2019 Spring/Summer Comic Book Preview

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

  It’s been a while since I’ve written an article on comic books. As I’ve often said, one of my main goals at World’s Best Media has been to be an advocate for comic books.  To champion comics as a beautiful, thought provoking, worthwhile literature. Like all mediums, comics books and graphic novels can run the gamut from complete garbage to transcendent pieces of art. To use television as an example, for every “Big Bang Theory” (ugh) to masterpieces like “The Wire” or “Game of Thrones”. As we head into Spring with Summer around the corner, DC and Marvel are gearing up for some high profile books from their top writers and artists to tell big event stories. Think of it like the comic book world’s version the Summer Blockbuster Season at the movies. This year is no exception and even after years of reading comics for a couple of decades now I still get excited. (Jesus Christ! Wait a second. When did I do ANYTHING “decades ago”?! When did THAT happen?! Time is a cruel mistress, I suppose)

In this article I’m going to give you folks a look at some of the coolest comics DC and Marvel have hitting stands over the next couple of months. There are some pretty damn cool books here and like I said I never fail to get excited about the Summer Comic Book Events. 

However, it can be difficult to get into comics especially if you’re a newcomer. So even if this’ll be your first time picking up a comic book or you’re a lapsed fan comings looking to get back into comics, I have something here that I think will help you out. * if you’re a comic book readers and understand the basics, you can skip right ahead to out Spring/Summer Comic Book Preview. Otherwise… 

Here’s a quick refresher: New to Comic 101.  This will help you appreciate some very sick new comics and graphic novels coming out this spring and summer when they hit stores and Apps. If you’ve seen a Marvel movie, for example, and are trying to decide where to start, it can be intimidating. No is much is I love Marvel, DC Comics is much better at making comic books accessible to newcomers. They tend to make their stories available in simple, easy to grasp formats. They tend to publish their graphic novels as individual stories that you can pick up like a regular novel and understand without having read anything else about the character (more or less). Then you can go out and grab another story featuring the same character and (more or less) be able to follow along. There might be some confusion here and there about small details, but that’s why god invented Google. Let’s say you’ve read one or two Wonder Woman or Superman graphic novels or collected editions, as you begin to read more, you start to understand when stories take place in a a books history, the overall continuity of a character or universe, the best writers and artists. Basically you start to become a comic book reader.

  As I’ve explained in the past, what we call graphic novels are really mostly collected editions which are just collections of individual comics that make up one larger story, in easy to read book/graphic novel form. DC seems to really understand that graphic novels and collected editions are incredibly important because they help draw in new readers. Right now drawing in new readers is by far the most important priority of every comic book publisher.

Now, without further ado…

2019 SPRING/SUMMER COMIC BOOK PREVIEW 

DC’S YEAR OF THE VILLAIN #1 (One-Shot)

Release Date: 5/1/19

Writers –  Brian Michael Bendis, Scott Snyder, & James Tynion IV

Artist- Jim Cheung, Alex Maleev, & Francis Manapul 

Cover- Greg Capullo 

This is the must buy comic book of the season. This special one shot is made up of three separate stories from DC’s top writers and artists. Each of the three stories serve to set up the major story arcs and plot points in DC‘s biggest books, featuring their most prominent characters. With a theme like “Year of the Villain“, these stories  feature some of the most dangerous and deadly threats that have been brewing in books like Justice League, Action Comics, Batman and more all year. Threats like The Batman Who Laughs, the terrifying and powerful secret society/terrorist group Leviathan, and Lex Luthor’s continuing quest to unlock the secret cosmic powers of the Universe with his Legion Of Doom. Considering the wild cards at play here, expect some big surprises and shocking reveals in this book. Plus, you can’t beat the rock bottom price of $0.25. This book is a good jumping on point if you have been a DC Comics reader in the past and want to start reading them again. This is a MUST READ. Below we have some fantastic art, each of whch accompanies the different stories in this book

