Sunday, July 21, 2019

Batman Hush Movie Review





I am going to lead with something that would become apparent later.... I did not like this movie. Like at all.  Even tho I am the host of a show called the Marvel Hacks, DC animation has been a huge part of my life since I had kids.  When my kids were younger, they gravitated more to DC than Marvel and because their animation studio was pumping out solid comic book adaptations, it was easy for them to watch and for me to read and compare the movies to the comics.

As they got older, the shift to Marvel began and its pretty much stomped out any DC love they had.  The MCU movies > DC Animation and the awfulness of the DC cinematic movies kicked DC out of my house completely.  And I missed that because I was enjoying watching and reading DC books for the first time in my life and when they dipped, I kinda forgot about the DC animation movies.

Twitter and social media help when fans get excited about a movie coming out, but I have missed so many of the movies over the last five or so years.  I caught the Batman: The Killing Joke and that was pretty terrible, but when I heard they were doing Hush, I got really excited.  In the comics, Batman Hush was a 12 issues series by Jim Lee and Jeph Loeb.  It told the story of a new villain to Gotham and how he was manipulating Batman rogues into doing his dirty work and mind fuckin' Batman all at the same time.  The books had great art,  action, dialogue, fight scenes and a surprise ending... several surprise endings that made the book and absolute must read( and I am not a Batman guy).  Plus a love story with Batman and Catwoman!  This is on part they actually get right!




When I heard the movie was coming out, I went out and read the books again to get myself familiarized with the story again.  That was mistake number one.  While the movie sticks with the basic principals of the comics, it falls flat in many areas.  One, the animation.  At this point, DC animation is still giving us a slight better version of their tv animation.  One of the reasons Hush the comic is so good is the art by Jim Lee. Now recreating that is not possible, but something closer than Batman the Animated series.  Two, the movie takes broad, unnecessary strokes from the comic book.  They coulda did an almost panel for panel remake like they did with Batman: The Killing Joke but they skipped over so much... especially the stuff with Bruce's friend, Tommy Elliot, which I will come back to later.  Three, the fight scenes come about every 5 minutes like labor pains.  Any emotion that the story should carry is wiped away by the BAM, BIFF, WHOP of fight scenes.  And even tho they stick closer to the comic than the rest of the movie, it still is overkill; especially the final Boss scene between Batman and Hush. Lastly, and this is me being petty, there was NO reason to stick Damian Wayne in this movie. NONE.  I hate the character and this cameo made me hate him even more.

Overall, and I am not sure what the plan is because Hush is really a two part story.  I do not want to spoil anything but they really only told the first half and they kinda fumbled the ball with it. Tommy Elliot's role in Hush is vital to the story and they gloss over it pretty quickly.  It did not seem they were setting up the second part and the reveal of who Hush actually is and that would be a shame because the true reveal is better than the reveal in this movie.

Batman: Hush shoulda been called Batman: Rush because this felt like a rush to the finish of a classic story.  It deserved better and DC needs to do a better job of making sure these classic stories match up with classic animation and story telling.  They really missed a chance right here.  Read the book and skip this.

The Producer


Secret Obession on Netflix Review




Man you would have to know me very well to know how much I enjoy Lifetime movies.  Before there was a whole ass movie network, the movies generally premiered on Saturday nights and then ran for large blocks on Sunday afternoon. I really cannot count how many times I have seen women get cheated on, stalked, and roughed up with domestic violence.  On top of that, unruly teens always out having sex or getting caught up on the drugs.  Its formulatic AF and I love every minute of it.  Still do really as I binge the hell out of the movies on Sunday afternoon as I am doing work in the house or finishing a work project.

So when I turned on Netflix the other day and saw the preview trailer for Secret Obsession, my curiosity peaked a bit.  I first noticed Brenda Song and then the trailer played all the way out life a Lifetime Movie.  Woman in danger, women being stalked, women with amnesia, and obsessed man.  This is almost a full Lifetime movie Bingo.



