Comic Book Review – Young Justice Book Three

Young Justice Book Three (2018)
Reprints Young Justice #18-19, Young Justice: Sins of Youth #1-2, Young Justice: Sins of Youth Secret Files and Origins #1, Superboy #74, Sins of Youth: JLA Jr. #1, Sins of Youth: Aquababy/Lagoon Man #1, Sins of Youth: Batboy and Robin #1, Sins of Youth: Kid Flash/Impulse #1, Sins of Youth: Starwoman and the JSA Jr. #1, Sins of Youth: Superman Jr/Superboy Sr #1, Sins of Youth: Wonder Girls #1, and Sins of Youth: The Secret/Deadboy #1
Written by Peter David, Todd Dezago, Chuck Dixon, Geoff Johns, D. Curtis Johnson, Karl Kesel, Dwayne McDuffie, Ben Raab, Brian K. Vaughn, Jay Faerber, Lary Stucker, Scotty Beatty, and Jim Alexander
Art by Todd Nauck, Carlo Barberi, Sunny Lee, Tom Grummett, Rob Haynes, Drew Johnson, Scott Kolins, Cary Nord, Michael Avon Oeming, Angel Unzueta, Mike S. Miller, Norm Breyfogle, Pasqual Ferry, and Cully Hamner

It all started with making Superman a weekly character. In the 1990s, the Man of Steel had four monthly series making it so that you could pick up the next chapter in the Superman saga every week of the month. This led to DC Comics shaping their publishing schedule around this four-week model. However, this ran into a problem when you had a month with a fifth Wednesday (traditionally New Comic Book Day). In 1997, DC introduced fifth-week events, a filler week where a collection of themed one-shots would be published. That grew into a space to have a mini-event, nothing world-shattering but a longer story, the type you might typically have seen in the summer annuals. This is how we got Sins of Youth.

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Supervillain Spotlight – The Cheetah

Earlier, I looked at Max Lord, one of the villains in the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984. Today, I’ll breakdown the second villain, The Cheetah. Unlike Lord, The Cheetah has always exclusively been a Wonder Woman enemy, but there have been multiple people that worked under that name. In 1985, DC Comics launched Crisis on Infinite Earths, a company-wide event that rebooted the entire timeline and compressed many parallel Earths into one. Before this, there had been two Cheetahs, neither of whom had superpowers and were mainly knock-offs of Batman’s villain Catwoman. With Crisis, these versions were erased to make way for writer-artist George Perez’s overhaul of Wonder Woman and her continuity. This led to a new Cheetah, one who derived her powers from dark mythic gods.

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Movie Review – Southland Tales (The Cannes Cut)

Southland Tales – The Cannes Cut (2006)
Written & Directed by Richard Kelly

The promise of Richard Kelly was huge and seems to have dimmed in the last decade. In the wake of Donnie Darko, he was suddenly rocketed to the list of hot up-and-comers. I was definitely one of those people caught up in the Darko hype. I still hold that it’s his best work to date and that his subsequent work never felt quite as honed and clear. Southland Tales was the follow-up with a bigger budget and big names in the cast. It debuted at the Cannes Film Festival, and it was hailed as a disaster, bloated and too sprawling. Another cut was made for the theatrical release, and the reaction was much the same from audiences.

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Supervillain Spotlight – Maxwell Lord

The upcoming Wonder Woman 1984 is set to feature two villains, and I am writing up a spotlight on each. First up is a character who has been both a hero and a villain, and it wasn’t until 2006 that they were even associated with Wonder Woman so directly.

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Movie Review – George Washington

George Washington (2000)
Written & Directed by David Gordon Green

I have noticed in these reviews for the Visions of the American South series that few of the directors are actually from the region. Only Billy Bob Thornton and David Gordon Green are actually from the areas where their films take place. Because of that, I think these are the most naturalistic movies. That doesn’t mean they aren’t made with a stylistic flourish. In the case of George Washington, the film is almost like a visual poem. George Washington is also the first film in our series to prominently feature Black characters.

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Movie Review – Little Children

Little Children (2006)
Written by Todd Field & Tom Perrotta
Directed by Todd Field

Tom Perrotta has enjoyed quite a bit of success in having his novels adapted to film & television. Election, directed by Alexander Payne, was his first work turned into a movie and remains a great picture about the dangers of ambition. Even more successful was the television adaptation of The Leftovers by Damon Lindeloff, arguably the best series of the 2010s. Inbetween these two lies Little Children, a very literary film helmed by Todd Field. This is a dense movie that doesn’t stick to the text with fidelity, instead creating its own narrative spin on the same themes and characters.

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Movie Review – In the Bedroom

In the Bedroom (2001)
Written by Todd Field & Robert Festinger
Directed by Todd Field

The bedroom is the rear compartment of a lobster trap and is designed to hold two lobsters before turning on each other. A lobster fisher must check their traps regularly lest multiple animals get caught in the bedroom and begin tearing each other’s claws off. In the same scene that we learn this, we are also told that when a female lobster is “growing berries,” i.e., carrying eggs, she becomes the most fearsome type of lobster.

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My Favorite 2000s Summer Blockbusters

The 2000s were a very different decade when it came to the summer blockbuster. Gone was the awe & wonder of Spielbergian pictures, and things became a little darker, edgier. Instead of shooting for PG ratings, it was PG-13 that dominated, movies that were friendly enough for families but with more of an edge. The whole ten-year span felt like Hollywood was trying to figure out a direction that worked, which resulted in very eclectic summers, as you will see by this list. 

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Comic Book Review – The Flash by Geoff Johns Omnibus Volume 1

The Flash by Geoff Johns Omnibus Volume 1 (2019)
Reprints The Flash #164-191, The Flash: Our Worlds at War, The Flash: Iron Heights, The Flash Secret Files & Origins #3, DC First: Flash and Superman
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Angel Unzueta, Scott Kolins, and Ethan van Sciver

Sometimes you need to be reminded of how damn good an old album, film, or comic book is by returning to them for a re-read. That’s how I felt cracking open this massive tome, taking me back to my college days and reading these issues in fragments thanks to my roommate Keith who was always filling the room with fantastic comics of the day. Where Mark Waid established Wally West as a unique, fully fleshed-out character, Geoff Johns builds the world out around Wally to make a place that feels alive.

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A Hypothetical Birthday Film Festival

Today is my 39th birthday. Last year, I posted a film for every year I’d been alive, so this year I will present a collection of movies where birthdays play a crucial role in the plot. I’m quite excited about next year, where I will be starting a series on my 40 Favorite Films of All-Time. For now, there are some pictures where getting a year old causes some complications.

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