Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Great Vigilante reread: Vigilante Southland 2016

Here we are at the end of the road.  So after Dorian Chase's viiglante ended.  There was no more Vigilante.

The New 52 had Pat Trayce make a couple of appearances in the Deathstroke title.

But 2016 was a very good year.  DC wound back some of their New 52 changes with Rebirth and brought back some of the iconic versions of characters.

For Season 5 of Arrow it was announced that Adrian Chase and Vigilante would appear.

And DC announces that there is a new Vigilante series Vigilante Southland, which used the Vigilante logo from Adrian Chase's series.

Could it be that Adrian Chase was being ressurrected?  It seemed possible.

Instead we got a new Vigilante Donny Fairchild in a six issue miniseries written by Gary Phillips and art by Elana Casagrande.  However only the first three issues were released in floppies and the other half of the series was a trade exclusive.

It seems that poor reviews and sales killed the series but at least the entire series was released in a trade paperback.

When the series came out I pointed out some of the problems I had with the series as the continuity was a little hard to follow ie the main character shaves his head between panels.  and this reread was a much soomther experience knowing some of these things but I needed to have muddled through it the first time figure out what was going on,

In many ways the story reminded me of the Howard Chaykin Miniseries Midnight Men (for Marvel's Heavy Hitter line).  Donny Fairchild has no connection to any previous Vigilante (including the original Greg Saunders)  but there seems to be a group of vigilantes operating in LA, Donny's girlfriend Dorrie Smallwood wears a similar outfit and is killed at the start of the story.  As far as I can tell she never uses a codename like Vigilante.

Her mentor Mike Relagardo, used the indentity of the Eastsider 20 years ago before he was shot and paralysed.  I like the idea of a legacy group of heros all operating in the same area using differnt names but I'm not sure if Vigilante is be the best alter ego for this idea.

But the floppies kept me interested enough to seek out the trade.

But Gary Phillips wasn't only one reviving Vigilante in 2016.  Arrow brought Adrian Chase and The Vigilante into the series in season 5.

In a surprise move Chase wasn't The Vigilante - he was Prometheus the big bad of that season.  Arrow as a show cops a lot of crticism for not being 100% faithful in the adaptation, but I don't mind it.

In this case it meant the the reveal of Prometheus was a surprise because as comic readers we expected Chase to be Vigilante and I was going "who is Vigilante?"  (BTW there was a sweet George Perez sketch of Vigilante in at least one episode)

In season Six we discover that Dinah (Black Canary III) Drake's old police partner Vincent Sobol.

Vigilante was a fun antagonist for Team Arrow and who knows someone might cast a Donny Fairbanks, Dorian Chase, Justin Powell, Dave Winston or Alan Welles and bring back the Vigilante.


Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Great Vigilante Reread:Vigilante 2009

So our 2005 Vigilante, Justin Sutter did not set the world on fire and Marv Wolfman the creator of Adrian Chase brought in a new Vigilante - this one was a cool and mysterious foe for Nightwing in his title.

Then the new Vigilante appeared in Gotham Underground where Batman handed him his ass.

It was a little later that we fianlly got a new Vigilante series that ran for 12 issues.  The series really brought up more questions than answers  and it wasn't until issue 7 that we discovered his name was Dorian.  Issue 9 we discover that he was Adrian Chase's brother and issue 12 that we discovered his backstory.

I bitched and moaned about this series back in 2010 when I first read it and its realiance on living in the DC shared universe.  Several issues were tied in with "Faces of Evil" issued 2, Origins and Omens issue 3 (with visit from Nightwing), Titan's Deathtrap (4,5 and 6)   with reference to another miniseries (DC Universe Decides) and Batman appearing in issue 10.

I'm even more frustrated with this series now than I was then.  The idea of a hero searching for redeption to atone for his sins is an interesting one.

It seems like story lines chopped and changed as the book was written and it felt like a heap of filler and tie-ins to get to an end result.

And questions - JJ is alive? How did that happen?  but he died in issue 10 of the 1980s series he was definately dead.  I know DC likes to rewrite their universes history but this was jarring.

Adrian has a younger brother?  One that was never mentioned before even when Adrian confronted his father about being a disappointment because he became a DA instead of joining the family law firm?

(i should mention this is not the first mysterious Chase relative to turn up the TItans had Danny Chase a psychic and son of spies who made reference to his uncle Adrian)

Perhaps if the story had the chance to find its feet free of the confines of the DCU proper it would have been better.

Dorian hasn't been seen since but he is still alive.  Who know he could get another shot but I wouldn't be holding my breath on this.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

THe Great Vigilantre Reread - Viglante 2005

After finishing the 50 issues of the 1980's Vigilante I decided hey there's not that much more Vigilante stuff so why not just go the whole hog - dividing it up an entry or so for each new person behind the Vigilante's mask (with a couple of exceptions)

But first the Punisher/Vigilante near connection.  IN Vigilante #39 (Mar 87) The VIgilante is driving around in an Ace Plumbing van.  I say that seems familiar and grab out Punisher Essentials Vol 1 and in the story Death Sentence from Marvel Preview #2 (THe Punisher's first solo story) he is driving around in an Ace TV repairs van.  So a little disappointing that it wasn't the same company.

So when we left Vigilante, all three bearers of the Vigilante name are dead and the supporting cast moved over to Checkmate.

Marv Wolfman was getting another Teen TItans spinoff off the ground Deathstroke the Terminator.  In issue 9, we are introduced to Patricia Trayce, a Gotham city cop who found Chase's Equipment.  Trayce became Vigilante and a supporting character in Deathstroke, then appearing in the all new Hawk and Dove miniseries and then a few random appearances arround the DCU.  (She also appeared in  a couple of issues in the Nu52 Deathstroke Title)  But she never got her own series.

Also for a very short run in Deathstroke, Slade's wife Ademine briefly donned the costume.)

Then in 2005 it was announced that Micah Ian Wright was going to write a new Vigilante under the Wildstorm Banner with Carlos D'Anda on art,  We got this piece of promo art.



Then Wright got outed as lying about his military service and the whole thing was called off and a new 6 issue miniseries appeared The Vigilante by Bruce Jones (writer) and Ben Oliver (art).

This was a completely different story that what we had been teased from Wright and D'Anda.

The series sets up a mystery with Vigilante killing criminals who escaped the law and three suspects as to who might be behind the mask.  The story was set in Metropolis but Superman doesn't appear even when the Mayor is murdered.

