Avengers Endgame Trailer Breakdown

Jason O’Toole

Credit: Marvel Entertainment

After many months of waiting and many, many incorrect guesses as to when it would debut, Marvel Studios has finally released a trailer for Avengers Endgame. While the trailer doesn’t give away many details, there are definitely some things to pour over and some new theories to discuss. Before we start though I would just like to vent my frustration at the fact the Russo brothers lied to us regarding the title. They explicitly stated in several interviews that the title was not spoken aloud in Infinity War. I would just like to say that I’m fine with studios keeping things a secret, but straight up lying is something Hollywood need to stop doing to the fans. With that out of the way, let’s dive in to this new trailer and see what we can figure out about Endgame.

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The trailer opens with Tony alone adrift in space leaving a final message for Pepper. Having run out of food and the oxygen supply dwindling, Tony has reserved himself to death. It’s a devastatingly sad opening that definitely brought this fan to tears. Questions arise from this opening, like how is it possible that between Stark and Nebula, they could not repair a craft well enough to get them safely back to Earth? Is Nebula even on board the Milano, or did she rush off to get her revenge on Thanos? Who will rescue Tony before his oxygen runs out? My thoughts immediately go to Captain Marvel. Heading to Earth puts her on the same trajectory as Stark. I think it’s safe to assume Tony will not die alone in space. Somehow, he will get his reunion with the surviving Avengers, and get a chance at revenge. However, we will have to wait until April to find out. I personally can’t wait to find out.

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After the downer of an opening, we cut to the peaceful and content planet Thanos seems to be retiring on. We see a shot of his old armor re-purposed as some kind of scarecrow. This pays homage to the 1991 Infinity Gauntlet comic, which inspired some of the events of Infinity War. In the story, Thanos retires after completing his mission and becomes a simple farmer. It also seems as though he is still wearing the broken Infinity Gauntlet from the end of the last film. We still do not know what planet he is on or what his motives are now that he has wiped out half the life in the universe. Clearly, whatever plan the Avengers have in store will most likely cause Thanos to cut his retirement short. With Thor able to now travel freely anywhere thanks to Stormbreaker, the question becomes how will they know which planet the Mad Titan is on? My thought is that Nebula’s role in the movie will be tracking down Thanos. We’ve seen her team up with the Guardians, it would be great to see her team up with the Avengers as well. They all have plenty of motive for revenge.

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After some quick shots of Cap and Widow discussing the devastation of the snap, we cut to what is possibly the most emotional moment in this new trailer, the arrival of Hawkeye. He is now in the guise of Ronin, a persona he took on in the comics following his death and resurrection. It is pretty clear from the sadness in his eyes that all of his family was likely wiped out in the snap. Clint didn’t have a family in the regular Marvel universe, but he did in the Ultimate universe. It was a dark time for Clint when his thoughts turned to suicide and he began pushing himself farther than he could handle. It is clear the movie is drawing inspiration from both of these versions to build their own version of Hawkeye. He seems to have ditched the bow and arrows and is now wielding swords instead. He is surrounded by several dead men that he has apparently just killed. The big question is why is he killing? If his goal is to find out what happened when his family turned to dust, he appears to be going about it in an extreme way. The two characters that were left out of Infinity War, Hawkeye and Ant-Man, are apparently going to get their time to shine. Speaking of Ant-Man…

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The trailer ends on what is the only moment of hope to be found at all in this teaser. The arrival of Scott and his quantum tunnel van definitely seems to lift the spirits of Cap and Widow. How did he get out of the quantum realm? Has he figured out how to us it to time travel? We have until April before we will know for sure. It is likely we will get more details and a proper theatrical trailer in the coming months. Stay with Entertain the Geeky for all the latest updates.

Avengers Endgame hits theaters on April 26th, 2019

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Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown

Jason O’Toole

Credit: Marvel Entertainment

A new Captain Marvel trailer has dropped and with it comes a whole bunch of new theories and speculation. The trailer is fantastic and shows off some great new footage of Carol in action. With Kevin Feige calling the film “a different kind of origin story”, it will be interesting to see how this differs from all the other origins we’ve seen from Marvel. Let’s take a look at some of the moments from the trailer to try to understand just what we’re in store for this March. Captain Marvel stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, Jude Law as Yon-Rogg, Ben Mendelsohn as Talos, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Lee Pace as Ronan, Djimon Hounsou as Korath and Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson. It is directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck and rockets into theaters March 8th, 2019.

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We get a better look at the Kree super team Starforce and our first look at their homeworld Hala. Starforce is a Kree intergalactic strike force formed to protect Hala and the rest of the Kree empire. They are commanded by the Kree Supreme Intelligence, which we’ll come back to in a bit. The Kree-Skrull war seems to play an integral part of the plot of this origin. How exactly they end up going to war still remains a mystery, but it does seem like the Kree might not be completely altruistic in this conflict. Hala looks fantastic and proves once again that Marvel are great at bringing these iconic locations from the comic to life. The technologically advanced society immediately calls to mind Wakanda without the tribal architecture. I look forward to once again being impressed by a new alien world to add to the already great galactic side of the MCU that the Guardians movies have set up.

