Monday, 8 August 2016

Paragon Pro Wrestling: Episode 58 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Reviewer Note

This is my first visit to the world of Paragon Pro Wrestling but I'll be filling in as much information on the various feuds as possible.  Also the matches aren't going to be a move by move recap.  I'll pick out the things that stand out the most for me and then offer my opinion on if I liked the match.

Episode 58 opens with a quick recap of the past episode before bursting in to the first match, a tag team opener.

The Hippies (Fruit Loop and Lemon Drop) vs Keepers of the Faith (Gabriel Gallo and Don Vitalli)

The Hippies are a rather strange team, one that feels like a throw back to 90's WWF wrestling when you had wrestling dustmen and police officers.  The Keepers of the Faith are the complete opposite, a no nonsense and hard hitting team.

The match started with The Hippies deciding who would be first by using paper, rock, scissors.  Needless to say, despite their best efforts, the opening of the match really didn't go well for them.  The Keepers of the Faith used some old school, power based moves to keep both members of The Hippies down and literally spent a large chunk of the match throwing them around like rag dolls.  Despite a couple of minor hope spots for The Hippies, including a stellar stunner that lead to them getting some quick moves in, this was a glorified squash in order to get The Keepers of the Faith over with the resident crowd.

Despite the quick hope spots, The Hippies were quickly defeated with an impressive move called the Meet Your Maker, a powerbomb / top rope clothesline combination that nearly decapitated their opponent.

Winners: The Keepers of the Faith (Gabriel Gallo / Don Vitalli)

We were then treated to a major title match in the shape of the Paragon Pro Wrestling Championship.

Jacob Austin Young vs 'The Paragon' Alex Chamberlain (Champion)

The glasses and beanie wearing Young certainly seemed popular with the home crowd here.  I'd heard of him before but had never seen him wrestle before so I'm looking forward to this one.  His opponent, Chamberlain, came to the ring taunting Young and pretty much saying that the match was going to be the best thing Young had ever done in his career.

Young burst straight in to some very quick speed based attacks and really impressed me with some great looking counters to go against Chamberlain's methodical power based fighting.  However, after a quick flurry, Chamberlain took over and really showed some great charisma in the ring.  Young then countered and started to regain some momentum in the match before Chamberlain countered a Sliced Bread attempt with an unseen low blow.  Chamberlain then spiked Young with a vicious looking DDT for the victory.

Winner: 'The Paragon' Alex Chamberlain

After the match Chamberlain then called out the team of Jesse Sorenson and Wes Brisco to accuse them of kidnapping him in previous episodes, despite the kidnappings always happening just when his title was in jeopardy.  After a short back and forth, Brisco and Sorenson corner Chamberlain only to be attacked by a pair of masked man, who then escape.

Brisco and Sorenson then challenge the unknown team to a match before brawling outside the ring.

Wes Brisco / Jesse Sorenson vs Unknown Masked Duo

Brisco and Sorenson are the Paragon Tag Champions and take control of the match early with a lot of well crafted team work.  I have to admit that I wasn't impressed with Brisco's tenure in TNA but here, his moves are a lot more fluid and smooth, which showed here.  The masked team then took over and spent a lot of the match working over Brisco with some hard hitting moves.  However, once Brisco made the hot tag to Sorenson, the match kicked it up a notch and Sorenson really impressed me before hitting a super kick in to a german suplex to end the match for the tag team champions.

Winners: Wes Brisco / Jesse Sorenson 

Anthony Greene then had a backstage interview but was interrupted by Caleb Conley, who berated Greene by saying that Greene's win over him was little more than a fluke.  Greene was hilarious here, especially with his complaint of "But I followed you on Instagram", but Conley ended the fun by slapping him in the face and accepting the challenge for a match on the next show.

After a lot of hype by the commentary team, the main event was next.

Drew Donovan vs 'The Vampire Warrior' Gangrel

This match came about after Donovan was paid off to cost Gangrel a couple of title matches and then Gangrel cost Donovan a match against Anthony Greene in retaliation.

Donovan tried to end the match before it had even began by telling Gangrel that it was nothing personal and was just business before leaving.  Gangrel gave chase and the pair of them brawled around the ringside area.  It was a good change to see a grudge match start with brawling instead of locking up and doing normal wrestling moves so, as a fan, it was appreciated.  Gangrel took the better hand of the brawling for a long time before Donovan leveled him with a stiff clothesline before entering the ring to start the match properly.  The match was well in control for Donovan thanks to his methodical but fluid big man power arsenal. Gangrel took advantage of a slight mistake by Donovan and fought back before trying to hit the Implant DDT but Donovan escaped to the outside for yet more brawling.  This resulted in a double count out.

All in all, there was enough quality here to make me want to not only check out the next episode but also to check out the previous ones too.  The only downside to the episode is that while I appreciated the brawling between Donovan and Gangrel, there just felt like there was something missing but I can't put my finger on just what that something was.

Definitely one to check out again.