And colour me surprised the Daily Planet has more employees than Perry, Clark, Lois and Jimmy who knew.

The twist as to who The Vigilante is surprising,  I did a review on the old blog which pointed out that the origin of this Vigilante missed an opportunity to reference Adrian Chase.

THis Vigilante appeared in Infinite Crisis #7 in a crowd scene and never again.


Sunday, October 21, 2018

Charmed (2018)

Really, has it been 20 years since Charmed first aired? I quite enjoyed the show as a kind of companion seres to Buffy The Vampire Slayer. (Sadly they never officially crossed over with each over with each other or with Angel)

The basic premise was the Halliwell sisters Prue, Piper and Phobe (later joined by half sister Paige after Prue's death) were the Charmed ones prophecised by their ancestor witch Melinda Warren as she was executed (burnt at the stake if memory serves)

The original ran for eight seasons.  Look I'd never call it a high point of Television but I found the show to perfectly enjoyble. It was a fun supernatural series with a trio of sisters.  One could make a case for it helping pave the way for Supernatural.

There was some snobbery, Buffy fans seemed to make a point of declaring it the inferior show.  I recall one online debate about how Charmed merely copied everything Buffy did (and Buffy did much better) that Charmed had done the "Wake up in an asylum, and everything in the series is just a crazy person's fantasy" episode before Buffy.  The reply "that's just a genre trope and doesn't count."

I'm usually on board for a reboot/retool/revamp/refresh/continuation for things I've enjoyed in the past.  So I was curious when I read rumours that Charmed was going to be rebooted.

The idea was to do a prequel Charmed series set inthe 70s where the mother and grandmother of the Halliwell sisters of the original series had adventures.  Not a bad idea but not the greatest (You could pull an American Horror Story make it Charmed:The Warren Witches and each season is a different branch of the family.  There was a Prose anthology that had a similar notion except every, single, solitary story had the Halliwell sisters time travel.)

That was scrapped in favour of a  modern day fierce, funny and feminist reboot of the series that wasn't a continuation of the original.  So there were no plans to include the original sisters/actresses.

I recall that there was some ill will between the original cast and the producers of this one as Alyssa Milano called out how feminist they were not rehiring the originals only 12 years later.  What I heard didn't fill me with hope.

But I went in with a mostly open mind.

One thing that annoyed me was there was no opening credits song,  The original had "How Soon is Now" by Love Split Love (a cover of the Smiths original and also used in the movie The Craft a couple of years earlier.)  

This one some music box noise for like 2 seconds while the Charmed logo appeared on the screen.  But this was the pilot and the second may change this - look I'm not saying they have to use "How Soon is Now"but a proper theme song wouldn't hurt.

The characters - oh boy this show is WOKE! We are politically aware and not afraid to tell everyone that cis white males are the font of all evil and Trump's Presidency is the first sign of the apocalypse.  The middle sister Mel, is an angry, lesbian feminist.  FIght the Patriachy sister.

The youngest sister Maggie is the "normal" one at college wanting to join a soirority and go to parties.

Imagine 10 Things About You where it is dialed up to 12 and to be treated oh so serious and not played for laughs.  The original Charmed had a element of 90s "Gitl Power" but this one had me nearly ready to walk away.

This pair is joined by an older sister Macy who was raised seperately to the other girls.  Macy is scientific and it actually makes for one of the better parts of this episode, where the girls are looking at some demon residue and trying to find a spell/potion to defeat the demon in the Book of Shadows, she is analysing it scientifically and comes up with a solution in a minute or two.

We also meet their white lighter Harry, who seems to have been a classmate of Wesley Wyndam Price from Buffy and Angel without the goofy charm.  However we receive some information about him that might change everything.

There where things in the pilot annoyed me, look by being so uber-anti-male feminist. "This demon always fed on strong women." "people always called strong women witches."  you risk turning people off - a large chunk of your audience should be male.  I'm not going to lie part of the appeal of the original series was watching three attractive women fight the supernatural that brings in a male audience.
(in discussing this with a friend he asked which cast did I find hotter?  I said the original because I'm not a dirty old man.)

Trump is a sign of the apocalypse again you are annoying a chunk of your audience.  Have opinions have polictical opinions I don't care but if I feel like I'm being lectured by the show I'm going to switch off.

However, they did enough to keep me around for the next episode or two.  Firstly, they made these sisters also descendants of Melinda Warren which gives a nice connection to the original.  I also spent half the episode trying to figure out if it was the same house as the original show.

I quite like Macy, her scientific background brings in a perspective to magic that this show didn't have before.  I think there is more to her story and want to know why her mother abandoned her.  This wasn't really addressed in the pilot,  (it also robs the show of playing the long lost sibling card that the original had when Shannon Dougherty was fired and Prue killed off in the show).


I'm curious to see where the twist at the end of the episode goes.

Charmed 2018, I want to like you.  I'm willing to give you some latitude to find your feet my fondness for the original series only stretches so far.  Look I'm not asking for a clone of the original, but entertain me don't lecture me.










Saturday, October 20, 2018

In Like Flynn (2018)

In Like Flynn Trailer

So the add a video function is being tempermental and not letting me embed the trailer for the new movie In Like Flynn.  I saw the trailer and I was so on board for this movie.  Thomas Cocqueral certainly looks the part as Errol Flynn.



However what if I was to tell you it was based on Errol Flynn's own travelouge Beam's End ?
(which hopefully means the book comes back in print because prices are crazy high)

But wait there's more Errol's grandson Luke Flynn is co-writer and producer?

Not enough for you? The director is Russell Mulcahy, of Razorback, Highlander, The Shadow and several episodes of the Teen Wolf TV series.

I really enjoyed this movie, the opening sequence in New Guinea brought to mind the opening sequence in Raiders of the Lost Ark which is high praise from me.

Most of the movie is a fun pulp ride, i really really enjoyed what I have taken to calling the Razor dance as Flynn fights off several straight razor weilding gang members whilst charming the pants off the gangster's moll.

Flynn is irresistable to women and it gets him into trouble more than once.

But there is also a heart to this movie as Flynn acquires a yacht The Sirocco (the first of two boats with that name that he owned)  and brings in two of his mates Rex and Dook. There is a history between the three men and their friendship is the backbone of this movie.

