Articles on this Page
- 01/06/19--10:04: _The Doctor Strange ...
- 01/07/19--10:26: _Batman #62 Reunites...
- 01/08/19--14:07: _DC Comics Now Avail...
- 01/08/19--23:47: _Robotech Comic Adds...
- 01/09/19--09:48: _The Gifted Season 2...
- 01/09/19--15:27: _Deadly Class Review...
- 01/10/19--11:28: _The Sopranos Sessio...
- 01/10/19--18:06: _Shadow and Bone: Ne...
- 01/11/19--11:03: _She-Ra Novel Cover ...
- 01/12/19--10:44: _Young Justice Seaso...
- 01/13/19--12:33: _Star Wars Blaster C...
- 01/14/19--10:39: _The Many Deaths of ...
- 01/14/19--11:24: _Superman #7 Reveals...
- 01/14/19--11:28: _New Hawkman Origin ...
- 01/14/19--23:54: _Heather Graham's Th...
- 01/15/19--13:24: _Spider-Man: Far Fro...
- 01/15/19--14:15: _The Punisher Recap:...
- 01/15/19--18:35: _Batman: Court of Ow...
- 01/15/19--19:12: _Deadly Class Releas...
- 01/16/19--02:53: _The Gifted Season 2...
- 01/06/19--10:04: The Doctor Strange and Pink Floyd Connection
- 01/07/19--10:26: Batman #62 Reunites Mister Miracle Creative Team (Exclusive)
- 01/08/19--14:07: DC Comics Now Available on ComiXology Unlimited
- 01/08/19--23:47: Robotech Comic Adds Brenden Fletcher as New Writer
- 01/09/19--09:48: The Gifted Season 2 Episode 11 Review: meMento
- 01/09/19--15:27: Deadly Class Review (Spoiler-Free)
- 01/10/19--11:28: The Sopranos Sessions Review: A 5-Star Tribute to a 5-Star Show
- 01/10/19--18:06: Shadow and Bone: Netflix To Adapt Grishaverse Book Series
- 01/11/19--11:03: She-Ra Novel Cover Reveal and Excerpt (Exclusive!)
- 01/12/19--10:44: Young Justice Season 3 Episode 5 Review: Away Mission
- 01/14/19--10:39: The Many Deaths of Superman On Screen
- 01/14/19--11:24: Superman #7 Reveals Big Changes for Superboy
- 01/14/19--11:28: New Hawkman Origin Details Revealed
- 01/14/19--23:54: Heather Graham's The Hypnotist's Love Story Pilot Ordered by ABC
- 01/15/19--13:24: Spider-Man: Far From Home Trailer Breakdown and Analysis
- 01/15/19--14:15: The Punisher Recap: The Story So Far
- 01/15/19--18:35: Batman: Court of Owls Game Rumored to Be in Development
- 01/15/19--19:12: Deadly Class Release Date, Trailer, Cast, and Other News
- 01/16/19--02:53: The Gifted Season 2 Episode 12 Review: hoMe
Marvel's Doctor Strange has a weird history with psychedelic rock band Pink Floyd. Get ready to expand your mind.
Doctor Strange and Pink Floyd both got their start during the 1960s, a decade known for mind-expansion, psychedelic experimentation, and the pushing of cultural and artistic boundaries. Neither were exactly in step with the rest of their genre.
Doctor Strange, unlike his spandex clad and heavily muscled contemporaries, used occult practices like black magic and astral projection to defeat his foes instead of brute force. Pink Floyd were never really the kind of post-Beatles psychedelic pop group that were still common in the late '60s, nor were they ever the kind of blues-based hard rock or technically-oriented progressive rock band that dominated the 1970s. Unsurprisingly, Doctor Strange comics were popular on college campuses as the counterculture revolution of the 1960s began to take hold and it's easy to see stoners disappearing into Steve Ditko's surreal artwork while early Floyd records played or why psychedelic rockers were more drawn to these than traditional superhero fare.
Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson dropped a number of Pink Floyd references on Twitter during the production of the Doctor Strange movie (not to mention Bob Dylan, The Talking Heads, T.Rex, and other bands), so I was waiting to see if a Pink Floyd song would actually make its way into a Marvel movie.
I wasn't disappointed.
Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive" plays during a key early sequence in the movie. It comes from first Pink Floyd album, The Piper At The Gates of Dawn, which abandoned the melodic but skewed psychedelic pop of their early singles, "Arnold Layne" and "See Emily Play" for a collection of songs that were more metaphysical, sinister, and occasionally (like in the case of "Interstellar Overdrive") freeform explorations of sound and feedback. The album version clocks in at nearly 10 minutes, but live versions could run longer, as long as the band wanted, really, and were accompanied by a psychedelic light show and oil projections that were conducive to mind-expansion. Those visuals wouldn't have looked out of place in the Doctor Strange comics of the era, either.
Pink Floyd's guitar player, singer, and driving creative force in 1967 was Syd Barrett, who left the group the following year due to worsening mental illness that was likely accelerated by his voracious appetite for mind-altering chemicals like LSD. Marvel's Doctor Strange movie certainly leans heavily on imagery consistent with the visuals associated with LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline trips (Strange even accuses the Ancient One of spiking his tea with psilocybin), which is fitting, even if it isn't a direct connection to Pink Floyd.
Barrett was still present on a few tracks on the band's second album, 1968's A Saucerful of Secrets, which has a semi-hidden image of Doctor Strange on the cover. The collage effect is not only reminiscent of the band's light shows and a representation of the psychedelic experience, but the placement of Strange himself makes it look as if the whole album cover is a spell being cast by the Master of the Mystic Arts.
The Strange elements come from a story in 1967's Strange Tales #158, with art by Marie Severin (Doctor Strange co-creator Steve Ditko had left Marvel almost a year earlier).
Here's the page:
(and thanks to Richie who pointed out the specific issue in the comments of our article about all of the easter eggs in the Doctor Strange movie)
The title track, "A Saucerful of Secrets" is kind of like the sequel to "Interstellar Overdrive" as it's another extended instrumental that places more emphasis on experimental sound than it does on anything resembling a traditional rock song structure. In other words, it's the perfect accompaniment to your reading of weird-ass Doctor Strange comics from the era.
What I somehow never realized until this NightFlight article pointed it out to me is that you can also spot Marvel cosmic entity The Living Tribunal in the upper left-hand corner of the album cover, too...
Doctor Strange was still on the band's radar enough that they included him in the lyrics of "Cymbaline" from their third album, 1969's soundtrack to the Barbet Schroeder film, More. "Suddenly it strikes you, that they're moving into range,"Syd Barrett's replacement David Gilmour intones solemnly, "and Doctor Strange is always changing size."
Funny enough, "Cymbaline" was known as "Nightmare" when it was performed as part of The Man and The Journey suite of songs, meaning it shared a name with the first villain Strange ever fought in the comics. Soon the band's lyrical focus drifted away from metaphysical concerns and into more earthly ones, and while they continued to produce extended musical compositions, the atonal sounds of "Interstellar Overdrive" and "A Saucerful of Secrets" gave way to the more melodic "Echoes" and "Shine On You Crazy Diamond."
But if Doctor Strange was an influence on the band in their early days, you can perhaps see hints of Pink Floyd's influence on the character in the 1978 Dr. Strange TV movie, which has a synth-heavy, at times funky, electronic soundtrack and an astral trip visual sequence that looks like some of the light show projections the band were known for. The final song on Michael Giacchino's Doctor Strangescore, "Master of the Mystic Arts" subtly evokes some of the band's 1970s work, too.
But one final piece of Doctor Strange/Pink Floyd synchronicity popped up in 2016. Doctor Strange star Benedict Cumberbatch joined former Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour on stage to sing "Comfortably Numb," a song which started life as a demo called, funny enough, "The Doctor." Whether this is coincidence, or simply the universe bringing the Pink Floyd/Doctor Strange connections full circle is entirely up to you to decide, of course. Maybe Doctor Strange 2can find room for more Pink Floyd music when exploring the Dark Dimension or somewhere similar.
Cast spells, or at least talk psychedelic rock and comics, with Mike Cecchini on Twitter. We have a playlist of all songs discussed here...
With Mister Miracle wrapped, Tom King and Mitch Gerads are back together for Batman #62, pitting the Dark Knight against Professor Pyg.
Mister Miracle was at or near the top of just about everyone's best of 2018 lists, including ours. And with good reason! It's really good you guys. It's rare that you find two comic creators who are both working at their peak and whose sensibilities complement each other so perfectly that the end result is leaps and bounds better than what they do apart.
So when DC came knocking with an exclusive preview of Batman#62, after fifteen minutes of squealing and putting a fresh "E" on my keyboard, we of course said yes.
Here's what DC has to say about the issue:
BATMAN #62 written by TOM KING
art and cover by MITCH GERADS
variant cover by FRANK MILLER
The Eisner-winning creative team behind MISTER MIRACLE is back together as artist Mitch Gerads rejoins the Bat team for a special issue! Professor Pyg is loose in Gotham, and you know that means things are going to get weird…and bloody!
Now check out these crazy preview pages...
Playing up Mister Miracle is in no way meant to slight the work being done by King and the murderer's row of artists he's got working with him on Batman. Mister Miracle is probably a generational book, think James Robinson's Starman if it was as widely read as Watchmen. Batmancould have just as easily been at or near the top of that best comics list last year.
Batman's baseline is so high. Think about it: 62 issues in now, and maybe the most relatively pedestrian part of the run was "The War of Jokes and Riddles," a gang war between Riddler and Joker that's predicated on how neither one gets the other's schtick that ALSO included a Kite Man story that turned Comics Internet into a blubbering mess. That's a really high floor of quality.
In the last year alone, we've seen Batman and Wonder Woman trapped in an alternate dimension for 10,000 years; the wedding; the Poison Ivy and Booster Gold lead ins to Heroes in Crisis;12 Angry Batmen, the fallout from the wedding with Mr. Freeze; and a KGBeast story. There wasn't a single time that an issue of Batmancame out in the last year where Batmanwasn't at or near the top of my read pile.
It's an underrated component of this run, but there's an elegance to the way King works blatant fanservice into the book that makes it so joyful to read. The Superman and Batman "double date" issues from last year had so much from the respective animated series, and the Wonder Woman story felt like a direct call and response to the classic Justice League cartoon, where their relationship felt completely legitimate and earned. And here...hang on.
