Friday, November 16, 2018

Battlestar Galactica #1 Review

One thing that I really enjoyed growing up was Battlestar Galactica.  Now depending upon when you were born, this may mean many different things to you.  If you were born in the last 15-20 years, you are probably thinking about New Battlestar and Caprica which were staples on SYFY network in the early 2000's.

But if you are old like me, Battlestar Galactica usually means classic Battlestar Galactica.  The short lived sci-fi television show with Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict, and Lorne Greene.  This Battlestar was the show of my youth.  I tried New Battlestar and much like New Coke, it wasn't for me.

So I was intrigued when I saw that a new Battlestar Galactica comic book was coming out.  When I initially heard about it, I assumed that it would be New Battlestar as the classic show has a waning, older audience. Plus, since the passing of Richard Hatch- who really kept alive the idea and importance of Classic Battlestar Galactica, I had not seen much written about that version of the characters.

To my surprise, this comic book focuses on the classic characters and designs and even the cover has that super 70's vibe to it.

This story focuses on, what is often lost, when talking about Battlestar Galactica, the original mission of the lost 13 colonies looking for Earth.   As Adama is commanding his crew they are looking for passage through an alien system and their people the Kiernu.  The aliens refuse passage but Adama takes them through anyway to save fuel and escape the pursuing Cylons.

When the Cylons get wind of this, the send in Lucifer and the Centurions to punish the Kiernu and they kill many of the inhabitants of their planet; even though they refused passage of the Galactica through their star system.

Back on the Galactica, a group of Viper pilots who were out on patrol, led by Apollo, come back with 100 ships from an alien race they had encountered.  The people are called the Okatit and they are also on the run from a group of slaves who look to steal their technology and enslave their people.  They ask for safe haven with the ships of the Galactica; something Adama is unwilling to do based on his suspicions of their motives and if adding them will help the Cylons catch up to them.

Of course there are your space battle scenes, which play out so well in the medium of comics.  Vipers scorch across space against alien spaceships and its really an awesome display by artist, Daniel Hdr.

The book ends with Adama finding out the fate of the K... people and him dealing with the guilt of being commander of the Galactica and his decision leading to their destruction by the Cylons.

Overall this is a great book for fans of classic Battlestar.  For Black Battlestar fans, Colonel Tigh does make an appearance, but not Boomer. I am sure he will show up at some point.  This would be a great jumping on point for someone who grew up on new Battlestar and Caprica to get a sense of the flavor of the classic lineup.  Who knows we may finally get that Battlestar Galactica movie that Richard Hatch so hoped for!!

The Producer

Uncanny X-Men #1 Review

Stop me if you heard this one before.... the X-Men have been rebooted!!  Just in the last 2 years the mighty mutants have been rebooted several times over several different books.  From the nostalgia of X-Men Blue and X-Men Gold, X-Men Red, and Astonishing X-Men, the folks at Marvel have been hoping to find that magical combination to recapture some of that mutant magic from their heyday.

On the Marvel Hacks podcast, we have reviewed all these books and they have been inconsistent at best and flat out butt cheeks at their worse.  X-Men Blue and Gold hoped to draw upon the nostalgia of the 90's but that went out the window fairly quickly as each book got booged down in meaningless plots and unnecessary characters.  X-Men Gold pulled a "Dusty Finish" with non- the marriage of Colossus and Kitty Pryde and wasted much of the goodwill that  book had before getting cancelled.  Astonishing brought back Professor Xavier( sort of) and gave us a laborious Proteus story that went nowhere.  And X-Men Red brought back Jean Grey and placed her as leader of a ragtag bunch of mutants... and contrary to some on the Internet, the book is not great ( don't @ me)

So word of a reboot was always out there.  As the Disney-Fox merger became more reality, it was assured- especially when the colored books were cancelled.  Covers were leaked of the brand new team and the next mutant event- Extermination was to lead into the new team!

With that, Uncanny X-Men number one came out with a hefty $8 price tag and the promises of 80 pages.  While it did deliver on the 80 pages, only 1/4 of those pages are dedicated to the main plot line with the main X-Men team. The other pages are annual at best stories featuring Bishop, Jean Grey, and some long hod over Grant Morrison X-Men characters that no one cares about.