The trio are joined by Charlie the sailor and owner of the ship.  who joins them on the trip to New Guinea.    I grew quite fond of the old salt who was at his beams end and knew that this would be his last voyage as he was mourning the death of his wife and daughter.  (The end credits replayed one of Charlie's sea shantys which brought a certain sadness to the whole affair.)  The quartet have an easy comraderie which can turn from playfulness to arguements in the blink of an eye yet all four are ready to jump in a help each other when they are in trouble.

If you get a chance check out this movie.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Section Zero: Volume 0

Wayyyyyyyyy back in 2000, there was a new comic Section Zero.  I had enjoyed the Writer Karl Kesel's previous work on Hawk and Dove and Superboy.  Tom Grummett was the artist on Superboy.  I was interested to say the least.

The first issue introduced Section Zero, a team of paranormal investigators operating under the terms of the mysterious Section Zero of the United Nations Charter.

(the TV Series Agent X used a similar conceit for its premise - exceept it had the United States Constitution)

We met Doc Titania Challenger, Sam Wildman and Telsa, the current team where they find and recruit Thom Talesi a young boy who got a bug tattoo and everytime he touches it becomes a giant bug for 24 hours.

One of Thom's lines to Titania Challenger "You're from the most famous family of explorers and adventurers in the world." Inspired me to write my Wold Newton Article The Challenging Rutherfords  I even used the line as the subtitle of the article.

This was a cool series, after finding Thom the team head to Australia to investigate sheep killing that appeared to be the work of a big cat.    (Mysterious big cat sightings in Australia are a thing) But this mystery was soon solved and replaced with a bigger mystery or three.

Issue 3 headed to the sewers of New York to deepen the mystery.

And then the publisher Gorilla comics went bust and the series was only half done.

I had the three issues and i presumed that it would be unlikely that the story would ever be finished.

Then I hear there is a Kickstarter, Karl and Tom want to finish the story they started 18 years ago.  Shut up and take my money,

Finally the complete story was in my hands.

THis was not the intial story but rather one that incorporated the time jump to see Thom as the new team leader and several new members of the team.

I really enjoyed this story and Kesel sets up a mythology that covers from the 50s until today and the prologue identifies some of those teams.  Section Zero has the scope to tell stories for a 70 year period.

Kesel has promised other books and I'll be on board for those.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

This is the End:Vigilante (1980s) Great Comic Reread

The 1980s version of the Vigilante has been one of those series that I've been collecting for awhile.  Debuting in New Teen Titans Annual #2 Adrian Chase saw his family killed and became The Vigilante, killing the mobsters and hired assassins who killed his family.

Fairly quickly he was spun off into his own series that ran for 50 issues, two annuals and an appearance in DC Presents Superman's team up title. I spend years searching for these issues get down to the last issues and wouldn't you know it DC starts reprinting them.

By and large this revolves around Adrian Chase and falls into four periods, issues 1- 19 where Adrian is the Vigilante until he retires to become a Judge.  One of his helpers JJ is killed in issue 10 and Chase feels guilt for his death for the rest of the series (Pay attention this will become important for later Vigilantes)

Period 2 is issues 20-28 where there is a mysterious new and more violent Vigilante appears.  Adrian dreams that he is committing the crimes, Nightwing appears to take down Chase and lets Chase hunt down his replacement.

Issue 28 reveals that Vigilante #2 (yes I know that Greg Saunders is the first Viglante making Adrian Vigilante 2 but in terms of this series Saunders is never mentioned so I'm just going to go with the numbering for Chase's Legacy), where was I? Vigilante #2 was one of Adrian's fellow Judges Allan Welles.

We were set up that Welles might be a recurring villian The Electrocutioner but nope The Electrocutioner was  some random no name.  (the Electrocutioner himself became a legacy - The name and costume were too cool not to use)

Once Welles died, Chase's baliff Dave Winston took over the mantle.  A Viet Nam veteran he was calmer and more Batman like, prefering   mercy bullets.  This was the version that met Superman is DC Presents.

Welles did not survive his encounter with Peacemaker, making his DC debut in issue 36.  (Peacemaker was the inspiration for The Comedian in Watchmen)

Chase returned to be Vigilante until issue 50 working for an unnamed spy agency.  In the final issue Chase realised that he had become what he had been hunting a psychcotic killer and took his own life.  It was a heavy issue.

The supporting characters and the spy agency then spun out into the 1988 series Checkmate which ran for 33 issues.


The main series until the last part rarely interconnected with the DCU -  Cyborg appeared in issue 3, Nightwing as mentioned above.  There is a really badly shoe horned red sky Crisis on Infinite Earths issue and an appearance by Batman in issue 47.

As a complete series this ran the gamut from psycho killers, terrrorists, child sex traffickers, and costumed hitmen.  Issues 17 and 18 were written by Alan Moore which was a trip and a half.


There's more but we might leave that for the next few posts.  

Monday, October 1, 2018

Oz Comic Con Part 2

So I finished the other books I bought at Oz Comic Con

Changing Ways 2 & 3


As you might recall in the last blog post, I said how awesome Changing Ways 1 was.  so what did I think of 2 and 3?

Let me start with that Randall's art and writing were just as good as part 1 but these two didn't pull me into the story as well as the first part.  It may be that after the first part punched me in the guts (metaphorically speaking) - I had tensed up ready for the punches in parts 2 and 3.

I found part two's leap forward of ten years both helped and hindered the story.  It gave the story a chance to grow and progress the consquences of part 1 but it also left gaps in the story and the actions of one character, David Barratt, in the missing decade didn;t quite make sense to me.  In part one he was a dedicated family man who had already lost one child and his actions here didn't fit that.

I am being a bit harsh and the character telling us about what happened is an unrealiable figure they may not understand why things happened but when David does appear we don't get any real explanation.

On the plus side we do learn more of what is going on, while not every question is being answered (and for all we know the answers we are getting may not be right).

Part two ends with the discovery that someone we thought dead is actually alive which leads us to part 3

Part three leaps back to the end of part one and eplains what happened to that character until part 3. (there is a slight discontinuity between 2 and 3, in part 2 she appears to be cryogenically frozen, which doesn't happen in part 3)

Part 3 also doesn't answer or fill in the blanks of part 2.

However what 2 and 3 together do is get us revved up for part 4 (i have no idea how many parts Randall has planned) which seems to be leading to some sort of final battle/revelation

I'm on board for the rest of the series as it comes out and look forward to seeing how it plays out.

