Review: Angela: Queen of Hel #2

Story:

“Their joyous reunion actually a little less “joyous” and a little more “How about I reunite my fist with your ear,” Angela and Sera meet face to face at last!
To rescue her beloved, Angela learns that she cannot steal Sera from Hel–she must conquer Hel, and rewrite the laws as old as death to free them both from the abyss!”

Read more about it on Goodreads.

Angela: Queen of Hel #2

Review:

So we learn some stuff this issue that effects the previous Angela series. In Angela: Asguard’s Assassin Sera was already dead and in Hel but controlling Malekith who was disguised as her.

So Sera’s angry about being left in Hel for a very long time and a lot of magic gets flung about. Angela is all very apologetic and because she’s an angel, who are all about making things fair and repaying debt, she asks Sera to name her price. She’d probably do anything for Sera anyway but the guilt’s making her promise the world. Like getting Sera out of Hel when that’s kind of impossible because she’s dead. There’s also the question of how much she should feel guilty because she didn’t know for quite a while that Sera was dead.

Angela decides to challenge Hela for the throne like the unstoppable force she is, even as she notes that Hela is more than a queen here. More like a goddess and Hel bends to her whims.
Sera being the all knowing narrator tells her she has to go through trials to defeat Hela and Angela doesn’t even stop to consider not doing it. I mean as they’re having this conversation she’s fighting Hela’s minions so she’s already in defiance of her.

The art work is the same as before being the standard super hero type of art for the present but we do get another flashback of Angela’s memories of them together and it’s that beautiful art work again from last week’s flashback. I also love the cover. Sera looks more sad and defeated than you’d think she’d look attacking Angela.

But this comic is ultimately a love story and Sera even references it in her narration. She also breaks the fourth wall a bit. I’m always wary of characters doing that (unless they’re Deadpool), especially when it’s a dramatic story rather than a comedy, which I think is easier to get away with but Sera’s aware of her narrator status and she uses it to her advantage. And you don’t know exactly how her magic works so it could come with her being able to see things.

I’m not usually into romantic stories but I’m fully invested in this one. They would do anything for one another and they don’t just talk about it. They have their quiet sweet moments like Angela having cold feet in bed. Then they also have a lot of power individually but together they seem unstoppable and I really want to see what the consequences of Angela being queen of Hel is. Ripping things apart for the one you love is nice and everything but you can’t go messing other people up because something went wrong.

I can’t wait to see what the other trials are and I hope they won’t be quite so easy as the first one. I want Angela to be really challenged. She is fighting to take over Hel after all that should be a hard thing to do, even for Angela.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Previous Review Angela: Queen of Hel #1                                         Next Review Angela: Queen of Hel #3

Review: Constantine: The Hellblazer #3

Story:

“Someone is murdering ghosts, a supernatural crime so impossible to solve that John Constantine is forced to return to London and seek help from the one person he hates more than any other; a magician above reproach, a darling of London high society, and a friend to superheroes everywhere. She is Georgiana Snow…the HECKBLAZER!”
Read more about it on Goodreads.

Constantine: The Hellblazer #3

Review:

So we delve more into Constantine’s past this issue but I really don’t like the art they use for it. It’s all very purple and I find it off putting. There’s also a change of artist for the non flashback bits as well and I’m not keen on that either. I really liked the other style in the first and second issue but I guess I’ll get used to this.

Constantine has gone back home to England and is looking up old friends but it appears he doesn’t have many. The only one alive is Georgie who is very competent and makes Constantine look like an arse. He rushes in without thinking and it’s very annoying. I don’t know the character well enough to tell if this is out of character behaviour, having only known him for two issues before this but he was over confident in the last issue so I guess that’s just what he does.

And he gets himself into a lot of trouble that Georgie has to save him from. She works for the supernatural division of MI5 or something like that. She knew Constantine back in the good old days and didn’t really like him then either.

I love the cover though. That really stands out and I love how Constantine is trying to smoke even while Georgie’s crushing him with her boot.

It didn’t really feel like much got accomplished this issue. Other than John annoying Georgie. We learn a bit about his past but none of it really gripped me. I think it must be because of how much I loved the previous issue that this is a bit of a let down.

We get to see how he interacts with others who know about demons and stuff. He’s a bit annoying but I like that the less nice parts of his personality are on show and get criticised. Things like that always make characters feel more human but then you can’t do it too much because the audience has still got to like the character and root for him. This almost crosses that line for me. He messes up and I found myself thinking that he should stay out of Georgie’s way but then he had a very humanising moment and you realise how alone he is and I’m back on his side.

While this issue wasn’t as good as the last issue it still develops the mystery of the ghost killer, if only a tiny bit. And I think John and Georgie are going to be a really good pair of characters to play off each other she’s all about studying, high society and being uptight. While he seems to wing stuff and have sex in clubs.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Previous Review Constantine: The Hellblazer #2                          Next Review Constantine: The Hellblazer #4

Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

10) Fantastic Beasts and where to find them

I love Harry Potter. These books were my childhood and I loved the movies but this feels like a cash in. Franchises are in at the moment and who ever owns the movie rights to Harry Potter has realised there’s lots more money to make here.

I have some hope because Rowling’s involved so it should be decent, but I don’t like Eddie Redmayne that much. I think he’s way over rated. Although I kind of liked him in Jupiter Ascending because his performance was so over the top and entertaining.

I want to like this so much and I just want more Harry Potter. There are so many stories to tell in that world and I’m disappointed that we are getting another lead who’s the typical lead for pretty much all Hollywood movies.

 

Batman v Superman

9)Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

This is another movie that I really want to like but I have a feeling that I won’t.

