reviews

50th Anniversary of Doctor Who Special

I’ll be honest, I don’t like to do reviews RIGHT after watching something. I like to get into conversations, watch it a few times, read more about it and then commit my final definitive thoughts in review form. Well…Im just too excited to wait! I watched “The Day of the Doctor” with over 100 people in Cleveland as part of a really cool watch party and it just multiplied the excitement. More on that experience here.

Like many of my Doctor Who reviews, it’s easier for me to break up the special into different small sections based on what moved me the most. These thoughts might not be totally linear but, like I said, I just want to get these thoughts out there so I can be part of the discussion. This is almost ALL SPOILERS. You’ve been warned! Let’s start with…

All Fifty Years Celebrated

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There were so many teasers and call backs to classic Doctor Who in this special! I admit to have not seen every episode of classic Who (yet) so I am sure I missed a ton of references but the ones I caught were magic. I’ve been excited about the premiere of “An Adventure in Space and Time” so I have re-watched some of the William Hartnell era episodes recently (thanks Netflix!).The episode opening with the first doctor’s intro proves to me that this is a total embrace and celebration of the classic and modern. Having Clara work at the same school as original companions Ian and Barbra was both a natural evolution to Clara’s character as it was a perfect ode to the beginning of the series. One of the best quotes from The Day of the Doctor is in the Tardis – “I love the round things!”. Quotes like this really pay you back for being a fan of Classic Doctor Who

Why Companions Are Important

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Seeing Clara embrace her life and strive towards her potential has been gratifying. She knows who she is and she loves it! The bit of fun where she drive her motorcycle into the Tardis and shows off how adjusted she has become to traveling with the Doctor really nails how fun this life can be. Ultimately, Clara saves the day. Her humanity saves Gallifrey by confronting the Doctor. She has saved the Doctor physically throughout all space and time and now she has found a way to heal him emotionally as well as the lives of millions of Time Lords. She may be the most important companion ever.

Differences Between the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors

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When the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors meet they are separated by over four hundred years. That’s over half the age of Ten! How has time made a difference on Eleven? He is much less haunted by the Time War because he has spent so long forcing himself to not think about it. That’s why he comes off much lighter than Ten and certainly less haunted. Seeing them together really typifies just how different they were from each other.

U.N.I.T.

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The granddaughter of the Brigadier now has the fourth Doctor’s scarf. Before I ever watched Doctor Who, all I knew of the character was Tom Baker. That scarf was the defining visual trait that told me that was him. I didn’t know about regenerations or that there were even different actors who played the character until years later. Seeing that scarf that often in the episode put a smile on my face because, even though Tom Baker wasn’t “My Doctor” he’s the first one I had been exposed to and to me will always be the quintessential Doctor.
Besides showing lineage with the third Lethbridge-Stewart at U.N.I.T we’re treated with their involvement being important to both this story and thus showing you how important they’ve been to the Doctor’s past. Hearing Eleven tell Clara that he had a job reminds you of all the great stories from the past especially those of the Third doctor.

The Time War

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There’s no way they could compete with what was in my head. Like, Star Wars’ Clone Wars, fans have thought about what this must have looked like for years before ever getting to see it. I was disappointed by how conventional it looked. This could have been any war in space and didn’t look like what I thought a “Time War” would look like. I had pictured battles all over the galaxy at all points of time simultaneously. Sometimes seeing something isn’t as good as imagining it.

Weapon With A Conscience

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What a perfect Doctor Who story device! Nothing evokes the best of the Tenth Doctor’s reign better than “Bad Wolf” and this special utilized it perfectly. For those fans who have not seen the adventure of David Tennant’s take on Doctor Who, this was probably the most confusing portion of the show. That said, a 50th Anniversary Special is hardly the stuff of new fandom so they’re just going to have to relax.

Elizabeth The First

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I’ve wanted to know why Elizabeth has had such a distain for the Doctor in the new series. Now we know why. The idea that the Doctor was (is?) technically the King of England better come up again. Including the queen ties up a loose plot line while also including one of my favorite aspects of Doctor Who – historical cameos. She was tough and never backed down…she’d make an interesting companion!

