Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I knew going in to tonight's episode that there was a better than average chance that it was going to be a bit of a let-down. Not only was it coming right after the episode on Richard's backstory, (which was awesome) it featured Sun and Jin, the two characters I care about the least. Well I was right, it was boring and except for two small moments, very skippable.

In the sideways story we find out that Sun and Jin aren't married but are in love. Sun performs a little strip tease for Jin and we get a good look at what I can only assume are stunt boobs. The bad news is that sun's daddy found out about the affair and isn't happy. Remember that 25 large that Jin was bringing to the states that was confiscated at customs? Turns out that was for Martin Keamy and in return for the money he was to kill Jin. So Jin was given the responsibility of transporting his own blood money from Korea to the states by Sun's dad. Sucks to be you Jin.

Well the money is gone so Jin is taped up in a restaurant pantry while Sun tries to come up with the money. This of course is where we saw Jin at the end of Sayid's episode a few weeks ago. Sayid gives Jin a knife and leaves and Jin frees himself just as Sun and the mercenary tasked with taking her to the bank arrive. Jin and him get into a fight, shots are fired and Jin kills him but not before Sun is shot in the belly. As Jin takes her to get help she drops the bomb on Jin, "I'm pregnant". I'm sure daddy will be thrilled.

Back in the Island timeline, Widmore's people sedate all the people in Locke's camp and abduct Jin while Locke is away trying to gut Sun to come back with him. Once Jin wakes up he gets to talk to Widmore and he gives us the first of our small reveals in this episode. Widmore tells Jin that if Locke leaves the island then all of the people on the island and all of their loved ones "would simply cease to be." It didn't sound to me like Locke would kill them but that Locke could do something retroactively to the timestream so they wouldn't ever have existed. Maybe he has the power to wipe out all life on Earth. Who knows?

Back on the other island, when Locke finds out about Jin's kidnapping he grabs Sayid and heads off to rescue him but when he lands on the beach, Sayid is gone and Locke can't go past the pylons that Widmore's crew set up. Once Widmore actually arrives on the beach Locke threatens him with war. I certainly hope so because after this episode I'm ready for stuff to blow up. Once night falls we see the missing Sayid swimming silently towards the docked submarine and we get our second reveal of the night. The crew is getting a "package" off the sub and we see that it's a heavily sedated Desmond! That doubles his screen time for this season to about 15 seconds total. I can't imagine what Widmore needs with Desmond but I sure am looking forward to finding out.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Back for another hour in Jack's world! But this time all bets are off! That's right, with the announcement that this is the final season ever of 24 literally anything can happen. I remember how amazed I was way back in the first season that they killed his wife, (hero's wives are not supposed to die!) now who knows what will happen. Maybe his daughter will finally get eaten by that mountain lion. Maybe Tony will come back and die again. Maybe Chloe will smile. It's all on the table.

First off, let me just say how glad I am that the whole Dana Walsh sub-plot is going somewhere. Last episode we saw her kill Bill Prady and stuff him in a wall then call the bad guys and give them intel. Sure this is the upteenth time that CTU has had a mole (who is in charge of screening these people?) but at least there is a reason for her to be on the show. (I was just fast-forwarding through her scenes to get to the commercials!) Throughout the episode she is funneling info to the terrorists, knocking out satellites and generally making Jack and Chloe's day miserable. But enough about her, lets move on the star of the show.

When last we left our hero he had been gunned down while trying to draw the fire of the bad guys so Cole can get word to CTU about where the bomb is. He takes three to the chest and is defenseless on the street when Renee Walker shows up and takes out the last bad guy. Renee runs to Jack who looks dead but is really OK. We are told Jack was saved by his bullet proof vest but we know the truth. Jack is bullet-proof. Vests are for wussies.

With the scene locked down and the authorities on-site Jack gets a phone call from the President. How exciting! She wants Jack to oversee President Hassan's transport from the UN to the White House. Sure Jack's on the trail of a Nuclear bomb that could take out half of Manhatten but lets pull him off that and put him on a menial job that any one of a thousand Secret Service or Military personnel could do. That seems smart. But it's the President so what are you gonna do. Jack agrees and tells Renee what's going on and they share a little moment. Seems Jack really likes her. Look for her to kidnapped, tortured, raped and beheaded before the end of the season. I'm saying Jack's love interests don't do very well.

In the meantime, the bad guys call the Prez and give her the 411. Either turn over Hassan or the bomb goes blooey. Of course President Taylor isn't having any of that but some on her cabinet don't think that's the wisest move. In fact two members on her staff take it upon themselves to go behind her back and stage a kidnapping. That way they can turn over Hassan, remove the bomb threat, and the President can say that she didn't know anything. Just one problem with that, remember who was put in charge of the transport? That's right, Mr. Bauer himself. When General Brocker learns that Jack is heading up the detail he utters what will go down in history as the dumbest thing any character in the 24 universe has ever said. "He's going up against and elite team with the power of surprise. Bauer and his team doesn't stand a chance." Go back and read that again. Where has this guy been for the past 8 seasons?

Brocker and Weiss are downloading the relevant details from Ethan Hunt's laptop when Ethan walks in. He figures out what's going on and calls Jack but before he can say anything Brocker takes the phone but the damage is done. (How cool is it to have Jack Bauer on speeddial?) This one phone call combined with Jack's inability to get back in touch with Ethan makes his spidey-sense tingle. He turns his convoy of people around just as that elite team starts firing. Long story short, Jack goes all Jack Bauer on them and pretty much single-handedly takes out that "elite team" with "the power of surprise". Stupid General. He manages to leave one alive to learn who is responsible for this attack against the person of Jack Bauer and Friends and now I wouldn't want to be in Brocker or Weiss' shoes for all the cattle in Texas.

Finally we cut to guy with the bomb who sets it to explode in 15 minutes. Even though it is across town I have no doubt that Jack will get there in time to disarm it. Either that or Chloe will handle the situation with her humorless deadpan leet hacking skillz.