Lex Luthor
The Batman Who Laughs
Cheetah

Doomsday Clock #11

Release Date: 5/22/19

Writer- Geoff Johns 

Artist- Gary Frank

Variant Cover For Issue #11

Man, this great fucking series. Don’t listen to the haters. What’s interesting is   Doomsday Clock is kind of a microcosm of all superhero comics. It’s a big gimmicky “Event”, it’s a crossover, it’s messes with classic characters and stories that were previously viewed as untouchable sacred cows, surprise character returns, there are big deaths, surprise resurrections, RETCONING!  You find each of those thing a lot in superhero comics. However, none of that takes away from the fact that Doomsday Clock is a fucking incredible comic book. In fact, It’s one of the best books currently being published. When the story was first announced, it was presented as a story that would’ve been about a sort of battle for the soul of the DC Universe. With Superman‘s hope and optimism versus Dr. Manhattan’s cold, inhuman, rationalism. While that still seems to be an element of the story, it quickly became apparent that this story was really a Watchmen sequel. Some fans will always be against the idea of a sequel to Alan Moore’s superhero masterpiece, but I am of the opinion that if there has to be a sequel to Watchmen, this is the best one we’re going to get. It’s a fantastic story that feels both very true to the world Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons created all those years ago as well as the  DC comics universe. The art by Gary Frank is beyond phenomenal. I have no idea where the story is going to end up and that’s one of the things I love about it. At the time of writing this, issue # 10 will have been published, With the penultimate chapter (Issue #11) of this saga hitting spinner racks in May. With the grand finale following issue #11. Will we finally get the epic confrontation between Superman and Dr. Manhattan that the series seems to be inexorably heading towards? I’m sure there’s going to be at least some confrontation, but what kind…. I don’t know, but I can’t fucking wait to find out.Though we’ve seen a lot of delays on this series, it seems to be getting back on track with a pretty regular shipping schedule.

Batman: Last Knight On Earth 

Release Date: 5/29/19

Writer- Scott Snyder 

Artist- Greg Capullo

  For nearly a decade, writer Scott Snyder has become the definitive Batman storyteller of his time. Frank Miller had the 80’s, the 21st-century belongs to Scott Snyder. Snyder has often told the story of, how when he was first starting out on the New 52 Batman and how he asked legendary writer Grant Morrison for his advice on writing  Batman. Morrison himself had his own successful Batman run and wrote the classic Batman graphic novel Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On A Serious Earth. Morrison told Snyder that the key to writing Batman is to write him as if he created the character himself. Morrison then asked Snyder if he knew HIS version the beginning or “birth” of the character and the ending or “death” of the character. Snyder followed this advice and his story about Batman’s birth is the excellent Zero Year story. Now we’re getting Snyder’s story about Batman’s “death” or the last story of Snyder’s Batman with Batman: Last Knight On Earth #1.  It if Scott Snyder is telling his version of the last Batman story, there can be only one artist to draw the book, and that is of course Greg Capullo.

    His New 52 Batman run with artist Greg Capullo Is probably in the top two or three best Batman runs of all time, if not number one. A massive part of that book’s success was his collaboration with artist Greg Capullo. Not all comic book artists and writers work this way, but the right artist and writer come together who are an absolute perfect match, you get magic. That Batman run would not have been the masterpiece it is had Snyder not worked with Capullo on the book. There are several more, but it’s more rare than you’d think. Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s work on Preacher together comes to mind as a similar example of what you get when you put the right creative people together. 

     This three issue prestige format miniseries follows Bruce Wayne waking up in Arkham Asylum; young, fit, and very much sane. Without any memory of how he got there or what has happened before, he finds himself in a post apocalyptic, ruined DC Universe.  With a frozen, severed, but very much alive Joker head as his only companion, Batman begins in his trek across what was once the DC Universe he knew, to you find the answers he needs. Considering the pedigree of the talent involved in this project and what phenomenal Batman stories they’ve already told, I’m going to say this is one of the Top 3 absolute MUST BUYS of the summer.

