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3.6 stars 3.6 Stars Average score of 101 user reviews

A purposeful parody of the Passion story, utilizing and upending Biblical imagery to argue for an antitheist theology 0

Originally published at The Hub City Review You’re a fool if you think you could ever live up to the expectation of the all-goddamn-mighty. He made us, right? He made us in His own image. Fucked up.”-Cain, The Goddamned #4I’ve mentioned elsewhere that, back in my days of preaching from the pulpit, my parishioners had affectionately nicknamed me “Brimstone.” Cain’s first sentence above shared much of the same tone and theology of those old sermons of mine, many...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Civil War II #1 is a confluence of five egregious errors, each emblematic of Marvel comics at the moment. 0

Originally published at The Hub City ReviewI did not see that coming.I’m not merely talking about the specific shocks at the issue’s end – She-Hulk’s apparent demise and War Machine’s actual death – I’m talking about the entire tenor which Marvel Comics has increasingly taken on throughout the Postmodern Age of Comics, expressed here most clearly in the pages of Civil War II #1.Let’s dispense firstly with the most innocuous and obvious of the issue...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

By burying New 52 Superman, Rebirth is a promise to readers that the mistakes of the last few years are dead and done 0

Originally published at The Hub City Review“Tell me, Superman. What shall we engrave upon your tombstone?” Solar-Superman. Doomsday. These were hardly the only villains to successfully kill a Superman. Among the other adversaries was Mandrakk, slayer of the Thought Robot Superman, who immediately before doing so delivered the taunt quoted above. That Superman stopped the cosmic vampire-god, because of course he did, but it cost him the too his own life. Dying beside the tombstone alr...

3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

Xavier's quote "Those who are strong, protect the weak" sums up everything X-Men: Apocalypse gets both right and wrong 0

Originally published at The Hub City Review“Those who are strong, protect those who are weak. This is my message to the world.”-Prof. Charles Xavier, X-Men: ApocalypseThese two sentences, spoken by Xavier into the mind of every man, woman, and mutant on the planet, sum up perfectly everything which X-Men: Apocalypse gets right, and wrong, about the X-Men. Though the characters rarely meditate on the meaning or moral nuances of this particular phrasing of Xavier’s Dream, such ar...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Rebirth is a DC comic about DC Comics, aimed at core comic fans and boldly borrowing from the medium’s sacred stories 0

Originally published at The Hub City ReviewThe first page of DC Universe Rebirth bears the familiar nine-panel grid that every lover of the medium should be intimately familiar with. The last time I saw such a structure utilized was in Morrison’s Multiversity: Pax Americana #1, done with the same intention and achieving the same effect. Panel structure has always been one of the unique devices of sequential art. Film and television contain a sequence of images as well, but their structure ...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The Darkseid Wart is the anti-Final Crisis 0

Originally published at The Hub City ReviewLast week, I praised Max Landis’ American Alien as the best Superman story since All-Star. I’d been comparing the two purely with respect to quality, and only afterwards had learned that Landis had said at a convention panel prior to the series launch that he’d intended American Alien as “the anti-All-Star Superman.” It evidently ruffled some feathers at the time, but in retrospect that exactly how the series turned out. Bo...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The Darkseid Wart is the anti-Final Crisis 0

Originally published at The Hub City ReviewLast week, I praised Max Landis’ American Alien as the best Superman story since All-Star. I’d been comparing the two purely with respect to quality, and only afterwards had learned that Landis had said at a convention panel prior to the series launch that he’d intended American Alien as “the anti-All-Star Superman.” It evidently ruffled some feathers at the time, but in retrospect that exactly how the series turned out. Bo...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

American Alien is the only series close to All-Star in so completely capturing so much of what’s core to the character 0

Originally published at The Hub City ReviewAmerican Alien #7 is not the first collaboration between Max Landis and Jock. That in itself would not unusual if not for the fact that Landis is primarily a screenwriter; his only other significant work in the comics medium was a two part story for the digital-first series Adventures of Superman (arguably two of the best issues in one of the most criminally underrated series from DC in recent years). Illustrated by Jock, it tells of an encounter early ...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Carol Danvers is the Marvel Universe’s Donald Trump, and not just because of the same bad haircut 0

Originally published at The Hub City Review When the original Civil War debuted ten years ago, I recall it being marketed as an evenhanded exploration of the political positions held by each faction. Re-reading it recently in anticipation of the third Captain America film, the story is structured clearly so as to present Rogers in the right, but is just subtle enough that those thoroughly entrenched in Tony Stark’s camp could still finish the final issue and miss Millar’s otherwise c...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Vader #20 hints at Triple-Zero being HK-47 0