What did you think of the episode? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Finally some answers! Kind of.

Tonight's episode was all about the enigmatic Richard Alpert, who he was and why in the world he doesn't appear to age. We finally got some of the answers we've been waiting for and were rewarded with pretty good story to boot.

The first thing we see is when Jacob greeted Ilana in her hospital bed and she is told to protect Jacob's six candidates. Jacob tells her that Richard (Ricardis?) will know what to. However, when Ilana actually asks Richard what to do he drops a bombshell on our intrepid Losties. He says that they are all dead and the island is actually Hell! And to make matters worse, he has no idea what to do next and thinks that he has been misled his entire life by Jacob. Not what you want to hear from the guy who is supposed to have all the answers!

Flashback to Richard's past and we learn that he is from Tenerife on the Canary Islands in 1867. (My first thought was "Oh great, another timeline to keep straight.") He is a married man with dreams of taking his wife to the New World and starting a family with her but she has fallen ill. In his desperation to save her, he rides to the doctor and begs for medicine to save her, but the doctor wants more money than he has. When Richard tries to get him to accept his prized possession, his wife's cross necklace, he tells him that it's junk and tells him to go. In a panic, Richard wrestles the medicine from the doctor's hand and in the tussle the doctor falls, hits his head on the table and dies. Richard races back home to find his wife already dead and Richard is arrested for murder.

While in jail, the priest comes and tells him to make confession for his sin before he is hanged but when Richard confesses the priest says he cannot absolve him because he must do penance and he doesn't have enough time. (On a pastoral note, that Theology is wrong. Christ forgives any man (or woman) who repents and puts his trust in Him to save him. Leave a comment if you have any questions.) However, when the priest finds out that Richard speaks English he sells Richard into slavery and Richard is chained aboard the slave ship, The Black Rock. The Black Rock is caught in a storm, smashes against the statue on the beach and is hurtled inland. (Answering such burning questions as "Where did the Black Rock come from?" and "How did the statue get smashed?" Left unanswered: "Is it plausible that a wave could throw a ship hard enough to smash a statue and fling it miles inland?" and "Where are the other pieces of the statue?")

As the crew of the ship comes to and assesses their situation they realize that they need to kill the slaves in the hold before the slaves try to kill them so the captain goes down and runs each of them through with his sword but before he gets to Richard we hear a familiar sound. Sure enough the smoke monster comes and kills all the crew but leaves Richard alive. (Not sure why. I don't think Richard was a candidate or under Jacob's protection because he didn't touch Richard until later in the episode. Maybe he recognized a kindred spirit because the smoke monster sees himself as Jacob's slave. Or maybe he just knew he could manipulate Richard into doing what he wanted.) That night Richard sees his dead wife Isabella who tells him that they are in Hell and the devil is coming for them. Before she can free Richard the black smoke comes back, Richard tells her to go but the black smoke gets her. Later the Man in Black comes to Richard and tells him that he will free him if he agrees to do whatever he tells him. Of course Richard agrees because let's face it, anything's better than starving to death while chained to the side of a ship. After the Man in Black frees him (with a set of keys he got off the officers body. Why didn't he just make the chains fall off like he did for Ben in the Dr' Linus episode?) they go make camp and eat some roasted boar.

After they eat, Man in Black gives Richard the same knife that Dogan gave Sayid and tells him to go to the beach and kill the man living there near the (now destroyed) statue (MiB tells him it's the devil) but not to let him talk, if he talks it's too late. So Richard heads down there but before he gets the chance to do any damage, Jacob beats him up and takes the knife. When Richard tells Jacob what MiB said and that he thinks he is dead and in hell, Jacob takes him to the ocean and forcibly dunks (baptizes?) him until he realizes that he is not actually dead. Thus Richard is recruited to Jacob's side and has the meaning of the island explained to him. Apparently evil (MiB) is like wine in a bottle and the island is like a cork that keeps the evil from escaping. Well that's clear. Still doesn't explain why Fake Locke doesn't just turn into black smoke and leave the island now that Jacob's dead.

Jacob says that he brings people to the island in order to prove that people are good while the MiB believes that people are already corrupted and sin because it's in their nature. (At this point I should probably be worried because I agree with MiB. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Psalm 51:5 We are born sinners.) Jacob then offers Richard a job. Since he doesn't want to interfere directly with the people he brings to the island, Richard will be his representative and let Jacob's will be known to the people. (Much like Christ was the exact representation of the Father and only did what he saw His Father do and said what His Father wanted Him to say.) In return, Richard wants his wife back but Jacob can't do that. (Because that's beyond the scope of his abilities? Because the black smoke got her earlier? Because he doesn't want to? Who knows) Then Richard asks for his sins to be absolved but Jacob can't do that either. So Richard asks to never have to die. This Richard can do. (That's a pretty specific power set.)

So Richard goes back to MiB, hands him a white stone (a gift from Jacob) and MiB tells him that if he ever wants to switch sides he always has a place by MiB's side. Then MiB gives him his wife's cross necklace back telling him he found it on the ship and leaves. Richard then buries the necklace presumably because he never got to bury his wife. Flash Forward to the present and Richard is digging up that necklace and shouts "I changed my mind! I was wrong! Does the offer still stand?". Thankfully before he can make the switch, Hurley shows up with his "I see dead people" power and lets Richard have a final conversation with his dead wife. Richard puts the necklace on and Hurley tells him the last thing his wife said which was that he has to stop the MiB from leaving the island and if he doesn't they will all go to Hell.

Pan over to Fake Locke watching the scene and we flashback to MiB just after his conversation with Richard. Jacob visits him and asks him why he tried to kill him and MiB says he just wants to leave and asks Jacob to let him go. Jacob says Fuggedaboudit as long as I'm alive and gives him a bottle of wine that MiB promptly smashes. Jacob says "I'll see you around" and MiB replies "Sooner than you think" which is what he told Richard a few episodes ago when he lowered him from the tree. Not sure what the significance to that is.