The Flash: Year One

Begins in issues #70 and #71

Writer- Joshua Williamson

Artist- Howard Porter

Release Dates: 5/8/19 & 5/22/19

I’m actually really looking forward to this one. I don’t read The Flash on a monthly basis, but I check it out every once in awhile and Joshua Williams is a great writer. May kicks off the first two issues of The Flash: Year One. There’s not a whole lot to say with this one. It’s pretty much all in the title. I’m a sucker for a good Year One story and we haven’t receive one of those for Barry Allen before. The art is phenomenal. The creative team is excellent; Williamson had been putting out some good Flash stories since DC REBIRTH and Howard Porter is an all time great Flash artist. If you like The Flash TV series or you dig The Flash in general, I’d say this looks like a pretty sure bet for a great book.

Superman: Leviathan Rising Special #1 (One-Shot)

Release Date: 5/29/19

Writers-  Brian Michael Bendis

Artists- Various

This is a special prelude to the next comic book event, I’ll be talking about below….

Event Leviathan 

Release Date: 6/12/19

Writer – Brian Michael Bendis

Artist- Alex Maleev 

  LEVIATHAN is rising. Seemingly out of nowhere, intelligence agencies, terrorist groups, cults, some of the most powerful organizations in the DC Universe are taken out by a powerful secret terrorist society, Leviathan. A.R.G.US. Headquarters (DC’s version of SHIELD) is destroyed in a powerful and mysterious blast, the terrorist group Kobra Cult, The D.E.O. (The government organization Supergirl works with if you watch her show on The CW), and more, all destroyed. This story has been building up in the Superman books for the past few months and it was only recently revealed that the Leviathan storyline would have a larger affect on the DC Universe. 

Variant cover for Issue #1. Note some familiar silhouettes in the background

    A few years ago, in an attempt to take the Batman concept global, Bruce Wayne started Batman Inc. An organization in which Batman and Wayne Enterprises would give vigilantes who had been inspired by Batman, in cities all over the world, access to Wayne Tech resources and technology. Batman was going global. As part of their very twisted and fucked up love-hate relationship Talia Al-Ghul, daughter of The Demon’s Head, Ra’s Al-Ghul, mother to Damian Wayne, Son of Batman; created a terrorist organization called Leviathan specifically to counter Batman Inc., it’s not clear how much, if any connection this Leviathan has to the previous one, but there appears to be some. The books leading up to this have been a lot of fun and I like how Bendis seems to be opening up the story into the larger DC Universe. You should be reading all of Bendis’ Superman books right now, so definitely check this one out as well. Event Leviathan will be a 6 Issue miniseries that Bendis has described as more of shadowy thriller than a typical huge, bombastic event comic. I’d definitely recommend checking out Action Comics also written by Bendis which looks like it’ll be a key tie-in book. Action Comics is great anyway so you should definitely be reading it, event or no event. In fact Action Comics by Bendis vol.1 hits comic book stores on 4/3 and it get my highest recommendation.

Superman: Year One 

Writer: Frank Miller

Artist: John Romita Jr.

Release Dates: 6/19/19, August, & October 

Like many comic fans, after train wrecks like The Dark Knight Strikes Again and All Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder, I found myself thinking “What the FUCK happened to Frank Miller?”. Where was the man who gave us Batman: Year One and The Dark Knight Returns? The answer, as far as I was concerned as a comic reader, was that he was long gone. The Frank Miller we knew was no more. 

      Now all of a sudden he’s giving Superman the Year One treatment after years of being a longtime, vocal Superman hater. What to make of all this? Hmmmm… 

     Well, unlike many of you, I kind of loved The Dark Knight III The Master Race. So, are we seeing a Frank Miller comeback? Well, one good piece of work does not a comeback make. Even if we all agree that The Dark Knight III The Master Race was a very good Batman/DC Universe miniseries, a big caveat comes along with giving Frank Miller any points in the comeback column from this project. There’s a big metaphorical asterisk next to Frank Miller’s name on this book. TDK III was co-written  with Miller by the very talented Brian Azzarello and the book was drawn by the legendary Andy Kubert. I strongly suspect that Frank Miller’s contribution to that book consisted of some variant covers, the brief back up stories at the end of each issue, and giving his input to the very broad outline of the story. While Azzarello was responsible for truly writing the issues. However, I could be wrong, who knows? 