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A new detail has emerged in the form of Annette Bening’s character, whom many believe to be the Kree Supreme Intelligence. In the comics the Supreme Intelligence was a giant floating blue head in a jar, seriously look it up. In all reality a change is necessary and they couldn’t have found a better actress than Bening. She explains to Carol that they saved her life and infused her with Kree blood to give her power and extend said life, not unlike what happened to bring Coulson back in Agents of SHIELD. We also get a closer look at Ben Mendelsohn’s character Talos, the leader of the Skrulls. They have clearly infiltrated SHIELD in much the same way HYDRA did. The trailer implies that Nick Fury is not yet director and maybe Talos might be higher up as he appears to be chasing Fury and Carol. Marvel has done an amazing job bringing the Skrulls to life and it seems the war will have just as much punch on the big screen as it did on the comic page.

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In the final moments of the trailer we finally get to see Carol flying and fighting in space without a ship. This may not seem significant but way back when Guardians of the Galaxy came out I was a bit disappointed that the Nova Corps were flying around in ships instead of just flying like they do in the comics. I was starting to get worried that this would happen to Carol as well. Fortunately, this new trailer has alleviated this concern as she destroys a fleet orbiting Earth. The sequence of shots is amazing and I can’t wait to see it on the big screen. Just like Black Panther, this movie looks like it will shatter records and bring us a great new chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Leave us comment below with your thoughts.

Stay Geeky!

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Bits of Everything: YouTube 101

Alright... Welcome back everyone. I hope you took the moment to check out the Global Frequency Pilot from the last article. Since I'm a little crunched for time this time around I thought I would share some little bits of everything that I interact with on basically a daily basis. Not my EDC, no one wants to hear about a backpack full of pens and a beaten down Chromebook... though it is a very nice backpack. No, I'm talking about my YouTube subscriptions.

I'm going to try to leave some stuff out (Not everyone would like to watch as much of of the daily news as I do) and save some of the deeper discussions for other future articles.

I basically watch YouTube almost exclusively on my phone. I will occasionally wander on to the site when I am using my computer but mostly my phone is how I interact with YouTube (Just in case anyone was wondering I have been an Android user since my first smartphone and currently use the Essential PH-1). When I turn to YouTube it's mostly to engage with something that I will find entertaining or informative. So I've broken things down by category below and I'll include a playlist of some fun videos from each category at the bottom so you guys can check some new stuff out.

Entertainment: When I look to be entertained by YouTube I'm often looking to be able to look into the lives of others or see videos of people doing the things that they are great at. Other times I want to hear about things that are new in the world of gaming or pop culture. But also, especially, music. Some channels that are in regular rotation for me are: WhatCulture, Pretty Good Gaming, Peter McKinnon, Jack Coyne, Dan Mace, Casey NeistatNPR Music

News: When I am looking to see news from outside of the network news outlets I often look for something that is either going to look to be informative first and opinionated second or, at times, something that has a little more of a long form feel. That's why I love Philip DeFranco. His videos every weekday keep me up on important developing news items and provide opinions that are not always my own. It's nice to challenge your views from time to time. Other times I look to Vice New, which is helpful on a variety of fronts but often gives me that kind of longer form looks at a topic that I like. I enjoy getting to spend a half hour or so looking into one thing rather than just pinballing from one topic to the next.

Tech: I love Tech review channels. There are a lot of them out there and they look to cover different topics often but PCs and Telephones are pretty much my go to tech topics. Given that I would highly recommend these channels to make sure that you are well informed about the next phone you're going to buy or the next time you're going to need to build a computer: UrAvgConsumer, Unbox Therapy, MKBHD, Linus Tech Tips

Food: Much of what I watch on YouTube is actually food related. I'm foodie and a fat guy... what did you expect. The following channels offer great looks at great foods and while I might not ever make it to some of these restaurants it's nice to know that they're out there and that I might be able to visit them someday. Check out these to get your salivary glands going: First We Feast, Burger Gang TV, Binging with Babish, Sous Vide Everything, Strictly Dumpling, Thrillist

Games: When I'm looking to think about the games that I play the most often (5th Edition D&D and Magic The Gathering) these are the channels that I tend to check out first. Matthew Colville, Rhystic Studies (Especially great for looking at a game from a perspective you never thought you'd see things through), Tolarian Community College

Inspiration: And finally these channels sort of defy categorization. The first, GaryVee, could very easily fall into the first category but what I look to this channel for the most often is to see how I might start doing my job (as the manager of a comic & game store) better. And the second, Lessons from the Screenplay,  helps me learn how to do something that I'd like to one day call my profession, writing, better. 

So, what do you watch on YouTube? Let me know. I'm always up for trying something new. This article is a little shorter than my normal missives from the realms of everything but I kind of think that in this particular situation that videos might speak louder than words. Check out some great selections from the channels listed above in the playlist embedded below! And until next time... Keep being.

Bits of Everything: Global Frequency

Alright... Welcome back friends. I know... I know... It seems like ages since we've seen one another. I took a week off of my bi-weekly submission schedule because I wanted to shift to the opposite weeks of the bi-weekly pattern. And rather that exhaust my brain and expend too much of the social currency that I've earned with you fine folk that have been so kind as to read my articles by publishing them in back to back weeks. Hopefully you took some time to check out those wonderful Canadians from my last missive and found them to be as delightful as I do.