I love episodes like this that really answers some questions but leaves us wanting more. Richard has long been one of the most mysterious figures on the island and we know now a big chunk of his back story. With only 7 episodes left until the finale I'm not sure how they are going to fit the rest of the answers we need but I can't wait to find out. For the record, if this series ends anything like how Sopranos ended I would not want to be in the shoes of anybody connected with this show!

Friday, March 19, 2010

30 Rock

Last night's first scene of 30 Rock shows why this show is so well known for its originality. Jack is giving a presentation to the NBC employees about the upcoming merger with Kabletown and says they are a good company "even if they are from Philadelphia." Liz (also from Philly) takes offense and all of a sudden it's like an Eagles-Patriots game with Liz throwing snowballs at Jack and defending the greatness of Philly (Philly rules! Cheesesteak, Bobby Clark, Will Smith. Your town sucks!) and Jack returning fire with a battery and the high points of Boston (Boston Tea Party, Boston Cream Pie, Boston Rob Mariano!). Of course they all laugh when someone tries to defend LA (Michael Bay, Freeway, Legoland!). It's this off-centered quirkiness that endears the show to you and compels you to come back every week.

In tonight's episode we watch as a sex scandal unfolds for Tracy Jordan. No, he didn't sleep with a stripper, he talks about that every week. It's not that he slept with his kid's nanny or groupies or anyone else. For Tracy, that would all be acceptable and wouldn't be cause for alarm. The scandal that Tracy has to deal with is that he actually loves his wife and has never been unfaithful! All of his well-publicized sexual exploits were staged! Worst of all the media has gotten a hold of damning voicemails where Tracy calls his wife and asks her what to pick up from Bed, Bath and Beyond and how he can't wait to get home and be alone with her.

Such a great way to turn the typical celebrity scandal on its head and let us see what someone would do if he has to have an affair or his endorsements will leave him. He tries to seduce Liz but she's not having it. ("That's not going to happen for many reasons. Reason 1: I'm conscious. Reason 2: You smell like Icy-Hot. Reason 3:...") Liz is able to convince him that he should be thankful for the loving and devoted family he has and stop trying to cheat on them. (Liz:"You know what I have? A Sims family that keeps getting murdered") The interaction between Liz and the cast of crazies she is surrounded by is so great!

The funniest bit of the night? Jack creates porn for women. I's basically a channel of hot guys that will listen while women talk and say things like "I understand, That's so true, She's obviously jealous of you, You look pretty" for 24.95 a month. Operators are standing by! That was so good I had to interrupt whatever horrible reality show my wife was watching and show her. In fact I could see that really taking off with husbands buying it for their wives!

This show is so good, so well written and has confirmed my long-standing thesis that Tina Fey is a genius and deserves whatever awards and accolades her industry could throw at her.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


This show just gets better and better every week. From the ridiculous visual of Chevy Chase dressed in a sailing suit from the 70's to the racial humor that should be incredibly offensive but instead is somehow hilarious, this show keeps delivering funny lines and well crafted jokes.

Probably what resonates strongest with me are the racial stereotypes thrown out constantly. I was the youth pastor at a church that was ethnically diverse and am now the pastor of a church that has a mix of skin colors and our Wednesday night Bible studies often sound like some of the stuff said at the "Community" table. Take tonight's episode for instance. Pierce is going to take a one week sailing course for an easy credit and talks Shirley (a black woman) into joining him, Troy (A black man) says "A black on the water? This I gotta see" and joins the class. Then Pierce asks Abed to join by saying "Wanna join us? We got black people!" This is the kind of stuff that would get you killed if said around strangers or in public, but around friends it's acceptable because you know the hearts of the people speaking. It's real easy to do racial humor wrong and have the whole world against you but Community manages to find the balance between pushing the envelope and just being funny.

Tonight's episode was also funny for the movie references. Jeff, Abed and Annie take a pottery class that has one rule, no re-enactments of the famous pottery scene in "Ghost" and no singing of the Righteous Brothers song associated with it. Then he points at a poster of Patrick Swayze with a big red X over it. Sensing the class is a little taken aback by that the teacher says, "Oh it's OK. I had that made before he died." Again, using someone's death, especially if they have recently died, shouldn't be funny but it just is. Of course, because this is the only rule given in the class it is the first rule broken by Jeff who works on a guy's pot ala "Ghost" and when the teacher tries to throw him out he leaves singing Unchained Melody.

Meanwhile, over in the sailing class, Pierce can't do anything right and is in danger of making the entire class fail. The rule is that anything that falls off the boat is lost at sea and is gone forever even though the boat is in the middle of a parking lot because the nearest water in 2 and a half hours away. While trying to fix the sails, Pierce is knocked off the boat and the crew has to throw a life preserver to rescue him but a storm is coming and the crew has to decide whether to try and save him or sail out of reach of the (purely hypothetical) storm. In one of the funniest scenes I've seen in a long time, the crew decides to leave Pierce out at sea and not reel in the rope attached to the life preserver that Pierce is clutching. What makes this so funny is they aren't at sea and Pierce is on the ground four feet from the boat but this decision is made with all the gravitas of consigning someone to the icy waters of Davy Jones locker.

If you don't watch this show, do yourself a favor and start. It's smart, funny, well-written and well-acted. I haven't liked Chevy Chase in anything since the National Lampoon movies and he knocks it out of the park every week. Joel McHale is hilarious and every member of the cast is very smart and very good at their jobs. Abed alone is usually worth the price of admission every week, his comments and meta-commentary are always very funny. I have yet to watch a bad episode of this show and hope the cast and crew can keep up the good work.

Incredible Hulk #608

I remember when "Planet Hulk" was announced and I wondered if a big storyline centered around the Hulk would be any good. Turns out it was extremely good. Then "World War Hulk" was announced and I wondered if the Hulk could support a big summer crossover event. Turns out it was even better than "Planet Hulk". So when "Fall of the Hulks" was announced I was really looking forward to it. Turns out that it's pretty much horrible and at times unreadable.

