The X-Files #10 Review

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The X-Files #10

Review by Paul Bowler

A chance meeting for FBI Agent Fox Mulder in The X-Files #10 uncovers new clues to the secret involvement of the Cigarette Smoking Man’s and now defunct Syndicate’s role during the Iran-Contra affair. Following the success of the X-Files triumphant return in the Fox TV event series in 2016, Mulder and Scullys investigations into conspiracies, the unexplained, and strange extraterrestrial phenomena continues in this issue of the all-new ongoing X-Files comic book series from IDW Publishing, written by Joe Harris, with art by Greg Scott, and colors by Wes Dzioba, together with the participation of Chris Carter.

The X-Files #10: Contrarians Part 1, marks the start of a new two part storyline, and wrier Joe Harris weaves an ominous blend on mystery, politics, and intrigue with a flashback to a pivotal moment in history during a broadcast from the Oval Office by President Regan… one that it seems was overseen – in more ways than one – by the most nefarious and ruthless member of the Syndicate; the Cigarette Smoking Man!

Meanwhile, in the present day, Mulder encounters a destitute old man with a message for him. As Mulder and Scully investigate, they discover links that connect the Iran-Contra affair, a strange new metal, and the action of the Cigarette Smoking Man…

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Joe Harris has crafted a terrific issue of the X-Files here, one that very much reflects the tone and style of The X-Files fourth season episode Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man (written by Glen Morgan and James Wong) from 1996, which also delved into the sinister past of the series’ most prominent villain and his involvement in key historical moments and assassinations during his rise to power. Contrarians Part 1 is very much in the same vein, only this time we see the Cigarette Smoking Man using his power and influence over a fatigued President, but it is the chilling flashback mid-way though the issue to events in Nicaragua that really show just how far-reaching and manipulative the Cigarette Smoking Man’s grand designs had become.

Greg Scott’s artwork seamlessly brings the separate eras of the story together as one. The panel layout is unfussy, but there is a distinct edge and pace to every scene, bold close-ups, panoramic flashbacks, and the clever use of angles and perspective all conspire to immerse you in the stories multifaceted layers of intrigue. The scenes in the White House are especially powerful. Scott’s rendering of all the characters is also absolutely spot on; and at times the likenesses are quite uncanny. Wes Dzioba’s subtle use of color and shade enhances every scene, ominous tones dominate the White House broadcast, while more vivid hues match the contemplative silence of Mulder’s office, but it is the grainy, almost newsreel-like quality to The Cigarette Smoking Man’s secret meeting in Nicaragua that proves the biggest – and most shocking – highlight of this issue.

The X-Files #10 builds towards a fittingly bizarre and unexpected cliff-hanger, when Mulder’s acquisition of declassified memorandums leads his investigation towards another fateful encounter, one where the past isn’t quite as dead and buried as either Mulder or The Cigarette Smoking Man would like to believe…

This issue exemplifies that unique blend of fact, fiction, and the ambiguous that always makes The X-Files so compelling and thought provoking. The X-Files #10 presents us with yet another fascinating insight into The Cigarette Smoking Man’s actions and motivations, Joe Harris, Greg Scott, and Wes Dzioba have done a fantastic job with this issue, and I’m intrigued to see how the Contrarians story-arc will be resolved next issue. The Truth is out there! So, if, like me, you’re a fan of the X-Files and loved The X-Files 2016’s special TV event series, then IDW’s X-Files comic is most certainly for you, I’d highly recommend it, and there’s plenty here for new fans to enjoy as well.

Publisher: IDW Publishing

Writer: Joe Harris / Art: Greg Scott

Colors: Wes Dzioba / Letters: Chris Mowry

The Walking Dead #162 Review

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The Walking Dead #162

Review by Paul Bowler

Rick Grimes and his fellow survivors face their darkest hour in The Walking Dead #162 from Image Comics as the final battle with the Whisperers begins. Maggie led The Hilltop to victory during the Whisperers devastating attack on her community, but Barrington House is now a smouldering ruin. Now, as Eugene risks everything to deliver a much needed consignment of ammunition to Alexandria, Rick and Andrea plan their next move, but the Saviors are secretly plotting against Rick, and the Whisperers are about to launch their last ditch offensive against Alexandria as the Whisperer War reaches its blood curdling conclusion!

