Nintendo Switch – One Year Later

It’s been a full year since I first purchased my Nintendo Switch, and I thought it would be a good time to reflect. I’ve never been a big console video gaming person, and even when it came to the PC, I was a casual player of things like Civilization and The Binding Isaac. I just don’t get caught up in first-person shooters or even the stories of games, really. However, if something is just an open playground, I get bored easily. Roguelikes have quickly become my favorite game genre as they encourage replayability, and I love unlocking new stuff. That’s sort of who I am as a “gamer,” which informs my decisions in what games I purchase and spend the most time playing.

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TV Tryouts – Stargirl

Stargirl (The CW)
Season One, Episode One – “Pilot”
Written by Geoff Johns
Directed by Glen Winter

I am a huge fan of Geoff Johns’s contributions to DC Comics, mostly as the Justice Society writer. He was able to present aging heroes and those who took up their legacies in a way no writer since Roy Thomas had done since All-Star Squadron in the early 1980s. There’s always a rich sense of history that is reasonably accessible to the unfamiliar and resonates powerfully with those who know the backstories of characters. Making a series based on Stargirl, which I reviewed the comic earlier this month, is a brilliant choice to introduce lesser-known heroes and villains.

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TV Review – Tales From the Loop Season One, Episode Eight

Tales From the Loop (Amazon Prime)
Season One, Episode Eight – “Home”
Written by Nathaniel Halperin
Directed by Jodie Foster

Tales From the Loop has always been a complicated series to parse and break down. It’s an anthology show but also a collection of interconnected short stories with ongoing plot elements. It’s a science fiction series that uses its fantastic ingredients to highlight deeply human stories. The tone incredibly sedate and contemplative despite presenting large scale cosmic ideas. I don’t imagine Tales From the Loop will find a broad audience as it’s such a specific thing, and not every episode hits on all cylinders leading to an uneven experience. I still argue these eight episodes are worth a watch because if nothing else, they are some of the most visually gorgeous television.

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Media Moment (05/22/20)

Netflix appears to have gone all-in on beloved children’s author Roald Dahl. Taika Waititi is set to write, direct, and produce two animated series. The first is based on Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, while the second is focused entirely on the Oompa Loompas. I am hoping that the second show isn’t done in the style of Minions, which I could see a short-sighted executive going for but not Waititi. My hope is that New Zealand filmmaker opts to make the workers in Wonka’s factory a version of his own Maori culture, reinforcing the indigenous aspects of the characters but bringing more depth to them. The other project in the works is a live-action adaptation of the Matilda stage musical, which has been running on Broadway since 2013. Ralph Fiennes has been cast as Trunchbull, the brutal headmistress of Matilda’s school. The show’s original London director Matthew Warchus and the playwright Dennis Kelly are both on board.

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Comic Book Review – Stargirl by Geoff Johns

Stargirl by Geoff Johns (2020)
Reprints Stars and STRIPE #0-14, JSA: All-Stars #4, excerpts from DCU Heroes Secret Files and DCU Villians Secret Files
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Lee Moder

I can remember buying the first issue of Stars and STRIPE when it came out. I was an awkward eighteen-year-old in the summer before college, I cannot believe how much I’ve changed as a person. This comic was on sale at Piggly Wiggly, one of the few stores in my rural American Southeast town that still sold comics. I was excited to get in on the ground floor of a brand new character and especially loved the connection to the Golden Age heroes. Anytime I read a comic that embraces the depth of a universe’s history, I get happy. I kept picking up the title as it came out until I moved off to college and began going down a different path for a while. Eventually, I would come back to the character through Geoff Johns’ JSA run. With the debut of Stargirl’s series on The CW, DC Comics has collected her earliest appearances and repackaged them here.

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TV Review – Tales from the Loop Season One, Episode Seven

Tales from the Loop (Amazon Prime)
Season One, Episode Seven – “Enemies”
Written by Nathaniel Halperin
Directed by Ti West

Ti West is a director that came across my radar back in 2009 with his Eighties horror homage, The House of the Devil. I enjoyed his follow-up films, The Innkeepers and You’re Next. Since the early 2010s, he’s done a few other lesser movies and started to pick up more television work. I personally enjoy his filmmaking style because it is nostalgic without being shallow, West understands how to set a mood and sit in that space instead of leaning into endless, unearned jump scares. His contribution to Tales from the Loop actually borrows more from the artbook’s sequel Things From the Flood and brings some very subtle horror elements to the series.

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Comic Book Review – Absolute Carnage

Absolute Carnage (2020)
Reprints Free Comic Book Day 2019: Spider-Man/Venom #1, Absolute Carnage #1-5
Written by Donny Cates
Art by Ryan Stegman

During the 1990s, there was a character I disliked even more than Venom, Carnage. If you aren’t familiar with Carnage, he is Cletus Kasaday, a serial killer whom Eddie Brock shared a prison cell with. When the symbiote returned to bond with Eddie and break him out of prison, it also gave birth to another symbiote. This organism bonded with Kasaday to create Carnage. I always felt like the character’s only selling point is that he was “edgy” in look and behavior. He was just teeth and claws who killed people, a villain that felt more at home in Image Comics than at Marvel. Apparently, he is very popular because Marvel has sold many titles based on Carnage being there, definitely not as much as Venom but still enough to make me think he must have some sort of fanbase.

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