Captain America The Winter Soldier 4 Minute Preview Clip / Trailer
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Earth 2 #21
Review by Paul Bowler
With the fate of the world resting heavily on the shoulders of Earth 2’s reluctant new hero, various battles rage around the world, as the final World Army command post is crushed by the evil Superman and the hordes of Apokoilips. Batman and his new allies can only watch as events unfold. Commander Khan oversees his forces after they retreat to their last safe haven, meanwhile a secret project make preparations to abandon this doomed world, and having set Superman’s prisoners to work Bedlam makes a startling discovery…
Earth 2 #21 doesn’t exactly hit the ground running, instead Tom Taylor grabs you by the arm right from the very first page, and then proceeds to drags you dizzily through an action packed issue filled with brutal violence and more than a few surprise plot twists to keep you on the edge of your seat. The Kryptonian Part 1 pulls no punches, the evil Superman’s reign of terror has crushed the World Army and the New Wonders that opposed him, leaving the survivors from the carnage scattered and dazed by the ferocity and sheer speed with which Darkseid’s herald and his Parademons horde have decimated all resistance.
Earth 2 #21 is epic in scope and scale: from the opening battle in Moscow, events spiral outwards from Gotham, taking in the wonder of Amazonia, and even the majesty of Altantis itself. Perhaps most striking of all though is Project Beyond, a privately funded initiative by the rich and powerful, which despite their desperate attempt to abandon Earth, proves that in the end all the money in the world is ultimately worthless when you suddenly find yourself at the back of the queue just as the shit is about to hit the fan.
We also get to catch up with Commander Khan this issue, his shock and guilt about what he perceives as his failure as commander of the World Army is almost palpable as Colonel Dodds reports how many people he was able help evacuate. Tensions are still running high back at the Batcave as Batman and Red Arrow argue, Lois / Red Tornado intervenes in a great scene, being openly critical of the new Batman’s tactical skills compared to his predecessor, who she knew was a tactical genus, and urges him to take decisive action while they wait for Val’s powers to develop.
The art by Nicola Scott for Earth 2 #21 looks as good as ever, with inks by Trevor Scott, their work elevates the thrilling events of this story further still, especially with the world wide scope that this issue presents them with. The numerous locations featured in Earth 2 #21 are vividly brought to life by Nicola Scott’s art, the attention to detail here is astounding, which, together with Trevor Scott’s inks and striking colors by Peter Pantazis, really encapsulates the increasing darkness of the apocalypse that Taylor has unleashed on this alternative world. This is brutal stuff as well. The opening scenes in Moscow, where the Atom valiantly stands his ground against Superman, are shocking and violent in the extreme. The carnage continues as Project Beyond meets a particularly nasty end on the edge of space after Superman makes an example of them.
Its not all doom and gloom though, we do fortunately have some lighter moments, especially after Major Sato manages make contact the World Army. Jimmy Olsen is quickly becoming one of my favourite characters, not only does he point out everyone’s arguing in the Batcave isn’t exactly helping to inspire Val’s confidence un humanity, the scene where the young super genus hacks into a conference call between Commander Khan and Aquawoman is priceless; especially the banter between Olsen and the Queen of the Sea.
As Earth 2 #21 draws to a close we are also reunited with Mr Terrific, Terry Sloan, and Mr Miracle, as Bedlam begins to instigate the next stage of Apokolips’ master plan for Earth 2 and its civilization. These closing moments also lead to the fateful discovery of a secret that could change everything.
Tom Taylor cerographs the action perfectly, with each scene moving seamlessly to the next big event, and the series certainly seems to be building towards a titanic showdown. I also really liked that we got to see so many different locations and characters in this issue, sure it’s taking a while for everyone to regroup, but I think that really helps build the suspense as the World Army and the New Wonders formulate their plans – unaware of the knowledge gained by the forces of Apokolips that could now force their hand in the battle to come.
I would have liked to have seen more scenes with Hawkgirl and Dr Fate, especially as the brilliant cover for Earth 2 #21 by Ken Lashley and Matt Yackey featured Dr Fate so prominently, but that minor quibble aside, I really enjoyed this issue and can’t wait to see what Tom Taylor does next with Earth 2, especially now that Superman looks really, REALLY, angry! Bring it on!!!
WB Reveal First Photo of Grant Gustin As The Flash
After all the excitement and anticipation, as well as two episodes of Arrow to introduce the character, CW’s The Flash pilot is due to go into production next week, so in the run up to that, Warner Bros. Television has just released the first picture of star Grant Gustin in costume as DC Comics iconic superhero.
The image shows a side on view of Gustin’s head in what appears to be a very faithful adaptation of the scarlet speedster’s costume, although it does appear to be a slightly darker shade of red than used in the comic books. So far Gustin has appeared in two episode of Arrow in The Flash’s civilian identity, Barry Allen.