The problem is this is a BAD Lifetime movie.  Netflix does such a good job with their original programming so for them to actually be pumping this up like its any good is a tragedy.  Brenda Song stars as Jennifer Russell and in the opening scene, she is on the run from a mystery man in the shadows.  She's doing her best to escape and every horror movie trope is used from locked doors failing and cars stalling when trying to escape.  When she does look to have an opening to get away from the slow walking stalker, she gets run down by a car and sent to the hospital.

This is when the movie really gets bad.  Breaking all sorts of hospital protocol, a man who claims to be her husband shows up and is giving access to Jennifer and stays( stalks) her through her recovery but.... Jennifer has amnesia and cannot remember why she was on the run and even if this man, Russell played by Mike Vogel is actually her husband.

Jennifer recovers enough to be released even with the amnesia and given to this man who takes her and moves her out to this remote area with no internet access and she is really just left alone with this kidnapper as she tries to recover her memory and life.  Meanwhile, a detective, played by Dennis Haysbert is investigating a missing persons report and the accident as a part of a much larger case that.  Plus a new man shows up.... the real Russell Williams and his confrontation with his imposter leads him to being killed.

The rest of the movie is just Jennifer uncovering that this man is a full on psycho who became obsessed with her and her life after a brief encounter previously.  The reveal is long and boring and the final escape fight scene and mystery ending are quite a bore.

Look, I don't watch Lifetime Movies for psychological thrillers.  I watch it for cheesy acting and dialogue and pretty women who overcome all kids of shit to put shitty men in jail.  So you would think since this movie covers all that I would be happy.  WRONG.  This movie is a bad Lifetime movie with terrible acting, writing, and plot and no matter how much Jennifer recovered, it was not enough to cover the plot holes and general awfulness Secret Obsession served.

So hard pass.  Do not watch. Netflix out here charging $18 a month for a movie you could watch for free on Lifetime Movie Network.

The Producer

Marvel Hall H Recap




Marvel came back to Hall H for a huge presentation after taking last year off to present at D23.  MCU fans had been skeptical and confused about what direction MCU was headed in post Endgame.  There had been the Eternals and Black Widow movies announced but outside of that, everything was speculation.  What about Black Panther 2 and Captain Marvel 2?  What about Fantastic Four and X-Men?  Well Marvel came out swinging!  Lets look at the major announcements and you might want to get your credit card ready to order Disney Plus because you gonna need it!! In no particular order...


Black Widow

The movie comes out in 2020 and takes place in the time between Captain America: Civil War.  The often referenced Budapest scene will be addressed so I am sure Hawkeye is in the movie and we have Taskmaster as our villain.  For me, I am not that excited about this.  One Scarlett Johanssen has been problematic AF and this movie shoulda already been made.  Why are we going backwards in the Avengers Saga?
Verdict: I will not be seeing this in the movie theater.  I cannot with ScarJo


The Eternals

In my years of reading comics, I have never gotten much traction with the Eternals.  Their function and purpose in comics and now in the MCU does nothing for me.  The movie has a great cast and I am sure their movie is a set up for bigger things to come in a post-Thanos world.  This has an Inhumans feel to it tho.
Verdict: Will probably see it. Too soon to tell.

Thor: Love and Thunder

The Thor MCU movies are probably the most debated in terms of quality of all the movies.  Many people like the first one and hate the second one.  Ragnarock almost started fights with the folks at Brothascomics.  This 4th movie is bringing back Thor and Valkerie and the huge announcement that Natalie Portman is coming back as Jane Foster AND she will be Thor- a straight up storyline from the comics.  I am sure this pisses off white fan boys who had found their spirit animal in Fat Thor which makes me delight even more in their pain.
Verdict: Not a huge Portman fan, but a huge fan of Lady Thor comics and if they can bring that energy, this movie will be awesome.  Definitely gonna see this in the theater.