Score: 6/10 

Monday, 30 May 2016

Captain America: Civil War Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Christopher Markus
Stephen McFeely

Based on the Comic By
Mark Millar

Based on the Characters Created By
Joe Simon
Jack Kirby

Directed By
Anthony Russo
Joe Russo

A Studio Babelsberg, Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Studios

Genre
Action, Adventure, Comic Book

Cast

Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes / The Winter Soldier
Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson / Falcon
Don Cheadle as Lieutenant James Rhodes / War Machine
Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye
Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa / Black Panther
Paul Bettany as Vision
Elizabeth Olson as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
Paul Rudd as Scott Lang / Ant Man
Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter
Tom Holland as Peter Parker / Spider-Man
Daniel Bruhl as Zemo
William Hurt as Thaddeus Ross

Year Released
2016

Certificate
12

Synopsis

With many people fearing the actions of super heroes, the government decides to push for the Hero Registration Act, a law that limits a hero's actions. This results in a division in The Avengers. Iron Man stands with this Act, claiming that their actions must be kept in check otherwise cities will continue to be destroyed, but Captain America feels that saving the world is daring enough and that they cannot rely on the government to protect the world. 

This escalates into an all-out war between Team Iron Man (Iron Man, Black Panther, Vision, Black Widow, War Machine, and Spiderman) and Team Captain America (Captain America, Bucky Barnes, Falcon, Sharon Carter, Scarlett Witch, Hawkeye, and Ant Man) while a new villain emerges. 

Review

I'm a massive superhero movie fan.  They're the perfect type of movie to put on to watch and then kick back and relax.  After the brilliance of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I went in to this one with some very high expectations.

Granted, I was never that big a fan of the comic books that this movie was based on.  They were good but they seemed to resort to shock value near the end just for the sake of having something shocking happening.  I was wondering just what they would keep in the film to both keep the fans of the comics happy but at the same time keep fans of the movies happy.

Well, they tried to keep everyone happy and to be honest, the movie came across as a rather muddled and busy movie with a lot of story strands just left hanging.  I'm assuming that some of them will be picked up in the next movie but for me, it just seemed to leave the characters either hanging or with nothing to do.

Don't me wrong however.  Is this a rather impressive looking movie?  Yes, most definitely.  The movie itself and  the action set pieces are absolutely knock out.  Those scenes really do explode off of the screen.  However, it's in some of the quieter scenes that the movie struggles.  Yes, the scenes between Rogers and Stark are well done, especially near the end of the movie, but some of the other characters really did just seem to be there to make up the numbers.

That said, there were some absolutely fantastic character movies.  Sebastian Stan as Bucky / The Winter Soldier really did knock it out of the park and came across as both strong and unbeatable but also as a very sympathetic character too.  You really do find yourself caring more and more about the character as the movie progresses.  Chadwick Boseman is a truly wonderful casting choice for T'Challa / The Black Panther.  He went the same route as Stan in that he made the character seem heroic and strong yet fragile and sympathetic.

However, most of the publicity seemed to revolve around the inclusion of Spider-Man himself.  I was rather unsure of casting Tom Holland as Peter Parker but you know what?  He nailed it.  He had the cocky, immature attitude of the comic book style Parker and really gave the movie some hilarious moments but let's not forget about Paul Rudd as Scott Lang / Ant Man.  He really did the same, albeit on the opposite team, which for me was one of the best moments in the movie.

I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about the interplay between Stark and Rogers.  Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. really do have a great chemistry between them and as the movie goes on, they do a great job of showing the reasoning behind them both feeling betrayed by one another.

All in all, while this was a good Marvel movie, I wouldn't go so far as to say it was the best one they've ever made, which seems to be how a lot of people have seen the movie.  It is a good movie but not a great one.  However, I did enjoy it for the most part and it is definitely worth seeing for Holland's performance as Spider-Man and the pairing of Stan as Bucky and Boseman as Black Panther.

Movie 7/10

Kid Monkey: Project Genesis Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
James McCulloch

Art and Cover By
Paul Johnson
Laura Knight

Lettering By
James McCulloch

Published By
Comichaus

Genre
Action, Science Fiction

Synopsis

Caine and Abel are brothers torn apart by an incident in their youth. Part of a genetically created crack commando unit, haunted by a past that refuses to be silenced.

Created by Science.
Trained by the military.
Out for revenge.
KID MONKEY

Review

When a writer such as James McCulloch (City of Lost Souls) comes out with a new project then it's always something to get excited about, especially when it's in a different genre to the one that he is known best for.

McCulloch is best known as the author of the superb supernatural horror series City of Lost Souls alongside the artist Janine Van Moosel but here, he's crafted an incredibly fast paced and action packed science fiction story that really does feel like it was written by a completely different person yet still keeping his unique style at the same time.

One of the things that I noticed first about this comic is that while City of Lost Souls has a slow burn feel to the story, Kid Monkey is definitely a balls to the wall affair.  The action explodes from the very first page and really catches the eye in a watch that you won't want to put it down until you have read the rest of the story.

With such a fast pacing, you'd think there wouldn't be enough time for any back story.  Normally that would be true but here, they fit in some little pieces of the puzzle in order to whet the appetite but I look forward to checking out the next installment to get to see more.

Kid Monkey comes across as quite a visceral story so you would need something with an 'in your face' style to match that and that's exactly what we have here in the shape of Paul Johnson.  He has a splendid dirty and grimy style that really brings to mind the sort of style that would be seen in low budget 70's science fiction movies, which I mean as nothing but a compliment.  Johnson's art style, alongside Lauren Knight's fantastic colouring work, really does make the fight scenes and the entire story itself burst off of the page in an orgy of colours and movement.

