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Spring 2022 Digest

Features
Supervillain Spotlight – The Penguin
Supervillain Spotlight – The Riddler
Patron Pick – Tracktown (Matt)
Patron Pick – Good on Paper (Bekah)
Patron Pick – Syndromes and a Century (Matt)
Patron Pick – The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe [1988] (Bekah)
Book Update: March-April 2022

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America is Broken & I Want It To Die Already

Some thoughts I wrote down yesterday about that Hellscape.

I saw someone say the school shooting murders in Texas were “unimaginable”. I can’t think of a single fucking thing more imaginable in America than little children getting shot to death. I’m so fucking tired of seeing these things happen over and over and over and over and over and over and then it’s just “thoughts & prayers” from those in positions of power who then go on to do fuck-all to stop the next one. We were taught so many lies as children about America and I know it hurts to face that fact. It is not a great country when this happens so damn often. Life doesn’t have to be this way, I have seen that every day since I left in September. There isn’t a perfect place on this planet, but my God, there are so many places where children don’t get mowed down in a hail of gunfire. It is insane that so many of my fellow Americans have just accepted this. Don’t you know you shouldn’t have to send your child to school with the worry they’ll be shot to death? That is not an inevitability or the “cost of freedom”. I have come to understand how much abuse & mistreatment I and my fellow Americans have been taught to accept by institutions, political parties, and leaders so that they can live comfortably, safe, well fed, and constantly entertained. Something has to change and it it’s not going to happen through passivity. God gave us brains and hands and feet for a damn reason! And there are certainly more of us regular, working and struggling people than there are of those who sit in power. If we want a safer world we can demand it and we can take it. If we collectively do nothing then damn us to Hell for sitting by while our children’s blood flows in our schools and our streets.

I’m not even in the States anymore. But I am an elementary school teacher and I am feeling this loss so hard today. It hurts like I am there. I just think of all the experiences good and bad those kids won’t ever have. They will never be able to fall in and out of love. They won’t ever grow into who they want to be. I don’t give a fuck about your politics as sports man. This is fucking human beings, teachers and kids. I don’t understand a society that allows this to happen and then goes to work the next day like nothing of value was lost. Those people mattered goddammit. And the solution isn’t going to come from a dude in a suit in DC making a statement, or some blowhard pundit on cable news, or some reporter calmly reciting statistics, or a preacher at the pulpit finding the right verse. It’s us. We have to stop seeing people that are different in some way as a threat. Everyone is struggling to stay alive these days. That shooter was someone in pain and I can’t stop thinking about how different this morning would be if we lived in a world where he simply had someone to talk to or a world where he was taught how to feel and work through his pain. There would be some more kids smiling and playing and some teachers looking forward to their summer breaks. America is fucking broken and that’s okay, because WE are not whatever the fuck that system of institutions and business is. We’re humans and we lost some beautiful humans yesterday from something we could have prevented.

I used to think people who didn’t vote were shirking their duties. Who gives a shit anymore? I’m supposed to work myself into a fervor over which old man I think should be made Daddy America? Kids are having to be identified based on their clothing because the bullets didn’t leave much behind of their heads or bodies. You need to feel this, we all need to feel this. We have numbed ourselves for too damn long. We don’t grieve the way we’re meant to. People pushed back to labor after their allotted grievance period has expired. The monsters are not just the shooters, they are us for going about our lives.

Movie Review – The Scary of Sixty-First

The Scary of Sixty-First (2021)
Written by Dasha Nekrasova and Madeline Quinn
Directed by Dasha Nekrasova

One of the pieces of cultural lore that has rippled through people’s minds has been the revelations surrounding Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein was a native Brooklynite whose first professional job was teaching at the Dalton School while lacking a college degree. Odd, right? Eventually, he was dismissed from the school and entered finance, working at Bear Stearns. As Epstein rose in wealth and prominence, he began cultivating some extremely prominent acquaintances. There are some unknowns about what he did with this wealth & power. However, there are also some things we know for sure. It is an absolute fact that he engaged in the human trafficking of women and children and that they were used for his and his friends’ sexual gratification. Epstein’s life ended when he allegedly “committed suicide” while in prison, a situation whose details are deeply incredulous. 

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TV Review – The Pentaverate

The Pentaverate (Netflix)
Written by Mike Myers & Roger Drew & Ed Dyson
Directed by Tim Kirkby

In the 2000s, Mike Myers was one of the biggest comedy stars in the world. Just Shrek alone made him rich, but add onto that the Austin Powers franchise and the enduring love for earlier projects like Wayne’s World and So I Married An Axe Murderer. Then The Love Guru came along and like magic it was all over. Audiences cringed at that picture and he hasn’t made a big splash since. Until now that is, with his Netflix series The Pentaverate. I watched this entire show for one big reason, I wanted to see just how bad Myers had become and I had no idea just how terrible it would be. This is one of the worst self-indulgent pieces of media I have seen in a very long time.

