Batman Eternal #16

Things get freakier as Batwing and Spectre keep investigating Arkham in Batman Eternal #16!

SPOILERS!

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Batman Eternal #16
Written by Ray Fawkes; Drawn by Dustin Nguyen

Ray Fawkes and Dustin Nguyen continue their haunting take of events in the weekly series and have a pretty damn good follow up that sheds some light on the Arkham Asylum going ons. ts kinda hard to review that when little changes cause this is a weekly series people and consistency can hurt it if things aren’t changing up at least a little bit, but things to change. Spectre does take care of Bygone cause shit he ain’t got nothing here but to be a setup villain before we get a great reveal that someone is trying to release Deacon Blackfire’s soul from hell and that they already have a vessel in mind, Maxie Zeus.

Yes that Maxie Zeus making his New 52 debut here as he was first shown here as muscle for Joker’s Daughter, who while living in the catacombs of Arkham, has abilities, such as sound EXACTLY like Batwing to throw Batman off the trail of Arkham. That’s interesting while close-ups on Joker’s Daughter is straight up terrifying!

Batman is here though, he briefly appears to help set up a scene between Bard and Vicki Vale where she asks whenever he’s not locking up Falcone’s men. Nothing much is made of that besides they possibly might hook up and while in Toyko, Red Robin and Harper Row get attacked by Sergei’s robot tentacles as part of a test and that they can talk after more tests.

So yeah again the sppoky Arkham storyline, which feels oddly disjointed right now if I may be honest, is once again the main focus and while development was made, it felt like it was stuck in neutral this week. Fawkes still writers a creepy, atmospheric scripts and Nguyen’s pens are atill among the best in the industry. Just slightly disappoint but still a good read.

RATING: 3/5

Tube Talk: Tyrant: Hail Mary

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Tyrant continues to improve itself this week by taking out one element that doesn’t work at all and instead focusing on one that does. My Hail Mary has been answered!

SPOILERS!

Tyrant: Season 1: Episode 5: Hail Mary: GRADE: B+

Tyrant slowly begins to build into a show of good quality show and tonight’s episode offers its best episode yet I think for one reason. NO ANNOYING KIDS WHO WASTE SCREEN TIME!

Yes Sammy and Emma are nowhere to be seen this week and I couldn’t be happier about this given how they ultimately don’t do anything really and just waste a lot of time. More of that please? Like slowly write them out?

Well we have a continued conflict from last week with the anniversary of the gas attack and Barry this week thinks on the idea of going to visit Ihab’s father, Sheik (Mohammad Bakri), like Barry’s dad before. Except he said fuck all that noise and did it anyway so you can see how the other side might be less than ideal about this, but that is what happens and man this scene is what Tyrant should be all about.

The scenes between Barry and Sheik are great and full of great character drama and conflict and fantastic acting, sure mostly from Bakri, but hey Rayner gets to actually go an octave in an earlier scene.

Their talk really gets to what I have expected out of Tyrant from the moment I heard of it as a deep and investing character drama and storytelling, not side stories that waste time and talent and trying to drive in a heavy handed message, but the art and form of storytelling. The talk does have a great conclusion with Sheik calming the riots in the square, but also publicly demanding a talk with Jamal, which throws a wrench in his plans. That is great drama and what I hope the show can keep a focus on.

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There’s a subplot within that of Tariq and Lelia trying to sway Jamal against Barry and go ahead with his plan of taking action against the protesters, which of course goes tits up but that too was engaging with character drama going on and staying really investing. Speaking of Jamal, he’s back to being psycho when Nusrat goes to her parents about his raping her on her wedding night, her family wants a downplayed divorce and considering almost everything her family has is because of the Al Fayeed’s. How psycho is he? Lifts Nusrat’s father up on a shooting target hook and shoots at him.

Say what you will about Jamal and I can, at least he has a presence on screen.

Another subplot of the new maid for Barry’s family trying to steal painkillers cause he got hurt in the riot last week, nothing really is interesting there. That kinda kills the momentum that was being built up and well delivered from Barry and Sheik’s conversation at Sheik’s compound.

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The Ihab plot is slowly gaining traction with me as it does give conflict for our main family and can set the stage for the rest of the season’s events cause the characters are a whole, hell a majority of a unit yet aren’t fully strong to help carry the show, but they are getting there.

The script is tight and well woven and paced with well the best camera direction work since that of the pilot. Its really good stuff here that kept me engaged and wanting to see what would happen next, made me invested in the story if you will.

Tyrant seems to be over its slump right now, but we have eight episodes left to go through this season, so its chances of shitting the bed are slim. Let’s hope they can keep their cheeks clinched for that long.