Headlocked volumes 2 & 3




I also read the next two parts of Headlocked Kingston and Mulipola's wrestling comic.

I also enjoyed this series as seen in part 1.  Parts 2 and 3 basically carry on from part 1 except there is a gap - something happened that left our hero Mike Hartmann bloodied in the middle of the ring and blacklisted to the wrestling industry .

But there is salvation from Doc Nightingale, a wrestler who left the industry for four years to try his hand at Hollywood.  He wants to make his return and offers Hartmann the chance to train with him as a masked wrestler known as Painkiller.

There's more to this as Nightingale is seen talking to someone on the phone about Michael and his training.

Also there is  a reporter looking to do an expose on Michael and we see him meeting wrestling school trainers and the shady practices that go on there.

I'm really oversimplifying here as we meet a heap of characters who are well felshed out.

This is a really good book and each volume builds on the last juggling several plots really well.

Mulipoli's art and the covers by Jerry "The King" Lawler are so good, (yep going for the technical language here)

Again I'm on board for the rest of this book also.


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Oz Comic Con Comic Buys

I spent my afternoon at Oz Comic Con and grabbed myself several comics.  I thought I'd share what Ibought and my thoughts on the same.

Avengers:The Road to Marvel's Avengers (Marvel) -  I found this trade collecting some of the MCU tie in comics,  There are three Iron Man tie-ins and one for Captain America.

Being Team Cap all the way I only grabbed the book for Captain America: First Vengeance by Fred Van Lente and several artists.

There's a gap in Captain America: The First Avenger where most of Cap and the Howling Commandos WWII adventures are glossed over in a montage and I thought that a comic series (or an animated series) set in that time period would be pretty cool.  You could get appearances from other Timely era characters who would be very unlikely to get movies. The Blonde Phantom, The Phantom Reporter, Golden Girl, Claire Voyant The Black Widow.  So I was intersted to see what  First Vengeance would give us.

It was different weaving through the events of The Frrst Avenger, we see the rise of Johan Schmidt, the escape and attempted escapes of Prof Erskine, an early exploit of Peggy Carter Agent 13, the first meeting of Steve Rogers and Bucky, the meeting f Bucky and the Howling Commandos.

This was a fine story and fleshes out The First Avenger a little. (but Cap's WW2 adventures would have been cooler)

Another story in this collection is Proximity which comes from the Iron Man 2: Black Widow Agents of SHIELD comic.  You know how "Natalie Rushman" comes to see Tony with papers to sign.  Well this story is how THe Black Widow infiltrated Stark Industries and used her spycraft to manipulate events so that she is the one who has to see Tony.

Both stories were enjoyable enough and are like watching deleted scenes on the DVD release of the movies.



Headlocked: A Single Step written by Michael Kingston art by Randy Valiente and Michael Mulipola (Headlocked Comics)

At the last several cons, I've heard Michael Mulipola talk and I've walked past his booth.  I've been meaning to get his books but I ummed and ahhed and usually I'd run out of money.

I've noticed that it's the books that you stop and think about do I take a chance on this? are the ones that end up being the best ones.

Headlocked as you might guess is a wrestling comic.  One that follows a young wrestler Mike Hartmann, a young man who decides he wants to be a professional wrestler.

Kingston is a wrestling fan but much to my surprize Mulipola is a wrestler and an artist and he is not the only one.  The cover to A Single Step is provided by Jerry "The King" Lawler.  There are bonus stories written by MVP, The Young Bucks and Samoa Joe.

Oh boy this was a good story and tells of Hartmann's attempts to break into the industry I'm interested to see where the story goes in the next two volumes both called The Last Territory.

Next time I see Michael Mulipola, I'm going to have to grab his WWE comics that he has worked on.


Broken Line written by Andrew Constant and art by Emily K. Smith, Mark Lauthier & Kathryn Mann. (Gestalt Comics)

Gestalt is an  Australian comic company that started in 2005 and is the second longest operating Australian comic book company.  I have several of thier books and all of them have been quality products.  They are the publishers of The Deep, Wastelander Panda and Unmasked.  I'm going to mention several other books of theirs in this post.

Constant is the writer of  Torn (from Gestalt), the latest Demon Miniseries by DC and Frew's Kid Phantom (from issue 2)

Broken Line is Mad Max meets a supernatural apocalyspe.  The main character is unnamed and refers to himself as Cop.  The nature of the apocalypse is unspecified, the opening pages suggest a nuclear holocast but there seems to very little fallout or mutants.

Cop has a big black car that calls to mind Mad Max's car.  In story he tells us that he was given the car by a mysterious bogey man, the car is impossible to damage and the tank is always full (suddenly I want one)  and part way through the story the car (literally) disappears.

Cop sees that his sargeant has killed himself when he gets a call from "Robber" who has stolen a cop car.  The two play chicken and Robber shows Cop a young boy he has chained to a tree.  The young boy had bitten his own arm.

I though we may be in one of those Zombie apocalypse scenarios but the boy is human just messed up by a Rasputin-ish preacher who teaches that God and his angels hear prayers through cries of pain.

The story revolves around Cop, Robber and the boy tracking down the preacher.

This comic was enjoyable but whoo boy did it bring up a lot of questions, I'm interested to see where this goes and if we get answers in future installments.

Karnak Book 1 written by Christian Read art by Micheal Maier (Gestalt)

Reid and Maier are the team behind the supernatural western The Eldrich Kid (also from Gestalt (it's starting to look like I may have to do a series of Great Comics Rereads for my other Gestalt books).

The poster for this book described it as Doctor Who meets Dr Strange and I cannot argue with that.  As I looked at it the name Karnak seemed to dance around the edge of familiarity in my brain.  I mentioned it to Wolfgang Bylsma, owner of Gestalt and he mentioned one of Jack Kirby's  Inhumans had that name. (There is also an Egyptian city of Karnak with a large temple)


Then it struck me, it was similar to William Hope Hodgson's Carnacki the Ghost Finder.  Wolf just smiled and showed me the electric pentagram on the back cover.

When I'm naming my characters I always want names I can conjure with and Christian Read has certainly done so in this series his Richard Karnak takes some cues from Hodgson's Thomas Carnacki but this is new character.

The story is set in the modern day (there are computers and mobile phones) and the 70s is a long time ago.

