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Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves Releases New Trailer
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Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves Releases New Trailer

A charming thief and a band of unlikely adventurers undertake an epic heist to retrieve a lost relic, but things go dangerously awry when they run afoul of the wrong people.  Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves brings the rich world and playful spirit of the legendary roleplaying game to the big screen in a hilarious and action-packed adventure.

Paramount has released a teaser trailer for the march 2023 release.

Directed by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley

Screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley and Michael Gilio

Story by Chris McKay & Michael Gilio

Based on HASBRO’S DUNGEONS & DRAGONS

Produced by Jeremy Latcham, p.g.a., Brian Goldner, Nick Meyer

Executive Producers: Denis L. Stewart, Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Chris Pine, Zev Foreman, Greg Mooradian

Cast: Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, Chloe Coleman, Daisy Head and Hugh Grant

REVIEW: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Seventh and Final Season
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REVIEW: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Seventh and Final Season

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow didn’t start off being an off-the-wall ensemble, but as the various actors’ comedic talents lightened the dire circumstances, the producers pivoted and leaned into the absurdity. As a result, it became one of the freshest concepts on the CW, super-heroic action without as much angst (or shadow). When it worked, it was very entertaining but that came sporadically, oftentimes getting silly when they needed more restraint.

Still, the lovable ever-changing band of heroes has endured through seven seasons and unlike many shows, ended on a high note. All thirteen episodes of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Seventh and Final Season can be enjoyed on the Blu-ray box set from Warner Home Entertainment.

When last we left our stalwart misfits, a Waverider popped into the sky and destroyed the Waverider they were using. Now stranded in 1925, they have to adapt and find a way home. This leads them on a cross-country jaunt to find Dr. Gwyn Davies (Matt Ryan), the inventor of time travel. Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) and Ava Sharpe (Jes Macallan) are dubbed the Bullet Blondes, sisters in crime, prompting the nascent FBI to chase them, including J. Edgar Hoover (Giacomo Baessato), who turns out to be a robot suggesting something sinister is happening.  They also nicely handle the racism and sexism of the era.

Along the way, everyone gets their moment to shine as being stuck in one time period allows the writers to actually have the characters interact in new ways, deepening relationships. The odd relationship between Nate (Nick Zano) and Zari/Zari 2.0 (Tala Ashe) is resolved in a satisfactory manner. The odd friendship between Spooner (Lisseth Chavez) and Astra (Olivia Swann) is nicely handled. The best addition for this final season is Amy Louise Pemberton finally getting screentime as the AI Gideon made manifest thanks to a magical oops from Astra. Her fish-out-of-water naivete is refreshing. A less welcome addition was the return of Bishop (Raffi Barsoumian), who I just find annoying.

There is a very nicely handled 100th episode, directed by Lotz, that brings back Kendra Saunders (Ciara Renée), Jefferson “Jax” Jackson (Franz Drameh), Martin Stein (Victor Garber), Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), Carter Hall (Falk Hentschel), and even Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvil) in a delightful way.

As things begin to wrap up in this short season, we get the sense that the crew was veering away from recognizable DC Comics sources. As a result, Donald Faison turning up as Booster Gold is a nice twist, although I wish more were done with him.

The frustrating part of the final episode is the tag, which leaves things in disarray. A risky gambit from the Berlanti stable knowing the CW was changing and DC’s shows were in danger. Sure enough, the cancellation came weeks after the final episode aired.

The shows look terrific with a solid 1080p high definition transfer with an equally fine DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track so home viewing will be enjoyable. The episodes are supported with the usually funny Gag Reel, some deleted scenes, the 2021 SDCC Legends panel, and a short featurette on the 100th episode.

Raptor: A Sokol Graphic Novel by Dave McKean
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Raptor: A Sokol Graphic Novel by Dave McKean

Now I work in marketing, so I know not to trust marketing copy. (Don’t ask me how many times I’ve gotten something subtle wrong – or something obvious wrong.) But I have to look askance at the insistence of Raptor ‘s descriptive copy of being “Dave McKean’s first creator-owned character.”

