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Superman for All Seasons (1998) #2

Writer Jeph Loeb pushes a little too hard with the soft cliffhanger setting up next issue; it’s two pages plus a panel, but it feels longer because it ties into the final action sequence. It’s Lex Luthor machinating against Superman stuff, which is inevitable but also one-note. Loeb doesn’t give Luthor any depth; he’s caricature. It’s also pretty much the only thing wrong with the comic. And when Superman’s around to treat Luthor like a […]

Evil (2019) s03e03 – The Demon of Sex

This episode ends with an odd, incomplete feeling. There’s no oomph to any of the storylines, and the resolutions are all put off until next time. There’s not even a cliffhanger, just Katja Herbers and Andrea Martin not being shitty to each other. It feels like a long episode cut up, but it also feels like the first really streaming episode of “Evil.” Whenever there’s an F-bomb, it’s a good F-bomb, onscreen, in scene, not […]

Onesies – 3×5 – Automan (1983)

WHERE TO LISTEN Related posts Onesies – 3×1 – Automan (1983) Onesies – 3×2 – Automan (1983) Onesies – 3×4 – Automan (1983)

Carnival of Souls (1962, Herk Harvey)

Carnival of Souls is another film in the “way too literal ending” genre. After seventy-five minutes (of seventy-eight) recounting its protagonist’s bewildering, terrifying experiences, the finish is a big wink and shrug. Though there’s a seemingly unintentional casting gaffe to tie the disparate narratives together. Unfortunately, that low-budget coincidence doesn’t add anything to the ending. The film opens with lead Candace Hilligoss surviving a terrible car accident. She and her gal pals are drag racing […]

All Rise (2019) s03e03 – Give It Time

This episode’s a downer. I kept waiting for it not to be a downer, only it keeps getting worse for pretty much everyone. But it’s also a very familiar kind of “All Rise” downer episode; it’s bittersweet and about how these people are just trying to do the good thing in impossible, structurally broken situations. Even though the episode’s very evenly distributed—there are two trials, Simone Missick and Ruthie Ann Miles’s corruption subplot, Wilson Bethel […]

The Orville (2017) s03e04 – Gently Falling Rain

Gently Falling Rain came out on June 23, 2022. One of its briefest plot points would play differently if it had come out on June 24, 2022. The episode compares and contrasts future cultures; there’s the Union (the Federation), inclusive, diverse, progressive, and there is the Krill. They’re a combination of Romulan and Klingon, but they’re also religious fanatics who are xenophobic fascist capitalists. Abortion comes up eventually. The scene goes hard and then harder. […]

Dracula Lives (1973) #4

I’m getting to be such a Mike Ploog snob. Seeing him ink his own pencils, then seeing others ink his pencils… the latter always seems to come with qualifications, asterisks, and compromises. Ploog pencils this issue’s first story, written by Marv Wolfman, with Ernie Chan inking him. Chan keeps much of the detail, even much of the personality, but not the energy. The story’s about one Louis Belski, Dracula actor. I thought Wolfman was doing […]

The Boys (2019) s03e06 – Herogasm

Herogasm might be the best “Boys” episode. I can’t remember the previous seasons well enough, but it’s an exceptional hour of television with a phenomenal script (credit to Jessica Chou). It’s Chou’s first credit on the series, which makes the episode even more impressive as the episode concludes some long outstanding story arcs. It also gives many cast members big monologue scenes, including revealing a momentous new narrative device for Antony Starr. Superb monologue-y, spotlighted […]

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes (1977) #246

It’s half an excellent issue. The first story is a big success, an And Then There Were None type mystery set at a research hospital on Mercury. It’s the done-in-one feature. The second story’s a little shorter, but with the cliffhanger. Unfortunately, it’s also kind of bad. The writing’s not terrible, but the art falls apart during the big fight scene, and the story can’t recover. The pacing’s all off. What’s strange is both stories […]

Tomb of Dracula (1972) #14

There are two ways to read this comic. I mean, there are many other ways, but in terms of the vampire hunters—either writer Marv Wolfman and editor Roy Thomas are missing some obvious plot points, or the vampire hunters are just a little dopey. The "little dopey" fits more. Like, when they've killed Dracula and check for a pulse—they're not establishing themselves as very knowledgable. So after the brainwashed villagers take Dracula's corpse and go […]

