‘Nightwing’ #10 review

‘Nightwing’ #10 review

'Nightwing' #10 cover by Chris Sotomayor & Marcus To
‘Nightwing’ #10 cover by Chris Sotomayor & Marcus To
  • Written by Tim Seeley
  • Pencils & Inks by Marcus To
  • Coloured by Chris Sotomayor
  • Cover by Chris Sotomayor & Marcus To

“BLUDHAVEN” part one! Following “Night of the Monster Men” and his battle with Raptor, Nightwing heads to Blüdhaven for a fresh start. But that doesn’t last long when he runs into a crew of former Bat-villains!

Pickup your copy of ‘Nightwing’ #10 at Comixology now!

There’s a fair bit of dejavu going on in ‘Nightwing’ comics right now. This ‘new chapter’ in the characters life feels very much like a revisit to ‘Nightwing’ circa 1996.

Very early in the characters life he moved from Gotham to Blüdhaven to get some distance from Batman. All of that history was wiped out during the New 52 era which took the Dick Grayson character in strange new directions. With Rebirth DC Comics are making one of their best decisions of recent years by returning him to the place that made him famous.

This first chapter in the Blüdhaven story is very much about setting the scene. Dick spends very little of the story in costume as the story focuses more on his pre-nighttime activity. Taking the story at face value it’s fairly mundane. We see Dick interviewing for a volunteer position. Moving in to his new apartment. Spending the evening binging on comics, TV shows and junk food.

His everyday life is cut short by a police chase and Nightwing is finally able to hit the Blüdhaven streets.

Seeing Dick trying to build a normal life, particularly one away from the Wayne fortune is one of the most interesting aspects of the story. Despite some questionable choices by DC Comics in recent years Dick has become one of the most compelling characters in their universe. Readers identify with him and DC seem to have finally picked up on this.

Using this story to flesh out the Dick Grayson character is the perfect way to help put some heart back in this series. Running up to this issue there have been some small character moments but nothing which quite compares.

Marcus To and Chris Sotomayor bring a nice new aesthetic to the series. The new locale offers a chance to design some new environments for Nightwing to inhabit and the Blüdhaven character itself becomes quite important even just within this one issue.

I’ve found in the past that Dick looks completely different from page-to-page under some artists but that is not the case here. Characters are well defined throughout with guest appearances by Robin, Batman and Batgirl this issue is full of things to see.

If I had to have one gripe it would be that some of the daytime scenes felt a little washed out when compared to the night scenes. As a stylistic choice it isn’t bad but given the comparisons between Blüdhaven and Las Vegas (casinos, gambling etc…) it doesn’t quite match up.

Verdict

‘Nightwing’ #10 is a good re-contextualisation of its titular character. A familiar setting seen from a new perspective. There’s some minor intrigue with the villains but for now this story is firmly pointed at Dick Grayson himself.

4 stars

 

Explosive new ‘Wonder Woman’ image released

Gal Gadot in 'Wonder Woman'
Gal Gadot in ‘Wonder Woman’

This month’s issue of Empire Magazine features a brief scoop on ‘Wonder Woman’.

The new image (left) shows Gal Gadot in full action sprinting across a battlefield during WW1.

Speaking in the article the films director, Patty Jenkins, discusses the lead characters motivations.

“What motivates her is philosophical,” explains director Patty Jenkins on the truly wondrous Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), seen here on the World War I battlefield. “She isn’t just taking out bad guys or fighting crime. She believes in goodness and love. [She] is fierce and willing to fight, but only to protect a better vision for mankind. Hers is really a coming-of-age story.”

For more on ‘Wonder Woman’ and other upcoming 2017 films pickup the latest issue of Empire or head over to their website!

Gal Gadot co-stars in ‘Wonder Woman’ with Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Ewen Bremner, Saïd Taghmaoui, Elena Anaya, Connie Nielsen and Lucy Davis. The film is directed by Patty Jenkins and hits cinemas on June 2nd 2017.

[source: Empire]

'MMPR' #10 artwork by Jonathan Lam

‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ #10 review

'MMPR' #10 cover art by Jamal Campbell
‘MMPR’ #10 cover art by Jamal Campbell
  • Written by Kyle Higgins
  • Illustrated by Jonathan Lam
  • Colours by Joana Lafuente
  • Cover by Jamal Campbell

Special standalone issue featuring guest artist Jon Lam! As someone who tends to shy away from conflict and confrontation, Billy feels like the least likely candidate to protect Earth. When he first receives his Power Coin, he’s constantly afraid of not being prepared, and it’ll take a carefully strategized battle and the support of his friends to feel like a true member of the team.

Pickup your copy of ‘MMPR’ #10 at Comixology now!