I mean, this is still a world in which Cages  exists, right? Surely he didn’t do that as work-for-hire? (If he did, the world of comics is vastly more predatory and horrible than even I thought.) And there are original characters in things like Pictures That Tick  and his smutty book Celluloid , as well. So I wonder if that phrase is just puffery to say “hey, this is important” or if it’s using “creator-owned character” in the specifically comics sense of “a thing we expect to exploit in a lot of media for decades, starting now!”

In any case: Sokol! The sensational character find of 2021! A moody guy in a fantasy landscape who kills monsters, I think (mostly off-page) and then sometimes screws up handling the aftermath, letting the local villagers make things worse than the with-monster status quo!

Oh, and he’s not really the main character of this book, because it’s by Dave McKean, and nothing can be straightforward or not about the creation of art in a Dave McKean book. Arthur, who is some manner of late 19th century gentleman (he doesn’t seem to have to work, or at least doesn’t do anything in the course of this book) and who recently lost his lovely wife Amy, is writing the story of Sokol as a way to break his grief. His brother, Ed, would prefer that Arthur join his occult group instead, for the usual vague focus-your-mind and maybe transform-the-world aims.

The stories of Arthur and Sokol trade space on the page, with McKean’s elegant – sometimes too elegant, since he’s never seen a ten-dollar-word he couldn’t replace with a fifteen-dollar one – prose as captions to give atmosphere and some context to their experiences. It’s still McKean, though, so it’s moody and evocative, with wordless sequences in which dark birds transform into blue women who fuck (?!) one of the main characters in what I hope is meant to be creepy rather than happy.

Raptor is not as clearly about grief as I thought it would be, with Arthur’s mourning so central to it. Sokol does not seem to have lost anything, and his story has nothing to do with loss. The mystic rigmarole also does not seem to have anything to do with contacting the dead: it’s more the 19th century equivalent of aligning one’s chakras and becoming one with the numinous aether.

What we do get is a lot of scenes. Sokol tromps around, and may have been rewritten by Arthur (after meeting Arthur, because it’s that kind of book) to create a better ending to his first major story. (Or maybe this ending will be even worse; such is life.) Ed and Arthur sit around like clubmen discussing Very Serious Things, and stand and declaim at Tarot cards with the rest of the mystic group. There are scenes that are clearly Meaningful and Symbolic and possibly even Mystic themselves. None of this forms a conventional narrative, because Dave McKean.

Frankly, like a lot of McKean’s work, I don’t bother to do all the work to figure out just exactly what it is about. It’s moody and gorgeous and full of fancy words and fine feeling, and that’s fine: it doesn’t need to add up to anything. So I can tell you that I think McKean does intend it all to add up to something, but I could not tell you what that “something” is.

Perhaps the further adventures of this “creator-owned character” will give us all more context.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Fright Night Makes 4K Debut October 4
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Fright Night Makes 4K Debut October 4

SYNOPSIS

Meet Jerry Dandrige. He’s sweet, sexy, and he likes to sleep in late. You might think he’s the perfect neighbor. But before inviting Jerry in for a nightcap, there’s just one thing you should know. Jerry prefers his drinks warm, red, and straight from the jugular! It’s FRIGHT NIGHT, a horrific howl starring Chris Sarandon as the seductive vampire and William Ragsdale as the frantic teenager struggling to keep Jerry’s deadly fangs out of his neck. Only 17-year-old Charley Brewster (Ragsdale) knows Jerry’s bloodcurdling secret. When Charley can’t get anybody to believe him, he turns to TV horror host Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall), who used to be the “Great Vampire Killer” of the movies. Can these mortals save Charley and his sweetheart Amy (Amanda Bearse) from the wrathful bloodsucker’s toothy embrace? If you love being scared, FRIGHT NIGHT…will give you the nightmare of your life.