War Doctor, Voice of a Generation

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John Hurt’s War Doctor was the voice of many old school Whovians. Everything about his future selves annoyed him! The youth of his future selves coupled with their mannerisms comes off as a dead-on description of what I’ve read many times on message boards. Perhaps, this is an indication of how the Twelfth Doctor will be returning to the “roots” of the character.

Three Doctors Working Together

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With three different versions of the same person in a room, you’d think it could get pretty redundant. It turns out each of these versions of the Doctor are in such vastly different places that it’s almost like three different characters interacting. I say almost because when everything is on the line, you see what makes him special in all incarnations shine at once. When a problem is too big for the biggest brain in the universe only three of that brain can win. Remembering that there are hundreds of years worth of experiences separating these versions is something that truly defines what makes Ten and Eleven so different. I believe The War Doctor is affected differently by his exposure to Ten and Eleven. He is shaken by just how haunted Ten is while angry at how Eleven forced himself to forget the tragedy of the Time War.

Peter Capaldi!

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Our future doctor made his fist cameo appearance in Doctor Who which was something I did not expect. I’m still a little unsure about how John Hurt’s War Doctor impacts the naming conventions. Will Capaldi be the Thirteenth Doctor? Has he reached his regeneration limit? I hope these are answered quickly during his run. He did look scary though, didn’t he?

Regeneration

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We finally get to see the regeneration that happens before Christopher Eccleston’s Nineth Doctor. Turns out the War Doctor’s final words are the same as the final words of the First Doctor – “This Body Is Wearing A Little Thin”. Speaking of final words, David Tennant uses the phrase “ I don’t want to go” before he gets in his Tardis. Turns out, those will be his last words eventually too.

Tom Baker, The Curator

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At first, my brain was trying to comprehend just how the Fourth Doctor could be in his personal future and have also aged. Was it a shape shifter? Another Time Lord who eventually will have been freed by the Doctor? Was his past or his future? Well, like most things with Moffat, if you really want to stress out about the specific physics of something, you’ll just get angry. I’m so glad my heart kicked in and shut up my brain and just let me enjoy this hint dropping confusing but above all perfect meeting between two beloved versions of the Doctor. I thought all we’d get was the scarf to remember Tom Baker by but we got so much more from this scene. Watch how he literally walks into the light at the end of this exchange. There were a few moments that MAY have brought a tear to my eye in this special but this is the only one I’ll admit.

Hope

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I continue to have discussions on why, overall, I wasn’t happy with Man of Steel. My biggest problem is because of the theme of hope and how central it is to the character. In the end, Superman chooses the pragmatic solution instead of finding “another way”. This is has been the central problem, for me, of the Time War. It so defines the modern era of Doctor Who because when we meet him again it’s after he has given in to pragmatism and lost sight of his greatest attribute: hope. Sure he shows gives it to others in dozens of examples but his record had been forever tarnished. He is known as “The Coming Storm” and many other dark titles throughout the galaxy which works in many dramatic ways but it’s not really who he is. I think we need a character in genre fiction who always finds another way again because so many other characters have adopted realism or idealism. Maybe this reversal of the War Doctor’s decision will usher in a new era of hope.

“The Warrior, The Hero, And You”

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You know that Moffat device where everything seems hopeless with no way out and then a Deus Ex Machina appears out of nowhere because it feels emotionally satisfying? Well, you either hate or love that moment in his writing. Personally, I look forward to them because it’s about the triumph of spirit and ingenuity over darkness. I love those scenes in his writing and Clara provided one at just the right time here.
Clara: “We’ve got enough warriors. Any old idiot can be a hero.”
Eleventh Doctor: “Then what do I do?”
Clara: “What you’ve always done.” “Be a doctor.” “You told me the name you chose was a promise. What was the promise?”
Tenth Doctor: “Never cruel nor cowardly.”
War Doctor: “Never give up. Never give in.”

Everything You’d Want From Doctor Who

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This story had monsters in rubber suits (of a sort), complicated paradoxical time travel, a companion saying just the right thing at the right time, U.N.I.T., a threat averted through diplomacy, humor, nail biting drama, Daleks, a regeneration, sonic screw driver(s) and more heart than any show on TV. The components of what makes Doctor Who special were all in this Doctor Who Special. Well done, BBC!

