The Game (1997) Written by John Brancato and Michael Ferris Directed by David Fincher
David Fincher is a director I highly respect, but I wouldn’t say I love all his movies. I was lukewarm on Benjamin Button; Mank was good but only stood out because of the emaciated year 2020 was, and Alien 3 is flawed but interesting. I count Zodiac as one of my favorite pictures of all time, and Gone Girl is also a masterpiece. The Game has always been a strange one to me, made in the period between Seven and Fight Club; it is such an odd movie with a unique story. It certainly feels like a Fincher movie from the cinematography and lighting, but it never solidifies a consistent tone. Matt picked this as his Patron selection for November, and it allowed me to revisit the second David Fincher film I ever saw.
Wonder Woman and Justice League America Volume 2 (2017) Reprints Justice League America #86-91, Justice League International #65-66, and Justice League Task Force #13-14 Written by Dan Vado, Mark Waid, and Gerard Jones Art by Marc Campos, Chuck Wojtkiewicz, and Sal Velluto
The Justice League of the 1980s/90s was winding down at this time. When Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis introduced their take on the classic DC superhero team, it emphasized humor and character relationships rather than non-stop action. However, the influence of the “extreme” and “edgy” Image Comics and other alternative publishers reshaped how DC presented its characters. The title most struck by this fad, in my opinion, is Justice League America which devolved into chaos. Dan Vado can’t solely be blamed for what this collection presents as multiple entries are authored by Mark Waid and Gerard Joes. The core story is meant to be an epic gathering of all the Leagues at the time, but it feels so incoherent and sloppy.
Wonder Woman and Justice League America Volume 1 (2017) Reprints Justice League America #78-85, Justice League America Annual #7, and Guy Gardner #15 Written by Dan Vado (with Chuck Dixon and Bill Loebs) Art by Kevin West, Greg Larocque, Mike Collins, and Chris Hunter
The post-Crisis reinvention of the Justice League had been around for seven years by the time these issues were being published, and it had clearly veered away from its original tone. That makes sense; the book was on its third creative writer, and the comic book landscape had changed drastically since 1987. Image Comics and other upstarts gave DC and Marvel a run for their money using gimmicks and an injection of something new. Unfortunately, the consumers of the era weren’t aware how quickly these fantastically new comics would burn out and fade away, and so the Big Two saw themselves mimicking the “gritty” and “edgy” style of their young competitors. The result was some of the ugliest unreadable stories to come out, especially here with Justice League America.
The Eternals: Cosmic Origins (2021) Reprints material from Eternals v1 #1-4, Avengers Spotlight #35, Avengers #361, and What If? #25-38 Written by Jack Kirby, Mark Gruenwald, Ralph Macchio, Danny Fingeroth, and Bob Harras Art by Jack Kirby, Ron Wilson, Rich Buckler, Jim Valentino, and Steve Epting
This is probably not the best place for a newbie to start with The Eternals. The collection is an odd mishmash of pieces that often end with a directive to go to another collection where the story continues. Here you get a sampling of the ways Jack Kirby’s Eternals have been presented from their debut in the 1970s to the mid-90s when Marvel had sort of gone off the rails. The Neil Gaiman/John Romita Jr. Eternals mini-series was not included here, which would probably be the best place for one unfamiliar with this branch of the Marvel family to go to first. All that said, The Eternals is an interesting property in the Marvel Universe as it is one of the most purely Kirby things ever dreamed up and has a parallel in DC Comics during Kirby’s exile there.