I have to admit that I don’t generally read comic book synopsis ahead of the issues release. My comic books are one area that spoilers are non-existent to me. So colour me confused when I start reading this book only to find it hasn’t picked up where the last one left off.

Now for this review I have read the synopsis above and understand this is a standalone issue. The next full arc of ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ will begin in issue #11 due for release on January 18th.

With that out of the way lets talk issue #10. Focussing on Billy is a nice segue from the main storyline. His character, regardless of importance, is often neglected in all aspects of the franchise. All we really know of him is his intelligence and technical know-how.

But what writer Kyle Higgins has set out to do with this series is really level the playing field. Each of the lead characters is of equal importance to the story and each has had their moment to shine.

This self-contained story of Billy is in many ways quite downbeat. The spotlight is shone on his insecurities and how they affect him even when powered up as the Blue Ranger. Higgins does a great job of portraying the emotions of the character through his dialogue and the actions he takes throughout the story.

The emotional struggle of any of the lead characters is what helps makes this series stand high above other, more generic, TV tie-in comics.

What was most surprising for me was the ending. Although the story of the issue itself is resolved with Billy returning the book to the library, emotionally the story is very much open ended. It’s brave to leave the character in an emotionally dependant state at the end. I will be intrigued to see if this is touched upon again in the future as it would be good to see how Billy develops and grows from here.

Visually the issue is a departure from the previous issues but it still looks great. Artist Jonathan Lam is able to pack a similar emotional punch to the story through his illustrations.

The colours are vibrant as ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ fans would expect. Character designs are strong and consistent throughout and the environments are well detailed. I found the entire issue immersive from start to finish.

Billy doesn’t quite resemble his TV counterpart but as I’ve said before in reviews of this series it’s more about the personalities than replicating the actors faces.

Verdict

‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ #10 is a strong, self-contained, emotional arc. It humanises a character in a franchise which often relied on a message-of-the-week approach over the emotional development of its characters. Well worth a read.

4 stars

Deadpool cameo in ‘Logan’ debunked

'Logan' poster art
‘Logan’ poster art

It’s been an interesting couple of days in the world of ‘Logan’. First came the release of this new poster featuring a very metaphorical sun setting on Hugh Jackman.

Then came news from The Wrap that ‘Deadpool’ star Ryan Reynolds had filmed a cameo for the film. Insiders on the film had reportedly leaked that the film was to feature a stinger directed by ‘Deadpool 2’ director David Leitch tying to the two films together.

However upon hearing the news Ryan Reynolds, ‘Logan’ star Hugh Jackman and its director James Mangold all felt they needed to set the world straight via a series of tweets:

It was Mangold in particular who felt he needed to impress upon social media that the reports were wrong. At this point he has tweeted or responses to over twenty tweets emphasising that Deadpool would not be appearing in ‘Logan’. Here are some of our favourites:

Would you like to see the two characters on film together again? Under the watchful eyes of Leitch and Mangold could they rewrite the errors of ‘X-Men Origin : Wolverine’?

 

 

'Alien Covenant' logo image

The first ‘Alien: Covenant’ trailer is here

'Alien: Covenant' poster art
‘Alien: Covenant’ poster art

Merry Christmas everyone! To celebrate the holidays the lovely people at 20th Century Fox have a present for us. The first trailer for Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien: Covenant’.

Teased on Christmas Eve with an image of one of the alien eggs ready to hatch this full trailer shows the full horror set to befall the films cast.

A brief synopsis for the sequel to ‘Prometheus’ states:

Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, the crew of the colony ship Covenant discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world — whose sole inhabitant is the ‘synthetic’ David (Michael Fassbender), survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.

Due for release on May 19th 2017 ‘Alien: Covenant’ stars Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Billy Crudup, Noomi Rapace, and Guy Pearce.

You can view the trailer in the player below. Let us know what you think in the comments!

Gal Gadot in 'Wonder Woman'

New ‘Wonder Woman’ image released

Gal Gadot in 'Wonder Woman'
Gal Gadot in ‘Wonder Woman’

DC Comics are continuing to increase the marketing presence of both ‘Justice League’ and ‘Wonder Woman’. Earlier this week saw the release of new image and interview snippet for ‘Justice League’ (read it here). Now we have a new snippet from ‘Wonder Woman’ director Patty Jenkins.

Premiering this new image of Diana moments before she leaves Themiscyra for man’s world the director says:

“This is her moment, she’s heard all the terrible things about man’s land. But she’s also heard that mankind is in need and under duress. This is her great moment to make the decision to be the one to try and save them.”

It’s worth noting the sword in Diana’s hand. The article refers to the weapons as ‘the God killer’ sword. Whom may the sword have slain? Whom might it be about to slay? Let us know your theories!