DISC DETAILS & BONUS MATERIALS
4K ULTRA HD DISC

  • Feature scanned from the original camera negative and presented in 4K resolution with Dolby Vision
  • All-new Dolby Atmos audio + 5.1 + original Dolby Stereo

BLU-RAY™ FEATURE DISC

  • Feature presented in High Definition, sourced from the 4K master
  • 5.1 + original Dolby Stereo
  • Special Features:
    • NEW: Deleted Scene Storyboards – Tom Holland guides us through the film’s only deleted scene, using his personal pre-production storyboards
    • NEW: Holland/Beyda Spec Trailer with an Introduction by Tom Holland – the never-before-seen alternate trailer cut by Fright Night editor Kent Beyda with the guidance—and narration—of Tom Holland
    • Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Tom Holland, Actors Chris Sarandon & Jonathan Stark, Moderated by Filmmaker Tim Sullivan
    • Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Tom Holland, Actors William Ragsdale & Stephen Geoffreys, FX Artist Randall Cook, Moderated by Journalist Jeremy Smith and Filmmaker Tim Sullivan
    • You’re So Cool, Brewster! The Story of Fright Night
    • What is Fright Night
    • Tom Holland: Writing Horror
    • Theatrical Trailers

BLU-RAY™ SPECIAL FEATURES DISC

  • Special Features:
    • NEW: Fright Night 35th Anniversary Script Read – an anniversary cast reunion and script reading featuring writer/director Tom Holland and special guests including Rosario Dawson, Jason Patric, and many more!
    • NEW: The Queer Lens: Bryan Fuller in Conversation with Amanda Bearse – a candid discussion between Fright Night aficionado Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Queer for Fear: The History of Queer Horror) and Fright Night star Amanda Bearse about the Gothic’s queer roots, the film’s queer subtext, and its metaphorical power
    • NEW: A Novel Approach: The Splatterpunk Story of the Fright Night Novelization – Tom Holland, Fright Night novelization authors John Skipp and Craig Spector, and publisher Mark Alan Miller discuss how the progenitors of the splatterpunk genre came to work on the book, their writing process, and the novel’s enduring legacy
    • NEW: SFX Storyboard Comparisons – a selection of original storyboards from key effects sequences, compared with their final filmed versions
    • Roddy McDowall: From Apes to Bats
    • Tom Holland and Amanda Bearse Talk Fright Night
    • Round Table with Tom, Stephen and William
    • Shock Till You Drop Presents Choice Cuts with Tom Holland and Ryan Turek
    • First Ever Fright Night Reunion Panel – Fear Fest 2 (2008)
    • Weekend of Hell Panel with Amanda and Stephen
    • Vintage EPK with Behind-the-Scenes Raw Footage

CAST AND CREW

Written and Directed By: Tom Holland
Produced by: Herb Jaffe
Cast: Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, Stephen Geoffreys and Roddy McDowall
 SPECS

Run Time: Approx. 106 minutes
Rating: R
4K UHD Feature Picture: 2160p Ultra High Definition, 2.39:1
4K UHD Feature Audio: English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Compatible) | English 5.1 DTS-HD MA | 2-Channel Surround DTS-HD MA

Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future Breaks into Homes  August 9
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Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future Breaks into Homes August 9

Distribution Solutions, a division of Alliance Entertainment, announces the release of NEON and DECAL’s Crimes of the Future coming to Blu-ray™ and DVD August 9, 2022.

A performance artist – who turns the removal of organs into real time theatre – is forced to consider the most shocking performance of all as the government and a strange subculture take note of his act.

Written and directed by David Cronenberg (The Fly, A History of Violence), the film is his directorial return to the science fiction and horror genres for the first time since the 1990s. Cronenberg
pioneered the “body horror” genre involving mutation, parasites, and medical conditions.

“Terrifying. Shocking. There will be blood.” The New York Times

The SCI-FI thriller was recently in 500+ theaters and stars Best Actor Academy Award nominated
Viggo Mortensen (The Lord of the Rings, A History of Violence), Best Actress Academy Award
nominated Kristen Stewart (Spencer, The Twilight Saga), Léa Seydoux (No Time to Die, The French
Dispatch
), and Scott Speedman (Grey’s Anatomy, Felicity).

