Author: Robert Greenberger

REVIEW: Batman: The Doom that Came to Gotham

REVIEW: Batman: The Doom that Came to Gotham

The latest Warner Animated DC feature film adapts the 2000-2001 Elseworlds miniseries Batman: The Doom that Came to Gotham. The fun of the Elseworlds comics, and soon the live-action versions under the new artistic regime, is taking the familiar and imagining them in other times and other places. Here, we do back to the early 20th century and overlay it with a dose of Loftcraftian horror.

Cowritten by Mike Mignola and Richard Pace, two men better known for their artistic skills, this story was designed for visual impact, something Troy Nixey did well in print, and the animators from Jase Ricci’s script and co-directed by Sam Liu and Christopher Berkeley, replicate nicely.

Basically, an arctic expedition headed by Bruce Wayne (David Giuntoli), sent to check on a previous team led by Professor Oswald Cobblepot (William Salyers) reveals horrors and a missing professor. The only surviving is Grendon (David Dastmalchian), but there’s something definitely off about him, so of course, they bring him back to Gotham City.

There’s a mystery to be solved, so the millionaire adventurer dons his cape and cowl and, accompanied by Kai Li Cain (Tati Gabrielle), Dick Grayson (Jason Marsden), Sanjay Tawde (Karan Brar), and Alfred Pennyworth (Brian George), he goes on the hunt.

The great Gotham City triumvirate of Bruce Wayne (David Giuntoli), Oliver Queen (Christopher Gorham) and Harvey Dent (Patrick Fabian) come together at a dinner hosted by the famed archer as the action begins to heat up .

Complicating matters, she tends to, is Talia al-Ghul (Emily O’Brien), seeking a way to resurrect her deadly father, who was responsible for Thomas and Martha Wayne’s death two decades earlier. Toss in Oliver Queen (Christopher Gorham), James Gordon (John DiMaggio), Lucius Fox (Tim Russ), Harvey Dent (Patrick Fabian), Barbara Gordon (Gideon Adlon), stir in a dash of demon, place on a low heat and let things simmer.

If anything, the leisurely pacing of the story hurts it as does a less than clear narrative, so you’re not as fully engaged in the goings-on as one should be. It’s pleasant enough, but the makings of a much stronger, scarier story are not used to their best potential.’

The film is available in the now-standard 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, Digital HD code combo pack. The 4K 2160p transfer is strong, nicely capturing the animated look and color palette. Given the appropriately unique look to this horror take on the DCU, they do a creditable job. The same can be said of the DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track.

As for the Special Features, you get a fine Audio Commentary with Liu, Ricci, DC creative director Mike Carlin, and producer Jim Krieg. Additionally, there is Batman: Shadows of Gotham (13:12) and From the DC Vault – Batman: The Animated Series: “The Demon’s Quest” Part One (22:18) and Part Two (22:14) [Only on the Blu-ray].



Gerard Butler was destined for stardom around the time he was the lead in 300 but the fates have not been kind, so he continues to get work, reminding us of his skills. Unfortunately, the quality of the vehicles he appears in varies wildly and thankfully the most recent, Plane, is better than most.

A large part of the credit goes to the always-likable Mike Colter, regardless of the part he plays. Here, he’s a fugitive from justice, being extradited by Butler when their airplane crashes. In a hostile Pacific environment, they are on the run, chased by Datu Junmar (Evan Dane Taylor), and the rescue team led by Scarsdale (Tony Goldwyn), former Special Ops, who knows a thing or two.

Were it just the two of them, the black and white men on the run and opposite sides of the law would loudly echo The Defiant Ones, but with other passengers in the mix, it’s down to a dull roar in the background. Some of the character arcs are interesting, and none of the characters are particularly memorable. There’s even a C-plot with Butler and his scene daughter Haleigh Hekking.

The movie, out on disc now from Lionsgate, was written by Charles Cumming and J. P. Davis, and they do a fine job keeping the suspense going. With direction by Jean-François Richet, this is an enjoyable B film that doesn’t demand much from the audience.

