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Comic-Con Revolution 2019 – A Review

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comic con revolution ontario

COMIC-CON REVOLUTION IS THE RIGHT KIND OF CONVENTION AT THE RIGHT TIME OF YEAR!

I have been at each of the Comic-Con Revolutions since the convention began.  This year gave me some great conversations and opportunities!

LOCATION

Firstly, I want to point out how well the Ontario Convention Center adapted to weather changes.  That sounds like an odd compliment, I know.  During Saturday, May 18, the sun gave way to clouds, though there wasn’t any rain.  Moreover the metal detectors were outside under portable awnings.  Fast forward to Sunday and it had been raining a lot of the night.  The ground was wet and the air damp.  When we approached the convention center, the staff had already moved all of the metal detectors inside and were funneling people through quickly.  I’ve been to a few conventions here, although I have never seen the staff this reactive before.

DEALER’S HALL

Meanwhile, the Dealer’s Hall had a better-than-usual variety of items.  I saw toys old, new, and rare, purses, jackets, a new gamer gummy energy snack (really), statues, and, of course, a lot of comics.  In fact, this convention made sure that they had plenty of comic vendors selling current issues, key issues, Golden Age, Silver Age, full runs, and variants everywhere.  I even found one I have been coming Los Angeles for without success.

comic con revolution dealer hall
The Dealer’s Hall

Additionally, the Artist’s Alley that made up the core of the hall is littered with industry stars and personalities.  I had short conversations with Pernille Orum, Gregg Berger, Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Todd Nauck, Livio Ramondelli, Art Thibert, and David Walker.  In a moment of impulse, I even added a Ray-Anthony Height original to my art collection.  It came out even better than I hoped!

marvel iceman ray anthony height
A terrific Iceman by Ray-Anthony Height!

I managed to add to my collection of signings by super-friendly creator superstars Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti!

amanda conner jimmy palmiotti marvel daredevil dc harley quinn
I was just hoping for signatures!

PANELS

The panels were also entertaining.  I sat in on a panel by legendary voice actor for Donald Duck Tony Anselmo.  He worked with Walt Disney on the original animations through to today’s remake of DuckTales.  After that was a Star Wars retrospective with the voice actor of Darth Maul, Sam Witwer, as a panelist.  Mere minutes behind that is a panel of Transformers voice actors that included Michael Bell, Alan Oppenheimer, Gregg Berger, and more.

tony anselmo donald duck disney
Tony Anselmo – the voice of Donald Duck!

In the end, Comic-Con Revolution is a bit short or small, although it offers a lot for genre fans.  Casual fans may not understand why people are lining up for Overwatch voice actors, Jake “the Snake” Roberts, or Mike Zeck.  However, if you have a passion for comics or pop culture, this is an easy way to begin finding your convention legs before San Diego or New York Comic-Con later this year.

overwatch sombra symmetra carolina ravassa anjali bhimani
Anjali Bhimani – Voice Actress of Symmetra
Carolina Ravassa – Voice Actress of Sombra

Comic-Con Revolution takes place in Ontario, California in mid-May.  The dates for 2020 have not been announced as of the date of this article.

COMIC REVIEWS FOR 5/15/19

COMIC REVIEWS FOR 5/8/19

Overwatch’s Third Anniversary Event Begins May 21st

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What is the Anniversary Event?

Every year since Overwatch’s release in 2016, the game hosts Anniversary events that mainly recap what happened since the last Anniversary. Instead of introducing a majority of new content like the other holiday events, the Anniversary focuses on revisiting past updates. That means that all the skins you weren’t able to previously afford can now be yours. Players can also replay old Archives events and modes like Junkenstein’s Revenge. This year’s Anniversary event runs from May 21st through June 10th.

Newest Skins

The Anniversary event will add six new legendary skins and three epic skins. On top of that, players will be blessed with dancing emotes for Baptiste, Ashe, and Wrecking Ball.

The official Overwatch Twitter has released two of the newest skins prior to the event.

The first skin is Gargoyle Winston, arguably one of the better cosmetics in the game. While I’m not sure if it tops the majesty of Yeti Winston, it’s an improvement from some of his other legendary skins.