My only complaint about the title would be that I would have liked the lettering to have have a jagged and dirty style to it.  I get why the creative team went for the lettering style that they used but I just would have preferred a style that was more in line with the art itself but that's more of a personal preference really.

All in all, this is a unique and exciting read and definitely one that is well worth picking up.  I'll be there for the next installment for sure.

Story 8/10
Art 9/10
Cover 8/10
Recommended 8/10
Overall 33/40

You can purchase Kid Monkey: Project Genesis  from here.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Thunder Levin

Directed By
Anthony C. Ferrante

An Asylum Film

Genre
Action, Horror, Adventure

Cast

Ian Ziering as Fin Shepard
Tara Reid as April Shepard
Cassie Scerbo as Nova Clarke
Frankie Muniz as Lucas Stevens
Ryan Newman as Claudia Shepard
Mark Cuban as President Marcus Robbins
Bo Derek as May Wexler

Year Released
2015

Certificate
15

Synopsis

When Fin and April go to Florida for the summer vacation, strong winds and lots of rain comes to Florida and a Sharknado comes and destroyes Florida. The Sharknado goes to Washington D.C. and sharks falling from the sky. It's up to Fin and April to stop the Sharknado the third time. 

Review

Come on, let's be honest.  With the Sharknado movies, you know exactly what to expect.  Hell, you know what you're going to get when you know that a movie has been made by The Asylum.  Low budgets, wooden acting and a hell of a lot of fun.  Would we get that with this, the third installment of the Sharknado series, or has the well run dry?

Well, this movie may have some of the most wooden acting I've seen in a long time, Tara Reid I'm looking in your direction for this one, yet it is also one of the most fun movies that I have seen in a long time too.

You know what you're going to get with this movies.  The sharknado's that have been plaguing the world in the first two movies are back and this time they are even bigger than before.  Shepard is yet again tasked with stopping the sharknado and saving his family.  Again.  Some of the story does feel like a rehash of the first two movies but with such a short run time, you don't get a chance to get bored thanks to the sheer amount of fun that is included.

One of the most fun things with this movie is the sheer amount of people that made cameo appearances in this installment.  You have a wide range of people such as George R.R. Martin, Jackie Collins and Jerry Springer but then you have Jedward and a myriad of wrestlers such as Chris Jericho, Maryse and more.  Some of them die in hilarious ways and others are just there for a quick laugh but my favourite was by far the cameo for Penn and Teller.  It was absolutely brilliant to see them in it.  There are tons more in the movie but I could honestly be here all day listing them all there really is that many.

The cast here look like they are having an absolute blast making this movie.  It's almost like they know how cheesy and hokey the movie is so they're just going to enjoy the ride while it lasts.  I mean come on, it's a movie that cast Frankie Muniz (of Malcolm in the Middle fame) as a bad ass!

All in all, I'm in two minds about what to score this movie.  If I was scoring the movie on fun factor alone then it would definitely get a much higher score but let's be honest, it's not a good movie.  That's part of the charm of it.  It really is one of those movies that is so bad it's good.

If you like your movies that will have you howling with laughter at just how truly bad it is, then this is the movie for you, especially the ending that has to be seen to be believed.

Movie 4/10 (or 8/10 for the sheer amount of fun factor)

Friday, 19 February 2016

The Crow: Midnight Legends - Waking Nightmares Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Christopher Golden

Art By
Phil Hester
Ande Parks
Jim Woodyard

Lettering By
Dan Burr

Cover By
Kyle Hotz
Dan Brown

Published By
IDW Publishing

Genre
Horror, Thriller, Crime

Synopsis

Can a crow pursue only vengeance, or can he act to save the living?

NYC Cop Mark Leung contemplates this question from the other side after he and his wife are murdered by the Triad, who then take their twin daughters captive.

Volume four of the Midnight Legends collection brings you Waking Nightmares by Christopher Golden and Phil Hester.

Review

As a massive fan of the original The Crow by James O'Barr and a lot of the other spin off's, I was really excited to have finally gotten my hands on this one, especially after reading the synopsis and seeing how they were going to mix the mythology of The Crow with that of the Chinese Triad's system of honour.

After reading this one, one thing struck me.  When you read a book or a comic series based in the world that O'Barr created, there's a sense of the familiar yet also a sense of the horrific as well.  With this installment, there were a myriad of absolutely brilliant ideas and some fantastic scenes yet, for some reason, the sum of it all doesn't quite add up to the great story that we should have ended up with.

My main problem with the story is despite the massive flow of ideas that come from the story, there's still the overwhelming feeling of 'been there, done that' to it all.  The story isn't awful, far from it.  The good ideas and the brilliant pacing of the first three issues really do hook you in to the world that the creative team have created here.  However, the pacing for the last year does seem a little off.  One moment, there's gradual build up to something big but then it just seems to jump to the end.  That said, when the ending does hit, it's a good one and absolutely heart breaking.

Art wise, the story comes across as a mix of the original James O'Barr tale but with a more angular style of art.  There are quite a few panels that made me think of the Sin City stories as well.  It felt at times to be too busy and other times the pages were beautiful but in a brutal and violent way.  One of the things that I liked the most was that while the story tells you of these horrific moments, you see a bit of what happens but quite a lot is left to the readers imagination.  I've always been a big fan of that approach and it works very well here.