The movie is out in the usual 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and Digital HD code combo pack. The 2160p and 1080p transfers are both top notch, easily capturing the color saturation the tropical clime demands. The Dolby Atmos soundtrack is almost as satisfying.

There is not much of the way in Special Features but you do get This Is Your Captain (14:18), spotlighting Butler; Plane Clothes (6:51), Brace for Turbulence (19:14), and the Theatrical Trailer (HD; 2:29).

REVIEW: The Adventures of Batman

REVIEW: The Adventures of Batman

Filmation caught lightning in a bottle. In 1965 or so, with no real money or track record, they bamboozled DC Comics into licensing Superman for animated fare. Just as the Man of Steel flew to his Broadway debut and Batmania was sweeping the country, they gave us Superman cartoons, followed by Aqualand and friends. Finally, in 1968, six months after the live-action series left ABC, CBS Saturday Morning welcomed The Batman/Superman Hour, mixing the 1966 super-doings with brand new 12-minute Bat-capades.

All 34 capers are now packaged in remastered form as The Adventures of Batman, a two-disc set from Warner Home Entertainment. At 10, I was delighted by these, even if some of the equipment and villains didn’t look quite on model, and even at that tender age, I recognized how many shots were reused to stretch the animation budget.

They played it straight and in animated form, worked without the camp element that propelled the live-action series to stratospheric heights. In a mere dozen minutes, we have a villain, conflict, death trap, battle, and quips between the Dynamic Duo. It was pleasing fare that went nicely with a bowl of cereal.

Olen Soule’s Batman was solid and serious with Casey Kasem’s Robin not sounding right. He just couldn’t vary his voice enough for the parts he played, which included Chief O’Hara. Ted Knight, the redoubtable narrator, does better with his Commissioner Gordon, Penguin, Riddler, Mr. Freeze, Scarecrow, and Mad Hatter.

Dennis Marks, Bill Keenan, and Oscar Bensol were all animation veterans, with Marks going back to the beginning a few years before. They were joined by DC writers Bob Haney and George Kashdan, who both cut their teeth on the earlier Aquaman stories. Interestingly, they use the villainous heavy-hitters and add in Scarecrow, who never made it to live-action. Conversely, none of the live-action original foes are seen here. Instead, we get Simon the Pieman as a repeat offender.

Looking at them now, though, you see they were not terribly well-thought-out, and certainly, the conflicts and fights were pedestrian without the outrageousness of the ABC incarnation. It didn’t closely resemble either the Adam West-led series or the Julie Schwartz-edited comic books, so doesn’t particularly work well. This set is for nostalgia only.

The 1080p high definition transfer is definitely superior to the 2014 DVD collection but it also makes the limited animation more glaring. Thank goodness things move quickly enough you don’t pay attention. The best looking Batman is the Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez style guide art that graces the box. The DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio mix is perfectly fine for what we’re dealing with.

The two-disc set presents zero extras nor is there a digital HD code.


My Crime Is Your Crime / A Bird Out of Hand

The Cool, Cruel Mr. Freeze / The Joke’s on Robin

How Many Herring in a Wheelbarrow? / In Again, Out Again Penguin

The Nine Lives of Batman / Long John Joker

Bubi, Bubi, Who’s Got the Ruby? / The 1001 Faces of the Riddler

The Big Birthday Caper / Two Penguins Too Many

Partners in Peril / The Underworld Underground Caper

Hizzoner the Joker / Freeze’s Frozen Vikings

The Crime Computer / The Great Scarecrow Scare


A Game of Cat and Mouse / Beware of Living Dolls

Will the Real Robin Please Stand Up? / He Who Swipes the Ice, Goes to the Cooler

Simon the Pieman / A Mad, Mad Tea Party

From Catwoman with Love / Perilous Playthings

A Perfidious Pieman Is Simon / Cool, Cruel Christmas Caper

The Fiendishly Frigid Fraud / Enter the Judge

The Jigsaw Jeopardy / Wrath of the Riddler

It Takes Two to Make a Team / Opera Buffa

REVIEW: Legion of Super-Heroes

REVIEW: Legion of Super-Heroes

Long live the Legion!