The Whisperer War has certainly shaken things up for The Walking Dead universe as the communities of Alexandria, The Hilltop, The Kingdom, and The Saviors have gradually been drawn into the conflict with the Whisperers. There have been plenty of shocks and surprises along the way. Dwight has really stepped up to the plate during this storyline, helping train the Alexandrian’s to fight the Whisperers, and the way his team survived the Walker herd by using Whisperer skins was ingenious. Eugene’s ongoing radio conversations with an unknown community slowly began to grow in trust, Carl also risked his life helping to get people to safety when the Hilltop was attacked, and Lydia refused to rejoin the Whisperers – making her point clear in the most spectacular way imaginable. There have been casualties too, most notably Father Gabriel’s gruesome death, and perhaps the most shocking event of all was the unexpected demise of Negan’s beloved baseball bat Lucille during his fight with the Whisperer’s hulking new leader, Beta!

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Robert Kirkman begins to gather the numerous plot threads and communities together in this final part of the Whisperer War. This issue we are treated to some of the series’ most poignant and emotional scenes so far, with Negan mourning Lucille, the reinforcements from The Kingdom arriving to help the survivors of the battle at the Hilltop, and there’s an especially moving scene between Carl and Lydia as well.

The 16 panel page grid is used to great effect once again in this issue. Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard have had so many characters and locations to cover during this arc and this panel layout really plays to their strengths, particularly here in The Walking Dead #162, enabling the issue to strike just the right balance between action, drama, and strong character moments to drive the plot towards its thrilling conclusion. The artwork by Charlie Adlard, together with Stefano Gaudiano’s exceptional inks, and grey tones by Cliff Rathburn delivers some brilliant set-pieces: including Negan’s poignant moment of reflection, the sweeping vista depicting the aftermath of the Hilltop battle, and a terrifying Walker horde that will make your jaw hit the floor!

You might be forgiven at one point into thinking that this storyline is winding down a little too conveniently at one stage, with Eugene, and then Dwight and his team, returning to Alexandria, but there is a gnawing sense that all is not going as well as it seems, and sure enough, Rick’s instincts prove horrifically right!

The Whisperer War has been one of the most epic, bloody, and violent storylines we’ve seen in a long while in The Walking Dead. If you thought the title had been coasting along a little in the aftermath of All Out War, then this issue will certainly change all that with its game changing finale scenes, and you will be left in no doubt that the zombie apocalypse is really going to heat up now in the wake of what Beta has unleashed.

So, get ready for some exciting times ahead as The Walking Dead celebrates Image’s 25th anniversary next month, with The Walking Dead #163, an bigger issue than normal at lower price of 25 cents, and then The Walking Dead #164 that also ships in February!

Publisher: Image

Writer: Robert Kirkman / Art: Charlie Adlard / Inks: Stefano Gaudiano

Grey tones: Cliff Rathburn / Letters: Rus Wooton

All Star Batman #6 Review

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All Star Batman #6

Review by Paul Bowler

All Star Batman #6 brings the Dark Knight to Alaska as he attempts to stop Mr Freeze getting his frozen mitts on an ice core that could plunge the world into a new ice age! Critically acclaimed writer Scott Snyder is joined by the phenomenal artist Jock for All Star Batman’s new arc, Ends of The Earth, and their new take on Batman’s deadliest ice-cold adversary presents the Dark Knight with a hauntingly dark, wintry challenge as he battles to save the world from Mr Freeze in the icebound wilderness of humanities last frontier…

Scott Snyder continues to deliver a fresh slant on the Dark Knight’s rogues with DC Comics All Star Batman. Having successfully done so with Two Face in “My Own Worst Enemy”, Snyder now turns his attention to Mr Freeze (Dr Victor Fries), as the fearsome sub-zero villain embarks on a sinister plan to extract the world’s oldest ice core.

