Batman Eternal #17

Things continue to get creepier in Batman Eternal’s seventeenth issue. Let’s take a look below!

SPOILERS!

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Batman Eternal #17
Written by Ray Fawkes: Drawn by Dustin Nguyen

Well we’re once again focused on Arkham with Batwing and Spectre and their adventures but first, Red Robin and Harper Row investigate Sergei in Toyko and discover he isn’t the one sending the nanobots in, though Red Robin ain’t buying that shit so they’re gonna bring him to Gotham. That’s about as much of that storyline thread.

We get flashbacks to Deacon Blackfire before he was a spirit tying to fuse itself with Maxie Zeus as a true deacon and swaying people to his ways and even had Batman chained up and tried to get his followers to attack but thanks to strong willpower and mindgames, gets his followers against him who beat him to death. As for he is how he is now, well that’s for another time it seems as Fawkes keeps his creepy atmosphere going on with the wonderful art of Nguyen and it feels more or less about the same as the previous two issues but I don’t mind it now as its a good way to at least get some parts moving while staying in a centralized location. Keeps things from being too chaotic and all over the place, though I am wondering how much longer this can last before it gets stale.

We end with our heroes being swarmed by Blackfire, successfully merged with Maxie, Joker’s Daughter and the disembodied voice whispering to her, and all the other creepy shit with them under Gotham.

A few action moments are nicely broken up by Luke’s best friend and roomie, Rory, but I’m ready for a little more from this book now other than this aspect, which I’m loving, but wanna get some deeper progression.

RATING: 3/5

Tube Talk: Tyrant: What the World Needs Now

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Peace talks come to Abbudin as Jamal meets with the Sheik to settle differences in Tyrant’s latest chapter.

SPOILERS!

Tyrant: Season 1: Episode 6: What the World Needs Now: GRADE: A

Tyrant really continues its upswing in quality. I know I should stop mentioning that now but I think it is worth noting given how fast this show fell on its face.

This week was truly about the characters and story here. The peace talks are going down and every thing is strategized from Barry and company but the Sheik lands a first round knockout punch by saying he only wants one thing, open elections in Abbudin.

DOWN GOES JAMAL! DOWN! GOES! JAMAL!

Yes, Sheik come in, pull his dick out, and slap Jamal right across the face. This is unexpected, just as much as Barry’s plan to have Jamal agree as it’ll take at least a long time to change the constitution and it’d be only a year and a half until the election happens, guaranteeing Jamal stays in power for now but a strategy to make the people fall in love with him and keep the Al Fayeed family in power for just a little longer. This gets around fast and the people are clearly behind the Sheik, but the polls show Jamal still has quite a bit of influence.

So how does he celebrate? Have sex with a pretty white prostitute!

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Yes Jamal’s penis is working again and boning some randomprostitute who I kinda already have forgotten about, but guys its super important to know his penis works again. Also cause he asks her if he’s a really good guy.

Jamal feels confident at first about the decision, but then once 60 Minutes comes to interview and show him footage from the Sheik’s interview that suggest Barry is Jamal’s tamer, things don’t go so well and man that’s some really good conflict. The chemistry between Rayner and Barhom is excellent, but its even better when they are at odds, which is what they are from the Sheik’s statements in the interview. Their conflicts highlights how good the writing really can be and let the actors flow with the words, but what the Sheik said is true.

Barry has taken Jamal on a much different path than if their uncle did and just make him exactly like their father. Barry is why Jamal still has 33% approval ratings in the polls and why things haven’t gotten worse, but Jamal is slowly but surely gonna crack and of course he does when he finds a way to settle all his problems. Assault the very sick Sheik in the bathroom and smash his face into a toilette.

This was a great ending from an extended episode, which it greatly benefits from, as to have an ending like this to see where it might go because by introducing the Sheik’s sickness where it could be possible murder or he just fell over from one his many coughing fits. Introducing a plot line like this to lead into a mystery for the season, alright not so much a mystery, but still compelling drama, will give the show a must watch aspect to see if Jamal gets caught or how he might get himself out of this one. Its a great testament to how much Tyrant has come around.

