TV Review – When Was SNL Funny? Part 6 (of 9)

In the 2000s, Saturday Night Live would find its groove and pretty much never leave it up to the present day. There would be few significant cast shake-ups with a steady in and out every season, with most cast members staying put. I think this era and what follows may have some of the longest tenures ever recorded. one performer, in particular, is pushing for 20 years at the moment. There are some great moments in these episodes, but it continues on with most sketches being fine or terrible. This is also the Fallon era which is…one of my least favorite periods.

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Comic Book Review – Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka Volume 3

Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka Volume 3 (2019)
Reprints Wonder Woman #218-226 & Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1-3
Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Cliff Richards, Nicola Scott, Rags Morales, Tom Derenick, Georges Jeanty, Karl Kerschel, David Lopez, Eduardo Panisca, and Ron Randall

What started with great promise came to a rather messy and unsatisfying end. I loved the opening volume of Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman collection, but it appeared that editorial demands shifted the direction he started out with. By the time these issues were being published, DC Comics had made it clear they were headed towards Infinite Crisis, a celebration of the twentieth anniversary of Crisis on Infinite Earths. This meant every major superhero title would be roped into the event. Geoff Johns was writing Infinite Crisis, so if you were to read his titles, The Flash or JSA, they tied in much more neatly. For writers that were being folded into the event, like Rucka, you see slightly awkward inclusion.

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Comic Book Review – Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka Volume 2

Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka Volume 2
Reprints Wonder Woman v2 #206-217 & Flash v2 #219
Written by Greg Rucka with Geoff Johns
Art by Drew Johnson, Rags Morales

This is an odd one because it shifts away from many of the storylines centered around Veronica Cale, Doctor Psycho, and Vanessa Kapetelis. Those stories sort of fade into the background as the action here is centered all around the conflict between Wonder Woman the Olympian Gods. The story is very good, and Rucka proves he’s a worthy successor to George Perez’s legendary opening run. I think he actually balances Man’s World and the mythological elements a little better than Perez. There’s time spent on both old villains and introducing new ones in the context of this run of Wonder Woman, Diana acting as a United Nations ambassador.

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Comic Book Review – Superman/Batman: Generations Omnibus

Superman/Batman: Generations Omnibus (2021)
Reprints Superman/Batman: Generations #1-4, Superman/Batman: Generations 2 #1-4, Superman/Batman: Generations 3 #1-12
Written & Illustrated by John Byrne

Superman debuted in the pages of Action Comics #1 in the summer of 1938, with Batman following closely behind in Detective Comics #27 in the winter of 1939. In 1999, comics legend John Byrne decided to write and draw an Elseworlds series that asked what would the DC Universe look like if these characters and their supporting casts aged in real-time? Immediately, this opens a lot of new ideas and story avenues, and the first volume is one of my personal favorites in the Elseworlds series. It’s not the most incredible story ever told in the DC Multiverse, but it’s a very fun one. 

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Comic Book Review – Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka Volume One

Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka Volume One (2016)
Reprints Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia, Wonder Woman v2 #195-205
Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Drew Johnson, J.G. Jones, Shane Davis, and Stephen Sadowski

Going into reading Greg Rucka’s run on Wonder Woman, I wasn’t very hyped. I have never clicked with Rucka’s writing before. I can’t say I have read much of his work, so I think that might be relegated to some DC event adjacent books. I will admit that it can definitely hurt the overall quality when you’re forced to adhere to some editorial guidelines to mesh with a larger storyline. Isolated, I found I loved Rucka’s take on Wonder Woman. I associate him as more of a crime, street-level writer, but he really captures some fantastic Wonder Woman elements well, especially her relationship to the Olympian Gods.

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Comic Book Review – The Flash by Geoff Johns Omnibus Volume 2

The Flash by Geoff Johnson Omnibus Volume 2 (2021)
Reprints The Flash v2 #192-225, Wonder Woman v2 #214, and excerpts from The Flash: The Secret of Barry Allen
Written by Geoff Johns (with Greg Rucka)
Art by Scott Kolins, Phil Winslade, Alberto Dose, Howard Porter, Steven Cummings, Justiniano, Drew Johnson, and Peter Snejbjerg

I was in college when these issues were rolling out, and I remember my roommate Keith, an even bigger comic book fan than me, having them around the dorm room. These are the height of Johns’s run and the last great Wally West comics we ever got. Infinite Crisis was looming right around the corner, and with it would be the end of Wally’s tenure as the Flash for a while. Even when he returned, it just wasn’t ever able to get back to the scope of these issues, which I argue make Wally West the Peter Parker of the DCU, both in personal crises and the scale of his rogues’ gallery. 