Fans Can Win a Custom “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” Themed XBox Series S Console
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Fans Can Win a Custom “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” Themed XBox Series S Console

WEDNESDAY, JULY 13 (New York, NY): Paramount Consumer Products announces a bodacious summer sweepstakes that will make Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) fans scramble for their coins. Every month from July to October, one lucky fan will level up their gaming station with a custom-sculpted, hand-painted, totally rad XBox Series S console! Check out how to enter the giveaway below. The first sweepstakes kicks-off in partnership with G4TV and features an iconic Shredder console as the first giveaway!

How to Enter: Between July 13th and July 21st, follow the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (@TMNT) and/or G4TV (@G4TV) accounts on Instagram or Twitter and reply with the hashtag #TurtlePowerSweepstakes in the comment section of the post and/or tweet announcing the Sweepstakes  for a chance to win this tribute to the Turtles’ legendary arch-nemesis. For a full list of rules, how to enter, and more amazing retro gaming merch, please visit www.turtlepowersweepstakes.com.

Also, fans are encouraged to share their pics and videos of why they love the villainous mastermind (not necessary to enter the sweepstakes; see official rules). Do you rock a mohawk like Bebop? Name your cat Shredder? Store your toy collection in a life-size sewer replica? Then SHARE AWAY! 

More to Come: The fun will continue throughout the summer for TMNT fans with three additional sweepstakes – one in August, one in September, and one in October – for a chance to win additional themed, custom Xbox Series S consoles. While those designs are currently top secret, the next sweepstakes will be unlocked in August with full information available at www.turtlepowersweepstakes.com

Batman: The Long Halloween – Deluxe Edition Coming in September
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Batman: The Long Halloween – Deluxe Edition Coming in September

BURBANK, CA – No tricks, just treats for Dark Knight fans as Batman: The Long Halloween – Deluxe Edition – the complete mystery with added mature content – comes to 4K for the first time ever. The R-rated, feature-length animated film will be available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack (USA $34.99 SRP) for the first time ever, as well as on Blu-ray+Digital (USA $24.99 SRP), Blu-ray (only available in Canada, $29.99 SRP) and Digital starting September 20, 2022.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, DC and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, and inspired by the iconic mid-1990s DC story from Jeph Loeb and the late Tim Sale, Batman: The Long Halloween – Deluxe Edition begins as atrocious serial killings on holidays in Gotham City send The World’s Greatest Detective into action – confronting both organized crime and a unified front of classic DC Super-Villains – while attempting to stop the mysterious murderer. Batman: The Long Halloween was originally released as a two-part film, and both films still stand at 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Jensen Ackles (Supernatural, The Boys, Batman: Under the Red Hood) leads a star-studded Batman: The Long Halloween – Deluxe Edition cast as the voice of Batman/Bruce Wayne alongside the late Naya Rivera (Glee) as Catwoman/Selina Kyle, Josh Duhamel (Transformers, Jupiter’s Legacy) as Harvey Dent/Two-Face, Billy Burke (Twilight, Revolution, Zoo) as Commissioner James Gordon, Katee Sackhoff (The Mandalorian, Battlestar Galactica, Batman: Year One) as Poison Ivy, Titus Welliver (Bosch, Bosch: Legacy, Deadwood) as Carmine Falcone, Julie Nathanson (Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay) as Gilda Dent, David Dastmalchian (The Suicide Squad, Dune, Ant-Man) as Calendar Man & The Penguin, Troy Baker (The Last of Us, Young Justice) as The Joker, Amy Landecker (Your Honor, Transparent) as Barbara Gordon & Carla Vitti, Jack Quaid (The Boys, Star Trek: Lower Decks, Oppenheimer) as Alberto, Fred Tatasciore (American Dad!, Family Guy) as Solomon Grundy, Alyssa Diaz (The Rookie, Ray Donovan) as Renee Montoya, and Alastair Duncan (The Batman, Batman Unlimited franchise) as Alfred. In addition, Robin Atkin Downes (The Strain, Constantine: City of Demons) voices both Scarecrow & Thomas Wayne, John DiMaggio (Futurama, Disenchantment) is the Mad Hatter, Laila Berzins (Genshin Impact) is Sofia Falcone, Jim Pirri (World of Warcraft franchise) is Sal Maroni, and Zach Callison (The Goldbergs, Steven Universe) is Young Bruce Wayne. Additional voice work was provided by Gary LeRoi Gray, Rick Wasserman, Frances Callier and Greg Chun.