Mostly that’s down to Zac Snyder directing and the choices he makes. Like hiring an inexperienced actress to play Wonder Woman based on what she looks like rather than talent. I’ve got nothing against Gal Gadot, she’s an actress and this is her job, and I don’t like all the body shaming that went on when she was hired. I think the criticism should be on the choices Zak Snyder is making. Wonder woman is an icon and one of the most well known female super heroes ever. They should have got an actress who was really experienced to play her. Like they got Ben Affleck to play Batman. Instead they get a woman who’s not done a lot of acting and you know they hired her because she’s hot or pretty or sexy or what ever. When that shouldn’t be the basis for hiring the actress to play wonder woman.

And if they hadn’t made other sexist choices I probably wouldn’t be as sure about that but we still haven’t gotten a female led super hero movie where someone actually puts effort in to make a good movie. And that’s a criticism levelled at marvel as well.

But this is meant to be why I’m excited for this movie. Well all of the above is why this isn’t higher on my list. And this is only the second movie in the DC cinematic universe so they don’t have my trust yet.

What I’m excited for is Batman v Superman. I’m sceptical about how much I’ll like the movie but even the trailers are getting me excited. With Batman promising to make Superman bleed, and Superman destroying the bat-mobile just by letting it crash into him.

I’m hoping that even if I hate the overall movie there will be lots of awesome moments that I can get excited about. It doesn’t matter how many times I explain this movie to my dad, he still doesn’t believe Batman can fight Superman.

 

Suicide Squad

8)Suicide Squad

This is higher up my list than Batman v Superman because it’s not Zac Snyder directing but we still get Batman and the Joker. Add to that Harley Quinn and Will Smith playing one of them (I don’t know the DC universe that well). This looks exactly like my sort of movie. I’ve bought some of the comics so I’ve got a lot of reading to do.

 

Finding Dory

7)Finding Dory

I hope this won’t be one of those occasions where Dory was a good side character but only tolerable in small doses. A lot of people felt that way about Minions and while I liked the movie I get where they’re coming from.

I liked Finding Nemo but I don’t love it the way other people seem to and I’m pining all my hopes for this movie on one character. I love Ellen, and Pixar doesn’t usually make bad movies as long as you don’t count Cars.

 

Star Wars: Rogue One

6)Star Wars: Rogue One

After seeing The Force Awakens I’m fully on board with Star Wars in a way that I wasn’t before. Now I’m invested in these movies being good.

They’ve finally got characters I can relate to and care about. I don’t know all the details and things that happened in the other movies because I can’t remember and rewatching them isn’t a priority. But even I understand what stealing the Death Star plans means to the Star Wars universe.

I hope that some of the anthology movies explore different parts of the universe and get away from this one part.

There must be so many stories you could tell. I know they’ve decided to make all the books not canon anymore (as if it matters what they say, I’ve got my own head canon for most things I watch and get all fannish about so really that seems like a giant waste of time trying to dictate to me what is and isn’t canon) but there’s got to be some good stories in all those books.

I’m not that interested in a Han Solo movie, that’s exactly what we need, keep the Star Wars universe small and go back to it being about white straight cis gendered able bodied men. That list has a lot of adjectives they should choose to change at least one in their main characters.

 

Ghostbusters

5)Ghostbusters

A sci-fi movie with all female leads who are also really funny. I don’t know how they can screw this up to make me not like it.

All I can say is, it’s about time. About time that women were recognised as a legitimate part of the audience who have money they can spend. About time that a female lead is surrounded by other women and not just men. About time that all the whiny idiots get ignored and people realise that, like when women go see movies about men and can relate on some level to them because we are all human, so to can men go see movies about women and relate because women are also human.

All the controversy surrounding this movie is ridiculous and irrational but then no one ever said misogynists were rational.

The first Ghostbusters movie isn’t being taken away. You can still see it. And don’t worry the amount of male leads in the movies is still far ahead of the number of female leads. Just look at this list. I’d say most of them have male leads.

Although Finding Dory has Dory replacing Nemo so maybe they’ve got a point. Don’t worry though it’ll still be a few more years before we’ve replaced all the male parts with female ones.

 

Captain America: Civil War

4)Civil War

The last Captain America movie was so good and I want to like this one so much but the civil war story line in the comics was terrible. It was all over the place and inconsistent between different books. It was also when I stopped reading comics for a while.

I have mixed feelings about this because it can’t be the same story line as in the comics. None of them have secret identities so they’ve got to frame the issue a different way.

Also in the comics it was Iron man who was meant to be right. The pro registration side was the right side and cap was on the wrong side. But due to crappy management of the entire thing it didn’t across that way.

So it worries me that they’ve got the civil war story line in a Captain America movie. I’m not much of a fan of Steve Rogers. I hated Captain America: the first avenger and I didn’t much like him in Avengers Assemble either. He grew on me a little bit in the Winter Soldier. But now they’re pitting him against Tony Stark who’s one of my favourite super heroes and I don’t want to watch a movie where they make him the villain. He won’t be the main villain but he could be one of the bad guys.
Despite all that I love the marvel cinematic universe and I want to see what they’re going to do with it. I trust them enough to be fair to all the characters (unless it’s a female character then you’re screwed). And after seeing the trailer where Steve and Bucky fight Tony and Tony cradles a broken Rhodey I’ve got to admit I’m getting excited.

The directors are the same guys who did Winter Soldier and who are going to be doing Avengers: Infinity Wars part 1 and 2. So I have a lot invested in liking this movie.

 

The Conjuring 2

3)The conjuring 2

The first one was so good. A horror movie where I actually care about the characters shouldn’t be something different and new but so many horror movies have awful characters and I can’t wait for them to die. So there’s no tension and it just becomes a guessing game of who’s going to get it first.

The Conjuring actually had characters I liked and where as most horror movie franchises seem to be based on the villains (Freddie kruger, Jason, Michael Myers) these are based around the Warrens who are the heroes.

It’s a good basis for a franchise and I can’t think of any other horror movies that have done this. There’s scream but Sidney doesn’t go out looking for serial killers to fight. They find her.

Anabelle was a huge disappointment and a giant step back for the franchise but there were so many people in the cinema when I went to see it and that’s unusual for a horror movie.