Tube Talk: Masters of Sex: Kyrie Eleison

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Bill begins his new job while Virginia is put between a rock and a hard place on the second installment of the second season here on Tube Talk!

SPOILERS!

Masters of Sex: Season 2: Episode 2: Kyrie Eleison: GRADE: B+

Change is a huge thing here for the premiere follow up. Mostly for Bill. New hospital, a new nanny (Keke Palmer), and a new boss. One that doesn’t is how stubborn Betty DiMello is as she will sit in the receptionist area as she will receive her “fertility” treatments since her husband, the pretzel king wait none the wiser. This puts Bill in a difficult situation, not to mention trying to convince his first patient at Memorial is a young girl showing complications from her second abortion. Her parents being very important hospital donors and of course the time the show is it, tubes tied to them is the only option.

This part of the episode is what Michael Sheen works most with and his scenes here are excellent, even with the new assistant (Betsy Brandt of Breaking Bad) and trying to get her out and sneak Virginia in that way and bring her back on, but of course he butts heads with Greathouse. Danny Huston does a fine job here, I’ve always liked him, even in the disappointed AHS: Coven. He’ more than interested in it, but it seems more so for just the sex. Same seems to go for Dr. Ditmer (Evan Arnold) as when he goes into the research with Virginia, he gets too excited. Premature ejaculation! Was that too subtle?

Bill just is finding things difficult to get going even when he discovers about Barton’s suicide attempt from his daughter. That feels like the last string unraveling him, but at the same time, to hear this of the man who went to the mat for him, he’s got to keep going and that is a great motivation for him. He knows his work is important and will bring it front and center to the world.

Bill is the episode highlight, but the parts with Libby and the new nanny, who is a fine character in her own right, just slow things down a bit much for me and I wasn’t as fully invested there.

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What is interesting is Virginia and Lillian in a power play as she gets  Lillian to agree to film a PSA about pap smears but then drags Lillian to her doctor and her worst fears are realized, Lillian’s cancer has metastasized and its now terminal. Uncovering this truth just proves the fact that you always need the right option and time to find the truth out. Also, gives Virginia a hell of a lesson in learning to mind in her own business. Thinking we know better than people at ho to fix their lives, is that you never really understand what’s going on inside their head, such as the case here.

Virginia means well but clearly Lillian wants this to be dealt with by herself.

Elsewhere for the episode, we got Austin enjoying his new bachelor life and that’s about five minutes of that plot. Yeah nothing there.

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This is still a solid installment in the fine Showtime series as its sophomore year is off to a good start with character arcs and roles set. Its keep its charm from the first season going and that’s important here. The show hasn’t missed a beat at all.

Tube Talk: The Leftovers: B.J. and the A.C.

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It is time for the holiday season for those leftover and it isn’t exactly a cheery time as we dive into B.J. and the A.C. here on Tube Talk!

SPOILERS!

The Leftovers: Season 1: Episode 4: B.J. and the A.C.: GRADE: B

Christmas time for those that were left behind here and man its not off to a good start, SOMEONE KIDNAPPED BABY JESUS! OH FUCK OH GOD RUN FOR THE GODDAMN HILLS!

Yeah the baby Jesus is stolen from the manger and an extensive manhunt is put…its Jill. Jill and the crew steal the baby doll where testicles are placed upon its head, doused in beer, and nearly given a Viking funeral. This to me was the best thing about the episode given it continues Jill’s slow descend into this…how do I describe it its not a quarter life crisis given she’s in high school, teenage life crisis? Well shit almost anything to a teenager is a life crisis really. But this one is legit.

Jill really is just finding difficulty in dealing with everything and as I notice, becoming a lot more like Aimee, while Aimee, while still being Aimee and looking for trouble, is a little bit becoming like Jill, and being worried for her a bit as she seems to want to out do Aimee in adventurous fun. Its a nice dynamic they have and normally I find that some shows just don’t know how to writer kids or teenagers, kinda why I stopped watching Glee past season 3 and one of Tyrant’s many faults. Alright outside of Jill and Aimee, I hate the teenagers. Yeah the twins, not interesting, not even as the comedic relief they obviously are. I find them boring.

Though the Garvey family is again the center of attention here with Laurie showing up suddenly to serve Kevin with divorce papers as Megan reads a prepared statement. The clincher of depression there for them is Jill’s gift for Laurie, a lighter that says “Don’t forget me”, which she promptly throws away but goes back for at episode’s end.

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The Laurie stuff is also a great highlight as she can breathe life into any scene she is in with her amazing body language and facial expression acting, its really great here. So Tommy gets more a focus here and we learn of Christine’s great importance to Wayne. She’s carrying his child. Yeah hug the pain away guru has knocked up a teenager. Wayne and Tommy subplot this time around didn’t engage me. Chris Zylka as Tommy is good but I don’t care for Christine, I think Annie Q. isn’t that good here in the role. She doesn’t have that much screen, and or her to play a big part, that sucks, big time.