This issue has the final assault on the Intelligensia's reconfigured HeliCarrier and showcases some of the problems. It seems everyone has a plan but we don't really know what it is. It's hard to be taken by surprise by some plot twist if you weren't really sure what direction the plot was headed in anyway. Skaar has the sense to start asking what the plan is (Albeit not until they are in the middle of a huge fight) and seems satisfied when he really isn't given an answer, just more vagueness. What makes this more incredible is the bad guys have already captured Dr. Doom, Henry Pym, Reed Richards, and Hank McCoy but Banner's going to able to outsmart them? He's a theoretical physicist, not some strategical savant. You want to know how quarks and protons interact with Gamma radiation? Ask Banner. You want to know how to attack a team of ultra-smart bad guys? Don't ask Banner because he has no experience with that, at least until this story line.

Of course everything goes wrong, Banner is captured and the heroes are "Hulked-out". Not sure why the bad guys want to turn everyone into super-strong monsters but I guess we'll see. The bad part is we have no idea if this Banner's plan or not. Maybe this is exactly what was supposed to happen, maybe not, who knows.

The back up story was even more ridiculous. Red She Hulk vs. Electra and Domino. After the first attacks on Red She Hulk all her clothes fall off. I'm sure that always happens. So she get her hands on Domino and does she hit her? No. She strips her clothes off. Am I reading someone's wet dream? Is this fan-fic? Was this written by a twelve year old? Just terrible. I feel like even though Greg Pak and Harry Wilcox are credited with writing this issue, the blame for this needs to fall at the feet Jeph Loeb. This just feels like his level of "character development".

The good news is that this is the conclusion to "Fall of the Hulks" and next month starts "Hulked out Heroes". I hope this all gets much better real quick.


OK I had last night's episode on DVR from last night because I just couldn't get to it with all the Lost and Parenthood goodness so this is a little late coming but WOW is this a great show! Is there anyone else on the planet that does smoldering anger better than Timothy Olyphant? Answer: No. This is definitely going to the top of my must watch list, I'm just not sure how to fit it in to an already packed Tuesday.

Tonight's episode starts with U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens (Olyphant) on a hotel patio in Miami telling a drug kingpin that the 24 hours he gave him to leave town are almost up. He can either hop on the next flight out to South America or Givens would shoot him. Of course the drug dealer's not having any of that so he pulls his gun but Givens is the faster draw and kills him before he can get a shot off. This sets off an internal investigation into the shooting with the final result being Givens is shipped out to the Marshall's office in Lexington, Kentucky. Just so happens that Givens grew up in nearby Harlen and is very familiar with the area but doesn't like the idea that he has to come back.

When he arrives he finds out one of his old buddies he used to work in the coal mines with, Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), has become a Neo-Nazi that likes to blow up churches with bazookas and rob banks. He also had a brother that had just been shot and killed the night before by his wife. Givens figures he should go call on the wife and wait for brother Boyd to stop by but Boyd sends one of his men instead so Givens tells him to go back and tell Boyd that he's in town and is going to be seeing him soon.

When they do finally meet up each man takes the measure of the other, sizes him up and wonders how exactly they got to such different places though they started from the same beginning. Givens tells Crowder to show up at court the next day for a line up, which he does, then Crowder tells Givens he has 24 hours to leave town or he will kill him, a nice reversal from the deal Givens gave the druglord at the beginning of the episode. Of course, being a Nazi Crowder doesn't really feel obligated to give Givens the entire 24 hours so he goes to his brothers house and makes his widow call the Marshall over for dinner. Then, in one of the dumbest moves I've seen in a while, sends the widow away while he makes Givens sit and eat his "last meal". Why is this so dumb? Well this woman has already killed one brother with her shotgun, what makes him think she won't kill another? Sure enough, here she comes around the corner with a shotgun and shoots Crowder. Unfortunately she doesn't kill him as it looks like this is the beginning of a long story arc with these characters and not just a one and done story then off to the next case.

Admittedly the main draw for this show is Olyphant staring down bad guys then being quick on the draw but my goodness that appears to be enough. Not only that but it looks like they have surrounded him with enough talented actors to give this series legs and keep it going for a long time. If you missed this show go find it on FX, I'm sure there will be encore showings all week, and watch it. It will be well worth your time.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Daily Show

Tonight's episode had Aasif Mandvi try to interview Health insurance executives at one of their meeting but he kept getting blocked by security so he tries to sneak back in, in disguise. First he's Senator Mandvi and demands entrance, then Uncle Moneybags, then Batman, each costume more ridiculous than the last but all to no avail. He wasn't getting in but it did look like he was amusing the security guards.

Jon's guest was Michael Lewis, author of The Blindside and Moneyball. His new book "The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine" is out and details how a few investors saw the current financial meltdown coming and were able to make a profit on it. in fact one guy with a glass eye and Asparger's made a billion dollars betting that the economy would crumble. This of course begs the question, if one guy could see it, why not all the others? Michael said the answer might be that the big banks had gotten so good at hiding their bad assets that they had fooled themselves into believing their own lie. Pretty good interview that made a very difficult subject easy to understand.


OK, this show is good. Real good. And not just because it has Lauren Graham who was fantastic in Gilmore Girls, (I saw every episode. I'm not ashamed. Much.) but because it has real heart and shows a real family dealing with real issues.

In tonight's episode we see Max's Asparger's get confirmed by a doctor's diagnosis followed by Max breaking a fishtank in his classroom, flooding the classroom and making all the fish flop on the ground in front of the rest of his classmates. (An insight into why I like this show: the mother's reaction? "And we were going to have fish tonight, too.") Now the parents have to find a new school that can handle Max's Asparger's but the only one that can deal with him is full until September. Max's parent's insist on the principal meeting Max and it's enough for the school to figure out a way to squeeze Max into the current school year. This is where Parenthood really shines because you get the sense that these are real people who are a little over their head, don't have a guidebook on how to deal with a kid with Asparger's and are just trying to do the best that they can. They're not afraid to push or fight or do what's needed so Max can get the best treatment available.