All in all, this is a good installment in the franchise but also slightly disappointing at the same time.  It's still very much worth a read thanks to the great ideas here, it's just that not all of those great ideas come together as well as they should.

Still, at least it's not The Crow: Wicked Prayer movie.

Story 6/10
Art 7/10
Cover 8/10
Recommended 6/10
Overall 27/40

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Randi Mayem Singer
Adam Sztykiel

Based on Characters Created By
Ross Bagdasarian
Janice Karman

Directed By
Walt Becker

A Fox 2000 Pictures, Regency Enterprises, Bagdasarian Productions, TSG Entertainment Film

Genre
Adventure, Comedy, Family

Cast

Jason Lee as Dave
Justin Long as Alvin (Voice)
Matthew Gray Gubler as Simon (Voice)
Jesse McCartney as Theodore (Voice)
Kimberly Williams-Paisley as Samantha
Josh Green as Miles
Tony Hale as Agent Suggs
Bella Thorne as Ashley Grey
Eddie Steeples as Barry
Christina Applegate as Brittany (Voice)
Kaley Cuoco as Eleanor (Voice)
Anna Faris as Jeanette (Voice)

Year Released
2016

Certificate
U

Synopsis

Through a series of misunderstandings, Alvin, Simon and Theodore come to believe that Dave is going to propose to his new girlfriend in Miami...and dump them. They have three days to get to him and stop the proposal, saving themselves not only from losing Dave but possibly from gaining a terrible stepbrother.  

Review

I have to admit that I've not really been a huge fan of the first three 'Chipmunk' movies.  They had their funny moments but for the most part just really there and not all that memorable.  That's why when my little son chose this one as his treat for the cinema trip, I wasn't all that eager.

Despite thinking that this was going to be awful, I went along with the little guy and sat down to what I thought was going to be more of the same.

After watching this one, I have to admit one thing.  I actually found myself enjoying this one.  Is it a world changing movie?  No.  Is it an original movie?  Not at all.  Yet this one had one thing that the other movies didn't.  It had a heart right at the center of it.

The story itself isn't anything new but the cast really do bring the characters to life here and end up making you root for them.  There are some lovely moments in the movie that really tackle the question of what does it take to feel like family.  While they do tackle the question in a sometimes funny way, the cast do really well to give it a nice and subtle flow to the story.

Cast wise, Jason Lee returns as Dave but it feels almost like a little bit more of a cynical and tired portrayal at the beginning of the movie but as the story moves along, you can see that he really puts some subtle little nods in to making his character feel a lot more layered than he has done in the previous movies.  That said, the movie definitely rests on the shoulders of Tony Hale, an agent that is chasing the chipmunks.  He really has a Steve Martin / Buster Keaton feel to his slapstick stunts.

All in all, this isn't the most exciting or memorable movie that I have ever seen but it was far improved compared to the other movies and my little lad loved it so what more could you ask for from a family movie?

Movie 6.5/10


Sunday, 31 January 2016

Tozzer and the Invisible Lap Dancers Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Rob Dunlop

Art and Cover By
Peter Lumby

Published By
Ablaze Media

Genre
Comedy, Adventure

Synopsis

Follow Tozzer from trailer park to Tinseltown. In this hilarious, pop culture-drenched tale, Tozzer is an 11-year old boy living in a trailer park, surrounded by the deadbeats of the entertainment industry, somewhere in the southern states of America. 

He's obsessed with becoming an illusionist, and dreams of leaving his trailer to make a name for himself in the glamorous world of simulated magic. Tozzer finds out about an audition at the exclusive Boarboils School of Drama, in Hollywood. He grabs this opportunity and travels to the school, where, after a painful selection process, he's accepted, he finds getting to Boarboils was easy. 

Now can he avoid being hacked to death by S&M, the insane rapper? Magic, movies, and mayhem! Now he has to solve the mystery of the vault before the school explodes.

Tozzer and the Invisible Lap Dancers is an 80 page graphic comedy, bulging suggestively with cheeky film references and parodies. As the extraordinary plot unfolds, Tozzer comes into contact with various Hollywood celebrities, some of whom are teachers at the Boarboils School of Drama. 

Review

I have to admit that I have never heard of this title or the creative team involved but after seeing it in a clearance bin at my local comic shop, I thought it looked interesting enough to take home and give it a read.  I mean, it was next to nothing price wise so there was no way that it would be a waste of money considering how cheap it was right?

Wrong.  Very wrong.

Now I love parodies, spoofs and all that kind of thing.  Sometimes the worse the better in a 'so bad it's good' kind of way.  I was hoping for more of the same here but this one just stayed firmly in the 'so bad' category.

The story itself takes the one note joke of creating awful versions of pop culture and movie icons and giving them silly names based on their real life counterparts and runs it in to the ground.  It's the graphic novel equivalent of someone nudging you every couple of seconds and asking if you 'got it' after telling you a rubbish joke.  At 80 pages, it's not the longest graphic novel I've ever read but boy did it feel like it was.

The characters themselves are awful, mirror images of their real life counterparts.  The only one that I found funny was Anthony Hopkins as Animal Lecher.  Yes that is the level of intelligent comedy on show here.

Art wise, the story does have some pretty good and colourful moments but overall it still falls in to the ham fisted and lazy manner trap that the writing fell victim to.

