WLG #368: All-American (More or Less)!A column article by: Paul Brian McCoy
Happy Birthday, America!
For the rest of you sorry lot, it's just July Fourth, so let's not dwell on it, okay?
This is usually the place where we What Looks Gooders take a few moments and talk about something that's going on in the industry, or in our own lives and relate it to larger matters.
But I'm drawing a blank.
There's nothing going on in comics that I care enough about to talk up this week, which will become obvious when you see my picks below. I can't even get a good patriotic rant going, because, really. Look down my list.
I'm talking about three UK TV shows (okay, one's an American co-production, but still...), Japanese and Canadian movies, an English novelist (based in Scotland), and two comic collections from thirty-five plus years ago. Sure, there's one American show and one contemporary American comic, but this week's What Looks Good has a decidedly international flavor for an Independence Day edition.
I guess that's okay.
You lot can call me a dirty commie on the message boards, if it makes you feel any better.
But hey, have you seen the new trailer for Captain America: The First Avenger? Take a look:
America, Fuck Yeah, indeed!
Anyway, here's What Looks Good this week.
MISFITS (HULU) 1.04
Using his powers Curtis returns to the night he was arrested and tries to correct the mistake that led to his community service and the end of his career but finds that correcting the one mistake may cause chaos back in the present.
1.01 & 1.02
I've been singing the praises of Misfits for a couple of years now, but the show hasn't been readily available to an American audience until now!
Hulu has begun airing the show, in order, from Season One, Episode One, with a "new" episode premiering every Monday until they make it through all 13 episodes of the first two seasons.
And it's free!
Although you do have to sit through commercials. I don't know if there are commercials if you pay for Hulu Gold, but I'd imagine not.
Anyway, this week is my favorite episode of the bunch! It's all about Time Travel and unintended consequences. It focuses on the character of Curtis (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) as he tries to go back in time and fix things so he never got arrested.
There's not only that, but we also get to see what the other members of the ASBO gang were up to on that fateful night (And see just what it was Nathan (Robert Sheehan) got arrested for! Surprise! It does have something to do with Pick 'N' Mix!) and discover just how things could have gone down.
This is the best exploration of the superhero concept ever put on television. If you don't believe me, just read those reviews I've been joining in on up there!
LUTHER (BBC ONE) 2.04 9:00PM
Luther is drawn further into criminality as he tries to cover up a suspicious death and to protect Jenny from Baba. At work, he has to deal with a killer whose every move is determined by the roll of a die.
If you're not a fan of Idris Elba, then I don't know what you're a fan of. The man is firing on all cylinders with every project he takes on, and here, he's the star and producer of one of the most exciting and invigorating Cop shows the UK has produced in recent years.
And that's saying something.
This is the Season Finale, thanks to budget cutbacks at the BBC, but it looks like it could be a doozy!
Last week Luther went up against a spree-killer who was essentially playing out his own real-life RPG, where the role of the dice determines whether or not you're gonna get left alone, or get a hammer to the head and/or acid sprayed in your eyes!
It was full-on urban horror (and I say as much in the review linked above!) and the best episode of the Second Season so far.
This should be airing on BBC America sometime later this year, so keep an eye out for it, if you're not watching already!
TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY (STARZ/BBC) 1.01 "The New World" 10:00PM
Convicted child killer Oswald Danes is executed for his crimes and when he miraculously survives his fate a series of events is set in place that forces CIA Agent Rex Matheson to investigate a global event, His investigation leads him from America to Wales and an old defunct British Institute - TORCHWOOD.
Torchwood is back and STARZ has it! Well, STARZ and the BBC. It's a co-production that is going to be shown on both sides of the Atlantic, albeit nearly a week apart for some stupid reason.
Here in America, STARZ will be showing it on Friday nights, but fans in the UK will have to wait until the following Thursday, it seems.
I really don't see the point to that at all, and it messes with our opportunity to do trans-Atlantic reviews of the show!
If you watched the last Torchwood mini, Children of Earth, you might remember that it ended with everyone either dead, disbanded, or leaving Earth behind. Well, somehow, the gang's being brought back together.
This time, it's because everyone on Earth has stopped dying.
Yup. Now it's not just Captain Jack who can survive anything, although, if I hear right, he may be the only one who can die now!