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So, here we are, back with another bit of everything. And while last week I mentioned that I could write about Warren Ellis every week and it would take me quite a while to run out of worthwhile topics I certainly didn't expect to be back on another of his works so quickly. Yet, here I am. And as a result of the strangest motivations that I can think of in recent memory, if not my whole life. June 18th there was an announcement from our government regarding the expansion of our military efforts. That's right folks, I'm here because of 2 words that brought with them thoughts of consternation and curiosity: Space Force. I'll give you a moment to think of the one word response that I'm certain that you'll come to... "Why?" I can almost hear you asking. Well when I think of weapons in space I think of three things: Reagan's Star Wars initiative, the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, and the topic of this week's article: Global Frequency.

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Warren Ellis has long had a love of the single issue story in the world of comics. His recent run on Moon Knight with Declan Shalvey being a good example of this. Some of the most impressive issues of Transmetropolitan were single issue stories (the best of which might be issue #8 "Another Cold Morning"), and perhaps the best example was his imprint at Avatar Press: Apparat Singles Group, which was a whole line of books each of which was stand alone and initially was to imagine what the comics industry would look like if Superheroes had never become the dominant genre of comics. But of all of those my favorite is Global Frequency. A 12 issue maxi-series published by DC under the Wildstorm line. Each issue was graced with really lovely covers by Brian Wood (Yeah, he did art early in his career and his covers for this series were totally boss), each issue was colored by David Baron, and each issue focused on different members of The Global Frequency: an independent, covert intelligence organization with 1,001 members, all of them experts in their own fields and all of them being called upon to save the planet, each mission is, in some way, lead by Miranda Zero, who is a former intelligence agent, and coordinated by the brilliant young hacker Aleph.

Ellis, being the futurist that he his, included lots of concepts that seemed unfathomable at the moment and prescient upon reflection. One of the coolest parts of the series, at the time, was the phones the characters carried. These cool devices that kept them in contact with their leader and also could provide them with all kinds of additional information thanks to the video screens they featured... 5 years prior to the debut of the iPhone and certainly before ubiquity of any kind of a phone with such a screen anywhere outside of Japan.

The first issue of the series was strong enough to wind up being adapted as a television pilot for The WB. It is an enigma to me to this day how the series hasn't been adapted into a series. It just so easily lends itself to serialized content. It cold easily be the kind of show that would focus mostly on the single episode, which would certainly be unique in the landscape of genre television these days. I could also imagine it being similar to something like Black Mirror where actors not typical to television could come to play super cool roles for single episodes. Noe need for a theme song or introduction at all, just start every episode with the special phone ringing and bang, zap you're off to the races. Whoever in the world of making large scale genre fiction on television these days can have that suggestion for free. You're welcome. 

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The series is full of fascinating characters and unique stories. Everything from mass hallucinations (or perhaps angel sightings) in issue 5 drawn by Jon J. Muth, to rampaging cyborgs in issue 2 drawn by Glenn Fabry, breakneck races across the rooftops of a city in issue 6 drawn by David Lloyd, one of the most brutally violent fight scenes I've ever read in a comic in issue 10 drawn by Tomm Coker, to the last desperate heroics of a most reluctant hero in issue #9 drawn by Lee Bermejo, even a break-in style story complete with safe room, traps, and one bad ass young woman showing the world that no one can invade her home and get away with it in issue #11 drawn by Jason Pearson.

You're probably wondering where Space Force comes in to all of this rambling... The final issue "Harpoon" deals with satellites armed with kinetic spears, telephone pole sized metal rods that when flung at the earth would create heat envelopes capable of similar levels of destruction to that of nuclear warheads but without any of the pesky long term fallout. These devices are simple... dangerously simple. Not needing the kind of precision that other kinds of orbital weapons might... especially when you find out what the intended purpose of those aforementioned satellites really are.

There it is folks. Another comic review, this time from a little further back but another really brilliant series. I hope you all take some time to check out this wonderful book and I hope that you let me know if you do. 

Power Man & Iron Fist

Jason O’Toole

Credit: Marvel / Netflix

The following contains SPOILERS for season 2, episode 10 of Luke Cage.

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In the tenth episode of Luke Cage’s second season titled “The Main Ingredient”, Danny Rand drops by to make all our comic dreams come true. Let’s be honest, Finn Jones portrayal of Danny Rand was not immediately embraced by the Marvel fan base. His first season failed to shake things up and is considered by many to be the weakest of the Marvel / Netflix series to date. When Defenders  released fans saw a version of Danny that seemed to be course correcting by the studio, but still not exactly what fans were hoping for. Well, I am here to tell you, Danny teaming up with Luke shows a version of the character that is exactly what fans have been hoping for. Danny is cool, confident and has a certain swagger that the comic character has, but the television version lacked.