Hawkeye

Speaking of hotly debated.... Jeremy Renner.  Personally, I like the actor, even tho they have never come close to capturing how awesome Hawkeye is in the comics.  He is basically Captain America in the comics.  Now, on Disney Plus, he gets his own series and it looks like a hand-off to Kate Bishop to be the new Hawkeye and I am all for that.  If you did not read the Matt Faction run of Hawkeye, go read it now.  Should be fun and interesting and possibly a lead up to the Young Avengers
Verdict: Definitely gonna watch!

What If...

An animated series for Disney Plus based on the comics of the same name which deals in What if situations from established stories.  It appears all MCU actors are lending their voice talents to this project which give it instant credibility.  Hopefully the animation matches up as Marvel is leagues behind DC animation.
Verdict: Definitely Gonna Watch!!

The Falcon and Winter Soldier

I should not even have to tell you this is a definite watch.  Black Captain America. Period.  I know some people hate on Anthony Mackie but I'm here for him with this.  Sebastian Stan in back as Winter Soldier and masked Baron Zemo is coming as well.  The chemistry that Sam and Bucky have is great and I have high hopes for this series.  Its the one announcement I am most excited about and you know damn well Steve Rogers is gonna show up!
Verdict: Nuff said

Loki
Man I love Tom Hiddleston but I have no real use for this series.  Loki's fate after Endgame is for sure interesting and I am sure he winds up in the 4th Thor movie somehow. I just don't have a real interest in seeing it.  I am sure someone will tell me about it tho.
Verdict: Ima pass until told otherwise

WandaVision

Title aside, this seems to be interesting as we get to explore the relationship between Wanda and Vision.  How they gonna put some life back into his caved out husk of a body will be interesting as well.  But the biggest news coming out of this show was that actress Teyonh Parris will be playing Monica Ranbeau AKA Photo.  That puts us ever so closer to the Ultimates!  All we need is Blue Marvel and America Chavez and I am beyond excited about this!!!
Verdict: Bitch yaaasssss!!!!!!

Shang Chi and The Legend of the 10 Rings

My knowledge of Shang Chi could fit in the Monopoly thimble.  For real!  But I am open to the idea of reading more about him and the actor cast as Shang Chi is Simu Lui, from Kim's Convenience and I like him a lot.  Plus we get the real Mandarin and not the bullshit they tried to pass off in Iron Man 3.  You have to wonder is this movie a one-off or the set up of a series of movies to a larger event like Phase one!
Verdict: I will probably see it!

Dr Strange and the Multiverse of Madness

I was not a huge fan of the first Dr Strange movie.  His incarnations in Thor 3 and the two Avengers movies tho really showed how powerful he is.  This movie is also gonna star Scarlett Witch and you gotta think we maybe get a No More Mutants situation but in reverse. Word is this might be a horror movie, too.  If that's the case, if you know me, I wont be seeing this movie ever because I don't mess with horror.
Verdict: If not a horror movie, yes.  If a horror movie, hell to the no!

Blade

Look, Blade started it all and Marvel and the MCU need to give Wesley a big ass check to help pay off his taxes to the IRS.  And I know people wanted him to come back and have a role in the MCU now but Wesley approaching 60 and even tho Black don't Crack and he is in great shape, its time to pass the mantle.  I was thinking they was gonna do a show on Hulu with Blade's daughter but Marvel said, "bump that shit" and went out and got 2x Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali to play Blade. To say I was amped would be a huge understatement!  And I hope somehow they can get Wesley Snipes in this movie to hand the mantle over and introduce Fallon Grey as Blade's daughter.  Well done Marvel!!
Verdict:  Bring it all on!!!!!

So Phase 4 is in full effect even without the Fantastic Four or the X-Men.  Marvel goes to Hall H and steals the con again as DC didn't even bother to try.  Gonna be a hype next 3 years and I am all for it!!

The Producer






Initial Thoughts on X-Men Relaunched Books





Going in, let me just say that I am not a huge fan of all the reboots of comics.  Its not a continuity thing. Its a, " these books need direction and you hamper creative when they know the book could be done in two years" thing.

Regardless of that, I love the X-Men. I have been here for the reboots and bought several new #1 issues against the wishes of my wife and my wallet.  At San Diego Comic Con this weekend, new X-Men savior, Jonathan Hickman unveiled the new slate of books so I am gonna give you my initial impressions with the limited information that we have about each book.