Look at that. "Remember being nineteen, tied up by Thaddeus Brown, the original Mister Miracle." They're just taunting us now. And yet even when you know it's fan service, it's still so good that you don't care. The art effects that Gerads puts in, the blurring and the blood blotting over the camera, are wonderfully immersive and effective storytelling tricks. These guys are unbelievably good.
Oh, and there's a groovy Frank Miller variant cover for the issue, too...
Batman#62 is on sale on 1/9/2019. For more on Batman,Tom King, Mitch Gerads, Mister Miracle, or rampant (and probably incorrect) speculation about where King's Batmanwill end up in 40 more issues when it wraps, stick with Den of Geek!
DC Comics is finally coming to ComiXology's Unlimited subscription service. This may now be the best deal in comics!
DC Comics is unleashing its superhero universe (as well as its Vertigo line) on ComiXology's Unlimited all-you-can-read subscription service, according to io9. Starting today, readers can access select graphic novels and single issues starring DC's most iconic characters, including Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. The service, which already includes books from Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, Valiant, Archie, and many other publishers, will set you back $6 a month.
This new acquisition from ComiXology comes at a time when DC is finally entering the digital subscription space with its own DC Universe service, which charges $7.99 a month for access to a selection from DC's comic book archive as well as a library of movies, TV shows, and animated series. The service is also home to original content, such as the Titans, Doom Patrol, and Young Justice shows. There's even a neat encyclopedia of the DC Universe for the uninitiated. You can access DC Universe on your TV, tablet, or smartphone.
That said, this writer has found DC Universe's selection of comics a bit lacking, and the experience of reading the books on a screen doesn't quite feel as optimized as ComiXology's or even Marvel Unlimited, which offers up basically every book the House of Ideas has ever put out, including TONS of Dark Horse Star Wars series it acquired after 2012 as well as classic superhero runs from Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and many more. DC Universe's library is pretty scarce in comparison.
The addition of DC Comics to ComiXology Unlimited perhaps means that the company is ready to open up its archive a bit more. If you're wondering what you can get for your $6, here are just some of the DC books being added to the service today:
Animal Man (2011-2014)
Batgirl (2016- )
Batman (2016- )
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Batman: The Long Halloween
Batman: White Knight
Cyborg (2016- )
The Flash (2016- )
Green Lanterns (2016-)
Harley Quinn (2016-)
Injustice: Gods Among Us (2013)
Injustice 2 (2017-)
The Mulitversity (2014)
New Super-Man (2016-)
Teen Titans (2016-)
Wonder Woman (2016-)
Astro City (2013- )
Books of Magick: Life During Wartime (2004-2005)
Clean Room (2015-2017)
Doom Patrol (1987-1995)
V for Vendetta
Y: The Last Man
Titan Comics' Robotech series receives some superstar talent with writer Brenden Fletcher joining the long running franchise!
Robotech comics are about to see an influx of new writing talent! Brenden Fletcher (Batgirl, Gotham Academy) will be joining the exemplary Robotech comics team of Sumon Furman and Hendry Prasetya for new adventures set in the Macross saga.
For those who haven't been keeping up with Titan Comics'Robotech series, it started off as a loose retelling of the famous Macross saga but quickly diverged with new elements introduced into the story. Now, as the series is set to release it's 16th issue, the story has featured elements from all three sagas of the original series and even deep cut references to various Robotech spin-off media. If you're a hardcore Robotech fan, this comic is everything you've ever wanted.
Fletcher's run on the book will kick off in a "special primer issue" on Free Comic Book Day 2019 (May 4, 2019) which will "shine a spotlight on unseen events and major hints of things to come." This will be building to a "spectacular storyline called Event Horizon."
You can find the cover for the Free Comic Book Day issue below.
Once again, Prasetya knocks it out of the park with a gorgeous cover featuring the famous Macross saga characters. Prasetya is also doing the interior art for the main comic, so know what you see on the cover is what you're getting throughout the whole book. With Simon Furman along for the ride this issue might just be one of the best yet.
We reached out to Titan Comics and Will O'Mullane, Senior Press Officer for Titan, confirmed that Fletcher is joining the Robotechcomic for more than just the FCBD issue. O'Mullane let us know he's also, "doing back-ups in an upcoming arc."
We don't have word on what those back-ups are just yet, but we can't wait to see. Considering what Titan Comics has done with the Robotech franchise we're sure it'll be something that puts a whole new spin on Robotechcontinuity.
Shamus Kelley is a pop culture/television writer and official Power Rangers expert. Follow him on Twitter! He also co-hosts a Robotech podcast, which covers the original series and the new comics. Give it a listen! Read more articles by him here!
The Gifted stumbles setting up the board for the end of the season.
This The Gifted review contains spoilers.
The Gifted Season 2 Episode 11
Man, tonight's cold open was pretty on the nose.
It's not The Gifted's fault, but it was probably to their benefit that the delay got me in the mood for some righteous, "they made their beds, fuck 'em" fury. This week was all about everyone* realizing what a mistake they've made and reevaluating their lives. Unfortunately for everyone involved (including The Gifted), very few of the characters made defensible choices coming out of those reevaluations.
Lorna realizes that Reva and the Inner Circle are disasters after she catches Reva coaching up a crew that slaughtered thousands of people, including kids, on a cruise ship. So she heads to Marcos to bail her out. This is probably the most well-written exchange of the group: Lorna is simultaneously begging Marcos for help and admitting she's taking advantage of his sense of right and wrong. It's messed up and a little abusive, so there's no small sense of satisfaction when he's heavy flirting with Glow, the Morlock he reconnects with as a result of Lorna's revelation.
Clarice and Marcos don't share a romantic moment, but Blink continues to be the most well adjusted character on the sho. When Marcos asks her to go to Erg and the Morlocks for more intel on the Inner Circle's plans, she gives him a rash of crap and calls him out for diming her out to John. It's a refreshingly straightforward interaction - it would have been so easy to try and draw drama out of their frustration with each other, but the writers had it confronted head on and put it away. This is perfectly in character with what Clarice has been on the show so far, and it felt really good to deal with.
Lauren's story feels like space-filling setup. She gets a music box that Andreas Strucker used to listen to, and now it's making her evil. It's just...there. There's a cool bit with her slicing up distant light poles to throw some nosy cops off their tail, but she's also just focusing her air shield powers into Destructo Discs, and I doubt they're going to actually turn her into Krillin from Dragonball, so it's just there.
Jace continues to be the worst part of the show. The whiplash he causes with his seesaws between being an upstanding law and order person and being a middle manager in a hate militia suck the life out of the show. This week, him and his partner, Racist Steve Zahn, bust down the doors at an orphanage and wave guns at a couple of mutant kids. Then Jace gets lectured by the black mutant kid about how bullshit his racism is while Racist Steve Zahn screams "WATCH OUT HE'S COMIN RIGHT FOR US" and shoots the other mutant kid in another room, and after Jace freaks out and tries some futile CPR on the kid with the gaping chest wound. Then Jace refuses to help the cops in their investigation, and after that, he gets a call from his now ex-wife telling him she saw him on the Shane Hannity Show or whatever they're calling Peter Gallagher's character, and she and their dead daughter would be proud of how he "helped" in that orphanage. And then, after 10 episodes of unrequited pining and just after he filed divorce papers, she's like "hey maybe we can hang out you brave fella."
This makes no sense.
Last season, when Reed and Kate broke into the Turner household, she was the voice of reason. She connected with Kate and felt empathy for the kids. There is no way she sits around watching Shane Hannity for nightly updates about Mutie Crime. It's also extremely unlikely that even if she was the kind of person who smashed up her Keurig because they sponsored the X-Corps, she'd call Jace after seeing his picture on TV and start to undo the extremely fraught divorce they just wrapped up. And even more nonsensical was when Jace cut her off and declined to meet. He's been pining for her hard all year, but when she asked to meet, he just drifted off and told her no. I guess they wanted to show that he's married to the cult now?
The frustrating part of this development, besides the obvious "it makes no sense," is the knowledge that we're going to be dealing with this nonsense choice as long as Jace is a character on the show. We're going to either be playing games about whether or not they get back together, or we'll be watching him mourn the death of a relationship he could have inexplicably resurrected, or he'll fully snap and dedicate his eventual genocide to the memory of his still living wife or something.
Further damaging this episode was the ending, where literally everything felt like a trap. Lauren is being baited into being a psychopath by a creepy incest music box. Jace's conversation with his wife felt wiretapped. Lorna and Marcos are out on a date following up on info from the Morlocks when they see Reva and Shane Hannity exchange envelopes and shout at each other. John, freshly healed from his chest full of buckshot, gets a call from Evangeline Whedon where she breaks every rule of underground opsec and organizes a meeting of every available cell. The Marcos/Lorna date makes the most sense, but none of it was all that great.
This week's episode had a couple of things going for it, but much of it felt sloppy and rushed, and I fully expect them to get back on track next week.
lauren reads german now?
LOOSE GENETIC MATERIAL
- What's up with the episode naming conventions? If we're going by last week's episode, this one should have been "MeMento."
- HOLY SHIT THEY DID THE STRUCKER SWORD. In the comics, Andreas skinned his sister and wrapped the hilt of his sword in her skin so he could still use their shared power. In The Giftedthey did exactly the same thing I can't believe it.
- This is less important than skin sword, but in the skin sword flashback that took place in New Orleans, everybody was dressed like they were making fun of the town. How many mutants can possibly share "Big Daddy" as a code name?
- The cruise ship killing crew includes a guy who can heat things up, a girl who can teleport things, and a guy who claps and can make things explode. The teleporter's powers actually look like they work a lot like Blink's in the comics do, but not exactly. She's probably not Lila Cheney, because she ddidn't need to stop off on another planet between ports. I'm not sure who the warming guy is, and the clapper is probably not Arclight, one of Sinister's Marauders.
- In retrospect it's probably good that they didn't name the baby Aurora, since that already happens every time Marcos and Lorna bone.
- Lauren finds a note in the music box and apparently can suddenly read German? I don't know, man.
Deadly Class delivers another appealing “secret school” drama that comics readers, aging 80s nerds, and millennials will all enjoy.
This review is spoiler-free for all episodes of Deadly Class.
There will be two types of skeptics judging Deadly Class: those who have read the comic and wonder how true the series is to the source material and those who are new to the story asking, “Wait, is this just Harry Potter or The Magicians with assassins?” Fortunately, both groups of cautiously optimistic viewers will be satisfied by Syfy’s adaptation, which premieres on January 16, 2019. In some ways, the comic that inspired this troubled and violent coming-of-age tale has thoroughly invaded the television show, especially in its animated sequences from original artist Wesley Craig, and those seeking a “hidden school for special youth” derivative will find many tropes upended.