Biff Bam Metaphysics

grant-morrisonIf we wanted Batman to save us all, we were doomed. Look at the world while wearing your metafiction suits and there is still no way he can reach every person calling out for help. The world is too big, too daunting. It is filled with things we have to call dreams because we fear what they say about us if we are the truth.

But for others they reject Batman. They claim it isn’t Batman. They look at the Dark Knight and don’t recognize him. Where is that old Whiff Bam Pow? Where is the grim dark ultra justice? Why is he wasting time in space when Gotham needs help? Where did the Bat-nipples go.

Morrison’s Batman run is Batman et all. It is grime meets sci-fi meets pop art meets madness meets camp meets ultra justice. He did it in one night. He did it thirty-five minutes ago. He did it while the world collapsed. He did it collapsing the world into a singularity. He did it while focusing the world around a single city. And he did it while distracting us. The Magic Batman trick.

batman2-600x507It started with a cave and it ended with a cave and all the while Batman went into caves, he built new Batcaves (complete with giant coins and costume displays). He had mysteries for the mystery fans, monsters for the monster fans, sci fi for those fans. He even played songs for the obscure indie Batman fans with their Batmanga hardcovers. And all the while he played this tune with different instruments and composers, some who faltered(1) we got an amazing symphony with bits that everyone could enjoy.

But like most classical music, it is easy to get lost. There were issues where everything faded together and I felt I was missing things. Some jokey reference. Some obscure reference. Something vitally important to the universe. Things became rougher during the intermission when these jokes became more obscure and originally I’d stopped reading there.

My original reading of Morrison’s Batsaga began with with RIP. It made no sense. Batman didn’t die. Who are all these foreign people in costumes? Why did Joker get shot in the head. And then the end – why is there stuff with Darkseid? Why aren’t things wrapped up. I put the book away in disgust. I wanted Batman’s funeral by Neil Gaiman, not THIS.

My second reading began with INC and notes. Annotations, a fresh start and the bounty of comic internet journalism made me love the series, the artists, the camp sci fi action. Hello Lord Death Man. And then comics died down for my – the universe I knew ended, the series went on hiatus and I took a comic sabbatical.

But finally I went back to the beginning for my third reading. I opened the Black Casebook stories and the heritage of Batman. I followed up with reading from the beginning of Morrison’s brief Bat-stuff in 52. Those moments where he was in Nanda Parbat. The exercising of his demons – the first villains he more or less fights in the Ghost Batman – the Ghosts of his Past, Present and Future. Maybe the gun, his failure and his ruined legacy. There I found the Morrison Batman magic with everything.

Batman-Inc-hed1And the idea of the future was recurring. The Batman 666 future – Gotham in flames, the world insane and everything collapsing. Over and over, the Batman who made the deal with the devil. The great to the x-th grandson of the man who made a deal with a devil. “Yes father I will become the Bat”. Even the son without the father born in the belly of leviathan leading to the apocalypse. The intermingling of the Bible and myths from the world into some super religion – a collapse of all faiths into one. Leviathan. It became hypnotic and confusing and tricky and it ate itself and became a bundle of snakes.

And Batman does the same, his family grows, it lives when he doesn’t. When he is dead he expands the legacy of his family. He cleanses his line. And when he returns it grows again. And then it collapses. The army he made shrinks against a larger one. He loses. He suffers loss. And he continues. Batman lives in the strangest world where everything comes together for one reason, to one point.

The biggest misconception of Batman is that he does his work for revenge. It is not revenge because Joe Chill has vanished and the drive for good has not. Batman is not there for any one person. Batman is out there for every scared child to comfort them. He teaches them, inspires them and like any parent he hopes he works out for the best.

In the end building a family, hoping the future will be better than the one before are all you can do. Batman didn’t end here. Other Batman stories will never touch the changes. The stories that can before can never affect this one and so we are locked with something completed. A complete Batman directed by many men into a single song, played many ways and it ended as it began in a cave, with a friend, with a world that still needs saving.

Batman by Grant Morrison took many names. It took us to many places. And in the end, it took us back to the beginning of the track with memories and ideas. With hope and inspiration. And even if he didn’t save all of us because of preconceptions or who Batman is, he did what he could.

 

1. Looking at you guy on Return of Bruce Wayne 4 who filled in for Cameron Stewart. Less issues with the computer guy for the Internet 3.0 issue.