The Flash costume for the TV series has been designed by Colleen Atwood, a three-time Academy Award winner, who, incidentally, also designed Stephen Armell’s Arrow costume. The Flash pilot, currently in contention for a series on the CW’s 2014-2015 schedule, will be executive produced by Arrow’s own Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, and David Nutter. It will also be directed by Nutter and written by Berlanti, Kriesberd, and DC chief creative officer, and Flash comic book writer Geoff Johns.
The Walking Dead #122
Review by Paul Bowler
Negan and the Saviors launched a devastating attack on Alexandria. Only the arrival of Maggie and the reinforcements from the Hilltop managed to force Negan and his forces to retreat. With the town in ruins, Negan is confident this battle has just won him the war. Dr Denise Cloyd manages to save Heath’s life after his leg was blown off by a grenade, despite being bitten by a Zombie (Holly); her valiant effort to treat her boyfriend’s injuries comes at the price of her own life. Once Denise’s funeral is over Rick and the survivors leave Alexandria behind and head for the Hilltop, where they will join forces with Maggie and wait for Negan to make his next move. Amidst all the confusion during the Saviors attack on Alexandria, Eugene and his crew were captured by Negan, and now the Saviours leader is prepared to do whatever it takes to force Eugene into making ammunition for them – threatening to kill his friends and torture him if he refuses to comply.
The incredibly tense and poignant aftermath of this battle still resonates strongly, as Rick had to decide what to do next, while Heath sat with Denise at her bedside waiting for her to finally succumbs to her injuries and die; but he was unable to bring himself to act before Denise “turned” and Michonne stepped in to finish what he could not.
The Walking Dead #122 sees Negan leaving Eugene’s cell, after the Saviors leader confronted his prisoner last issue, having made it clear in no uncertain terms by getting up close and personal with Eugene in the most vile, and degrading, way imaginable, that he would take great pleasure in torturing and mutilating Eugene and his friends if they refused to help the Saviors manufacture and restock their supplies of ammunition. Robert Kirkman continues to allow the suspense to build within the walls of the Saviors base, after Dwight visits Eugene in his cell when Negan has gone. What follows is a nail bitingly tense exchange that readdresses the characters motives and loyalties, one that also inadvertently leads to the discovery of an unexpected ally.
The tone shifts markedly afterwards, with Rick and the survivors adjusting to their new home at the Hilltop. I really like how Kirkman manages to feature so many characters over the course of this issue, allowing us a greater insight into their lives, and the toll that the war is taking on them. There are some wonderful scenes during these quieter moments at the Hilltop: Andrea watches over Rick while he rests as she guards the perimeter wall, Maggie seeks advice on her new role as leader of the hilltop community from Brianna, we lean a lot more about Jesus, including his real name, and I loved the scene where Michonne pretends to be asleep while Ezekiel explained how his grief affected him. Rick also introduces himself to Earl Sutton the following day, it’s a great little scene, and it will be interesting to see what the blacksmith makes to help Rick out.
The art by Charlie Adlard is as solid as ever, with some great attention to detail. There are some very emotional scenes over the course of this issue, and the characters expressions covey their emotions perfectly. Stefano Gaudiano’s inks also give an added depth and texture to Adlard’s work as well. The moonlight view of the Hilltop looks peaceful, yet eerily haunting, the level of detail in the scene where Ezekiel’s people finally arrive at the Hilltop is stunning, illustrating the vivid contrast between this sanctuary and the stark reality of the Zombie apocalypse just outside the gates, while the lull in the action makes these somewhat introspective moments between the character seem even more intimate and personal than ever before.
Just when you think Negan couldn’t sink any lower, or get any more twisted, he manages to turn your stomach again and goes and does just that! Robert Kirkman has created such a loathsome and despicable character in Negan that you never quite know what he will come up with next. While he may be deranged, this foul-mouthed psychopath has devised a new, and utterly ingenious way to use the Walkers infection to his advantage, even going to far as to give his beloved baseball bat Lucile a gruesome upgrade that will make her kiss even deadlier.
The eighth chapter of All Out War is a brilliant character driven issue as the survivors regroup at the Hilltop. Now that all their forces are united Rick and his allies begin to plan their next move, while Negan prepares to strike back in the most horrible way imaginable. The Walking Dead #122 will have you on the edge of your seat, especially during the closing moments, and it will leave you eagerly awaiting the next issue.
Guardians of the Galaxy Official Trailer!
Check out the 1st official Guardians of the Galaxy trailer that premiered last night on the late night talk show ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’, where star Chris Pratt unveiled the long awaited trailer. Wow, this move looks awesome!