Mauraders #1
By Gerry Duggan and Mateo Lolli


























The team is interesting but the concept of mutants on the high seas searching for other mutants seems kinda far fetched.  I mean in a world with cerebero, high tech planes, and the internet, why are mutants being pirates.  Kitty is front and center which makes me think she is the leader of the team which I hate.  Storm is on the team and not the leader, deferring to Kitty again like she did in X-Men Gold and I think that is BS. And this push of having Emma be a "hero" needs to end.  Let her be the villain she is and stop the charade; especially since it appears her relationship with Scott is over.  And a pirate book without Nightcrawler? Cmon son?!



X-Men #1
By Jonathan Hickman and Lenil Francis Yu


























Its a Summer's Family Reunion ya'll…. Its interesting that the mainline X-Men book is the Summer's family and Wolverine.  Its an odd group to say the least and it appears this may be space based with Corsair being on the team.  Rachel Summers/Prestige is back which I am not a fan of.  Jean is back to Marvel Girl and in that old school costume which seems a bit dated.  This book probably interest me the least of the bunch of them.  Why bring Scott back to then ship him off into space.  Plus Scott and Alex on the same team? Basura!



Excalibut #1

By Tini Howard and Marcus To

























I would be so much happier with this is Apocalypse was not standing back there.  New Captain Britain..awesome.  Mr and Mrs. X back on an X-Team.... perfect.  I never liked Jubilee but whatever.  But Apocolype…. really?  So no more culling the weak?  No more being a bad guy?  Now he is the muscle on a team of mutants that need a big guy?  Kinda weird.  I will read it but I definitely don't understand the purpose.



X-Force #1

By Benjamin Percy and Joshua Cassara

























This book was probably the one I was most excited about because the teams seems the most interesting.  Jean Grey makes her second team call but with Domino co-leading.  You get your muscle with Colossus and Wolverine makes his second team appearance as well.  Black Tom?  Kinda an odd choice but this team looks very interesting.



Fallen Angels #1

By Bryan Edward Hill and Syzmon Kudrasnki

























I don't got much here..... I see that Psylocke is back and we get rid of Kwannon.  But young Cable is here even tho old Cable is on the Summer's Family Reunion team.  X-23 is here and its very surprising that she is not on one of the X-team books.  Gotta wonder if Honey Badger will also be a part of this.  Not feeling this one.  Feels very much like a mini-series, not a monthly book.


New Mutants #1
By Jonathan Hickman and Ed Brisson

























Historically, I have never been a fan of the New Mutants.  Over time, even tho these kids are old as hell and should be the Old Mutants, they have grown on me.  Its funny that most of the team was killed by Rosenberg in his Uncanny run which kinda weakens the impact of his run from an emotional and continuity point but whatever.  I like this team and adding Chamber gives it more of an edge.  Will definitely cop this one.

Overall, I am still a bit skeptical.  This is a lot of books and a lot of mutants in a comic book economy that cannot support all these comic books.  I have argued for years on our podcast( find it here https://soundcloud.com/brothas-hutchinson) that less books is a better look for the X-Men; much like the Avengers with a set team and rotating heroes in and out as the story fits.  Every mutant does not need a team and is waters down the overall product.  But Marvel keeps cranking them out.

I see a lot of people are "In Hickman We Trust". I think dude is great too but this is a lot of moving pieces and I hope he can keep it all together.  Regardless, I know what will happen if it does not work and I'll be blogging about the next reboot in 3 years.

The Producer





Friday, July 19, 2019

Who is Hickman gonna Push with his XMen Reboot



Growing up, the members of Brothascomics all really enjoyed pro wrestling.  Like we really enjoyed it.  In the days before the internet and the Monday Night Wars, wrestling was only what you saw on tv.  Yeah, we kinda had an idea that the outcomes were predetermined, but that really didn't matter.  We really just loved seeing our favorite characters on Saturday beat the crap out of each other.

