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.