Players can also receive the Academy D.Va skin. Jeff Kaplan claimed this skin would “break the internet.” I’m honestly not that impressed. While it is a genuinely cute skin, I’d rather see some more cosmetics related to her intense lore instead of a school girl outfit or a cat costume.

Week Free Trial

On top of the newest cosmetics and replayability of the previous events, this Anniversary brings with it a week free trial from May 21st through the 28th. This trial is a great time to get reluctant friends to test out the game and see if they like it before purchasing it. Free trials include all the game’s content.

An event like this is a great way to test the waters of Overwatch. Players can try all the previous game modes and earn skins they haven’t yet unlocked. These events also remind us all why we love and continue to play the game. While it’s taken a while to get on its feet, Overwatch is getting better at adding content the player base enjoys, and the constant improvements are leading us in a great direction.

Magic the Gathering: 3 Cards Banned in Pauper Format

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Augur of Bolas card art. Image courtesy of Wizards of the coast.

The Pauper Format and Magic Online

Image courtesy of Wizards of the Coast.

Pauper is an interesting Magic the Gathering format that uses exclusively common-rarity cards. However, as of late, blue decks have been dominating Magic Online Pauper with a win rate of 55%, according to an article on the Wizards website. With the addition of Augur of Bolas and the Foil/Gush combo, blue decks are even able to outmatch aggressive decks that used to keep blue in check.

The question was which cards to ban to weaken blue’s win rate while keeping the spirit of Pauper intact. Ian Duke, a developer in Magic R&D, said, “We believe that different formats should offer different styles of play and that many Pauper players have come to enjoy efficient card selection as one of the hallmarks of the format.”

Narrowing Down the Suspects

The one mana spells Ponder, Preordain, and Brainstorm were looked. In addition, they sought to try and disrupt the Foil/Gush combo. Gush was the prime suspect in the combo to be the one to get banned. Card draw is a key factor in blue’s win rate in Pauper.

Image courtesy of Wizards of the Coast.

Finally, they took a look at “free” spells. These are spells that have alternative costs other than mana. Gush, Daze, and Gitaxian Probe fit neatly into that niche. Along with Augur of Bolas, decks with these cards are able to have options even when low on mana. That can be a very powerful combination when used correctly.

Duke continued, “It became clear that free spells, in addition to being extremely powerful themselves, were also powering up the other cards on the list. They are also the category that is most likely to continue to break as new cards are added to the format.”

Who Got the Axe

After much consideration, Gush, Daze, and Gitaxian Probe were banned from Pauper.

“We understand the possibility that weakening blue tempo decks may cause a rise in the popularity of Tron decks. However, we believe that this combination of bans will result in a healthier mix of aggro, tempo, control, combo, and midrange that can adjust to balance out each other’s populations,” said Duke.

R&D promises to continue to monitor the situation to make sure that the bans made were the correct ones.

Other Magic Formats

Image courtesy of Wizards of the Coast.

At this time, there is no intention to ban other cards in other formats, according to the article. Some concern was brought up about Neoform plus Allosaurus Rider, Ugin’s Conjurant plus Celestial Kirin, and Karn, the Great Creator plus Mycosynth Lattice. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on your opinion, these cards are here to stay, for now.

“Other competitive formats are generally looking healthy at this time, and we’ve determined no need for changes.”

 

Did you run Gaze, Daze, or Gitaxian Probe? Are you glad your opponents are without them now? Let us know in the comments below.

Overwatch League 2019 All-Star Event and Skins

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All-Star Event

Overwatch League 2019 All-Stars is a two-day event that pits the Atlantic and Pacific Divisions against each other. May 15th showcased a series of custom skill matches while May 16th was dedicated solely to the official All-Star game.

Schedule and Matches

Talent Takedown

The fun started with the Talent Takedown. For this event, coaches drafted teams made up of League players, casters, and analysts for a three-map set which consisted of an escort map, control map, and 6v6 lockout elimination.

The Atlantic team won this takedown 3 – 0 on Necropolis and 4 – 3 on Watchpoint: Gibraltar. They lost 0 – 2 on Lijiang Tower, but their victory had already been secured.

Widowmaker 1v1

Following the Talent Takedown was the Widowmaker 1v1 Quarter and Semifinals. The top Widowmaker players from the League teams competed in a headshot only elimination bracket. Players could not use the assault rifle fire, and there were no capture points. The first to seven eliminations wins the match and advances in the bracket.