With the Monday Night wars and the birth of the internet, we got an inside peak into pro wrestling that was unheard of before.  From dirtrags like Wrestling Insider and the Torch, to chat rooms, not only was the outcomes predetermined, we got a look into the business and how it was run and how dirty it could often be.  Why is my favorite wrestler jobbing now?  Why is ( fill in the blank) on tv so much now?

The pro wrestling term about a wrestler being over or getting over applies to a wrestler who has won the cheers( if a babyface/hero) or the jeers( if a heel/villain).  There are several ways a wrestler can get over.  Some get over by their look or their gimmick- like the Road Warriors and the Undertaker have great gimmicks.




Some wrestlers get over because they can work the mic... meaning they can talk or cut a promo and this makes the fans love/hate them depending upon if they are a heel or a face.  Wrestlers like the Rock fall into this category.




Some wrestlers get over because of their in ring work... meaning they can flat out wrestle and can make a bad wrestler have a good match with them and the fans appreciate their work rate.  Brett Hart falls into this category.





And when you have a wrestler that is good at all three, you have a legendary wrestler like Ric Flair( WHOOOOOOO!!) who was great at all three.





Well getting over in wrestling is not that easy.  Its why for so long you saw many of the same faces being champions over the years( we see you Hulk Hogan).  Getting a wrestler over takes talent by the wrestler for sure, but it also takes patience and creativity by the booker( the person who is writing the storylines).  The booker decides who gets pushed( who gets a chance to be a star) and if they can get over...great... maybe they become a main event/headline wrestler.  If they can't, they will get pushed back down the card and wont become a huge star.

Pushing a wrestler is a delicate process.  If you push them too much or too soon, fans will reject that wrestler( like they did Rocky Mavia- before he was the Rock).  If you push them for too long and they don't get over, the character can become stale and rejected by the fans.




This is a lot of preview ahead of my main question: Who is Hickman going to push for the X-Men?  The reboot is wrapped in mystery and that is understandable.  But, over the last four years, X-Men and their fans have been subject to several reboots and each one is like a failed push.  From All New, All Different, to the return of Blue and Gold, to this most recent reboot that came out of Age of X-Man, there has been no real direction on who are the main event X-Men and who are the X-Men on the lower part of the card.





And there is a lot to getting a comic character over.  ALOT!  Its why so many comic books seem like they star the same people over and over.  And much like wrestling, it takes creative booking to create a new star and have them get over.  Creators use gimmicks and looks to help characters get over but sometimes there is not enough substance to the character and they just become their gimmick.  Its why you see new characters make a big debit and then get pushed down the card.  Its why we have so many books and stories with the same heroes and villains.

My initial thought is are they gonna push the Giant Sized X-Men team: Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Wolverine, and of course the resurrected Jean Grey.  Those characters are all over with the fans but have been pushed so much they may have become stale.



Are they gonna push the 90's X-Men with Cyclops, Storm, Rogue, Gambit, and Wolverine as their base. Again, all of them over, but are they like Hulk Hogan where you cheer for him but know you've seen this act before....




Are they gonna push the more new characters such as X-23 and Honey Badger or do a mix of old and new characters like they did in X-Men Red.  Many of these characters are not over with fans, but they do have a vocal fan base.




I really don't know.  And what of characters such as Bishop, Cable, Domino, X-Force.... all characters that have great looks/gimmicks but are maybe not so over they need their own comic book.

This would be a fascinating conversation if we hadn't done this so many times over the past four years.  The X-Men have been treading water on the mid-card of the show for so many years now.  Maybe it was the lack of creative( booking), maybe the characters look/gimmick didn't resonate with fans anymore. Maybe the idea of a world that hates mutants just doesn't work anymore.  Who knows?  I do know this tho…. people are putting a lot of hope and faith into this Hickman reboot and if he does not deliver..... there will be another reboot in 2 years.  And whatcha gonna do about that brother?