Iron Man 3 In Review

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Adam and Nick discuss the latest Iron Man movie. Iron Man 3 was a Shane Black movie through and through and it had a lot of charm. This was part super hero part 80s action movie and very fun. We go over what made this movie different than the other Iron Man movies as well as the big twist in the movie. This review has spoilers!

Listen to the Episode Directly.

Listen to the Episode on iTunes.

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Win Free Marvel Comics of your choice by leaving us iTunes reviews. Click HERE to find out how!

Have something you’d like us to discuss? Please email us question at info@shortboxpodcast.com with “Listener Topic” in the subject line and make sure to let us know if we can use your name on the podcast. Thanks for listening!

Injustice: Gods Among Us & More

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Adam talks about his experience with the game Injustice: Gods Among Us. The game features an original DC super hero story centering around the Justice League and is a classic multiple Earths story. After that they talk about where the New 52 is and what is working and what isn’t. In addition, they talk about some of their favorite books like Hawkeye, Batman, and Age of Ultron. Check it out!

Listen to the Episode Directly.

Listen to the Episode on iTunes.

iTunes listeners: HELP US OUT!

Win Free Marvel Comics of your choice by leaving us iTunes reviews. Click HERE to find out how!

Have something you’d like us to discuss? Please email us question at info@shortboxpodcast.com with “Listener Topic” in the subject line and make sure to let us know if we can use your name on the podcast. Thanks for listening!

My Picks of the Week

Marvel Now and The New 52 keep plugging along. Age of Ultron keeps getting better and the tie-ins have been exceptional. Superior Spider-Man’s story escalates and the repercussions of Rot World continue. It’s a Pre-Infinity and Pre-Trinity War landscape. Iron Man is on Friday and Free Comic Book Day is later this week. That’s where we’re at now let’s check out the best of the week (and one that just didn’t work).

The Best

detailX-Men Legacy #10

Marvel Comics

Writer: Simon Spurrier

Artist: Paul Davidson

The first 9 issues of this series were used to establish David Haller’s mindset and where he fits in the Marvel Universe since his father, Charles Xavier, died. The past few issues have gone a long way to establish David’s relationship with the mutant Blindfold. Everything feels like it’s been leading up to this new storyline that begins with this issue. Many who heard that Legion would be the star of his own series were very surprised and confused. With all the mutants out there more popular than him (literally dozens and dozens) how long would a book last about his adventures. It turns out that his outsider designation is exactly what propels this book. David does not see himself as a super hero and find most of them ridiculous. His biggest battles are internal ones and his attitude on his potential is far different that a more stock hero’s. This issue covers a lot of ground and works as a jumping on point for the series. I also feel as the the antagonist of this story might be something that no mutant has ever faced. You can’t call him a villain and it’s VERY easy to see where he is coming from. I think this book is exploring territories none of the X-Men books have since potentially the 90s series X-Man but this book has a much less mainstream feel to it. This feels like a Vertigo style X-Men book and I hope it continues to explore deeper territory.

file_204655_1_AgeOfUltron_7_TeaserAge of Ultron #7

Marvel Comics

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Brandon Peterson, Carlos Pacheco, Roger Martinez

This is what I really like about alternate reality stories. A science fiction trope that ranks high in my favorites is the idea of changing the past and the ripple affect that it has from that point on. These stories from Back to the Future, Star Trek’s Mirror Mirror, and most comparatively The Age of Apocalypse. It all goes back to Ray Bradbury’s 1952 “A Sound of Thunder”. That story gives us the butterfly effect which states that a small change at one place can result in large differences to a later state. This story really is yet another Age of Apocalypse style story where the elimination of one important figure in the past yields a different world all together in the new present. In fact, Bendis’s own House of M deals with very similar ideas. I’m hoping that this is just one stop in this story that has yet to really deal with the titular Ultron. Still, fun deviation that I am sure will be mined at a later date. The art is exceptional in this issue especially with how the art chorus were broken up. Let’s all hope this is going somewhere that matters.