All-Star Arcade

The All-Star Arcade was a four map game, similar to those in League, except the game modes add additional challenges for the players.

Map 1: Sibling Rivalry. In this mode, there are three Genji’s and three Hanzo’s per team fighting to take back Hanamura. The match played out like any other assault mode.

Map 2: Healers Never Die. As the name suggests, this was a 6v6, support only match. There is also a one hero limit, meaning everyone had to play a different healer. It happened on the control map, Nepal.

Map 3: Terrible, Terrible Damage. Only everyone’s favorite DPS role was playable in this 6v6. The hybrid Hollywood map had a one hero limit.

Map 4: Keeping the Peace. This 6v6 match took place on the escort map, Route 66. Everyone had to play McCree.

Tiebreaker Map: Thanks, but No Tanks. This 6v6 on Blizzard World was played like any other hybrid match, except no one was allowed to pick tank.

The Stage before the Talent Takedown Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

The Pacific Division beat the Atlantic in the All-Star Arcade. They won in Sibling Rivalry, Healers Never Die, and Keeping the Peace. These games were a nice break from the typical League and GOATS meta we’ve consistently been seeing. It was simply top tier Overwatch players enjoying themselves.

Widowmaker 1v1 Finals

May 15th ended with the Widowmaker 1v1 Finals. The Finals are identical to the Quarter and Semifinals, except each player has to get nine eliminations to win instead of seven.

Surprising most of us, Diem, primarily a Zarya player for the Shanghai Dragons, beat out all other Widows in the League. His victory landed the Pacific Division with their second victory of the day.

Official All-Star Game

May 16th was the All-Star game. This game was identical to the usual League matches, but the roster was made up of a select few members from the Pacific and Atlantic teams. You can view the roster here.

The Atlantic Division won the All-Star Game rather succinctly 4 – 1. They were victorious on Nepal, King’s Row, and Paris before losing on Dorado. They came back after the loss and won 2 – 0 on Busan.

2019 All-Star Skins

Lucio and Mercy received a one of a kind makeover with the newest All-Star skins. The Atlantic Mercy and Pacific Lucio skins are available in the game for 200 League tokens until May 22nd. They cost about $10 each, but you can earn tokens by watching the Overwatch League or twice as many by watching the All-Star event.

COMIC REVIEWS FOR 5/15/19

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War of the Realms Strikeforce: War Avengers #1 - Marvel Comics
Guess which one is the Rowling fan.

MORE OF THE LATEST COMICS ARE GETTING REVIEWS!

The summer means more events!  That means you should keep up on the latest stories to understand those events!  Which issues are worth reading this week?

Bettie Page #5 - Dynamite Comics
Dynamite Comics

BETTIE PAGE #5
Dynamite Comics

Writers: David Avallone
Artist: Jordan Michael Johnson
Cover Price:  $4.99

Bettie Page is an icon who gets another turn in pop culture every other century.  Does this comic have the same legacy in store?

David Avallone has a good concept to expand on Bettie Page’s history.  The pin-up queen having dual function as a spy is a fun idea.  Meanwhile, the dialogue feels forced and lacks a lot of the energy implied in the story.  This makes me sad because the story itself has some interesting narrative choices that easily make the main character more dynamic.  Although, I don’t feel that any of that potential has been capitalized on by the end of the issue.

Bettie Page #5 - Dynamite Comics
Bettie Page #5 – Dynamite Comics

Jordan Michael Johnson’s art leans to the cartoonish.  All of his characters have surprisingly lean faces.  They often appear astonished at the last sentence they heard.  Johnson uses thicker outer lines for characters with much thinner detail lines.  He is going for a 1950’s inspired look.  Moreover, he uses detail lines sparingly, making a lot the characters lack significant depth.  In fact, a lot of characters are dressed very simply in two-tone clothes.  I did note that Johnson uses faded line work for backgrounds making the characters pop a bit.

Overall, this comic was a let down because I’m not sure if the creative team is a fit for what Dynamite wants to do for the concept.  There is still a chance for this to become a cornerstone of imaginative work, however that is up to where they go from here.