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Danny shows up right after Luke gets beaten by Bushmaster for a second time. Luke is doubting himself and his abilities and Danny helps him center himself. This leads to a Power Man and Iron Fist shakedown montage that is glorious. Bushmaster has disappeared after the last encounter and Danny helps Luke focus and track down the Jamaicans. This becomes a detective story of sorts which provides a fun and interesting deviation to the normal action of the show. It really feels like watching a different series entirely, one that would be great fun. All of this culminates in a fantastic fight scene that shows off why these two have worked so well as a duo in the comic world. Their powers complement each others well and they make short work of the Jamaican thugs. Even though they don’t find Bushmaster, Danny leaves Luke with a newfound sense of calmness that helps him throughout the last three episodes of the season. All in all, the team-up makes for some of the most entertaining moments that an already great season has to offer.

In the aftermath of the Defenders, Netflix seems to be back on the right track with its shows. Both the second seasons of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and even the first season of Punisher have been fantastic. If Danny’s portrayal in this episode of Luke Cage is any indication, the second season of Iron Fist is shaping up to be good as well. Leave us a comment with your thoughts.

Stay Geeky!

Bits of Everything: Loading Ready Run

Alright... Welcome back friends. I hope that you all took some time out of your week and caught up with the wonderful world of The Wild Storm. If you wanted to learn a little more about Warren Ellis I would also recommend checking out the documentary "Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts" that just became free to watch on YouTube (embedded here for your convenience)! But this week's article isn't about Warren Ellis (though I am sure that I could continue to write article after article about the man who came to save the internet), it's about some other people who make wonderful things that make me think and make me laugh. And these people, as I think has become the central thesis of this column, are probably not as well known by most of the geeky community as they should be... and boy howdy should they get tons of attention from every corner of not only the geeky community but the world. Allow me to introduce you to Loading Ready Run.

Over the weekend there was a special event just across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Seattle on Vancouver Island, specifically in Victoria, British Columbia (Scott, why are you being so specific? Because, dear reader, I must). The event was the "Pre-Prerelease" for Magic: the Gathering's next set Core Set 2019. And that event, along with my consistent enjoyment of the many different kinds of content created by this wonderful group of folks, is part of the reason why I felt compelled to bring to your collective attentions the wonders that is the comedy troupe that hosted, produced, and streamed this special event. Loading Ready Run is an internet comedy troupe that was founded in 2003 by Graham Stark and Paul Saunders and has regularly produced video content ever since. And when you consider YouTube didn't exist until 2005 there is certainly something to be said for creating content when there wasn't even a platform for said content. And how is it that these ambitious young Canadian comedians have come to be the go-to creators responsible for showing off the new cards from Wizard's of the Coast, you may be wondering to yourself? 

Well, the answer comes down to a video from back in 2010 that they created after falling back in love with Magic the Gathering thanks to some of the Learn to Play decks that were given out at one of the PAX conventions that they were guests at. And it's as a result of the videos they've made for Wizards, largely, that I discovered them.. And for a long while I was aware of mostly just their videos in the series of "Friday Nights" which were great but then I started stumbling into other videos they were creating like their Video Game News series "CheckPoint" and then their own hilarious series of videos that are sort of about them but not really about them "Commodore Hustle" and then later their Magic: The Gathering podcast "Tap Tap Concede". But then in the fall of 2016 my fascination with their work and consumption of their content had greatly increased thus I have all kinds of things to tell you about. Namely the incredible amount of content that they create each week on Twitch.tv/loadingreadylive

The thing that is truly brilliant about Loading Ready Live, their Twitch channel, is that they were among the first to use Twitch as though it were their own television station. Much akin to what has been replicated by folks like Geek & Sundry and HyperRPG there is a great variety of content from newly released video games (NewsDay Tuesday), to cooking/crafting/technology shows (Tinker, Tailor, Solder, Fry), to role playing games (Dice Friends as well as Temple of the Lava Bears), to live sketch comedy shows (Loading Ready LIVE), and even more (Live board game play, live paper Magic: the Gathering, live writing and producing of sketches, and oh so much more).

And while I could certainly point you toward plenty of individual pieces of their content (and trust me before the end of this article I will) I would say that if you can find anything from their incredible amount of archived content available at LoadingReadyLive that strikes your fancy that I would recommend just giving it a watch. These people just regularly create great content.

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One of the things that I would feel bad if I didn't mention is their charity work. Every year these brave individuals subject themselves to roughly a week of playing the singularly most boring video game ever created. That's right it's Desert Bus. A mini-game that would have been featured on the unreleased Sega CD game Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors in which the objective of the game is to drive a bus from Tucson, Arizona, to Las Vegas, Nevada, in real time at a maximum speed of 45 MPH. And the feat requires eight hours of continuous play to complete. And these maniacs don't just play for 8 hours. They typically play from well over 100 hours at a stretch. In 2017 they played for a total of 158 hours, starting with the first year the cast agreed to play Desert Bus for an hour for each increment of money donated - the amount necessary would then increase by seven percent each time the increment was reached. Since their first event in 2007 they have raised over $4,400,000 for Child's Play. These funny folk are more than just jesters, they're all about making the world better.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention some of my favorite shows, podcasts, and streams these wonderful folks create each week (or, sadly in one case not nearly often enough). First there's the wonderful bi-weekly show of "Let's Nope" where Alex Steacy usually plays horror games with Ben Ulmer. It's a great deal of fun because Alex has the best reactions and Ben does not deal well with spooky games all that terribly well. It's a blast. Let's Nope rotates with "Watch + Play" where Graham subjects Alex to the worst games he can find that the internet provides. Another of my favorite of their streams is "Talking Simulator" where Alex and Cameron Lauder play games with the intention of looking at how video games tell stories. It's really rather fascinating to hear smart people talk about how games, good and bad, go about enveloping the player into their worlds. Another of my favorite streams is "Adam's Gamehaus" where Adam Savidan plays games, often hard ones, through to conclusion. Adam is just fun to watch play games. Additionally, they produce non-streaming content, much of which is spectacular. One of my favorites is "Qwerpline" which is a fake morning radio show made by Graham, Alex, Kathleen De Vere, Ian Horner, and Brendan "Beej" Dery that takes place in the fictional town of Nsburg. Trust me, it's hilarious. I'm also a big fan of "North 100" a podcast from Serge Yager, Alex, Liam Coughlan, and Jeremy White where they talk about the Magic: The Gathering format Canadian Highlander. It's informative and helps when thinking about the game of Magic even if you aren't playing Highlander. And the last recommendation I'll make is "The Panalysts" which is hosted by Kathleen and is in the style of a British chat show. It's quite a lot of fun.