Chris Palmer (Superman: Man of Tomorrow) directs Batman: The Long Halloween – Deluxe Edition from a screenplay by Tim Sheridan (Reign of the Supermen). Producers are Jim Krieg (Batman: Gotham by Gaslight) and Kimberly S. Moreau (Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). Butch Lukic (Justice Society: World War II, Superman: Man of Tomorrow) is Supervising Producer. Executive Producer is Michael Uslan.Sam Register is Executive Producer.

Batman: The Long Halloween – Deluxe Edition Special Features

4K, Blu-ray and Digital

BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN – EVOLUTION OF EVIL (New Featurette) – The mystery surrounding the Holiday Killer shrouds Gotham in a sinister darkness forcing Batman to stop the villain’s assault on the city.  This is a comprehensive look at The Long Halloween with original writer, Jeph Loeb, and filmmakers.

BASICS

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack  $34.99 USA

Blu-ray + Digital $24.99 USA

Blu-ray $29.99 Canada

4K/Blu-ray Languages: English, Spanish, French

Blu-ray Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

Running Time: 2 hours, 48 minutes

Rated R for violence and bloody images

Bad Machinery, Vol. 10: The Case of the Severed Alliance by John Allison
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Bad Machinery, Vol. 10: The Case of the Severed Alliance by John Allison

When last we left the Mystery Teens of Tackleford, at the end of The Case of the Missing Piece , they had mostly stopped solving mysteries, and two of the core girls, Lottie and Shauna, had just fallen out. That’s what the title refers to for this final collection: not the supernatural menace that threatens Tackleford (which is quite real and sinister), but the break between two of the main characters.

This is the tenth and last Bad Machinery collection, The Case of the Severed Alliance . Creator John Allison has a short afterword where he says his original intention was to have one case for each term of the Mystery Tweens/Teens’ seven years at school, which would have been twenty-one books. He gives a few reasons why he only made half that many stories, but I think he quietly missed the most obvious one: time. Allison is a creator whose stories take place in time. He sometimes drops back into the past – the Bobbins flashback series, for example, or, in an odd way, all of Giant Days – but time always passes in his stories, things change, and his characters grow older. The Bad Machinery stories came out about two a year, not three a year, and I think his characters just grew up, in his head, faster than he expected.

The Bad Machinery books are a creative peak for Allison – he’s had several; most people are more familiar with Giant Days – with a big cast well deployed, a complex and quirky world for them to live in and explore, wonderful dialogue on every page, oddball supernatural menaces that lurk deep in the story and only emerge fully near the end, and long rambly plots full of interesting incidents and unexpected moments that all come together for bang-up finishes. These can’t have been easy stories to plot, write and draw; my sense is that Allison is more of a plotter these days than a pantser, but any multiple-times-a-week comic is going to morph and change as the individual installments come out, so I don’t think anything quite ended up exactly the way he expected.

In any case: this is the “teens get jobs” storyline. All six of the main cast are about 15-16 here. Lotty works at the local newspaper, partially to have a work-study arrangement (called “P&Q” here, which is some British term that I don’t think is ever spelled out) [1] and partially because she is frustrated with her lack of movement in her preferred solving-mysteries-as-a-teenage career. (Yes, that is a thing in the Allisonverse, with glossy magazines and gala awards and all. See Wicked Things .) And Shauna is working for Amy Beckwith-Chilton, one of the old-time Tackleford characters, in her antiques shop, along with a young man named Romesh who Shauna found and who has a mystical ability to detect valuable antiquities among junk.