All Star Batman #6 gets Snyder’s new Ends of the Earth story-arc off to a confident start, plunging us directly into the frigid heart of this story right from the outset, with Batman – kitted out in a heavy-duty Mech-style Bat-suit that fires specially forged Batarangs – resolutely making his way to an outpost in Alaska, while the narrative gradually offers a chilling insight into his mission. Batman soon discovers the terrible fate of the researches, but it seems there’s an even nastier surprise awaiting him here at the top of the world!

Snyder masterfully builds the suspense and horror. Mr Freeze and his lumbering carbon bonded ice-zombie minions make fittingly terrifying adversaries for Batman in this issue. While its perhaps no surprise to see the familiar Mr Freeze tropes employed, such as his beloved Nora and themes of cryogenic resurrection, but its refreshing to seem them handled in a was that brings such a strong dramatic edge to the issues. The inclusion of the poem, Fire and Ice, by Robert Frost, is another masterstroke, and it’s this subtle half-guessed blend of mystery and suspense that Snyder uses to keep us guessing all the way to the final page. Even the story of how Batman’s Mech-suits Batarangs were specially crafted for this mission beautifully complements the bleak environment, stark brutality, and often reflective tone which this tale seamlessly shifts between at times.

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Needless to say, artist Jock does a fantastic job with All Star Batman #6, Ends of the Earth Part 1 looks incredible. From the almost complete whiteout of the landscape 300 miles north of the artic circle, to Batman’s kick-ass Mech-Bat-suit, and Mr Freeze – who to my mind has rarely looked as ruthless and as fearsome as this – is at his maniacal deep-frozen best to provides a thrilling and palpable threat to the Dark Knight. Jock crafts so many standout moment in this issue, Freeze’s panoramic vision of the future, for instance, is gloriously realized, but my favourite scenes were with the screeching ice-zombies, I found them genuinely unnerving with their shuddering movements and blood curdling cries – especially when they overwhelm Batman at one point. Matt Hollingsworth’s colors provide a perfect accompaniment for Jock’s art, with exquisite artic blue tones, opaque, almost pearlescent whites, and shadowy hues that effortlessly melds the tension and emotional beats of the story.

All Star Batman #6 builds to a nerve jangling cliff-hanger, with danger closing in on all sides, and the Dark Knight in mortal danger. A resolution of sorts is found beating furiously at the heart of this story, one that drags protagonist and antagonist into the warped embrace of fire and ice in a scream of jaw-dropping action set-pieces, and it will leave you awestruck by the sheer overwhelming realization this arc is only just beginning!

The Cursed Wheel Part 5 written by Scott Snyder and with art by Francesco Francavilla continues All Star’s backup story focusing on Duke’s training through the wheel. Opening with a fiendish trap set by the Riddler for Batman and Duke to solve, events then flashback to their trip to Arkham to visit the Riddler in his cell, for a bizarre kind of Zero Year anniversary. But this year there’s something connected to more recent events waiting for Duke to confront. Snyder ensures the script it taut and engaging, and Francesco Francavilla’s artwork, with its angular panel layout, provides an impressively colourful mix form and shadow. This highly atmospheric story moves at a quick pace, there are some great moments of characterization for Batman and Duke, and everything quickly reaches a fittingly explosive puzzle-tinged final scene.

There is more than a hint of John Carpenter’s film, The Thing, about this opening chapter of Ends of the Earth, especially with its setting, remote base, something nasty frozen in the ice, and its themes of contaminated blood. I love this darker, more atmospheric, horror toned story, and I think Snyder and Jock have excelled themselves with this remarkable issue which splices story and art in such a way that it actually feels like it reads more like prose than a comic book – Steve Wands uncanny use of lettering makes every word leap from the page. It’s great to have Scott Snyder and Jock working on a Batman book again. No question about it, All Star Batman #6 is a must-read issue, with its terrific cover by Jock, as well as a Jock Variant cover , and Francavilla Variant, this issue sets the stage from one of Snyder’s most compelling story-arcs to date!