5th Doctor, Barbara Clegg, Black Guardian Trilogy, Doctor Who, Enlightenment, Eternals, Janet Fielding, Mark Strickson, Peter Davison, Season Twenty, Tegan, The Black Guardian, The White Guardian, Turlough, Valentine Dyall
Review by Paul Bowler
When the Doctor (Peter Davison), Tegan (Janet Fielding), and Turlough (Mark Strickson) receive a dire warning from the White Guardian the TARDIS lands on board the SS Shadow, an Edwardian sailing yacht, which they discover is really a spaceship that is taking part in a race against other sailing vessels. The crew of the ship are Eternals, beings who exist outside of time, and they are racing each other across the Solar System to claim the most treasured prize in the universe – Enlightenment.
The Doctor tries to keep the TARDIS secret from Captain Striker (Keith Barron), but the Eternal learns of the time machine with his telepathic powers and prevents the Time Lord and his companions from escaping. When other ships in the race are mysteriously destroyed the Doctor begins to suspect foul play. Tormented by his secret pact with the Black Guardian (Valentine Dyall), Turlough jumps overboard, only to be rescued by a pirate ship, the Buccaneer, where he is taken to meet Captain Wrack (Lynda Baron).
Turlough discovers that Captain Wrack is secretly in league with the Black Guardian and has a deadly weapon on her ship that concentrates mental energy. Captain Wrack invites the crew of the SS Shadow to a dinner on board the Buccaneer, where he hypnotises Tegan, placing a focusing crystal in her tiara that will destroy Striker’s ship. Later when Captain Wrack is defeated the Doctor and Turlough steer the ship towards the gleaming crystal structure that is Enlightenment, winning the race, and defeating the Eternals.
Turlough is presented with a gleaming crystal. The White Guardian (Cyrl Luckham) offers Turlough a chance of Enlightenment while the Black Guardian offers him untold riches and demands he gives him the Doctor. Turlough chooses Enlightenment, grabbing the glowing crystal, he throws it at the Black Guardian – who bursts into flames and fades away. As the White Guardian departs the Doctor and Tegan acknowledge that Turlough is now free of the Black Guardian’s influence, and realise that Enlightenment was not the crystal, but the choice Turlough made.
Enlightenment is one of the highlights of the twentieth season. This is a great story by Barbara Clegg that brings the Black Guardian Trilogy to a satisfying conclusion. Right from the opening moments in the TARDIS, which look really spooky with the dark lighting, as the action shifts to the Edwardian yacht the claustrophobic atmosphere of the story continues to build. The attention to period detail is remarkable and the costumes are brilliant, director Fiona Cumming really makes you believe you are a on a sailing ship, perfectly building up to the astonishing reveal at the end of episode one. The model sailing ships are also of a really high standard, as are the scenes where they skim close to the planets and the final port of call at Enlightenment itself.
The Eternals are beings who exist outside linear time, dwelling within eternity itself, they fill the emptiness of their existence by feeding off the thoughts of their human crew – who they have kidnapped and brainwashed to do their bidding. Captain Striker is a cold and calculating adversary for the Doctor, but it is his first officer Mariner (Christopher Brown), who develops a creepy fixation on Tegan, that really illustrates how parasitic the Eternals really are. Janet Fielding is really good in Enlightenment, she gets plenty to do in the story, and she really conveys Tegan’s disgust when she turns on Mariner and blocks her thoughts so he cannot read them.
The Black Guardian has another ally in this story, Captain Wrack, and Lynda Baron gives a marvellously over-the-top performance as the evil Pirate Captain. It’s also good to see Valentine Dyall and Cyril Luckham return as the Guardians from the Key to Time saga, and Valentine Dyall is brilliant as the chillingly evil Black Guardian… This story also brings Turlough’s story full circle, with Mark Strickson giving one of his best performances as the character. There are some quite shocking moments in Enlightenment as Turlough has to come to terms with his actions. His deal with the Black Guardian rapidly begins to sour, sensing that he is doomed; he desperately tries to commit suicide by jumping from the deck of the SS Shadow. After being rescued by Captain Wrack his loyalty to the Doctor is challenged again, until he finally chooses Enlightenment at the end of the story – finding his own redemption and defeating the Black Guardian.
Enlightenment is one of my favourite stories from Peter Davison’s tenure as the 5th Doctor. He gives a very understated performance in this story, often acting as a quiet observer, particularly towards the end of the story as Turlough has to make his choice. The 5th Doctor is always right at the heart of the action, quietly guiding his companions, and always managing to stay just one set ahead of the Eternals and the Black Guardian’s plan. He even acquires a new stick of celery on the Buccaneer, which is strange as everything created by the Eternals is not actually real, but it is still on the Doctor’s lapel at the end of the story. Enlightenment is a fascinating story, full of great performances and special effects, and is a real jewel in the crown of the programmes twentieth anniversary year.