SF Fantasy


Catching Up: The Flash Episode 504, "News Flash"

Flash 504 News Flash

Sometimes I watch an episode of THE FLASH and I'm all excited about the cool things that happened in the story. And then I catalog them in preparation for reviewing, and I thing, "Yeah, it was great except for this... and this... and this..." Eventually, I've picked it apart enough to realize that maybe I didn't like the episode as much as I initially thought I did.

Which is why "News Flash," in retrospect, is such a stinkeroo.

Here's what you need to know: When Flash (GRANT GUSTIN) and X/S (JESSICA PARKER KENNEDY) punched The Thinker's satellite into smithereens, those smithereens -- all infused with the same dark matter that once bathed the city at the beginning of the series -- fell where they had consequences. One of them created Cicada and his lightning-bolt dagger-of-power-dampening.


Star Wars: Millennium Falcon Book and Mega Model -- A Lesson in Frustration

Millenium Falcon Book and Model

If you have high blood pressure or low stress thresholds, be warned. This book is probably not for you.

No, that's not a knock on the last STAR WARS film, SOLO, which doesn't even come into play in the historical timeline presented in this book. I haven't even seen that film to comment on it. (It does include milestones from THE FORCE AWAKENS, which I have seen, but I'm not going to hold that against the book either.)

No, the triggering factors of this book are not what you read out of it, but what you punch out of it.

You see, while this is a rather thick book, the reading portion is not that many pages. The rest of the book is cardboard pages with perforated sections that, when following the instructions in order, ostensibly can be assembled into a 3D replica of the Millennium Falcon itself.

Provided, of course, you have patience, skill, patience, and probably a half a tube of super glue. Also, patience.


Star Wars Writer Goes to the Dark Side, Ousted by The Force of Marvel

Shadow of Vader

"Fear is the path to the Dark Side.

Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."

If Master Yoda hadn't lived a long time ago, and in a galaxy far, far away, he might have said that it also leads to termination. That's what Star Wars writer Chuck Wendig discovered when he took to Twitter in the aftermath of the confirmation of Brett Kavenaugh to the Supreme Court.

The Kavenaugh hearings were a hotly contested subject of conversation in social media, with both sides absolutely convinced the other side was sheer evil, and had to be defeated. So it should come as no surprise that there were many less-than-civil discussions to be had.

But one would think that someone who was as versed in Star Wars lore and Chuck Wendig should be would have recognized the roadsigns, and heeded them rather than plowed over them. Here's how it played out.


Yes, There Were Problems with Doctor Who's Premiere, But Jodie Whittaker Wasn't One of Them

Doctor Who - Jodie Whittaker

Meet Jodie Whittaker. For the foreseeable future, she’s The Doctor — and I’m completely fine with that. The idea that Doctor Who could regenerate in a female form had been telegraphed ever since we learned The Master had been reborn as Missy all those episodes ago. It was an intriguing concept, and one that could open up a cornucopia of new story ideas. For my part, I was hoping that the female Doctor was going to be Jenna Coleman, who as a prior companion had announced “I’m the Doctor” on more than one occasion, so that I hoped it was a bit of foreshadowing.


Rainbow Brite Sparkles with Imagination -- But is it Amethyst in a Different Package?

Rainbow Brite 1

Rainbow Brite is one of those pop culture icons of nostalgia that was quite the big deal back in the day, a part of the zeitgeist of the times just as much as Atari arcade games and Rubik's cubes. Where Strawberry Shortcake relied on scents as the selling point, Rainbow Brite was (rather obviously) more color-oriented.

When I saw the Paulina Ganucheau cover, and read the advance promotional material, I hoped this would be a brilliant reboot of the character that would still retain the appeal to an all-ages audience. What I got on the inside was not what I expected, and yet still lives up to my hopes.


Stranger Things Makes for Stranger Comics

Stranger Things issue 1

Okay, this is not going to sit well with my readers, but I have never watched a single episode of STRANGER THINGS.

I know, I know. Me and some guy in Alaska without electricity, we're the only ones.

So I thought I could at least get a flavor of the show through this new comic book debut from Dark Horse, penned by Jody Houser and illustrated by Stefano Martino and Keith Champagne. And after having read it, I can at least admit that the story is properly titled: STRANGER THINGS than this I've not seen.

The story follows young Will Byers, who has gone missing from his hometown of Hawkins, Indiana. But he's still in Hawkins -- or rather a mirror version of it, in a dark place called the Upside Down, where he's all alone except for some monstrous creatures.


This Year's Halloween Comics Begin Hitting Shelves with Broadsword's Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose 112

Tarot Witch of the Black Rose 112

Last Halloween, Tarot, her husband, and her sister encountered the Spirit of Halloween in a park in Salem. Ever since that time, they have been cursed to appear as the stereotypes of their characters -- i.e. green-skinned witches, and a living skeleton man.

Now, in TAROT, WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE #112, the season is upon them once more, and the three, along with their mother, plan to seek out the spirit and entreat him to return them to their original forms. But it's not going to be that easy. The spirit agrees to do so -- if he can be defeated in a game of monsters, taking place on another plane. And if he cannot -- then the entire population of Salem is to be his forever.