Alright friends. I'll leave you all with that this week (Also with the playlist of totally great stuff over to the left). Sorry that the article is later than I've been posting of late, events conspired against me. See you back here in two Mondays. Until then, check out some wonderful Canadian Comedy.

Jason’s Comic Reviews: Justice League #1

Writer: Scott Snyder / Pencils: Jim Cheung

Jason O'Toole

Credit: DC Entertainment

After finishing up his run on the New 52 Batman book with Dark Nights Metal and writing the aftermath No Justice, Scott Snyder now brings his talents to a brand new Justice League book. Snyder has more than shown he is ready for this having written the most successful book that the New 52 had to offer. He is joined by superstar artist Jim Cheung, whose talents have been shown in both Marvel and DC comics. Having drawn some of the big Avengers stories it is amazing to see Cheung get to lend his talents to the Justice League. His artwork is beautiful, and definitely one of the many reasons to check out this comic. Together, they bring you a classic lineup that hearkens back to the heyday of DC Comics.

The Justice League!

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The team that they bring together consists of all your favorites from the old Justice League cartoon. Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are obviously leading the team as always. They are joined by Flash, Green Lantern (John Stewart), Hawkgirl, Cyborg, Aquaman and the heart of the League Martian Manhunter. The conclusion of Metal blew a giant hole in the Source Wall, the barrier that surrounds the universe, and this seems like an ideal lineup to deal with that problem. At first, the book seems like a run of the mill Justice League adventure as our heroes fight off the minions of Vandal Savage, but Snyder throws a curve ball that many were not expecting.

The Legion of Doom!

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Yes, you read that right, after bringing back the Hall of Justice during his No Justice mini series, Snyder has also resurrected the classic Legion of Doom. Everything old is new again as Lex Luthor reunites the team of Joker, Cheetah, Black Manta, Sinestro (back in his classic blue) and Gorilla Grodd. Unfortunately, this issue only serves as an introduction to this reborn team, but you can be sure they will be stirring up mayhem for our heroes all over again in the coming months. Just to make sure they check all of your nostalgia boxes they have even stolen back their old headquarters from Vandal Savage.

This seems to be the theme that DC Rebirth has clung to since it began. Old fans have embraced this return to classic DC storytelling while new fans have embraced the fact that they don’t need to catch up on 75 years of continuity to be able to follow along. Only time will tell what Snyder, and for that matter DC as a whole, have up their sleeves. I for one can’t wait to find out.

Stay Geeky!

Bits of Everything: The Wild Storm (And why you should care)

Alright... and welcome back to the bi-weekly event that is one man cracking his skull open and letting you all enjoy what seeps forth. I hope that you all took some time over the last two weeks to give Sense8 a try and I hope that those who did loved the finale as much as I did. Sometimes it's not so much about how long a series lasts but how it's allowed to end. Which brings me to my topic for this week. And I think that my head cracking metaphor that I opened with is kind of the best way that I can think to describe anyone talking about the works of one of the finest creators of this age... Warren Ellis.

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As a creator he first came to our shores in 1994 working on Marvel's Hellstorm: Prince of Lies and shortly thereafter penning Doom 2099. That his early work contained a look into the future is hardly a shock given the way that his career has continued. He is perhaps best know for works that contain a great deal of futurism at their core. Transmetropolitan began in 1997 and was many a reader's first look at the whack-a-doo kind of future that "Internet Jesus" (one of Ellis' many colorful nicknames) had in mind.

But a year before that was when he began what might have been a far more important work. One that would have a larger impact on the comics industry than I think that most people were really prepared for. Especially given it's relative lack of relevance prior to his taking over the title (not to speak ill of Ron Marz). Warren Ellis took a different approach to Stormwatch than any other writers had done before and it would eventually become the formation of one of the most important comics of the last decade of the last millennium. 

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The Authority. A team of superheroes who had reached the end of their patience with the way of saving the world they had been taught. They were going to, instead, do whatever it took to save the world and the largest portion of humanity that they could from the threats they encountered. The Authority had a huge impact on the comics industry when it first hit the shelves. And for a variety of reasons. One because it seemed to put an interesting spin on the kinds of characters that one might typically find at one of the other bigger publishers (even though DC was actually publishing the book [the Wildstorm imprint was largely seen as a separate entity at the time]).