That’s not to say that Deadly Class doesn’t have some predictable high school drama conventions. Shows that have teenagers at their core do tend to have stereotypical cliques that work for and against the hero, and this series is no exception. The difference here is that the preps (children of secret government operatives) and nerds (a group called “The Hessians” not found in introductory issues of the comic) are all working against our hero, a scrappy homeless kid with a tragic past, Marcus Lopez. Other social divisions feel more like prison gangs than school cliques with groups of students representing Mexican cartels, white supremacists, and the Yakuza among others.
The life-or-death stakes feel very real in the opulent-but-rundown private school environment of the underground institution known as King’s Dominion. Marcus is recruited because of a murderous reputation he doesn’t necessarily deserve, and he’s not a legacy student from a criminal family like most of the other kids. His outsider status doesn’t make him the awed, grateful student that Harry Potter was upon admission to Hogwarts but rather a suspicious, cynical enrollee who simply has nowhere else to go. The fact that he is immediately embroiled in school drama comes across as inexorable and inescapable rather than as an angsty obstacle to overcome.
But despite the fact that Deadly Class will eventually have Syfy’s popular fantasy, The Magicians, as its lead-in on Wednesday nights, the two shows do not share the same brooding tone. Since this show takes place in 1987 (this writer was a sophomore in high school then, so plenty of feels there), let’s put it this way: the kids of Brakebills are like the progressives (a term that was replaced by “goths” in contemporary times), full of tragic self-doubt and indulgent ennui, whereas the students at King’s Dominion are full-on punk, with all of the angry righteousness and bluster that entails.
Ironically, Marcus hangs out with both goths and punks as the series begins and is evaluated derisively by several gangs, but with class assignments ranging from the poison arts taught by Henry Rollins to AP Black Arts taught by Benedict Wong, the deadly purpose of the school becomes the great equalizer, and as it turns out, Marcus has a knack. He may not be “the boy who lived,” but he’s certainly “the boy with nothing to lose,” which actually may serve him better in this game of survival. The fact that Deadly Class is able to establish this core theme in its opening episode is pretty damn impressive.
Further evaluation of this promising start to a unique series will have to wait for a more spoilery review after the Deadly Class premiere, but everything points to another success for Syfy in their high school and college age target audience. The 80s setting will also appeal to the middle-aged geek set since the original writer of the comic, Rick Remender, who is of that era, is not only in the writer’s room; he’s also co-showrunning his creation with Mick Betancourt of Chicago Fire and Miles Orion Feldsott, who helped adapt the comic.
Wong’s Master Lin almost seems to address the Deadly Class audience at one point in the pilot episode when he asks, “What do you want here, Marcus?” Future fans of the show, who very well may be searching for a series just like this one that will excite their senses, might have the same answer as King’s Dominion’s newest student when they tune in at 10/9c to Syfy on Wednesday, January 16, 2019: “A reason to wake up.”
20 years on from The Sopranos' first episode, new book The Sopranos Sessions is a compelling, insightful dive into the show's legacy.
“The show's gonna be forgotten, like everything.”
This is how David Chase, the creator of The Sopranos, described the legacy of his most famous body of work to Matt Zoller Seitz and Alan Sepinwall during one of the many coffee-house round-tables they convened for The Sopranos Sessions, a weighty tome – filled with recaps, discussions, dissections, analyses, insights, and interviews – being released this week to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of the transmission of the show's first episode.
Chase's shoot-from-the-hip, fatalistic world-view is often a dead ringer for that of his most famous fictional creation's, depressed mob boss Tony Soprano. Tony would almost certainly have assessed his own existence in the same terms as Chase does the show's. Namely: "It's all a big nothing."
And on one level, of course, Chase is entirely correct. There will indeed come a time when even our most celebrated works of art and our most iconic heroes and villains – Einstein, Hitler, Buddha, Mr. Rogers – will inevitably recede and vanish into the infinite mists of existence. That final cut to black awaits every one of us, both individually and as a species.
And yet, ten years after its end, and twenty years since its beginning, The Sopranosstill dominates most of the "Best of" lists compiled by the critics who matter; and few viewers with any serious appreciation for television as a dramatic medium would dare place it outside the top three of the greatest series ever made. Its legacy, then, despite Chase's dark-edged humility, shows no signs of fading.
We're at a time in pop culture history when we are surrounded with – some might say drowning in – choice. It sometimes feels like there are more TV shows out there than there are people and not enough years in even the most generous estimates of our life cycles to introduce ourselves to more than a minuscule fraction of them. The added problem is that a great deal of today's TV is good, and much of it is great. We're drowning, but at least we're drowning in Dom Perignon. Among other things, The Sopranos Sessions reminds us just how much of this proliferation of prestige television we owe to The Sopranos, and why – even after all of these years – the show still holds an unchallenged position at the head of the TV hierarchy.
The Sopranos was, in essence, an anti-TV series, and Tony Soprano was an anti-hero the likes of which audiences had never seen before, one who would push the boundaries of our empathy and understanding to their limits and beyond. It was a show about the intersections between Family and family; faith and betrayal; guilt and innocence; dreams and reality; good and evil; cunnilingus and psychiatry; and, of course, the sacred and the propane (sic). It was a show about everything. It was a show about nothingness.
Few could've realized it at the time, but The Sopranos - cinematic in its scope and vision, literary in its depth and complexity - was about to shake up and remake the TV landscape, ushering in a new era of revolutionary TV characterized by ever greater risks and almost boundless creative freedom.
Without The Sopranos, without James Gandolfini, without Edie Falco - without that whole, remarkable, almost pitch-perfect cast - without HBO, without that team of writers, directors and producers, and almost definitely without the clarity of vision brought to bear on it all by the bold and uncompromising genius of Chase, TV today might have been a whispering, barren wasteland, filled only with generic cop shows and hoary old hospital dramas. Your eyes, at this very moment, might have been skimming down a review of a book called "Twenty Years of Groundbreaking US Game Shows."
Simply put: Jan. 10, 1999 was D-Day for TV.
It's fitting that this moment in TV history and its seismic aftermath should be commemorated and chronicled by two men who were with The Sopranos from the very beginning, and who between them have spent two decades delineating its multi-layered, mesmerizing genius.
Zoller Seitz and Sepinwall bring not only a fierce love and admiration of the series to their collaboration but also a wealth of experience and knowledge: Seitz is editor-at-large for RogerEbert.com, as well as the TV critic for New York magazine and Vulture.com. Sepinwall is the chief TV critic for Rolling Stone, and previously worked for both Uproxx and Hitfix. He's also the author of a clutch of highly-regarded books on TV, among themThe Revolution Was Televised. Both men were critics at the Newark Star-Ledger throughout the time that The Sopranos was on the air. The Star-Ledger, of course, is the paper that usually slammed on to Tony's driveway at the beginning of (almost) every season of The Sopranos, and of which Tony himself was an avid reader.
The Sopranos Sessions is essentially a box-set in book form, both in terms of how it's presented, and in the behavioral mindset I'm certain it will inspire in its readers. Just one more page, you'll promise yourself, just one more chapter, and then I'll put it down. Before you know it, it's three o'clock in the morning, you've binged half the book, and you're on the phone to your estranged wife, with Lionel Ritchie ringing in your ears.
The book is divided into three parts. There are the recaps, analyses, and deconstructions, so engagingly written and thought-provoking that you'll feel like you've actually watched the episodes. Then there are the "bonus features": previously published articles about the show and its cast; ruminations on the show's relevance to and connection with the wider culture, all of which were written by the authors between 1999 and 2007; and, finally, the piece de resistance, a glut of brand new and in-depth interviews and discussions with Chase on all aspects of the show, with inevitable segues into pop-culture, history, music, cinematography, the art of showrunning, philosophy, psychology, sickness, sin, and the minutiae of life itself.
Chase is an auteur extraordinaire, an almost holy figure. If The Sopranos is a church, and few are broader or more ornate, then Chase is undoubtedly both the head of that church and its God. Sometimes his sentences demand the sort of close examination normally reserved for entire episodes of his magnum opus. His mind appears to be in constant flux, constantly revising, reframing, and re-interpreting his own motivations and understanding, ceaselessly interrogating the meanings behind his words and actions. It's not just that there was no better person than Chase to bring The Sopranos to life; it's simply that there was no other person who could possibly have done it. His genius bleeds into and out of every blessed moment.
Through Chase's conversations with Seitz and Sepinwall – as funny, insightful, frustrating, illuminating, and erudite on all sides as you'd expect – we come to realize that true genius is kaleidoscopic and mystical, and sometimes feels closer in character to the big bang than a controlled explosion. Chase can't always account for the genesis of some of the show's deepest and most pivotal moments, or else shrugs and says it was just luck. He brings great clarity to some aspects of the show – for instance, we discover that Ralph definitely burned Pie-O-My ("You never got the goat thing?" he chides) – and veils others in ever greater cloaks of obscurity.
Anyone hoping for some final closure on the whole "Is Tony dead?" question may find themselves pleasantly surprised... and then hopelessly disappointed. And then pleasantly surprised again. And then, well, you get the idea. It's a journey that seems destined to go on and on and on and on...
Or is it?
Whichever side you're on (or perhaps you're on neither side and think that the whole question of Tony's fate is either a distraction from proper contemplation of the show's overarching themes or an artsy gimmick unworthy of further consideration) you'll find the Freudian slip that prompts Chase to aim an exasperated "Fuck you guys" in the direction of an astonished Seitz and Sepinwall – and its fallout – very interesting indeed.
As Laura Lippman says in the foreword to The Sopranos Sessions, there are levels of Sopranos obsessiveness. I've always considered myself in the higher ranks of obsession, having watched each episode of the show more times than I could count. I've pondered and pored over its myriad meanings and symbols, and I've proselytized in its name. But Seitz and Sepinwall make me feel like a newbie, a late-night channel-flicker. Their insight is staggering and immersive, though still entirely accessible to those in the earlier stages of Sopranos-based obsession.