Publisher DC Comics

Writer Scott Snyder / Art Jock

Colors Matt Hollingsworth / Letterer Steve Wands

The Cursed Wheel Part 5 written by Scott Snyder with art by Francesco Francavilla

Cover Jock / Jock Variant / Variant Cover Francesco Francavilla

Sci-Fi Jubilee My YouTube Channel The Last Guardian

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Sci-Fi Jubilee My YouTube Channel The Last Guardian

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Thanks for checking out my YouTube Channel everyone! I started playing The Last Guardian just before Christmas, so now the festive season is over, thought I’d get back into the game. Its about a young boy who meets a giant feathered dog-like creature in some ruins. I found the controls took time to master at first, but I’m really enjoying the game now I‘ve got used to how everything works, Trico is such an amazing creature, and I like how the story is unfolding. The graphics are brilliant in this game too! I’m looking forward to playing more of The Last Guardian. I think it will be a, exciting, moving and extremely emotional journey. Seeing as I haven’t had time to stream The Last Guardian that much since I started it I thought I’d post these two videos, as there’s a lot of action in them, and I think they give you quite a good idea what the game is like to play. Check them out!

Exploring ruins and dealing with lots of bridges and glasses. You have to destroy the glass eyes because they frighten Trico and he wont walk past them. The bond with Trico is what really makes this game so special, as you help him, and then he saves you when danger strikes!

In this section the boy has to help Trico by moving the eye mirror so Trico can climb the tower. Later, things get scary when the tower crumbles. We also get to see the other Trico again, its not very friendly either, and the boy gets stuck in a tree!

Overall I’ve found The Last Guardian to be enchanting, visually impressive, and a lot of fun to play. If you enjoyed these videos please feel free to hit that like button, share, and subscribe, and thank you for all the great support and feedback that you’ve given my YouTube Channel!

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Superman #14 Review

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Superman #14

Review by Paul Bowler

Superman #14 kicks off the New Year in fine style with a multi-Earth epic! Multiplicity Part One is steeped in the legacy of the character and world of Superman, as writers Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason offer an action packed opening instalment to this adventure, with art by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Marcelo Maiolo that sees Kal-El discovering a new threat that is collecting all the Supermen throughout Multiverse!

After inexplicably running into, well almost, the badly beaten Red Son Superman of Earth 30, Kal-El quickly learns of his counterpart’s plight. Namely, that something, or someone called Prophecy and his army of Gatherers have been hunting the Superman of Earth 30 and countless other Supermen from across the Multiverse. Now the Gatherers have a new target, Kenan Kong, the New Superman of China, and the Red Son Superman has managed to escape from captivity to bring this warning to the Superman of our Earth.

Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason move the plot along at a cracking pace right from the start. Its heavy on exposition in parts, but not distractingly so, and once the Gatherers – strange gangly creatures that look like they’ve just scuttled out of Pans Labyrinth – arrive, we get to see Superman and Red Son Superman of Earth 30 fighting side by side against these seemingly indestructible monsters. This all exhilarating stuff, but things really notch up a gear in the excitement stakes (especially for Grant Morrison fans) during a brief respite from the Supermen’s battle with the Gatherers when the Justice League Incarnate arrive!

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Yes, if you enjoyed Morrison’s sweeping Multiversity saga you are absolutely going to love this issue of Superman, and even if you are late to the party, there’s still plenty going on here to enjoy, and it’s explained in a way that won’t alienate or leave you scratching your head and wondering what on Earth is going on either.

