Comic Book Review – Justice League International Volume 4

Justice League International Volume 4
Reprints Justice League International #23-25 and Justice League America #26 – 30
Written by Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis
Art by Kevin Maguire, Ty Templeton, Mike McKone, and Bill Willingham

The world is in the midst of the alien Invasion! led by the Dominators. The Justice League has been stranded in the South Pacific where they attempt to get a Khund vessel up and running which leads them into the path of the Injustice League, an equally second-tier group of villains. Max Lord develops telepathic powers as a result of a Dominator gene bomb which causes him to seek out the artificial intelligence that has manipulated him. The League decides to expand its ranks and has a membership drive that brings together dozens of DC’s heroes and can only lead to more hijinks. After the new Justice League Europe forms and seen off to Paris, the American branch must deal with Blue Beetle’s brainwashing from his time in Biayla at the hands of Queen Bee. Batman meets the new Huntress and seeks out help from Amanda Waller and Kent Nelson (formerly Doctor Fate).

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Comic Book Review – Justice League International Volume 3

Justice League International Volume 3
Reprints Justice League International #14 – 22
Written by Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis
Art by Kevin Maguire, Steve Leialoha, and Ty Templeton

Things get off to a rocky start when the intergalactic dealmaker Manga Khan and his robotic horde, The Cluster arrive at Earth. Khan’s goal is to sell advanced technology to the highest bidder, and this immediately sends up alarm klaxons as the world is in the midst of the Cold War arms race. The Justice League has just brought two new members on board: The Green Flame and Ice Maiden while the disaster of a Green Lantern G’Nort returns to warn the League about Manga Khan. The conflict ends with Mister Miracle being abducted and a small group of Leaguers, led by Big Barda, heading off into space to track down their teammate. Meanwhile, the members left behind on Earth get caught up in some covert ops in Bialya, with Batman taking the lead and Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, and Green Flame (now calling herself Fire) going undercover only to uncover the menace of the Queen Bee. Life never slows down for the JLI.

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Movie Review – Bumblebee

Bumblebee (2018)
Written by Christina Hodson
Directed by Travis Knight

The planet Cybertron is in chaos due to a civil war between the noble Autobots and the malicious Decepticons. Optimus Prime sends his Autobots out amongst the galaxy while secretly ensuring B-127 makes his way to Earth as an advance party for his people. However, when B-127 arrives, he runs afoul of both the U.S. military and a Decepticon who was tracking him. The battle ends with the Autobot’s vocal cords, and his memory wiped, leaving him stuck as a Volkswagen Beetle. He’s eventually discovered in a junkyard by teenager Charlie Watson. Charlie is mourning the passing of her dad who was a gearhead and trying to fix up an old car. Something draws her to B-127, whom she nicknames Bumblebee because of the small hive she finds under the vehicle. Once she learns the true nature of her new car, Charlie is quickly pulled into the battle between machines and sets out on a big adventure.

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Comic Book Review – Justice League International Volume 2

Justice League International Volume 2
Reprints Justice League International #8 – 13, Annual 1, Suicide Squad #13
Written by Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis (with John Ostrander)
Art by Kevin Maguire, Keith Giffen, and Bill Willingham (with Luke McDonnell)

The League has just gone International, giving them embassies across the globe in locales including New York City, Moscow, London, and Paris. Captain Atom and Rocket Red have been added to the ranks, giving the U.S. and Soviet governments a direct connection to the superhero team. This expansion has subsequently led to the dissolution of the Global Guardians, the former premier organization of multicultural heroes. Understandably, there are some bruised egos (Jack O’Lantern) as well as some eager to join up with the JLI (Green Flame and Ice Maiden). As would become traditional in the post-Crisis universe our story must be interrupted by a company-wide event, this time in the form of the dreaded Millennium. We get back on track quickly which leads to a significant revelation about Max Lord and his decision to form this new League, a crossover with the Suicide Squad, and a one-off annual story that shines a spotlight on the Martian Manhunter.

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Comic Book Review – Justice League International Volume 1

Justice League International Volume 1 (2009)
reprinting Justice League v1 #1-6, Annual 1
Written by Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis
Art by Kevin Maguire and Bill Willingham

In the wake of the Crisis and Legends, a new Justice League must be formed. However, this new team won’t be made up of the classic roster (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, et al.). Instead, anonymous invitations are sent out to a more eclectic group of superheroes: Blue Beetle, Mister Miracle, Black Canary, Doctor Fate, Captain Marvel, Doctor Light, Guy Gardner, with stalwarts Martian Manhunter and Batman rounding out the mix. Their mysterious benefactor Maxwell Lord has designs on the Justice League refraining from being a simply America centric group, instead, he imagines the team going worldwide. The biggest obstacle in getting them there is making sure they don’t kill each other.

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Movie Review – Charlie Wilson’s War

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Charlie Wilson’s War (2007)
Written by Aaron Sorkin
Directed by Mike Nichols

charlie wilson

In 1980, Democratic Congressman Charlie Wilson of Texas was known as a hard-drinking, hard-partying, womanizing member of the House Appropriations Committee. Wilson was a man quite deft at securing favors from his fellow congressmen and infamous for his office staff of “angels,” young and fit women that ran his day to day operations. Despite a mind very focused on the material and carnal, Wilson was deeply moved by the footage he saw of Afghan refugees. A fact-finding mission to Pakistan found him walking among a camp comprised of a one-fifth of the Afghan population that had fled in the wake of the Soviet invasion. Wilson, pushed by Texan socialite Joanne Herring and CIA agent Gust Avrakotos, was one of the figures responsible for getting weapons into the hands of the Afghan freedom fighters who ultimately repelled the Soviets.

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Movie Review – Mandy

Mandy (2018)
Written by Panos Cosmatos and Aaron Stewart-Ahn
Directed by Panos Cosmatos

mandy

In 1983, lumberjack Red Miller and his lady Nancy Bloom were living a peaceful life in the Shadow Mountains. Nancy is an artist, enamored with fantasy, heavy metal, and science fiction, all of which work their way into her paintings. Their lives are forever changed when the Children of the Dawn come into their life. This cult’s leader, Jeremiah Sand, glimpses Mandy and decides he must have her, no matter the cost. What follows is a trippy, psychedelic journey into the depths of horror and revenge. Red quickly loses his humanity to do whatever it takes to get back Mandy.

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