Since early in their existence, I have been a diehard fan of the Legion of Super-Heroes, so I am immediately drawn to anything featuring them. The current Warner Animation release, Legion of Super-Heroes, certainly makes me smile—that is, when I’m not grimacing.

The film picks up on the current animated continuity so we have a Supergirl (Meg Donnelly), relatively new to Earth. She’s a headstrong teen still coming into her powers, and for some reason, Superman (Darren Criss), who already had the benefit of Pa Kent’s tutelage, can’t manage her. When Batman (Jansen Ackles) points out she’s a threat in her current condition, the Man of Steel decides she needs more help than he can give.

Using a time sphere, he brings her to the 31st Century, where she is immediately accepted into the Legion Academy. Then, in both time periods, a threat from the mysterious Circle presents a clear and present danger.

While in the future, Supergirl befriends a few Legionnaires, and we see some scant effort at training any of the rookies. The actual members—Timber Wolf (Robbie Daymond), Shadow Lass (Victoria Grace), and Dawnstar (Cynthia Hamidi)—seem more worried that the rest of the team is in the distant reaches of the universe and can’t be reached.

At first, it seems that Supergirl is drawn to the flirty Mon-El (Yuri Lowenthal), but then as she bickers and works alongside Brainiac 5 (Harry Shum Jr.), she recognizes a connection. Meantime, Brainy, despite being a 12th-level intellect, is either an ass or an idiot for most of the story, oftentimes both. What she sees in him is elusive.

There are several unsatisfactory reveals in this story from screenwriter Josie Campbell, including the Circle’s leader and a traitor within the Legion. Neither work.

And while it was nice seeing so many of the team in brief glimpses, it just wasn’t enough, nor did it make any sense which members were suddenly designated trainees versus full members. The shape-shifting Proty was fun but little used.

It was fun if you’re a Legion fan, but its storytelling weaknesses drag down a promising story. The tag with its cliffhanger was certainly unnecessary.

The animation style is clean but overly simplified so Superman looks cartoony compared with Batman or the Legionnaires. The best part was Supergirl’s hair and facial expressions.

The film, out now in all the usual formats, looks particularly nice in 4K, with a sharp 2160p transfer that captures the colors nicely. The accompanying Blu-ray looks equally sharp. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is perfectly fine, a solid match.

There are an assortment of extras here, including the Digital HD code. As for features, there’s The Legion Behind the Legion (4:40) with producer James Krieg, Campbell, Donnelly, and Lowenthal; Down to Earth: The Story of Supergirl (8:21); Meet the Legionnaires (9:24), sort of hosted by the not funny Krieg; and Brainiac Attack: The Intellect Behind the Super-Villain (8:14).

On disc only, there are also From the DC Vault – Superman: The Animated Series episodes “Little Girl Lost, Part 1” (21:17) and “Little Girl Lost, Part 2” (21:29).

REVIEW: Violent Night

REVIEW: Violent Night

From the moment you saw the trailer, you knew exactly what you were going to get with Violent Night. The biggest selling points had to be the high concept and lead performer David Harbour. These days, he elevates just about everything he is in, so this already made it worth seeing.

The film opened to mixed reviews and reasonable box office, but Universal Home Entertainment seemed to release this in a rush, as a Blu-ray only release even as work begins on a sequel.

The Home Alone/Die Hard riffs are hard to miss but the inventiveness of the antics are amusing as a band of thieves led by John Leguizamo invade a Greenwich mansion to rob them blind. The bickering family spans three generations and most fill the stock character types one expects from such fare. It helps to have Beverly D’Angelo as the shrewish matriarch, able to go toe to toe with Leguizamo.

The most predictable yet heartwarming thread is the jaded Santa in need of a child’s blind faith in him to give him the strength to save everyone on Christmas Eve. The exchanges between Santa and Trudy (Leah Brady) are revealing and natural, well worth the tub of popcorn the film demands.

What’s unexpected is the violent backstory that shows Santa was once Nikamund the Red, a bloodthirsty Viking over a millennium ago and somehow he and his enchanted sledgehammer became jolly old Saint Nick. He keeps telling us how he doesn’t understand how Christmas magic works, but as long as someone (and the audience) believes, it’ll all work out.

