BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT PRESENTS RED HOOD #1 REVIEW

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Batman White Knight: Presents Red Hood #1

Review by Paul Bowler.

The one missing piece of lore from Sean Murphy’s White Knight alternative Batman universe has always been a particularly intriguing quandary. A quirk of writing on Murphy’s part had Jason Todd portrayed as the first Robin by the acclaimed Batman White Knight series. Now the mystery of what happened to Jason Todd is finally revealed  in Batman: White Knight Presents Red Hood #1, as Murphy’s Esleworlds style White Knight saga continues to expand in DC Black Labels new two-part miniseries. Co-written by Murphy along with Clayton McCormack, with art by Simone di Meo and colorist Dave Stewart, Batman: White Knight Presents Red Hood delves into Jason Todd’s fall from grace as the first Robin – where he gave up Batman’s secret identity  to the Joker and unbeknown to the Bat-Family was actually still alive out there somewhere. That juicy narrative thread is the tantalising hook which provides the catalyst for this miniseries’ premise and the fascinating insight it offers into Jason Todd’s character. 

Jason’s story is one that has reverberated throughout the White Knight universe and impacted on virtually every character. Having cheated death at the hands of the Joker by betraying Batman in the opening flashback, the issue flash forwards to even darker times in Neo Gotham. Jason Todd has spent years going form pillar to post, he’s been kicked out of the military and turned his back on the Superhero game for good. Now older, drunker and seemingly non-the-wiser our red-motorbike helmet wearing vigilante has taken to stealing from street gangs. That is until he crosses paths with a new Robin girl wonder wannabe  called Gan. 

The writing is really pacy, emotive and injected way more fun into this story than I was expecting – especially after the grim opening scenes. I really liked the dynamic between “Beer Guy” and this new Robin as the crime-fighting lessons begin. Jason is determined to do a better job training this Robin than Batman did with him, the dialogue and sentiment proves quite moving at times as well. Simone Di Meo’s art has a distinct Manga quality that is very different from Murphy’s work on this universe, but in the context of this story the different artistic style and warmer color pallet Dave Stewart employs works extremely well. Batman: White Knight Presents Red Hood #1 delivers  a long-awaited insight into the legacy of the Red Hood and his place in the White Knight universe. His mentorship of the new Robin also makes for a terrific read and I’m excited to see how this story plays out.

Publisher DC Comics

Story Sean Murphy / ScriptClay McCormack

Art Simone Di Meo / Colors Dave Stewart

Cover Sean Murphy

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

DETECTIVE COMICS #1062 REVIEW

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Detective Comics #1062

Review by Paul Bowler.

With the new creative team of writer Ram V (The Swamp Thing, Catwoman, The Meany Deaths of Laila Starr) and artist Rafael Albuquerque (American Vampire, Superman / Batman) at the helm Detective Comics #1062 sets out an eldritch Gothic threat that will strike at the heart of the Dark Knight’s world like never before. This issues ominously titled “Overture” kicks off Ram V’s “Gotham Nocturne,” an epic all-new four part storyline. From the outset its clear this tale is going to be one steeped in operatically charged  horror and music. Something is also terribly wrong with Batman. Despite all of his best efforts, Bruce has been unable to pin down the source of the foreboding dread which besets him and the city he is sworn to protect. Indeed, the worlds greatest detective will soon confront his inner demons and his own mortality as a terrifying invasion of real demons start emerging from the shadows of Gotham City – a horror that is spawned with devastating consequence from the uncanny melody currently haunting the darkest corners of Gotham…

Ram V works his magic again with this impeccably paced scene-setting issue. Juggling rich characterisation and dark Gothic horror with consummate ease to craft a spellbinding mystery that inexorably builds around the Dark Knight. Whether he’s cracking a smuggling ring, battling a grotesque monster, or figuring out the workings of a strange box that looks like something from a Hellraiser movie, Batman is constantly on the back foot as the sinister events – seemingly orchestrated by a secret cabal – threaten to overwhelm him. Although the curtain is raised on this new threat, Ram V wisely keeps the air of suspense building, immersing us in rich characterisation and intricate plot twists as Batman realises he has only scratched the surface of this mystery. The full scale of what he faces in Gotham Nocturne gradually becomes apparent. But just who is human, who is demon, and has there been a demon within Batman all along?

