This week has seen the almost inevitable penultimate episodes of many shows before the mid-season break, and the penultimate episode of Sons of Anarchy and its television run. Here are my thoughts on many of these shows along with a few comic book reviews including Wolf Moon and Hulk, and a huge monster movie remake.
WWE Raw 1/12
Raw this week wasnt the greatest of shows- we opened with a nice twist to the upcoming TLC PPV, as if John Cena loses to Seth Rollins he will no longer be the number1 contender. This adds a nice dynamic to the match, and continues the theme of anonymous GM’s hating on Cena. During the night we were also treated to a great segment between Ambrose and Wyatt who really seem to have found a nice groove together and could once again steal the show at TLC. However we also had a poor Divas match, far too much Big Show, more un needed Adam Rose and the Bunny (this needs to be ended now) and the same ending we’ve had for weeks now- a team Cena and Authority beat down even though the teams have split. The real saving grace of the night was the honesty in Rollins promo and the pure gold that flowed from the mouth of Paul Heyman as he reminded the world that Brock Lesnar is the man in this company and that the Gold still matters. This man is pure money when he talks, and always has been so why don’t we see more of him? Overall this wasnt a great show.
Doc Green has been a real change of pace for the Hulk series, and this issue gave us another shift in his character, as he went to visit the X-Men to get Kitty Pryde to remove a tumour caused by the Extremis injection that is slowly killing him. Once this was removed we finally got to see Doc Green sleep, leading to the return of Banner who seemed surprised seeing what his alter ego had been up to. It was at this point that the issue got intriguing as Doc Green had clearly accounted for this return and had planned exceptionally well so there was no choice for Banner but to allow Green to reassert control. Add to this the future visions/dreams of Maestro from Doc Green and this series continues to set up future story lines very well. This was a good read but not the most exciting of books, however the hints at the future were brilliant.
Sons of Anarchy- S7 Ep12 Red Rose
This is the penultimate episode of what has been one of the consistently best shows on television over the last 6years, and this episode gave us some key moments for the end. This episode was one of the hardest to watch, as we got to see Jax at a crossroads when he finally caught up with Gemma- and you were left wondering if he could get the revenge he seeks for the death of his wife or if one again Gemma would win. This was done so well, and the emotion was conveyed brilliantly in the final dual focus shot that really left me feeling somewhat heartbroken for Jax but happy that Gemma finally got what she has deserved for so long. There were numerous other threads for the end being solved here- such as the final outcome of Juice and the inevitable hints that Jax himself may have to face a ‘Mayhem’ vote.
WWE Monday Night Wars- S1 Ep15 Foundations of War
This episode took a different approach to the rest of the series so far- and that wasnt necessarily a bad thing. This episode looked at two wrestlers who remained deeply intrenched in their respective companies for the entirety of the monday night wars and really were at the top of the rosters in the form of Sting and Undertaker. This episode very much focused on the rise and the role of both superstars in their respective companies during this time period and highlighted the similarities between the stars in terms of their ever-changing personas to keep fans engaged. This episode was nicely timed to coincide with Stings first ever WWE appearance, and really gave a nice look at the role he played within WCW and why fans of 90’s wrestling really loved him.
Hellboy and BPRD #1
This is a book I’ve really been looking forward too- as any time Hellboy gets a monthly title you can be sure the story quality will be high as Mignola never delivers anything less than his absolute best. However this title had the added bonus of Alex Maleev on artwork, and his rough and sketchy style really fits the world of Hellboy and the BPRD in this first issue. The first issue doesn’t give us a huge amount of story but instead focuses on explaining the team and their first mission with Hellboy in the field. It also gives us some glimpses into the worried ming of Professor Bruttenholm around the future of his adopted son- and we all know how this plays out over time. This was a strong first issue that promises a lot for the future and im sure will deliver.
Agents of SHIELD- S2 Ep9 Ye Who Enter Here
This episode was really anticipated by myself, as I was convinced that we would finally get to see the InHuman temple and find out that Skye is a Kree. And we didn’t actually get either of the confirmations that I was looking for, however they were both heavily hinted at as it was confirmed the blue alien was Kree meaning Skye does now have Kree blood and we got to see the effect the Temple can have on humans as Mac went completely insane against his team. This was another strong episode that furthered the story of the Kree, HYdra and the eventual InHumans- all of which i cant wait to actual see finally give us a pay off. The show has really grown in strength since the back half of season1 and continues to look better and tell much more complex and developed stories brilliantly, this is how you make a must watch television comic book show.