    Now having said all that, will I be reading Superman: Year One? Absolutely. I am a complete sucker for a Year One story and John Romita Jr.’s art looks fantastic. That’s got to be worth the price of admission alone. Even if it’s garbage, it’ll be beautiful garbage.  Also John Romita Jr. handling art duties on this miniseries tips things positively in the book’s favor a little. The first of the three prestige format issues will be released on 6/19/19, with books two and three being released in August and October. 

Frank Miller’s Variant Cover

    I’m a pretty optimistic guy when it comes to my pop-culture. I want it to be good. That’s why I enjoyed The Dark Knight III The Master Race so much, I allowed myself to be open to enjoy it. However, though John Romita Jr.’s art is definitely a huge draw. Hopefully, he’ll be able to help Miller tell a solid Superman story. This miniseries has been described as being Frank Miller’s story, unlike the collaborative nature of TDK III. Basically, he doesn’t have the help he did on his last major project to catch him when he falls. I have great respect for Romita Jr., then again Jim Lee produced some of his best work on All Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder and look how that turned out. Finally, even though I’ll definitely be picking up at least the first issue of this series, I have come to the conclusion that this is going to be a shit show. Everything I know about Frank Miller makes me think Superman: Year One is going to be another massive, flaming, Hindenburg-like failure from the once great Frank Miller. I’ll be the first to tell you how happy I am to be wrong on this one.

I hope you enjoyed my spring/summer comic book preview and as always thank you for reading! This article focused on DC Comics exclusively. DC does a better job of Marvel than putting out accessible, more or less self contained, easy to explain event books and mini series. So if you enjoyed this preview and you’d like to see what Marvel Comics has cooking for the spring and summer, please comment below

So there you have it, a lot of exciting comics coming out over the next few months. Word has it there are some even bigger things coming on the horizon and this is all just from DC Comics! I’ll probably write up a similar article highlighting Marvel’s spring and summer comics to check out this year. Comics are an incredible medium. So, whether you’re reading single issue comics, waiting for the collected editions, reading them on your tablet, or going to your local comic book store, as long as you’re supporting the medium, that’s all that matters. 

-Paul

What I Want to See: DCEU

It was announced today, that Henry Cavill is no longer going to be the live action Superman in the DCEU.  It was recently confirmed (and long rumored) that Ben Affleck was not going to be Batman in the DCEU.  So, the DCEU is down 2 of their three most iconic characters, and many people are speculating a ‘soft reboot’ of the DCEU in general.  Of their 5 films so far, the only success across the board (critics/fans/box office) has been Wonder Woman, and so this might make sense to do.  Especially since Wonder Woman and the upcoming sequel take place before the events of the other 4 films released so far.

MV5BMTA1NDM2ODUxOTNeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU4MDgxOTEyMDYz._V1_Has Aquaman ever looked cooler?

Now, I personally think this reboot idea will likely take some of its cues from what happens with December’s Aquaman film.  We already saw Jason Mamoa as the character in Justice League, and I’ve heard virtually no complaints about him, but an Aquaman stand-alone will be a completely different thing, and so we really won’t know until it comes out.

There is also the forthcoming Shazam, scheduled for next April.  Now, Shazam hasn’t appeared in the DCEU previously, so if Aquaman tanks and they go full steam ahead on the reboot, Shazam could be part of the ‘new’ universe, or if Aquaman is a success, it could be tailored into the ‘newish/soft reboot/whatever they’re going to call it.’

maxresdefaultI knew nothing about this character, and the trailer sold me.

So let’s make the assumption that some kind of reboot is going to happen, and I will tell you what I want to see with that.  Ok?