The artwork by Rafael Albuquerque is every bit as impeccable and compelling as we’ve come to expect. Every page is awash with vivid imagery and brooding atmosphere – enhanced further by Dave Stewart’s exceptional use of colour and tone. Rafael Albuquerque masterfully captures the essence of the Batman’s world and the chilling danger he faces. Everything from the unflinching action, to the simmering lurking dread and the Gothic majesty of Gotham itself is all sublimely rendered via the prism of Albuquerque’s distinct take on Gotham. There’s lashings of visceral horror and gore too. One particularly gruesome sequence that really stands out is a startling transformation and fight with a hulking monstrosity. Bruce also experiences a horrific nightmare at one point that proves especially unsettling – highlighting just how vulnerable the Dark Knight really feels.

Simon Spurrier (Legion of X, Suicide Squad: Blaze) is on board as Detective Comics ongoing backup writer In these backups, Spurrier is set to explore various characters across Gotham, and how their stories interact with Batman’s wider world. The first new story feature Jim Gordon’s welcome return as a private investigator, with artwork by Dani (Arkham City: Order of the World, Coffin Bound), ‘The Coda’ is a stylish noir-tinged tale where Gordon’s case to find a woman’s missing son leads him into the ruins of Arkham. Detective Comics #1062 also marks the debut of a fantastic new logo and border designed by Darran Robinson. The issues stunning main cover is drawn by Evan Cagle, with variant covers by Lee Bermejo and J.H. Williams III, as well as InHyuk Lee, and a foil variant by J.H. Williams.

The new creative team hits the ground running with Detective Comics #1062 and brings a haunting new aesthetic to the fore as Batman is confounded by the unimaginable horror that’s sweeping across Gotham. Expectations for Ram V’s run on Detective Comics has been high, his skill in melding horror and  drama is flawlessly applied here, and together with Rafael Albuquerque’s superb artwork I’m pleased to say this issue exceeds all expectations. 

Publisher DC Comics

Writer RAM V / Artist Rafael Albuquerque

Colors David Stewart

Backup: Writer Si Spurrier / Artist Dani

Cover Evan Cagle

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

BATMAN #125 REVIEW

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Batman #125

Review by Paul Bowler.

A new era begins for the Dark Knight with Batman #125 and marks the debut of the hotly anticipated creative team of Zdarsky, Jimenez and Morey on DC Comics flagship Batman title. It becomes clearly apparent from the outset that Chip Zdarsky is very much indeed on board for the “long haul” with this run, especially if the catalogue of seismic events in this dark, brooding opening story arc are anything to go by. “Failsafe” sees Bruce Wayne’s life reaching a significant turning point with Bruce haunted by dreams of a tripled Clown Prince of Crime, the Dark Knight must also grapple with a gruesome spate of murders, and the far-reaching mystery behind them. The victims are the billionaires and high-flyers of Gotham, and as Batman starts to uncover the dark connection between them it gradually puts everyone closes to him in mortal danger. 

Chip Zdarsky quickly establishes the new status quo for his era of Batman with Bruce  dealing with the ominous fallout from his unsettling dreams, leading to a poignant interlude as  Bruce briefly touches base with Selena Kyle, before the plot really kicks into high gear. Its really good to see Tim Drake’s Robin working closely alongside Batman once again for this series. Zdarsky brings an entirely fresh energy to this Dynamic Duo, and its great to see them back in action as a team again. We also learn that Bruce has clearly struggled with his unique  work-life balance since loosing the bulk of his fortune. Indeed, it seems Bruce Wayne has  almost become surplice to requirements now in the Dark Knight’s war on crime, something Tim is quick to point out to him. 

Zdarsky skilfully weaves several intricate narrative threads across this issue, some of which involve the Penguin capitalising on the recent murders for his own advantage. But a flurry of curveball plot twists mid-way through the issue soon sets a tragedy of events in motion that reopens old wounds for Batman and leads to the emergence of the brand new horror that is Failsafe.