War of the Realms - Strikeforce: War Avengers #1 - Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics

WAR OF THE REALMS STRIKEFORCE – THE WAR AVENGERS #1
Marvel Comics

Writers: Dennis Hallum
Artist: Kim Jacinto & Ario Anindito
Cover Price:  $4.99

I am not a fan of tie-in issues.  They tend to have a limited impact on the main story.  Still, it’s good to go outside your comfort zones now and again.

I didn’t know until after this issue that it was written by Dennis Hallum (a.k.a. Dennis Hopeless).  Hallum’s stories often have a healthy dose of humor and War Avengers has Deadpool filling that role.  Meanwhile, this comic is shockingly dark compared to Hallum’s prior work.  The heroes on the cover are fully aware that they aren’t who will end the War of the Realms.  They know they have to hold the line until someone else finds a way to finish things.  Hallum builds on the tone by making sure these long standing Marvel heroes have dialogue and voices in their established continuity and dealing with knowing they are going to fight so others can fight later.

War of the Realms - Strikeforce: War Avengers #1 - Marvel Comics
War of the Realms – Strikeforce: War Avengers #1 – Marvel Comics

Art duties are shared by Kim Jacinto and Ario Anindito.  Both artists lean on similar extremes when it comes to character proportion.  Lean characters appear lanky and large characters are superbly massive.  The characters have bold outer lines and winding detail lines.  Meanwhile, the action does have some interesting power to it.  There is a wild, dirty look to the art that meshes with the story of these front line warriors.  The look of the comic overall was all right, though not all-together helpful for the story.

This comic tells an interesting story not about world-saving, but about the people who make sure the world is still there for others to save.  Hallum needs to be higher on Marvel’s writing teams.

Superman #11 - DC Comics
DC Comics

SUPERMAN #11
DC Comics

Writers: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Ivan Reis
Cover Price:  $3.99

Bendis is doing his best to make Superman more than just a powerful character.

His writing is weaving in fascinating ways.  He is making Superman think a lot about what his presence in events and in DC on a whole and how he can affect things without actually punching them.  I am gobsmacked that I am interested in Superman trying to balance his fantastic life and his extended family and struggling with it.  Meanwhile, Superman’s internal monologue adds an anxiety and sense of urgency that is not normally found in Superman stories.  As with Tom King and Batman, Bendis is working hard to humanize DC’s Big Blue… and it is working.

Superman #11 - DC Comics
Superman #11 – DC Comics

Ivan Reis’ art is a terrific compliment to Bendis’ story.  His action in this comic is especially good.  He makes Superman both powerful and graceful in action.  Moreover, Superman’s enemies have this grandiose presence that refreshes his rogue’s gallery in this comic.  Reis also has visually dynamic characters that have a lot of detail work that somehow stops from being too scratchy and busy.  It is my opinion that Reis should be the benchmark of DC’s artists.

I occasionally grab parts of Bendis’ run for reviews.  Because of them, I think I have found the first Superman graphic novels I would buy and keep.

Naomi #5 - DC Comics
DC Comics

PICK OF THE WEEK
NAOMI #5
DC Comics

Writers: Brian Michael Bendis & David F. Walker
Artist: Jamal Campbell
Cover Price:  $3.99

In a word… this comic is beautiful.

Bendis and Walker must have activated their Wonder Twin powers, because, together, they have made a comic that resonates emotionally in a lot of ways.  From the flashbacks to the title character talking to her partner, I find myself fascinated with the story of Naomi.  The dialogue has an unusual power to it.  A lot of is exposition from Naomi’s birth mother and, although we haven’t met her already, the emotion pours through with unusual clarity.  Meanwhile, Naomi’s own dialogue is full of energy, youth, and humanity.

Naomi #5 - DC Comics
Naomi #5 – DC Comics

If Ivan Reis is DC’s current art benchmark, Jamal Campbell shows the future they could have.  Charles’ style is balancing between cartoonish and comic books in a way that creates a fresh look.  The characters are hauntingly lifelike and have an energy that is magnetic.  The character proportion is solid.  Moreover, there is an easy flow from panel to panel and everything feels organic and within the suspension of disbelief.  Charles’ splash pages are insane single images that tell a terrific story.  Meanwhile, Charles has an uncanny ability for energy effects.  They feel graceful and primal at the same time.