I want to see this reboot build characters individually.  I’m not saying not to put Easter eggs, or slight references to each other, but let’s not get to the second movie before we have a full blown cross over.  If in Wonder Woman ’84 we see some story about a ‘meteorological event’ which implies Kal El’s (Superman) arrival, that’s fine, but I don’t want Jason Mamoa or Shazam or anyone else to show up.  Get several stand alone films under your belts, like you should have done the first time around.

ntgk14lkrtl11Thanos’ snap was more powerful than we all realized.

The second thing that I want to see happen, is I don’t want Superman and Batman to show up for a while.  It might sound dumb, and I’m sure people hate hearing about the MCU as a model, but Marvel didn’t have access to their A listers when they started, and it forced them to build characters and not assume we knew who they were, it forced them to get creative and be better story tellers.  I think Batman and Superman are too iconic to start.  Let’s deal with Shazam, and Cyborg, and other characters that the general film going audience that aren’t comic book readers aren’t familiar with, and start world building through them.  There is some brand recognition with characters like Flash and Green Lantern, but use those characters to bridge the gap between the audience who know nothing, and the audience who totally get it.  Then once you’re several successes deep, you can start introducing Superman and Batman.  This exercise, will also help you to understand how to create those characters more memorably, to not be coming at them as the icons they are to the general public, but to fill in and establish all of the layers that have comic book fans hooked.

The State of the Arrowverse

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I’m a big fan of the Arrowverse.  I watch every show, including Back Lightning, which doesn’t technically seem to be part of the Arowverse and I personally hope it stays that way. But there have been a few pieces of evidence that suggest the shows may be connected. Don’t forget, when Supergirl premiered on CBS and even for a few months after, it was definitely not apart of the Arrowverse. But things change and I suppose we’ll have to see.  Speaking of The Girl of Steel, I’m even a defender when people like to talk about their least favorite one (which tends to be Supergirl).  I think what they’re doing on that channel is great.  But not amazing.

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I think each of the shows right now has one element that seems to be holding it back from achieving something amazing.  With Arrow, I think it’s Oliver as the Green Arrow.  Let me explain that explain that. I really like Oliver, but whole idea of juggling his two lives is played out to me.  Earlier this season, he stepped out of the role, and John Diggle became the Green Arrow, and honestly, I loved that.  Arrowverse Trivia:  In Legends of Tomorrow season one, John Diggle’s son, John Diggle Jr., is the Green Arrow protecting Star City, decades in the future,  under the assumed name of Conner Hawke. AnywayI wish Dig as Green Arrow had been a season long arch, maybe with Oliver being forced to take up the mantle again towards the end of the season. That could have the show go out with a real bang at the end of season six.

Star City 2046
Green Arrow of 2046 AKA Conner Hawke AKA John Diggle Jr.

Next of Kin
Left: Wild Dog, Right: John Diggle as Green Arrow (Present Day)

I also hope that they are able to make Ricardo Diaz a really cool village. Up until now, he’s just been in the background as a puppet master, so he couldn’t really be in the forefront of the story.  Otherwise it wouldn’t be as much of a surprise when the revealed he’s the one orchestrating everything. In the comics (and they reference this on the show) he goes by the name Richard dragon, one of the greatest martial artists on the planet and formidable thorn in the side of characters like Batman, Nightwing, and of course Green Arrow. I’ve always wanted to see him on the show and I hope they do him justice now that he’s been revealed is the true big bad. It’d be pretty cool if he started going by Richard Dragon for the rest of the season, I’ll be honest I’ll be disappointed if they don’t.

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Before I move on to the other shows, I want to touch on something else that all of the Arrowverse shows are guilty of: Many of the really interesting, major changes seems to be resolved way too quickly. Season 3 of Flash began with Barry having traveled back in time, changing the timeline and arriving in Flashpoint, within 3 episodes he was back in the regular timeline. Yes, there were consequences for Barry later in the season, but I think everyone would have wanted to spend more time in the Flashpoint timeline. They had set it up at the end of Season 2, and it seemed like over the summer they said “oh shit, we cant pull off such a massive world change!.  Let’s fix it asap.”  The same thing happened this season with Legends of Tomorrow, the final shot of last season showed them appearing in San Francisco with modern architecture and dinosaurs running around. That would have been a crazy season, but within minutes of the first episode, the anachronism was fixed, as if they realized it wasn’t in their budget.  It’s a bit frustrating.