I wish writers Pat Casey and Josh Miller made the characters less types and far less predictable, a weakness. Director Tommy Wirkola choreographs the action nicely and keeps things moving so the 112 minute feature rarely flags.

The 1080p digital transfer is perfectly satisfactory if unspectacular. It makes for perfectly good home viewer, aided by a matching DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless soundtrack.

The Special Features include Deleted and Extended Scenes (19:02), seven missing scenes plus a handful of extended scenes; Quarrelin’ Kringle (3:45), a look at Harbour Santa’s Helpers: The Making of Violent Night (5:56); Deck the Halls with Brawls (6:04); and Audio Commentary featuring  Wirkola, Producer Guy Danella, Casey, and Miller gather to discuss the film.

Denzel Washington’s Training Day gets 4K Release

Denzel Washington’s Training Day gets 4K Release

Burbank, Calif., January 17, 2023 – Training Day, starring Academy Award winner Denzel Washington and Academy Award® nominee Ethan Hawke and directed by Antoine Fuqua, will be released on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack on February 28 and Digital on February 7, it was announced today by Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Village Roadshow Pictures’ 2001 crime thriller Training Day was directed by Fuqua (Olympus Has Fallen, The Equalizer) from a screenplay by David Ayer (The Fast & The Furious). Washington won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Detective Alonzo Harris, and Hawke was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Office Jake Hoyt.

Training Day was produced by Bobby Newmyer and Jeffrey Silver.  The film also stars Scott Glenn (Silverado, Backdraft), Cliff Curtis (Live Free or Die Hard), Dr.  Dre (Set It Off), Snoop Dog (The Wash), and Eva Mendes (Ghost Rider, The Women).

Ultra HD* showcases 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and a wider color spectrum, offering consumers brighter, deeper, more lifelike colors for a home entertainment viewing experience like never before.   

Training Day will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack for $33.99 SRP and includes an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR and a Digital download of the film. Fans can also own Training Day in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers beginning on February 7.
About the Film:

Denzel Washington delivers an Academy Award-winning performance opposite Ethan Hawke in this gritty drama set in the morally ambiguous world of undercover police work. Every day a war rages between drug dealers and cops on the streets of America’s inner cities. With every war come casualties, none greater than 13-year veteran Los Angeles narcotics officer Alonzo Harris (Washington), whose questionable methods blur the line between legal and corrupt. Today Alonzo gets a new partner, idealistic rookie Jake Hoyt (Hawke), and Jake has one day–and one day only–to prove his mettle to his fiercely charismatic superior. Over 24hours, Jake will be dragged into the ethical mire of Alonzo’s logic as both men risk their careers and their lives to serve conflicting notions of justice.
Ultra HD Blu-ray Elements
Training Day Ultra HD Blu-ray contains the following previously released special features:
•           Pharoahe Monch’s “Got You” music video
•           Nelly’s “#1” music video
•           Deleted Scenes
•           Commentary by director Antoine Fuqua
•           Training Day: Crossing The Line Featurette
•           Alternative Endings

On 02/07/23, Training Day 4K UHD will be available to own for streaming and download to watch anywhere in high definition and standard definition on favorite devices from select digital retailers and will be made available digitally on Video On Demand services from cable and satellite providers, and on select gaming consoles.

Ultra HD Blu-ray $33.99*                 
Standard Street Date: 2/28/23
EST Street Date: 2/07/23
Ultra HD Blu-ray Languages: English, Spanish, French
Ultra HD Blu-ray Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Parisian French
Run Time: 122 minutes
Rating: R 