IM2012009_DC11Iron Man #9

Marvel Comics

Writer: Kieron Gillen

Artist: Dale Eaglesham

This is the prologue to what is suppose to be the biggest Iron Man story of the year. Since this is a year with an Iron Man movie in theaters, I’ll listen to Marvel hyperbole more than I usually do. I’ve been impressed with every issue of Kieron Gillen’s Marvel Now Iron Man and it feels like most of it has been leading up to this. I think the addition of Dale Eaglesham is a welcome one after the recent arch with Greg Land. This prologue feels like a bridge between Tony’s space adventures with the Guardians of the Galaxy and an origin story. I was unsure how there could be a natural bridge until I saw the last panel of this book. Suffice to say, the next issue can’t come fast enough after this cliff hanger. Fans of the movie franchise could very well start here with the comic but you’d be missing out on the equally approachable previous 8 issues. If you haven’t been reading Iron Man, give it a shot again. You’ll find a hybrid science fiction/super hero comic that’s a real page turner.

Animal-Man_20_FullAnimal Man #20

DC Comics

Writer: Jeff Lemire

Artist: John Paul Leon

Ever since Rotworld ended (and you could make a case during Rotworld) Animal Man hasn’t felt like the book I fell in love with. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still been one of the better DC books but it’s horror/drama story that it started as was something that gave me so much hope for The New 52. Almost two years later, I’m not that impressed with much of what DC is publishing but Jeff Lemire’s work has continued to be the high water mark (for books not starring Batman). This is all preface to what I’m about to say…Animal Man #20 is one of my favorite issues of 2013. It’s a refreshing reflection on what remains of Buddy Baker’s life. I’m not going to get into much detail on how Lemire tells this story but it’s very inventive and I’m surprised I haven’t read an Animal Man story like this before. What propels this issue to the top of my list for best issues of this year is the art by John Paul Leon. I am sure many who read this will draw comparisons to David Aja’s minimal line masterpieces in Hawkeye and Iron Fist but Leon’s style is also (ironically) cinematic. Like the best comic book artists, he’s really the director (more irony) of this story. Many of the most poignant panels in this issue have no words. They don’t need any. This comic is self contained and very approachable. It also punches you in the gut. Lemire excels at these emotional stories and this has been his best issue in a while. The next issue promises a new start for Buddy Baker. This issue, however, was just what I needed to remind myself why there are stories that can only be told in Animal Man.

The Most Disappointing

Detective-Comics-20Detective Comics #20

DC Comics

Writer: John Layman

Artist: Jason Fabok

Here’s a book that has been derailed a lot recently. This sort of thing happened a lot with pre-New 52 DC books and with Death of The Family, the death of Damian, and the anniversary issue, Detective Comics has struggled to finish this story. It all ends in this issue, though for the antagonist Emperor Penguin. While his rise to power was fun to watch at the beginning, we received a pretty weak payoff in this issue. Yes, it seems that the whole point of this was to create a new colorful character to Batman’s rogues gallery but we still don’t know what makes him interesting. At first it was his philosophy of staying in the shadows and being the power behind the throne that separated him from the other villains of Gotham. That was something different. The problem is that he throws that all away very quickly in this issue leaving you with a rushed and unsatisfying ending. I also felt ripped off of a chance to see Penguin rebuild an empire from nothing. That would have been a story that could have defined him and yet that wrap up happens in just a few panels. I hope Layman gets another chance at telling a memorable Batman story because in the glut of all the other Bat-Books, this is quickly becoming the least important. I will say that the art of Fabok was consistently well done and dynamic in this book, however.

This Week’s Best

spider-man batman superman reviewsI read about 30 new books a week. This is a pretty good sized haul considering that the overwhelming majority of books I read are from Marvel and DC and are super hero books. It’s not like all I like is Big Two capes books it’s just that these stories work in this format for me the most. The rest of what I read comes in trade paper back for me. Since Marvel and DC books are so interconnected, I like to keep up.