The First 3 Big Bads on The Flash:

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Eobard Thawne AKA The Reverse-Flash

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ZOOM AKA Hunter Zolomon

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Barry faces Savitar

Other cool Villains :

 

Anyway, back to each show’s big flaw.  I think The Flash’s biggest flaw has been the villain.  We got three season of speedsters and honestly they were each great in their own way. Thawne and Zoom inparticular where fantastic villains. But 3 speedster villains was one too many and the show needed some variety. So as we entered this season and you got The Thinker.  The guy they got to play him was amazing, then they killed him off and put his brain into another guy’s body just as soon as you become invested in him as a villain.  This was hugely disappointing even if it did land Barry in jail for several episodes (which did end up being it’s own highlight).  Now Barry’s out of jail, facing an able-bodied Thinker (part of the appeal of the character was that he was so smart that he would be able to beat Barry with just his brain, while sitting in his hover chair).

Other cool heroes:

 

Then there is Supergirl.  I might be in the minority here, but I do like Supergirl, I just think it has some major flaws.    Most superheroes stories derive their success from action sequences and thrills, but the best parts of Supergirl are the character moments .   There have been less of these great character moments that make the show so good. This season for example, the highlight has been Kara’s sister Alex’s personal turmoil over her romantic life, and her desire to be a mother.  Alex’s struggle last season with her sexual orientation, and discovering she was a lesbian, was the highlight, and this season expanding on that, breaking her heart has been the most intriguing.  The problem then falls on the action, and the “A plot,” and unfortunately, it’s just not keeping up.  It’s serviceable, but it’s not special, it’s not captivating like Alex’s life is.

The Adventures Of Supergirl
Left: Clark Kent, Right: Kara Danvers AKA Supergirl

Finally we come to Legends of Tomorrow.  Before I get into it I’d just like to say, Sarah Lance, whom I disliked during her run on Arrow, is amazing on this show. She’s the Han Solo of the Arrowverse, and honestly, even though I’d really want Barry’s powers, ultimately if I had to BE anyone character, it would be Sarah Lance (She even has her own Millennium Falcon!).

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Sarah Lanch AKA White Canary: Captain of The Waverider

Legends is probably the most fun show of the lineup.  It definitely keeps improving year to year. It is amazingly fun every week and definitely the best of the Arrowverse, at least for now. Also, the cast’s natural rotation, and the structure of the show allow for it to always seem fresh.  So what is wrong with it?  It’s unoriginal.  The idea’s cool, that’s not what I mean.  The Wave-Rider, the team’s time-machine is suspiciously similar to, as I mentioned before, the Millennium Falcon, there are a lot of Doctor Who similarities, and while I loved the episode this week, it was Groundhog’s Day.  None of these things ruins the show for me, in fact I like them all, but I do think it keeps the show from achieving the ‘amazing’ status certain other genre shows achieve.

DC's Legends of Tomorrow
Legends of Tomorrow (Version 1.0)

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John Constantine again because he fucking rules.

I mentioned before that I hope that Black Lightning doesn’t become part of the Arrowverse, and I just want to clarify that is just because it’s a different kind of show.  The Arrowverse may touch upon issues of the day, but mostly they’re fun fare, where as Black Lightning as far as we’ve seen it, is a drama, with some comic book elements.  They don’t really mesh, and so I hope they don’t try to force them to.

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Black Lightning AKA Jefferson Pierce with his future superhero daughters

Thanks for reading, everyone!