All in all, this was a massive waste of money, which considering I got it for mere pennies, that's a real surprise.  They did cram a massive amount of movie and pop culture references in to the story but it's a shame that they did so in such a ham fisted and unimaginative way.  Definitely one to avoid unless you enjoy wasting your time and money.

Story 2/10
Art 4/10
Cover 4/10
Recommended 1/10
Overall 11/40

Friday, 22 January 2016

Papercuts and Inkstains: Issues 3A and 3B Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Issue 3A

Written By
Robin Jones
Michael Sambrook

Art By
Angela Sprecher
Paul Moore
Rosie Packwood

Cover By
Rosie Packwood

Issue 3B

Written By
Robin Jones
Nick Gonzo
Michael Sambrook

Art By
Dan Butcher
Brian Burke
Mike Smith

Cover By
Mike Smith
Jim Lavery

Published By
Madius Comics

Genre
Anthology

Synopsis

Issue 3A

In the first of our double feature, issue 3A, you will be greeted by the mind meltingly beautiful cover from Rosie Packwood (whoever it was who trusted that bunch of reprobates on a rollercoaster clearly didn’t do their homework). Issue 3A features 3 completely brand new stories and in essence functions as a stand alone issue (this one’s for you, haters of continuity). The first story, written by Rob and Mike, and featuring art from the incredible Angela Sprecher is a fast paced Wild-West casino heist called ‘A Roll of the Dice’.

We find out what happens when a small town bar owner decides to fight back against the oppressive cash-munching casino that’s moved into the area. I love it when a plan comes together! Next up, we have the breakneck ‘Vampire Wonderland’, again written by Rob and Mike, this time featuring art from the brilliant Paul Moore.

The world has changed, the vampires are here, and they are HUNGRY. We are thrown headfirst into a young woman’s heart pounding supply run. When vampires are everywhere, the survivors have to get creative to stay alive. We cap off the first of our issues with the return of the aforementioned aficionado, Rosie Packwood. The final story is drawn by the wonderful Rosie, and written by the sort-of-wonderful, Mike Sambrook. What starts out as a regular teenage road trip takes several strange turns and leads you to places you’d never expect. Everybody’s going on ‘Slaycation’! The horror!!

More mentalness than you can throw a sticky stick at...

Issue 3B

In part B of the double headed beast that is Issue #03...THERE'S MORE MADNESS!


The minute you gaze upon the face of 3B you will taste the shoe leather of frequent friend of Madius, the effervescent Mike Smith’s boot-to-your-chops. Mirroring the wonderful Rosie’s cover for 3A, we get a sneaky look at the kind of shenanigans we can expect inside. Many shenanigans! The art for 3B’s cover was a collaboration between Mr. Smith (on line art) and family friend, Jim Lavery (on colours).

The first tale in our second helping of awesome is written by Rob and featuring art from the magnetic Dan Butcher, who you may remember from the fantastic Papercuts 1 cover. In this story, entitled FPS, we dive right into the body of our character and experience it as ourself. Told from a first person visual perspective we get a harrowing tale of an invasion into enemy territory. Forces collide, world views collide. It’s gonna get ugly. 

Following this we have a Papercuts return for Nick ‘I can fit twelve eggs in my mouth at once’ Gonzo on writing duties, teaming up with the wonderful Brian Burke to bring you Madius’ first foray into capes. But hey, this is Madius, things were never going to be straightforward, were they? ‘The Perplexity’ isn’t yo momma’s superhero! Then, just when you thought it was nearly over. THOSE DAMN PROFITS OF DOOM SHOW UP. They are back. They are still useless. As always, written by Rob Jones & Mike Sambrook and featuring brilliant art from Mike Smith. How’s the apocalypse shaping up? Spoiler, it ain’t going well. We get the hotly anticipated third installment from our favourite hooded idiots.

WHO’S HOUSE!? MADIUS’ HOUSE!!

Review

Issue 3A

With so many stories to get through in this review, let's jump straight in.

Issue 3A of the superb Papercuts and Inkstains anthology series starts with a comedy western called A Roll of the Dice.  This one has a swift pace and a great, almost classic cartoon feel to the story of a group of people that are best described as bumbling idiots that take on a big corporation.  The thing that struck me the most was the simple fact that it made me feel like a team of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy type people going on a mission.  The humour comes thick and fast in this story and while not all the jokes hit the mark, this is still a good story to start the issue on.

The second story, Vampire Wonderland is a completely different type of story.  It's a sarcastic, almost cynical take on the well worn vampire genre.  The thing that I liked the most about the story was the simple fact that they didn't go the cliched route with the vampires, instead focusing on the inner monologue of the main character Sabi.  This lead to the story moving along very quickly but also left me wanting more as a reader.  The superb and sometimes stark art really brought the story to life and made it one that was incredibly memorable.

The third and final story of the issue is a story called Slaycation.  This one is a story that's rather hard to explain without giving the HUGE twist away but let's just say don't judge it by how you think it is going to go.  We have all seen and read stories about a group of friends who go to a cabin in the woods right?  Well, this is one of those stories but also isn't one of those stories.  Take everything you think you know about that kind of story and throw it on it's head.  It's that good a story.  The strength of the story is compounded by the sheer brilliance of the art itself.  Simple in some places and incredibly detailed in others, this is by far my favourite of the three stories in this one.  Well worth picking up this issue for this story alone.