The Walking Dead’s Final Season Shambles Home in March

The Walking Dead’s Final Season Shambles Home in March

The epic conclusion to the Primetime Emmy®-winning TV series, The Walking Dead Season 11 arrives on  Blu-ray™ + Digital and DVD March 14 from Lionsgate. What Forbes calls “the most in-demand show in the world,” The Walking Dead Season 11 features Norman Reedus (The Boondock Saints franchise, Triple 9, Blade II) and Melissa McBride (The Reconstruction of William Zero, Dawson’s Creek) on a risky mission while the rest of the group contacts the Commonwealth, a seemingly civilized community with a dark secret lurking just beneath the surface. The Walking Dead Season 11 will be available for the suggested retail prices of $59.99 for Blu-ray™ + Digital (U.S.), $69.99 for Blu-ray™ + Digital (Canada), $49.98 for DVD (U.S.), and $59.98 for DVD (Canada).
In the epic final season of “The Walking Dead,” Daryl and Maggie embark on a risky mission with Negan to root out the shadowy Reapers while Eugene and Ezekiel make contact with the sprawling Commonwealth. To secure aid for Alexandria – their goal – they must assimilate…a tough ask for people who’ve seen no end of deceit, betrayal, and loss. Stunned by the Commonwealth’s resources, the group slowly adjusts to their new home, but they can’t ignore what lurks beneath its seemingly civilized surface. Soon, threats abound, loyalties are tested, and shocking fates await. But the fight for the future, threatened by an ever-growing population of walkers, means the walking dead will live on….  
Norman Reedus                     The Boondock Saints franchise, Triple 9, Blade 2
Melissa McBride                     The Reconstruction of William Zero, Dawson’s Creek 
Lauren Cohan                         The Boy, Mile 22, Whiskey Cavalier
Christian Serratos                   The Twilight Saga franchise, Selena: The Series and The Secret Life of the                                                      American Teenager
Jeffrey Dean Morgan              Watchmen, Supernatural and Grey’s Anatomy
Josh McDermitt                       Mad Men and Retired at 35
Seth Gilliam                            Teen Wolf, The Wire, and Oz
Deleted Scene Ep. 1110 “New Haunts” 
Deleted Scene Ep. 1110 “Rogue Element”  
Year of Production: 2021-2022
Title Copyright: The Walking Dead © 2021–2022 AMC Film Holdings LLC. Artwork and Supplementary Materials are ™, ® and © 2021–2023 AMC Network Entertainment LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Rating: TV-MA
Genre: Horror, Drama, Thriller
Closed-Captioned: N/A
Subtitles: French, Spanish, English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Feature Run Time: 16 Hrs., 45 Mins. (24 episodes)
Blu-ray™ Format: 1080p High Definition 16×9 (1.78:1) Presentation
Blu-ray™ Audio: English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, French 2.0  Dolby Surround, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Surround
DVD Format: 16×9 (1.78:1) Presentation
DVD Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 2.0  Dolby Surround, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Surround

REVIEW: Star Trek: Prodigy Season 1, Volume 1

REVIEW: Star Trek: Prodigy Season 1, Volume 1

Star Trek has endured since 1966 largely in part to the creators refusing to speak down to their audiences. Whereas “The Cage”, the first pilot shot in 1964, was deemed “too cerebral” by NBC execs, the show that made it on air rarely stopped being thought-provoking. When the three season mission ended, its next iteration was on Saturday morning television, where, once again, the writers and production team refused to dumb things down.

The best that the universe first imagined by Gene Roddenberry does for the viewer is present allegories and mine the human condition, optimistically seeking the best way for humanity to act. Its positive message was a balm in the turbulent 1960s and has been needed ever since.

That explains why the latest entry, Star Trek: Prodigy is so good, as it furthers the human adventure through a fresh assortment of alien characters. Designed for younger audiences, it arrived in fall of 2021 on Paramount+ before airing on Nickelodeon, ensuring it reached the widest youthful audience possible. And for the first time, their technical consultant was focused more on STEM education than scientific accuracy (there was that, too).

Paramount Home Entertainment today is releasing Star Trek: Prodigy Season 1, Volume 1, the first ten episodes.  Normally, I object to splitting seasons into halves like this, seeing it as a cash grab. However, creatively, the series, given a two-season commitment, was designed into four ten-episode arcs, so this works.