Seitz and Sepinwall's ability to tease out themes, intuit connections, analyze at the atomic level, and discover hidden meanings in the material frequently had me lowering the book in slack-jawed admiration, from the revelation that eggs always augur death to the deliciously meta reframing of season three's "Mr. Ruggerio's Neighborhood"; and to passages like the below, which I'm going to reproduce verbatim so that you can revel in the Ouroborotic beauty of the duo's reasoning:
The architecture of the Tony/Livia relationship is astonishingly intricate in retrospect. It's driven not just by straightforward dialogue and definitive actions but subtle psychological and literary details, including the recurring talk of infanticide, Tony's two dreams about mother figures (the duck and Isabella), and the way that the idea of asphyxiation is woven throughout the season. Tony feels suffocated by his mother; the resultant panic attacks make him feel like he's suffocating; he now intends to deal with the problem by suffocating his mother (poetic justice), but arrives to find her lying on a gurney, a plastic mask on her face providing constant oxygen. (“That woman is a peculiar duck,” Carmella tells Tony. “Always has been.”)
The real joy of the show, and the joy of this book, lies in the act and art of interpretation. The Sopranos has always invited this response – it's pretty much built into the premise - because psychiatry, much more than gangsterdom, is, and always has been, at the show's heart – a ceaseless search for answers to the great conundrums of life, the universe, and everything (and nothing); questions for which there are rarely easy answers, and sometimes no answers at all. Just more questions carried across the sky by a great wind. Who am I? Where am I going?
Tony Soprano wasn't alone in therapy. Arguably, we were in there with him. Dr. Jennifer Melfi, Tony's long-standing and long-suffering psychiatrist, was the Greek chorus, our entry-point into Tony's world, but she was also, in a sense, our psychiatrist. She interrogated our motives for watching the show, just as much as she questioned her own motives for continuing to treat Tony. Or, as Seitz and Sepinwall put it: "The series is sometimes as much about the relationship between art and its audience as it is about the world the artist depicts."
We saw more of Tony's life than Melfi ever did or could – the very worst of his trangressions, from the inconsiderate to the murderous, and still kept following him down the rabbit-hole of his broken soul. Much of the reason why we did this – exemplary writing aside – was Gandolfini, the jaded, gentle giant with the hang-dog face and the little boy's heart, whose "humanity shone through Tony's rotten facade" to gift us what was, in all likelihood, the most complex, compelling, complete, and completely human character ever to be committed to the screen (I'm not ashamed to admit, not being a gangster myself, that Chase's eulogy to Gandolfini, included in this book, made me cry).
I haven't re-watched The Sopranos for years, but that's set to change as a result of The Sopranos Sessions, which has re-invigorated – and deepened – my love for the show. You may not be as intense a fan of The Sopranos as I am, and that's okay. This is a perceptive, lucid, engaging, and above all versatile book that could serve as a series companion, a read-me-in-the-toilet tome, or a TV-studies textbook depending upon your level of interest, and fluency, in the show. There's something for everyone.
All legacies fade, but until Chase's prediction for The Sopranos comes true - not for another few million years or so - Seitz and Sepinwall deserve to be part of that legacy.
The Sopranos Sessions is out now. You can buy it on Amazon.
Netflix will be bringing Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone series to television with Bird Box writer Eric Heisserer as show runner.
In its ongoing bid for total media domination, Netflix is turning to one of the oldest kinds of media: books.
The streaming giant announced today that it would be adapting the Grisha fantasy trilogy. The Grisha trilogy comes from American author Leigh Bardugo and is made up of the novels Shadow and Bone (2012), Siege and Storm (2013), and Ruin and Rising (2014). Another novel, Six of Crows was released in 2015 and is set in the "Grisha-verse." Netflix specifically mentioned Shadow and Bone and Six of Crowsin their announcement as the books being adapted.
The as of yet unnamed Shadow and Bone series will be eight episodes and Netflix has brought out their creative big guns for it. Eric Heisserer (the writer of Netflix's uber hit Bird Box) will produce the series and serve as showrunner. Shawn Levy via his 21 Laps imprint and Pouya Shahbazian will produce the series as well. Levy, who previously produced Netflix's other uber hit Stranger Things, also produced Heisserer's Oscar-nominated sci-fi film Arrival. Pouya Shahbazian has experience with fantasy books, having produced the Divergent series.
The amount of impressive in-house Netflix talent on Shadow and Bone could prove useful, as the story is pretty massive. The official logline reads:
In a world cleaved in two by a massive barrier of perpetual darkness, where unnatural creatures feast on human flesh, a young soldier uncovers a power that might finally unite her country. But as she struggles to hone her power, dangerous forces plot against her. Thugs, thieves, assassins and saints are at war now, and it will take more than magic to survive.
Bardugo modeled her fantasy world after the Russian Empire of the early 1800s, rightfully identifying Tsarist Russia as a prime template for a fantasy setting based around darkness.
The Grishaverse books have sold 2.5 million copies in English and have been trasnlated into 38 languages. The story continues later this month with the publication of King of Scars.
The Grisha series was previously acquired by Harry Potter producer David Heyman via Dreamworks to be adapted into a film series in 2012 but clearly nothing has come of that. That's all well and good, as Netflix seems to have a solid handle on this whole book adaptation thing anyway.
Alec Bojalad is TV Editor at Den of Geek and TCA member. Read more of his stuff here. Follow him at his creatively-named Twitter handle @alecbojalad
Get a first look at the new novel set in the world of She-Ra: Princesses of Power.
For the honor of grayskull! After a very successful first season for the Netflix reboot of She-Ra (which we loved), the series is now getting its own novel! That's right, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is entering the book world and we've got the scoop on the cover, description, and an excerpt! The book will be titled She-Ra: Origin of a Hero and will be written by Tracey West (writer of Pokemon chapter book adaptations). Below you'll find a description of the novel, including some details about how this book isn't just retelling!
The iconic heroine She-Ra is back! Discover the origin of a hero in this first chapter book set in the world of She-Ra, just in time for the reboot of the series on Netflix.
She doesn't need a hero. She is a hero. On a planet called Etheria, two forces battle for control. The Horde, with its skillfully trained soldiers and advanced technology, has one goal: to conquer all of Etheria in the name of Hordak. The other force, the Rebellion, is made up of princesses and has been fighting to maintain harmony and freedom for all of Etheria's people. Hidden among them all is a hero to be. Her destiny was written by the First Ones a thousand years ago. Now she is about to rise again.
Discover the origin of a hero in this first chapter book in the series! This book expands on the plotlines of the first two episodes, giving readers a deeper glimpse into their favorite hero's backstory. With illustrations in each chapter, these books are packed full of friendship, humor, and heart!
Expanding on plotlines from the first two episodes? We're sold! Any more info we can find on the world of She-Ra is worth giving this a read.
Below we have the cover for the novel, which features new artwork!
Want an idea of what the chapter book will be like? Here's that excerpt!
The World of Etheria
On a planet called Etheria, two forces battle for control.
The Horde, with its skillfully trained soldiers and advanced technology, has one goal: to conquer all of Etheria in the name of Hordak.
The other force, the Rebellion, is made up of princesses from across the planet and has been fighting to maintain harmony and freedom for all of Etheria’s inhabitants. But a series of heartbreaking defeats left their alliance broken, with the princesses looking out for their own kingdoms instead of working together.
Hidden among them all is a hero to be. Her destiny was written by the First Ones a thousand years ago. Now she is about to rise again, and the future of Etheria lies in her hands. As her story unfolds, meet her and some of the characters who will help determine her fate . . .
She-Ra: Origin of a Hero is on sale April 30, 2019.
"Away Mission" hits the right balance between Young Justice: Outsiders action and character growth.
This Young Justice review contains spoilers.
Young Justice Season 3 Episode 5
So far, Young Justice: Outsidershas wasted no time reminding us of how good the show is in every way. The writing is top shelf, the animation is excellent, and every episode, a different voice actor gives us an exceptional performance. In the first episode, it was Khary Payton. Last episode, Zehra Fazal (Halo) shone. And in "Away Mission," Jason Spisak returns as something completely different.
When we talked to the folks behind Young Justice: Outsiders about this season, they made a point of bringing up that Spisak was giving one of their favorite performances of the show, and it's not hard to figure out why this episode. He was the voice of Wally West for the first two seasons. He was in many ways the heart and soul of the team, reflected in his voice acting. Season 1 Wally was funny, but also a tryhard and a little bit of a turd and a pig who grew into a leadership role. Season 2 Wally was happy and content with his place in the world before he sacrificed his life to save the world. Season 3, Spisak is voicing Forager, a New Genesis bug who could not be more different than Wally West.
Forager is part of the same tribe of New Genesis bugs as Mantis, which is a new development for a character I mostly knew from getting his ass kicked by Captain Atom and Superman in "Question Authority." Something pretending to be Orion has been harshing the bugs' mellows, and Bear wants to prove that it's not the real Orion doing it, so he boom tubes to Earth to get Connor to help him. Connor is busy dealing with Dick and the Markovians, so he sends Miss Martian and a crew from The Team to New Genesis to investigate. That's where we meet Forager and the surprise villain of the episode: M'gann's brother, Ma'alefa'ak.
At the same time, Conor stays behind to help Brion and Halo learn about their powers in Happy Harbor. Halo finds a new aura that lets her shoot energy blasts and Brion has no control, but he decides to stick with this crew when Dick promises to help find his sister.
Miss Martian psychically battles her brother while The Team plus Forager and Bear battle two teenage metas that Ma'alefa'ak brought with him. Forager's hive kicks him out, and the alien sadness in his voice is deeply heartbreaking and another example of Spisak's quality as a voice actor. But when he gets back, the Outsiders are up a member and we've got a classic actor back in the fold. This episode was excellent.
Outsider Trading Tips
- Anybody else wonder why the apparently expansive Martian civilization isn't a bigger deal on Earth? White Martians are oppressed by Greens and...Reds? Reds are new to me (and probably all of you, since I think they only showed up in a Young Justice comic).
- Regardless, there's a lot of sneaky Miss Martian development this episode. She's trying to push her brother away from The Light's way of dealing with problems (overwhelming force and "giving voice to righteous anger"). To do that, she shows him about her decision to choose love, and we get flashes from The Team's history. But what she shows her brother is almost entirely from the first season of the show. Nightwing in particular is still very much Robin in her headspace. That's an interesting choice, but it makes perfect sense: she's traumatized from her brush with darkness in Season 2, when she accidentally wrecked Aqualad's mind before she realized he was a plant (something that's referenced obliquely with Conor explaining why she won't dive into Halo's mind).
- Ma'alefa'ak isn't his real name. He's actually M'comm M'orzz. Ma'alefa'ak is, on Earth 16, a dangerous Martian creature of some sort. In the comics, he was created by John Ostrander as J'onn's evil twin brother.