The Producer

Fleabag TV Review




As a part of the human condition, we often seek out any and all outlets to avoid dealing with painful shit that life puts us through.  Some people drink to numb the pain, some people shop, and some people fill their life with things and people just to not deal with real emotions because they can be overwhelming.  And in that thinking, our judgment about who we are and how people see us can define us and nudge us into making even more poor decisions.

Its in this breath, the Amazon Prime show, Fleabag lives.  Our title character is Fleabag, even tho no ones calls her by that name.  And like most of us, life has dealt her some serious tragedies and instead of seeking help to move past those issues, Fleabag makes compromised life decisions that often makes life worse, not better.

Now you would think with that lead in, I was talking about a drama- and this show definitely has dramatic moments to it.  But this is a comedy.  A hilariously written comedy, by the shows star, Phoebe Waller-Bridge.  Fleabag the tv show is an adaptation of a play that she had written and starred in herself.  Fleabag is a single woman living in London in the aftermath of those two tragic events. She has a loving, supportive live-in boyfriend who she is entirely bored with.  She has an over achieving sister who is not Fleabags biggest fan, and she has a father who has grown quite distant over the past few years.  Top that off with a failing business and you have a therapists dream patient.

The show is cleverly written and its punctuated by Fleabag constantly breaking the 4th wall and speaking directly to the viewers as things fall apart in her life.  Its quite brilliant really because often she is speaking exactly what the viewers are thinking. The humor is biting, sarcastic, and in some of its best moment, wonderfully vulgar.  It pushes the boundaries of what the viewer would find acceptable and makes you think how you would handle a situation.

There are two seasons; each with 6, 30 minute episodes.   Season one focuses on Fleabag's relationship with her sister, Claire and how their relationship is strained( at best) and on Fleabags many dating and relationship issues.   Also, there is a tragedy that I do not want to spoil that gives you more insight into how a seemingly well put together person can consistently make terrible decisions.  Season 2 focuses on Fleabag's dads marriage to their Godmother and Fleabags attraction to the Catholic priest who is set to marry them.  Season two is as consistently strong as season 1. 

Fleabag is incredibly funny, yet dramatic without being overly preachy.  The characters feel authentic and the actors and dialogue are incredible.  So, try a new show out!  Fleabag will not disappoint!!

The Producer 




Sunday, July 14, 2019

DragonCon continues to Explore Black Excellence in Cosplay




For the 3rd year in a row, I was fortunate enough to attend DragonCon in Atlanta as a member of the media covering the event for Brothascomics.com.   As a Blerd and Atlanta resident for the past 25 years, I have seen DragonCon grow from this small event that only a few thousand nerds attended, to this international event that now close to a half million people attend over the Labor Day Weekend.

My experience with Dragoncon has come full circle.  First I was a participant with my friends renting a hotel and gaming all night long.  Later, I became an active volunteer working the in the game rooms and helping my new con-friends find and play games they have never heard of before.  Now, as a member of the media, I get to see up close and personal some of my favorite stars and creators and bring that content to our blog and podcast.

But throughout all of this, the biggest change at DragonCon has been the needed expression of Black Nerd culture.  DragonCon, like most conventions, can often become very white spaces and not welcoming to nerds expressing themselves in nerd culture.  I have seen that as a fan and a volunteer.  Over the past ten years tho, DragonCon has become such a cultural awakening for Black Nerd Culture in Atlanta and throughout the southeast.  Black Nerds from around the country circle this event on their calendar to make sure they are to be seen with cosplay and heard in panels to make sure people understand that Black Nerds are here and want to express themselves and be seen and accepted in nerd culture.

One of the biggest ways to do this is through cosplay.  I have covered so many events over the past few years, and no one shows up and shows out like DragonCon for cosplay.  So many fans spend months and months getting ready for this event and it shows in their costumes.  Brothascomics uses the tag #wehere as an expression that we are here and in this place and want to be recognized for our contributions to nerd culture.

Here are some of the many examples of Black Nerd Cosplay at Dragoncon this year





Overall just a wonderful experience again this year and I cannot wait to get invited back next year to cover this event.  Its such an experience to be with like minded friends and fans for these 4 days every year!


Big Hutch