Next we see Sarah (the aforementioned Lauren Graham) ask her father about the condoms she found in his desk drawer. He doesn't want to talk about it at first but eventually admits that he and his wife have been having some issues and he has been sleeping in the guesthouse. While he didn't outright admit to an affair I'm sure we will meet his mistress eventually.

And little sister Julia (played by Erika Christensen who I couldn't remember what I had seen her in before until I saw her in her bathing suit. Ah yes, Swimfan.) who is determined to teach her child to swim by asking her to swim to her from the side. Of course as soon as the kid kicks away from the side she sinks like a stone, comes up terrified and starts screaming for Daddy. Which greatly embarrasses Julia in front of all the other parents who are watching, causing Julia to feel even more like a failure as a mother. What parent hasn't been embarrassed by something their kid has done in public? I remember telling my Dad very loudly that I had to go "Do number 2" in a bookstore and him walking away like he didn't even know me. Good times.

All in all, if you aren't watching this show you really should. It's very well written and acted, has charm, humor, drama and anything else you would want from a show.

Batman Confidential #42

Batman and the supernatural don't mix well. Anytime ghosts or demons enter the picture he wisely gets help from Jason Blood or Deadman or any one of the many people he knows from his particular line of work. But not in this story. No, in this book Batman hunts down some kind of creature (ghost? demon?) that is causing perpetrators of gun violence to killed themselves. At least I think that's what's happening, the art work is very difficult to decipher at times. In fact between the strange story with Batman acting a little out of character and the bizarre and at times downright ugly artwork, this book is not a fun read and I can't wait until it's over.

Written by SAM KIETH
Art and Cover by SAM KIETH

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Batman and Robin #10

I have to hand it to Grant Morrison. In the interest of full disclosure there is very little that Grant does that I don't like, in fact his run on the JLA I consider one of my favorite iterations of my favorite team. (The other being the BWAH-HA-HA League) But with his creation of Damian, son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al-Ghul, is such a stroke of genius it's made this book one of the few I really look forward to. I wish they would tell us how old he's supposed to be because it would make some of the situations he's put in even more surreal.

Take, for instance, the opening scene of this book. He's in a Wayne Enterprises board meeting talking about financial irregularities in one of the firm's charity accounts. Can you imagine going to work and getting dressed down by a twelve year old while he explains financial dealings you had to go to school for years to learn about? Although, all this talk about someone bleeding money out of the Wayne accounts reminded me that Hush is still out there posing as Bruce, spending all his money. Did that plotline ever resolve? Wouldn't that be the first place to look for financial drains? Maybe Batman and co. forgot about him.

One of the coolest things about this issue is we gota peek behind Damian's rough exterior and saw that he really cares about being Robin and honoring his father's legacy. As he and Dick are serching for clus to find Bruce, who has apparently been "lost in time" ala Captain America, he realizes that once Bruce returns there's really not a need for him to be Robin anymore and it worries him. Add to that the fact that apparently his mother as brainwashed him and can force him to kill Dick at anytime and he is understandably concerned.

This issue also kicks off the big "Hunt for Bruce Wayne" story line that will run through the summer with Alfred finding clues hidden in paintings in the mansion. The search finds a second "batcave" hidden from the main cave that has the word "Barbatos" scrawled on the wall in big letters and the word "Thomas" written smaller all over the wall. Not sure what's going on here but it looks like the search for Bruce has started in earnest and with Grant Morrison at the helm it's going to be a fun ride.

Variant Cover by ANDY CLARKE


Sawyer's a cop? Yabuhwuh? It didn't appear he was any longer a con man in his flash sideways but I sure didn't expect cop. It certainly makes when he saw Kate's handcuffs in the elevator at the airport much more curious. I guess he didn't turn her in because he didn't want anyone to know where he was. And am I the only one that thought of Spider-man when Kate smashed his car? He didn't stop her when he had the chance so his car got smashed? Could have been worse, Kate could have killed his Uncle Ben.

This whole flash-sideways thing is so odd, I can't wait until it's explained. I thought at first that each character's life changed from the point Jacob initially touched them, Jack is touched when he's older so his life is pretty much the same just with a son but Sawyer's is radically different because Jacob touched him at a much earlier age. However, I don't think I can make that theory work because of Hurley, his life is very different but Jacob doesn't come to him until after they Oceanic six are already rescued. So, quite frankly I don't know what the heck is going on.

Probably the most interesting part of tonight's episode was fake Locke's conversation with Kate on the beach. He reveals that he had a mother who was crazy like Claire. To be honest I had never even considered that the smoke monster started off human. How did he change into something that can go back and forth between a human body and a black cloud? Who was his mother? The first one I thought of was Rousseau but I don't think the time frames work out, not the time means anything on this show. He could be Aaron for all we know.

Also we see that Charles Widmore has made it to the island and preparing defenses against the smoke monster in the form of pylons like the ones the Others used to keep him out. Sawyer is captured and makes a deal with Widmore to deliver fake Locke to him then goes back and tells Locke what happened. This felt like a test of trust for Sawyer that Locke was giving him and Sawyer passed, although Sawyer makes it clear that he's on his own side and will do what's in his own best interest.

As good as this episode was I think the thing that got me most excited was the previews for next week's episode. We finally get to learn about the mysterious Richard and his back story. That should be a good one!

What did you think of tonight's episode? Leave a comment.

Batman: The Widening Gyre #5

I am all for letting us see well-established characters like Batman in new or unusal situations but thic comic had crossed the line from interesting to a little uncomfortable. I was fine with seeing Batman as a love-sick puppy falling head over heals for Silver St. Cloud, he's a hard working man and he should get a pretty lady to go home to. Where it got strange is the fact that he is cheating on her with Catwoman! I mean the guy has gone how many years without a lady in his life now he needs two? I've heard of making up for lost time but this is ridiculous!