Gal Gadot co-stars in ‘Wonder Woman’ with Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Ewen Bremner, Saïd Taghmaoui, Elena Anaya, Connie Nielsen and Lucy Davis. The film is directed by Patty Jenkins and hits cinemas on June 2nd 2017.

[source: EW]

Benedict Cumberbatch in 'Doctor Strange'

‘Doctor Strange’ coming to Blu-ray in March

Poster artwork for Marvel Studios upcoming 'Doctor Strange'
Poster artwork for Marvel Studios upcoming ‘Doctor Strange’

Late yesterday evening the UK & Ireland Twitter account for Marvel (@MarvelUK) announced that ‘Doctor Strange’ will get it’s home video release on March 6th 2017. They’ve even given us a sneaky peek at the cover art!

No word yet on the technical specifications for the Blu-ray or DVD or any confirmation of when the set will be released in the US. Fans worldwide should expect similar release dates in their own territories given Disney/Marvels usual release schedules.
Currently the film has grossed $653.3M worldwide. That gross is comprised of a $226.6M domestic gross and $426.6M international though the film is still in cinemas.

Here’s a closer look at the Blu-ray cover:

'Doctor Strange' UK Blu-ray cover art
‘Doctor Strange’ UK Blu-ray cover art

‘Doctor Strange’ stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular character along with Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo, Benedict Wong as Wong, Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One and Rachel McAdams, Michael Stuhlbarg, Scott Adkins, Amy Landecker, and Mads Mikkelsen. The film is directed by Scott Derrickson.

 

Ezra Miller, Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot in 'Justice League'

New ‘Justice League’ and ‘Wonder Woman’ images released

DC Comics fans have been treated today, first we got a selection of quirky character posters for ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ (see those here) and now we have one new still each from ‘Justice League’ and ‘Wonder Woman’.

First up: a brief article in Entertainment Weekly today discusses director Zack Snyder and star Ezra Miller’s thoughts on ‘Justice League’. Snyder is quoted as saying:

“I’m super happy with the chemistry of my league of justice doers,”

Ezra Miller, Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot in 'Justice League'
Ezra Miller, Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot in ‘Justice League’

Ezra Miller, who stars in ‘Justice League’ as Barry Allen/The Flash discusses his characters thoughts on other members of the League:

“Uncle Fish Curry [Aquaman] is very grumpy. Dad [Batman] gets grumpy too. (He’s had a long life of fighting crime.) ­Wonder Woman is very considerate, so even though she’s annoyed with the Flash, she’s still very compassionate.”

Just as fans were getting their heads around this new image the UK Twitter account for the upcoming ‘Wonder Woman’ film released a new still of the character on horeseback.

Gal Gadot in 'Wonder Woman'
Gal Gadot in ‘Wonder Woman’

‘Justice League’ stars Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Superman and Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. Joining them are Jason Mamoa as Arthur Curry/Aquaman, Ray Fisher as Victor Stone/Cyborg, and Ezra Miller as Barry Allen/The Flash.

Directed by Zack Snyder, the film will hit cinemas on November 10, 2017.

Gal Gadot co-stars in ‘Wonder Woman’ with Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Ewen Bremner, Saïd Taghmaoui, Elena Anaya, Connie Nielsen and Lucy Davis. The film is directed by Patty Jenkins and hits cinemas on June 2nd 2017.

New ‘Lego Batman Movie’ posters released

Ahead of the February release of ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ the lovely people at Warner Bros. and Lego have released a selection character posters. Featuring the vocal talents of Will Arnett, Michael Cera and Rosario Dawson as Batman, Robin and Batgirl the film synopsis reads:

In the irreverent spirit of fun that made The LEGO® Movie a worldwide phenomenon, the self-described leading man of that ensemble—LEGO Batman—stars in his own big-screen adventure. But there are big changes brewing in Gotham, and if he wants to save the city from The Joker’s hostile takeover, Batman may have to drop the lone vigilante thing, try to work with others and maybe, just maybe, learn to lighten up.

The cast of 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'

‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ review

'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' poster art
‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ poster art
  • Directed by Gareth Edwards
  • Written by Chris Weitz; Tony Gilroy, Kohn Knoll & Gary Whitta
  • Starring Felicity Jones; Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Ben Mendelsohn & Mads Mikkelson

The Rebel Alliance makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow.

‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ is in cinemas worldwide now! Beware of spoilers.

There’s no doubt in saying that I was hyped to see ‘Rogue One’. I loved ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ and the trailers for this film were unavoidably cool, edgy and grown up by comparison.

Watching ‘Rogue One’ for the first time is something akin to seeing a fan film. A version of a franchise you know well with the boundaries removed. A version where the rules no longer apply and consequences are all the more real.

What Gareth Edwards has been able to create with ‘Rogue One’ is a much more bleak version of what we have come to know of the franchise. Rumours that Disney/Lucasfilm had called for reshoots to inject more ‘Force Awakens’ to the film are easily dashed the moment the film starts.

