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

New Amazing Spider-Man #1 (2022) Review

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Amazing Spider-Man #1

Review by Paul Bowler

So, what exactly did Spider-Man do web heads? That’s the burning question behind Marvel’s April 27 relaunch of Amazing Spider-Man #1 (2022), as Peter Parker’s life spirals out of control in the run up to Spider-Man 60th Anniversary celebrations. Probably the biggest draw for this latest reboot is acclaimed Spider-Man artist John Romita Jr’s return to Marvel after a long stint at DC, and that this run also sees the return of JR.JR.’s longterm inking collaborator Scott Hanna as well. 

Amazing Spider-Man #1 also sees fan favourite writer Zeb Wells – who spearheaded the ASM Beyond storyline — taking up the reins for his first solo run on a Spider-Man title. The issues starts with a bang, or at least the aftermath of some game-changing event for the wall crawler, before fast forwarding six months to where we discover Peter is well and truly down on the old Parker luck again, and this time it looks like there might be no way back for him. He’s at odds with the Avengers and the FF, dodging debt collectors for medical bills, there are rifts with his friends, MJ doesn’t want anything to do with him, and even Aunt May has cut him loose. Throw in the imminent threat of a gang war between Tombstone and the Rose, with Doctor Octopus scheming in the background along with a new mystery villain, and it quickly become apparent why Peter isn’t exactly behaving like a friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man these days.

Art wise John Romita Jr. brings his A-game to the table, with his distinctive angular line art totally firing on all cylinders here to give the book a highly stylised look and feel. JR.JR’s art style is one that people either love-or hate, but I feel it totally suits the somewhat downbeat air of mystery and suspense that Zeb Wells is clearly striving to hook us with and get everyone on board for this new era. John Romita Jr’s work is perfectly complemented by Scott Hanna’s intricate inking style, and together they nail some great character moments and hit all the right emotional beats, especially the scene where the Human Torch drops in to see how Peter’s doing, and the big action-set piece where Spider-Man takes on the Gamma-irradiated gangster Digger is another highlight. The vibrant colors by Marcio Menyz also really stand-out, and ASM lettering aficionado Joe Caramagna does a fantastic job with making this issues dialogue heavy sequences flow smoothly.

Fanfare and hype aside Amazing Spider-Man #1 certainly provides a good set-up for something that has a lot of potential — especially if that jaw-dropping reveal at the end of the issue is anything to go by! Did we really need another relaunch and volume of Spider-Man? Well, probably not, but then that’s modern comics these days. I did enjoy the story and the art in Amazing Spider-Man #1 a lot more that I was expecting to be honest. I will certainly stick with it for a few issue and see where it goes from here. My only real concerns are the big plans Marvel have coming up for Spider-Man, the X-Men, Avengers and Eternals that will apparently begin to unfold in their Judgement Day Free Comic Book Day special, especially what’s apparently in store for MJ and Peter – which I find particularly unsettling.  Until then I’ll be looking forward to seeing how this new Amazing Spider-Man volume shapes up in the months ahead, this book has a great creative team, here’s hoping they can deliver on the promising start they’ve made here with this first issue.

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

Publisher Marvel Comics / Writer Zeb Wells

Artist John Romita JR. / Inker Scott Hanna

Colorist Marcio Menyz / Letterer VC’s Joe Caramagna

Cover Artists JR.JR, Scott Hanna & Marcio Menyz 

Doctor Who Legend of the Sea Devils Review

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Doctor Who Legend of the Sea Devils

Review by Paul Bowler.

Gets set for a swashbuckling adventure with Legend of the Sea Devils, written by show-runner Chris Chibnall and playwright Ella Road, and directed by newcomer Haolu Wang. The Sea Devils make their long awaited return in the modern era just in time for the penultimate story of the 13th Doctor’s era.This blockbusting Doctor Who Easter Special is an action packed adventure set on the high-seas in 19th century China. Its also something of a celebrity historical  as the 13th Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and her travelling companions Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Dan (John Bishop) encounter a historically real-life character – the fearsome Pirate Queen Madam Ching (Crystal Yu)! However, the TARDIS teams visit to the 19th century quickly goes awry when a small costal village comes under threat from the Pirate Queen and the deep-sea menace of the Sea Devils she’s inadvertently  unleashed on the world.

From the moment we learn the TARDIS has been sent off course to China there is an almost palpable sense of excitement in the air. Jodie Whittaker is quite simply marvellous in her role here as the 13th Doctor in this episode, and her bright and breezy incarnation sails through the dramatic beats of the story with ease as she confronts her old foes – the Sea Devils. I really like the dynamic between this TARDIS team, Mandip Gill really comes into her own in this story too, and John Bishop is a pure delight as Dan. The growing closeness between the Doctor and Yaz which became apparent in Eve of the Daleks (2022) is another narrative thread that has been carried over into Legend of the Sea Devils as well. This episode sees some major costume changes for the Time Lord and her companions, the Doctor’s costume get a slight revamp with a striking oriental style top, Yaz has a beautiful double wrap-around skirt and best of all Dan gets to dress up as a pirate!

Along with the regular cast the episode also features Crystal Yu as the legendary Pirate Queen Madame Ching. Yu gives a great performance as the tough-as-nails Pirate Queen, who is searching for a lost treasure. Madame Ching’s quest soon finds her encountering the Doctor and crossing swords with the Sea Devils alongside the Time Lord as the amphibians return from the ocean depths. The cast also includes Arthur Lee as Ji-Hun and Marlow Chan-Reeves as Ying Ki who each play key roles in the swash buckling shenanigans of Legend of the Sea Devils.

It has been 50 years since the Doctor first encountered the aquatic Sea Devils. Chris Chibnall and co-writer Ella Road have crafted a really fun and exciting return for them here. Many fans, myself included, have long hoped these classic monsters who first appeared in 1972’s The Sea Devils, the 3rd Doctor story written by Malcolm Hulke, would return at some point, and I’m happy to say they’ve certainly done them justice with Legend of the Sea Devils. These new look Sea Devils may have swapped their string vests for the garb of buccaneer Pirates, but they’ve still retained their iconic look and distinctive whispery voices.

The Sea Devils chief Marsissus is played by Craige Els (Karvanista in Doctor Who Flux), he’s brilliant as Marsissus, especially during his confrontations with the Doctor, and the seafaring Pirate action when the Sea Devils strike provide many spectacular sights to behold as this story unfolds!

Legend of the Sea Devils not only provides a fantastic showcase for the 13th Doctor and her friends, it’s also a triumph for the production team who have clearly gone all out to make this episode really special. The fact Legend of the Sea Devils was also filmed under COVID restrictions makes what’s been achieved all the more impressive. Everything from the fishing village to the massive galleon ship sets, exquisite costume designs, period detail, along with the terrific new Pirate Sea Devils, stunning visual effects and Haolu Wang’s stylish direction all combine to make Legend of the Sea Devils a throughly enjoyable and thrilling adventure.

This Easter Special works incredible well as a standalone adventure, with giant sea monsters, pirate ships, the oceans, sword-fights and an ancient coastal village! Its nice to see the main cast in one last regular adventure before the inevitable tumultuous machinations of a regeneration story, before Jodie Whittaker bows out with end of the 13th Doctor’s era in the Doctor Who BBC centenary Special that will air in the autumn of 2022.

Check out the first look at Doctor Who’s feature-length Centenary special!

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