- When Miss Martian puts out the call for the mission, Traci Thirteen and Impulse are hanging out with Blue Beetle in El Paso, and Bart picks up the phone with a "Hello, Megan!" from season 1.
- Snapper once accidentally let the Joker in Mount Justice, confirming that YJSnapper also once was the Justice League's teen sidekick like he was in the 1960s when he was created by Gardner Fox.
- PS if Snapper's "My fruit trees!" turns into Young Justice: Outsiders'"My Cabbages!" I'll be very happy.
- Next episode: so many Robins. Sooooo many.
Keep up with all our Young Justice: Outsiders news and reviews right here.
Each month, the hosts of our Star Wars podcast, Megan, Paul, and Saf, take on the latest topics in the Expanded Universe, on television, and in the theater on Star Wars Blaster Canon.
With the Cassian Andor television series coming to Disney +, our Star Wars podcast hosts revisit Rogue One and Cassian’s character in particular on this month’s episode of Blaster Canon. What might the TV show be about? What is the “secret weapon” that makes Rogue One so good?
We take another look at the symbolism in Rogue One, particularly the contrast between Jyn and Cassian. Additionally, we examine how Rogue One takes a unique look at the Force, and discuss whether the movie might actually have a more “Force-ful” story than The Force Awakens. Plus, how could Rogue One have gone differently if Cassian had made different choices?
In other Star Wars news, we cover the newly confirmed cast of The Mandlorian, upcoming books including Thrawn: Treason, and the Flight of the Falcon middle grade series, including Pirate’s Price and Lando’s Luck.
In the world of comics, Age of Republic is knocking it out of the park with in-depth explorations of Prequel characters like Obi-Wan and Darth Maul, and we take a look at what writer Jody Houser brings to the Star Wars canon. It’s the calm before the storm as we gear up for Celebration news in April.
As 1993's The Death Of Superman completes its journey to the screen, we look at the various adaps of the Man of Steel's not-so-final battle
This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
This feature contains major spoilers for Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Justice League, among other Superman films and TV shows.
Superman has died before and he will probably die again. And yet, despite having been adapted for the screen before, the release of The Death Of Superman animated movie and its sequel Reign Of The Supermen (which will screen in theaters in a special double feature this week) marks the end of a long journey through development hell for one particular version of the Man of Steel's demise.
DC Comics' penchant for Elseworlds, “What If” imaginary stories, and other out-of-continuity escapades mean that writers have been killing off the seemingly invulnerable hero for a long time. For instance, Superman#149 tells an entertaining imaginary story in which Lex Luthor formulates a cure for cancer, seemingly just to gain Superman's trust and get close enough to eventually murder him.
Although that kind of story is better written and executed, the iconic "Death Of Superman" story is the 1992-1993 arc of the same name, which attracted an unprecedented amount of mainstream media coverage when it was first revealed. In terms of story, the arc saw Doomsday, a monster contrived purely for this story, arriving on Earth and making short work of the Justice League before going mano-a-mano with Superman. In front of the Daily Planet building, the two finally exchange lethal blows.
January 1993's Superman #75, an issue comprised entirely of splash pages, sold more than six million copies as a result of the hype surrounding it. Unsurprisingly, sales fell off for the rest of the arc. If everyone had kept reading, they'd have found out about the emergence of four would-be Supermen, ranging from John Henry Irons' Steel to the alien Eradicator. That's before the real Kal-El makes his inevitable return, because comics.
Published during a period in which stories were partly been driven by the booming speculators' market for comic books that featured momentous stories or the first appearance of particular characters, The Death Of Superman is the definitive blockbuster arc of the era. And that has definitely been reflected in the disproportionate amount of times it has been adapted since then.
The trouble is, for all that it's an iconic story, it's not an especially interesting one. The demise of one of the most beloved and recognisable characters in fiction at the hands of a brand-new monster, which the writers specifically created to knack him, over the course of a four-issue brawl still feels deeply uninspired.
Still, more than 25 years since it was published, the arc's status as a landmark has been cemented in the Superman canon, and with that status, there have been several attempts to adapt the story for the screen. Some came to fruition, some spectacularly did not, but in all cases, we have to wonder – what does it mean to kill Superman?
Death and Returns
Certainly, when Warner Bros bought the film rights to Superman back from producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind in 1993, they were looking for a hit to match 1989's Batman. With Superman #75 so blatantly in the pop culture consciousness at the time, a project labelled Superman: The New Movie quickly became Superman Lives, the definitive tale of development hell in modern motion picture history.
As detailed in the excellent 2015 documentary The Death Of Superman Lives – What Happened?, the big-budget project would have used the death and return of Superman as the start of a fresh new take on the character. Counter-intuitive as that seems, it also had to be “toyetic”, the dreaded made-up adjective that turned Batman & Robin into, well, Batman & Robin.
With Tim Burton set to direct and Nicolas Cage signed up to star, the project was ultimately cancelled just three weeks before production was set to start. Having languished in pre-production for years, the project had already cost Warner Bros millions at the point when they decided to cancel it, meaning that they also had to honor pay-or-play contracts for Burton ($5 million) and Cage (a whopping $20 million) for not making the film.
After a period of courting different takes on the origin story and even developing the earliest version of a Batman versus Superman movie, Warner eventually greenlit 2006's Superman Returns, which adheres more to the pre-existing film canon. The film was warmly received upon release and it washed its face at the box office, but was still said to have “underperformed”. Then again, its reported $300 million budget included all of the development costs of the previous years as well.
It's not surprising to note that all of the different takes on Superman Lives were fairly loose in adapting the story. Kevin Smith notably wrote a draft that fastidiously integrated elements like Doomsday and the Eradicator, but it's also a distinct story from the comic itself. Popular villains Lex Luthor and Brainiac appeared in most of the drafts of Superman Lives, usually manipulating events from the sidelines.
This followed in the first animated adaptation too. As the vanguard of DC's direct-to-DVD animated original films, 2007's Superman: Doomsday has to fit a 75-minute running time, so it's got a good excuse for not having much of Doomsday in it. However, it also dispenses with Steel, Eradicator and the rest of the bunch, by having a single Luthor-created clone of Superman emerge instead.
Affecting the look and feel of the Bruce Timm-produced cartoons while also changing the voice cast and upping the content to a PG-13 rating, the film does at least have a borrowed sense of the world in which these events happen. As the makers of the live-action film eventually discovered, it's folly to try and start a fresh new take on Superman in which the hero dies at the end of act one.
While Doomsday is a staggeringly dull creature in the pages of the bestselling comic where he originated, the character provides enough of a blank slate for various Superman media to use outside of the main thing it was designed to do. To that end, prequel shows Smallville and Krypton have both used Doomsday outside of a death-and-return story, with the former basically turning the character into Glory from Buffy season 5, in a body-share with Sam Witwer's Davis Bloome.
'Do you bleed?'
Even Zack Snyder, whose faithful adaptations of 300 and Watchmen were picture-perfect next to the comics that inspired them, cherry-picked from The Death Of Superman when it came to Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice. Borrowing its title fight from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, another bestselling comic series but one with a much better story, Snyder's film has a lot going on in it. That's why the third act introduction of Doomsday feels like a hat on several other hats.
In this iteration, the monster is reimagined as a homunculus of Luthor and General Zod's DNA. Introduced in the final half-hour, the part-Kryptonian final boss was one of the least praised aspects of a film that wasn’t massively celebrated to start with. But Doomsday gonna Doomsday, and at the end of a CG-heavy battle, Henry Cavill’s Kal-El takes an elbow spike to the heart.
Even more bafflingly, the trailers revealed that Doomsday would be in the film well in advance of release, so this wasn't a surprise. Aside from showing that the two title characters eventually put aside their differences, it's a massive spoiler because unlike in, say, Smallville, it's a film in which one of the main characters has already spent most of the movie trying to kill Superman.
There were many reasons to walk out of Batman v Superman feeling sad, but no one can argue that the film had anything close to the cultural impact that the original comic did. Granted, you only get to kill Superman for the first time once in any medium, but as far as live-action movies go, there’s a feeling that they’ve already had their chips.
Here, Superman's demise is a means to an end, as Snyder intended for it to spur a remorseful Batman to come out of isolation to unite the Justice League in the sequel. As conceived,Justice League would be a two-part epic that saw Superman return to help the newly formed League stave off a prophesied invasion by Darkseid.
Beset by unimaginable production difficulties, Justice League clearly isn't the film it was originally intended to be. Although nobody was especially happy with what came out, there's an effort to make Cavill's Superman more personable than in the previous films, an effort which is unfortunately marred by his digitally shaved upper lip.
During pre-production, Snyder decided against having Supes wear the comics-faithful black version of the super-suit, which was briefly glimpsed in a deleted scene. Even though the finished film initially goes down the "Pet Sematary" route of having Superman come back wrong and attack our heroes, the film at least does a better job of making us glad he's back than Dawn Of Justice did of making us sad that he was gone.
An iconic story?
In a way, that's the nub of the problem with The Death Of Superman in retrospect. It's affecting to see the classic superhero meet his end, but it can't be repeated after a point where we know that death isn't permanent for him.
Some readers called the whole story a publicity stunt once Superman was resurrected at the end of the arc. If you read and enjoyed the comic and felt the impact of that story, that probably seems reductive. But at the very least, it feels as if the story's elevation to iconic status over the last quarter of a century has been fuelled more by the desire to capture lightning twice than by the need to tell a classic story.
Looking back at the comic's release though, it must be seen that its bestselling status was the product of morbid curiosity, rather than an indicator of its quality as a story. While Superman's apparent invulnerability is one of the most complained-about aspects of his character in terms of story stakes, we'll take that over the certainty that any injury is only temporary, up to and including death.
The fact that he dies and returns doesn't make him more human. It makes him more like Jesus. Even putting aside how Moses is the far more fitting biblical analogue for Superman's origin, it's not so compelling to watch filmmakers and producers attempt to pull the same trick again and again.
Following Superman: Doomsday and Batman v Superman, The Death Of Superman was the third screen adaptation of the story in little more than a decade. That's not to say that you can't tell a good story in which Superman dies (as anyone who has read Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman will attest), but it feels as if there's been this crazy drive to humanize Superman by making him physically vulnerable, rather than focusing on his personality.
At the very least, it'll be exciting to see what Reign Of The Supermen brings to the DC Animated Universe canon, as the first proper adaptation of the “return” part. But as to the preceding bit of the story, it's plain to see that the best, most relatable screen versions of Superman have been the alive ones.
Jon Kent is back and Superman #7 is going to tell us what he's been up to.