Artist Jorge Jimenez and colourist Tomeu Morey make a welcome return to this series after seven month away. From the urban gothic of the Bat-Cave to the glitz of the Iceberg  Lounge Jimenez’s gorgeously rendered artwork is always a feast for the eyes, and together with Morey’s richly honed color pallet they harness a vivid noirish tone and style that melds perfectly with Zdarsky’s vision of the Dark Knight’s world. Gotham has never looked better and Batman is more imposing than ever. The level of detail Jimenez packs into every page is quite astonishing, there are some big action-set pieces to die for, and exquisite moments of characterisation that capitalise on all the emotional beats of Zdarsky’s script. 

The backup story by Zdarsky, artist Belen Ortega and colorist Luis Guerrero focuses on the power struggle that has broken out in the criminal underworld of Gotham in light of recent events, with Selina Kyle  caught in the middle! It sets up  a self-contained addendum to the main story line and provides a good showcase for Selina, who might well even make a tidy profit from all the turmoil? While not exactly the highlight of the issue, Two Birds, One Thorne does hold one surprise reveal that I doubt anyone saw coming.

Zdarsky, Jimenez and Morey have certainly got their new six-part “Failsafe” arc off to a confident start here with this giant sized issue. While I enjoyed this issue, I wasn’t quite as blown away by it as I was expecting. That said Batman #125 still has plenty of stand-out moments and shock surprises for fans to enjoy, the exposition gets a bit heavy in places, but overall the break-neck action and fantastic artwork are by far the biggest selling points. An impressive, if somewhat formulaic, start to this new era of the Dark Knight.

Publisher DC Comics

Writer Chip Zdarsky

Artist Jorge Jimenez Colourist Tomeu Morey

Letter Clayton Cowles  Cover Jorge Jimenez

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

DOCTOR WHO ORIGINS #1 REVIEW

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Doctor Who Origins #1

Doctor Who Origins #1 from Titan Comics kicks off an untold adventure for the Fugitive Doctor. This brand new four-part mini-series finds the Doctor working for the mysterious Division on a highly dangerous assignment, where she uncovers a dark, insidious secret. This never-before-seen adventure will reveal why this incarnation of the Time Lord became known as the Fugitive! Way back in 2020 we were first introduced to Jo Martin’s Fugitive Doctor in the TV episode Fugitive of the Juddon. We discovered that she was a former agent of the Division, now on the run from her own people, and destined to one day have all her memories erased. The Doctor Who Free Comic Book Day 2022 Edition paved the way for this story, now Titan Comics are exploring this intriguing missing era of the Time Lord’s life even further with Doctor Who: Origins, a tale that delves into the Fugitive Doctor’s work for the Division alongside her Weeping Angel travelling companion.

The excellent creative team that brought us the Doctor Who comics Missy and Time Lord Victorious, of writer Jody Houser, artist Roberta Ingranata and colorist Warnia K. Sahadewa  have reunited to for this exciting new chapter from the Fugitive Doctor’s mysterious past. Having narrowly avoided a particularly sticky encounter with an angry Racnoss, the Fugitive Doctor and her Weeping Angel companion return to the TARDIS, where the Doctor promptly gets a summons to a not-so-clandestine meeting where she receive her first mission from the Division, and a new Time Lord companion fresh out of the academy – Taslo.

One thing I always like about Titans Doctor Who comics is the fact they are always self-contained stories, and perfect for fans both old and new to jump on to at any point. Doctor Who Origins is a great example of this trait and writer Jody Houser skilfully weaves the plot and mystery surrounding the Doctor and Taslo’s mission. The Fugitive Doctor’s quirky deadpan humour is evident throughout, nailing Jo Martin’s portrayal of this incarnation perfectly. This Doctor is clearly not overly thrilled at being lumbered with a new companion, especially considering how naive and gung-ho she can be at times, but the Doctor gradually warms to Taslo and seems to welcome her role as mentor to the young graduate.

Roberta Ingranata’s stylish artwork and free-flowing page layouts nicely convey the story and emotional beats, the early action sequence to recover alien spider eggs is well paced, and the scenes in the TARDIS with the Weeping Angel are another highlight – I really like the Classic Who vibe of the Fugitive Doctor’s TARDIS interior. The characters are all impressively rendered along with the environments, especially the planet where they make first contact with what  is supposed to be a hostile species, and colorist Warnia K. Sahadewa’s vivid tonal pallet really shines here as we see the Time Lords step out onto a bizarre alien world.