And while I could spend another 10,000 words talking about just the 12 issues that Ellis wrote of The Authority or how his work on Stormwatch ushered in other great works like Joe Casey's work on WildC.A.Ts, Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips' work on Sleeper, and even how it paved the way for another of Ellis' masterpieces, Planetary..  I've not started this article for that purpose.

I think that what Ellis did with Stormwatch and how it lead in to The Authority showed that he knew how to take a thing that already existed and how to make it shift and morph and become more than what it was. But with Stormwatch's transition into The Authority he was still working with costumed superheroes. And while Ellis has told some truly remarkable stories with costumed superheroes I think that his more personal and more impactful work often comes when he can approach things from another angle. When he can deal with characters who are interesting without being overly colorful. When he can create heroes that don't have to wear spandex. I think that Ellis is best when left to his own devices. I think back on series like Planetary, Transmetropolitan, Fell, Jack Cross, Desolation Jones, Global Frequency, Ocean, Gravel, Freak Angels and that's not even getting into his novels and I think that those are the works that I often find myself digging out to tell friends who are asking about getting into comics about. Those are the kinds of titles that make my blood pump. That get me excited.

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So, when DC announced that Warren Ellis was going to be given the whole of the Wildstorm universe to do with whatever he wished you can imagine that I was, conservatively speaking, quite thrilled. And they were going to call it The Wild Storm, which is a mighty catchy title.

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He spoke about how he was going to roll things out slowly. He talked about how he was going to write or oversee all the titles that were launched. He talked about how he had a multi-year plan. And all of that is incredibly exciting. But what was most exciting was that the characters didn't look like superheroes (perhaps with the exception of John "Grifter" Cole, but given what's going on with his story it's hardly a surprise that he wears a mask when he goes into the field). This was going to be a book about a world of characters, it was going to be a book about intelligence agencies in conflict, it was going to be a story about a futurist who wants to change the world for the better, it was going to be a book about an alien invasion that happened so long ago that we missed it entirely, it was going to be a book about secrets...

And the 12th issue came out not too long ago (actually issue 13 has also come out now but I was going to write only about the main title and focus on the first year of releases... So... there) and so I thought i would give it all a re-read and talk about it here. 

This is a really great comic that is happening at a pace that I think is very well suited to Ellis. Characters are plotting and planning and machinations are coming to fruition in some regards while they spoil on the vine for others. And interestingly he's managed to sow in the seeds of so many characters that long time readers of the Wildstorm universe will recognize that the anticipation builds more and more with each issue. Jon Davis-Hunt has done a great job with the artwork as well (considering that many comic artists have been gifted with characters who wear spandex, making them measurably easier to draw page after page, while Davis-Hunt has characters that wear actual clothes and suits and stuff... much less easy). 

What has been great about the first year of The Wild Storm is that Ellis has managed to keep his promises. He's made a series that is revealing itself, month to month, to be a criminally overlooked book. He's got characters who deliver the kind of ridiculous threats and comments that he came to be famous for with characters like Spider Jerusalem from Transmet and he's also got the kind of characters that are calculatingly brutal like he crafted in books like Jack Cross (criminally overlooked title by the way, go dig those issues out of a quarter bin and do yourself a huge favor). At the core of the book are 3 organizations, I.O. (International Operations, the organization that is responsible for keeping Earth safe from itself, basically), Skywatch (the organization that is responsible for keeping the world safe from otherworldly threats), and the ragtag group at  HALO (a futurist tech firm that is trying to democratize tech to make the world a better place for everyone). But I.O. and Skywatch have long been at cross purposes (much the same way that the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. often find themselves fighting over how to use particular intel... but both of these organizations have exponentially larger budgets) and only fragile treaties keep them from each other's throats. Meanwhile HALO is causing problems for both of them since their quest to democratize technology will inevitably lead to democratization of information... the last thing that secret intelligence organizations want. And meanwhile there are alien species on earth as well as a growing cast of characters who have a great deal of power but whom have not yet backed any of the factions in play.

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And there is representation of so many of the different titles from the Wildstorm Universe of old already, and with the revelation in the final scene of issue 12 we've certainly not seen all that he has yet to reveal. 

I think that even if you have not the slightest idea of the past of the Wildstorm Universe that picking up the first two trades of this series would be a great introduction. And there's a trade forthcoming for the first of the spin off titles, Wild Storm: Michael Cray, next month. 

Alright friends. That's enough of Everything for this transmission. You've got plenty of Bits to pick through from this one. Lots of great comics to go check out. Get thee to a comic store and ask the folks who work there to point you in the right direction.

Bits of Everything: Sense8

Alright, welcome back everyone, I hope you've enjoyed listening to the work of Jon Hopkins and perhaps even better I hope you've checked out some of the rest of the recommended albums from the end of the previous article. Anyway, for now we're back for another adventure into the world of Everything. 