But the story is mostly about the gentrification of Tackleford: the main street is filling up with posh, expensive shops, rents are skyrocketing, houses prices are ditto, and an “Inland Marina” is being built where the kids used to swim in the local river. We also meet Sewerman General Johnson, the tough man who keeps the drains of Tackleford running, and the massive, possibly sentient, Tackleford Fatberg that he’s been trying to break up. Amy and her competitors in the very Lovejoy-esque antiques trade are chasing after the fabled cursed Pearl of the Quarter, a gem of immense power that disappeared at the death of its previous owner Tommy Binks, the man who made Tackleford the modern success it is.

Oh, and there’s something going on with Tackleford’s sister town, Wendlefield, which is as run-down and hopeless as Tackleford is shiny and expensive.

Shauna and Lottie work opposite ends of this mystery – do they eventually come to find it is the same mystery? Are they forced to work together? Is there a shocking confrontation in a half-constructed industrial scene? Has the mystic Pearl been incorporated into some weapon that threatens the whole town? Is there a fiendish villain who must be stopped? Do all of the Mystery Teens, and their new powers and abilities – I’ve neglected to mention that Mildred has been learning to drive a car! – come into play at the end? Is Tackleford saved?

Reader: yes and yes and yes and yes and yes and yes and sort of.

I would not start here, if you haven’t read Bad Machinery. Severed Alliance is wonderful and funny and exciting and marvelous, but it works much better if you know the characters. So find the first book, The Case of the Team Spirit , and start there. But Bad Machinery is awesome; you should read it if you haven’t already. And if you read it online (it was originally on Allison’s site but now lives on GoComics ), it might be time to get the books and read it again.

[1] Utterly nonamusing anecdote: on a call with some Brits this past week, I realized that what Americans call an “intern” (college-age person working in a business for a limited period of time, usually tied to and providing credit for their school) is called an “apprentice” in the UK. This, I think, is a similar issue.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

REVIEW: Batwoman: The Complete Third Season
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REVIEW: Batwoman: The Complete Third Season

From the outset, the CW’s Batwoman series was one of the better offerings, thanks to a strong visual sensibility and a winning performance from Rachel Skarsten as the damaged Alice. And like every other Arrowverse show, it threatened to suffer from character bloat by the end of its second season. Thankfully, supernumerary characters and plot points were jettisoned and Javicia Leslie, as Ryan Wilder, made Batwoman her own character after Ruby Rose’s departure.

Season three, therefore, offered a lot of promise and across thirteen episodes we saw the show flirt with good, solid storytelling, too often succumbing to mind-numbing plot holes and illogic. It suffered from being hampered by the idiotic notion that Circe could waltz into the Batcave and make off with Batman’s greatest rogue weapons, all neatly fitting into a duffel bag.

We open with Renee Montoya (Victoria Cartagena) blackmailing Batwoman and Alice into tracking down and recovering these deadly weapons. As a result, the first half of the season has them chasing around to collect things like Mad Hatter’s hat and Mr. Freeze’s gun.

The real drama is the revelation that Ryan Wilder’s birth mother is located and she turns out to be CEO Jada Jett (Robin Givens). They snap and verbally spar with one another until all the rough edges are sanded off and they become allies, even friends, draining the drama. Instead, the season’s real threat comes from her son Marquis Jet (Nick Creegan), who is jealous and unstable, evolving into Batwoman’s Joker. His ultimate threat is straight from the 1989 feature film and pales in comparison.

The problem, of course, is that it reduces the need for Alice to be the crazy one on the show. She, instead, befriends Mary (Nicole Kang) and they go on a road trip as Mary is infected by Poison Ivy and she kills, a traumatic issue that carries her for the remainder of the show.

Supporting everyone while working through his own issues is Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson), who desperately wants in on the fun as Batwing but has the psychological block of wanting his dead father’s approval. Also running around is Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy), seeking a place post-Crow life, seeking comfort first in Montoya’s arms, then finally getting it on with Wilder, making them a power couple.