Along with the impressive regular cover, Doctor Who Origins #1 is also available in a choice of variant covers — including a glow-in-the-dark Weeping Angel cover! This is a great scene-setting issue to explore the concept of the Doctor’s perviously unknown regenerations, and the creative teams interpretation of Jo Martin’s wonderful Fugitive Doctor is brilliantly realised. Doctor Who Origins #1 explores a forgotten era – one that presents a wealth of untapped possibilities – to provide an exciting adventure for the Doctor’s most mysterious and eclectic incarnation of all.

Publisher Titan Comics

Writer Jody Houser

Artist Roberta Ingranate / Colorist Warnia K. Sahadewa 

Letterer Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

Sci-Fi Jubilee 10th Anniversary!

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Sci-Fi Jubilee 10th Anniversary!

Blimey, my little blog Sci-Fi Jubilee is now 10 years old! My how that time has flown eh? I’ve had a fantastic time writing this blog over the years, writing film, TV and comic book reviews as well as numerous articles. I’m so happy Sci-Fi Jubilee is celebrating its 10th Anniversary, the fact my blog has reached that milestone is all down to you. Sci-Fi Jubilee wouldn’t be anything without any of you. Its been quite a journey and knowing you’ve been here with me all this time means so much to me. So I wanted to take this opportunity to say a big, heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you for reading and supporting my blog.

You have given me so much amazing support via your comments on Sci-Fi Jubilee, you’ve nominated my blog for awards, shared my reviews on Twitter, WordPress, Sci-Fi Jubilee’s Facebook page and subscribed to my YouTube Channel as well – something that has also become a key feature on the blog over the years. I really enjoy making gameplay videos, especially Boss Fights, and I’ve even had a go at making short cinematic style gameplay videos too with added music tracks.

I’ve also had a go at sketching again as well and doing some artwork. I’ve always loved to draw but injured my hand many years ago getting a glass out of the dishwasher – the glass shattered as I removed it from the rack and caused a nasty laceration. I never really recovered full use of that hand, so I kind of gave up on art, but recently I thought I’d give it another try.

This is my first real attempt at drawing and art again in years and I’m loving it! I doubt I’ll ever be able to draw like I used to but I’m having great fun sketching again. Thank you so much for all the support and encouragement you’ve given me with this.

Of course, the last couple of years has been unimaginabley difficult for us all in so many ways because of the COVID 19 Pandemic and lockdowns we’ve endured. Sadly, my dear mother passed away during the first lockdown here in the UK. That was a terrible, heartbreaking time for me and my family, and I know many of you experienced the loss of a loved one during those awful times as well. Needless to say it did make me step back a bit and take some time out, reevaluate priorities, and spend time with my family. I kept on blogging though, but with less of a schedule, and more of a relaxed approach which I still intend to maintain going forward from here with the blog.

I really like the interactive aspect of blogging the most. The way we interact and share opinions here on Sci-Fi Jubilee has also spilled over to my Twitter account as well, where I often chat about the reviews I’ve done or the things I’m writing about. I also started doing a Friday Film choice during lockdown on Twitter, and that turned out to be so much fun its something I’ve continued doing as well.  

When I started blogging, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that Sci-Fi Jubilee would become such a big part of my life as ultimately it has, and I can’t thank you enough for that. It is your support and feedback that makes Sci-Fi Jubilee and blogging so enjoyable and special to me. This blog has grown so much in the last ten years, its given me amazing opportunities, allowed me to write on other websites and projects, and that’s all thanks to you! So cheers for all your awesome support everyone, I couldn’t have done any of it without you, and here’s to many more fun years of reviews on Sci-Fi Jubilee!