I have to give special props to the colors in this comic.  There is awesome use of gradients and various colors that add to every scene and character in it.  Somehow, Naomi’s corner of DC feels more vibrant and real than the rest.  I would recommend any budding artists study Naomi immediately.

Naomi #5 - DC Comics
Naomi #5 – DC Comics

This issue is the lynch pin that proves something to me.  Naomi is a new story and hero that DC needs to refresh its line and bring new context to the heroes.  I feel confident in saying that Naomi is DC’s Kamala Khan.

Which comic shaped your reading habits?  Let us know in the comments below!  In the meantime, you can listen to our comic book news and reviews podcast, the Part-Time Henchmen!

COMIC REVIEWS FOR 5/8/19

COMIC REVIEWS FOR 4/17/19

The “Time Heist” Makes No Sense

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Image courtesy of Marvel.

Time Travel is Awesome

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the concept of time travel and watching it unfold in movies. To this day, Back to the Future is still one of my favorite movies. I also enjoy reading about time travel as well, whether it’s in a fantasy like Artemis Fowl’s Time Paradox or a sci fi classic Time Machine.

I had a hunch that Avengers: Endgame was going to involve time travel with the after-credits scene in Ant Man & the Wasp where Hope’s mom warned Scott about time traveling portals in the quantum realm. Combined with Dr. Strange’s using his future-sight to try and predict the outcome, it seemed clear time travel was going to be a key part of Endgame.

The Avenger’s time travel suits function as matching uniforms. Image courtesy of Marvel.

And I’m excited it was. The going-back-in-time high jinks like Tony Stark meeting his dad and such were awesome. Captain America fighting himself. Getting to see the Ancient One again. It had everything going for it to be an awesome time travel movie.

But then they mucked it up.

The Rules for Time Travel

There’s three major strings of thought when it comes to how time travel operates.

  1. Going back in time and interacting in the past creates a new future (butterfly effect).
  2. Going back in time changes nothing and your influence is already set in stone.

Avengers: Endgame took a combined route, stating that Back to the Future was nonsense and that you can’t change your own past, however, interfering with the past can create alternate timelines. This is essentially the “multi-verse” theory that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse explored.

There’s more than one Spider-Man in the multiverse. Image courtesy of Marvel.

And that’s totally fine. It’s explained very well when the Hulk and the Ancient One are discussing how removing the infinity stones from the past would create a new timeline.

The concept of the mutiverse theory gets a little complicated to think about. Essentially, you can’t change your own past. When you go into the past, the present you left behind is now your past, so it cannot be changed because you changed something in the past you traveled to.

Did that sink in? Basically, any changes you make are going to be the consequences of some other time line and not your own (isn’t that not holding you accountable).

Where Endgame Falls Apart

Here’s where Endgame changes it’s own rules. The biggest and most glaring contradiction occurs at the end of the movie when Captain America goes back in time to restore the infinity stones, only to not return. We find him old and retired, having gone back to the past to live out his life with the love of his life.

So if you can’t go back and change the past, how did he go back and change the past? He married a woman who had married someone else and had kids, thereby erasing that life. He very clearly changed the past.

Congratz, Cap, you broke time travel. Image courtesy of Marvel.

Now, some fans speculate that it was Steve himself that she married and events unfolded under the #2 time travel rule above. He was always her husband because he time traveled to do it. However, under that theory, there should be no way that he grew old and ended up in the Endgame timeline. Going back in the past and living his life there would have created a new timeline, one different from the one he left.

I discussed this glaring oversight with a colleague and she argued that once his wife died he had no reason to stay in that alternate timeline anymore, so he used the quantum realm to return to his original timeline. But, if that were true, he should appeared in the time travel machine, which he did not.

Messing More with Time

There’s also no way that alternate timelines weren’t created, even if the stones were returned. Two stones – space and reality, respectfully- were not returned in the form they had been taken in. The space stone had been in Loki’s spear, and the reality stone was all molten inside of Jane. And yet, they were returned as simply stones.

Not to mention how the consequences of time travel probably meant that the Guardians of the Galaxy never formed. They stopped Peter from getting the orb (power stone), which would have stopped him been wanted, which means Rocket/Groot would have never hunted him, and Gamora would have never tried to steal the orb back. Without the Guardians to save the galaxy, untold damage could be done to the universe.