 

X-men: Apocalypse

2)X-men: Apocalypse

Days of future past is one of the best super hero movies ever so I’ve got really high expectations, especially with Bryan Singer back as the Director. Jennifer Lawrence is back as Mystique and it’s Hugh Jackman’s last time as wolverine in an X-men movie.

I’m so excited for the apocalypse story line. X-men was what got me into comics. I used to watch the cartoon and then one day I saw an X-men comic in amongst the magazines. I didn’t buy them consistently until I was older and had a part time job but I was always on the lookout for X-men stuff.

Apocalypse is such a good villain and so far Bryan Singer hasn’t made a bad X-men movie for some inexplicable reason, despite making some really bad movies.

 

Deadpool

1)Deadpool

He’s one of my favourite super heroes and I didn’t think we’d ever get a movie about him because it’s Deadpool. He’s violent and a lot of what he says isn’t for kids so to get a good Deadpool movie you need it to be more adult and that cuts out all the kids they want to make money out of.

Blade is the only adult super hero movie I can think of and it’s a bit old now. So this will be refreshing to have a different sort of super hero movie for a change because I doubt the rest of them will be anything unique.

The director has also confirmed that Deadpool is pansexual so this will be the first super hero movie with a queer main character. At all. I’m not just talking about being the main title hero. I can’t think of any queer character in any super hero movies. Or science fiction movies. Or fantasy movies (I’m going to do some research. There’s got to be one). So it’s kind of a big deal.

Of course he’s got a girlfriend in the trailer so I don’t know how much he’ll be expressing his sexuality. I doubt we’ll get much, if anything that will make it impossible for other people to deny it. That’s how I judge representation now. If it’s only implied and can be denied by some bigot then it’s not good enough. We’re in 2016 it’s time to stop pandering to the bigots.

The only thing that’s making me apprehensive is if his sexuality is a joke. Because that seems to be the only time when sexuality, other than heterosexuality, is allowed to be expressed. To make the male straight audience uncomfortable and so they laugh.

Can this movie not be homophobic? Or biphobic? Or panphobic? It’s really not a lot to ask.

I’d like to come out the other side of this movie not feeling like shit. It can be a bad movie (I’ll probably still enjoy it) but can it not be homophobic. They’ve got my hopes up by actually being aware that other sexualities exist beyond straight. I so want to like this movie.

They’ve got the marketing for this movie so right. They obviously understand Deadpool in a way that the creators of X-men Origins: Wolverine didn’t.

Reading Challenges of 2016

So I read about Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge and got all excited. This resulted in a lot of googling and finding other challenges and then it got a bit out of hand and now I’ve committed myself to loads of them when I’ve never even bothered to do one before.

Hopefully some will double up. I’m also aiming to read 120 books on Goodreads. Last year I aimed to read 70 books and I read 114. The year before my goal was 60 and I forgot to track most of the books I read.

I’ll try to remember to link to them as I go along because most of the challenges have reviews as part of the challenge.

Book Riot: Read Harder Challenge 

  1. Read a horror book
  2. Read a non-fiction book about science
  3. Read a collection of essays
  4. Read out loud to someone else
  5. Read a middle grade novel
  6. Read a biography
  7. Read dystopian or post apocalyptic
  8. Read a book published the decade of your birth
  9. Listen to an audiobook that’s won an audie award
  10. Read a book that’s over 500 pages
  11. Read a book that’s under 100 pages
  12. Read a book written by a transgendered person
  13. Read a book set in the middle east
  14. Read a book wit an author from souteast Asia
  15. Read historical fiction set before 1900
  16. Read a first book in a series by a person of colour (recommendation: Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler)
  17. Read a non super hero comic that debuted in the last three years
  18. Read a book adapted into a movie then watch the movie and debate which is better
  19. Read a non-ficiton book about feminism or about feminist themes
  20. Read a book about religion
  21. Read a book about politics
  22. Read a food memoir
  23. Read a play
  24. Read a book where a main character has a mental illness

Classics challenge 

  1. A book from the 19th century
  2. A book from the 20th ccentury
  3. A book by a female author
  4. A translated book
  5. A book by a non-white author
  6. An adventure book
  7. A fantasy, science fiction or dystopian book
  8. A detective book
  9. A book that has a name of a place in the title
  10. A book that was banned or censored
  11. Re-read a book you read at school
  12. A volume of classic short stories

Worlds Without End: Roll your own reading challenge

Here’s where it got a bit out of hand because I signed up to 28 of their challenges, which ranges from 6 books to 100 books each, but it’s meant to be a challenge and I always get in over my head.