We've got new American cast members, including Bill Pullman as a very controversial convicted child killer who survives his own execution and becomes something of a celebrity because of it. Sounds interesting.
Eve Myles is returning as Gwen Cooper and, of course, John Barrowman is back as saucy Jack.
We're looking at a ten-episode run, all geared toward telling the story of just what happens when people stop dying. They aren't suddenly healthy; they just can't die.
It sounds like it could get seriously horrifying very quick.
Ha! "I'm Welsh." Yes! Gwen's back!
TRUE BLOOD 4.03 "If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin'?"
4.01 "She's Not There"
4.02 "You Smell like Dinner"
I was not sold on the first episode of this season. Neither were our reviewers, if you get the chance to read what they had to say.
However, I just finished watching "You Smell like Dinner" and I have to say, I was impressed. Of course, there was practically no stupid Fairy stuff this time around. I'm convinced that's a huge mistake, especially given the whole alternate realm, Lord of the Rings vibe they took with them.
We also didn't get much of Tara (Rutina Wesley) living her lesbian MMA dream life, either. And while I'm all for more scenes of Tara getting it on with another hot lady, I'm not sure how it contributes to the ongoing story.
But that ongoing story is really starting to pick up!
I won't go into any more detail, as we'll have a review of the show up later in the week, but I'm in. We've got Vampire Politics, Necromancers, Shapeshifters Anonymous, something interesting finally happening to Jason (Ryan Kwanten), Evil Babies, and it looks like next week Werewolves are back!
Oh, and did I forget to mention all the dirty, dirty sex?
Okay, True Blood. You did it to me, again. Let's just see if you can string back-to-back good episodes together this season, eh?
RULE 34 HC $25.95 (Written by Charles Stross)
When Inspector Kavanaugh is called to a messy accident in a bungalow in Corstorphine, she wasn't expecting a dead Romanian dictator's bathroom appliances, a dead spammer, and a Viagra overdose. Pretty soon she realizes she's dealing with a very unusual killer. Only trouble is, her bosses don't want to hear about it. In fact, her memos to them appear to be vanishing; and if she keeps sending them, so might she ...
Anwar has just gotten out of Saughton Prison and a five year stretch for identity theft. Crime doesn't pay and he wants to go straight, so when a former accomplice puts him on to a cushy opening for an honourary consul for a central Asian state, it looks like the ideal way out. But some jobs come with very long strings attached ...
This is a sequel to Charles Stross'Halting State, a near-future detective story, and one of the best books I read in 2007.
Stross is one of three or four contemporary science fiction writers whose work I will buy without any hesitation. I don't even need to know what his books are about. He won me over to this way of thinking with his novels and short stories about The Laundry, which combined espionage, with tech support, with Lovecraftian horror.
They are bloody brilliant. I can't recommend them highly enough.
Needless to say, you should all be picking this book up, too.
But if you don't trust me, you can read the first three chapters for free at Stross' website, HERE and decide for yourself.
Don't say I never did anything for you.
13 ASSASSINS $26.98/29.98 (Directed by Takashi Miike)
A group of assassins come together for a suicide mission to kill an evil lord.
I love me some Takashi Miike films. Sure, my favorites are the ones that you have to squeegee your brain after watching, but 13 Assassins is maybe his best-reviewed movie yet.
There are comparisons being made to films like Seven Samurai, but that's easy, lazy, and just makes the reviewers sound like they never actually watched Seven Samurai.
I'm sure this is great, but let's have some critical perspective, please.
Damn. That does look pretty epic, doesn't it?
To be honest, I've had this film on my DVR since HDNet Movies ran it as one of their HD Sneak Peeks a month or so ago, but haven't had the chance to sit down and watch it.
Maybe with the Blue-ray release, I'll be able to find the time.
HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN $26.98/29.98 (Directed by Jason Eisener; Starring Rutger Hauer)
A homeless vigilante blows away crooked cops, pedophile Santas, and other scumbags with his trusty pump-action shotgun.
This is another film that HDNet Movies ran a Sneak Peek of, but I'm still kicking myself for forgetting to set the DVR to record it. And I had it marked on my calendar and everything.
I wrote about it when it was on HDNet and when it hit theaters, so I'm not going to rehash all of that.
Just know that this project started out as a spoof trailer for the Canadian release of Grindhouse, but like Machete, the response was so good, it's now a feature-length film.