One of the biggest mysteries left from Man of Steelis what's been going on with Jon, and it looks like, from this exclusive firs look at Superman#7, we're about to find out.
The nice thing about Brian Michael Bendis coming to DC is that he's got enough juice that he can walk into the DC offices and say "Tim Drake is Robin again and I'm doing a Young Justicebook and have you met my friend David Walker?" Okay, fine, that's only one of the nice things.
Next up for Bendis and friends is this week's Superman #7, which answers the question of what Jon Kent has been up to since the events of Man of Steel. Here's what DC has to say about the issue:
SUPERMAN #7 written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
art by IVAN REIS, JOE PRADO and BRANDON PETERSON
cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
variant cover by DAVID FINCH It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: the shocking return of the son of Superman! A year spent traveling the stars changed Jon Kent. Are parents Clark and Lois ready for the all-new, all-different Superboy? Secrets are revealed, a new look debuts and Superman’s world is changed forever!
Check out these exclusive preview pages!
Another one is that he's putting fresh eyes on DC's oldest, biggest character and then immediately shifting the focus to everything around him. His Superman comics have taken two tracks since the end of Man of Steel, his big entree into the DCU. They seem to follow the two different threads of Superman's identity: Action Comics, which is the Clark book, that focuses on Metropolis and the Planet and the Earth-bound life that he leads; and Superman, where we follow his superhero adventures.
The focus of each book has followed a similar pattern In Action, he's taking a ground level view on why Superman is who he is - giving us peeks at why the people of Metropolis love him the way that they do (or in the case of the villains, how they get around him). Superman, however, is the introspective book, the one that shows us why Clark does what he does and how he perceives his world.
It is also where a lot of the over the top superhero action is - the last arc had Earth zapped into the Phantom Zone and Superman teaming up with General Zod to slow-mo punch the bejeezus out of Rogol Zaar. Not gonna lie, that was pretty satisfying. It looks like we're getting a little bit of a pivot here, though.
That was an uncomfortable segue-plus-page-preview. Let's try that again. It looks like we're getting a bit of a pivot here.
There we go. That was MUCH less uncomfortable.
For more on Superman, including parts where Jon isn't walking in on his parents' foreplay, stick with Den of Geek!
Check out these covers!
Robert Venditti walks us through the new revelations about the history of Hawkman coming up in the latest issue.
Robert Venditti has been a major part of DC’s murderer’s row of writers since the New 52 era, having steered the fate of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps for years. But as of late, Venditti has risen in the DC ranks to become one of the most innovative voices at DC Comics. Recently, Venditti and Bryan Hitch's Hawkman has become a top of the pile read.
The new series cuts through the confusion of Hawkman’s complex history and presented a genre-bending, character-driven, cinematic look at Carter Hall and the multiple lives and worlds the titular hero has inhabited over the millennia. Along with superstar artist Bryan Hitch, Venditti has found a direction for Hawkman that makes the character one of DC’s A-list heroes. We had the pleasure to sit down with Mister Venditti to discuss Hawkman and some of the future plans at DC Comics for this timeless winged hero.
What is coming in up in Hawkman?
We have issue eight which is going to be on the stands this coming Wednesday the 16th. Throughout the series, Hawkman has been trying to uncover the mystery of his past lives. In the first issue, he realizes he didn’t just reincarnate across time as he previously thought. He reincarnated across space as well. He’s had past lives on Thanagar, and Rann, and Krypton. He’s been flipping through past lives and through time.
He’s trying to figure out the mystery of a group called the Deathbringers who are trying to destroy Earth because of him. So in issue eight, he goes to Krypton and encounters a past life known as Catar-Ol. Like Carter Hall, Catar-Ol was a historian. But he’s on Krypton and he witnesses the death of Krypton. As Carter, he remembers being Catar-Ol, so he now remembers the death of Krypton. This motivates Carter into a huge conflict in the first third of this story. He encounters the Deathbringers and now, having re-witnessed the death of Krypton, Carter now understands what could happen to Earth. Hawkman realizes he can never let this happen again.
Tell us about the Kryptonian Hawkman. What does he want? What stands in his way?
Now we’ve created the House of Ol, which is awesome. The Kryptonian Hawkman knows more than Carter Hall about the Death Bringers. He has been trying to craft a weapon to destroy the Deathbringers. That’s what Carter Hall thinks he’s going to encounter when he gets to Krypton. He thinks that’s what all the clues have been pointing to. He thinks he’s finally going to get this great weapon that’s going to destroy the Deathbringers. That’s what Carter wants on Krypton and that’s what Catar-Ol has been devoting his life to doing, to creating. How that situation ends up, readers will discover.
They’ll be some hiccups along the way that will lead Carter to some big realizations that are building towards a huge moment coming up in future issues that we’ve been planning since the moment he realized that he’s been reincarnated across time and space in issue one. We’ve been building towards this moment. Catar-Ol and Carter Hall’s experiences on Krypton will play a huge part in bringing that to pass.
Talk about working with Bryan Hitch. He seems like an unlikely but obvious choice for the character. He usually is on a core character but his cinematic style lends itself so well to Hawkman’s world of endless possibilities. What does Hitch bring to the table?
He brings everything. It’s not just Hawkman’s world, it’s Hawkman’s worlds. If you look at what we’ve done in this series, we’re going to be eight issues in, we’ve been to Gorilla City, the ruins of ancient Egypt, Dinosaur Island, Thanagar, the Microverse, a past life of Hawkman from the beginning of our universe, and now to Krypton. That’s eight issues. And Bryan Hitch has drawn all of that. He’s fleshed out all those cultures. He’s established the look of all those things. All while drawing, not just penciling but inking, lots of the pages and not missing an issue. He’s already finished with issue nine. It’s extraordinary to see him work.
The most important thing for a character like Hawkman, who I didn’t know a lot about except he had a confusing continuity, the most important thing about the series is that it be easily understandable. That people can grasp the changes we’re making and link the entire history of the character together. A huge part of what makes comic books understandable is the visual storytelling. For Bryan to be able to render all the action and all the character moments across so many different cultures and so many different locations and to do it in a way that’s so fluid and easy to read… it’s just extraordinary. I can’t think of a better person to work on this book and to build this story out. Our hope is we’re setting a template for what Hawkman is going to be going forward, a character that can reincarnate across time and space and fit in any storytelling possibility across the universe. We would love to see other storytellers pick up those threads.
Where’s Hawkgirl/Hawkwoman; can you catch up with Kendra and/or Shiera’s status in the Rebirth era?
Yeah, by far, the character we’ve talked about the most is Hawkwoman/Hawkgirl. We’ve had so many discussions about that character even before the first issue. Right now, obviously, Hawkgirl is in the main Justice League series that Scott Snyder is writing, and I’m in contact with Scott. We talk about what we’re doing and what our plans are on all those kinds of things. He’s got some exciting stuff over in that series.
For me, I felt it wasn’t a bad thing to have the characters separated. It would be one thing if Hawkgirl wasn’t anywhere else in the DC Universe because she’s a great character and she should be in a book somewhere. But with her being over in Justice League, it allows readers to see who she is without Hawkman around. Our series allows us to see who Hawkman is without Hawkgirl around, which allows us to establish who they are in their own adventures before bringing them together. Throughout their history they’ve always been together so let us establish them and let them stand on their own two feet.
Who is Hawkman to you? What attracts you to Hawkman and his worlds?
Hawkman to me, the thing I find most relatable about him, is that through all these lives he’s had he’s always been an archeologist. To me, it’s something that struck me from the very beginning, is that why would someone who can fly, who has these giant wings, why would he choose a profession that would necessitate being underground and in closed spaces, you know? What I settled on is that this sort of compulsion he’s had throughout his lives to explore, to discover, to dig into the past. It’s really been one big journey of his own self-discovery to understand who he is. I think that’s relatable to every single person. We all spend our lives discovering who we are and discovering our own identities. That’s what he’s been doing.
It’s a very relatable concept that lends itself, once you bring in the time and space angle, to so many storytelling possibilities. It can be earthbound, it can be cosmic, it can be present, it can be future, it can be sweeping and epic or it can be very personal. It can be all those things, and there are not a lot of characters that lend themselves to that sort of variety without it feeling forced. But Hawkman is one of them, and that makes it such a fun series to work on and we’re holding nothing back. We’re going to all those locations and doing all those things.
Talk about how you got the book. Did you pitch or did DC approach you?
DC asked me if I’d be interested in pitching for the character. I didn’t grow up on comics; I started reading them when I was in my mid-twenties. I didn’t know much about Hawkman except that he had a reputation for having a convoluted history and a sprawling continuity. Within my first hour of reading up on the character…I said to myself, “Oh, he reincarnates across time and space. That’s pretty cool.” I kept reading issues waiting for that to be said and it never gets said. So I thought, “That’s what we’re going to do. That’s how we’re going to tie this all together.” We’re going to say that the Thanagarian and the ancient Egyptian is the same person that just never realized they were reincarnations of the same person until now. Then we’re going to expand that which could mean Krypton. I put a pitch together based on those ideas and submitted it to DC, and they liked it.
Can you tease what’s coming up in Hawkman after the Krypton storyline?
Carter Hall is going to have a big revelation which brings him back to Earth with his confrontation with the Deathbringers. That’s going to be so much action, you know, I’m looking at some of the art that Bryan is turning in daily, and I’ve lost count at around ten thousand of the number of figures that are on these pages. It’s a huge story.
We have a moment that’s coming up that we’ve been waiting to do before we began writing the series. This is going to leave the character in a new place, and set up for new adventures. Like I said, there would be nothing we would want more than other creators to pick up these threads and pull on them and weave Hawkman into the DC Universe. The same way we’re saying Hawkman is part of the Kryptonian mythology and linked to the Superman mythology, and knowing Jor-El, and being a teacher to Supergirl, there’s so many opportunities for other writers and creators to weave the Hawkman mythology into the DCU. I think that will be how we get Hawkman back to a place that he deserves to be: a foundational character in the DC universe that is part of everything. He’ll be the living historical document of the DCU.
Can you share some conversations or ideas you shared with any of the DC higher ups about how they view the character’s place in the DCU?
I wouldn’t want to reveal too much, except to say that Hawkman is a character that they very much wanted to bring back. To try and elevate the character to what he means to the DCU. It’s definitely something DC is interested in, and there are some very significant plans for the character beyond just in my book that will take place at various points. I don’t know how much I can say. I’ll just leave it at that, there are definitely huge plans for the character in the DCU and everyone should watch out for that.