  1. 12 awards in 12 months: I chose the ‘master’ reading level of 12 books because I don’t usually pay attention to awards but with all the recent controversy I feel like I should start.
  2. LGBTQ speculative fiction (they have their own LGBTQ resource so that helps): I chose the ‘Oscar Wilde’ reading level of 12 books because despite wanting to read more diverse books I’ve barely read any LGBTQ books.
  3. Listomania – pick 12 books from any lists on their site: The ‘listomaniac’ reading level of 12 books because I love lists.
  4. Second best – any books nominated for awards but not winners: The ‘also ran’ reading level of 12 books.
  5. Published this year: the ‘nebula’ reading level of 12 books. 24 books at the ‘hugo’ level seemed a bit much.
  6. Unloved – neither won or nominated: The ‘heartbreak hotel’ reading level of 12 books.
  7. Women of genre fiction – (they have their own Women Authors page): The ‘apprentice’ level of 12 books
  8. Cat quest: The reading level of ‘lolcat’ which is 6 books. I love my cats but I don’t want to read loads of books about cats. I’d also like to note the other reading levels are ‘Cat-astrophe’, ‘cat fancier’ and ‘chairman meow’.
  9. Science fiction from Australia: The reading level of ‘cherry ripe’ which is 6 books
  10. Punk’s not dead: The reading level ‘Joey Ramone’ which is 12 books
  11. Read the sequel: The reading level ‘blue fish’ of 12 books
  12. Series A to Z: The ‘entire alphabet’ reading level of 24 books. For this challenge I only have to read one book from 24 series, not all of the books in a series for each letter.
  13. Science fiction masterworks: The ‘master’ reading level of 12 books.
  14. Space opera: The ‘shai hulud’ reading level of 12 books.
  15. Star wars: I picked the ‘obi wan ken-obi’ level of 6 books because there was no way I was picking the ‘Anakin Skywalker’ level (as stupid a reason as that sounds). The other levels are ‘Yoda’ and ‘emperor Palpatine’ but that was too many books considering my interest in star wars is minimal.
  16. Tie-ins: the ‘journeyman’ reading level of 9 books. I might have gone for the higher level but I’ve never read a tie-in that I thought was really good. They’re mostly quite bad.
  17. Author! Author!: the ‘virtuoso’ reading level of 20 books
  18. Big fun in a little package novella reading challenge: the ‘large’ reading level of 18 books
  19. Tor.com short stories: the ‘wizard’ reading level of 96 books
  20. Discoveries in genre: the ‘explorer’ reading level of 6 books
  21. Genre non fiction: the ‘savant’ reading level of 6 books. That’s the highest reading level for this challenge. Ihave loads of books of this type and I love reading them.
  22. In translation: the ‘linguist’ of 9 books. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a translated book so I figured I’d start off slow.
  23. Io9 best of 2015: the ‘master’ reading level of 36 books which I think is the entire list.
  24. The weirdness: I picked the ‘worshiper of Dagon’ reading level of 9 books. There’s also ‘resident of arkham’, ‘Student at Miskatonic U’ and ‘High Priest of Cthulhu’ reading levels but even I can only put up with so much weirdness.
  25. 2016 I have just have to read more of that author: the ‘completely obsessed’ leading level of 12 books.
  26. Triumvirate (trilogies): the ‘novem’ reading level of 9 books
  27. New books of 2015: the ‘halogen’ reading level of 13 books.
  28. 2016 books I’ve read this year: the ‘voracious’ reading level of 100 books. This one should be easy it’s just keeping track of all the books I’ve read. So as long as I remember to track them as I go and don’t have to do it all at once at the end of the year there won’t be a problem.

So that’s 313 books if I don’t double any of them of them up and don’t count the 96 short stories from Tor. There’s no way I could read that many books in a year because I have other things I’d like to do in 2016.

The last reading challenge is from Panels and is about comics so shouldn’t be a problem because I read a lot of comics.

Panels: Read Harder Challenge

  1. Read a self-published comic.
  2. Read a feminist comic.
  3. Read a comic featuring one or more teenage protagonists.
  4. Read a superhero comic whose race or gender has been swapped from the original or traditional hero.
  5. Read a complete run of a comic.
  6. Read a comic based on a book and the book it’s based on.
  7. Read a graphic biography.
  8. Read a comic that was originally published in a language different from your own.
  9. Read a comic set in space.
  10. Read a collected web-comic.
  11. Read a comic with at least one creator of colour.
  12. Read a comic set in Asia by an Asian creator.
  13. Read a superhero comic NOT by one of the Big Two.
  14. Read a slice-of-life comic not set in the U.S.
  15. Read a comic that has been adapted from a T.V. show or movie (not vice versa).
  16. Read a comic about a real-life historical event.
  17. Read a black-and-white comic.
  18. Read a watercolour comic.

This shall be my master post where I keep track of what I’ve done and how far I’ve got to go because I am notoriously bad at keeping track of these things. I even forgot to post this back in January.

Review: Constantine: The Hellblazer #2

Story:

“Somebody is killing the only friends John has: the ghosts that haunt him! How can you kill what’s already dead? John is going to find out and make this adversary pay!”
Read more about this issue on Goodreads.

Constantine: The Hellblazer #2

Review:

I love it when magic and the occult are on the edge of society as feelings and actions you can’t explain and don’t want to delve too deeply into because you’re scared of what you might find. And I love it when you have that character who understands and jumps in anyway. Walks among the monsters. It’s all so creepy and I love it.

This issue we get some of the rules explained and they seem like pretty obvious stuff but you can’t take anything for granted when it comes to fantasy universes. So ghosts are echoes of the people who died and so they themselves as echoes can’t die. And this gets explained in a very entertaining way as the ghosts flee as a way of showing how much they trust Constantine (if they’re haunting him I guess he’s the one that got them killed or who they blame for it at least).

So he decides to force the issue and travels around the city collecting objects of power and walking through haunted places picking up a trail of ghosts as he goes. It’s a series of pages with very minimal dialogue. His narration tells the story of the people who died in these places and it’s genuinely creepy. The house at the beginning that he calls a thin place gives me shivers.

Gary who seems to be the main ghost that haunts him continually tells him that he should stop and it’s a bad idea. But Constantine is so confident by the end of his power and ghost collecting that you’re confident with him. The heroes always win and he won pretty effortlessly last issue. But there’s still that little bit of unease because the ghosts are scared of something. It makes what happens all the more powerful. And even if ghosts aren’t the actual person who died (as he insists) and only echoes they’ve still been with him for years.

The cover is again a symbol of what you’re getting inside which is always my favourite way they do covers. I never like art pulled straight from the panels. I always like it a little bit more symbolic.

This is such a good issue that I might buy it digitally so I can read it again and again without damaging my physical copy. I love how the magic works and the thin places and the horror of everything. The creepy characters he meets and his narration. It all works for me. I can’t think of a criticism. It sparks my imagination and that’s the best praise I can give it. I want to tell stories this good.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Previous: Constantine: The Hellblazer #1                                                     Next: Constantine: The Hellblazer #3

Review: Constantine: The Hellblazer #1

Story:

“The dark adventures of DC’s foremost occult detective continue in an all-new series as he investigates the cruelest case he’s ever come across—his own dark history!”

