander into the TARDIS. At first I thought, oh no, not another little girl, and then when I saw the terrific chemistry Peter Capaldi had with her... my mind began to wander. Forget Clara, perhaps this is the kind of companion this Doctor needs - either a child or someone with a child's mind? These two worked well together, so much better than Clara and The Doctor, I thought. I'd watch this team.
Apparently the Earth has been covered in vegetation overnight. The TARDIS is in the middle of London, along with Clara, Danny Pink, their class of 'special' kids, and The Doctor - and yet they are all engulfed in a thick forest. When all the kids are in the TARDIS of course, it becomes apparent that one kid equals good, more than one equals "Get off my lawn!"
Peter Capaldi is at his manic and mean best here. Even if the stories are failing "Doctor Who," Capaldi is not. After this one and "Flatline," I am finally liking Peter Capaldi. It may have taken nine or ten episodes, but he's finally grown into The Doctor.
Next: The Finale Begins!
Don't forget to follow my weekly reviews of "Doctor Who" at Biff Bam Pop!, and check out David S. Ward's thoughts on this episode here. Special thanks to David for covering for me while I was on vacation!
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
|Palicki in the costume that debuts tonight.|
Her codename is never mentioned, her hair is not blonde (although it's later referenced that it once was), and her outfit looks like she raided the leftover Cylon reject wardrobe of "Battlestar Galactica," but she is still kicking ass and taking names with her trademark battle staves. There's no mention of on again/off again husband Hawkeye, but she's mercenary Lance Hunter's ex-wife.
Bobbi saves Jemma Simmons from the clutches of Hydra when her cover is blown. Hopefully her time with the enemy will provide valuable information, and her presence help balance her old partner Fitz. I'm also glad to see Bobbi join the team, but hope her super-badassery will not dilute Agent May's only human badassery.
Speaking of which, Skye also has made progress translating the alien language. She says it's a map. A map perhaps to the Kree homeworld Hala? Time will tell.
In the meantime, please don't forget to check out my friend and fellow Biff Bam Pop! columnist J.P. Fallavollita for his review of this episode along with a few of his theories on the alien language, and my regular reviews of the "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." series here. Thanks again, J.P.!
Monday, October 27, 2014
Those who know their comics know that The Mist is the archenemy of Starman, a generational villain that has plagued the Knight family superhero legacy for several decades. Some time ago there was a TV series in the works for the Jack Knight Starman, I wonder if any of the new spins on The Mist were recycled from that?
On a movie theater marquee we see Blue Devil II - Hell to Pay and The Rita Farr Story, and a crime on Waid Boulevard! So many wonderful comics references before we barely even get started with this episode, and I loved the meta-nerd ecstasy of the STAR team when figuring out how The Mist does what he does.
We get the brief outlines of the origin of Firestorm, sans Professor Martin Stein, in the flashback death of Ronnie. We also see that Wells was not only watching Barry's accident, but knew it was going to happen. I also kinda dug how Barry blurred his face Golden Age Flash style to keep his dad from recognizing him. Vibrating through walls can't be far behind. This episode had spectacular visual effects and is still my favorite show on TV right now, and it can only get better.
Next: Captain Cold! Finally.
Be sure to check out my regular weekly reviews of "The Flash" over at Biff Bam Pop! here, and check out my friend and colleague Jim Knipp's thoughts on this same episode here. He was cool enough to pinch hit for me while I was on vacation, thanks, Jim!