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

AQUAMAN ANDROMEDA #1 REVIEW

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Aquaman: Andromeda #1

Review by Paul Bowler

The world of Aquamam comes to DC’s Black Label for a new three part series Aquaman Andromeda, from writer Ram V (Venom, The Swamp Thing) and illustrated by Christian Ward (Thor, Invisible Kingdom). Aquaman Andromeda #1 is a highly compelling and immersive experience that works on many levels. Blending rich sci-fi themes and dark psychological horror, Ram V take us on a deep dive into the Pacific Ocean, where Arthur Curry, a crew of scientists on an experimental submarine, and even old foes will find themselves facing a dark terrors in the depths of beyond that will test even the King of Seas to breaking point. Initially, Aquaman’s presence is slightly cursory at best. Ram V shows us a more contemplative side to Arthur Curry, where his need for solitude and dedication to the duty of his aquatic realm strikes a much finer balance than anyone could’ve suspected.

Much of the action takes place on the prototype submarine Andromeda, the incredible high-tech vessel is powered by an experimental quantum drive, and her crew is a diverse mix of coutures and specialities — some of whom have a far more intuitive understanding of the nature of the sea than even they themselves realise. It is this Marine Biologists haunting backstory almost unconsciously drives the narrative as the Andromeda embarks on its mission to investigate a mysterious signal emanating from Point Nemo – the infamous spaceship graveyard used  by the various nations of the world for their crafts splashdowns on returning to Earth since the dawn of the space race.

Aquaman Andromeda is beautifully illustrated throughout by Christian Ward. Every page is like an aquarium of encapsulated drama and mystery, rich with detail, vivid color, and mesmerising clarity. Aquaman’s time above and below the waves strikes distinct parallels between story beats, with warm tones and an almost soft focus conveying his treasured solace in a simple task, while ominous shadows creep in before descending into the deep to face a strange new calling. Ward gives Aquaman’s traditional costume a slight makeover as well; with accents reminiscent of a coral reef. The Andromeda submarine is another marvel to behold, with its futuristic corridors and instruments. 

This series looks set to take full advantage of the edgier format Black Label  can offer. The sense of building dread is palpable throughout, events also set master pirate Black Manta on a collision course with his old nemesis, and the attack by a giant Cephalopoda leads to a jaw-dropping confrontation with Aquaman. This cracking first issue unashamedly wears its sci-fi-horror influences on its sleeve, and provides an intriguing set-up for what’s to come as something begins awakening down in the dark at Point Nemo. If you like comics being a tad edgier then you’ll be amazed at how DC’s King of the Seas takes a voyage to the darker side of sci-fi here, as Aquaman Andromeda #1, with its thrilling story by Ram V and fantastic artwork by Christian Ward, is sure to float your boat!

Publisher DC Comics (Black Label)

Writer Ram V

Artist Christian

Letters Aditya Bidikar

Cover Christian Ward

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

New Thor: Love and Thunder Trailer!

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Check out the brand new trailer for Marvel Studios’ Thor: Love and Thunder! Marvel are keeping the hype building with the release of another poster and new official trailer for their upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder, and we also get our first proper look at Christian Bale’s Gorr the God Butcher.

This second exciting trailer also showcases some fun interactions between Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman, and a glimpse of Russell Crowe’s Zeus. I’m a big fan of the Thor movies, they are always loads of fun, and I’m really looking forward to Thor: Love and Thunder!

Marvel Studios’ Thor: Love and Thunder will be released in theaters July 8. 2022.

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

KING SPAWN #10 REVIEW

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King Spawn #10

Review by Paul Bowler

King Spawn #10 crams in a hell of a lot of plot and exposition into one issue, and the end result is a maelstrom of far-reaching events and revelations with perhaps even wider ramifications yet to come. Sean Lewis and Tod McFarlane weave a mesmerising.tale here, one that finds Terry Fitzgerald seeking out answers to the possibility that Al’s wife, Wanda, has returned form the dead. Knowing that Spawn could be considering the Exodus Foundations offer, Terry breaks into their headquarters in New York to uncover the truth.

To say that King Spawn has rapidly become my favourite book in the expanded Spawn’s Universe is something of an understatement.  While the core Spawn title has got slightly bogged down of late, with Gunslinger Spawn and The Scorched both respectively carving out their own niches, King Spawn seems to have become something of a flagship title in driving the overarching  narrative. Spawn and Terry are both hell bent on fighting their mutual enemies and getting Wanda back. However, the temptation of the God Throne has made the Dead Zones and Wanda’s fate  little more than bargaining chips in a wider game. Begging the question, will Spawn’s self-conflicted acquisition to the his enemies in this issue set in motion the very events he’s fought so hard to prevent?