Superman #14 is a great looking issue, with art by Ivan Reis (Layouts), Joe Prado (Finishes), and Marcelo Maiolo (Colorists), and they do a fantastic job of juggling the numerous characters involved in this issue. One thing I really liked about this issue was how it never felt cluttered or sacrificed the finer details in any way, which can sometimes be the case when a large roll call of characters and different locations are involved. The opening battle with the two Supermen battling the Gatherers is especially good, its awesome to see both Supe’s really cut loose like this, and the Gatherers relentless chanting of two phrases becomes quite disquieting after a time. The colors are also gloriously rich and vibrant throughout. Then of course we have the return of the JLI characters from Grant Morrison’s Multiversity to enjoy, with a quick who’s who to bring everyone up to speed, and some insight of their mission to save the Supermen on the Gatherers “list” from being kidnapped a taken to a processing facility.

The issue builds to a frenetic and exciting close with Superman, the Superman of Earth 30, and the Justice League Incarnate attempting to save the New Superman of China from the Gatherers, and the glimpse of the terrifying fate that awaits the captured Supermen of the Multiverse also provides us with one hell of a cliff-hanger to keep us on the edge of our seat until the next issue!

I’ve never followed Superman comics that much if I’m honest, most of the New 52 passed me by, so I’ve been reluctant to give the Rebirth Superman titles a go, until, that is, someone recommended Superman #14 to me to the other day. So, I thought I’d give it a whirl, and I’m sure glad that I did. Its been a long, long time since I’ve read a Superman comic that’s made me want to read the next issue right away, but Superman #14 certainly did! I’m a fan of Morrison’s Multiversity as well, so I think that was also a big factor in my enjoyment of this issue, but I was also very impressed by what Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason have done with this issue, the story was so engaging, especially for newcomers (like me), and the art by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Marcelo Maiolo was also exceptionally good. One thing is for sure, Superman #14 has got me interested in Superman comics again, and I’ll certainly be sticking around to see what happens next in this Multiplicity storyline.

Publisher DC Comics

Written by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason

Art by Ivan Reis (Layouts), Joe Prado (Finishes), Marcelo Maiolo (Colorist)

Letterer Rob Leigh / Cover Gleason / Gray / Kalisz

Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Epic Mid Season Trailer Features Obi Wan!

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Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Epic Mid Season Trailer Features Obi Wan!

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Hope. Revenge. Rebellion. See what’s to come in the rest of Star Wars Rebels Season Three in this exciting mid-season trailer, which features lots of action, adventure, and the return of Obi Wan Kenobi! Been really enjoying Star Wars Rebels, Season 3 has been the best yet, can’t wait to see the rest of the season – especially as it will feature Obi Wan! Star Wars Rebels returns on Saturday, January 7, at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on Disney XD!

Doctor Who Christmas Special The Return of Doctor Mysterio Review

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Doctor Who Christmas Special The Return of Doctor Mysterio

Review by Paul Bowler

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Get ready for a festive treat of super-powered adventure in this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special: The Return of Doctor Mysterio, as the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) returns for Christmas Day and teams-up with a bullet proof comic book superhero, The Ghost, to save New York from menacing brain switching aliens!

When a boy called Grant (Logan Hoffman), is given superpowers, the young comic book fan grows up to be the geeky Clark Kent-esque Grant Gordon, played by Justin Chatwin (Orphan Black, War of the Worlds, and the US version of Shameless), and becomes the caped vigilante know as The Ghost. But he finds balancing life as a superhero and maintaining a secret identity isn’t easy, especially when the Lois Lane of his life investigative journalist Lucy Fletcher (Charity Wakefield from Wolf Hall and The Player) gets caught up in his madcap superhero world, and there’s even the mysterious high-tech Harmony Shoal corporation with a ruthless Lex Luthor style villain fronting an alien invasion for the Doctor to contend with as well!