And as epic as the final conclusion to the movie was, with the epic magic portals bringing everyone to battle, it still begs the question of the consequences. We probably aren’t going to see any of these consequences in action.

We might think that pulling Thanos from 2014 and defeating him was a good idea, but what if it wasn’t? What consequences will arise from setting Loki free in 2012?

Endgame, in short, takes no responsibility for the consequences of it’s actions, removing heroes and setting loose villains on unsuspecting timelines. It contradicts it’s own rules on time travel.

It was still a pretty cool time travel movie, though.

World of Warcraft: Classic Releasing August 27

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World of Warcraft Classic

After a long wait, World of Warcraft: Classic has a release date.

We all got excited when Blizzard announced World of Warcraft: Classic at BlizzCon 2017, but the lack of news over the next year and a half had fans questioning its development. However, we did get a vague release date of summer 2019, and Blizzard has held true to their word. Classic is coming on August 27, 2019, and the beta test started yesterday.

World of Warcraft Classic Image

We already know the launch schedule of at least two raids and dungeons. Blizzard stated that Molten Core, Onyxia’s Lair, and launch dungeons will be available immediately. However, they did not state when Phase 2 through 6 content would be coming out. “It will be one-by-one, based on the community’s interest and readiness for the next patch,” the Wowhead article says.

The phase releases are still unclear.

One might ask, what will constitute community interest and readiness for the next patch? Could it follow the Hall of Fame achievements that unlock cross-realm Mythic raiding? No one knows for sure yet, but we will definitely update you when each phase comes out.

The game will go live at 3 pm Pacific Time. There are also several stress tests scheduled to gauge if the servers can handle the amount of traffic the game will get. The first stress test will take place on May 22-23, the second will take place on June 19-20, and the third will take place on July 18-19. However, these dates are subject to change.

Players can start reserving their character names as early as August 13.

If you’ve always wanted a certain character name, Blizzard’s got you covered. Character creation will start as early as August 13, and players will be able to reserve coveted names for the game.

Are you excited about World of Warcraft: Classic? Do you plan to relive your adventures in Azeroth on August 27? Let us know in the comments below!

COMIC REVIEWS FOR 5/8/19

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Excellence #1 - Image Comics
"Give me all of the Pokemon cards... NOW!"

SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON IS CLOSING IN!  NOW IS THE TIME TO STAY ON TOP OF THE LATEST STORIES!

Which random pulls are getting reviews by the DVS Gaming crew this week?

Batman & the Outsiders #1 - DC Comics
DC Comics

BATMAN & THE OUTSIDERS #1
DC Comics

Writers: Bryan Hill
Artist: Dexter Soy
Cover Price:  $3.99

The Outsiders name is brought back by DC whenever there’s a big shake-up.  Is the current team living up to that legacy?

Bryan Hill is a pretty good writer overall, however, this is not his best work.  This comic has a very pinned down feel as if editorial is keeping Hill from giving his best work.  Meanwhile, there is a lot of recent history knowledge needed to understand these characters.  That history is touched on in this comic without much context.  Moreover, Hill’s version of Katana has the character using a lot of Japanese words in her dialogue.  This feels strange given the character’s long history in the Suicide Squad and with Batman overall.  This feel like a writer touching up someone else’s script.

Batman & the Outsiders #1 - DC Comics
Batman & the Outsiders #1 – DC Comics

Dexter Soy’s art is in the middle of my preferences.  His character form is good, although muscles can be bulbous when they’re flexing.  Additionally, his art can be very sparse on detail.  It relies on the colorist to do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to curves and gradients.  The overall style leans into a manga-esque quality that was thick in comics in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  It involves a lot of relatively thin lines everywhere.  Characters can come across as scratch, missing significant depth, and unfinished.

The Outsiders is one of my favorite for-fun reading series… in 2003.  This latest version feels like it’s made of cast-off characters and not given much care as to their mission.  There is room for improvement, and I hope it improves.

War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas #1 - Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics

WAR OF THE REALMS – NEW AGENTS OF ATLAS #1
Marvel Comics

Writers: Greg Pak
Artist: Gang Hyuk Lim
Cover Price:  $3.99

A new team with a cast of Pacific Rim characters?  That sounds intriguing!  However… is it intriguing?