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I didn't want to do another article about music too quickly and I also wanted to make this second article about something that I think is particularly special. I wanted it to be about something that I think deserves more attention than it received. There's going to be a bit of a roundabout explanation to why we wound up where I finally decided to land. I really wanted to talk about a couple of different things. The first thing was Babylon 5, because boy howdy do I tire of asking people if they have watched B5 only to find not only that they haven't but they also haven't heard of it. And then I thought that I would talk about Rising Stars because, again, a seriously under-read comic that deserves far more attention. And then I realized that I was just wanting to talk about J. Michael Straczynski projects and then I remembered that very soon there is going to be the conclusion of another of my favorite of his projects, namely: Sense8.

Sense8 is a show that appears to be about a lot of things. One of the things that it appears to be about is a different species of humans that are known, colloquially, as "Sensates". These individuals are joined together into clusters. These clusters of individuals are joined in a sort of collective consciousness, where they can experience what the others are feeling and even share skills with one another. Which makes for some really cool scenes of like characters who have no idea what to do with themselves in a fight suddenly becoming bad-asses because one of the other members totally knows how to throw down. Also characters sometimes find themselves suddenly popping in to very private moments of other members of the cluster and often times as a result helping them in difficult moments and also giving themselves perspective on something that is going on in their own lives.

Honestly this show is a little difficult to encapsulate. And I think that is part of why it struggled to gain as big of an audience as it really deserved. Which is silly. Because the creators of the show, The Wachowskis, J. Michael Straczynski, and Tom Tykwer, approach the series much in the same way that they imagined the audience would, by treating it like a thing to be binged and not parceled out. Which created some issues for people who felt like they should have had a better idea of what was going on in the first episode. If they stuck around to episode 3 though the data proved out that they wound up watching the whole first season. For a lot of folks I think that what they really need is for someone to tell them that a thing is worth watching and that they won't have wasted their time if they stick with it. They need permission to be skeptical but to let the next episode start playing.

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This is that permission.  You won't regret watching this show. It's totally brilliant.

Because while this show claims to be about cool sci-fi concepts of people who are from another species of human, and while this show claims to be about being on the run from villains of both homo sapiens and homo sensorium alike it's not really about either of those things.

Sense8 is a show about all the wide varieties of love that we are all capable of experiencing. It's also about pain and suffering. It's also about happiness and joy. It's about meeting new people and about reconnecting with ones who have been a part of your life since the beginning. It's about diversity (the characters are from Chicago, San Francisco, Nairobi, Seoul, Mumbai, Rreykjavik, Berlin, and Mexico City; they are 4 men and 4 women; they are of many races, colors, and creeds; and they are straight, gay, and trans-gendered) and yet it's also about how similar we all are. It's about being terrified and about overcoming fears. It's about using even the most mundane of our skills to help each other out. It's about friendship. And it's about family.

And don't get me wrong. It's totally also about cool sci-fi stuff too.

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The show has a big ensemble cast as the "8" in the title connotes. And our 8 leads all live very different lives, Riley, the DJ from Reykjavik who lives in London, Matt the cop in Chicago, Capheus the matatu driver from Nairobi, Sun the business woman from Seoul, Kala the scientist from Mumbai, Wolfgang the thief from Berlin, Lito the actor from Mexico City, and Nomi the hacktivist from San Francisco. So we get all this wonderful exposure to different places all over the world and also different walks of life. But what is so endearing and incredible about the show is that even with a large central cast of 8 characters the supporting cast is so thoroughly wonderfully rendered that their plights and achievements become wholly engrossing. The characters who are on the side of our heroes are complex and wonderful and when we see them in danger we are genuinely concerned and when we see them succeed we are genuinely thrilled. And the villainous characters are complex as well, they clearly have their own motivations and, in many different ways, are the heroes of their own stories, or so you would imagine. 

However, as I mentioned at the top of the article I would be writing about Sense8 because it was ending. 

And it is ending because, as it turns out, it's incredibly expensive to shoot a show in like 9 different locations (since they actually shot on location in all of the different places where the stories take place). And despite the fact that they had very solid viewership for both seasons the show was so expensive that it wasn't sustainable. However 28 days after the show's cancellation was announced it was announced that they would, instead, be creating at least one more special that would air in 2018. June 8th, 2018... to be specific. And that the special was to, presumably, serve as a series finale.

However. Lana Wachowski has said that she believes so much in the fans to go out and create new fans and inspire the kind of passion that saved the show from a cliffhanger cancellation that she has already written a third season for when we, the incredible fans of the show, display to the executives at Netflix that they should give the show another season.

And with any luck I will have convinced some of you to check out this truly wonderful show as well. And perhaps, if enough people decide to dive in and get caught up we can make something truly magical happen. And even if that doesn't happen it will truly be a joy to watch a conclusion for the characters that I have grown to love over the 23 episodes.

Head over here to check it out: https://www.netflix.com/title/80025744

Bits of Everything: Jon Hopkins - Singularity

By Scott Samson

 

Since this is my first article for Entertain the Geeky I want to start off with a little bit about me. I consume far too much media. Whether it's music or television or comics or movies or audiobooks or podcasts or Twitch streams or YouTube videos from my favorite channels or news or... well... Like I said, far too much. And when I approached the guys behind EtG I did so knowing that I wouldn't be able to restrain the variety of topics that I wanted to talk about down to one single realm of discussion. I knew that it would have to be able to touch on all the different kinds of things that I stumble across in this vast media landscape that we all wander through. So, don't think of this as a place to come to for one specific kind of column, think about this as a travelogue through the aural, visual, textual, technological world that we all share. 