It’s been noted before that many of the supporting cast introduced by Kieron Gillen in Darth Vader are in many respects dark mirrors of the principle cast of heroes from the films. Vader is counterpart to Luke, father and son set on similar if opposite paths; the former is trying to prove himself a Jedi like his father before him, even as the latter is still needing to prove himself a Sith while seeking out his son. Likewise, Aphra is counterpart to Han (with some Indiana Jones for good me...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

A fine film that doesn't quite capture the character or what he stands for 0

Originally published at The Hub City Review“Doesn’t matter what the press says. Doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn’t matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself besides the ...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Metaphysical and metatuxtual musings create for a cerebral comic which is ruined by awful art 0

Originally published at The Hub City ReviewThe Ultimates #6 both opens and closes with narration recounting the myth of Sisyphus, the Corinthian king condemned to roll a boulder up some gods-forsaken hill without rest or reprieve for endless eternity. Writer Al Ewing intends such as a commentary on the character of Galactus, referring both to his Sisyphean drive to accomplish his purpose – whether as the Devourer of Worlds or currently as Lifebringer – as well as to the existentialis...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

One of the defining epics of Geek Mythology 0

Originally published at The Hub City ReviewEvery bit as much as Joseph Campbell and Edith Hamilton, I have always been a lover of mythology. I still remember clearly coming across a copy of Bulfinch back in third grade, devouring the tales of titans and gods from Greco-Roman writers. Finding Tolkien in middle school led me to scour the same Teutonic and Norse narratives that inspired his own Legendarium. Even into adulthood, playing Persona 4 Golden, one of the things I took away most was a newf...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Fear is the path OF the Dark Side 0

“Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”-Yoda, The Phantom Menace A major plot point in the previous issue of Kieron Gillen’s Darth Vader revolved around the inability of droids to utilize the Force. It was Triple-Zero’s hypothesis that this results not due to their absence of life – a word he decries as “abstract nonsense” – but rather due to droids’ lack of blood. He reasonably ...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Clark’s emigration from Smallville to Metropolis changed him as profoundly as his escape from Krypton to Earth 0

Original published at The Hub City Review Right as I sat down to read and review Max Landis’ American Alien #6, the familiar tone of the James Bond theme song emanating from my cell alerted me to the fact my best friend was calling, evidently to discuss plans for a bachelor party in New York for our other college roommate. The task had fallen to him and me as best man and groomsman, respectively, but also because we’d become the most cosmopolitan of the old college crew, and thus mos...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

T'Challa is the unintending source of systemic oppression in Black Panther #1 1

Originally published at The Hub City Review “The hate fades. And we must reckon with what we have done to our own blood.”Ta-Nehisi Coates in most notably known for authoring The Case for Reparations, in addition to numerous other articles for The Atlantic centered on racial politics in America. It was always in the context of those writings that his run on Black Panther would be analyzed. While this first issue mostly bears the burden of introducing incoming readers to the character ...

1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

A repudiation of Lucas' de-mystified Force 0

Originally published at The Hub City ReviewLuminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes.”-Yoda, The Empire Strikes BackIn my youth I studied form of karate known as Isshin-ryū. At the time my primary interest was in martial applications, as is undoubtedly true of most individuals when they first resolve to master form of fighting. Some years later, a chance friendship with the son of my sensei&...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The Greatest Telling of the Greatest Story Ever Told 0

Originally published at The Hub City ReviewWhen Man of Steel debuted three years ago, it was a divisive film. The main charges levied against it were Superman’s use of lethal force in executing General Zod, and the gratuitous destruction porn as Metropolis was leveled, both indicating a callousness and lack of concern on the part of a hero normally renowned for his high esteem of human life. While such criticisms certainly have merit, a deeper structural flaw of the film went altogether un...

1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

The Greatest Telling of the Greatest Story Ever Told 0

Originally published at The Hub City ReviewWhen Man of Steel debuted three years ago, it was a divisive film. The main charges levied against it were Superman’s use of lethal force in executing General Zod, and the gratuitous destruction porn as Metropolis was leveled, both indicating a callousness and lack of concern on the part of a hero normally renowned for his high esteem of human life. While such criticisms certainly have merit, a deeper structural flaw of the film went altogether un...

1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

The Greatest Telling of the Greatest Story Ever Told 0

Originally published at The Hub City ReviewWhen Man of Steel debuted three years ago, it was a divisive film. The main charges levied against it were Superman’s use of lethal force in executing General Zod, and the gratuitous destruction porn as Metropolis was leveled, both indicating a callousness and lack of concern on the part of a hero normally renowned for his high esteem of human life. While such criticisms certainly have merit, a deeper structural flaw of the film went altogether u...