The Guilty Remnant, big part here, they plan to do something at the town Christmas dance, those even still really happen? Anyway they show up, arrested, turns out, DIVERSION! Yeah they break into homes all over towns and steal pictures from frames to leave them empty, to show what they are inside, also highlighted by handing Tommy a pamphlet of the same thing, nothing. Yeah the GR are interesting, yet frustrating at the same time here as I would like some answers to them and yet they are an interesting offset to life going on in the town.

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Well the divorce scene and Jill’s story was a highlight in what so far, not the best offering The Leftovers have had, but it still one of TV’s best shows right now and has some intrigue to it still where I want to see things go on. All there is to do now is to see what they got for St. Patrick’s Day!

Tube Talk: The Strain: Night Box

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The lucky survivors don’t start feeling so lucky and an old, old, acquaintance from Setrakian’s past comes to visit as The Strain goes into its second chapter here on Tube Talk!

SPOILERS!

The Strain: Season 1: Episode 2: Night Box: GRADE: B+

The Strain continues on with its second offering in a stronger installment.

Mystery and intrigue continue on here as Eph and the team try to figure out where the tomb went when Gus (Miguel Gomez) took it last episode with the help of Jim Kent (Sean Astin) of Eph’s team, but nothing is advanced on that tonight, but hey maybe last week.

Here we do get some insight to David Bardley’s Setrakian when he’s visited Thomas Eichorst (Richard Sammel) shows up and addresses Setrakian by the number he was given in the Holocaust and well it seems his reappearance in Setrakian’s life might not be a coincidence. This scene was really good and an early highlight for any of Bradley’s acting which is great here still, but also Sammel who pulls off evil well, he seems like he is in league with the vampires and has great dialogue, as well as give us insight into Setrakian as Eichorst killed Setrakian’s love personally. Well there’s some good setup there.

As for the disease itself, we see the survivors go off on their own ignoring Eph’s orders with focus really on Joan Luss (Leslie Hope) who will lead a lawsuit against the airline being a lawyer and that’s about as much character development we get from her here and Gabriel Bolivar, the aforementioned Jack Kesy from last week, who both start to show signs of weakness from the strain. More so Gab as he bites into a lady’s neck deeper than he should when getting his sex on in a fourway. Joan just gets sick as well as the pilot towards the end of the episode who shows real signs of being sick. Good idea showing us them getting back into human life this early, though I would have expected that with say episode three. Though I think in someway we do need to see them right now out there to get the plot going and of course the infection spreading.

Our only true scare comes from episode’s end with the little girl killing her naive as hell father in a legitimate jump scare moment that is effective and creepy. Its an honestly great scene that carries on the heightened pacing and atmosphere set up from the pilot last week, pacing here was a bit of an issue feeling slow in a few places, but we’re more focused on characters and story in the follow up episode which you have to be in this case cause you can’t have as many scares this early on as you did in the pilot to entice people, because then a lot of other things would fall to the wayside.

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Mostly characters, like Kevin Durand’s Ukrainian rat exterminator, Vasiliy Fet. He has an okay opening to the episode and has a good and honestly funny scene with a restaurant.

I just mentioned that cause I enjoyed it, we do of course find out that Eph falls into the alcoholic trope, but again its Stoll’s acting that can help sell this and make it really good, having done that bit on House of Cards. Stoll still does great work, especially, with that and the family stuff, and grows in his character’s occupation with taking charge in trying to understand this whole thing and the mystery of the vampires.

We get a look into the vampires and their plan and they are gonna be some admirable foes for us humanfolk. Its not much a look, but again, we got 11 episodes left so we’ll get there.

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The Strain does a good job slowly getting us where we need to go, but too slow has hurt some shows in the past. Pacing should tighten up soon but what we got here, very good stuff and a slight improvement over the pilot.

Batman Eternal #15

Stories keep intersecting and Batwoman gets into the swing of things as we go back to Batwing and The Spectre in Batman Eternal #15.

SPOILERS!

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Batman Eternal #15
Written by Ray Fawkes; Drawn by Dustin Nguyen

So hey how many damn weeks has it been since we last saw Batwing or the Spectre in their buddy cop routine? Quite a few weeks where hey they suddenly fit into the story here again with their investigation into Arkham Asylum where…wait this is actually the bulk of the issue here, let’s get the small stuff done first shall we?

OTHER PLOTS GOING ON!