Written by Michael Cole

With additional writing by Paul Wright

MUST WATCH: Black Lightning

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Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce AKA Black Lightning

Black Lightening Series Premiere Review

Written by Paul Wright

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Black Lightning is the latest superhero drama from The CW, which has made DC superhero shows it’s bread and butter. Based on the DC Comic of the same name, Black Lightning follows Jefferson Pierce (played by Cress Williams), a former Olympic medalist and retired consumed superhero with electricity powers and who gave up the life of superhero/vigilante Black Lightning, to focus on his family. Today, Jefferson’s main focus is raising his 2 daughters with his estranged wife and helping his community in a different way as an award winning high school principal. His oldest daughter Anissa is a medical student who inherited here father’s desire to help her community by protesting against the violent local gang The 100. Meanwhile his youngest daughter Jennifer, a senior at Jefferson’s high school, is going through her rebellious teenage years. Which of course drives her father nuts.

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What makes this series stand out is that it tackles issues of race, violence, and the antagonistic relationship between the police and the communities they protect, head on. Before the opening title is even shown, our hero, Jefferson Pierce is driving home with his two daughters and is pulled over and harassed by the police solely because he’s black. The police don’t even offer an apology or explanation when they realize they have the wrong man. It’s ugly and feels all too real. Like thousands of other police stops around the country that are a razors edge away from becoming a tragedy. It’s an opening that grabs you and gets your attention without any superheroics.

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Black Lightning is a surprisingly intense series for a superhero show on The CW. Maybe it just feels that way because much of what happens in the story is so similar to what we see on the news everyday. Considering that the main character is a meta-human with electricity powers the show feels more grounded than any other superhero show on The CW.

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Goddamn, that’s a sexy man…

MILD SPOILERS
There’s a great scene where Jefferson has to come to the rescue of his daughter Jennifer, when she gets in some trouble with members of the very dangerous 100 gang at a local club. Despite being out of the game for awhile, Jefferson can still kick ass and take names. After he absolutely fucks up the bad guys in the club, which is pretty damn cool, the cops show up as Jefferson is leaving and immediately pull their tasers on him (I should note that Jefferson is in formal wear throughout this scene). After yelling some racially charged orders at him, the cops tase Jefferson, at which point he’s had enough. When the taser has no effect on him, he electrocutes the 2 cops (without killing them) and blows up their police car. It’s a very cathartic moment. Cress Williams, who plays Jefferson, conveys very well that this is probably something that has happened to the character before and this time he’s not going to take any shit.

END SPOILERS

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There’s a lot to like in this series. There’s even a little bit of a “Dark Knight Returns” vibe. An aging hero comes out of retirement to find his city worse off than ever and he’s forced to confront a particularly vicious gang. There are definitely some parallels there. Also, any big DC Comics fans could guess where some of the stories may go for certain characters.

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Black Lightning in the comics as a member of the Justice League. Umm.. he’s the black guy. Man, the JL needs some diversity!

Overall, Black Lightning was surprisingly good and a welcome addition to The CW’s DC Superhero line up. It’s not completely clear if this show takes place in the “Arrow-verse”, but we are told that other superheroes exist in other cities in this world. Unlike those other DC Superhero shows, Black Lightning seems to have something of a bit more substance to say, which is always welcome in the genre. The characters are likable, especially Cress Williams in the lead roll, the story is appropriately timely, and there are some excellent action sequences. Black Lightning is definitely a show to check out. Highly recommended.

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Another picture of Black Lightning from the DC Comics

Black Lightning airs Tuesday nights on The CW at 9PM!

Black Lightning: 8.8/10

Thanks for reading!
-Paul

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PODCAST: The Best & Worst Of 2017 (Part 2)

Hey, everybody!