There are plenty of interesting moments for each character, but the collective thirteen episodes are more mess than compelling drama. A stronger season arc without the need for a faux-Joker, a corporate battle between mother and daughter overlayed atop a serious threat, would have been far better.

The season ended with a hint of more danger to come but in a wholesale change of direction, the show was canceled along with other DC series. We now have the three-disc Blu-ray set, complete with DVD and Digital HD code courtesy of Warner Home Entertainment.

Every episode is included along with a handful of Deleted Scenes, a short Gag Real, and a featurette: Batwing: A Hero’s Journey.

Black Hammer: Streets of Spiral by Jeff Lemire and a cast of thousands
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Black Hammer: Streets of Spiral by Jeff Lemire and a cast of thousands

This post may be shorter than my previous diatribes about the wonderful world of Black Hammer, for multiple reasons. One, I’ve said most of the things I could say. Two, this is an odds and sods collection to begin with, so it’s small and random and miscellaneous and will not stand the weight of serious criticism. There may be other reasons as well, but I think those two will do.

In any case, I have written a bunch about the previous Black Hammer books – the most recent was the flashback Black Hammer ’45 , and that one links further back in turn. And, frankly, how much background do you need? This is a pastiche superhero universe, with mixed DC and Marvel influences (Legion of Super-Heroes here, New Gods there), and anyone who knows superhero comics from the second half of the 20th century will find all of it deeply recognizable.

So this is Black Hammer: Streets of Spiral . It was the ninth collection of the series, and the one that gathered all of the loose bits of string to that point: one “Giant-Sized Annual,” in case you thought it wasn’t on-the-nose enough about its obsession with ’70s comics; a one-shot called Cthu-Louise; The World of Black Hammer Encyclopedia, a very “Who’s Who”-style compendium of superhero details; and a short story from the Dark Horse Free Comic Book Day issue for 2019. The Encyclopedia was written by Tate Brombal with series-creator Jeff Lemire; Lemire and Ray Fawkes wrote the short story; Lemire wrote the rest solo. Art is by a large number of people:

  • Nate Powell, Matt Kindt, Dustin Nguyen, Fawkes, Emi Lenox, and Michael Allred for the Annual
  • Lenox with Dave Stewart (who provided colors for nearly all of these pieces) for Cthu-Louise
  • Fourteen different people for the Encyclopedia, including many of the above
  • David Rubin did full-color art for the short story
And what are these individual stories?

The Annual is one of those standard multiple-artists, multiple-heroes “special” stories, which could be assembled piecemeal, showing the whole team dealing with Problem X individually. As was the case with its models, it doesn’t add up to a whole lot in the end. There is a sub-Starro the Conqueror eyeball/squid thing, which appears repeatedly out of the Random Mystical Zone and which has to be punched back out of the normal world. It is, repeatedly – this is a superhero story, after all.

What what does it all mean, ask our heroes in the end?

Well, probably nothing. In a regular superhero universe, it’s either space-filler or a set-up for a crossover. In Black Hammer, it’s just yet another kind of indulgence.

Cthu-Louise is very familiar; the character (and her father, the former supervillain Cthu-Lou) have appeared at least once before, and the plot beats here are very similar. Louise is a teenager with a alien-god squid head, which makes her unpopular, and she wants to fit in. Eventually, she does.

The Encyclopedia is a collection of pages on all of the major characters that have appeared in the various Black Hammer comics to this point, with first appearances and power levels and known family and all that bumf. It is much odder when it’s about a world created by one guy, in one series of stories, over only three or four years.

And the short story is the most forgettable, functioning mostly as a teaser – well, it was in a FCBD comic, and that’s the whole point of the thing – for both past and (I assume) future Black Hammer stories.

If you like Black Hammer, this is a bunch of minor Black Hammer. If you like vaguely ’70s-esque, vaguely Big Two-ish comics, you will like Black Hammer. And god knows there are more of you out there than I want to believe.

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Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.