The story is narrated by Cass Lot who has moved in her new house with her fiance Chang Chan.  The lock on the front door appears to have blood in it.  (apparently moving into a new house is the scariest thing you can do - it rarely works out well in horror movies)  Things get worse from there and Cassie is apprached by Richard Karnak and his assistant Belthaniel (who I think may be an angel)

Karnak discovers that Lot's house was the home of the leader of a satanic swingers club in the 1970s (which by the way I want to know more about  Satanic Swingers sounds like it should have been a sleezy paperback in the seventites) which is the source of the problem.  There's very cool easter egg where the news story about the Satanic Swingers is written by Ned Buntline.  Buntline was the author of the Buffalo Bill Dime novels in the old west.

Belthaniel clears out the supernatural from Lot's house and Cassie intrigued by this new world she has stumbled on and goes to work for Karnak as his protege and assistant.

Karnak is almost exactly how I image Wesley Wyndum-Pryce (from Buffy and Angel may have turned out if he had not come across Angel) with a smattering of DC's John Constantine.

This is highly recommended.

Changing Ways Book 1 by Justin Randall (Gestalt)

I 'd heard good stuff about Changing Ways from a lot of people.  So I decided to give it a go.  I have to admit I was a little aprehensive because it looked like a zombie book and Brad don't do zombies (of course, I have a zombie story rattling my noggin)  but I'm willing to give it a crack,  Let me say Changing Ways is not a zombie story, I have no idea what genre to put this in.

in book 1, Tom Taylor writes a foreward where he says "Changing Ways grabbed me by the eyeballs and wouldn't let me go."

I really can't top that.  The story and art pulled me right in and did not let up, my wife called and I was at page 71,  and I was like "How did I get so far through?"

Great storytellers do that, time stops and you get caught in the story.

I was so hestitant to read this book and now I can't wait to see what the next two parts bring.

I thought intially I wouldn't like the art but damned if it grabbed me.  Randall's colouring bathes entire pages in yellows and reds and greens and blues.  I'm seriously lacking an art vocabulary to talk about the art and the colours.  There's an amazing bit where the young girl in the story is telling her parents something that happened to her and Randall drops his realistic style and gives us art that looks like it was drawn by a ten year old girl.  Holy Smokes.

Now I am torn do I rip straight throught the next two volumes? or dole them out over several days to savour them more?



Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Great Comics Reread: Jack Averice is The Courier

So I had just finished Danger Girl: Revolver with art by Chris Madden and on the back is an ad for Jack Averice is The Courier, by the same artist only he is also the writer.

Actually this is a nice companion piece to Danger Girl

"Looks fun." I think and about a week later I find all five issues at the Local Comic Shop.  So I grab them.

Madden has written a fun series.  He wears his inspirations on his sleeve but I didn't mind as it really gave a strong sense of the world Jack Averice is set.  it doesn't hurt that Madden and I share several influences.

The first issue  opens in Hawaii where Jack is longing for adenture in far off exotic lands, he is complaining that as an American he doesn't need a passport to travel there.

This interspersed with a suave almost Bondian spy Fox.  After getting out of several scrapes, the Fox lands in Jack's lap.

The second issue has Jack dragged into a world of adventure, The Fox was his brother and agent for The Courier  and Jack is to be the new Courier. (The Courier came out in 2011, Kingsman which has a number of similarities was a comic in 2012 and a movie in 2014  - any similarities would come from the same influences) Actually this a nice companion piece to Kingsman.

Jack then travels the globe having wild adventures stopping a supernaturally charged villian from acquiring the last piece for world domination.

This was a fun spy romp and even without Madden's easter eggs and refernces to Bond, Danger Girl and  Indiana Jones, this would still be a fun story.

As I said this a fun story and Madden's art sells that story.  It has a realistic style with a cartoonish touch.  It works really well.  The other thing is Madden's talent for likenesses which help several of the easter eggs


Check out this image from issue 2 (this is the clean art seen on Madden's Blog http://jackavarice.blogspot.com ) as the characters cover up part of it.  

Anyone with fondness for spy/adventure movie/tv/comics and games should be able to idenitify a good chunk of these.  (the complete list of Who's Who is on the Jack Averice blogspot)

I high recommend this as a fun adventure romp and hope Madden will be able to continue the story.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Great Comics Reread/This is the End Black Diamond

Maybe ten years ago or so, I found an issue or three of Black Diamond.  The cover of issue 1 declared "Sybil Danning is Black Diamond."

The centrespread talks about how Black Diamond was a movie created by Mike Frankovich Jnr to star Sybil Danning.  The first I'd heard of Danning, that I recall paying attention to her ( she was in Battle Beyond The Stars with George Peppard but I don't recall her).  Her filmography certainly suggested that Black Diamond would have been a good fit for her.  A female spy kicking ass sweet.

The idea would be that the comic would be a promitional tool with the comic serving as exposure for the characters.  The Comic debuted in 1983.  I hadn't seen the movie and I couldn't find any reference to the movie,  there was no IMDB page or anything.

I did some searching, there are a couple of different stories as to why the movie never got made - firstly Danning hurt her back.  Which would have been a bit of problem in an action heavy movie.  But her back healed and she made other movies since then.  A later search revealed that there was some sort of rights issue with the character - the articles I read weren't entirely clear.

For whatever reason, the movie never came out and the Black Diamond comic ended with issue 5, with the character appearing in a couple of AC comics titles like FemForce and Colt.   The promised Black Diamond Comic Novelette never appeared.

The first issue's editorial says that Danning contacted Bill Black of AC comics to put him in touch with Mike Frankovich Jnr (Danning and Black had earlier discussed Sheena with Black and auditioned for the Tanya Roberts Sheena Movie)  The five issues were original stories based on the movie and the Comic Novelette would presumably have been an adaptation of the screenplay.  Issue 5 mentions that Black Diamond might become a TV series - it didn't.

(side point there have been a tonne of unused scripts for movies Kevin Smith's Superman, Joss Whedon's Wonder Woman, etc why not turn them into comics?)

The comics are pretty good issues 2-5 have gorgeous Paul Gulacy covers (not Bill Black's cover to issue one is bad but Gulacy is just next level.)




The first three issues are a three part story The Darkfire Affair, where Infocom spy Tiana Matthews battles her opposite number Vanessa Cord, codenamed Darkfire and her all female mercenary team, Valkyrie Unit - in three different encounters.  These really fun spy capers.  Issue 4, has Tiana Matthews seaching for the killer of several agents and the final issue has Black Diamond searching for what might be a UFO.