That all said, I’ve been dropping more DC books than I have in a long time and picking up many more Marvel books. It’s been widely reported that DC is losing market share as well as critical acclaim as the New 52 continues. The Batman books have been the only DC books that have consistently stayed at the top of my pile. Animal Man and Aquaman have and continue to be some of my favorite books while Scott Snyder leaving Swamp Thing has me worried. Either way, here are the standouts from this week:

 

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_5Uncanny X-Men #5

Marvel Comics

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Frasier Irving

This is starting to really feel like an X-Men book now. It’s a totally new era but what makes X-Men books work is all intact here. Enemies from all sides, love triangles, mysteries, an all powerful villain, humans fearing them, in-fighting, new mutants, powers not working…this really has it all! This was billed as the true flagship X-Men book before it came out and I found that hard to believe. Wolverine and the X-Men felt like the true flagship book to me. Then I thought about it more. Wolverine and the X-Men represents the Morrison-era X-Men style of a book while Uncanny X-Men represents the more classic X-Men team. Uncanny has more baggage and is the outlaw team with a manageable roster. I think both styles work and are just as legitimate. This issue let the action die down just a bit in order for the interactions to have their place. The expansion of this team feels organic and really has me wanting more.

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Batman-Inc-10-variantBatman Incorporated #10

DC Comics

Writer: Grant Morrison

Artists: Chris Burnham & Jason Masters

While not my favorite issue recently, Batman Inc. books are still some of the best on the shelves. This one felt a bit slow till the last page and somewhat redundant but I see why Morrison made these choices. With three issues left in his HUGE run on Batman, this issue brought in elements from a variety of his past stories that are all going to build towards the finale. I love the idea that Batman is pulling out all the stops to take on Leviathan. Incorporating his Batbots, the Suit of Sarrows, and the Man-Bat Serum to give him the edge he needs makes this feel as big as it should be. The Al Ghul “family” is coming apart and it’s going to be a factor for the future of Batman. This had one of the best last pages of a Batman book that I can remember. If this was a Rocky movie, it’s where you would hear his theme music starting up. Game on!

Avengers_Arena_Vol_1_8Avengers Arena #8

Marvel Comics

Writer: Dennis Hopeless

Artist: Kev Walker

Last issue took time away from the main story (which had one crazy ending) to give us the set-up of Arcade to the way we find him in issue #1. This issue takes us back to the scene of Kid Briton’s death and we see how everyone is dealing with it. With as many characters with powers there are in this book, this never feels like a super hero book. These teens are confused real sounding characters who are way out of their element. This title grows on me with each issue. Once I got over if this whole story was happening in a virtual reality or not I finally fully committed to what’s been going on. Combining all these eras of Marvel teens from every corner of the Marvel U really works because the cliches feel very tenuous and alliances feel strained throughout. I’ve read many of these characters in the titles they came from so the accumulation of all those stories really enhances this for me. As a Darkhawk fan from the 90s as well as someone who has never missed a Runaways appearance, this book had a great twist for me. I recommend this book to non super hero fans as well as seasoned Marvel Zombies. There’s really something for everyone here and Kev Walker’s art is always crisp and approachable.

This week’s Worst

X-Termination_Vol_1_2

X-Termination #2 – Conclusion

Marvel Comics

Writers: David Lapham, Marjorie Liu, Greg Pak
Artists: David Lopez, Guillermo Mogorron, Raul Valdes, Matteo Lolli, Don Ho, Lorenzo Ruggiero, Carlos Cuevas, Allen Martinez
It’s really rare that I use this space as a place to complain about comics. For the most part, I’m dedicated to talking about what I like in comics and letting people know about it. This storyline and this issue (in particular) is awful. Uncoordinated collaborative writing and art made this feel like the obvious editorially mandated story that it was. Two so/so X-Men books that everyone knew would be canceled crossover with the least important X-Men title (Astonishing) to combine into a really basic story that ends two titles. Extreme X-Men was the new version of the Exiles which means it was a reality jumping title that was basically Sliders meets the X-Men. Crossing that title with Age of Apocalypse makes sense because that’s another alternate reality X-Men title with low sales. The contributions made by the various artists seem rushed and are very inconsistent from page to page. It was jarring. The ending was obvious from the from the first page and it felt like everyone was just going through the motions. The upshot is that I will be picking up two less mediocre books from now on so at least there’s that.