The stunning black, white and red artwork for this issue by Javi Fernandez is quite literally to die for! Fernandez’s super-sharp renderings of the unfolding drama are stylishly realised. Black and white tones beautifully accentuate every scene while the rich red hues almost bleed into key points of the story when emotions and violence boil over. Terry’s clandestine mission takes the character into dark territory, Spawn’s brooding presence is more often felt than seen initially, but the all-consuming rage we wittiness when Spawn finally inherits the throne is as awe-inspiring as it is terrifying. Javi Fernandez has done a truly phenomenal job with this issue and Spawn fans are sure to be blown away by the striking visuals.

Image Comics King Spawn continues to go from strength to strength. Every issue so far has been clearly been building toward the tumultuous events in King Spawn #10, the scope of storytelling and epic artwork is breathtaking. Lewis and McFarlane are doing fantastic work with the character with this new series. Spawn has gone on a completely new and unexpected direction since King Spawn began, and I can’t wait to see where this wild ride will take Spawn next.

Publisher Image Comics

Script / Plot Sean Lewis / Todd McFarlane (additional dialogue)

Art Javi Fernandez.

Lettering Andworld Design / Cover Javi Fernandez

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness Film Review

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Doctor Strange inThe Multiverse of Madness

Review by Paul Bowler

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness sends Phase Four of the MCU well and truly spiralling into the Multiverse with a plot that is sometimes as equally astonishing as it is bewildering. Benedict Cumberbatch returns as Marvel’s erstwhile Master of the Mystic Arts in this hotly anticipated first solo sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange. Having dabbled with a forbidden spell in Spider-Man No Way Home (2021) Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness sees Stephen Strange pushing the boundaries of reality ever further, with mystical allies old and new at his side, as he embarks on a mind-bending voyage across the alternate realms of the Multiverse where he must confront a deadly new adversary!

Wracked by unsettling dreams of the Multiverse its a decidedly uncomfortable Doctor Strange that attends the wedding of his ex-girlfriend Christine (Rachel McAdams), where the lovelorn Sorcerer also gets berated by a melancholy guest with an axe to grind (played by Michal Stuhibarg). Fortunately Evil Dead director Sam Raimi doesn’t dwell on the reminiscing  for long and he quickly up’s the anti with a giant one-eyed demonic cephalopod that’s running amok in NYC chasing a young teenage girl called America Chavez (Xochit Gormez) – who incidentally has the uncanny ability to travel between the dimensions of the Multiverse.

With help from the incumbent Sorcerer Supreme, Wong (Benedict Wong), Strange rescues America, and seeks out help from the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). However, Wander is still haunted by the idyllic life and children she created in Westview (Wanda Vision), and in her despair she’s become corrupted by a demonic spell book – the Darkhold.

Wanda wants America Chavez’s power to traverse the Multiverse and reunite with the life and children she’s lost. Strange and Chavez escape into the Multiverse, where even greater dangers await in the bizarre realms of these mysterious alternative realities. Benedict Cumberbatch is on fine form once again as Doctor Strange, who runs a gauntlet of emotions throughout the film as he struggles with heartbreak and the consequences of the choices and sacrifices he’s had to make. Cumberbatch also gets to play numerous alternate versions of Doctor Strange: including a defender Strange, a sinister corrupted Strange, and even a zombie Strange at one point! 

Michale Waldron’s script makes great uses of the Multiverse concept, offering us fascinating glimpses into alternate words and radically different versions of some familiar characters. The introduction of Earth 838’s  Illuminati to the MCU is a masterstroke in itself that gives us the Sorcerer Supreme Modo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Captain Carter (Peggy Atwell), Captain Marvel (Lashana Lynch), Black Bolt (Anson Mount), Reed Richards (John Krasinski) and the welcome return of Patrick Stewart as Professor X! It is their Doctor Strange who was the catalyst for the mystical incursions throughout reality, and his fate becomes on the many narrative threads that drive the plot. Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch gone bad is another revelation and almost steals the film out from under everyone with her towering performance, Olsen’s emotive portrayal as  Wanda is central to the plot, and her characters journey comes full circle in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. 