1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

The Greatest Telling of the Greatest Story Ever Told 0

Originally published at The Hub City ReviewWhen Man of Steel debuted three years ago, it was a divisive film. The main charges levied against it were Superman’s use of lethal force in executing General Zod, and the gratuitous destruction porn as Metropolis was leveled, both indicating a callousness and lack of concern on the part of a hero normally renowned for his high esteem of human life. While such criticisms certainly have merit, a deeper structural flaw of the film went altogether u...

1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Seduced by the Light Side of the Force 0

Originally published at The Hub City ReviewA young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped the Emperor hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights. He betrayed and murdered your father. Now the Jedi are all but extinct. Vader was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force.”Seduced by the Dark Side. This is all we’re told regarding Vader’s fall from grace in the first film. Growing up knowing only the Original Trilogy, my assumption was that Anakin ...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

"Behold, I teach you the Superman!" 0

Originally published at The Hub City Review“I teach you the Superman! Mankind is something to be overcome…The Superman is the meaning of the earth.”-Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke ZarathustraBy the time Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster first employed the term in a 1933 self-published short-story entitled “Reign of the Superman,” Nietzsche’s Übermenschhad been stripped of its original philosophical meaning and entered into the parlance of science-fiction. It...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Power Rangers #1 Turns a Commercial for Children into Art for Adults 0

Nearly a year ago to the week the POWER/RANGERS UNAUTHORIZED bootleg by legendary fan film creator Adi Shankar debuted to universal praise. It offered a bold new direction for the beloved but stagnant series (most fans would be shocked to learn it even continued past Season Three of the show, continuing on the present day sans theMighty Morphin’ moniker). Whereas Saban’s official adaptation of the various Super Sentai shows for western audiences has continued to aim at an elementary ...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

A New Testament take on an Old Testament tale 0

Originally published at The Hub City ReviewThough they’d reject the labeling, the denomination in which I was raised and by which my seminary was run was essentially a Lutheran variant on Fundamentalism. While claiming to preserve the original interpretation of the biblical texts, much of their theology (particularly their cosmogony) was developed recently and in reaction to the growing scientific consensus throughout the nineteenth century regarding the geological age of the earth, the co...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

A Tarnish on Adams' Legacy 0

No comic book reader with even a cursory knowledge of the history of the medium could deny the importance of Neal Adams’ contributions in the past. Alongside his most notable co-creator, Dennis O’Neil, Adams was instrumental in reestablishing a more serious tone for Batman, a necessary tonic after the high camp of the Adam West television series still fresh in readers’ memories. More significantly still, their collaboration produced some of the defining issues of the Bronze Age...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Dr. Aphra is the Real Merc with the Mouth in Star Wars #16 0

“Smugglers… I hate smugglers.” Such are the words of Dr. Aphra regarding Sana Starros after the mercenary declines good credits to jailbreak Vader’s former ally from an allegedly unassailable Alliance supermax. They are, much like Aphra herself, a clear reference to Harrison Ford’s second most famous role, Indiana Jones, and the good archaeologist’s signature phrase, “Snakes… I hate snakes!”The brief interaction between Solo’s gender-...

2 out of 3 found this review helpful.

Dawn of Justice Take Note! American Alien #4 Does Batman vs. Superman Right 0

It’s a modern-day myth that’s been told time and again: the first meeting of the World’s Finest. If Byrne is to be believed, the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight formed and uneasy alliance which grew to begrudging respect while teaming up against the z-list villainess Magpie. The story according to Straczynski is that the two took on an invading army in protection of Nanda Parbat. As Johns tells it, the Caped Crusader attacked the Metropolis Marvel on the eve of Darkseid’...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Enter Queen Triton, Leia's Dark Mirror 0

Like the annuals of yesteryears, Darth Vader Annual #1 was seemingly a one-off story, self-contained and never to be revisited again. But it stood as arguably the best issue of the series’ first years, so the fact that the entire next arc, entitled “The Sho-Torun War,” is a direct continuation of the events therein indicates a promising direction for the Darth Vader going forward.With the exception of the annual, the genre of Darth Vader in its first years could best be describ...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Enter Queen Triton, Leia's Dark Mirror 0

Like the annuals of yesteryears, Darth Vader Annual #1 was seemingly a one-off story, self-contained and never to be revisited again. But it stood as arguably the best issue of the series’ first years, so the fact that the entire next arc, entitled “The Sho-Torun War,” is a direct continuation of the events therein indicates a promising direction for the Darth Vader going forward.With the exception of the annual, the genre of Darth Vader in its first years could best be describ...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Jedi vs. Sith in a Spiritual Battle for Anakin's Soul! 0

The arbitrary binary is a common trope in science-fiction. Two peoples have hated one another for so long that they have forgotten what caused their discord in the first place. All that remains are arbitrary distinctions, usually directly inverse of one another. In the infamous Star Trek episode “Let this be Your Last Battlefield” the divide was between two races of humanoid aliens, one white on the right side and black on the left, the other black on the right side and white on the ...

