This weeks ‘Short Thoughts’ remains a smaller column than normal as the bulk of my television is still on break or has finished (I’ll miss you SOA and Boardwalk) but there is still some excitement around NXT, Star WArs #1 and Avengers #40. So let’s get on with what I enjoyed this week.
Star Wars #1
This was one of the most anticipated books of 2015 and we only had to wait 2weeks to get it, and having read the book almost instantly it didn’t disappoint. The story jumps in between episodes 4&5 and instantly gives you the feeling that the characters you loved and the relationships between them that were so good have never been away or slightly eroded by some horrible prequel work. This book has the characters nailed prefectly- Han Solo is the wise cracking slime you love from the movies, and Luke is the regular self-righteous Jedi in training who believes he is more capable than he truly is (at this point). The story focuses on this small band of Rebels trying to destroy an Imperial Munitions factory, only for the escape to go wrong and Vader to arrive. We also get left with a cliff hanger of a last page- if you love Star Wars this is easily for you! John Cassaday does a great job of recapturing the look of the classic trilogy and the feel of the environments while Aaron does a great job on the dialog and story here, this is the Galaxy far far away we all love.
Spider-Verse has been a really great event so far, however this may be the weakest issue- that doesn’t mean its a bad issue but it doesn’t directly link into the current timeline of the story and only gives us a few short tales of new ‘Spiders’ from across the universes. However on a positive note we do get to see ‘Marvel vs Capcom’ Spiderman get some love in this issue and we get a very cool looking ‘Lucha-Spidey’ from Mexico. Unfortunately though this is an issue that can be easily missed and you wouldn’t even notice, which given the events really positive run so far is a real shame. I wouldn’t rush out to buy this, but i would borrow it if someone you know has the book- but missing out is no big deal here.
This is almost the end point for the Avengers and the massive ‘Time Runs Out’ storyline that Jonathan Hickman has been telling and this issue was well worth the long format of story telling that has taken place and featured a huge ending for a multitude of reasons. Hickman has been building to the ends of the ‘multiverse’ and the 616 universe for a long time now, and has told the tale of numerous teams trying to prevent this and save their world- including the Cabal, the Avengers, The new Avengers and the Illuminati with each of these teams crossing paths on moe than one occasion. This issue was no different except we saw the end game that the Illuminati have been playing come to fruition and it was well worth the wait, as was the personal end game of T’Challa/Black Panther and his long-standing hatred for Namor post ‘Avengers vs Xmen.’ This was a great issue that really cements the work Hickman has done as one of the modern great stories for the Avengers.
Agent Carter- S1 Ep3 Time and Tide
Agent Carter has been a very pleasant surprise- this show has been great in the first three episodes and a lot of this is down to the feel of the show and the brilliant lead n Hayley Atwell. This episode saw Peggy Carter tracking down the stolen Stark Tech with Jarvis and really showed us just how good see truly is as a s secret agent and just how much the SSR are misusing her skill set, the fight scene alone towards the end shows how good she is compared to the rest of the department and that’s before you add in her ability to be covert and to think outside of the box. This episode focused on her and her skill set and this was highlighted to great effect when Jarvis was being interrogated by the SSR, and she had to think on her feet and respond fast. However the show also builds on Peggy as a strong single woman and her views of the world exceptionally well and getting some more story time of Peggy not as an agent and using this to hep her think clearly was a nice addition this week. This show continues to be a brilliantly surprise and i cant wait for the next episode.
This weeks episode promised to be huge, as it was the first Wednesday night show on the network following their move from Thursday and as a result we were given Zayn vs Neville for the NXT title as a main event. Also on the show we got to see Balor vs Kidd to open up the event and this was a great match between two of WWE’s best talents today, it felt like they left a lot out of the match and worked slower than these two could but this only means if this feud is revisited we could get a better match than the great one we got here. We also got treated to a women’s tag team match between Natalya, Charlotte vs Beck Lynch and Sasha Banks which gave us some good action but didn’t feel as good as it should have been given the talent involved, yet it still worth going back and checking out. The only minor miss on the entire show was the eagerly anticipated and very well-built to Bull Dempsey vs Baron Corbin match that ended n 4minutes and did neither man no favour. I was expecting good things from this match as the monster vs monster build had been great and the fans were fully behind this- however this match delivered nothing except showing how much work Corbin needs compared to Dempsey and a sour taste with that ending. Contrastingly the main event was just as good as everyone expected- do we ever get a bad match from Zayn or Neville? And does anyone look so broken and sell injuries better than Zayn, I honestly thought he was done at one point he sold the hurricanrana so well. This match was a good back and forth effort that helped establish Zayn as the champion going forward while showcasing some of the best of Neville (it was as good as REvolution but was great) and even set up the next feud for Zayn with the ending. This was once again the best WWE show on television.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
I’ll admit im behind on the release of films- having two small children has negated my cinema time bar a really forwarded planned movie night. So as a result this is my first viewing of this film, and I was blown away by just how brilliant a ;piece of movie making this film was- not from a storyline or direction standpoint but from a motion capture standpoint as every moment of Caesar on-screen was unmissable and highly emotional. Andy Serkis truly deserves all the credit in the world for his performance here, as everything he did was amazing from th subtle facial movements to the full on fight scenes everything looked great and flowed like real movments while conveying a level of emotion i never though possible from a motion captured ape. And that was the real success of this film- the Apes as every interaction between them (mainly the sign language) despite having mainly no words or dialog was amazing and engrossing and you truly found yourself rooting for their survival and for Caesar to come out on tp in the end. The story was well written and the action scenes were very shot, but this movie is all about Caesar and he truly steals the show in a movie that has to be seen for the visuals alone, and the sheer emotion that is portrayed and placed into the film by Serkis’s amazing work.
WWE Raw 12/1/15
This weeks RAW was a huge improvement over last weeks poor start to the year, and most of this was once again thanks to the amazing in ring and promo ability of Seth Rollins who delivered the real stand ut moment of the show right at the end. The whole contract signing between Rollins, Cena and Lesnar was brilliant and had an unexpected payoff for sure. The match to open the night also saw Cena defeated at the hands of Rollins- albeit not fairly but this was good television match between the two and only he,ps to continue to build the stock of Rollins. We also saw Reigns and Rusev in decent matches and gain victories to keep them looking strong going into the Royal Rumble, but do we still only have 3matches at the rumble right now?! We also got to see Bryan back this week, albeit not in action but it was good to see him.
WWE Smackdown 15/1/15
This weeks Smackdown was another improvement over previous shows, the main reason for this was the main event and the brilliance of Bryan on his return as he looked like he hasn’t missed a beat and really brought the intensity back to the ring that has been missing from his partners on tonight’s 6man tag match (Reigns and Ambrose) as neither of these guys looked great when compared to Bryan. Rollins was on a roll again tonight with his part in this match and his interaction with Heyman (I would watch him talk for hours) as this was a real highlight of the week promo segment. Other than this we got a short Bad News Barrett match but no bad news, which is always a major disappointment and the continuation of the Miz and Uso’s storyline to set up a Rumble match. Not a great show but a huge improvement over the last few.
I also want to mention the WWE Network here, as i got it this week (were way behind in the Uk) ahead of the launch today (19th Jan) and I am loving the availability of the content- the library is huge featuring a host of great PPV’s I have been reliving and my wife has been enjoying for the first time. Alongside that there’s a host of exclusive content that is great, and the navigation and look of the network is top-notch. So far im very happy with the set-up and would recommend this to any WWE wrestling fan.