The artwork for Catwoman is a little sketchy also. The first shot we see of her it looks like her legs are entirely too long for her body and her backside is oddly shaped. Also it looks like she went to the back of the closet and got a costume from the 60's. In fact it reminds me of the costume worn on the Adam West TV show. I know this mini-series is set in the past but I thought it was the recent past. Catwoman knows Batman is Bruce, that happened in the Hush arc, right?

That brings us to the new addition to the Batman family introduced in this story, Baphomet. An interesting character in that it appears he shows us what happens when crime kills someone important to an ordinary guy instead of the heir to a vast fortune. Baphomet doesn't have all the money and resources that Bruce had starting out but is just as driven and focused. I think it will be interesting to watch a guy fight crime then go home to the wife and kids. I wonder if they know what he's doing with his nights. Of course I've read enough comics to know that this will eventually end in disaster. The Joker or someone will track him back to his home and kill his family in front of him or something equally as horrible.

Regardless of what happens I have enjoyed the series so far and look forward to the last issue next month. It 's always fun to see Bruce lighten up and get the girl (or two) and see him rely on his "family" to hold down the fort while he is off getting some badly needed R&R.

Written by Kevin Smith
Variant cover by Gene Ha

Monday, March 15, 2010


It's been announced that Season 4 will be the final season and will only be 10 episodes long. I think it's clear that will be a good thing as this show has run out of gas and been more and more difficult to watch. One of the core conceit's of this show is that you have to believe that Casey Cartwright is such an incredible girl that guys constantly fight over her and vie for her attention and it just rings more and more false as the series progresses. She just doesn't bring all that much to the table to have guys falling all over themselves to get to her.

In tonight's episode she keeps pressuring Cappie to make some decisions about his future and she thinks she is going to get some help from his visiting parents. However his parents are very non-traditional (read: hippies) and encourage him to take it slow and not rush graduation. I keep fighting the urge to scream "man up Cappie!" at the TV but I don't because I don't like it when people stare at me.

In the end it looks like Casey has made up her mind that her and Cappie are not meant to be but I'm sure that is just setting the stage for future waffling and wishy-washyness as all parties display their trademark inability to make a decision. I guess we'll see.


Another high octane episode of 24 hit the airwaves and cable boxes tonight and boy was it a doozy! Jack and CTU crew are working to rescue Kayla Hassan, daughter of the Kamistan President who has been taken prisoner by her one-time lover and head of President Hassan's security, Tarin Faroush. After Kayla is shown to be tied up and demands are made by the Kamistan terrorists it appears Tarin has a change of heart and helps Kayla escape, even getting shot in the process so Tarin can drive away and get to CTU. That's when things go real south, real quick.

As Kayla is being directed to CTU, surveillance shows an alive and well Tarin getting in the car with the other terrorists and it dawns on Jack what has happened. Kayla's car has a bomb and it's headed straight for CTU! Not just any bomb but a EMP device that will shut down all electronics in the building, erasing every hard drive and scrambling every system. A perfect opportunity for someone to diffuse the bomb with just one second left on the timer, right? Wrong! That bad boy goes off and CTU is down! Making Jack and co. 0 fer 2 in the diffusing bombs category this season.

The worse tragedy of all this? Not that security for all of Manhattan is down and now the terrorists can smuggle a dirty bomb onto the island. No, the worst part is this blast will make it more difficult for Dana (Katee Sackhoff) to get busted for allowing her ex-boyfriend to kill a cop. Once Marshall Prady (played brilliantly by Stephen Root, reminds me of Columbo) showed up, I thought for sure that little subplot would quickly be thrown in the trash where it belongs but it doesn't appear that will be the case. Oh well, maybe next week.


Chuck is great TV. Week in and week out it delivers humor, action, an intelligent plot, and characters that are tons of fun to watch and tonight's episode was no different. Chuck and the team are a mission to break into the CIA vault to test the security but unbeknownst (is that a word?) to everyone Casey is approached by his old handler and given a secret side mission.

Casey is tasked with retrieving a secret drug from the vault and delivering to his handler played by Robert Patrick whom it is always nice to see. (I still think one of the biggest mistakes CBS ever made was cancelling The Unit.) After being found out and arrested for treason, Chuck and Sarah take it upon themselves to rescue Casey but before they can The Ring come and take him from his cell first and we find out that Casey knows that his mission was given to him by The Ring.

So Casey knowingly betrays his team and his country? This is where the story falls apart a little. Even though The Ring has threatened his ex-fiancee as leverage I can't help but think that Casey should have brought the situation to his superiors and figured out a way to turn the plot around and not had to commit treason. But I guess that wouldn't have moved the plot forward so Casey had to act a little out of character. A small quibble but one that bugged me as I kept watching and waiting for the reveal that Casey was actually on orders to infiltrate The Ring but it was not to be.

One powerful motif in the episode was Sarah walking in on both Casey and Chuck as they have a bad guy in a helpless position. Casey kills his guy but Chuck lets his live illustrating the difference between the battle-hardened Casey and the softer naive Chuck. One of the more difficult things this show is going to have to do as it moves forward and Chuck gets more and more spy experience is keep that kind streak in Chuck at the forefront and not let him get as jaded as Casey and even sometimes Sarah is.

The last thing that kind of surprised me is after the bad guys are captured and the team is back at the base for debriefing, Casey isn't rearrested for treason! He still broke into a government vault and voluntarily left with the bad guys when they came to his prison cell but no jail for Casey? The magic of TV I guess. He does booted from the military and made a civilian but that seems a small price to pay for what he did.

Despite a few things I had issues with, this episode was very good. The writing and acting have always been top-notch and it's great to have a show like this that's fun to watch every single episode.