While I think A Roll of the Dice is the weakest of the three stories, that's not to say that it's a bad story or that it lets down this collection because it doesn't.  It's just that the other two stories are so good that it gets left behind a little bit.  

All in all, issue 3A is an absolute blinder of an installment to the anthology series.

Story 7.5/10
Art 8.5/10
Cover 7.5/10
Recommended 8.5/10
Overall 32/40

Issue 3B

The first story in the second issue three installment is a rather unique one called F.P.S. and is told completely in a first person point of view.  This leads to some rather unique visuals and that's the main hook that this story rests on.  The writing is strong for this short story but it definitely rests on the art.  I think it's one of the most interestingly drawn stories in the Madius Comics catalogue.  There's a great final stretch to this story and one that makes the story well worth reading.

The second story is The Perplexity and it's one that I really can't decide if I enjoyed or not to be perfectly honest.  It starts off as a stereotypical bank heist story but then turns weird very quickly and for the most part, it works.  You're left feeling a little disorientated for a better word and that leads to you wondering just who the good guys are.  My one problem is that the story came across as a bit too preachy in places.  Yes, the character sprouting almost sage like quotations is supposed to be as such but it wore a little thin for me.  That said, the story moves at a good pace despite being much more dialogue heavy than the other stories and there are some superb deaths as well so horror fans will really enjoy that side of the story.

Finally, and obviously saving the best for last, the Profits of Doom return in their third installment.  It was very much a welcome return for one of the funniest sets of characters to grace a Madius Comics release.  

The thing that makes them so popular is that their stories are so utterly ridiculous.  They are the biggest and most inept set of people that you would ever expect to meet yet alone at the end of the world, especially in a story that involves a T-Rex, a gigantic cat, a human meat ball and more.  This is by far the crown jewel of the Papercuts and Inkstains anthology series and one that I always look forward to reading.

Story 8/10
Art 8/10
Cover 8/10
Recommended 8.5/10
Overall 32.5/40

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Flash Gordon (1936) Review


AKA Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers

Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Ella O'Neill
Frederick Stephani
George Plympton
Basil Dickey

Based on the Comic Strip By
Alex Raymond

Directed By
Frederick Stephani
Ray Taylor (uncredited)

A Universal Pictures Film

Genre
Science Fiction, Adventure

Cast

Buster Crabbe as Flash Gordon
Jean Rogers as Dale Arden
Charles Middleton as Ming the Merciless
Priscilla Lawson as Princess Aura
Frank Shannon as Doctor Alexis Zarkov
Richard Alexander as Prince Barin
Jack 'Tiny' Lipson as King Vultan
Richard Tucker as Professor Gordon

Year Released
1936

Certficate
PG

Synopsis

A rogue planet is 'rushing madly toward the earth.' Impending doom creates worldwide pandemonium. But maverick scientist Dr. Zarkov hopes to stay disaster by travelling to the new planet in his experimental rocket. Two chance-met strangers, athletic Flash Gordon and damsel in distress Dale Arden, go with him. 

Arrived, the trio find Mongo to be a planet of wonders, warring factions, and deadly perils, its orbit controlled by Emperor Ming who has his own sinister plans for earth. Can our heroes, armed only with science and sex appeal, stop him?

Review

As any reader of this blog will know, I'm a sucker for a good old fashioned black and white serial.  Especially those from the 1930's and 1940's.  Those were the decades where you got titles like Zombies of the Stratosphere, the Tarzan serials and more.  One of the most famous series of serials of the time were those of Flash Gordon.

Most of you will remember the 1980's movie that took it's inspiration from the original series of movies as well as the comic strip but here, we have a stripped down and classic kind of science fiction that you just don't see these days.

Modern movie fans may find these stories a little bit slow and simplistic at times but that's what makes them so endearing to the fans out there.  I loved the story and how each section would slowly build to a cliff hanger.  The sense of classic science fiction really did spring off of the screen in this one.  The famous characters are all here and they do superbly well to bring a sense of adventure as well as campy fun to the movie.

For me, Buster Crabbe will also be the Flash Gordon that I prefer.  He had the wholesome good guy act down to to an art form and this one is no different.  He also played the feeling of desperation that Gordon feels during the scenes superbly well.  However, there's one man here that steals the show for me and that is Charles Middleton as Ming the Merciless.  His subtle sense of menace really shines the brightest during the story and you come to see him get more and more desperate in his attempts to do away with Flash.

One of the things that I have always loved in films and serials from this time period are the costumes and the sets.  In Flash Gordon, they really outdid themselves.  It's true that they released various sets from the famous movies of the era but they dress them in such a way that some of them are near unrecognisable.  The costumes are utterly gorgeous and stunning to look at, which really shows the differing personalities and characters of the various people and races in the movie.

All in all, if you are a fan of the good ol' days of science fiction cinema, then this one is a must have and really should already be in your collection.

Movie 8/10



Sunday, 3 January 2016

The Rainbow Orchid: Volume One Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written and Illustrated By
Garen Ewing

Published By
Egmont UK

Genre
Adventure, Thriller

Synopsis

Follow our hero, Julius Chancer, as he embarks on a hazardous quest for the rainbow orchid – a mythical flower last mentioned by the ancient Greek philosopher, Theophrastus, and steeped in legend. His epic journey takes him from 1920s Britain to the Indian subcontinent and its mysterious lost valleys.