And here in lies the rub of these recent X-Men reboots.  The books struggled to decide who or what they are:  Are you books focused on the classic X-Men team or are you attempting to blend in these newer, less known characters to build a deeper X-Universe?  This makes books like Uncanny X-Men stumble right out of the gate.

The opening splash pages features the various mutants that will appear in this book and its like 20 plus mutants and to be honest, many of those mutants just  suck.  I am not sure who they fans of Rockslide are and Glob, but its certainly not me and since Grant Morrison left, these characters have been hanging out at the X-Mansion for years training and they still suck.  Having them be, even a minor focus in your book, takes away any of the goodwill this book may have endeared.

Uncanny X-Men falls onto long time tropes of government conspiracy, a mutant cure, and an X-Man whose motives are suspicious; this time its the Multiple Man.  Whatever troubles he is having brings him to Washington, DC and we get a full out battle between the X-Men and his multiples.  Its tired and boring and the sub-plot of  the mutant vaccination and humans hating mutants is well traveled territory.  Plus the ending page of the ever deepening story is worthy of every eye roll.

Something we have said over and over on the Marvel Hacks Podcast is Marvel is really dropping the ball with all the X-Men.  Their inability to find a group of mutants to tell the consistent stories with has pushed the book into 90's Avengers comic book territory.  I know it may be hard for some of you to believe, but the Avengers were not always popular.  The books suffered from revolving creative teams, as well as wacky line up changes that made the books, at times, unreadable.  Their return only was spurred by the fact that Marvel recognized that people look to certain characters to be Avengers and adding silly characters for fun, took away from the enjoyment of the book. And X-Men is there right now.

This current team, while not my favorite, has solid X-Men members on it.  Tell stories with just that team.  There is no need to bring in Northstar or other characters.  Tell precise, consistent stories that focus on the character development of THAT team of X-Men.

I am sure we will review Uncanny X-Men #2 on the Marvel Hacks. We all love Marvels Mighty Mutants but lately they have not loved us back!  Be sure to check out the podcast to hear us review this book( and others)!!

The Producer

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Marvel Hacks Season 4, Ep 6

The Marvel Hacks season 4 wraps up with our tribute to Stan Lee and our reviews of Fantastic Four, Captain America, and the relaunch of Uncanny X-Men.  The Producer, Brother Beavis, and the Sandman got all the info and laughs that you need!!

Marvel Hacks Season 4 Ep 6

Podcast also available on Apple Podcast and Stitcher.... just search @brothascomics

The Producer

Monday, October 15, 2018

Keystone Comic Con Review

            This September I had the opportunity to attend the inaugural Keystone Comic Con at the Philadelphia Convention Center. Considering this was my first official comic con adventure the introduction was incredible. Their were numerous panels, attractions, and vendors that made the entire place full of both new and classic nerd culture.

            The Con was divided into several sections throughout the Convention Center. The main stage was on the third floor away from the vendors and the lower level the gaming zone. This made it so the event was not over crowded.  While the con covered three floors of the Convention Center it was extremely easy to get around due to both their programs and a kick ass app sponsored by Webtoons. 

            The main floor is contained an Artist Alley, the Live Stage, cosplayers, and vendors. In the cosplay corner, you could go take pictures with cosplayers and get advice about cosplay and constructing costumes. Next to the cosplay corner was artist alley, where you could see various pieces of original fan art as well as commission  an original art piece. The Live Stage hosted the cast from The Office, music, and comedy.  This place even had live wrestling!        
Note to self: Make a budget before you attend a con!  I wanted to buy all the things.  You could purchase everything from custom costumes, tiny hats, comics, games, toys, and nightmare inducing teddies. 

            The Gaming Zone had to be one of my favorite parts of the Con.  The zone included about 50 different screens running games for Nintendo, Playstation, and Xbox.  There both classic and current games available for play.  Some of the featured games included Mario, Donkey Kong, Just Dance, Street Fighter, Mario Kart, Tekken, Smash Bros, Rock Band, and Dragon Ball FighterZ.  There is something about dancing and singing at the top of your lungs in a room full of strangers that is just unforgettable.