Batgirl #8

I have to admit that this is the first issue of the new Batgirl series that I have found even remotely interesting. In the past it seemed like far too much time was taken up trying to justify Stephanie Brown being in the costume. Her lack of skill and experience got her killed (since ret-conned) in No Mans Land and she doesn't appear to have gotten any better. In fct her most interesting characteristic was her on-again off-again relationship with Tim Wayne. (formerly Robin now Red Robin)

In fact it's not lost on me is that what I liked most about this issue was the Red Robin guest appearance and her interaction with him. You can feel the discomfort between these two heroes who really don't know where they stand with each other. Tim feels like she betrayed him and Stephanie feels like she did what she needed to do at the request of Batman. As both heroes find themselves with the common goal of protecting Leslie Thompkins they got to put their past behind them and just fight ninjas. Honestly, that sounds like great therapy.

I was close to pulling this book off my read list but I think I want to see where it goes for a few more issues.

Action Comics #887

I love when comics take a step back from the title hero and flesh out some of the secondary characters that populate their universe. When done correctly we see that these are more than cardboard cutouts or devices to move the plot forward but fully formed characters each with their own motivations and goals.

This issue pulls back the curtain and gives us a look at why Lois Lane is such a good reporter and why she's far from the "damsel in distress" archetype she started out as and is now a woman strong and confident enough to be the wife of Superman. With Kal off-planet for what seems like forever (probably not in comic book time) she has thrown herself into exposing the plot by her father to paint every Kryptonian as evil and spark a war between Earth and New Krypton. We get to look over her shoulder as her investigation puts her in harm's way and watch as she writes her article exposing her father and his machinations.

As she follows her son NightWing and his girlfriend FlameBird as they fight against the creation of a corrupted Kryptonian god Rao we see a woman very much concerned with how Kryptonians are perceived by the public. She wants to expose the truth knowing that whatever the public sentiment is against Kryptonians it will eventually be applied to her husband.

I love the effort put into making sure not just Superman but the world around is well defined and full of characters that have a realistic feel to them. I look forward to what Greg Rucka and Eric Trautmann will bring us next.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


I love good Science Fiction. When it's done right it gives us a window into the human condition unparalleled by any other genre. Of all the Sci-Fi I've watched over the years (and it's been a lot) I don't think I've ever seen it done better than the BattleStar Galactica remake of a few years ago. Because of my love for that series I was incredibly excited about the prospect of a spin-off but having seen the first 6 episodes I'm on the fence. It's not bad, in fact at times it's very good, but it just doesn't have the emotional punch of the original series. I think I've gotten to the point of watching it for curiosity's sake rather than because I care about the characters and what life has in store for them.

In the most recent episode "The Imperfections of Memory", we see both fathers continuing their search for what matters most to them. Daniel Graystone is trying to get his robot up and working to save his company and Joseph is tracking down leads to find his daughter in the virtual world. It's Joseph's plight that resonates strongest with me, if your daughter (or any other loved one) died, what would you do to bring them back? Joseph had a digital copy made and now that copy is out in the digital world and Joseph is working hard to find her and be reunited.

Daniel, meanwhile, is feeling pressure from his board to deliver a workable Cylon or he loses his beloved Pyramid team (think "football") and eventually his entire company. He's hit nothing but roadblocks but it looks as if he has at least been put on the right track by his assistant. In fact at the end of the episode it appears he even recognized his daughter in the Cylon. It should be interesting to see what happens there.

All in all, this show feels like it's getting better and having spent years with BSG, I trust this writing staff to deliver an incredible TV show eventually. What do you think? Leave a comment.


It appears that it's the end of an era for Friday night television. Numb3rs has run it's course and doesn't appear likely to be renewed for a 7th season but tonight's episode gives us some resolution for each of the characters.

Charlie and Amita get married and move to England, Don asks his girlfriend to marry him, Larry will continue to help the FBI, and David gets reassigned to Washington. All the characters are handled well and we don't get the sense that plot threads are still dangling but at the same time we see that these characters still have a lot in their future.

Being someone who has always had an interest in Math and the Sciences and how they can be applied to the everyday world, I loved that there was a TV show that made these things look fun and interesting. In fact I have always said that the very fact that the universe is rational and has set, discoverable, repeatable laws is the strongest evidence of the existence of a rational, orderly Creator. That if this universe was the product of chance it would be far more chaotic than it is. Even though Numb3rs rarely dealt with the Divine, every time Charlie would rattle off one of his explanations on how his math worked I saw it as an indirect testimony to the invisible God who made that math possible.

What do you think? Leave me a comment.

Saturday Night Live

I'm sure some weeks it's difficult for the writers of SNL to wring the funny out of the previous week's news but some weeks it's like the universe conspired to give you every joke you need. This was one of the good weeks with Senator Massa's resignation and bizarre list of reasons as to why he resigned. During one skit Massa is giving his Senate exit interview and is explaining why what happened between him and his interns is no big deal and the interviewer (Kristen Wiig) says "You keep explaining this like I'm supposed to say, 'Oh! That's no big deal!'". That is exactly what it feels like every time Senator Massa opens his mouth, grown men don't tickle other grown men until they can't breathe! At least I don't think they do. If your experience is different I'd love to know so I can avoid you when I see you on the street!

Then they devoted a lengthy segment of the Weekend Update (always the highlight of the show) to the Massa intrigue. They even brought in Jerry Seinfeld to do a "Really?!? with Seth and Jerry" segment that was pretty funny. I still don't know what snorkeling is and I'm fine with that.

The special guest for all this was Jude Law and I had totally forgotten that the last time he guest-hosted was the night of the whole Ashley Simpson lip sync debacle. I half hoped something crazy would happen with guest-band Pearl Jam but alas, every thing went off without a hitch. Jude was OK and did the best with the material he was given but after you run out of Massa jokes there's not much left.

Good show, watchable but not the best I've seen.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Daily Show

It's almost a Spy vs. Spy cartoon. Two spies engaged in the most duplicitous spy tricks available (poison, invisible ink, jetpacks, whatever) all to get not state secrets but intel from a candy bar company on how many peanuts really goes into a Mr. Goodbar. Sounds ridiculous, right? But according to Eamon Javers on tonight's Daily Show that's precisely what's going on. Large corporations are hiring CIA and KGB operatives to spy on their competitors! The worse part? The aren't retired operators but still employed by the government! Spying on China by day and on Hershey's by night. Very bizarre stuff. Mr. Javers book looks like it would be an interesting read.

