In the old 52, Firestorm had been transformed in the past year to an entity with a dark side due to the Black Lantern Firestorm and Ronnie Raymond coming back from the dead. When the New 52 was announced, Firestorm became one of the characters to watch as so much had happened to the character in the past year. Through Brightest Day, Jason Rusch and Ronnie became two interesting characters that were not very familiar to me as I had not read either of their books. The solicitations for the new book with the two characters as Firestorms appeared to be a great premise. The books started by showing some of the differences between the new teenagers in their high school setting. Dr. Stein, who created the Firestorm matrix, appeared in back story but did not appear in the current storyline. With issue three, the main storyline focused on a set of government officials who wanted the matrix. And wanted to get it away from Jason and Rusch.
The government as bogeyman has been a through-line in many of the new 52 books that I have read. Captain Atom and Action Comics come to mind. But with current politics flooding around the purpose of government, this attempt at commentary rationally flows from the front page. However, The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men is missing the mark as a solid political commentary.
By the end of issue three, I am confused as to what the matrix can do, why the government wants it, and why a monster who was created by the first attempt at imposing the matrix into a human needs to enter the mix. The tone of the book has dramatically changed from two teenagers out of their league with powers that they don’t understand to two teenagers fighting for what they were given from the hands of the government.
The art in issue three also appears rushed. In the scenes of the Firestorm are losing the the governmental officials and are being told that their mentor, Dr. Stein, was selling the Firestorm protocols to terrorist nations, the line work becomes very rough and the backgrounds become a bland blue that may reflect the night sky. However, the grass appears blue and the inking makes everything look over shadowed.
By the time Helix appears, the story has become lost. The small moments between the Firestorms work very well with a bond slowly bring formed, but then Helix flies in with visions of Nazi Firestorms dance in his head. But the rest of the issue does not clarify why the Firestorms become one that looms like a skull head and it does not become anymore compelling.
In issue four, the allegory for the arms race of nuclear weapons becomes crystal clear. Though Firestorm began as a Spider-man archetype, the fear of nuclear war and disaster became a storytelling point for the character in the past , and it appear this is where the story is going in the new 52. Issue four was stronger than three in art as well as story. Though Cinar’s faces go from Tony Stark to overly cartoony by the end of the issue, the storytelling is stronger. In the fight between two other Firestorms, as the battle went on, the panels became a skewed until a winner is determined.
However, having a Russian and an Arabic Firestorm confront each other seemed overly clichéd. And the mysterious Director Zither fails to stand strong as an adversary/ally. We know she was married to Helix and some disaster due to the Firestorm protocol/matrix ruined her family, but I am not that interested in finding out anything more about her. Obviously, she isn’t helping Ronnie with good will and it will come back to bite them as they are teenagers who don’t know any better. I hope I’m wrong, but this book isn’t going out on enough limbs and quickly changes back and forth between high school rivalry and intergovernmental fights over nuclear weaponry in the form of humans associated with the Firestorm protocols/matrix.
As anyone who went to college or law school should know, I watched All My Children religiously. I would tape it every day and watch it during the evening in twenty minutes. If I didn’t have class from 11-12 while at Ripon, I watched it live. I wrote many religion papers for Professor Smith while watching the activities in Pine Valley. However, I haven’t watched since I started studying for the bar exam and started working. There wasn’t enough hours in the day. And now, the soap opera has been cancelled.
My mom watched All My Children during college and continued to watch it while she raised me, my brother, and my sister. Our days were filled with the adventures of Erica Kane, her many husbands, Adam Chandler, his many wives, and my favorite character, Tad Martin. When my dad would come home from work, we would update him on the state of Natalie, who was put in a well by her evil twin sister, Janet from Another Planet. Janet had put Natalie in the well to be able to steal her husband, Trevor, and their family. Eventually, Dmitri rescued her, married Erica, and Natalie was killed in a car accident with Adam in the car. Adam’s twin brother Stuart, undoubtedly was very upset.
It was a lot of fun to watch it every day during college. I grew up with these people and enjoyed their continuing stories, no matter how repetitive they were. When my brother saw David Canary, the actor who played Adam Chandler, at the Art Institute of Chicago, the first question I asked was if he said hi. The fact that either of us knew who David Canary was proved how powerful these characters were.
In the last few months, I taped a few episodes of All My Children: the fortieth anniversary and the departure of Adam Chandler. The anniversary episode was a clip show that featured many of the characters I grew up with and it was the last episode where Palmer Cordtland appeared. It was a fun little retrospective through my youth. And when I read that David Canary was leaving the show and Adam was going to run away with Brooke English, I had to tune in. Honestly, I had tears in my eyes when they walked away to board the Chandler jet together forever.
I don’t think I was ever proud to watch soap operas (and it became soap operas in law school, when I also watched As the World Turns, also cancelled now). I doubt I would ever start watching another one, but I will always remember the names of the actors and the characters. When I was in middle school, I played Scattergories with friends and the only “L” actress I knew was Susan Lucci. She still would be my only answer.
Thanks for the memories, Erica, Jackson, Adam, Brooke, David Hayward, Greenlee, Bianca, Kendall, Natalie, Janet, JR, Babe, Stuart, Liza, Tad, Dixie, and the rest of the Martin, Kane, Chandler, Cordtland families.
I love a good murder mystery. The earliest books I remember reading were Boxcar Children stories, which I cannot really remember anymore. I’m assuming they didn’t have too many murder mysteries in them, but it began my love of the genre. I moved to the Encyclopedia Brown series after that with even more mundane mysteries that usually involved lost school supplies. When I was in sixth grade, I moved to Agatha Christie books. I would lay awake all night after reading a chapter of And Then There Were None. I would dream of being killed by bee stings and the Indian statutes that sat in the middle of the room as each person died one by one.