Greg Pak is the writer of Planet Hulk!  This is not Planet Hulk.  I understand that there is a lot of ground to cover in a new team book, although a reader goes through a whipsawing path back and forth covering 7 of the characters on the cover, plus at least 3 more within this comic, a new concept, the War of the Realms, and the first plot twist.  In short, there is too much happening and not enough time with any character to form any sort of bond.  In the end, I have a list of names and powers, although if they weren’t in another series, I don’t have any sort of connection or opinion on the character.

War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas #1 - Marvel Comics
War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas #1 – Marvel Comics

The art is by Gang Hyuk Lim.  His art feels similar to mid-90’s cartoons.  The detail is almost non-existent.  Meanwhile, somehow, characters manage to remain fairly distinct through both their costumes and hairstyles.  While outer lines are bolder than the detail lines, they still feel thick, making the characters lack pop.  The action has some decent energy to it.  The powers have a lot of visual kick, except most of it is in the random minions that are common in large events.

Overall, this issue is disappointing.  It has a lot of room to improve, however not a lot of chances before this mini-series is over.

Hit Girl: Season 2 #4 - Image Comics
Image Comics

HIT-GIRL: SEASON 2 #4
Image Comics

Writers: Kevin Smith
Artist: Pernille Orum
Cover Price:  $3.99

Hit Girl Season 2 is a decent ride, although… how is the finish?

Filmmaker Kevin Smith is no stranger to writing comics.  He is obviously a fan and enjoys telling offbeat stories.  However, while the past issues of this mini have been fun, this last one comes across as strangely forced.  The pacing is quick, although too many elements come together too quickly to wrap up the stories of the last three issues.  Meanwhile, the characters have fun voices and hilariously overblown backstories.  The dialogue can have a bit too much camp in it at times, although that is up to individual preference.

Hit Girl: Season 2 #4 - Image Comics
Hit Girl: Season 2 #4 – Image Comics

Pernille Orum’s art is bright and vibrant.  Her style is very cartoon-oriented.  Moreover, it makes the action that much more over-the-top and shocking when it happens.  This issue still lacks a bit of panel-to-panel flow in movement.  Orum uses very thick outer lines and minimal detail, however, her characters are so expressive, the lack of detail isn’t as much of a detractor here.

I do like this story.  The ending is just too rushed to enjoy it.

Excellence #1 - Image Comics
Image Comics

PICK OF THE WEEK
EXCELLENCE #1
Image Comics

Writers: Brandon Thomas
Artist: Khary Randolph
Cover Price:  $3.99

The cover draws my eye, so I grabbed this comic.  It has an interesting story weaving through it.

Brandon Thomas has created a world of heritages of magic, an African American cast, and an overarching mission that has implications for the world at large.  Though this comic is over-sized, the pacing is relatively brisk.  The characters succeed in establishing their voices and drives in this issue, although some of the supporting characters feel thin.  Ignored.  The main character’s arch, however, has a solid beginning between being a “chosen one” and someone who has trained to overcome his short-comings.

Excellence #1 - Image Comics
Excellence #1 – Image Comics

Khary Randolph’s art meshes well with the story.  He uses thicker outer lines and smaller lines for detail.  I will say that his characters are missing enough detail to fully flesh out their look, although, Randolph overcomes this by making the characters unusually expressive.  Single panels can be enough to convey misery, pain, rage, or contentment.  That is a rare talent.  The action moves well and the magic used in this series has a wild energy that is fitting with the world-bending implied in the story.

Excellence #1 - Image Comics
Excellence #1 – Image Comics

I have to give extra props to the art.  It has an urban mural kind of feel that fits with the urban arcanum at the crux of this story.  Every page is fresh and has a stellar use of colors at the right points to add to the emotions of the characters, as well as making the characters’ presence more profound.

This comic is far and away the best thing I have read this week.  I want to know more about the mission of the main protagonist and the organization he works with, as well as what the potential is for Excellence.

COMIC REVIEWS FOR 4/17/19

The Next MCU Team Movie Should Be…

DVS Reviews TV: Lucifer Season 4

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Lucifer Season 4. Image courtesy of Netflix.

The Famous Fallen Angel

The portrayal of the Devil in the show Lucifer is the most unique and interesting iteration I have seen to date. Not only is Satan solving crimes, but he’s a very humanized character with complex motives and desires.

The show was much beloved by the fanbase, still, Fox decided to cancel the show after season 3. With the miracle of the internet and the trending #savelucifer, the crime-solving devil got to see another season under the new direction of Netflix.

Did changing venues change the show? Will Lucifer ever learn his lesson? Can Lucifer and Chloe admit their feelings?

Let’s dive into Lucifer Season 4.

The Move From Fox to Netflix: Two Thumbs Up

The biggest downside to moving to Netflix was that the 20-something episode seasons of the past got boiled down to a 10 episode season. Which the episodes are longer than before, it still didn’t give us as much screen time with our favorite devil as we would have liked.

Chloe, Lucifer, and Eve. Image courtesy of Netflix.

Still, the show did not suffer from the cut hours. The story was clean and cut off almost all fat. The episodes and story arc as a whole felt naturally paced.

The change also didn’t affect the show much at all. Season 4 had the same feel, look, and story that could be expected from its first three seasons. Even when able to show Tom Ellis’s fabulous assets off (something not possible under Fox), they didn’t deviate too far from the “naughty and cheeky” core of the show.

Ramping Up the Drama

I’ll be honest, season 4 of Lucifer was the most I have ever screamed, cried, and pointing aggressively at the television while watching something. The drama of season 4 had my emotions running wild and unhinged. I felt like I could see into the minds of every character and was pleading with them to “not do the thing” or to “hurry up and do the thing.”

At first, I was angry at the decision in the first couple of episodes for Chloe to betray Lucifer. I can understand her freaking out in a manner similar to Linda, but I didn’t conceive that she’d be able to try and banish him to Hell willfully. She was at his side for so long that I would have hoped no amount of “he’s lying” brainwashing could have swayed her. But I was glad when she finally came around.

Lucifer and his new love interest, Eve (yes, as in Adam and Eve). Image courtesy of Netflix.

And the baby! Linda and Amenadiel having a child. I found it odd that the show claimed there was no such thing as an angel-human child (there are clear references in the Bible to Nephilim), but I was willing to overlook it. It gave Amenadiel a much-needed positive story arc.

And might I say I was not expecting Ella and Dan, am I right?! I actually don’t ship it. I was all for Dan and Maze because he looked like he was going down a darker path. But maybe the light of Ella is what he really needs.

All character had a lot of growth and development in this season, which is saying a lot considering how poorly Lucifer is at enacting Linda’s advice.

“Evil Shall Be Released”

When the devil finds his first love, evil shall be released.

The whole “prophecy” mess felt like a plot for the sake of the plot. This also isn’t much of a prophecy, to begin with. It’s the shortest prophecy I’ve ever seen, one of the vaguest, and also very out of place. It’s basically saying the devil is capable of love, which contradicts the evil nature he’s supposed to have.

But the prophecy did have its benefits. Dropping Eve into the picture was a solid addition to the cast, even if it meant distancing the relationship between Lucifer and Chloe.

It also led nicely into the monstrous transformation that Lucifer undergoes. He is so scared of being as evil as everyone makes him out to be that when he starts to look the part he is utterly heartbroken. It leads everyone to believe that he’s the evil that is being released when in reality it was not.

The Cliffhanger to Hang all Cliffhangers

The last episode gives us what we’d all been waiting for for four gosh-dang seasons: for Chloe and Lucifer to admit their love for one another. Only to rip out our hearts and chuck them into a blender.

Lucifer decides he needs to go back to hell to stop the demons from rebelling again. This decision gives him his angel wings back, making him feel like he’s doing the right thing. But where does that leave us?

Image courtesy of Netflix.

Tom Ellis, the actor who plays Lucifer, says that there is more story to tell. Ultimately, however, it’s up to Netflix whether the show gets another chance. It seems like just the right flavor that Netflix has been going for with all these dark and emotional Netflix Originals.

Hopefully, we’ll see more of the most unique crime-fighting duo to hit television. But just in case, be sure to let Netflix know how awesome Lucifer still is! #savelucifer

DVS Score: 9/10

What did you think of season 4 of Lucifer? Is Netflix the best place it could have gone? Let us know in the comments below.