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Movie Review – Jindabyne

Jindabyne (2006)
Written by Raymond Carver and Beatrix Christian
Directed by Ray Lawrence

In 2006, sixteen Australian films were released worldwide, one of the largest international surges of movies from that country. Lawrence’s picture is a quiet one, very mature in its storytelling. He’s clearly comfortable telling stories in his own way, letting moments breathe. It’s quite different from the more commercial style editing of Bliss. Obviously, Lawrence was closer to his beginnings in advertising then, so he told stories in that mode. With 21 years between Bliss and Jindabyne, he’d changed as an artist aesthetically, but this picture finds Lawrence still exploring the conflict of personalities in intimate relationships.

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Comic Book Review – JLA by Grant Morrison Omnibus

JLA by Grant Morrison Omnibus (2020)
Reprints JLA #1-17, 22-31, 34, 36-41, One Million, JLA/WildCATs, JLA-Z #1-2, JLA: Classified #1-3, JLA: Earth-2, JLA: Secret Files & Origins #1 , Adventures of Superman One Million, DC One Million #1-4, DC One Million 80-Page Giant, Detective Comics One Million, Green Lantern One Million, Martian Manhunter One Million, Resurrection Man One Million, Starman One Million, Superman: The Man of Tomorrow One Million, New Year’s Evil: Prometheus
Written by Grant Morrison (with many contributions)
Art by Howard Porter, Val Semekis, Oscar Jimenez, and many more

Introduction

By 1996 it was clear that the Justice League has lost its luster among D.C. Comics books. This was a shame because it was the premier team title at the company. Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis’s run on the book transitioned to Dan Jurgens, who eventually made way for Dan Vado with Gerard Jones writing the final arc. The roster by that time was made up of interesting but definitely not marquee level superheroes. Blue Devil. Nuklon. Icemaiden. Obsidian. Wonder Woman was there, but she was about the only notable character among the bunch. Sales dwindled, and Scottish writer Grant Morrison saw it as an opportunity to put their idea of a blockbuster movie take on the Justice League out there. 

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Movie Review – Lantana

Lantana (2001)
Written by Andrew Bovell
Directed by Ray Lawrence

Ray Lawrence took sixteen years off between his first and second films. His career seems to coincide with the two peaks in international interest in Australian cinema in the last forty years. In the 1980s, there was a sudden spike of interest in the United States around Australian media. Directors like Peter Weir and actors like Mel Gibson became hot commodities. Crocodile Dundee was a pretty massive phenomenon in the States. Even bizarre comedies like Young Einstein starring the comedic actor Yahoo Serious had their moment in the spotlight. Lawrence’s Bliss came out in 1985 and never really swept up Americans, but it was definitely given a high stature in Australia. Jump to 2001, as a new wave of Australian films begins capturing the attention of audiences, and Lawrence gives us the highest-grossing movie in Australian history, Lantana.

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Comic Book Review – Wonder Woman by Phil Jimenez Omnibus

Wonder Woman by Phil Jimenez Omnibus (2019)
Reprints Wonder Woman v2 #164-188, Wonder Woman Secret Files & Origins #2 & 3, Wonder Woman: Our Worlds at War, DC Special: The Return of Donna Troy #1-4
Written by Phil Jimenez (with Devin Grayson, J.M. DeMatteis, George Perez, Joe Kelly)
Art by Phil Jimenez, George Perez, Travis Moore, Cliff Chiang, Jamal Igle, Buzz, Lan Medina, David Yardin, and Jose Luis-Garcia Lopez

I absolutely adore this collection of Phil Jimenez’s run on Wonder Woman while acknowledging this isn’t life-changing material. Instead, this is Jimenez’s tribute to the era of comics he loves and a celebration of every iteration of Wonder Woman. He manages to fold in the concepts established by Perez and Byrne in the post-Crisis continuity while also bringing back faces not seen since the Golden and Silver ages. This is one of those instances where letting a fan of the character write the book doesn’t turn out to be a terrible idea. Jimenez doesn’t always bring closure to every single plotline, but he grows the Wonder Woman family to make it rival what Batman and Superman had going on at the time.

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