Tarot and company agree...and don't do so well. But this is the season of tricks and treats, and a wily opponent knows how to use both of those to her advantage.


Wonderland's Revenge Takes Shape with Second Issue from Zenescope

Revenge of Wonderland 2

When we reunited with Calie Liddle and her daughter, Violet, in REVENGE OF WONDERLAND #1, Raven Gregory had only gotten around to teasing about the new threat coming from the realm of madness. With this second issue, the throttle goes full bore, as The Duchess makes her appearance and adds yet another human to her growing group of faceless slaves, The Clubs.

Calie has been self-medicating to keep the madness at bay, denying that it could ever return, leaving Violet to be on guard for any incursions from the ruins of Wonderland, keeping watch for news stories of mysterious disappearances or weird sightings. When she comes across the story about the daycare incident from the first issue, she goes to investigate and sees things only visible to her eyes, clear indications that Wonderland has made its move and claimed more victims.


J K Simmons Delivers Emmy-Worthy Performances in Starz Series, Counterpart

Counterpart Season 1

There's a wall in Berlin that separates it from Berlin. It's not the wall you're thinking of, but it's still symbolic of the cold war that sets the stage for the fascinating science fiction series, COUNTERPART.

Several years ago, an experiment went wrong, and suddenly where there was once one dimension there were now two, each of them identical up to that point in time, and now able to diverge in minute ways, each change cascading into more, like the flap of butterfly wings contributing to the hurricane. The bridge between these two Earths is below the building that is now a United Nations outpost, run by an organization that exists to keep the other dimension a secret, while controlling immigration between the sides, carrying out diplomatic gestures, and engaging in espionage.


The Boy Who Went Magic by A.P. Winter

Pirates, airships, and floating castles … Oh My!  Bert is dropped off at a boarding school at the young age of three by a cloaked man of mystery.  He is said to be an orphan from the streets.  Bert’s world has a strong government presence, with the royal family fighting to regain more power.  Prince Voss is the head of the royal family and is determined to take over at any cost.

When Bert is thirteen, his school goes on a museum field trip.  Here, things start to happen…magical things!   Bert meets his first pirate, the Professor.  Bert is also drawn through a mirror and begins seeing and hearing things no one else around him can.  He also experiences his powers for the first time.


Spielberg Delivers Retro-Hit with Ready Player One

Ready Player One

Remember that feeling you had when you walked out of the theater after BACK TO THE FUTURE? I don't mean watching it at home on DVD (or VHS), I mean in the theater, because it means you were there, in that moment, in that era, when the 80s were in full swing and pop culture was expanding into new, uncharted waters. It was the time of the arcade games, parachute pants, and a rich variety of music that launched a renaissance.

When I sat down to watch READY PLAYER ONE, I had not seen the theatrical version. I had not read the book. And when I saw the opening scene, with its cinematically ominous Blade Hunter date and the post-apocalyptic landscape, I groaned. I didn't want another one of these.

That lasted for all of about three seconds, after which I was in sheer fanboy ecstasy for over two hours.


Rampage Translates Video Game into Fun Action-Comedy

Rampage Blu-ray

It's difficult to translate a videogame into a film. It's tempting, sure, and the good games provide a lot of inspiration. But ultimately, what happens in the game is brief, and hard to extrapolate into a 2-hour film without throwing in a lot of supposition and side plots.

So that's what directors do. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

And sometimes even if it doesn't "work" it's still a whole lot of fun!

RAMPAGE is the latest collaboration between Director BRAD PEYTON and actor DWAYNE JOHNSON. The two have worked together on JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND and, more recently, SAN ANDREAS. Johnson portrays Davis Okoye, a primatologist at the San Diego Zoo with a military background. His pet project is George, an albino gorilla whom he saved from poachers and taught to sign.


Disney's A Wrinkle in Time Could Have Been Smoother

A Wrinkle in Time Blu-ray

Madeleine L'Engle's novel A WRINKLE IN TIME is a benchmark in science fiction and fantasy. Ava DuVernay's version...not so much.

While the film boasts an all-star cast, including three young leads who are already accomplished, the film suffers from immersing itself too deeply in its presentation, with the angelic characters of Mrs. Which (OPRAH WINFREY), Mrs. Who (MINDY KALING) and Mrs. Whatsit (REESE WITHERSPOON) done up so intensely gaudy in both costuming and makeup that it comes across the screen as simply bad cosplay.


Pacific Rim: Uprising a Thrilling Sequel

Pacific Rim Uprising

Ugh. It's just another boring sequel.

Those were my initial thoughts. I mean, when is the last time a sequel to a good action movie actually succeeded in living up to the expectations or originality of the first movie? I was glad I was proven wrong with PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING! I actually enjoyed this feature. It revived great memories of my childhood favorite cartoons, like Voltron, Transformers, and even GI-Joe. This kid was brought back to imagining being the  hero with--not superpowers--but the extraordinary opportunity to pilot a giant robotic weapon created as a last defense to save the world! Who doesn't want to learn to pilot a giant fighting robot against evil alien creatures? Kabaam! Pow! Rockets! Super Punch! Another victory for the hero!



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