Sam Raimi brings a devilish sense of manic energy to the movie. Its perhaps not surprising then to see that nearly every character in the film is either dabbling in the black arts or wrestling with the consequence of their actions. Raimi of course was responsible for igniting our love of superhero  movies with the hugely popular 2002 Spider-Man film, he brings the same flair for action and adventure to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as well, and a quite few nods to his Evil Dead horror roots as well – especially during the creepy Dreamwalking sequences. Raimi’s frequent collaborator Bruce Campbell even shows up as a pizza vendor for a couple of fun interludes too! 

The visual effects are suitably impressive and bring a dynamic synergy to this otherworldly mystical adventure. From the titanic face-off at Karmar-Taj, along with Doctor Strange and America’s kaleidoscopic multidimensional journey between worlds, right through to Wanda’s scene stealing showdown with the Illuminati and Stephen Strange squaring off against a corrupt version of himself the pace of the film hardly gives you time for breath before the next big event crashes across the screen. The final act races to a thrilling collusion, delivering epic action, redemption and setting up momentous new developments for the future. It’s this same pace that is simultaneously the movies greatest strength and its greatest weakness. MCU and comic book fans are sure to get swept along with the sheer spectacle and be totally blown away by it all, however the uninitiated might be left completely baffled by the frenetic plot and onslaught of alternative versions of so many characters. 

This current era of superhero films has become something of a roller coaster ride of crossover movies at the moment. They are hugely entertaining, especially when done as well as this, but the novelty could wear a bit thin if the MCU keeps returning to the well with the concept. Minor quibbles aside Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is still a spellbinding adventure and brilliant fun! With great performances all round, Raimi’s assured direction, impressive score and gorgeous cinema photography the films epic scale more than makes up for any slight inconsistencies in the plot. Needless to say, don’t forget to stick around for those post credit scenes as well!

Images Belong Marvel Studios/Disney

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

Doctor Who: BBC Reveal Ncuti Gatwa is the New Doctor!

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Today the BBC has announced Ncuti Gatwa will be taking on the role of the new Doctor as he take charge of the TARDIS after the 13th Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) departs in the Centenary Special. .Star of the stage and screen Ncuti is best known for his critically acclaimed performance in Sex Education as the iconic Eric Effiong, for which he was awarded Best Actor Award at the Scottish BAFTAs in 2020 as well as numerous nominations, including Best Male Performance in a comedy programme at this year’s BAFTAs.

Speaking about his new role, Ncuti said: “There aren’t quite the words to describe how I’m feeling. A mix of deeply honoured, beyond excited and of course a little bit scared. This role and show means so much to so many around the world, including myself, and each one of my incredibly talented predecessors has handled that unique responsibility and privilege with the utmost care. I will endeavour my utmost to do the same. Russell T Davies is almost as iconic as the Doctor himself and being able to work with him is a dream come true. His writing is dynamic, exciting, incredibly intelligent and fizzing with danger. An actor’s metaphorical playground. The entire team has been so welcoming and truly give their hearts to the show. And so as much as it’s daunting, I’m aware I’m joining a really supportive family. Unlike the Doctor, I may only have one heart but I am giving it all to this show.”

Russell T Davies, Showrunner, added: “The future is here and it’s Ncuti! Sometimes talent walks through the door and it’s so bright and bold and brilliant, I just stand back in awe and thank my lucky stars. Ncuti dazzled us, seized hold of the Doctor and owned those TARDIS keys in seconds. It’s an honour to work with him, and a hoot, I can’t wait to get started. I’m sure you’re dying to know more, but we’re rationing ourselves for now, with the wonderful Jodie’s epic finale yet to come. But I promise you, 2023 will be spectacular!”

Ncuti is a striking young actor whose talent and energy makes him a great choice as the new Doctor, and it certainly sounds like we are in for some a remarkable adventures in Russell T Davies’ new era of Doctor Who!

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook