Book Review: Identity Crisis

By Chris Slater

Earlier this year, I was in a comic book shop in Beckley and was perusing the titles when a graphic novel cover popped out at me. All of these superheroes’ costumes were hanging up, empty. It looked so sad and hollow. And then I noticed the name at the top: Brad Meltzer. My favorite wrestler, CM Punk, is a huge comic fan (and actually writes comics for Marvel now) and has tweeted about Meltzer several times.

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Book Review: Batman: The Killing Joke

By Chris Slater

Back in the day aka 20 years ago (ugh…), I used to be a comic book fan. I enjoyed elements of both DC Comics and Marvel. I loved Batman. I loved X-Men and Spider-Man. But, Batman was a favorite. The Dark Knight, the Caped Crusader, he was my go-to superhero.

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Thunderlists: 10 More DC Comic Books That Would Make Pretty Good TV Shows


By Jacob Slater

My last article on this subject didn’t really need a followup. Nor did it need to come so soon after the last one. Does it really matter though?

  1. Challengers of the Unknown

You know, I kind of feel bad for Fantastic Four. They’re the first family of Marvel after all, the foundation that allowed it to become the multi-billion dollar media empire that it is today (give or take a few bankruptcies). Before the Avengers did the first bit of Avenging, before the X-Men were the buttmonkeys of the world, before Spider-Man shot his sticky white web all over men in strange costumes, the Fantastic Four were capturing the hearts and minds of millions of children and nerds in those swinging Mad Men years of the early 1960s. Reed “Mr. Fantastic” Richards, Sue “Invisible Girl” Storm, her brother Johnny “The Human Torch” Storm, and Ben Grimm, the ever-lovin’ Thing, who knows where Marvel comics would be without the mythology that have built up around those 4 characters? Who knows if Spidey or the X-Men would have existed as they are now if not for the Fantastic family? Maybe Peter Parker would have been Chinese, or Magneto would have been an ape in a suit. No one but Ashton Kutcher in the sci-fi thriller film The Butterfly Effect could say for sure.

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Thunderlists: 5 DC Comics That Would Make Pretty Good TV Shows


By Jacob Slater

If someone asked me what my favorite comic book company was, and for some reason I wasn’t allowed to mention Image or Dark Horse, I’d have to go with DC. I don’t particularly hate Marvel, I’ve read a decent amount of comics from them in my day, I’ve just always found myself more interested in the DC line. Perhaps it was that DC Comics seemed to trend more towards the fantastical and the abstract, rather than the more ‘realistic’ tone that Marvel claims to be going for, and I’ve always preferred that direction when it came to superhero comics. Although nowadays DC is trying to get on the ‘gritty, realistic’ kick with their nu52 universe, which would explain why I don’t really read modern comics at all. Apart from Image, which has gotten better since the wild & wonderful 1990’s.

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GOTHAM: VIPER: Tell Me a Story

Originally posted on Atomic Anxiety:

Gotham Viper

Season 1, Episode 5, Story 5
October 20, 2014
Written by Rebecca Perry Cutter
Directed by Tim Hunter
Starring Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Mazouz, Zabryna Guevara, Sean Pertwee, Robin Lord Taylor, Erin Richards, Camren Bicondova, Corey Michael Smith, Makenzie Leigh, David Zayas, and John Doman.

A street musician is given a new drug in a vial. He takes it, wigs out, heads to a convenience store where he drinks milk right out of the container. The cashier approaches with a bat that street musician breaks in half.

Cut to outside, where Bullock is treating Jim to the city’s best hamburger at a street vender. Jim doesn’t want the pickles. Bullock says, Trust me. So Jim decides, Okay, pickles it is. Selina Kyle, despite being smart (or what passes for smart in GOTHAM) decides to steal a guy right across the street from Bullock and…

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Originally posted on Atomic Anxiety:

SHIELD May Hates Coffee

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
“Face My Enemy”
Season 2, Episode 4, Story 26 (October 14, 2014)
Written by Drew Z. Greenberg
Directed by Kevin Tancharoen
Starring Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, B.J. Britt, Henry Simmons, Nick Blood, Adrian Pasdar, Ruth Negga, Simon Kassianides, and Reed Diamond.

What’s immediate obvious about “Face My Enemy” is that it crackles with a light, playful energy that celebrates the very concept of a spy show.

There are agents undercover, a fancy party, dancing, multiple agencies after the same object, a support team, snappy dialogue, a sly snatch and grab, cool weapons, icy bad guys, swerves, fake swerves, and face-and-voice altering technology. It’s either exactly what SHIELD should always have been or exactly what SHIELD was trying (and failing) to be after the pilot episode.

This is the first episode of the series penned by TV veteran Drew Greenberg, and…

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Originally posted on Atomic Anxiety:

Flash Episode 2

The Flash
“Fastest Man Alive”
Season 1, Episode 2, Story 2
Written by Andrew Kreisberg & Geoff Johns, and Greg Berlanti (story)
Directed by David Nutter
Starring Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Rick Cosnett, Carlos Valdes, Tom Cavanagh, Jesse L. Martin, Chad Rook, William Sadler, and John Wesley Shipp.

There is no superhero story I like less than the “I don’t want to be a superhero” story, so it’s to THE FLASH’s credit that they manage to execute their version of Barry Allen’s desire to exit his costume about as well as possible.

What helps the show pull this off is that Barry’s decision is based on his lack of self confidence more than it is a desire to save his friends and family from any potential future harm. The safety and protection angle certainly plays a role in his decision, especially with surrogate dad Detective Joe West jamming the…

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GOTHAM: ARKHAM: Honestly, Sir, I Really Did Vote For You

Originally posted on Atomic Anxiety:

Gotham Arkham

Season 1, Episode 4, Story 4
Written by Ken Woodruff
Directed by TJ Scott
Starring Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Mazouz, Zabryna Guevara, Sean Pertwee, Robin Lord Taylor, Erin Richards, Richard Kind, David Zayas, and Hakeem Kae-Kazim.

“Arkham” is a bunch of good news and a little bit of bad news concerning GOTHAM, Fox’s inconsistent No Batman, Batman show.

What pleases me greatly is that the show, for the first time in its brief existence, delivers an entire episode of a sustained, consistent vision. Previous to this, GOTHAM has bounced between dumbly grim and gritty and clumsily campy, but “Arkham” chooses the dark side of the street and stays there from start to finish. To say it’s the best episode of the series runs the risk of damning it with faint praise, but this episode gives hope to the idea that the producers have learned…

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Originally posted on Atomic Anxiety:

Shield Making Friends Simmons

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – “Making Friends and Influencing People” – Season 2, Episode 3, Story 25 (October 7, 2014) – Directed by Bobby Roth; Written by Monica Owusu-Breen – Starring Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, B.J. Britt, Henry Simmons, Nick Blood, Dylan Minnette, and Reed Diamond.

AGENTS OF SHIELD is quite often a show that can’t get out of its own way. Not in major ways, anymore, but in small ways that don’t kill a show as much as provide an unnecessary hurdle to it being a great show.

Take “Making Friends and Influencing People,” the really good but almost great third episode of the show’s second season. As enjoyable as SHIELD has been over the past two seasons, the show has lacked a signature moment that people can point to and say, “That’s an AGENTS OF SHIELD moment. That’s something you…

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