And so here we are. Six episodes of Marvel’s Agent Carter have really primed me up for the unfolding history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as told through the eyes of the people who were there in the earliest of days: Peggy Carter and Howard Stark. Last week, Peggy was put in a really bad position when Agent Sousa finally connected the dots and identified her as the blonde-haired woman who had been interfering with the SSR’s hunt for Howard Stark. It was a rather emotional episode that also saw some great action, and it just made me all the more excited for this week’s episode..
Titled “Snafu“, this week’s episode delves into the whole “myth” of Agent Carter the war-hero as Chief Dooley and Agents Thompson and Sousa grill Carter over her involvement with Stark and his missing weapons. It is a really touching extended sequence since Carter gets to throw their misogynistic BS in their faces at every single opportunity and forces them to confront the fact that they were all full of themselves whenever it came to dealing with her. And then there’s the whole great stuff with Dr. Ivchenko and Dottie, both revealed as Leviathan agents last week, and with the finale next week, they are finally going to make their big move.
Fox’s Sleepy Hollow’s has been trying some interesting things of late, especially given the fact that the show has now moved beyond the threat of the demon Moloch, the Horrid King, unleashing the foretold Apocalypse, with Ichabod and Katrina’s son’s Henry/James being the instrument of this release. The show has focused much more on the character relationships now and while it has had some success in some areas, it has also been a bit weak when it comes to certain characters, especially Captain Frank Irving and Katrina herself.
The recent three episodes of the show, “Spellcaster“, “What Lies Beneath“, and “Awakening” are very much focused on bringing Henry back into the fold. He disappeared at the end of the mid-season premiere, having turned on Moloch and killing him instead of Katrina and Ichabod, but now we learn that he is very much alive and is indeed planning something, though he is no longer beholden to Moloch. Quite different times in fact, and along the way, we also get to see some really dubious characterisation of Katrina, the most troubled character on the show, and also get to see that many of the recent things happening in Sleepy Hollow aren’t as isolated as we thought they were.
In December of last year, DC kicked off its New 52 version of the Secret Six with a new series by Gail Simone and Ken Lashley. The first issue introduced Catman to us in detail while also covering the other members of the team roster, and it ended up being one hell of a story combined with some equally great art. As a fan of Gail’s work in general, and having read a previous Secret Six graphic novel, this was definitely one of my highly-anticipated titles of the Fall’14 season, and the book did not disappoint.
This past week’s Secret Six #2 carries on directly from where the first issue left off some 2 months back. We continue to get some great background information on Thomas Blake aka Catman, while at the same time also coming to understand the group of misfits assembled together by some mysterious character for some so-far-unexplained objective. Gail Simone continues to delve rather fantastically into what makes each of these characters tick, especially Catman, while on the other side Ken Lashley and the other artists also turn out some magic.
In December of last year, writer Michael Alan Nelson and artists Dan Mora and Gabriel Cassata kicked off the second arc of their smash-hit series Hexed with a new arc that develops on everything we were introduced to in the first half, such as the complicated relationships between the three main characters, and the mysteries that surround all of them. Deservedly, the fifth issue of the series was an all-star issue that hit the perfect note for me at the end of the year, and I expected the next few issues to be more of the same.
And I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Issue #6 from last month builds on the concept of Lucifer being the Harlot’s heir, and Lady Cymbaline trying to use that to get a hold on her since she has a bitter enmity with the Harlot. Issue #7 then, in turn, builds upon some of the secrets that Val has kept from Lucifer to date, and it all becomes kind of a really interesting mess by the end. Great story, amazingly great art, that’s what you can expect from this seasoned team, and you will definitely not be left wanting.
As part of its bid to “revitalize” the Star Wars franchise, having recently acquired it from George Lucas, Disney last month launched a new Star Wars comic that resets the entire comics-verse established by Dark Horse Comics to just the six movies, the ongoing Star Wars: Rebels show, and something else that I can’t quite recall. The new comic is set in-between the original movie and its sequel, and it follows on from what the Rebels and the Empire did in the intervening time. It was a somewhat better comic than I expected, but also of a letdown in some ways.
So I was expecting this past week’s Darth Vader #1 to be different and be better, but I had my doubts about it since Kieron Gillen’s writing is extremely hit-and-miss for me, which the writer proves yet again with this issue. The artwork here is actually pretty good, which you expect from a team that boasts of Salvador Larroca and Edgar Delgado, but the writing definitely did NOT impress me, and it is frankly one big mess that I really didn’t get. Plus it seems to show Darth Vader and the Emperor both as very petty and one-sided characters, which didn’t help things.
Last month Dark Horse and Dynamite finally launched their collaborative new series, Conan/Red Sonja, which brings two of the biggest swords-and-sorcery heroes together once again. The first issue detailed the first meeting between the two of them, and it proved to be all-out fun, beating my expectations of the title, whether we talk about the story or the art. Collaborative projects can’t be easy to pull off but if Conan/Red Sonja is any indication, then things are going to go great for this series, which is great as far as I’m concerned.
Conan/Red Sonja #2 is the second meeting between the two titular heroes, and an interesting meet-up it is too. And more than just the titular heroes, we also have two of their greatest allies as well, Belit for Conan and Annisia for Sonja. The two sides meet together in a naval battle, and the story involves some really hard-hitting action from both sides while the art portrays that to the fullest. This issue is another example of the finest that you can expect from a creative team that includes the likes of Gail Simone, Jim Zub, Dan Panosian and Dave Stewart.