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The Doctor and his new travelling companion Nardole, played by Matt Lucas (Little Britain), who has inexplicably returned to accompany the Time Lord after literally loosing his head to a despot robot last Christmas, arrive in New York and soon joins forces with Lucy Fletcher and the Ghost to save Manhattan as aliens prepare to attack, but what secrets will be revealed this Christmas when we see behind the Ghost’s mask..?

Doctor Who finally returns to our TV screens for this first time this year with The Return of Doctor Mysterio. This special 60 minute Christmas Special, written by Stephen Moffat and Directed by Ed Bazalgette (Director of Series 9’s The Girl Who Died and The Woman Who Lived), provides a glittering blend of superhero action and Whovian Christmas cheer! Essentially a fond homage to the comic book genre, particularly Richard Donner’s Superman films staring Christopher Reeve, this Doctor Who-Superhero mashup delivers a fittingly exciting and action-packed adventure. Indeed, the Doctor Who Christmas specials have now become something of a major highlight in the TV schedules since the programmes revival in 2005, and given that this is the first chance we’ve had to catch up with the Doctor this year the anticipation levels for this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special has been heightened even further!

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Peter Capaldi is on fine form as the 12th Doctor. His incarnation of the Time Lord dominates every scene, with his stylish and commanding presence, along with a no-nonsense attitude that’s now tempered with a wry dash of humour, he also seems to have gained a taste for sushi now, and acquired a new companion since we last saw him. Yes, Matt Lucas is back reprising his role as Nardole from 2015’s Christmas Special: The Husbands of River Song, and he’s already travelling with the Doctor when we first meet him in this episode. Nardole is also the first non-human companion the Doctor has travelled with for some time. The Return of Doctor Mysterio vaguely explains how the Doctor somehow restored Nardole after he was decapitated and trapped inside Hydroflax in The Husbands of River Song, and why he’s now travelling with the Doctor in the TARDIS, and no doubt Nardole’s story will be explored in greater detail in Series 10 next year.

There is a great supporting cast in The Return of Doctor Mysterio. Justin Chatwin is brilliant as the dorky live-in-nanny Grant Gordon, Charity Wakefield is also excellent as Daily Chronicle reporter Lucy Fletcher, and there’s a delightful Superman movie style – Lois and Clark TV series vibe woven through Moffat’s script that plays out between these two characters which forms the basis of some of this Christmas specials most enjoyable scenes. There are also great roles for Aleksandar Jovanovic as the sinister Dr Sim, who is accompanied by Tomiwa Edun as Mr Brock, and an especially fine performance from Logan Hoffman as the young Grant who has some brilliant scene with the Doctor – especially when they talk about comic books.

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Of course there is a sinister alien plot to take over the world to be stopped in The Return of Doctor Mysterio which the Doctor seemingly stumbles into that just happens by chance to involve the same superhero that he also inadvertently created – which certainly throws some timey-wimey complications into the mix! The monsters that feature in this Christmas Special are themselves fairly new to the series, but we have seen them before. The Brains and Harmony Shoal are in fact the same multi-nucleate organisms akin to The Shoal of Winter Harmony; the head-splitting Aliens we last saw in the Husbands of River Song. The Brains stored in the New York Harmony Shoal building – like those in other key strategic points located around the world – are waiting for compatible host bodies, like Dr Sim and Mr Brock to become “vehicles” for the Brains to use. Indeed, the distinctive diagonal scar down their face, eyes that glow occasionally, along with a tendency to seep blue liquid, is the only thing that gives them away. The scene where a terrified Mr Brock is about to be surgically possessed by one of the Brains is genuinely chilling, and the split-head effect we see employed later is also especially gruesome. These aliens take body horror to a whole new level, its used to great effect throughout this story, and their plan to crash their spaceship into New York so they can possess world leaders as they take refuge in Harmony Shoal’s facilities is a warped stroke of genius when it comes to invasion plans.