Hawkman #8 his stores on Jan. 16.
Heather Graham entrances ABC with Liane Moriarty’s Hypnotist’s Love Story.
“How do you make a man do something without nagging? That is the billion-dollar question," Liane Moriarty wrote in her novel The Hypnotist’s Love Story. Writing, directing and starring in your own movie might help. Which Heather Graham wrote did for the romantic comedy Half Magic. Graham worked her magic on ABC, which will adapt Moriarty's book into a series, according to Variety. Moriarty wrote the best-selling novel Big Little Lies, which was turned into an Emmy-winning series starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman for HBO, as well as the best-sellers The Husband’s Secret, Truly Madly Guilty.
ABC officially ordered a pilot for The Hypnotist’s Love Story adaptation, according to Variety. This is the first pilot season order for ABC’s new entertainment president Karey Burke, as well as her first pilot order. The series is being produced by ABC Studios and David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Laurie Zaks of Mandeville Television. Graham will star in and executive produce the series along with Katie Wech (Star), who will write the series.
Graham will play Ellen O’Farrell, a "professional hypnotherapist who works out of the eccentric beachfront home she inherited from her grandparents," according to the book's official synopsis. "It’s a nice life, except for her tumultuous relationship history. She’s stoic about it, but at this point, Ellen wouldn’t mind a lasting one. When she meets Patrick, she’s optimistic. He’s attractive, single, employed, and best of all, he seems to like her back. Then comes that dreaded moment: He thinks they should have a talk. It turns out that Patrick’s ex-girlfriend is stalking him. Ellen thinks, Actually, that’s kind of interesting. She’s dating someone worth stalking. She’s intrigued by the woman’s motives. In fact, she’d even love to meet her."
Graham has come a long way since she got her License to Drive in her debut film in 1988. Graham is best known for her roles the films Drugstore Cowboy, Boogie Nights, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Fire Walk with Me, The Hangover and Bowfinger. She appeared on the TV series Get Shorty, Twin Peaks, Scrubs, Californication, Law & Order: True Crime, Angie Tribeca and Flaked. Graham starred in the 2006 ABC romantic comedy series Emily’s Reasons Why Not, which was cancelled after one episode. She wrote, directed, and starred in the romantic comedy feature Half Magic, which came out on February 23, 2018. Graham was one of the women to speak out against Harvey Weinstein.
There is no word yet on when The Hypnotist's Love Story will premiere.
Culture Editor Tony Sokol cut his teeth on the wire services and also wrote and produced New York City's Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera AssassiNation: We Killed JFK. Read more of his work here or find him on Twitter @tsokol.
The Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer is here! We've dissected the footage and found some interesting clues about the movie.
The Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer is finally here! As Peter quickly points out, he won't be a "friendly neighborhood Spider-Man" in this one, as for the first time in cinematic history, a Spider-Man movie is taking Peter Parker out of the country for his adventures. Among other fun things, the trailer reveals who the high-profile Marvel Cinematic Universe guest star is in this one, and it also reveals Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio.
Before we dive in, here's that trailer again:
First and foremost, that’s an A+ use of The Ramones. Henceforth, all Spider-Man movies must be accompanied by at least one Ramones tune. While “I Wanna Be Sedated” is an all-time classic, it would be nice to hear some more deep cuts in one of these flicks, too. Still, this is a great sign for what else we might hear in the movie. Spider-Man: Homecoming had a low-key excellent use of punk and new wave and indie tunes, and this would indicate they’ll follow that here.
In case you were wondering how Aunt May took the revelation that her nephew was Spidey at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming, here's your answer. May working for assorted homeless charities and shelters is right on the money with some of her activities in the comics over the years, once she stopped being impossibly elderly and constantly on the verge of death.
You have to love how hard these movies lean into the “Aunt May is hot now” thing, which so irritated the internet when Marisa Tomei was first cast.
Well, they sure are going full blown Peter and MJ in this, and that's just fine with us. Hopefully, they don't rush this too much, but it's great to see them connecting further.
Go to sleep, Ned!
Nick Fury keeping tabs on Spider-Man was a feature of the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, where Fury told young Spidey that he was essentially going to be “drafted” into SHIELD service at the age of 18. Nick’s less than friendly appearance here would seem to lean into that pretty heavily.
The red and black Spider-Man design was popular in the early '90s and was fairly interchangeable with the traditional reds and blues. And the web wings were part of Steve Ditko's original costume design and were a regular feature of the suit for nearly a decade, and they've made sporadic appearances since then.
Wait...is that Sandman? Nahhhh...
Hey, we're even getting a version of Spidey's stealth suit in here!
Wait...is that Hydro-Man?!? Nahhhh…
Meet Mysterio! Quentin Beck is a former movie special effects wizard, and here he is posing as a superhero. As the kids point out later in the trailer, his look here is a perfect amalgamation of assorted Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero costume elements.
It's a safe bet that this particular master of illusion is responsible for all the elemental horrors terrorizing Europe, and he's posing as a superhero for his own ends. You can see how Mysterio in this movie could be a continuation of the theme introduced by Michael Keaton's Vulture in the first film, about regular working folks feeling useless in the rise of superheroes. Seriously, how exciting could special effects possibly be in a world where Thor and Iron Man exist?
And it’s great that he goes full on “fishbowl head” when he leaps into action.
As for the rest?
Flash Thompson idolizing Spider-Man goes all the way back to the very earliest days of the Spider-Man comics. This is a perfect updating of it and a great way to end it all on.
Frank Castle is back to dispense his own brand of justice in The Punisher. As a refresher, here’s what happened in season 1. Spoilers...
This Punisher article contains spoilers. It comes from Den of Geek UK.
The Punisher is back for a second and likely final season at Netflix. It’s been over a year since we last saw Frank Castle in action, so ahead of season two, here’s a look at what happened in his debut solo outing and where the characters – at least, the ones we’ll see again – left off…
The Punisher Story
The first season of The Punisher sees Frank Castle continuing his hunt for the men who killed his family, after discovering that the man he previously dealt with – his former commander, Colonel Schoonover – was part of a much wider conspiracy inside the CIA. Drawn back into a vigilante life, he finds himself tracking down “Agent Orange” and his former brother-in-arms, Billy Russo, who are both wrapped up in it.
Along the way, Frank partners with “Micro,” another victim of the conspiracy who faked his own death to focus on bringing it down. As Frank and Micro partner up, they are tailed by government agents, including the obsessive but brilliant Dinah Madani, who is clean – though her bosses may not be.
As you’d expect, Frank eventually takes down Agent Orange and his subordinates, culminating in a final battle which sees Russo and Frank face off in the funfair location where Frank’s family was originally killed. After beating Russo and smashing his face into a mirror, Frank delivers him to Madani whose investigations have put her on Frank’s side.
With the conspiracy beaten, Micro is free to return to his family, and both he and Frank are pardoned by the authorities. Assuming, of course, that Frank stays out of trouble.
No prizes for guessing how that’s going to go…
The Punisher Characters
We last saw Frank attending a PTSD support group, having acknowledged that he was… unwell. Of course, part of the problem was that having achieved some kind of justice for his family, he just didn’t know what to do next with his life. Whatever happens next, you can be sure Frank probably won’t be pursuing justice for his family as his primary goal, but it remains to be seen whether this rather optimistic ending will be undone as he spreads his war on crime to everyone else, or whether he’ll be dragged back into a fight against his will.
Billy Russo (Jigsaw)
When we met Billy, he was the head of a “private security” firm called Anvil and living the sweet life free from his past. Once a close friend of Frank's, he’s set to be one of the main villains of this series, even though he starts it comatose. Russo has lost everything he treasured – his job, his good standing, and his looks – it’s safe to say he’s going to blame Frank for that.
Although she helped bring down the conspiracy, Madani paid a lot for her crusade. Hooking up with Billy Russo certainly didn’t help when she found out he was bad – especially since he killed her partner, Agent Sam Stein, and then tried to shoot her in the head. If and when Russo wakes up, Madani’s going to be ready to take him in. Will she be keen to partner up with Frank, however? Probably not, since she was the one who got him his new life. That’s not something you can keep doing for a person after all…
Having already developed a rapport with Frank after he came into conflict with Daredevil, newspaper reporter Karen Page helped Frank out several times in the past and is sure to do the same again in Punisher season two. Of course, Karen was fired from her newspaper in Daredevil season three, and assuming Daredevil isn’t going to continue anywhere else this could be the character’s final appearance.
One of Frank’s few loyal friends from the military, and one of the few people who knew he was alive when the rest of the world didn’t, Curtis also ran the PTSD group Frank attended. Frank saved his life multiple times, including from Russo. Again, when Russo wakes up and can’t find Frank, it’s likely he’ll go to Curtis first. He might even just go there to settle a score…
The Punisher season 2 will debut on Netflix on Jan. 18.
The next Batman game could see the Dark Knight face off against the Court of Owls!
It's been the talk of the town for quite a while that WB Montreal, the studio behind Batman: Arkham Origins, is working on a new game starring the Dark Knight. According to a series of rumors over the past few weeks, including one sparked by an employee at the studio, it seems that the new game will see Batman face off against the Court of Owls, a criminal organization made up of the wealthiest citizens in Gotham City.
The Court of Owls rumors began when production coordinator Valerie Valdez posted a picture of a t-shirt with an owl-themed logo that's similar to the one used by the villains in the comics:
WB Montreal did not comment on the game at the time, but the rumor mill is back at it today thanks to new images revealed by digital artist Eddie Mendoza, who uploaded three pieces depicting Batman fighting Talons, the Court of Owls' elite assassins, to his ArtStation portfolio. According to Games Radar, Mendoza took down the images, which he claimed he'd done just for fun, a short time later, causing the internet to only grow more suspicious. Were Mendoza's pieces actually concept art for an upcoming Batman game?
In a statement to Games Radar, Mendoza clarified that "the images are just fanart [and] I am not affiliated with WB or WB Montreal." The artist explained that he took down the paintings to "adjust the lighting." The images have not been re-uploaded as of this writing. We're not going to post the art here, but you can find them elsewhere if you look hard enough.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the Court of Owls, the criminal organization (although you could probably call it an owl cult?) made its debut in 2011 in the early days of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's fantastic run on Batman. The Caped Crusader faced off against the Court in a battle that almost cost him both mind and body. Along the way, Bruce discovered that he had a bigger connection to the Court than he could have ever imagined, a shocking twist that still leaves me breathless just thinking about it so many years later. Needless to say, the story is worth a read, especially since the Court still shows up in current DC books and has even made an appearance on Gotham. It's a group worth knowing.