            Another highlight, was attending a panel with the legend,  Frank Miller. It was amazing to hear the stories behind The Dark Knight, Sin City and The 300.  The moderator was very knowledgeable about Miller’s career  and constructed questions the dove deep into his career and gave the audience a good amount of time to ask questions. Additional panels featured the cast from The Office and True Blood and talents such as John Barrowman, Ray Park, and Catherine Tate.  

            Keystone Comic Con was well-run for a first-time convention. There was an abundance of volunteers to assist patrons.  Effort was made to consider inclusion for all fans by including such things as a Family Zone and an explicit harassment policy.  The organizers were able to get sponsors for many of the features of the Con such as lanyards, programs, charging stations, an app. The nerd community made the entire event feel amazingly fun and unique. Keystone Comic Con is great addition to the comic con landscape.  I plan to return August 23-25 2019!

Awesome DMT
Chanda Telleen

You can follow me @ctellen

Pilot Season: God Friended Me

CBS has a long history of courting religious people with semi-religious programming.  Its a part of their model to appeal to older, white Americans and one of the reasons CBS is the most watched television network.  Those white viewers love procedurals and drama's that have a moral( in their mind) right and wrong and an hour later, the bad guy loses and the good guy wins.  Like it or not, its their winning formula.

All the way back to Little House on the Prairie to Dr Quinn to, Promised Land, to Touched by an Angel, CBS has always flirted with overt religious themes in their programming.  This new entry, God Friended Me stars Brandon Michael Hall, who was on the criminally underrated, The Mayor on ABC last year.  He stars as Miles Finer, a young, atheist, who is one day friended by God.  Of course, he deletes the request but it keeps coming, as well as requests from people who keep popping into his life to help.

I am a little bothered by the idea of the Magical Negro.. a television and movie trope that always places God/religion on Black people as they help white people on their spiritual journey.  The twist with him being an atheist is interesting, but the foundation of Magical Negro is still there. And I wonder, if they will explore the potential romantic relationship between Miles and Cara as they are clearly the two leads.

Of course Miles thinks this is some crazy plot by unknown folks trying to sabotage his success as he is looking to get his podcast onto Sirius XM.

His friend group includes. Rakesh and Cara, a woman placed in front of him to help him on her "spiritual" journey of forgiveness of her mother.  Overall the show is carried by Hall. His charm and acting elevate the show and its shaky premise.  The shows themes are relatable and I can see how the people at CBS thought this show would be a hit with their audience.  Plus, it reaches their diversity mandate with a Black lead and a supporting cast member who is Middle Eastern.

For me, as a person who was formerly religious, its a no for me, but I would definitely recommend this show to my more religious friends.

The Producer

Pilot Season: The Neighborhood

The Neighborhood on CBS is a sitcom starring Cedric the Entertainer and Max Greenfield.  Greenfield plays David Johnson whose family( his wife is played by Beth Behrs ) has moved from Michigan to a Black neighborhood in Southern California next door to Calvin Butler played by Cedric the Entertainer.

The pilots main joke is the assumption by Calvin that a family with the last name Johnson and moving into this neighborhood would be Black.  Of course, they are not and we get all the typical, lazy jokes that come with a CBS sitcom.  The jokes are stale and unfunny and are a true waste of the comedic talent of the cast.  Sitcoms that have tackled race in the past were able to take chances to talk about race being edgy to expose bigotry and prejudice.  Not this show.  It takes general themes of race relations and sets them to a laugh track ( Black women wear wigs? White people don't use wash cloths?)

Much like the sitcom, Happy Together, starring Damon Wayans, Jr, this show feels like a forced attempt by CBS to diversify their sitcom lineup which has been overwhelming white for years.  Instead of taking a chance tho and booking smart, well written shows, they have taken the lowest common denominator route and have a simple show for simple minded viewers.

I like Max Greenfield and Cedric and most of all I like Tichina Arnold who plays Cedric's wife.  The potential for this show, based on the talent involved, could actually be something special.  It's not!  I wont be visiting this Neighborhood again.

The Producer

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Creator Profile: Leaders of the Free World

This week I got a chance to talk with Corey Lakel Pruitt about his upcoming comic, Leaders of The Free World.  We talk his upbringing in comics, what writers inspire him, and how his book came from thought to Kickstarter.  Fun listen and when you are done, Back his project at the link listed below!

The Producer