Garen Ewing’s stunning graphic novel series blends classic storytelling and historical drama with cinematic artwork in the same vein as the great Herge. An Adventure series not to be missed.

Review

I've been a massive fan of the old Blake and Mortimer tales as well as the Tintin stories since I was a little lad and ever since then have been looking for something else that would not only fall in to that genre but also stand shoulder to shoulder with those tales.

With The Rainbow Orchid, I firmly believe I have found such a title.

The first thing that struck me was the simple fact that the art style really gave me the immediate, warm feeling of nostalgia that the Tintin stories has but that's really where the similarity ends really.

In The Rainbow Orchid, we are treated to an absolutely rip roaring adventure that not only the titles that I mentioned before have but also made me think of the old fashioned black and white movies that I love so much.

The story itself moves along at a massively quick pace due to the title only having just over 30+ pages but those pages are absolutely crammed with panels.  Some have up to 13 panels on the page.  Normally that would look cluttered and too busy but that's not the case here and that is down to Ewing's superb writing and art.  The story moves along like you're watching a classic Saturday morning cartoon.  That's most true of the main character of Julius Chancer, our hero of tale but there are some standout characters as well.  

There are some fantastic scenes that will both keep you on the edge of your seat but will also have you laughing like crazy.

Art wise, this first volume of a three part story really does have a classic vibe to it.  There are wild splashes of colour and action through out the first volume that really does feel fresh and exciting while keeping the feeling of a classic adventure tale.  Superb.

All in all, with this being the first volume, I can't wait to see just what the character of Julius Chancer is going to get up to next in his quest to find the famed Rainbow Orchid.

Story 7.5/10
Art 8.5/10
Cover 8.5/10
Recommended 8/10
Overall 32.5/40

Sherlock: The Abominable Bride Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Mark Gatiss
Steven Moffatt

Directed By
Douglas Mackinnon

Genre
Thriller, Crime

Cast

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes
Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson
Una Stubb as Mrs Hudson
Rupert Graves as DI Lestrade
Mark Gatiss as Mycroft Holmes
Louise Brealey as Molly Hooper
Natasha O'Keeffe as Emilia Riccoletti

Synopsis

Imagining himself back in the 1890s Sherlock is visited by Inspector Lestrade, after newly-wed Emelia Ricoletti, having apparently killed herself in public, murdered her husband Thomas in front of witnesses before vanishing.

Review

After such a long wait from the shocking ending of series three of Sherlock, the 2015 holiday special was always going to have a massively uphill battle to whet the appetite of the shows fans.  That's when it emerged that it would be set in the Victorian era and not the modern day like the fans were used to but why would they take that route.

However, after watching the episode itself, I have to admit that not only does the tale work superbly well as a stand alone story, it also links in to the series itself in a brilliantly clever way.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves however,  The story itself is a well written and well paced mystery for Holmes and Watson to try to solve.  The show has become known for presenting it's twists and turns in a sly and sometimes even cynical way and that is done here to great effect.  At first you are watching the mystery unfold before your very eyes and  then they throw you for a complete 360 with an offhand comment or reaction.

With a show known for being set in the modern day to tackle a historical story, it was always going to be tough to juggle both time periods.  Here, they do both with a sense of style that will not only impress fans of the show but also hook in people that may not have seen any of the previous stories too.

Cast wise, all the usual suspects are here and they all do a great job of transplanting their modern day personalities in to a Victorian setting, including one in a way that you may not expect.  That said,  this is by far the Cumberbatch and Freeman show.  Not only do they recreate their characters that fans of the show have come to love but they also make them subtly different in the new setting but do so without losing what made them popular to begin with.  There's also a character return that is both ridiculous and bonkers yet it works perfectly but I won't spoil that for you here.  Just watch it to see what I mean.

All in all, this was a brilliant return for the most famous detective ever created.  That said, this brilliant story does have one major problem.  If this one off holiday special was this good, then the returning series has a hell of a lot to live up to.

Show 8/10

The Danish Girl Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Lucinda Coxon

Based on the Novel By
David Ebershoff

Directed By
Tom Hooper

An Artemis Productions, Pretty Pictures, ReVision Pictures, Working Title Film

Genre
Biographical, Drama, Romance

Cast

Eddie Redmayne as Einar Wegener / Lili Elbe
Alicia Vikander as Gerda Wegener
Adrian Schiller as Rasmussen
Amber Heard as Ulla
Henry Pettigrew as Nils
Matthias Schoenaerts as Hans Axgil
Pip Torrens as Dr. Hexler

Year Released
2015 / 2016

Certificate
15

Synopsis

A fictitious love story inspired by the lives of Danish artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili and Gerda's marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili's groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.

Review

Eddie Redmayne is one of my favourite actors and one of the few people that I will gladly go to the cinema to see so when I read that he was taking on the multi-layered role of Lili Elbe,  I was excited to see just what kind of performance he would bring to the screen.

Based on a fictional account of Elbe's life, and sadly not on her diaries, The Danish Girl is a movie that looks absolutely stunning.  Nearly everything about the setting and the costumes are pitch perfect and really draw your eyes to each and every detail that is put up on the screen.  You could easily watch this movie multiple times and see something new each and every time.  Yet for me, that was part of the problem.  It just looked too perfect.