Read more about it on Goodreads.

Constantine: The Hellblazer #1

Review:

This is the first Constantine story I’ve ever read. The only things I know about the character are from that awful movie they made a few years ago and his appearance in The Sandman. I never got around to watching the TV show but I might have if they hadn’t decided to be bi-phobic and make the character straight.

So I know next to nothing about the character or the DC universe in general. I’ve only just started to read super hero comics other than Marvel because of their continued commitment to lie about diversifying their range and then remaining the same. At the moment DC is doing a lot better than Marvel but they can still do better.

I think this is quite a good jumping on point for new readers. I’ve read a few fist issues that had no business being called first issues but this isn’t that. I might not know entirely what’s going on but I don’t feel like I’m reading half a story. This feels like a beginning of something. And it’s a good beginning.

He appears covered in blood in a shop and has to use his magic to get a woman to not call the police and instead clothe him. Then he starts talking to a ghost and in the next few pages more appear and he tells them all to “sod off”. And I’m hooked. I want to know more about this character and this series is about exploring his dark past. I don’t know if I’ll read other runs between issues or just let the series tell the story with no research on my part. Probably the latter.

I really like the art and it suits the story very well. It’s the same as the cover which is Constantine stood alone in a dark alley somewhere. There are a few details that I didn’t notice at first and I enjoy art that does that.

There’s a lot of moral ambiguity in this comic and he even has the ghost calling him on it. He’s not a nice person but he is likable.

He’s also bisexual which is the one thing I did know about the character and the reason I decided to try the book. I want to read more genre stories with queer heroes.

His bisexuality gets explored here. Thankfully it’s not just implied. I hate it when they do that, as if that’s good enough. In one scene he flirts with a man and then goes to have sex with a woman. She’s some sort of demon called Blythe that needs his help. I love the page showing the nine levels of Inferno and the conversation they have as they descend to the bottom level.

There’s so much I love about this comic. He also has a ghostly entourage that only shows up when something’s about to go terribly wrong and it turns out it’s not Blythe that’s the trouble. His narration is entertaining and the last line is a good cliffhanger. I will definitely be reading the next issue.

And I now have a another favourite comic book character. I don’t think he’s really a super hero despite being part of the DC universe. He mentions super heroes but says he works in the shadows. Great first issue and I recommend it to anyone who likes dark fantasy.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Next Constantine: The Hellblazer #2

Review: Angela: Queen of Hel #1

Story:

“Stolen from ASGARD, exiled from HEVEN, and robbed of SERA, her greatest companion – ANGELA plunges into the depths of blackest HEL to save her friend…and once there, the lost princess of Asgard will carve out a realm of her very own. All hail ANGELA, THE NEW QUEEN OF HEL!”
Read more about it on Goodreads.

Angela: Queen of Hel #1

Review:

This starts at the end and then jumps around a bit. I’m not usually fond of this type of story telling but it works here. Probably because the title of the book is Angela: Queen of Hel so it’s not much of a spoiler when you open the first page and she’s sat on the throne. We know the destination it’s going to be the journey that’s interesting. That said there might just be a bit too much jumping around and you have to pay attention to if you’re in the just the flashback or the flashback of the flashback.

If you’re a new reader to Angela then all you need to know is Angela and Sera love each other. There’s a lot more back story but you don’t need to know about it for this issue. If you do want to know more then I suggest reading Angela: Asguard’s Assassin and skipping all the Original Sin stuff. And I recommend 1602: Witch Hunter Angela because it was one of the few spin offs of Secret Wars that was any good.

I like how in all her comic titles they name her profession. So far she’s been an assassin, a witch hunter and now the Queen of Hel. I look forward to what career she pursues next. It’ll be hard to top queen. Maybe she can be a goddess.

Out of the two main characters I think I like Sera better and I love her narration of this issue. She’s such a fun character and I think if she wasn’t there Angela wouldn’t be as likable. But she’s so much more than comic relief and she can hold her own in a fight. She’s got power and the cover shows this perfectly.

She sat on the arm of the throne with her hands glowing red while Angela lounges beside her. They both give off this formidable vibe. Angela doesn’t even need to be sat upright to be imposing or powerful. I love this cover. I want this cover as a poster.

The only criticism I have is that as the story jumps back and forth so does the art and it’s a bit jarring. Especially as the flash back art is so much more stunning than the art for the present which looks like standard super hero art and I’m not very fond of it. It doesn’t match the cover either where as the flash back art does.

If you liked the previous Angela series or you like all the Asguardian stuff you’ll like this. And even if you don’t like the story jumping backwards and forwards in this issue it still promises a good story to come.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Next Angela: Queen of Hel #2

Supernatural: Shadow

Spoilers for the episode

Story:

Sam runs into a friend who he doesn’t know is evil while investigating some suspicious murders that turn out to be connected to the demon who killed their mother.

Recap:

A woman walks down the street at night as the music she’s listening to stops and a creepy wind starts talking to her. She walks faster and a shadow follows her. She runs and gets inside her apartment and activates her security system. She thinks she’s safe but the shadow has followed her inside and it kills her shadow.
A week later and the Winchesters have turned up. Dean doesn’t like the costumes they’re wearing and uses this to mock Sam who was in a play.
They’re pretending to be with the alarm company and talk to the land lady. The woman was in pieces on the floor and the landlady thinks a wild animal did it. She leaves them to it.
They get out the emf and they’ve found out her heart was missing. Dean looks at the blood stain on the floor and decides to play connect the dots with masking tape. Neither of them have ever seen that symbol before. So basically Dean’s made his own symbol and they are taking that as a clue. Maybe they should play with blood at other crime scenes.
At a bar Dean flirts with the bartender to get information and her phone number. Sam can’t find any information on the symbol. They’ve found another victim but no other connection.
Sam spots Meg across the bar and goes over. He asks how California went but she’s living here now. Dean makes it awkward and Meg yells at him for how he treats Sam. Dean goes to get a drink. Sam defends Dean by saying he means well and then he gets her phone number.
Outside Sam thinks it’s weird that he’s seen her again at a place where a case is happening. Dean thinks he just likes her and is reading into it. Dean wants to know if he’s keeping Sam against his will. Sam asks him to check if there’s a Meg Master.
Sam’s lurks outside Meg’s apartment when Dean calls to say she’s real. He found what the symbol is. It’s for a demon of darkness. They have to be summoned so some one is controlling them and they tend to kill the person who does. They’re really old so it takes some one who really knows what they’re doing. Dean annoys Sam about Meg until he hangs up on him.
Sam then watches Meg changing and a woman on the street judges him. At this point Sam has no evidence she’s evil so he’s just being a stalker. And he’s meant to be the nice brother who respects women.
Meg leaves and Sam follows her into an abandoned building. He get stuck and decides to climb the lift shaft to the top.
He watches Meg talking into her cup of blood that allows her to communicate with someone. She tells someone not to come because the brothers are there then blows out the candles. Does she leave this stuff out in the open?
Sam waits until she leaves and climbs into the room. The symbol from the crime scene is drawn in blood on the table.
Back at the room and they’ve both got news. Sam tells his and then Dean says both the victims are from Lawrence Kansas where they used to live. They’re going to stake out the warehouse but Dean doesn’t think they should do it alone so he calls their Dad.
Sam brings all their weapons and supplies into the room because he doesn’t know what to expect.
They both pretend not to be nervous. Sam’s being optimistic and thinking about what happens if they find the demon. He’d go back to school and be a normal person. He asks what Dean will do. He says it won’t ever be over. Dean drags Sam everywhere because he wants them to be a family again. Sam says they are a family but things won’t be like they were before and he doesn’t want them to be. He won’t live this life for ever. That shows what he knows. He’s got ten more years of this.
They go back to the warehouse and climb the lift and find Meg chanting. How did they get up there without making any noise. When Sam climbed it earlier he made quite a bit of noise and now there’s two of them.
They sneak around the back without her stopping but she knows they’re there and tells them to come out. The shadow monster’s around and as she reveals she was waiting for them it attacks.
They get tied up and Sam states the obvious that the whole thing was a trap. Dean wants to know why she hasn’t killed them. The trap is for their Dad because they are just a liability. Dean has a lot of confidence in their Dad and says he wouldn’t walk into a trap. Or his low self esteem is kicking in and he doesn’t think his Dad will save him.
Meg acknowledges that he’s good but they are his weakness and she knows he’s in town. The Daeva aren’t actually shadows they’re invisible and it’s only the shadows you can see. That makes them a bit less interesting.
She tells Sam she liked him watching her change. Then she takes Dean’s knife away and goes back to Sam.
She accuses him of distracting her so Dean could cut his way free but he’s got his own knife. He knocks her away and destroys the alter. She gets pulled out the window and falls to her death. Dean tells him to find a non evil girlfriend.
They go back to their room and find their Dad. Dean gives him a hug but Sam doesn’t. Dean apologises for it being a trap. John got there in time to see the end. He’s got a plan to kill the demon not exorcise it or send it back to hell. Sam tells him not to worry about them but he says of course he does. He acknowledges the fight he had with Sam but doesn’t apologise for any of it. Then they hug.
The Daeva attacks and Meg’s alive watching from the street.
Sam lights a flare because they’re shadow demons. They get out but they’re pretty banged up. Sam says as soon as the flare goes out they’ll be back. Which doesn’t make any sense because it’s not a shadow and has a body.
Dean tells them their Dad can’t come with them but Sam won’t listen. He wants to be part of the fight. John says the fight is only just starting but they have to let him go. That was the shortest reunion ever.
He tells them to be careful and he drives away. If that’s what he’s like when he’s attached and emotional what’s he like when he’s not attached.
Meg sees them drive away and that’s it.

Thoughts:

This episode was quite good. I like that Sam’s immediately suspicious of Meg just showing up. He’s right they don’t have coincidence. But he’s not smart enough to think she’s competent enough to fool them.
I remembered it was a trap but I can’t remember my reaction the first time I watched it. There’s enough little twists in the episode and it goes beyond the first obvious twist so at least they’re putting some effort in. Dean and Sam playing Meg to get away but then it turns out she wanted them to get away anyway.
I’m not impressed with the Daeva. They were interesting as shadow creatures but being invisible takes away from that. I liked the idea of them having no physical form and just attacking your shadow. They might as well be hell hounds but I guess they haven’t introduced them yet so they can get away with it. I’m skeptical that a flare would scare them off. Meg said they had bodies they weren’t just shadows so how does light make them disappear. Also the beginning doesn’t make much sense now or why the blood was in that pattern.
Now I understand what John said in ‘Home’ and why he couldn’t show them he was around. They are a liability to him but they’d be less of a liability if he told them some information.
I like that they always call him sir as well. It goes back to what Sam said earlier in the season about them being raised as warriors. Their Dad is a leader first and father second.
I think Sam only wanted to go with him because he’s so focused on revenge. I guess that’ll be his arc this season to get over it.
I know Meg’s evil but Dean’s got to stop calling her sweetheart it’s really annoying. It’s patronizing and I don’t care that she’s evil. You don’t use the female part of her to insult her. It’s like having an evil character who’s black and using racial slurs against them. I don’t like how Meg is handled at all. She could be a much better villain if the writers could forget she’s female and just treat her as a character first.

Previous Supernatural: The Benders                                                         Next Supernatural: Hell House

Supernatural: The Benders

Spoilers for the episode

Story:

People have been disappearing and the Winchester investigate but Sam gets captured and Dean has to join forces with the police to find him.