Arrow/Flash 2Night Crossover
I have to admit that i was massively excited when I heard this was taking place- and the two episodes didnt fail to deliver, they gave us easily the best two episodes that either of these shows has had so far this season. The Arrow episode had the stronger villain, in the form of Boomerang but the Flash episode had an amazing 5minute fight scene between the two heroes that is well worth a watch for any comic book fan out there. Both episodes delivered story development in spades as Barry and Oliver managed to learn life lessons from each other and experience a very different city with very different problems on their respective journeys to Central and Starling City, and this mutual appreciation and learning really helped the characters develop further than they have so far this season. The comedy elements in both were also really well done, as the Flash is the lighter and brighter of the shows in both terms and dialog- and this was well filtered into both shows and really worked. There were some great moments for Cisco in both shows, including asking if he could see the ‘Arrowcave’ and redesigning the Arrows outfit for him. Oliver’s distrust of Dr Wells was also nice as no-one seems to have noticed his real villainous traits so it was good to see someone finally find him odd, and why the hell did he actual name drop ‘The Batman?’ is this purely to mess with us geeks?
Overall the two night event was great and some of the best crossover television in a long time- check it out if for nothing else than the amazingly shot and well designed Flash Vs Arrow fight scene. And the encounter with Boomerang in ARGUS headquarters was equally as impressive.
American Horror Story- S4 Ep8 Blood Bath
This show continues to be more and more about Dandy, and his out-and-out insanity leading to an eventual showdown with the entire Freakshow. Every moment Dandy is on the screen is un-nerving and creepy as you never really know what he’s going to be doing next and how dangerous it may be. Seeing him kill his mother and torment the therapist was great this week as we got een more of his gradual decent into total sociopath.
We also got to see the fall out of ‘Mon Petit’ and her disappearance, which ultimately led to the demise of Ethal and the hands of Elsa and the first real portrayal of how evil Elsa can truly be to protect herself from anyone and anything looking to cause her harm. This show continues to develop its characters and expand its story telling in a really engaging and entertaining way, and as such may well end up being the best series of the show yet.
Wolf Moon #1
This is the newest title from Cullen Bunn to get a release through Vertigo- and adds a new twist to the werewolf mythology, as it suggests that the virus changes host each full moon rather than is spread through bites, scratches and cuts. This is a unique take that isn’t even divulged until the end- but is certainly a new way to look at the werewolf curse and makes tracking it harder and more random which is a good story point considering our main character is looking to find and kill the beast for the atrocities it committed against his family.
The book is well written, telling most of the story through what appear to be diary page snippets of the lead character which explain his motivations and his thoughts on the werewolf curse which are definitely not what I was expecting. The artwork for the book looks good too, and is not afraid to be very mature in its content showing some very nasty and gruesome looking werewolf attacks and disfigured victims as the story moves along. This is a good first issue that has me intrigued for how the story will end and where it will be going especially given the final two pages of the issue.
This book is well worth a read this week, if you missed it last week.
I’m going to admit this right now, I’m a huge fan of the original Godzilla movies and their portrayal of the Monster and how he affects people both as a beast and a hero. This is one of the reasons I was so disappointed with the 1998 remake- it took away everything that was good about Godzilla and attempted to make a huge set piece action movie. Luckily this isn’t the case here, and what you get is a well thought out monster movie that positions Godzilla at the centre as a hero- just the way he was when I was a child. The movie starts by giving us some nice background information on Godzilla and the other Kaiju from as early as 1945, before mocving into the late 90’s to set up the story. While the majority of the film after the initial point of Kaiju discover takes place following around one key soldier on his path home to save his family the movie ties his fate with that of the whole Planets and Godzilla’s in a very well paced and thought out process.Were not treated to our first Full look at Godzilla until around 1hour in, but we are given some great glimpses through the use of Flares and explosives from the soldiers that give us short and amazing shots of him- these are so well done that when you get your first glimpse of Godzilla it literally gives you goose bumps.
The fight scenes are brilliantly shot and kept to a minimum- to make their impact meaningful, but the level of carnage they cause is totally realistic. If you’re looking for a good monster movie and loved the old Japanese Godzilla films you can’t go wrong here.