Monday, July 16, 2018

New from Me!


SHERLOCK HOLMES

CONSULTING DETECTIVE Vol 12





Airship 27 Productions is thrilled to announce the release of the 12th volume in their internationally recognized bestselling series, “Sherlock Holmes – Consulting Detective.” 



Why do people cheat, rob and murder?  Why are people tempted to commit dark deeds?  These are the questions that have always plagued the great detective, Sherlock Holmes. In this, the 12th Volume of the best selling series, Consulting Detective, he and his faithful companion, Dr. Watson take on five new cases that will challenge their intellect and lead them through the twisted minds of nefarious souls.



“The demand for our new Holmes mysterious has never waned since we began the series almost ten years ago,” says Airship 27 Productions Managing Editor, Ron Fortier. “And in that time, those devoted Holmes fans have recognized the consistent quality of both our stories and art featuring Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous characters.”



All the art for this volume was provided solely by Airship 27 Productions own, award winning Art Director, Rob Davis. For the first time in the series, Davis delivered detailed pencils only for each illustration and also produced the stunning color cover. “This one is clearly a collector’s item,” Fortier smiles. “Fans of the series are not going to be disappointed.”



From chasing after a notorious confidence man to solving the death of a twin; a stolen tattoo or a murder of a bride before her wedding day, writers I.A. Waston, Barbara Doran, Fred Adams Jr. and Brad Mengel have produced truly remarkable mysteries  guaranteed to keep Holmes and Watson fans up late night.



As ever, the game is afoot!!



AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS – PULP FICTION FOR A NEW GENERATION!



Available now from Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Jake Speed: The investigation closed

So I'm rather fond of Jake Speed (1986) which was a fun movie, which I reviewed here.  Then I discovered the prequel comic strip which was done as promo for the movie.




But the thing that had eluded me was the novelisation from Gold Eagle.  It has an ISBN (from Wikipedia "A novelization, written under the pseudonym Reno Melon, Jake and Des' writing nom de plume, was published on June 1, 1986, by Gold Eagle/Harlequin (ISBN 0-373-62102-7)."

Forces of Geek has a cover image, which may be a recreation from the movie.

The late Wayne Crawford said in an imdb post (from the now defunct message boards) that there was a novelisation. Amazon has a page for it.

The evidence all pointed that there was a novelisation.  People said that they had owned one that they had lost.

Then on facebook I found that Mark Ellis (who wrote for Gold Eagle under several names including James Axler) pointed out an article in the International Association of  Media Tie-In Writers newsletter.  by Ron Renauld.

Being a fan of serial vigilante TV, I recognised his name. Renauld wrote novelisations for Airwolf, Street Hawk and The A-Team both under his own name and under pennames Charles Heath and Jack Roberts. He says that those gigs got him his shot a Gold Eagle where he wrote several Able Team and Executioners but the first novel he was contracted to write was Jake Speed.  The movie's release was moved up six months and Gold Eagle scrapped publications plans and the book was never published.  So it was written but never published and the plans for publication would have included getting an ISBN before it was scrapped.

This mystery is solved ... for now.  Who knows the novel may come out or have gotten a facelift and been published (like 50 Shades of Grey started life as Twilight fanfic). 

There is a rumour that the first Jake Strait novel from Gold Eagle "Avenging Angel" by Frank Rich was a rewritten version of Jake Speed but the plot description "The city rises like an evil vision from its surrounding the heavily guarded suburbs, the garrisoned farmlands. Life is sweeter in the fortified elite Hill section where the privileged few live, but elsewhere the city makes its own rules for life and death.
Even in this ruthless, anything-goes world, Jake Strait has his limits-a line that he won't cross willingly. He won't do political jobs. But when a rich, pampered couple from Hill sets him up, he is drawn into a plot that plans to drench the city with blood." doesn't match up with what we saw in the movie at all..



Sunday, April 15, 2018

If looks Could Kill (Aka Teen Agent) 1992 starring Richard Grieco and Gabrielle Anwar

Back in the day 21 Jump St was one of the coolest shows and Richard Grieco was one of the coolest actors.  He was soon spun off onto his own show Booker. I'm not sure if this was his first movie but it's a cracker of a movie.  Like Austin Powers and Kingsman that followed this movie takes many, many queues from the James Bond films with several nods to other spy and action films.



The basic plot is high school student Michael Corbin has failed French and he must go on the French Club trip to Paris if he is to graduate.

At the same time British Secret Agent Blade is killed investigating the deaths of several European finance ministers.  As the British are concerned that they have been comprised so they asked the CIA to send a replacement agent.  They send Michael Corbin.

Not the same Michael Corbin as the high school student but there is much confusion as the agent is killed and the high school student gets the first class flight and the James Bond set up with gadgets and a cool car.

There is some fun with the French Teacher escorting the class which also happens to the code name of a cold war double agent.  The French club is on a bus and every stop they get a new driver as competing factions try to stop The French Teacher and a gang of mercenaries.

Corbin muddles through often accidentally surviving assassination attempts, setting off  missiles while trying to wind down his windows. By the time he realises what is going on, he becomes competent enough to save the day.

I remember watching this movie with my uncle and he called it "Jimmy Bond gone wrong"

It was a blast to watch this again it's a fun pulpish spy romp with a Bondian villain and henchmen.







Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Pulp Heroes: Sanctuary Falls (2017) by Wayne Reinagel

I don't know what to make of this novel.  It's a huge sprawling epic of a novel which completes the story started in The Khan Dynasty and More Than Mortal and I ultimately did enjoy the story but as I said in my review of those two novels Reinagel really needs a strong editor to look over his work.  While the repetition of sections wasn't in this novel, there were massive infodumps that almost made my eyes bleed. Reinagel has done his research and it shows in the story but I don't need the entire history of the atomic program in America and The Soviet Union to explain how an atomic bomb was stolen or the entire political career of James Forrestal.  Every time I saw one of these infodumps it took me out of the story.

Two of the chapters - 15 and 16 felt completely unnecessary to me.  Chapter 15 started with Lester Dent walking down the street and looking up at a lit window, where Stan Lee is closing up Timely Comics after Martin Goodman discovered Lee's inventory stories (which did happen) and reflecting on the Golden Age of Comics.  The next chapter has Lester Dent and Walter Gibson discovering that their magazines Doc Titan and The Darkness (Reinagel's stand ins for Doc Savage and The Shadow) had been cancelled and Dent reflects on the history of the Pulps.  While both chapters serve to highlight that this is the end of an era both chapters took us away from the main story.