Although most of The Return of Doctor Mysterio was filmed Wales, there were also a few days filming in the Nu Boyana Film Studios in Bulgaria, with their magnificent standing New York sets doubling for the Big Apple. The episode features some truly remarkable special effects magic which completes the illusion and brings the iconic New York setting to life for this story. The Ghost, with his classic style superhero costume and art deco chest emblem, and his powers, especially the flying sequences, are all well realized on screen. The Brains with their little eyes and the split-face effects uses for Dr Sim and Mr Brock are also impressive and imaginatively done. However, surprisingly for a Doctor Who Christmas Special The Return of Doctor Mysterio isn’t exactly the most Christmassy looking episode the series has done. Apart from one scene Christmas hardly features at all, but in other, more subtle, and emotional ways this episode with its themes of loss, hope, and new beginnings, actually ends up feeling like the most emotional Christmas episode of all.

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This is also Doctor Who’s first real take on the superhero genre. Peter Capaldi clearly relishes the chance to do something new with the character of the Doctor here. After all, in many ways, the Doctor is a superhero of sorts, like Superman he’s an alien, has tremendous powers, at certain points he has also been tragically the last of his kind, so its perhaps no surprise when the eight year old grant names him as the erstwhile Doctor Mysterio – which is in fact the translated title Doctor Who in Mexico – of this Christmas specials title.

The Return of Doctor Mysterio only really goes off kilter slightly in the last act, with the Doctor and Nardole trapped on a spaceship about to crash into New York, while Grant and Lucy are trapped by Mr Brock and his team of surgeons who have set their sight on acquiring the Ghost’s body for one of the Brains of Harmony Shoal. The conclusion is fittingly heroic and romantic, there’s brilliant closing speech from the Doctor that will melt your heart, and a moving finale scene and story from Nardole that provides a beautiful coda for The Husbands of River Song. Steven Moffat has done a brilliant job with the script for The Return of Doctor Mysterio, its fun, exciting, it also provides some emotional closure for the Doctor concerning River’s death, and it’s peppered with loads of comic book Easter Eggs that are sure to raise a wry smile or two!

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I’ll admit I was extremely sceptical when I heard Matt Lucas was returning as Nardole. River Song’s former helper was fine as a one-off character in The Husbands of River Song, but I couldn’t see how the character really warranted a return in The Return of Doctor Mysterio – let alone as part of the cast for Series 10! Thankfully I couldn’t have been more wrong! Matt Lucas gives a delightfully understated performance as Nardole in The Return of Doctor Mysterio. His banter with the Doctor is fun, but not too over the top. I was surprised that Nardole can fly the TARDIS now, but it certainly came in handy in this episode for the Doctor. Nardole’s reasons for being with the Doctor are especially poignant, he’s far from being just the one-note comedy character we might have envisaged, and Lucas proves to be a revelation in the role.

Final word must go to Peter Capaldi and his magnificent performance as the Doctor. The grouchy rough edges of this incarnation have now significantly mellowed. Capaldi has now undoubtedly made the role his own. His sheer dedication and love for Doctor Who shine though in every scene. The Return of Doctor Mysterio also gave us an insightful trailer for Series 10 to enjoy, it looked amazing, and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing new companion Bill joining the Doctor and Nardole on their new adventures in time and space.

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The Return of Doctor Mysterio sets us on course for Series 10 in Spring 2017, beginning Steven Moffat’s final season as show runner, which will star Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, with Pearl Mackie as new companion Bill, along with Matt Lucas as Nardole. Steven Moffat’s run concludes with next year’s Christmas special, before work begins on Series 11 and Chris Chibnall takes over as Doctor Who’s new show runner. With its excellent cast and extremely high production values The Return of Doctor Mysterio was a great Christmas Special, its one of my favourites now, and I can’t wait to see what adventures Series 10 will bring!

Happy Christmas everyone!

And here’s the trailer for Series 10!

First trailer for ALIEN: COVENANT released!

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First trailer for ALIEN: COVENANT released!