Colbert Report

In tonight's Colbert Report we see why Stephen Colbert is a master at what he does and why he has such a large following.

He was talking about polls, what they are and how they are reported and have us a great visual aid. He compared the opinions of the public to meat and the polling process to a meat grinder that chews up all the data and packages in nice neat sausage casings for mass consumption. Then the media takes the poll results and reports them widely enough that they sway public opinion and skew future polls. Thus the poll number "sausages" get fed back into the meat grinder creating the "circle of meat".

A pretty accurate description of how the 24 hour news cycle has to almost feed on itself in order to meat the demands of all that airtime. A poll is commissioned, the results are reported in the way that best fits the bias of the network, public opinion is moved, and a new poll is commissioned that verifies what has already been stated. Nasty stuff to be sure! It always amazes me that it takes a satirist like Colbert to help us see where our media has gone off the rails.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Parks and Recreation

There are some shows I watch because they are really good and I look forward to them every week and then there are shows like Parks and Recreation. If it wasn't on between Community and The Office I'm sure I would never watch it but I do have to admit it has gotten better over the 2 years it has been on.

Tonight's episode featured Leslie's (Amy Poehler) quest to rid the local Golf course of the dreaded Fairway Frank, a possum that has terrorized golfers and bitten the Mayor's dog. One possum was captured but they couldn't be sure it was the actual possum that bit the Mayor's dog so that get into what is really the heart of the show which is Leslie caring waaaaay to much about her job. She was told to get the possum that bit Hizzoner's dog and if she wasn't sure she had the right one she wasn't going to let it be put down, never mind the fact that it was still a filthy rodent and a danger to the other people on the course. She keeps the animal safe at the cost of a badly needed political favor that could be used to get her beloved park project off the ground.

This show certainly isn't the funniest show on TV or even on NBC Thursday nights but it is watchable and has its moments. I'd give it a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10.


I'm not sure that there is a funnier show on TV than Community. Every week this comedy delivers the laughs and makes us care about the characters.

This week was no different as we saw Pierce (Chevy Chase) invite his daughter to family day at the college, only it turns out she is just his step-daughter from a marriage long over and she doesn't really like him. Pierce enlists the aid of Jeff (Joel McHale) to talk him up and tell his daughter what a great guy he is but Jeff just ends up sleeping with her but not before he finds out that she is grifting 25 thousand dollars from Pierce.

In the end there is a tender moment as Jeff breaks the news to Pierce and Jeff makes the case that Pierce is lucky because he has such great friends at school although if you consider the people you go to community college with as your family you probably have made some mistakes in your life! This show always finds a way to balance laughter with some pretty emotional moments that really draw you in to the character's lives and it delivered again with this episode.

The Colbert Report

Tonight's guest on the Report was Sean Carroll, a theoretical Cosmologist, and he made a statement I had never heard in my life! He was trying to explain how time worked in the universe, time and space are related but you can't take a wrong turn in to yesterday, but his statement about how the universe was formed was astounding.

He claimed that the universe started out very disorganized, got real organized into galaxies and whatnot, and is now headed back in the direction of disorganization through entropy. It was amazing that this well educated man was trying to make the case that the universe moved toward organization on it's own power! How does a natural universe that has to operate under the laws of Thermo-Dynamics move from chaos to order?

It's almost painful to watch very smart people try to answer very difficult questions after removing the one factor that explains how it's possible, namely God! It is only through the work of a powerful Creator marshaling creation and forcing order into chaos by His own sovereign will that explains how our universe is so well organized and designed. Poor scientists, I almost feel sorry for them!

Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Tonight Jon has a field day with Glenn Beck's interview with Eric Massa. It was pretty clear that Beck was expecting Massa to come on an confirm everything Beck has said about the Health Care bill but somewhere in his excitement he forgot that Massa was still a Democrat!

Massa certainly wasn't going to throw every belief he's held as a Democrat under the bus just because he feels strongly about health care! Of course Jon had a wonderful time splicing together all of Beck's attacks to draw something (ANYTHING!!) about the corruption of the Democratic Party out of him but it was obvious there was no water in this well. Too bad Beck, better luck next time!

Thunderbolts #141

While this issue is another in a long line of Siege tie-ins it focuses squarely on the Thunderbolts team and their mission to retrieve the Spear of Odin for Norman Osborn.

Jeff Parker (writer) knows exactly what the strength of this book and what differentiates it from all the other team books out there. This is the story of a team of mercenaries who have no love or loyalty to each other and would sell each other out in a heartbeat if it would serve them. This beauty of this book is to watch how all these selfish people can come together at least long enough to meet the mission objectives and get the next paycheck and this time the mission is a doozy! Infiltrate Asgard while it it is being attacked, sneak into the armory and steal a weapon powerful enough to kill gods. Of course, nothing goes smoothly and they find themselves having to go up against not only the Asgardians but the Mighty Avengers as well.

All in all, a fun read. You don't have to have it to follow the larger Siege storyline but it's an interesting story nonetheless.

Scalped # 35

I will admit that you have to sift through a mountain of mediocrity to get to the really good comics out there but every now and again you find one that is worth the effort. Scalped #35 is just such a comic. Jason Aaron (writer) and Danijel Zezeli (artist) combine to pull back the curtain and give us a glimpse of what it means to survive in one of the poorest areas of the US.

We follow one couple as they struggle with getting enough food to eat while dealing with the various indignities that old age brings to us all. This is a proud, strong couple who realize that they are going to need help in order to survive the coming winter and we get to see what it's like for a proud man to have to go get Government assisitance just in order to provide for his family.

I would highly recommend this issue to anyone that would like to see that comic books are about more than super heroes but have the ability to let us see our fellow man in a different light and give us insight into what makes them tick.