It isn’t a secret that CW’s Arrow has had an amazingly good season 3 as far as I’m concerned. I’ve loved pretty much all that we’ve seen on the show so far in the 2014-2015 season, and the greatest thing definitely has to be the fact that Starling City has gone bring the Vigilante’s city to a City of Heroes. Season 2 actually had that whole latter theme going on, but it was more a transitionary thing, and it is season 3 is where it all starts to really come together. And along the way, characters like Thea Queen and Laurel Lance have improved immeasurably since their earliest appearances on the show, while the others like Felicity Smoak and Oliver Queen among others have continued to grow.
Two weeks back the villain Brick, who has set himself up as the new power in the Glades, set the stage for a hostile takeover for all of the Glades, pushing out both policemen and city officials. We’ve already seen before that Team Arrow minus Oliver has really struggled against Brick before, so them going up against the big bad once again is perhaps not the best idea, but then, the way it is all handled in episode 12 shows how Team Arrow has grown into being more than just Oliver’s allies of need and circumstance. And this theme carries on over in episode 13 from this week when we see how the team functions when it is whole once again.
At a point when we are pretty much half-way through the first season of CW’s The Flash, there isn’t really any point in repeating myself that the show has been incredible since it started. Debuting the Scarlet Speedster back in October of last year, The Flash has made waves everywhere and I dare say that it has overtaken Arrow in terms of popularity, for the pure reason that it is such an uplifting show in general, less moody and more action-adventure with a bigger dose of humour. And thus the show totally fits the titular character, though the writers never shy away from showing some really serious stuff. Nor they should.
Episodes 12 and 13 of The Flash do a lot of great things. For one, we delve further into the mystery of how Ronnie became Firestorm and how Dr. Martin Stein is caught up in everything. This is where previous supervillain Hartley Rathaway fits in with a really interesting twist and we get to see Cisco get to kick some ass. Then there’s the whole thing with a new character being introduced into the mix, and suddenly, it is as if the show’s cast has increased to almost double, and I’m loving all that has been happening the last two weeks.
Things have really been heating up on Marvel’s Agent Carter of late. Starting with the revelation two weeks ago that Peggy’s fellow Griffith resident Dottie was a Leviathan agent and then Peggy going to Russia with an SSR team and her old friends the Howling Commandos to kick some Red-butt, it has been a whirlwind of things. And we’ve finally started to see Peggy “grow up” a little and become more forceful with her colleagues at the SSR, which has actually been quite a revelation since she usually accepted the patriarchal behaviour and put it out of her mind. Now she’s fighting forcefully in the big leagues!
The new episode this week, “A Sin To Err“, really takes things to the next level, and the journey getting to that is rather tragic. Last week Agent Sousa finally figured out that the mysterious woman who had thwarted the SSR’s efforts to capture some of Howard Stark’s supposed criminal contacts was actually Peggy, and so the agency goes after her, even as we see what exactly is happening with Dr. Ivchenko and Dottie in their respective stories here. The tension is definitely getting even more so, and the show is headed for a really big showdown that can only be called explosive.
Last time we were in the world of Ms. Marvel, we were witness to the titular hero stepping up big time to be a responsible member of her generation, and inspiring others to do the same. It was a great moment that I think underscores some real-world realities and thus writer G. Willow Wilson is able to better place her hero in the ongoing changing world of comics, where the comics are often a stark reflection of our world and our changing perception to it. Nothing to be scoffed at, that.
The Inventor has been ever-present since the start of the series and while G. Willow Wilson has dealt with some other things along the way, the story has still remained focused on Kamala’s first nemesis, someone who can be considered to be at-level and thus a good foil for her in some ways while also being the primary antagonist. With Ms. Marvel #11, G. Willow Wilson closes out her first mega-arc, while at the same time artists Adrian Alphon and Ian Herring continue to present some truly excellent artwork.
As part of the celebrations for the tenth anniversary of Dynamite publishing Red Sonja comics, the publisher last month launched a new series with the character, Red Sonja: Vulture’s Circle, which explores the character when she is way past the prime of her life and has taken to opening an academy where young women are given weapons training and are prepared for war. The first issue was excellent, with Nancy A. Collins and Luke Lieberman displaying a great grasp of what makes the character who she is while artists Fritz Casas and Adriano Lucas nailing the visual feel of the book.
Red Sonja: Vulture’s Circle #2 from this past week carries on from where the first issue left off and it deals with Sonja and her students bringing the priest Sefkh back to the Academy to question and interrogate him about the demon Sonja dealt with back in the city. Set’s son Sutekh has been let loose in the world and he has made war on the entire world, intent on bringing it all down and then offering it to his god-father. The writing here was even better than it had been in the first issue, and the art is pretty much on par, so I had a blast reading this issue as well.
Last month’s installment of Grimm Fairy Tales proved to be a rather interesting one in that it developed some of the concepts introduced back in Grimm Fairy Tales #102, and it was also a stand-alone, so it helped center readers with respect to the meta-story of the series. However, while the issue was interesting, it didn’t wow me as much as the other issues prior to it, and I was hoping that it would just be a blip on the radar-like, because generally in recent months the title has been really good, and I wanted it to stay like that.
Fortunately, this past week’s Grimm Fairy Tales #107 gets things back on track in a great way. It is the start of a new arc on the series, focusing on a former Realm Knight who kinda sorta went missing sometime back, and the issue also brings back Agent Jessica Ciampo, one of my favourite characters from the Age of Darkness crossover, so it was generally all good. I certainly enjoyed this issue much more than I did the last, possibly because it feels like a fresh start, and I’m all for something like that.