Recap:

It’s nighttime and a boy is watching monster movies on TV. He then he looks out the window and watches a man get pulled under a car.
The next day the Winchesters show up dressed up as the state police. I wonder why they chose state police usually it’s the FBI and they’ve had to go through the hassle of getting costumes.
The boy heard a weird noise when the man got taken that sounded like a monster. His mother is skeptical because he was watching monster movies. He says he heard the monster leaving and it sounded like a whining growl.
At a bar they find out the local police haven’t ruled out foul play so Dean doesn’t think it’s their thing. But Sam says their Dad marked the area and the area has more missing persons than any where.
Sam goes outside after convincing Dean they should leave to get an early start. He hears a noise and checks under the cars only to be scared by a cat. But something’s watching his feet from under the car.
Dean leaves the bar and finds the journal on the car but no Sam. So he gets worried and starts calling for him until he spots the traffic cameras.
He goes to the police station pretending to still be state police and tells the deputy about Sam but says they’re cousins because Dean’s meant to be dead. She doesn’t get any hits on police reports but Dean asks if he can see the camera footage. She’s reluctant and wants to do it by the book which involves lots of paper work. He says Sam is his responsibility and he’s bringing him back.
Sam wakes up in cage and sees another man unconscious in the other cage.
The deputy pulls the pictures from the traffic camera. While they’re talking Dean hears a van that could have made the noise the kid heard.
Sam fails to kick his way out of the cage and the other guy wakes up. He thinks they are out in the country because it smells. Sam tells him he was looking for him and he tells Sam he’s doing a poor job of rescuing him. Sam asks what they look like assuming they’re some sort of monster but they’re just people.
Dean’s still with the deputy in her car. She ran his badge number and turns out it was stolen and the picture is of a black man. Dean’s fine with being arrested but after they find Sam. He begs her and she agrees reluctantly to wait until after they find Sam.
In the cage Sam breaks something and the door to the other man’s cage opens. The other guy runs off even though Sam tells him to get back in his cage because it was too easy and probably a trap. After the guy’s gone the door re-locks itself.
He tries to sneak his way out and he finds a knife then runs off into the woods. The men enjoy hunting him but they bring him down and kill him.
Dean and the deputy get coffee and he wants to know why she hasn’t arrested him. She knows what it’s like to feel responsible for someone. Her brother disappeared.
They pull over when Dean sees a turn off. She goes to investigate but won’t let Dean come along because he’s probably a felon so handcuffs him to her car. That’s the first smart thing she’s done since she found out he’s not an officer. She ruins it by going alone and not informing the station or asking for back up. I also don’t believe Dean would have let her handcuff him to the car. He’s pretty desperate to find Sam.
She approaches the house and a girl answers the door who’s a bit creepy. The girl’s mother is dead and her father’s not home. She gets the girl to look at a picture but gets whacked in the face with a shovel. It’s the father and he tells Missy to go tell her brothers he wants to see them.
Back at the road and Dean is trying to reach the car antenna to pick the cuffs as the brothers show up. He gets free as they take the deputy’s car.
The deputy wakes up in a cage and tells Sam she cuffed Dean to her car. Then in walks Dean who tells Sam he’s rusty if he got jumped by humans.
The deputy asks if he saw a black mustang in the cars these people have collected and Dean says yes. When they take someone they take the car. That’s a lot of evidence against themselves they’ve got gathered near their house. How have they managed to avoid the police this long?
Dean can’t figure out how to get them out so goes to look for a key. He goes into the house and finds a lot of trophy pictures. He says he understands demons but people are crazy.
He sneaks around the house and finds a man cutting meat (probably human) up.
Dean finds the key and a weapon. He also finds a jar full of teeth and bones hanging from the ceiling. Missy finds him and he’s says he’s not going to hurt her and she says I know before nailing him to the wall and calling for her dad.
The brothers come out of no where and they all start beating each other up and trashing the house (not that there’s anything nice to ruin).
Dean gets knocked out and wakes up tied to a chair. They want to hunt him and he’s disgusted with it. They interrogate him because they need to know if any one else knows about them. Dean is good with the insulting come backs but that makes the dad decide to shoot Sam and the deputy instead of hunting them.
The guy who is sent to kill them though is a moron because he opens the door to Sam’s cage to shoot him instead of doing it through the bars and Sam gets the upper hand.
The others leave Missy to watch Dean and go to find out what happened to the other brother. They lights won’t work because they’ve pulled the fuses but it’s a bit ineffective because it’s not that dark. Sam hides badly as they look for him.
The deputy opens a cupboard and they hear it. One of the brothers come over to investigate but this time he doesn’t open the door and shoots the cupboard. There’s nothing in there and she jumps him from behind. Meanwhile the dad is chasing Sam and the brother accidentally shoots his father in the confusion.
They put them in the cages except the dad who the deputy watches while Sam goes to find Dean. She wants to know why he did it and he says because it’s fun and laughs so she shoots him.
Outside she tells them she shot the dad when he tried to escape. They’ve locked the girl in the closet. I wish we could have seen that confrontation because she’s been quite entertaining.
The deputy calls for back up finally and tells them to get moving. Dean asks for a lift but she tells them to start walking. I don’t believe she’d let them go. It’s not like when they help people with a supernatural problem. She doesn’t know their secret and they’re criminals but she has shown quite poor judgment up to this point so who knows.
She thought the truth about what happened to her brother would make it easier but it doesn’t.
Dean tells Sam he’s never allowed to go missing again and he’s not looking for him if he does. Sam then teases him about being sidelined by a thirteen year old girl.

Thoughts:

I really liked this episode which is odd because it had no monster or anything supernatural. And I’m not usually keen on the whole humans are the real evil trope. It has to be done well to keep my attention. This reminded me a lot of the Torchwood episode ‘Countrycide’ but less disgusting and less forceful with it’s message.
This was more subtle in it’s creepiness. From the jar of teeth to the pictures and wind chimes made out of human bones.
I think I liked it so much because it doesn’t follow the formula that’s become a supernatural episode. It’s refreshing. There’s not a lot of traveling and asking different people I don’t care about questions.
Dean is a bit angsty but he does it better than Sam who always comes off whiny. For some reason I find it hard to sympathise with Sam. Maybe it’s because Sam seems to whine just to whine but with Dean it feels like character development. It’s moving the plot forward. He uses his angst to connect with the deputy and convince her to let him help. But I’m biased in favour of Dean so I might not be remembering previous Sam whining sessions accurately.
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Supernatural: Nightmare

Spoilers for the episode

Story:

Sam gets visions of a guy being murdered so they rush off to try and save him but don’t make it in time and can’t figure out what’s going on.

