Comic Reviews for 7/26/17

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Secret Empire #7

How are there still three more issues of this?

Black Widow and her Red Room prepare for their final mission of assassinating Steve Rogers. Meanwhile, the fight outside the shield gets more desperate, to the point where Carol Danvers begs for Quasar to wake up from her coma to help. And a prediction from Civil War II might finally come true.

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BRIGSBY BEAR (2017): An Argument for Nostalgia

James (Kyle Mooney) was kidnapped as a baby from the hospital and raised by Ted (Mark Hamill) and Emily (Jane Adams), who convinced him that the world outside their bunker was poisonous and produced a show called Brigsby Bear – about a anthropomorphic bear going on adventures through space and time to save the universe – to keep James entertained and teach him their way of life for the past twenty-five years. After being rescued and reunited with his birth-family (Greg Walsh, Michaela Watkins, and sister played by Ryan Simpkins) for the first time in his live, and having to acclimate to the entire rest of the world, James only wants one thing out of his new life: to produce a finale for the show that only he’s ever watched.

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DUNKIRK (2017) Maybe, Finally, a Formal Anti-War Movie

Following the release of Saving Private Ryan, Steven Spielberg said that “every war movie, good or bad, is an antiwar movie;” a pleasant sentiment, but one I’ve got to disagree with. While it’s rare to find a non-propaganda movie that is explicitly pro-war, most movies depicting war suffer from a dissonance between narrative and viewing experience. No matter how much the war is narrativised as horrific and gruesome and pointless and so on and so forth, the depiction of the war itself lends a glory to the whole procedure.

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VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS (2017): Half a Billion Stories to Choose From, and We Got This One?

The first five minutes, fifteen seconds of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is one of my favorite sequences in film this year. Set to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” we see the history of Alpha, the titular city, which begins as an American Space Station that quickly becomes International, welcoming the crews of astronauts from China, India, Africa, and all of the world’s many cultures, each dressed in their own uniquely designed spacesuits, and greeting them with a handshake. Within a lifetime, Alpha begins to attract extra-terrestrial life, and every species of life that comes aboard, regardless of how alien they might be, is similarly welcomed with a handshake. After about a hundred years of collecting people and modules from across space, Alpha becomes too massive to stay in Earth’s orbit and is rocketed into the stars to further grow and assemble the universe’s various species and cultures.

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Comic Reviews for 7/19/17

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Batman #27

One man finds himself caught between the forces of the War of the Jokes and Riddles like a kite in a hurricane, being pushed and pulled between Joker, Riddler, and Batman; and his family’s safety hanging in the balance.

There’s been one character that’s popped up randomly but reliably since King started his run on Batman, and he finally gets an issue (at least one issue) all to himself. Ironically, King is using his focus on this character to give us a ground level perspective on the war, what it’s like to be a small time criminal with some notable skills in the middle of one of the most tumultuous times in Gotham’s history. It’s not only the opportunity to give pathos to someone who’s been a joke up until now, but in that pathos, we better understand the toll this war pays on even the D-listers of the city. And, of course, King handles it with the same poetry he’s handled the rest of the series, showing us the seeds of a flower that’s already bloomed.

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WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (2017): Ape-ocalypse Now

Planet of the Apes has always been our most cynical popular sci-fi franchise, weaving through each entry the idea that we humans deserve everything coming to us, and are responsible for bringing the world down on top of ourselves. War for the Planet of the Apes continues the tradition, putting this series’ tribe of simians through the worst that humanity has to offer them.

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