1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Revenge in reverse 0

Originally published at The Hub City ReviewWhat’s the most egregious evil, the rancorous rot on the most sinful soul? Many say the worse villainy is born from the same stuff as the greatest heroism; men who are the protagonists of their own stories, who bear the deep conviction regarding the rightness of their actions. They are great men. Terrible, to be sure, but no less great for it. And yet any man who commits evil under the belief that he’s doing good – whether defined as r...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Jaffe gets jacked up 0

“I was about to search for ‘sloppy rim jobs’ when I decided to search for myself instead. Which, when you think about it, is another kind of jerking off. And you know what I found out? Nothing. Not one goddamn thing… What if this is my one and only chance to do something that actually matters? Something great? Something super.”In his Hierarchy of Heeds, Maslow relegates Esteem – the label under which he enumerates such attributes as competence and self-confid...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

In the name of Truth, and of Justice, and the American Way. Amen. 0

“You’re no god.”Such are the words of the so-called “Sun god from Smallville” to the similarly hailed “Sun god of Krypton” in Bryan Hitch’s Justice League of America #7. Such is surprisingly insightful on the part of the former. Despite the seemingly simplicity of the word and its ubiquitous usage in the parlance of the religious and irreligious alike, few ministers or theologians, let alone laymen, can accurately define the meaning of “god.&...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

In the name of Truth, and of Justice, and the American Way. Amen. 0

“You’re no god.”Such are the words of the so-called “Sun god from Smallville” to the similarly hailed “Sun god of Krypton” in Bryan Hitch’s Justice League of America #7. Such is surprisingly insightful on the part of the former. Despite the seemingly simplicity of the word and its ubiquitous usage in the parlance of the religious and irreligious alike, few ministers or theologians, let alone laymen, can accurately define the meaning of “god.&...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Destined to be as forgotten by history as its protagonists 0

Originally published at The Hub City ReviewMy first exposure to the character of Rip Hunter was The Legacy of Superman, a companion piece to the Death of Superman storyline released prior to the Man of Tomorrow’s subsequent resurrection, a time when the general public still assumed Superman’s death to be a lasting change, both in-universe and out. In the final short story of the anthology, a character named Waverider attempts to travel through time to the moment before Doomsday kills...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Replica 0

This may just be my megalomaniacal egotistic narcissism talking, but I often feel there ought to be more of me in the world. Not merely more people like me, but more copies of myself exactly. Friends are all well and good; hell, it felt like half of Hub City came celebrate my recent birthday*. But still, with few exceptions, friends seem to fall into one of two categories: 1) those acquaintances who slowly but surely drift apart, relegated to updates in my Facebook feed till the day they post a ...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

From Zero to Hero? 0

Originally published at The Hub City ReviewI used to work security at the National Institute of Health, in the campus’ main building, where the Human Genome Project took place. My thrice-nightly beat took me past the rows of animal cadavers and near medical equipment with more “Warning: Radiation” signs than are posted outside Chernobyl. On one occasion, one of the numerous wall-mounted radiation detectors actually went off, and being the first responder on the scene I was requ...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

"That Wizard's just a crazy old man" 1

Originally published at The Hub City ReviewThere’s an alluring appeal to the ascetic, hermetic existence. It is the flight-or-fight instinct responding not to danger but to dissatisfaction with society, fleeing not to safety but to solitude. It’s a temptation to which I’ve in the past personally succumb; a decade ago, perturbed by particular political players and their pawns, I foreswore further engagement with my collegiate community, locking myself away alone in my apartment ...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Go Go Power Rangers! 0

Originally published at The Hub City ReviewAs the movie Inside Out recently reminded us, the potent pairing of Joy and Sadness produces Nostalgia, as powerful and intense an emotion as its components combined. It is Sehnsucht in a minor key, a languished longing not for anything in itself but for the enormous serenities and sharp ecstasies we recall perceiving in the past in association with an object or idea.I have an incredible amount of nostalgia for the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The orig...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.