Some of that problem is the simple fact that it is based on the fictional account of Elbe's life.  Don't get me wrong, it's not a badly made or written movie at all.  In fact, it's a beautiful and heart breaking one but they glossed over a lot of the details that I felt make Lili and Gerda such interesting characters.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not the sort of the person that feels the need to have everything spelled out for him but it did bother me quite a bit that they glossed over so much of Elbe's life considering just how important a figure she is.

Story wise, like I said, it's very well written but quite glossy in places.  That said, it's very well paced and utterly heart breaking.  To see the transformation of Redmayne in to Lili is the strongest part of the story and they have written that well as well as the way the relationship with Gerda changes.  I would have liked to have seen more of that to be honest and to have seen a bit more about Gerda's life but obviously you can't fit everything in to a movie and please everyone.

However, what ever problems the script may have had with glossing over certain facts or omissions, the cast more than make up for it with their down to Earth portrayals of the characters themselves.  For me, Vikanda as Gerda was an absolute tour-de-force of emotion and yet there were some amazing scenes of just subtle facial expressions or slight changes in how she delivered her dialogue.  It was also her chemistry with Redmayne that created a relationship that you couldn't take your eyes off of whenever the pair of them were on the screen together.

Redmayne, after his success at portraying Stephen Hawking, portrays a character with such a gentle touch and a delicate performance that it was almost like you were watching Lily come to life as the movie progressed.

The rest of the cast did seem secondary in places though, thanks to the performances by Redmayne and Vikanda, but I wouldn't say that there were any bad performances in the entire cast.  You can't say that for a lot of the movies coming out these days.

All in all, this is a good movie and one that I would see as a good starting point to learn about Elbe from.  However, because of the omissions and the glossing over of certain moments, I would suggest maybe reading her diaries as well to get a fuller picture.  

Movie: 7.5/10


Friday, 1 January 2016

Back to the Future: Issue 1 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Bob Gale ('When Marty Met Emmett' and 'Looking For a Few Good Scientists')
John Barber ('When Marty Met Emmett')
Erik Burnham ('Looking For a Few Good Scientists')

Art By
Brent Schoonover ('When Marty Met Emmett')
David Witt ('When Marty Met Emmett')
Kelly Fitzpatrick ('When Marty Met Emmett')
Dan Schoening ('Looking For a Few Good Scientists')
Luis Antonio Delgado ('Looking For a Few Good Scientists')

Lettering By
Shawn Lee

Cover By
Dan Schoening
Luis Antonio Delgado

Published By
IDW Publishing

Genre
Science Fiction, Comedy, Movie Tie-In, Anthology

Synopsis

“Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines,” part 1: BttF creator/screenwriter Bob Gale returns with all-new tales from the twisting and turning timeline that made Back to the Future a, well… TIMELESS pop-culture phenomenon! 

Take a trip back to 1985 and be there when Doc Brown and Marty McFly first meet, and then jump even farther back, to 1945, to witness Doc’s involvement in the super-secret Manhattan Project.

Review

When it was revealed that IDW Publishing was going to be releasing a comic book set in the world created during the classic Back to the Future trilogy, I was a little hesitant to take a look at it purely for the fact that it felt like it would end up being a bit of a cash in.

Instead of getting a half arsed cash in, we have gotten an anthology series that will deal with, or at least in this case, the back stories of the two main characters in the shapes of Doc Brown and Marty McFly themselves.  We've also got the great Bob Gale involved as well so I slowly started to have some high hopes for this one.

In the first story, we are given a look at just how McFly came to meet Brown for the first time.  Gale and Barber deliver a story here that is a definite treasure trove for the fans of the movies and you get some truly wonderful nods to the original movies there too.  I won't reveal them here for the simple fact that it's a great thing to read through the issue and find them for yourself but for me, as a fan of the movies, I found it put a smile on my face.

Story wise, they don't deliver any bombshells or go for anything particularly exciting per se but that's why the story works well.  They know what made the movies so popular and that's what they have given us.  You will, if you are anything like I am, here the dialogue in the characters voices themselves because they have absolutely nailed the personalities here.

In the second story, we get to see a young Doc Brown in his element as a lecturer of sorts.  I loved the fact that they tied his character in with a real life event but managed to pull that together without it seeming hokey or over used.  We see a little bit of Brown's involvement with the Manhattan Project and I'm looking forward to seeing where they take that part of his life.

Art wise, the two stories are completely different style wise.  In the first story, When Marty Met Emmett, we have a slightly cartoon style to the art and it works beautifully well for the comical slant the story takes.

For the second story, Looking For a Few Good Scientists, we have a slightly more conventional approach to the art to go along with the more serious tone of the tale.  While that works, and it looks great, I couldn't help but be more impressed with the first story.  That's not to say that the art is bad because it's not, I suppose it's just down to personal taste really.

All in all, this isn't a title that is going to rock the comic book world in the slightest.  However, if you are a fan of the movies themselves, then you will find a lot to make you smile.  It keeps the atmosphere of the movies as well as putting some wonderful nods to them in the stories themselves so it's well worth picking up.

Story 8/10
Art 7/10
Cover 7/10
Recommended 8/10
Overall 30/40