Treehouse of Horror (original airdate: October 25, 1990) Written by John Swartzwelder, Jay Kogen, Wallace Wolodarksy, Sam Simon, and Edgar Allen Poe Directed by Wes Archer, Rich Moore, and David Silverman
Treehouse of Horror II (original airdate: October 21, 1991) Written by Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Jeff Martin, George Meyer, Sam Simon, and John Swartzwelder Directed by Jim Reardon
Treehouse of Horror III (original airdate: October 29, 1992) Written by Al Jean & Mike Reiss, Jay Kogen & Wallace Wolodarsky, Sam Simon, and Jon Vitti Directed by Carlos Baeza
I can vividly remember watching the first Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror on a Thursday evening in 1990. I was genuinely scared and entertained by it. I think that’s one of the great appeals of those early Treehouse episodes; the writers injected it with genuine horror but pulled back just enough so you wouldn’t get too frightened. The annual series was inspired by the anthology horror comics of E.C. (Tales from the Crypt, etc.), evidenced by the prevalence of gruesome puns in the opening credits. It wasn’t intended to become an annual tradition but rather an experiment with the show’s format.
Halloween: H20 (1998) Written by Robert Zappia & Matt Greenberg (Kevin Williamson uncredited) Directed by Steve Miner
It was clear from the box office returns that the Thorns trilogy of Halloween was not a success, particularly the final butchered entry of The Curse of Michael Myers. It just so happened that the series’s twentieth anniversary was coming up in 1998, so it seemed appropriate to recapture some of the original film. Unfortunately, Donald Pleasence had passed away in 1995, so he wouldn’t be part of the story. This meant the producers would have to try and lure back Jamie Lee Curtis, who had distanced herself from the series. It also meant the last three films would be retconned out of the timeline.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) Written by Daniel Farrands Directed by Joe Chappelle
One of the most infuriating things about the Thorns trilogy is how both Return and Revenge end on promising cliffhangers only to have them dashed with the next film in the series. Likewise, the Curse of Michael Myers takes all the character development of Jamie Lloyd and subsequently flushes it down the drain. For what purpose? To apparently introduce a whole host of new characters whom we never really care about and tangentially connected to Laurie Strode. It seems at times that this movie exists in the same universe as the previous two, and then at other moments, it ignores anything we might have learned during them.
Superman and Justice League America Volume 2 (2016) Reprints Justice League America #69-77, Annual #6 Written by Dan Jurgens (with Dan Mishkin) Art by Dan Jurgens (with Dave Cockrum)
For a collection with Superman in the title, he is gone from the book two issues in. This collection presents stories told just at and after the infamous Death of Superman storyline. We get a tie-in with the League attempting to fight and getting obliterated by Doomsday. That’s followed by a Funeral for a Friend crossover as the League, and other DC superheroes come together to mourn the passing of the great hero. From there, we have Wonder Woman coming onboard, and Dan Jurgens begins to wind down his relatively short-lived run on the book. Jurgens’s departure feels abrupt as he barely slides into home base to finish off the Bloodwyn arc, and then it’s over. There’s a strong sense of a lack of closure for characters that were personal additions like Maxima and Agent Liberty.
Superman and Justice League America Volume 1 (2016) Reprints Justice League Spectacular, Justice League America #61-68 Written by Dan Jurgens (with Gerard Jones) Art by Dan Jurgens and Ron Randall
In the wake of Crisis on Infinite Earths, one of the significant changes made to continuity was removing characters like Superman and Batman from the founding Justice League roster. Throughout the late 1980s, the JLA consisted of characters that weren’t considered headliners like Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, and Guy Gardner. Once the creative team of Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis stepped down after a five-year run, and JLA was handed over to Dan Jurgens, a writer/artist who was doing some exciting things in the Superman books. So it seemed natural that he would bring Superman to the title as it was time for a new pared-down team to form. That would consist of stalwarts Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Guy Gardner, Ice, Fire, and two new additions, Maxima & Bloodwynd.
Baraka (1992) Written by Constantine Nicholas and Genevieve Nicholas Directed by Ron Fricke
When Seth told me that his brother had selected a movie to be reviewed, I wasn’t surprised. The shocker came that he had chosen me to do it, and as the title was given, for a brief moment, I thought my brother-in-law was forcing me to watch a movie about Barack Obama because he wanted to test me.
Luckily, I was wrong, but still, a little perplexed as Seth further explained it to me. I am not a cinephile. I’m just a woman who likes what she likes.