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Tyrant continues once again to get better than itself week after week now as it reaches the halfway point and yeah it was a rough first half, but now that things are truly set up for the long run of the remaining seven episodes and drama is put in, here’s hoping for a smoother second half. Also the kids were gone again! Please keep that trend up!

Tube Talk: Masters of Sex: Fight

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Time for a bedroom rumble here on Masters of Sex! Place your bets now before the review starts!

SPOILERS!

Masters of Sex: Season 2: Episode 3: Fight: GRADE: A

Master of Sex’s finest hour is one the best pieces of television this year so far. What we have here is a bottle episode and its mostly focused on Bill and Virginia in their hotel room, as well as a boxing match on the TV that helps act as a framing device for the episode for their fight, but its more emotional. Virginia truly sees this as an affair while Bill just sees all this just as a continuation of the study, just minus the wires and all.

But something else creates conflict and that’s the birth of the Bombeck baby that Will delivers at the episode’s start born with ambiguous sex organs, meaning both of them, and when the father demands he cut it off, it stirs old fillings of Bill’s childhood trauma. The child’s chromosomes clearly indicate it is indeed a male. But rather have testosterone shots make him unable to perform in bed, daddy dearest decides “rather a tomboy than a sissy.” This and Scully’s insistence of curing his homosexuality honestly puts things in great perspective and how grateful gender roles have changed since then.

But back to Bill, it almost seems like he’s ready to come to blows with the man but he pulls back but the things that daddy Bombeck said, just really gets at his crawl and can’t leave his brain. He acts out by having Virginia against the bathroom wall and from their, the episode gets rolling.

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There are historical, emotional, and of course, sexual revelations made from the episode length conversation and much like the fight on the telly, each get a shot in and retreat. Virginia’s own fight is with her husband, how things are going since the kids are with him. They both struggle with each other, but struggle with their own lives. It only adds to the great script from episode scriber Amy Lippman.

Bill even goes into how he took up boxing himself at school after he shows a great knowledge of it to Virginia before going into their own boxing match where her bracelet gets caught in his hair. He reveals that his father used to beat him, badly. He then asks her to tell him how she wants him to make her feel could, but she lands a blow to Bill and says she knows how to make herself feel good and masturbates right there in front of Bill.

This was a night and talk much needed for our main characters. The decision for the castration is just painful and leaves Bill begging them to stop it, just as we realize he never begged his father to stop because he wouldn’t admit defeat, but here he’s fighting for the future of someone else, but its far too late. He’s knocked out and must go back to the corner to rest up. It brings up an interesting comparison to a discussion of roles of fairies and princes among the genders between Virginia and her daughter.

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You just gotta keep fighting and that’s what Bill and Virginia keep doing. They will keep fighting and go on with this but their personal fights, well that’s the next big Vegas headline for PPV. Masters of Sex, keep on fighting to be among television’s best.

Tube Talk: The Leftovers: Gladys

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This week we find out all about Gladys and where she has that $50 she owes me in the latest episode of The Leftovers here on Tube Talk!

SPOILERS!

The Leftovers: Season 1: Episode 5: Gladys: GRADE: A-

We stay in Mapleton this week as the now named bespectacled GR member Gladys (Marceline Hugot) is taken by members of the community, tied up to a tree, and stoned to death. Well we have our first true biblical punishment brought over here. This is of course retaliation of the GR breaking into people’s home on Christmas and stealing family pictures.

This was honestly a harsh scene to see, the brutality of it and just the blood flowing out from her head was just, ugh man. Hugot has been a presence on the show since the start with her vacant stare, chain smoking, and ability to convey dialogue without speaking, though she does speak her first words here, begging for her attackers to stop, which they don’t. They’ve been pushed far enough by the GR, telling them there is nothing and no family at all, the stalking and what have you. It was only a matter a time.

Well KEvin tries a curfew in their best interest which gets voted down so he hands them whistles in which to give out alerts to officers in case they are in harm. Which Laurie uses it against Matt, who of course was a suspect but was cleared, when he asks the GR to help remember Gladys.