WB's upcoming superhero projects have long been the subject of scrutiny from anxious fans. WB Montreal is said to be working on two separate DC games. If one of them is this Court of Owls game, then the other might be a Damian Wayne game first uncovered by Kotaku. The studio was previously working on a Suicide Squad game, but that was canceled in 2016.
Recently, Rocksteady co-founder Sefton Hill shut down rumors that the Batman Arkham studio is working on a Superman game. There are also reports that the team is working on a Justice League game, but take that with a grain of salt.
We'll keep you updated as we learn more about the next Batman game! In the meantime, here's a guide to every upcoming superhero game.
Deadly Class, an assassin high school show, is coming to Syfy courtesy of the Russo Brothers. Here's what we know so far.
Rick Remender and Wes Craig's graphic novel, Deadly Class, has received the adaptation treatment courtesy of the Russo Brothers and will now be airing on Syfy.
The graphic novels, which debuted for Image Comics back in 2014, follow a group of teenagers as they make their way through San Francisco's late '80s punk scene and also a high school for assassins. The book focuses on Marcus Lopez, a homeless Nicaraguan teen who gets recruited for the school. His first decision as a student is to kill Ronald Reagan, and that's somehow the least bad decision he makes in the entire book.
Deadly Class the series is set in a dark, heightened world against the backdrop of late ‘80s counterculture, following the story of Marcus (Benjamin Wadsworth). Syfy's official synopsis describes him as "a teen living on the streets who is recruited into Kings Dominion, an elite private academy where the world’s top crime families send their next generations. Maintaining his moral code while surviving a ruthless curriculum, vicious social cliques and his own adolescent uncertainties soon proves to be vital."
Deadly Class Episode 1 Trailer and Release Date
Deadly Class starts on January 16, 2019 and will air on Wednesdays at 10/9c on Syfy after The Magicians. Syfy decided to do an early digital release of the first episode a few weeks ahead of its premiere. Here's a trailer:
Deadly Class Reviews and Episode Guide
We'll be reviewing Deadly Class as it airs on Syfy. Check back each week for episode descriptions, air dates, and links to reviews as they're written.
Deadly Class Episode 1: "Reagan Youth"
A disillusioned teen finds purpose and fights for survival at an elite academy for the Deadly Arts. (air date: January 16, 2019)
Deadly Class Episode 2: "Noise, Noise, Noise"
Marcus, dealing with guilt of killing Rory, has a party at Shabnam's and all the school is invited. (air date: January 23, 2019)
Deadly Class Episode 3: "Snake Pit"
Marcus navigates a prank war between the Rats and Legacies, as everyone prepares for the big dance. (air date: January 30, 2019)
Deadly Class Episode 4: "Mirror People"
Saya and Marcus have to survive an attack on the school when Saya's past comes back to haunt her. (air date: February 6, 2019)
Deadly Class Cast
Syfy revealed the full Deadly Class cast list back in September, after its initial order for the pilot. They consist of the following:
Benedict Wong (Doctor Strange) is Master Lin, the headmaster of the School for the Deadly Arts. "Deadly and feared. He's an ever-changing chameleon who keeps his students desperate for his approval."
Benjamin Wadsworth (Teen Wolf) is Marcus. "At one point we were all Marcus, an awkward outcast full of social anxiety struggling to find his place in the cold and brutal world of high school. Marcus is bottled rage, if his life had been normal this kid might have been an artist, even a poet. Instead he’s had to survive life on the streets of San Francisco. His eyes show it. He’s morally centered in an unethical world."
Lana Condor (X-Men: Apocalypse) is Saya, "mysterious and guarded with a deadly reputation. Saya was banished from one of the top Yakuza clans in Japan, sent to the School for the Deadly Arts to redeem herself. Driven to be the valedictorian, nothing will stand in her way."
Maria Gabriela de Faria (Yo Soy Franky) is Maria. "One minute Maria’s an extrovert and an exhibitionist, a tornado of ever changing emotions—fierce, charming, beautiful and oozing femininity -- the next she’s murderous, feral, and crippled by rage. At the School for the Deadly Arts her instability is treated like a super power."
Luke Tennie is Willie, "a hardened gangster, but underneath is an honest and thoughtful person who would rather be reading comic books and listening to music than engaging in blood work. Forced by his mother, leader of an LA gang, into the School for the Deadly Arts, he is under endless pressure to become the thing he hates most."
Liam James (The Family) is Billy, "skater punk, son of a corrupt cop and now a misfit at the school. He's off kilter and high energy. Billy combats every situation with sarcasm and humor. Always a glimmer of mischief in his eye."
Michel Duval (Señora Acero) is Chico, "scary, muscular, son of a cartel drug lord. Everyone knows not to mess with Chico. The only one who can hurt him is his girlfriend."
Guest stars will include Henry Rollins as Jürgen Denke, Taylor Hickson as Petra, Siobhan Williams as Brandy, Sean Depner as Viktor, Jack Gillett as Lex, and Ryan Robbins as Rory.
The pilot adaptation will be written by Remender and Miles Feldstott. Adam Targum, lately of Banshee and Outcast from Cinemax, will shworun, while Lee Toland Krieger, who directed a number of episodes of Riverdale, will direct the pilot.
The show has strong source material to draw from, both narratively and aesthetically. Craig's art looks like a cross between David Mazzuchelli on Batman: Year One and Frank Miller on Daredevil. Colorist Lee Loughridge gives every scene a distinctive look and mood, and Remender is a master at cutting his schmaltz with cynicism and his cynicism with genuine, heartfelt emotion. If the pilot is half as good as the first trade of Deadly Class, the show should be very good indeed.
Deadly Class Key Art
Syfy has released the following key art for Deadly Class (see below). Pretty snazzy...
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.
A Blink episode and some twisty plot developments put The Gifted back on track.
This The Gifted review contains spoilers.
The Gifted Season 2 Episode 12
I'm old. Not an ancient, wizened, hobbling crusty old hermit (even though I do live far from civilization and occasionally step gingerly after I run or sit for a long time). But I'm old enough where I've run out of patience for plot contrivance, shows that have sudden character swerves to put people in a spot where the show can advance their overarching story. So a good chunk of tonight's episode of The Giftedhad me very frustrated, because I know that they can do better. And I know from the other half of tonight's episode.
Another development that comes with my old age, and this is just me and not "being old," is that I really just want to watch characters communicate effectively and be well adjusted. Blink, to me, is the perfect X-Man on the show: she's smart, wry, and competent. She's generally well-adjusted, with a realistic view of the world around her. We get a deeper dive into her character this week, and it just reinforces how great she is for the show.
In the cold open and a few times again through the episode, we get flashbacks to her childhood, hanging out with her foster sister talking about how hot the sparkly Twilightvampires are until their drunk stereotype of a foster dad comes home. Blink and her sister escape the house using one of her newly developed portals, but we find out later (as a means for Clarice to break up with John) that her sister went back in to try and defend some of the kids they left behind. Her sister was killed by her abuser when she went back, and Clarice tells John as their relationship is crumbling that "Running into a battle you're gonna lose isn't brave, it's selfish." And then she skips out to join the Morlocks, leaving John and the dog crying on the floor of their hovel.
Clarice has her act together. She smelled BS about the plan to railroad all the Underground leaders into something by Evangeline Whedon, and she was comfortable saying so to the people she cared about. Nobody was really in a position to do anything about it - the meeting was coming up too fast to change it, and she was apparently whipping off-screen attendees whether John and Marcos were onboard or not, but it was nice to have someone on the show express at least some of the same reservations that I felt at home. This meeting was clearly BS from the start.
Meanwhile, The Giftedcontinues to resemble an X-Men comic in the way it juggles the 9,426 plots this season still has unresolved: by bouncing back and forth between character groupings. Lauren popped Andy in the mouth in a shared dream, so the Inner Circle has decided they want to try and bring her in. Andy knows they're going to do it by having the Cuckoos rewire her brain, so he fights it a little, but only for the chance to convince her to join of her own free will. Kate decides to go visit her brother and see if he can use his Lexis account to find out more on Reva and the Purifiers, and Lauren decides to go with her to get away from the creepy music box that's making her want to hold hands with her brother.
Also, I think Kate might be on cocaine? She's doing some kind of hobo crossfit in the Underground's secret dillapidated apartment base and she talks really fast to Reed when she is trying to convince him to let her go visit her brother. Reed is also listening to the music box, and it's making his powers flare up. And Lorna is trying to spy on the Inner Circle and figure out what Reva's new terrorist squad is going to target - she catches them on their way to blow up the Underground, but she hasn't figured out their big plan yet. There was legitimately a ton going on this episode.
The thing is, everything's coming together for what I assume to be the season's endgame. Kate's brother got tagged by Sentinel Services almost the second he started sniffing around on Reva, and we saw her and Shane Hannity working together last week. She infiltrated the Purifiers, and she infiltrated the Government, so who's to say she hasn't also infiltrated the Underground? Or the Morlocks?
Blink is underground with the Morlocks now, and while everybody at the Underground bought it, we never saw a clear body, and this writer's room is versed enough in the comics to know that means that these characters are all at worst in Schrodinger's Holster (it's where you keep Chekhov's Gun), alive or dead, waiting for the most opportune time to be publicly mourned/pop out of a closet and shout "BETRAYED"? All I'm saying is don't be surprised if a dragon is flying around Inner Circle HQ in the climax of the last episode. I certainly hope Blink's there, too.
LOOSE GENETIC MATERIAL
-Thunderbird is covered in open wounds and half dead, but he's still answering emails. Hard same, friend.
-I can't believe I only just made this connection, but Dallas, where the infamous "7/15" happened, was in the comics the site of the X-Men's story in Fall of the Mutants, a quasi-thematic crossover in 1988. In Uncanny X-Men(which was, along with New Mutants and X-Factorthe main book of the crossover), the X-Men fight the Adversary at Forge's loft in Dallas, and then appear to die as they head off to Australia to adventure for a bit.
-What's the deal with the music box? Speculate in the comments.
-Just a stray observation, but Kaitlin just left her brother out to dry with Sentinel Services. He was just standing there while new, hyper-violent Lauren chopped up a couple of APCs, threw up a shield and then drove off with her mom in their new super-effective getaway car, a *checks notes* 2005 Subaru Outback.
-Next week: Sibling hunt! The Cuckoos are ready to brainwash her, but Andy wants to bring her over to their side. Guess who's going to win...