And Rutger Hauer is the Hobo with the titular Shotgun.
Why are you still reading? Go buy this film.
There's an unrated glimpse at what's in store for you. Hope no kids were in the room.
SHOWCASE PRESENTS: DOC SAVAGE TP $19.99 (Doug Moench / John Buscema / Tony Dezuniga)
Pulp fiction hero Doc Savage is back in this value-priced title collecting his 1970s black-and-white magazine adventures for the first time. Originally published in 1975, these tales include:
* "The Doom on Thunder Island"
* "Hell-Reapers at the Heart of Paradise"
* "The Inferno Scheme"
* "Ghost Pirates from The Beyond"
* "The Sky Stealers"
* "The Mayan Mutations"
Ah the fates of licensed products!
The black-and-white magazine adventures reprinted here are from Marvel Comics' Curtis Magazine imprint from the Seventies. These adventures are edited by Marv Wolfman, Archie Goodwin, and John Warner, featuring Marvel's top art and writing talent of the time period.
But now, DC has the Doc Savage license, so guess what, Marvel?
DC's reprinting your fine, fine work.
Go ahead and mock the Relaunch now, suckers!
But seriously, Dark Horse has already pulled a similar fast one with their black-and-white Savage Sword of Conan and Solomon Kane collections.
That's gotta hurt.
Anyway, this is the only DC book I'm interested in this week, and it's all material published by another company nearly 40 years ago.
How about that?
SNATCH COMICS TREASURY $19.95 (R. Crumb / S. Clay Wilson)
Hippy Comix and Fly Dragon Studio present the Snatch Comics Treasury! After creating Zap Comix in 1968, Crumb teamed up with Wilson, Williams, Hayes, Moscoso, Osborne, Griffin and Spain to create three best-selling issues of Snatch Comics. Controversial, incendiary, and erotically satirical, the first and greatest smut comix are now completely collected and digitally remastered! Exclusive commentary by Patrick Rosenkranz (Rebel Visions) and Dan Fogel (Underground Comix Price Guide), with a special color section and fold-outs!
I don't know anything about this book other than it is a reprint of classic, remastered R. Crumb and S. Clay Wilson dirty books.
This is the real deal, here, people.
These are the masters of Underground Comix and these things ain't easy to find these days. So a nice deluxe collection might be a little counter-intuitive, given the source material, but dammit, I want more of this sort of thing!
The history of comics isn't all Superheroes, and sometimes American audiences forget about that.
Not you, of course. Our readers are far more knowledgeable than most, but there are Philistines out there who don't know any better.
So shove this under their noses and watch them get offended. Or possibly aroused.
I wouldn't stick around long afterwards, either way.
SCARLET BOOK ONE HC $24.99 (Brian Michael Bendis / Alex Maleev)
This is the comic experience of the year! The first creator-owned series by one of the most successful teams in all of modern comics, SCARLET is the story of a woman pushed to the edge by all that's wrong with the world. A woman who decides to stand up and fight back. A woman who will not back down. A woman who discovers within herself the power to start a modern American revolution! In the vein of ALIAS, POWERS and JINX, SCARLET debuts a fascinating new comics character who, with every issue, reveals new things about herself against a completely original backdrop of intrigue and drama. This Premiere collection of the first creator-owned series by Bendis since POWERS - and the first-ever creator-owned series by Maleev - includes tons of extras, a look at the first-issue script by Bendis with new illustrations by Maleev, an all-star cover gallery and more!
Yeah, I know that a new issue of Fear Itself is out this week, but I'm honestly not really feeling it. It's solid and all, but I think I may just be done with large-scale comic storytelling for a while.
Which is why I'm recommending Scarlet this week, instead.
Yes, Bendis and Maleev are big names, but this is their creator-owned work, and as usual, we really get the best out of creators when their doing it for themselves and not the parent company.
The description above tells it all, so I really don't have a lot to say beyond the fact that this is a beautifully put-together little story about police corruption and social revolution. And it doesn't hurt that it's about the best thing Bendis has written in years.
I'm telling you, when he's on, he's on. And this time, he's definitely on.
And with that, we roll up the streets and shut off the lights.
What Looks Good is a wrap.
Feel free to stop by the message boards and let us know what you think Looks Good this week.
Until next time, Adios!