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That scene was powerful given what has happened to Laurie in the episode where she suffers a panic attack having been the one who found her body. She’s given a chance to speak to Patti on a day off they take together but still she remains silent. Driven to the belief of the GR. It is great to see Patti utter more than a couple words since the pilot and Ann Dowd does well with the time she’s given to talk. I’m lukewarm on the GR stuff as, well they provide conflict, but I am feeling like we should be getting some answers with them in terms of their formation and what their endgame really is beyond making people feel like shit.

Though progression on their part as Liv Tyler’s Meg fully joins in the group here.

Kevin’s dealings are eh here, he mostly just does the investigation but his personal stuff and dealing with booze and Dean, the mysterious man he shot dogs with at the pilot’s end identity finally revealed, as they seem to take a backseat to all the things with the GR which I think as good given I wasn’t as invested this week with hims dealing with trying to get his white shirts back from the dry cleaner.

But hey the Wayne stuff, not at all here nor is much on Jill’s storyline but I didn’t mind it so much in order for the events of the story here.

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The Leftovers have left many people split, I’m still personally enjoying it, but I get why people have abandoned it already. For me, that hinders on how this season goes and wraps up storylines. This episode is a bounce back from last week and I think may provide a strong ongoing tone for the rest of the season.

Tube Talk: The Strain: Gone Smooth

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The Strain keeps on going along smoothly in its latest episode here on Tube Talk!

SPOILERS!

The Strain: Season 1: Episode 3: Gone Smooth: GRADE B+

Well The Strain makes a considerable progress in story terms with the survivors starting to get more vampirey and all that.

We get an excellent cold opening tonight by seeing Eichorst put his human appearance together as we see his true self, a broken down, aged, decrypted vampire that’s shot and scored so beautifully. This was honestly great work. As great a work as the scares on tonight’s episode was. Again the show has a couple issue writing wise, but when it does come down to the horror, its excellent in that regard.

The show keeps up its consistent scary atmospheric tone and pacing very well and tonight’s ending is no exception where Eph and the group find Captain Redfern sucking up bags of blood before a surgery and man the camerawork on that, the pacing, the movement, and most importantly, the special effects. The way these guys are starting to look feels like del Toro’s creations and very similar to the vampires of Blade II with the spilt tongues feeling like how the mouths of those vampires split open and of course, the tonguework.

The show’s building mythology on vampires and the disease is going on greatly. They are doing great work with a slowburn on the disease effects suck the bloodlust and teeth loosing of Ansel and Gab becoming as anatomically impaired as a Ken doll. Not gonna lie, that creeped me out.

Horror is the name of the game here with the show and its fitting in fine with the strong caliber of programming that FX has built up over the years and makes a case for FX even cornering the much lauded Sunday night market for TV as they mostly have stuck to weekdays.

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Eph here has his custody hearing and well Zach goes with Kelly and man Stoll does get to stand out yet again here with a nice dialogue with Kelly about how Zach is the most important thing to him. Slowly but surely, Stoll keeps getting better and better with his stuff here on the show, proving he’s worthy of the lead role. Hell he’s prove to be a good leader when it comes to his team and the case at hand, always wanting those answers.

Even just as good here is Sean Astin who gets to have a light shine on him as we see why Jim let the coffin through, to get enough money to get his cancer ridden wife into a special treatment for her disease. Its a a bit of a exposition dump when revealed, but his scenes with his wife are very good and have some really good emotion to them.

Though once again, David Bradley is the standout with his court scene and finally getting the CDC team to believe him. He spends most the episode with Nora trying to help each other out with information. They have a good chemistry that really works for both actors benefits as we inch a little closer to answers as to the vampires and they really do start helping shape up the character work of the show since Gus isn’t around this episode, which I find good as he is still one the weaker aspects of the show here. Kevin Durand shows up, doesn’t have too much to do. Hope that changes. Though I did like the follow up on the survivors this week, more so Redfern and Ansel, still have no care for Gab.

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There seems to be a pattern here with the reviews, and much the show itself. Its divided up into the acting and the scare which are both hindering on the writing here. I wish there could be some more expansion with that, make the show really something else, but as it stand right now, its still a solidly entertaining show that needs to find its perfect balance to stay afloat.

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.