  • Harper and Red Robin have a conversation about boundaries and how Harper will more than likely (not) stay put when Red Robin go to talk to Sergei about the nanobots in her brother which there’s all to that, to be continued in a later issue.
  • Batman and Bard seem to come to a mutual respect for each other at least for now despite recent events.
  • Batgirl and Red Hood go to find the plastic surgeon they’re searching for and find Batwoman already rearranging his face in order for information since followers of the Crime Bible have led her to him.
  • Jack also wondered why Locke…

Wait, wrong long overarching story, by mad, but all that happened and I think its awesome Batwoman is finally in here, but I am a massive fan of the character so yay for that! and I like how the Crime Bible is mentioned as a ways to tie back into the first notable adventure of hers, the excellent Elegy, which if you haven’t read it, what’s wrong with you?

Other stuff is fine but again its Batwing and Spectre that get the focus here and man they are excellent together. I love their chemistry together and they make a really good detective team. Batwing is one the better books, again I’m reading in trades, and man I LOOOOOOOOOOVE The Spectre, and glad to see he hasn’t been too New 52′d as many fans would say. He’s more or less the Spectre and I’ll say its one the better things I seen Ray Fawkes do in recent time. He really gets creepiness of this side of the story and sets an atmosphere and tone perfectly with the help of Dustin Nguyen’s brilliant pencils. They are a perfect fit together.

They get deeper into the mystery and what’s going on with Scarecrow, he’s being hung up by magic, and the reveal that the man behind it all is Mister Bygone as Batwing get dragged down below the place to find Joker’s Daughter, in an extremely creepy close-up, and things will certainly only get worse from here.

This issue works, especially if you’re a horror fan, so damn well. You’re gonna love this, and some nice little cameos here and there keep those looking for easter eggs happy, but overall, its a good chapter in this long story. I recommend it.

RATING: 4/5

Tube Talk: Tyrant: Sins of the Father

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Barry and Jamal deal with actions taken twenty years ago by their father in this week’s Tyrant here on Tube Talk!

SPOILERS!

Tyrant: Season 1: Episode 4: Sins of the Father: GRADE: B

Holy shit people, Tyrant pulled off a good episode, an honest to Odin good episode! Well its good, but still far from improvement on the series as a whole.

The episode gets off to a good start with a flashback of young Barry coming back to his dorm room to see it disgraced and cover in graffiti and newspapers with insulting remarks over a chemical attack Barry’s father had ordered back home resulting in the death of 20,000 people intercut with Barry flashbacking on a morning jog set to Tears for Fears.

Its a great use of editing for the show and a well paced and done sequence that helps set up the plot for the episode where its the 20th anniversary of that situation, where in the same location of the attack, a man part of the Ihab Rashid regime against Jamal, douses himself in gas and burns himself there.

This is our main conflict with Barry suggesting Jamal go to the location in an attempt to apologize for their father’s actions from two decades ago to get under people’s good graces. Tariq of course thinks that’s stupid, cause mean military is mean, one thing that hasn’t changes, this show trying so hard to crowbar in a message.

Of course shit doesn’t go well with protests and they are bombarded and forced out and as Jamal wants to show who’s boss, a conversation between him and John Tucker (Justin Kirk), the U.S. diplomat to Abbudin, in a really good scene that actually uses Justin Kirk to his ability convinces him otherwise AKA vague threats. His talent is put to use and that’s fantastic!

Barry even uses Gaddafi’s death to get through to Jamal saying, “I’m not saying don’t use violence because it’s wrong, I’m saying don’t use violence because it doesn’t work!” That’s a line that’s actually effective and useful for the characters.

The conflict of this is tied into Fauzi trying to get his daughter out of Ihab’s movement due to the burning protest at the beginning and how they’re both at risk, it was really good. The acting there is just as compelling with Fauzi still being an interesting spark of a good idea for the show. Fauzi later meets Barry for catch up and that too is a good scene.

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Its the fourth episode and well yeah the show seems to be getting over its own problems, minus the message telling and how pointless the children are, but Rayner has come into his own as Barry, the episode shows it, and Barhom as Jamal. The cast seems to settling into their performances by now and have a good sense of where they wanna go.

Another factor as to the episode’s success is how outside the family, we get to see more of out setting of Abbudin. A sense of what’s really going on and the conflict that the Ihab regime represents. Its a real breath of fresh air to see the show step outside its comfort zone again and remember how it can take its premise and make it work and keep viewers engaged.

Jamal himself has a eh subplot of trying to get his dick working again via sex and porn, there wasn’t much there as again, but you know its more interesting than Sammy being blown off after getting blown and Ahmed being blue-balled right now. Emma once again, has nothing to do but sneer. Why isn’t she written off yet?

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The less interesting story aspect and subplots do dull the episode at points but when it got good I saw glimpses of how good Tyrant can be when it focuses on its settings and more importantly, its characters and story. Here’s hoping for Tyrant’s future.