Thoughts:

A man comes home in his car and the garage closes by itself then the car doors lock and the engine starts. The man tries to get out of the car as it fills with fumes but he dies instead. Cut to somewhere else and Sam waking up from witnessing it in his nightmare.
He wakes Dean up and tells him they’ve got to go.
In the car Sam runs the license plate by pretending to be the police. They’ve got a couple of hours until they get there.
They pull up at the house. The guy’s dead and the police are bagging him up. A crowd has gathered to watch and the brothers ask a lady about the dead guy.
It seems very rude to gather outside your neighbours house when something bad has just happened. I remember when the police got called next door and we didn’t go out we just peeked through the curtains. But in TV and movies a crowd always gathers.
Sam feels guilty and wonders why he gets premonitions if he can’t stop things from happening. Dean thinks it was suicide but Sam says it was murder.
In the morning they go to the house dressed as priests. The brother doesn’t want to hear Dean’s spiel about religion but the wife is more receptive. Sam tells Dean to tone down the god stuff.
The son Max found his dad dead in the garage so Sam goes to talk to him. While Dean tries to get information about the house asking about strange noises and and other things but she says nothing like that happens.
We learn Max is trying to save up for school and he says he woke up when he heard the car running.
Upstairs Dean gets out the emf and now it’s got green lasers and blue lights so I guess he’s upgraded it.
Back at the motel and Dean’s cleaning his guns. Nothing bad happened in the house. He used an infra red scanner (I’m guessing that’s what the lights were).
Sam gets a bad headache and has another vision. The uncle comes home to find his window open so he shuts it and locks it. But it opens again. This time it won’t close so he sticks his head out (being the genius that he is) and it chops his head off.
They drive to the uncle’s house. Sam’s scared about the visions because he’s now having them while he’s awake. Dean says they’ll figure it out.
They see Roger (the uncle) on the street but he runs away from them thinking they’re trying to push god on him.
They go round the building and up the fire escape and hear him die. Dean tells Sam to start wiping down their fingerprints and then goes to look inside.
Sam saw a dark shape stalking Roger in his vision. They brainstorm that something has latched on to the family. Dean’s offended when Sam says both their families are cursed. I’d be offended too by the amount of time Sam spends bad mouthing his family and I’m not even that attached to mine.
They go see Max and he says his dad and uncle had grown apart. They used to live near each other. They ask about the other house and Max says they were totally normal in a really suspicious way. Because nobody is totally normal. There’s no such thing as normal.
They go find the old house and talk to a neighbour. The dad was a mean drunk and used to beat Max along with the uncle. The step mother ignored it. The mother died in a car accident.
Sam has another vision. Max gets angry at the step mom for not doing anything and puts a knife through her head.
Sam was connecting to max and he feels sympathetic and understanding. Sometimes his empathy goes too far. The guy is killing people.
Dean wants to kill max but Sam says they can’t.
The brother barge in just before Max kills her and they get him to come outside to talk but he sees Dean’s gun and freaks out. He knocks out the step mum and gets Dean’s gun. Sam tries to talk him down by telling him about the visions.
Dean takes the mum upstairs. Sam says they deserved to be punished for what they did to him growing up but Max says it was still happening.
He didn’t leave because they’d still be out there. It was about not being afraid any more. His dad hated him because his mum died in his nursery and burned to death on the ceiling.
Sam says it’s true because it happened to him as well. His powers happened 6-7 months ago. Sam says he’s got to let them go.
Max doesn’t want to be afraid any more. He locks Sam in a cupboard and goes upstairs. He knocks Dean across the room and pulls the gun.
Dean says he’s got to go through him and blood splatters on the wall as he shoots dean in the head.
It was Sam’s vision and the pain of Dean’s death allows him to unlock his own telekinetic powers and he gets out of the closet.
Sam bursts in and says he can help him. Killing people won’t fix anything. Max agrees and shoots himself.
Later after they’ve called the police the step mom tells them that Max attacked her with the gun and the brothers are family friends. She breaks down saying she’s lost everyone. Even though she did nothing to help I kind of feel sorry for her. A lot of women stay in abusive relationships for lots of different reasons and she’s a bit broken.
Sam feels guilty that he didn’t say the right thing to save max because of course he does. He’s got a huge ego.
Then he manages to say something nice about his family. Sam feels lucky that they had dad and Dean never thought he’d hear Sam say that.
Sam wants to know why it killed their mom, jess and Max’s mom. He thinks it’s about them. Dean says it’s not because the demon would have taken him if he wanted him. Dean’s lying to him because he thinks Sam taking too much of the responsibility.
Sam says there’s something else and Dean’s like what now. I’m starting to feel the same way. Sam admits to moving the cabinet with his mind to get out of the closet and tells him he can’t switch it on and off. He then worries about becoming like Max. Dean says he won’t because he’s got him. Then says they should go to Vegas and win.
This episode has way too much Sam moping and whining. I’m finding it harder and harder to sympathise with him. It’s really strange because I’m all for ditching your family if they’re bad for you but something about Sam rubs me the wrong way so I end up on the other side of the argument than I usually am.
Dean doesn’t have much to do except worry over Sam getting stressed but I do like that he sacrificed himself for the step mom. Even if Sam stops that future happening.
The best thing about this episode is it moves the plot of the season forward a bit. They now know what happened to their family happened to others and Sam’s got telekinetic powers to be angsty about.

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