The story ends with ten epilogues wrapping up some of the side plots. With some of these epilogues, it felt like Reinagel didn't trust his readers to recognise the characters he was referencing, I understand this as a fan of obscure characters I have been guilty of making references to characters that very few people know and there can be a tendency to want to explain everything and over explain it.

The story was really good I liked the idea of Doc Titan, The Darkness, The Scorpion and The Guardian all coming to a problem from different angles and teaming up to work on the problem but it felt like the first half of the novel was bogged down with side plots. Like I said in my review of The Hunter Island Adventure, Reinagel is much better when he is more focused.  One thing he did do in this story was not to utilise the full supporting casts of all the main characters, making use of Doc Titans aides meaning that there were less characters to follow in the bulk of the action and the final showdowns had two teams of four characters rather than a cast of thousands.  


Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Secret Diary of Bettie Page (2017) by David Avallone (writer) and various artists

Bettie Page is a fascinating woman, one of the top pin up models.  She has been the subject of comics, a biopic (The Notorious Bettie Page starting Gretchen Mol) and a heap of photos and drawings.  I once heard that she was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the most photographed person in the world, I cannot verify that.

Like many of my age, I discovered Bettie Page when Dave Stevens used her as the model for The Rocketeer's girlfriend Betty Page.  Stevens then created a revival of Bettie Page which gave her royalties.  There were several comics from Dark Horse in the 90s some with art by Stevens and others by Jim Silke.  Other comics of a more salacious nature.  Needless to say Bettie Page has a significant pop culture presence so a new comic isn't a surprise.  The idea that she was a secret agent in the 50s is in an interesting idea.

This miniseries has eight issues (and a six issue story in Playboy) all written by David Avallone with different artists. Issues 1-3 have art by Colton Wortley, with Esau Figueroa and Bane Wade sharing the duties for the last five issues.  Joseph Michael Lisner did the art for the Playboy story (which can be found here. Lisner provided covers for all the issues.

The eight issues are split into three parts. Issues 1-4 cover the events leading to Bettie's recruitment.  Issue 5 covers training and a small mission that pays homage to 50s drive in moves and issues 6-8 is the mission in Cannes. Personally, I would have gotten to the spy stuff sooner.

Issue 1 was a little confusing it starts with Bettie at a photoshoot in New York. The FBI raids the shoot and Bettie escapes down the fire escape.  At the bottom of the escape, just standing in the street is Rick Chaplain.  Chaplain helps her down and offers her a job.  A job in Los Angeles, where he proceeds to drive her.  I live in Australia but I know that LA and New York are a long way apart.
The whole set up seems off and a really bad way to get to her to Los Angeles.  I mean there wasn't even the opportunity for her to pack, Bettie is seen driving in the outfit she was wearing at the photoshoot.  Lucky it was the start of the shoot.

In LA, Bettie gets the lead role in a sci movie "Invasion of the Space Commies" while working as an assistant for Chaplain.  Seriously, the story could have started with Bettie in LA for auditions.  Hell she could have met Chaplain on the plane and it would have made more sense than what we got.

The story could have been tighter but it was far from the most disappointing part of the story.  Bettie Page Queen of the Pin-Ups this was a story begging for 'good girl' style art.  The Dark Horse stories had Dave Stevens and Jim Silke artwork.

See the source imageSee the source image



And Dynamite delivers for the covers with Joseph Michael Lisner doing all eight issues and Scott Chandler on variants.  Issue one had twenty odd variants including photo covers with and one by  Terry Dodson homaging Dave Stevens.

 

If only the interior art matched these covers, I found Colton Worley's  art to be muddy.  It looked like he was using photo references but it didn't work, In issues 1 and 2 Worley inked his own work but issue 3 had Esau Figueroa inking but the inking only made the effect worse:

 

Figueroa drew issues 4, 6-8 with Bane Wade drawing issue 5 and inking issue 4.  I found the art did not improve with the changes in artist. Dynamite as I mentioned did a six page stand alone with Lisner on art for Playboy magazine, which co-incidentally was the memorial issue for Hugh Hefner.  Lisner's artwork was the only one I liked. I'm not sure why the artists changed but I did not realise that the change had taken place until I was writing this.

This was an interesting idea, that could have been awesome.  I was on board, this hit my sweet spot. Bettie Page, spy hell yeah.  The art was my biggest problem, the muddy interior art drew me away from the story - look I can appreciate different styles but certain styles work better for different characters and stories. Any story on Bettie Page cries out for strong good girl art, people reading it based on the name are expecting a book about a pin up queen.  The covers promised us this and the interior failed to deliver.

I was so critical of the art that until I started to reread issue 1, I had not really noticed some of the story flaws.  If you spend half your story getting her to be a spy it is too long and then spend an issue on a side story (a cool and interesting diversion into the 50s giant creature features) not having her spy I'm going to feel a little cheated. The set up did tie into the spying in the last three issues but the whole thing could have been handled better.

I would not recommend this comic.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Pro Se Presents October 2011: The Hunter Island Adventure by Wayne Reinagel


Originally published



After reading Pulp Heroes: More Than Mortal and Pulp Heroes: The Khan Dynasty I saw that Reinagel had written this shorter piece focusing on the female pulp sidekicks, Pam Titan (an analogue of Pat Savage from the Doc Savage Series), Cassie Greyson (an analogue of Nellie Gray from The Avenger), Megan Meriwether (Margo Lane from The Shadow) and Whitney Van Pelt (Nita Van Sloan from The Spider). Set between The Khan Dynasty and More Than Mortal , the four heroines are on a cruise taking the place of Simon Blake The Guardian who was suddenly called away on a case.
The four women are kidnapped and taken to Hunter Island where Simon Blake was to be put one the trial and hunted for the rape and murder of Judge Armstrong’s wife and daughter. Reinagel quickly lets us know that Hunter Island was formerly known as Ship-trap Island (from Richard Cornell’s The Most Dangerous Game) making this a follow on from that novel. One of the hunters is Lord James Roxton, the son of Lord John Roxton from The Lost World and the other Professor Challenger stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The women arrive at a time when there is some dissent between some of the hunters and the leaders Armstrong and Roxton. The mutiny sees the women on the run and hunted by the mutineers.
None of the women are fainting damsels in distress and react just as capably their male counterparts (in some cases they are more effective than their male counterparts simply because the hunters underestimate the women).
I really enjoyed this novel, The Hunter Island Adventure is not as epic in scope as More Than Mortal and The Khan Dynasty but that is not a bad thing as I felt that this brought a better focus on the plot with a smaller cast of characters.
(One of the problems I had with More Than Mortal when Doc Titan and The Guardian’s teams joined forces I had trouble recollecting who was who from what team although that might be more on my dodgy memory.)
The four women are written as four different characters with different skills and knowledge who seem to be genuine friends who interact often with a light hearted banter and girly gossip. Not surprisingly this relationship is consistent with what we see in the two other adventures.
The Hunter Island Adventure is a good rollicking adventure and well worth reading. 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Mr Holmes (2015) starring Ian McKellen