It’s Paul

This week on “The World’s Best Podcast with Paul & Tim”,  we present Part Two of our monumental episode looking back at the Best and Worst, Films , TV shows, Comics, and more of 2017!  In Part One we mostly talked about the best and worst TV shows we’d seen over the past year (with a little bit of talk about movies). In Part Two, we shift focus to our favorite and our most disappointing movies of 2017. Plus, towards the end of the episode  I cover some of the big comic book news of the year and list a few of my favorite graphic novels! So, definitely check it out. It’s a great episode. Listen here or subscribe on iTunes:

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/13683756

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MUST WATCH: Crisis On Earth-X (Review)

 

Crisis on Earth-X, Part 4

 

Now this is more like it! This was geek heaven. As I knew it would be, it was the perfect way to cleanse the palette after the disappointment of Justice League. More so than any other crossover The CW has done, this just felt like one big 4 hour movie (well, a 3 hour movie with commercials by the time we see all 4 parts). Tonight’ part one was 2 hours of pure superhero fun. The individual shows don’t even get their typical openings, the title card was only Crisis on Earth-X, which made the whole thing feel a little more special. During last years crossover, there was definitely more of a focus on the characters and the story of each particular show throughout the crossover, like Arrow for example. That’s not the case here at all. This is clearly a movie spread out over 2 nights and the event is far better for it. Personally, I absolutely loved the first night of the annual CW DC Crossover Event. Warner Bros. executives take a look, THIS is how you do an Epic Superhero Team Up Crossover.

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Especially if you’ve been watching all of these shows from the beginning like me, the fun little character beats and interactions makes this more than just wall to wall action. Just like the scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron where the team is having a party, just relaxing and they all take turns trying to lift Thor’s hammer. It’s fun just to watch all of these characters play off each other. Even with all of the characters involved, it never felt over crowded. It’s redundant at this point to keep saying this, but every scene with Mick was gold. I love how a man whose literally tried to kill the groom multiple times, was invited to this event (or he just tagged along for the food and free booze). I loved how chill Sarah was about her one night stand with Alex after the rehearsal dinner. Yet another reminder that Sarah is kind of the Han Solo of Legends. I want to keep this review relatively brief, so I wont go into too much more detail, but it was so much fun seeing these heroes work together and fight the bad guys. And who doesn’t enjoy seeing Nazis’ getting their assess kicked?

When it comes to the villains, a big highlight for me is that we got Tom Cavanagh playing Eobard Thawne again. This wasn’t an alternate Earth Thanwne, this is the same man Barry’ s been fighting for his entire life. I’m not sure how it’s possible (and frankly I don’t care) as good as Matt Letscher was as Reverse-Flash, Tom Cavanagh will always be the true Eobard Thawne to me.

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I thought making Earth-X Oliver and Kara a couple was fun and unexpected. Even in an alternate Earth you would expect someone like Barry to be with Kara, so that relationship was a nice curveball (I’m not 100% sure, but I think they might actually be married).

Of course, I’m sure there were a million fans out there who loved seeing Tommy Merlyn return (even briefly) as Earth-X’s Prometheus. You could really see the pain in Oliver’s face seeing his long dead friend only to lose him all over again. Sure it wasn’t HIS Tommy, but that doesn’t really matter to Oliver in that moment. There were so many moments and Easter Eggs that any DC fan would love to see. Hell, we got to see Metallo show up, like full blown robot, no skin, Metallo. What a treat.

Crisis on Earth-X, Part 1

This wasn’t perfect of course. I have one or two nitpicks. Considering the level of the story they’re telling, with a lot of action set pieces and the use of fully CGI characters like King Shark and Metallo, the budget for this undertaking must have been pushed to the max. As a result, some, but not all, of the VFX looks a little rubbery. Also, considering how many doppelgängers were in play, it was sometimes hard to keep track of who’s who in some of the fight sequences.

I should have mentioned it before, but super villains crashing the wedding of a superhero is a staple of the superhero genre. I’m really interested to see who the “modern day Hitler/ leader” of Earth-X is. My guess is Vandal Savage, which is cool on paper, but he was never well liked as a villain on Legends. The comic book version of Vandal Savage is much more interesting . Ras Al Ghul is another possibility. In the comics at least, he wasn’t afraid to use the Nazi’s as a means to an end. But who know? I’m REALLY looking forward to tomorrow night because, so far this is shaping up to be the best Crossover Event they’ ever done with these shows.

Final Grade: A+

Thanks for reading!

Paul