What is instantly noticeable when watching ‘Rogue One’ is the visuals. Cinematographer Greig Fraser (‘Zero Dark Thirty’, ‘Let Me In’) brings a new aesthetic to a galaxy far, far away. Long sweeping landscape shots become the norm here. Previous films have always featured establishing shots but ‘Rogue One’ goes to great lengths to show you the scale of its locales. What’s also notable is the colour pallette.

Particularly in the more recent ‘Star Wars’ films; primary colours have been almost hyper realist in design. ‘Rogue One’ is anything other than hyper. It’s in fact truly realist if not bleak.

The opening sequence on Lah’mu is perhaps the most bleak. The colours are almost entirely washed out and set the scene for the remainder of the film perfectly.  The whole sequence feels cold and downbeat. It serves as the perfect introduction to Ben Mendelsohn as Orson Krennic. His white uniform stands out sharply against the rocky terrain whilst the trooper uniforms also stand out in stark contract to the environment.

From the Rebel base to Jedha and finally to Scarif the landscapes of ‘Rogue One’ are breathtaking. The ocean blues and palm tree greens of Scarif are perhaps the most striking in any of the ‘Star Wars’ films. There’s something about the planet which really stands out for me as one of the best locations in ‘Star Wars’ history.

It’s not just the look of ‘Rogue One’ which makes the film work so well. Its story is also a huge bonus. Considering the story is essentially clipped from the opening crawl of ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ the writing team did an excellent job of squeezing as much story out of those lines as they could.

Disney/Lucasfilm deserve a huge amount of credit for allowing the writing team to make some of the choices that they do with this story. There were creative choices throughout this film which I had hoped for but never expected to happen. The arc of Jyn Erso is by no means a mirror of the journeys of other ‘Star Wars’ heroes. There are no echoes of Luke Skywalker or Rey. There’s not even an echo of Anakin Skywalker. Well… maybe the absent parents but that’s about it.

Instead of focussing on a lead what ‘Rogue One’ spends much of its opening act constructing is a feeling of connection with each of the films leads. The connection we feel as an audience brings a huge amount of weight (and pay off for the writers) during the films third act. It’s that third act which really pulls out the stops to show what the ‘Star Wars’ franchise is capable of when the shackles are removed.

Lets touch on the elephant spoiler in the room: everyone dies.

It was perhaps the boldest choice of all to allow each of the rebels on Scarif to meet a nasty end. Each one carries a weight of its own which the audience I saw the film with really felt. There are a couple, Bodhi in particular, which fall slightly flat but overall they pack a punch as we watch each character fall.

There’s only one flaw in the films third act and that is the misdirection of Cassian’s ‘death’. When he reappears to save Jyn leading to a romantic death scene on the beach it is the only time the film slouches towards cliché. It is still entirely forgivable purely because it’s nice to see the characters have a moment of peace and acceptance before the blast from the Death Star consumes the base.

I’m not going to touch on the ending as it’s such a special moment that is needs to be experienced by the audience first hand.

I had some reservations about Felicity Jones going in to the film but I had underestimated how important the ensemble cast would be in ‘Rogue One’. They lead cast make for a very compelling group of characters. Standouts for me were Diego Luna as Cassian and Alan tidy as K-2SO. ‘Star Wars’ is obviously famous for its droid roles and K-2SO is another fine creation. Much like C3P0 before him he adds a huge amount of comedy to proceedings. I can’t tell you how much this film needed some lighter moments.

The Cassian character works as a great inroad to the rebellion. Through his eyes we get to see a totally different perspective from any other film in the franchise. It’s another brave move of the creative team to pain the rebels as a desperate bunch willing to kill and play dirty to order to gain the upper hand. There were moments in ‘Rogue One’ where I almost felt sympathy for the empire.

I can’t talk about the characters without mentioning Darth Vader. His appearance may have been slightly over egged by the trailers but he still has an impact on the film. When all is said and done the final moments of the film may go down in history as one of the greatest Darth Vader moments ever committed to film.

Before I go on too long I need to mention the score by Michael Giacchino. The first time I listened to the music I found it slightly jarring. There are brief moments of two or three familiar notes harking back to themes from all the other films. Those brief moments then lead in to huge, sprawling pieces of music which are original to the franchise. There are longer moments of real, true ‘Star Wars’ themes peppered throughout the soundtrack. On the whole this is an original creation which truly complements the film perfectly. Giacchino had huge shoes to fill following John Williams in to the world of ‘Star Wars’ but he handles it well.

Verdict

‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ is utterly brilliant. Best described as like watching ‘Star Wars’ for the first time having travelled to an alternate universe. The storytelling is top notch. This film is an absolute must see!

5 stars