The basic premise begins in the faraway Delta Quadrant where we meet six people trapped on the Tars Lemora prison colony. Overseeing the prisoners is The Diviner (John Noble), a tyrant if ever we’ve seen one. Things get rolling when he dispatches the robot Drednok (Jimmi Simpson) after the escaped Medusan Zero (Angus Imrie). Before long, another prisoner Dal (Brett Gray) gets to escape, encounters the Diviner’s daughter Gwyn (Ella Purnell), and we’re off. The search for Zero leads to a rock slide that reveals the long-buried Federation starship Protostar. Before long, Dal, Gwyn, Rok-Tahk (Rylee Alazraqui), a Brikar; Jankom Pog (Jason Mantzoukas), a Tellarite; and Murf, a Mellanoid slime worm, are aboard the ship, activate its engines and rocket off the world, with the Diviner’s forces in pursuit.

They don’t know one another, and no one understands how to operate the alien starship until they activate the ship’s training hologram, which is a recreation of Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew). Over the course of the first arc, they get to bond, learn how to operate the ship, and rocket ever closer to Federation space.

The stories are never less than imaginative with nice doses of action, drama, and humor, maintaining far better pacing than the overly frenetic other kids’ series Star Trek: Lower Decks. In the hands of series creators Kevin and Dan Hageman, they are abetted by writers Julie and Shawna Benson, Diandra Pendleton-Thompson, Chad Quandt, Aaron Waltke, Lisa Shoop Boyd, Nikhil Jayaram, Erin McNamara, and Keith Sweet.

Trek fans certainly will welcome the cameo appearances from beloved characters, from Spock (Leonard Nimoy in archival footage) to Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden). When the real Vice Admiral Janeway turns up, there’s cause for rejoicing. The rest of the vocal cast is strong, with excellent work from Noble, Gray, and Purnell. Recurring vocal artists Jason Alexander (a major Trek fan), Billy Campbell, Ronny Cox, and Daveed Diggs keep things engaging.

The series is set in 2383, five years after Janeway’s Voyager safely returned from the Delta Quadrant and we’re told the show will reflect the galactic events of the era, so we’re just before the Romulan attack that burned Mars.

The package includes two Blu-ray discs and four collectible cards. The 1080p high definition transfer is excellent, preserving the rich colors of the universe and all the CGI wonderment. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is up to the challenge of recreating the fine music, familiar sound effects, and dialogue. There are multiple special features which are all worth a peek, notably The Kobayashi Maru and The Prime Directive. Other features include The Tradition, The Protostar Pack, Gadgets & Gear, and The Protostar.

The show is quite fun to watch and the computer animation gives the entire series a unique look and feel, without losing that Star Trek feel. If you haven’t caught the show by now, this is your chance.

REVIEW: Mimosa

REVIEW: Mimosa

By Archie Bongiovanni
Surely Books /272 pages/ $24.99

The world of graphic novels has expanded enough to accommodate material for every age, interest, and persuasion. It’s refreshing to see imprints arise to direct material to these specific audiences and one of the biggest splashes has come from Abrams; Surely Books, curated by Mariko Tamaki. In just year, the new line has commanded respect and praise for their releases.

The latest, coming in March, is Mimosa from Archie Bongiovanni. The writer/artist from Minneapolis has been contributing graphic literature since 2019 and has focused steadily on the queer world and the families formed.

What makes this story compelling is that it focuses on aging and remaining relevant as life moves on. We pick up on a quartet of friends who have been together for a decade, having found one another as waiters and staying together though meetups, breakups, and everything in between. But, as Chris nears 40, they feel disconnected from the queer sphere, struggling to make connections and find romance while co-parenting Pepper.

The others are not far behind as Alex continues to struggle to make it as a painter, Elise enters a risky inter-office romance, and Jo is a dome who also teaches at Queerrr Rock Camp. They meet for brunch, they have group chats and try to be there for one another, but it’s getting hard. One plan to improve their lives is to host Grind, a dance night for older members of the LBGTQ+ community and it becomes a success, but even that isn’t enough as personal issues intrude.

Bongiovanni leisurely takes us through their ups and downs, with the 40th birthday part looming in the distance. Until they get there, the four will argue, make up, ghost one another, and freak out when it’s least convenient. The nature of their friendships is put to the test and not everyone will remain connected by the time you reach the end.