Based on the novel "A Slight Trick of the Mind" by Mitch Cullen.
Watching the Hobbit trilogy, I realised that Bilbo was played by Martin Freeman who played Dr Watson in Sherlock and Gandalf was played by Ian McKellen who played Holmes in this.  I had the idea of the Gandalf and Bilbo Mysteries.

I have seen many, many Sherlock Holmes films over the years and I've enjoyed several of McKellen's films. (Okay the X-Men and Middle Earth films).

The idea of an older retired Holmes in his 90's trying to recall the details of his last case is an interesting one.  The idea that the Holmes' mind will ultimately betray him is a scary one because dementia like all diseases doesn't discriminate. I'd heard that the author Mitch Cullen wrote his novel to help deal with his father's dementia.

Holmes in this is the most human in this movie I have ever seen. This is Holmes looking back on his last case the one that caused him to retire to beekeeping.  Holmes realises that he can logically deduce problems and give them a logical solution but people aren't necessarily logical and the last case ended badly and ended in the death of someone involved in the case. This lead Holmes to fall into a funk and eventually become estranged from Watson.

Holmes is unable to emotionally relate to people and later hear a horrible piece of advice given to someone that causes a third plot line.

This movie really brought a tear to my eye.

I have to give full credit to McKellen for such an emotional performance for a character who is not normally associated with emotions.  Another great feature is the makeup where we can visibly see the difference between "younger" and older Holmes.

There is a great Easter Egg at one point Holmes goes to the movies to see a movie based on one of his cases (in this instance based on Watson's write up of his last case) the actor playing Holmes was Nicholas Rowe who had played Holmes in 1985s Young Sherlock Holmes (also known as Young Sherlock Holmes and the Pyramid of Fear) which was a pleasant surprise to see him revisit the role thirty years later even though sadly there was no dialogue.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Pulp Heroes: More Than Mortal & The Khan Dynasty by Wayne Reinagel


Originally published Tuesday, June 5, 2012 7:51:27 PM

I’ve chosen to review these two epics together because I read them closely together and for these two related novels, what I’ll say about one will mostly be repeated for the other.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned my love for Philip Jose Farmer’s A Feast Unknown in the past where Lord Grandith (a Tarzan stand in) and Doc Caliban (Doc Savage stand in) meet and discover some shocking revelations about their histories. Wayne Reinagel takes Farmer and goes beyond, throwing in some Wold Newton speculations for good measure and adding some of his own theories.

Both stories features analogues of many of hero pulps but focuses on Doc Titan (Doc Savage), The Darkness (The Shadow with a smidge of Marvel’s The Shroud), The Guardian (the Avenger) and The Scorpion (The Spider).

More than Mortal in essence is an epic adventure that reveals that Doc Titan, The Guardian and several other characters (or their analogues) are shown to have a connection in case that serves as grand finale for a number of pulp heroes – that’s not a spoiler as the opening of More Than Mortal is the death of one of minor pulp heroes.

The Kahn Dynasty is an earlier tale that serves as the semi prequel to The Avenger Justice Inc and a sequel to Doc Savage: Brand of the Werewolf (the introduction of Pat Savage) revealing more interconnections between the great heroes as an earlier adventure in the 1880’s impacted on our heroes today.

I enjoyed these two adventures and it was fun to read these as alternate versions of heroes I know and love with some surprising revelations.

If I had any complaints, Reinagel could do with some tighter editing – there is a tendency to reuse some of the phrasing. Two examples spring to mind from The Kahn Dynasty.

In one scene Pam Titan is packing her belongings to travel to New York and she describes her grandfather’s gun in detail to the friend helping her pack. A couple of chapters later, the story has Simon Titan getting the gun as a gift with nearly the same description.

In another scene Henry Jekyll is talking with his father and he thinks about their relationship, the point of view then changes to Jekyll’s father and he describes his relationship with his son in the exact same terms.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Agent X (2015) - Pilot - Sharon Stone, Gerald McRainey and Jeff Hephner

Living in Australia can be interesting.  You hear about new TV shows from the States and hope that one of the networks here pick it up.  Sometimes it takes awhile (don't get me started on Season 2 of Arrow on Channel 9 or Agent Carter on 7) and other times we get fast tracked on the same day or within hours of the US or we just miss out.

So I hear about Agent X a couple of years back, the same time as The Player (Wesley Snipes and Philip Winchester), Limitless and Intelligence (Marge Helgenberger and Josh Holloway). All four shows have a few things in common, they had an interesting premise that I found interesting and they all lasted only 1 season.  Where Agent X differs from the other three, it never aired in Australia.



I had seen Agent X promos on YouTube and it seemed like an interesting variation on the President's Man films starring Chuck Norris.  With Agent X being the Vice-President's man.  As pointed out in the episode the founding father's gave the Vice-President almost no duties to free him or her up to run this agent.  I presume that the Vice-President has access to all the same briefings as the President and is able to discreetly send one agent to resolve threats to America.

So I found the pilot on line and I quite enjoyed it.  Littered with familiar faces: Jamie Sheridan (Arrow), Sharon Stone (Catwoman, King Solomon's Mines) Mike Colter (Luke Cage), John Shea (Lois and Clark, Mutant X) and Gerald McRainey (The A-Team movie, Simon & Simon).

The premise isn't the most original but the use of a Vice-President was an idea I hadn't seen before.  I presume that as the series progresses we find out more about John Case.