Series 33 Episode 6 / Season 7 Episode 6

Every Dr Who episode has a lot to live up to. There aren’t many other TV series whose fan base can match the time-(wink)-tested level of fervor that Whovians are capable of. But a season premiere (okay, HALF season premiere) that is the first regular episode appearance (kinda) of a new regular companion? That carries some extra expectations. Did “The Bells of St John” live up to ‘em? Maybe not, but who cares?

cult-doctor-who-bells-of-st-john-poster

I enjoyed this episode. It felt like a throwback to the one-off adventures from the David Tennant/Russel T Davies era like “Fear Her” or “The Idiot’s Lantern.”  It also made me think of other new companion debuts, like Donna Noble’s “Partners in Crime” or Martha Jones’s “Smith & Jones.” Dr Who stories can be divided into 2 categories: stand-alone adventures like these, and episodes that are part of the larger mythos and involve a lot of continuity. If you feel like “The Bells of St John” didn’t have enough of the numerous plot threads that we had to juggle through most of the Amy & Rory Pond era, I say that we were due for some relief. This episode cleaned the palate. Besides, before long we’ll be hip deep in Moffat-style brain twisters as the Doctor begins to unravel Clara’s origins.

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Matt Smith was in reliable form – we got to see him be clever and a bit fierce, which he is so good at, even tho’ the fierce bit was courtesy of his doppleganger.  The appearance of someone that was a hold-over from the Christmas Special (other than Clara) was a neat surprise and something the show doesn’t often do, so I thought that was refreshing and I look forward to seeing more of him, it? As to the quantum-charged-chronological-matrix-paradox in the room, the question of whether or not Jenna Louise Coleman works as the Doctor’s companion? The question of whether or not she’ll stand up to the long list of beloved companions in the show’s history? Well, there are a lot of traits to tick off on the Good Companion checklist, and she meets a lot of them. She’s not annoying (I’m gonna allow for a little extra coyness in the getting-to-know-you episode). She’s not useless or TOO smart. It’s tricky, cause making her too much like Amy would be a mistake, but too far from the Amy mold might wreck Matt Smith’s performance. A good job was done, walking a tightrope between those two missteps. In a few years, we might look back and say that Clara was to Amy as Martha or Donna was to Rose. But what I expect is that the Mystery of Clara will lessen that comparison and much of how we feel about Clara will lie in her secret.

DW_StJohnSwing

What was your favorite moment, if you had one? Mine was the ceremony that was given to the new bow tie. That was wonderful. The fact that the Doctor didn’t have to share that moment with anyone else on screen was a smart move. It was just for him and us. Although, I wanted some reasoning given onscreen as to why the change in wardrobe. I was hoping it would be used to inform us a little more about his attitude since the Ponds’ departure. Least favorite mo’? Asking Clara to repeat, “Doctor who?” A little too cutesy and too beat into the ground. We’ve seen that word-play before and it worked then, but it already feels dated, as if it’s from another era in the Doctor’s life.  But these minor nit-picks are the most I could find to complain about while I’m already chomping at the bit for another new episode this week and Whovians don’t always get to say that!

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Marvel Now Part 2

Marvel Now has been out for a few months now and has proven it’s proven itself as more than a gimmick. New titles, reinvented characters, and new rosters make Marvel Now the most talked about initiative in comics in the last 6 months. Adam and Nick go through each title and break down what’s been going on.

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Best Moments In Comics 2013

Here’s a few of my favorite panels from recent comics. This has been a big month for the Batman books with two major stories that made a huge impact on the Bat-mythos. Let’s start with a few from those books:

jason todd red hood

This is a few lines from Red Hood & The Outlaws #16. This is further weird manipulation of Batman continuity. The Robins really got hit by the New 52 hard.

podcast reviews death of the family

Every Batman family book in the 16th week of the New 52 ended with Joker teasing what’s on the platter. This reminded of of the movie Se7en.

batman comics podcast review

The reveal wasn’t what this looked like…it was all a joke. It was somewhat of a let down for me.

comics podcast review joker

This is how Batman screws with Joker at the end of Death of the Family.

dc comics the knight

The death of The Knight

alfred costume death

The lead in to the Death of Damian. Will Alfred have to answer to Bruce for this?

batman pets

What will become of Damian’s pets?

damian wayne dick grayson best

I find myself agreeing. This was one of the best (and an arguement could be made THE best) Batman and Robin teams ever. He will be missed.

wayne dc comics review

Will we see Damian as Robin or even Batman in the future? Time will tell.

If you like checking out this type of thing…I have tons more panels from the whole history of comics at my other site – ComicBookPanels.com