The hard part of these stories is that many people love them and there are so many different varieties. Moving past books, TV and movies have hundreds of murders occurring each year. And very few of them are interesting.
Earlier this year, Psych did a Twin Peaks inspired episode. I had never seen the show, but knew it centered on the murder of Laura Palmer. I bought my brother the DVD collection of Twin Peaks a few years back for Christmas, so I asked him to borrow it. I watched the entire first season, but never finished the second season. The hard part was it was more of a soap opera than a murder mystery. My brother argued that the murder wasn’t the important part of the story, but that it was basically the engine that drove the story that showcased evil in a small town. Taking the supernatural and mystical stuff out of the picture, I wasn’t that drawn to the characters, but I am willing to give it a second chance sometime in the future. Nonetheless, I wanted to watch a good murder mystery with interesting and diverse characters who are good and bad, happy and sad, guilty and innocent.
This past weekend, The Killing premiered on AMC. I read many articles that compared the show to Twin Peaks as it occurs in a small town setting. I imagine for writers in LA or New York City, Seattle is a little town just like Twin Peaks. But right off the bat, I am more interested in this series than Twin Peaks. I’m drawn to some of the characters and am interested in the political and social aspects of the story. I had the same reaction to the first half of the first season of Twin Peaks, so it may turn out to be something that I eventually will not be interested in.
The story starts with a woman who is leaving the homicide division of the Seattle Police Department to marry her boyfriend in San Francisco. However, as she is moving out of her office and her replacement tries to move in, a call comes in for a missing girl presumed dead in this forested region. Of course, we meet the missing girl’s family along the way as we watch them discover that their daughter has been killed. There are delinquent teenagers, piercings, skateboards, and school dances involved. There is also a mayoral campaign that pits what seems like an up-and-coming city councilman who wants to change the city against the staid old mayor who has outworn his welcome. The murder brings all of these individuals together in an intrinsic plot. And this was all in the first two episodes. There are about twenty characters floating around that we have met with motives all over the place for the murder as well as just devious behavior. It’s a typical murder mystery in that description, but the characters definitely have a depth to them that is rare in TV crime shows.
Additionally, the directing is fantastic. Like Twin Peaks, the setting appears to be a huge character to the story. There are many establishing shots and fly-overs of the forested region where the girl was found and bright cityscapes to counter that dark, green mystery. The city has a gray tone to it that makes it seem very gothic. The rain-soaked atmosphere of Seattle also plays well for this type of story.
I greatly recommend this show to anyone who likes a good serialized murder story. AMC has a wide array of quality TV. I enjoyed Rubicon greatly, but this show is far superior in pacing. It has not reached the level that show got in tension yet, but it needs a little more time. The show airs on Sundays, but I am sure it is available On Demand and is also being rebroadcast all week as it just premiered. It will take the place of Celebrity Apprentice on Sunday in my TV schedule. For anyone who knows me, that is a huge step. Goodbye Gary Busey. Hello Seattle.
Last week, I used my NetFlix Instant Watch to download the first season of the British sitcom, The IT Crowd. Although it came out in 2006, two other seasons have came and went since then and a fourth is planned to come out in the coming year.
The premise is a young up-and-coming female executive, Jen, becomes the new head of the IT Department of a major corporation after lying that she knows a lot about computers on her resume. She is sent down to the basement where the two IT staff members reside, or are there three???
From there, she becomes their relationship manager as she tries to make the group stand out more and to highlight their successes. In the first season, we learn a lot about the staff: Roy and Moss.
Roy is a typical slacker, computer guy. Moss is your typical computer nerd who does not understand anything else. Yet, I have never seen three very stereotypical characters put through so many hilarious situations.
The show is increasingly surreal with twists and turns that logically make little sense, but story-wise, you buy into it.
I have since bought the second season on DVD and await the upcoming third season release in September.
My favorite two episodes of the first two seasons are:
Jen is attracted to a temp security guard after Roy has a miserable date where he realizes that women do not like nice guys, but prefer jerks.
Jen is going out with a man who got her tickets to a musical. Roy and Moss believe he is also inviting them, so they go along. During a five minute portion of the episode, I have not laughed so much since Dwight’s fire drill during the Super Bowl episode of The Office.
I highly recommend that you find a copy of The IT Crowd. It’s perfect comedy with a nice hint of subtle nerdom.
I went in and out when it came to Scrubs. I watched the second season, I believe part of the fourth and the last three. I have also seen a lot in syndication. I can’t explain why I never got into the show as I do with a multitude of other shows.
But the last episode that was on tonight got to me. The sentimentality of J.D. is definitely something I related to. And that may be why I don’t really like him: I’m quite similar without being over-the-top. I daydream a lot and think about the possibilities of life. I overdo things and try too hard. I want people to like me and I want to like people. I just want to help.
And I think I accomplish a lot of those things. It is hard to say goodbye. You do just keep moving on and hoping things don’t pass you by. Continue reading “Scrubs: The End?” »
I wanted to see Rod Blagojevich on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here.
Why? I wanted to witness the insanity of this cartoon character who was a twice elected public official kicked out of office for horrible corruption wandering through the rainforest.
Yes, I know his crimes are horrible and he put my home state through a lot of crap, but think about all the tasks he would have to do. And the consequences of the trip. It would answer so many questions about his personality and his thought-processes. Continue reading “He’s A Celebrity?” »
After watching the Battlestar Galactica finale last night, which was fantastic, I realized I am missing something: geek friends to discuss geek matters with. Whether it’s after an episode of Lost, an issue of Action Comics, or some philosophical/scientific theory that will pop into my head, I have to hold onto the information. Or I can write it down in an entry on this website. Continue reading “The Isolation in Geekhood” »