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Movie Review – Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022)
Written by Dan Gregor and Doug Mand
Directed by Akiva Schaffer

So much nostalgia that you feel like you’re going to vomit; this is what American mainstream media feels like these days. Every week, another intellectual property is rebooted, remade, sequel-ized, etc. Most of it is complete garbage. Nostalgia is a type of feeling that appeals to very regressive, reactionary, infantile minds. People are reasonably on edge because Western civilization seems to have reached its zenith and is now in a spiral of decline. The Boomers were the first generation that began to dominate with nostalgia; we saw multiple television series from their childhood made into feature films. Nothing has rivaled the Millennials’ slavering thirst to relieve every Saturday Morning Cartoon and blockbuster movie they saw growing up. So it was only a matter of time until Chip ‘n Dale saw this treatment, shaped by the cynical nature of animated comedy.

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Comic Book Review – Legion of Super-Heroes: Five Years Later Omnibus Volume 2

Legion of Super-Heroes: Five Years Later Omnibus Volume 2 (2022)
Reprints L.E.G.I.O.N. #69-70, Legion of Super-Heroes #40-61, Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #4-5, Legionnaires #1-18, Legionnaires Annual #1, Valor #20-23
Written by Tom & Mary Bierbaum, Tom McCraw, Kurt Busiek, Mark Waid, and Tom Peyer
Art by Stuart Immonen, Chris Sprouse, Darryl Banks, Joe Phillips, Christopher Taylor, Nick Napolitano, Adam Hughes, Colleen Doran, Brian Stelfreeze, Chris Gardner, Frank Fosco, Curt Swan, Ron Boyd, Mark Farmer, Wade von Grawbadger, Craig Hamilton, Jeff Moy, Ted McKeever, Paul Pelletier, Arnie Jorgensen, and Derec Aucoin

The end of an era was just around the corner. The 1989 relaunch of Legion of Super-Heroes was a bold move, taking the beloved team of future teens and aging them into young adults. Some were married with kids, and others had become estranged or started new relationships. It all played out against the Dominator’s takeover of Earth. Eventually, series writer/artist Keith Giffen transitioned off the title and handed it over to Tom & Mary Bierbaum. They were a fan dream come true, starting as Legion fans in the 1970s and contributing to fanzines. Keith Giffen had become aware of their passionate devotion to the series and was impressed with some of the text stories they’d written. He and Mark Waid, editor of the title at the time, brought in the Bierbaums as Giffen’s co-writers for this new era.

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My Favorite Films of 1974

The Taking of Pelham 123 (Directed by Joseph Sargent)

From my review: The most fascinating character, in my opinion, is Mr. Blue, the head of this quartet of criminals. The audience will eventually learn he’s Bernard Ryder, a former British Army Colonel who became a mercenary in Africa. We’re never entirely sure how this crew came to be, but we can assume they met in prison or after getting out. Blue is a rotten man, down to his core. He sees no value in human life but is also calculating. He’s not going to run in shooting; he’ll figure out the angles and force his opponent’s hand. Mr. Green, on the other hand, is, as his name implies, not confident in this criminal activity. Green got involved in the drug trade and was arrested in a bust; upon release, he had trouble getting a job of any means. We learn he operates an airport forklift and leaves in a hole of an apartment. One is utterly unsympathetic, while the other will likely elicit empathy from the audience. Green doesn’t want to kill anyone, but he has gone all-in with this crew. Society seems not to have a way to reintegrate these people, leading to the revolving door of crime.

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Movie Review – Hearts & Minds

Hearts & Minds (1974)
Directed by Peter Davis

The Cannes Film Festival has kicked off this year. Many new films will be unveiled, from the Hollywood studio ones to small, independent pictures. Forty-eight years ago, the documentary Hearts & Minds debuted at Cannes. However, its distribution in the United States would be held back when a restraining order was issued by one of the interview subjects, National Security Advisor Walt Rostow. Columbia Pictures, which owned the rights, refused to distribute the film to venues. This led to director/producer Peter Davis and his colleagues being forced to buy back their own movie from Columbia. Why would so many people and institutions work so hard to prevent the public from seeing a film? Because it is a searing condemnation of America and the atrocities it committed in Vietnam.

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Movie Review – Everything Everywhere All At Once

Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022)
Written & Directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert

Your life is all you know. We might imagine other possibilities, whether looking back in regret or curiosity about past choices, or contemplating what the future might hold. But, regardless of all of this, we only exist in the present, in now. We can’t ever go back and change things, and the future is eternally unattainable as it inevitably becomes now. Lately, the Multiverse has become a concept in the zeitgeist, made possible by numerous films touching on it. In their latest film, the duo known as Daniels have constructed a story that embraces this cosmic, near-incomprehensible concept’s fantastic and highly human aspects.

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