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Santa has left a Xenomorph under the tree this year! In this special Christmas present from 20th Century Fox, we get the first trailer from the new Alien: Covenant movie! Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created, with ALIEN: COVENANT, a new chapter in his groundbreaking ALIEN franchise. The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world. When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape!

Directed by: Ridley Scott and staring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Amy Seimetz, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, Benjamin Rigby

ALIEN: COVENANT is in Theaters – May 19, 2017

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Blade Runner 2049 Announcement Trailer Released!

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Blade Runner 2049 Announcement Trailer Released!

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Warner Bros. have just delivered our first look the Blade Runner sequel with this announcement trailer. Entitled, Blade Runner 2049, the film is set 30 years later and it looks like a very different place now…

Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

Blade Runner 2049, starring Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, with Dave Bautista and Jared Leto

Daredevil #14 Review

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Daredevil #14

Review by Paul Bowler

The Dark Art concludes in Daredevil #14 as the Man Without Fear resolves to track down the murderous instillation artist Muse, who has left a gruesome trail of “artwork” across Hell‘s Kitchen. Now, Muse has captured Daredevil’s new protégé, Samuel Chung, A.K.A Blindspot. Matt Murdock’s skill and powers will be tested to the limit, but will it be enough to save his young friend from becoming Muse’s next work of art..?

The fifth and concluding part of The Dark Art from the outstanding creative team of writer Charles Soule, artist Ron Garney, and color artist Matt Milla, delivers a tense and unsettling finale to this exceptional story arc that doesn’t flinch from depicting the drama and graphic horror of Blindspot’s plight. Daredevil’s aguish is almost palpable from the outset as he meets the Inhuman Detective Frank McGee – who wants to arrest Muse for his crimes – at the scene where Blindspot went missing after rescuing Muse’s hostages from the sewers.

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Its what transpires in Muse’s lair where Charles Soule really begins to ramp up the nerve jangling intensity as we, like Blindspot, gradually take in the sights of this dingy studio where Muse hones his craft with macabre inspirations. The uncertainly of what Muse has planned for Blindspot makes these scenes almost unbearable to witness. You know with twisting certainly in your gut that something terrible and horrifying is on the cards, but nothing can prepare you for the shock of that moment of inspiration Muse gets and the subsequent price that Blindspot invariably ends up paying for being so selfless and heroic in his mentor’s eyes.

The fabulous art by Ron Garney perfectly encapsulates the grim and brooding atmosphere that hangs over this issue. Together with Matt Milla’s exquisite and intense use of color, Ron Garney’s depiction of DD’s radar sense as Murdock pushes his uncanny hyper-senses beyond anything we’ve seen before, is truly remarkable. Muse’s lair, come Garret, is both a horrific slaughter house of raw materials and a showcase for his deranged labours. One moment you’ll be wondering what’s hanging on that lamp in the background… the next page you’ll be wishing you hadn’t asked! Some pieces even have ties to previous storylines, and there’s a startling revelation about the “Sanguinity” piece itself from The Dark Art during the final showdown between Daredevil and Muse in which the unseen becomes visible – and in more ways than one.

Daredevil #14 and The Dark Art arc as a whole is, to my mind, comic book storytelling at its finest. It’s a storyline that, while still very much part of the big events unfolding in the Marvel Universe at the moment, has nevertheless remained very much focused at grass roots level. Charles Soule has tapped into powerful themes and dark veins of horror with this arc as Muse’s and Daredevil’s worlds collided with fateful consequences for Blindspot. The characterization in this new Daredevil series has been exemplary from the start, and with this arc the bond between Daredevil and Blindspot as teacher and pupil has been key to its success, and subsequently makes the outcome here all the more tragic. Muse has been a terrific foil for Daredevil, we finally see Muse’s face in this issue but that doesn’t demystify the character, and I certainly hope we see a rematch between them one day.

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: Charles Soule / Art Ron Garney / Colors: Matt Milla

Letters: VCs Clayton Cowles  / Cover Ron Garney & Matt Milla