Comic Book Review – Upgrade Soul

Upgrade Soul (2018)
Written & Illustrated by Ezra Claytan Daniels

Hank and Molly Nonnar have been married for 45 years when they agree to undergo an experimental to give themselves new bodies and a second lifetime. However, as these things so often go, there are complications, and the couple’s bodies and souls undergo something life-shattering. As the two are led through the recovery process by the unethical scientists and researchers at the institute, they begin to uncover truths about themselves and their relationship. Molly makes breakthroughs in her research and sees her typical day to day needs fading away. Hank finds intimacy in an unexpected relationship and begins to imagine a future beyond the walls of their hospital. But as more is discovered about their conditions the bleaker the outcome appears to be.

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Comic Book Review – Gideon Falls: The Black Barn

Gideon Falls: The Black Barn (2018)
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Andrea Sorrentino

Father Wilfred has been reassigned to a new parish after issues with drinking. His new home will be the rural town of Gideon Falls, where their last priest went missing and is presumed dead. His first night in the priest’s quarters of the church leads to an encounter with the absent father and the corpse of Mrs. Tremblay; the church secretary/housekeeper found bled out in a cornfield. Wilfred swears he saw a black barn in that field, but the police find no traces of it and suspect Wilfred was involved in the murder. Meanwhile, in a city far away a paranoid schizophrenic man named Norton scours the back alleys and dumpsters for fragments of charred wood and rusted nails. Norton believes the city is revealing a larger cosmic truth to him, that all of these pieces when assembled will make a construct that answers questions he has repressed. The stories of these two men living great distances from each other slowly become entangled and promise to lead to genuinely dark places.

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Comic Book Review – Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion Evil

Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil
Reprints Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil #1-4
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by David Rubin

Taking a step back from the events of Black Hammer: The Event, we get to read the story of how Lucy Weber investigated the disappearance of her superhero father. Using her position as a reporter for the Global Planet, Lucy begins uncovering details about what happened the day Anti-God invaded Spiral City. This leads her to an asylum on the edges of town where the name “Sherlock Frankenstein” is given to her by an inmate. Frankenstein is a notorious supervillain who was seen being quite active the day of Anti-God’s invasion. Lucy becomes convinced that this mastermind is behind the vanishing and possible death of her dad. However, a shadowy conspiracy seems intent on blocking Lucy’s further prying.

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Comic Book Review – Black Hammer Volume 2: The Event

Black Hammer Volume 2: The Event
Reprints Black Hammer Giant-Sized Annual, Black Hammer #7 – 13
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Deam Ormston, Nate Powell, Matt Kindt, Dustin Nguyen, Ray Fawkes, Emi Lenox, and Michael Allred

Lucy Weber, the daughter of Black Hammer, has arrived in the pocket universe that her father’s allies have been trapped inside of. Her memories of how she got to this strange small town have been muddled, but she doesn’t have much time to contemplate this when she has to deal with the grief of her father’s death. Her arrival also signals a sudden change in the behaviors of the stranded heroes, particularly in Madame Dragonfly and Colonel Weird. Through stories told by the heroes and flashbacks, the audience learns more specifics surrounding the event that caused all of this tragedy, the battle with Anti-God. Very quickly all the heroes find the once quaint yet eerie small town they have been living in becoming darker and more sinister, signaling that this phase in their lives is coming to an end and something new is being born.

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Comic Book Review – PTSD Radio Volumes 1-6

PTSD Radio Volumes 1-6 (2018)
Written & Illustrated by Masaaki Nakayama

Urban landscapes are profoundly haunted. Cities are built on the ruins of villages and small towns, turning those who lived there previously into ghosts that linger in the corners. PTSD Radio begins as a series of disconnected horror stories, an anthology centered around tormented spirits, but then patterns start to emerge. The presence of hair and dark figures tugging at the scalps of sleeping victims are recurring motifs. Slowly but surely we uncover a story about a rural village where cultural changes led to the destruction of a primitive idol. This, in turn, unleashes a quiet evil that permeates the lives of the people who grew up in this village, following them into adulthood.

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Movie Review – Glass

Glass (2019)
Written & Directed by M. Night Shyamalan

Without even realizing it, writer-director M. Night Shyamalan has been every present in my adult life. Twenty years ago, this August, I saw The Sixth Sense on one of my first weekends at college, and it messed with my head. Many years later, having seen much darker and more horrific cinema, I don’t think it could affect me as profoundly, but it remains a good film. A year later I was in the theater seeing Unbreakable, a film that was everything I ever wanted in a superhero movie. I remember seeing Signs while I was staying with a friend for a month in Montgomery, Alabama. My first viewing of The Village was at the now shut down Springfield Cinema here in my hometown. I was living in Washington state when I went to the theater on my own the summer of 2006 and saw Lady in the Water. My last Shyamalan cinematic experience was watching The Happening at a theater in Puerto Rico with my then girlfriend (now wife). She yelled at the screen at one point due to how genuinely terrible that movie is. From then on I’ve only ever watched his films outside of theaters and entirely skipped After Earth due to The Last Airbender being so damn bad. Shyamalan is a filmmaker who continually has me wondering how everything went so wrong, how he could go from making something like Unbreakable which still holds up to giving us The Visit, a film that is so flawed and broken. So now, nineteen years after Unbreakable he finally gives us the closing chapter in that story.

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Comic Book Review – Millennium

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dc summer blockbusters 1980s

Millennium (1988)
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Joe Staton

millennium cover

Life is going about as usual in the DC Universe when the peace is interrupted by the return of two strange figures: one Guardian of the Universe and one Zamaronian. These two ancient cosmic beings are on Earth to warn of the threat of the Manhunters and the coming of a group of special humans called The Chosen. The heroes of the DC Universe are split into groups to travel the globe and contact the Chosen while protecting them from the cult-like Manhunters.

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