Since I consume as much media as I do I often find myself in the need for something that is going to slow things down a touch, something that will give me time to think rather than push me through my day faster and faster. And what we're going to talk about today is just that perfect kind of pace to bring a slow day up or help bring a busy day down. 

Electronic musician Jon Hopkins has been in the music industry back in 1997 and has since released a healthy body of work. His latest release came out on May 4th and it's titled Singularity. Which is kind of a perfect name for a record that seems to have it's own gravitational pull. It pulses and throbs at times and yet relies on the breathy quiet between the beats at times to create a nearly perfect record both for speakers as well as headphones. It's a great record for putting your nose to the grindstone to in order to get some stuff done or to throw on the headphones for a walk around the neighborhood. It's both perfect for sharing and for shoe-gazing. And spare few ambient techno records can really claim that.

 

Right around the record's halfway point, during the track “Feel First Life” you get to what I think is kind of the thesis of the album. That the natural next step after pulse pounding energy, which the 10 and ½ minute long “Everything Connected” certainly is, must be thoughtful contemplation. That perhaps the best possible reaction to a chaotic world is to just slow down for a moment and catch your breath. And the track after that “C O S M” shows that even the thoughtful individual can, when necessary, keep pace with a chaotic world. 

 

All in all I think that the record is kind of the perfect Spring driving around at night with the windows rolled down record, the perfect walking through crowded convention floors when you want to be alone record, the perfect needing to quickly navigate from one terminal to another at the airport record. And if you like it I would also highly recommend the debut album from Floating Points “Elaenia”, Ólafur Arnalds third record “For Now I Am Winter”, the second album from A Winged Victory for the Sullen “Atomos”, the third album from Moderat “III”, or the truly phenomenal (and my favorite record from 2017) ninth album from Elvuium “Shuffle Drones”.

 

Alright, this has been fun. Let's do this again soon. Who knows what I'll bring you next time?

Check out the album here: http://smarturl.it/SingularityJH

Avengers Infinity War (Spoiler Free) Review

Jason O’Toole

Credit: Marvel Entertainment

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Thanos has arrived and the war has definitely left its mark on our heroes, but most of all it has left a mark on us, the fans. The Russo brothers have succeeded in balancing all the characters and giving us a great arc for a villain that we really knew nothing about up to this point. The film marks the beginning of the end for a journey that goes all the way back to 2008. The journey has been long and the destination exceeded all expectations.

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The storytellers do an amazing job of balancing all the characters by splitting them up into smaller groups. This approach works well as it makes the movie feel less crowded than it should. The actors do a fantastic job, as always, at bringing their characters to life. The real shining moment is getting the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Avengers together into a single movie. Up to this point in the story all we really knew of Thanos is that he wants to collect the Infinity Stones. This film finally gives us a real backstory for the character, which makes Thanos the star of this story. Josh Brolin does an amazing job as the Mad Titan. He brings a real weight to a role that was created entirely in cg. Brolin’s portrayal almost makes you sympathize with Thanos and definitely helps us understand why he wants to wipe out half the universe. All in all, this movie brings everything since Iron Man full circle and changes the MCU forever.

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We have spent 10 years getting to know these characters and as such the movie doesn’t have to waste any time showing us their motivations. Captain America and Iron Man have been ready for something like this to happen since aliens rained down death and destruction way back in the first Avengers. The new Avengers, Black Panther, Doctor Strange and Spider-Man fall right into their roles with the rest of the heroes defending the planet from Thanos and his children. Ebony Maw, Black Dwarf, Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight are a truly terrifying sight to behold. These Children of Thanos are inspired by the Black Order, characters that first appeared in Jonathan Hickman’s Infinity comic series. The movie also takes inspiration from Jim Starlin’s Infinity Gauntlet, a six issue series from 1991. Marvel has done a great job over the years at using their stories as a framework for the movies. This allows the comic fans to still be surprised by the events they see, and as a comic fan myself, I can say Infinity War does not disappoint in this regard. It is full of twists and turns and literally left me speechless by the time the credits rolled. Stay for the one post credit scene as well. It’s definitely worth the wait.

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I’m glad to say that this film exceeded all my expectations. It had the highest grossing opening weekend in history, bring in a whopping $258 million. That record was previously held by Star Wars The Force Awakens. Kevin Feige and the folks at Marvel Studios have blown us all away, and we still have part 2 to look forward to in 2019. Infinity War is a roller coaster of emotion and action from beginning to end. The Russo brothers previously directed two of the best Marvel movies to date, Captain America Winter Soldier and Captain America Civil War, and they have added a third to the list with this one. Questions that we have had for nearly a decade are answered and team ups that we have waited to see for just as long finally come to the screen. Keeping this universe as interconnected as it is has been no small task. In this regard, it has brought the comic continuity that fans have loved for so long to the screen in a way we could have never thought possible. I personally cannot wait to see what the next ten years will bring us.

Stay Geeky!