As a cis-gender older white guy, I wasn’t sure if I would connect with anything here, but I get unrequited love, disastrous romances, and the struggles of raising a child. If any character comes up weak, its Pepper whose age is tough to pin down, coming across as very young at first and then a tween by the end. And as a teacher with more than a few LBGTQ+ students, I am conscious of their specific concerns. Bongiovanni does a fine job intertwining the storylines and showing us the depth of the relationships. The art is cruder than I like and minimal in its detail, but everything you need for comprehension is present. The black, white, and blue color scheme helps convey the melancholy and pain.

Some of the storytelling could have been condensed with entire pages given over to single images that don’t, in my opinion, need them. The pacing is causal enough to undercut some of the emotional impact of certain scenes.

The overall sense of community and the evolving nature of friendship and family is nicely explored as we get invested in the major characters and their own exes, coworkers, and new friends. Despite its raw sexual dialogue, this would be a fine read for teens entering this world.

REVIEW: Westworld: The Complete Fourth Season

REVIEW: Westworld: The Complete Fourth Season

I still remember being blown away by the 1973 Westworld with Yul Brenner’s android gunslinger. And when I heard Peron of Interest’s Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy were adapting the concept for HBO, I was keenly interested. With expanded budgets, improved technology, and being episodic, the concepts could be more deeply explored.

The first season, released in 2016, was not at all disappointing, with its rich cast, superb acting, and fine scripts. We got invested in the humans and androids, dubbed Hosts, alike, curious to see if these machines would truly gain sentience and then what…?

Now we’re at the end of the road, which proved far more meandering and disappointing. What it means to be human, as seen through the awakening eyes of the Hosts meant we were rooting for Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) and Maeve Millay (Thandiwe Newton), among others. The second season saw Delores leading a revolt, but it soon became a massacre, all the while, she sought her “daughter” Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson).

The less coherent third season brought in Engerraund Serac (Vincent Cassel), developer of the AI programming called Rehoboam, for Incite, Inc. It became a battle for freedom and self-destiny with sacrifices and bloodshed everywhere you looked.

Earlier this year, we received the final season, now available on disc from HBO in the usual assortments, including the 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray/Digital HD code combo pack.

If Dolores was the vengeful force, Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) was the opposite, the Host who thought he was a man, who sought ways to coexist with man, not subjugate him. Over the course of the series their interactions were always good ones and this season didn’t disappoint.

We open seven years later, with mankind having lost the war, with Charlotte now in charge, with Serac gone. She uses a bioengineered virus to put humanity in her thrall. We then jump two decades to see what she has wrought. In a reversal of season one, Christina (NAME) begins to question her reality, learning she was created by Charlotte to write programs to maintain control over mankind. A new civil war threatens until things are revealed and a new status quo is established.

Despite some of convoluted plotting and overwrought scripting, the show continued to impress with great performances, notably Wood, Newton, Wright, and Ed Harris’ Man in Black. The supporting players led by Thompson were always up to the challenge including fine work from James Marsden and Ariana DeBose.

The 4K Ultra HD transfer is noticeably improved over the excellent Blu-ray in terms of sharpness and clarity, making this a desirable version for serious fans of the series. Similarly, the 1080p’s the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is one-upped by the Dolby Atmos audio on the 4K discs.

The Special Features identically appear on both the 4K and Blu-ray discs. These include the branded Creating Westworld’s Reality spots (all in 1080p): The Auguries (HD; 5:45), Well Enough Alone (HD; 5:27), Annees Folles (HD; 6:16), Generation Loss (HD; 4:56), Zhuangi (HD; 5:11), Fidelity (HD; 4:44), Metanoia (HD; 4:22), and Que Sera, Sera (HD; 5:03). Other features are Westworld On the Road (HD; 16:47), Westworld: An Exploration of Humanity (HD; 14:42), and Westworld‘s Temperance: A Set Tour (HD; 5:39) is a fun look at this season’s “playground”.

The series had terrif goals and lofty ideals but the delay between seasons didn’t help maintain interest and the writing never lived up to the promise. Still, this is a fitting finale and an excellent home video collection for your library.