Ms. Marvel (2022) s01e03 – Destined

This episode feels oddly short like they knew they needed to keep the big action finale, so they cut material from before it. It’s a good episode—much better than I’d have been expecting had I known A.C. Bradley’s name was on the writing credits (she wrote a lot of “What If,” which is a very poorly written show). But it’s uneven. The episode gets away with it thanks to director Meera Menon, who got a […]

Detective Comics (1937) #469

Why does Steve Englehart’s writing sound like he’s doing a spec script for “Batman: The TV Show” cliffhanger narration? I can’t decide if it’d be better if he’s serious and thinks it’s good writing to treat your readers as infantile or if he’s doing it because he’s being condescending to the material. Either way… lousy start. Especially since I only started reading this era of Detective for an Englehart run. Yikes. From the first page, […]

A Walk Through Hell (2018) #7

When I started this profoundly underwhelming Walk Through Hell, I observed sometimes writer Garth Ennis makes a radical save after some lackluster first issues. He doesn’t make any such save in Hell, but he does turn out to have a vaguely interesting twist, which comes way too late in the comic. We’re just over halfway through, and he’s introducing end of issue one material. He’s revealing the genre of horror, which first seems like he’s […]

Frasier (1993) s07e07 – A Tsar Is Born

This episode’s a great example of how a long-running show (probably specifically sitcom) can benefit from that longevity. There are new things in the culture relevant to the show, which it can now comment on. In this case, “Antiques Roadshow,” or whatever they call it on Tsar. “Roadshow” started in 1997, “Frasier” started in 1993. This 1999 episode offers a wonderful integration. Both Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce are big fans of the program, […]

709 Meridian – 4×4 – Mannequin (1987)

WHERE TO LISTEN Related posts 709 Meridian – 4×3 – Mannequin: On the Move (1991) 709 Meridian – 3×1 – Jaws: The Revenge (1987) 709 Meridian – 4×1 – Teen Wolf Too (1987)

Werewolf by Night (1972) #10

I know people buy Marvel superhero comics in Marvel comics. Still, when a kid’s floppies get knocked from his hands during Sarnak the evil sound engineer’s attack on Century City, and the kid wishes Spider-Man or Thor were here… it feels like he’s talking about his comic book heroes. Otherwise, wouldn’t someone just be whining about how L.A. doesn’t have any good superheroes? It’s a pretty good issue. Tom Sutton’s art is slightly better this […]

Persona (1966, Ingmar Bergman)

Persona begins with a series of unrelated, sometimes startling, sometimes disturbing images. It’s leader on the film reel, and it establishes the film’s narrative distance. We’re not just removed from the action; the action’s on display at multiple levels, including one involving a young boy, played by Jörgen Lindström, who provides bookends for the film. He’s star Liv Ullmann’s son, but he’s never identified as such. Instead, he’s just the one with the most vested […]

Kill or Be Killed (2016) #13

This issue opens with more of writer Ed Brubaker’s “is it condescending or doesn’t he know how to do this” narration for protagonist Dylan. We’re almost caught up to the first issue’s framing device (the whole comic’s in past tense), but there’s one more story to tell first. And… there’s actually a story to tell? Brubaker’s been most successful with Kill or Be Killed when doing an issue unlike any others—introducing new characters (who don’t […]

Superman for All Seasons (1998) #1

The incredible thing about Superman For All Seasons is it never feels too precious. It ought to feel too precious as gentle, reserved giant Clark Kent ambles through his last spring in Smallville. Pa Kent narrates All Seasons, but Clark’s the protagonist. There’s a scene for Ma and Pa to talk about how Clark’s just getting so strong they don’t know what to do, but he can hear them, so it’s still his scene. The […]

Frasier (1993) s07e06 – Rivals

What’s most impressive about Rivals is how “Frasier” can keep doing these episodes. The title refers to brothers Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce, who this time think they’re both interested in the same woman, only they’re both interested in different women and are confused. They won’t just talk to each other about it—though Hyde Pierce’s situation is much different than Grammer’s—so they’re able to remain obtuse for long enough the episode can run its […]

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