This week had a decent load of TV. Big Bang Theory didn’t release an episode this week, but, in it’s place, Arrow came back from it’s mid season finale. Animation was extremely strong this week, as both DC Nation shows continue to gain steam, and the Clone Wars delivered one of the season’s bets episodes.
Arrow – Burned
Returning from it’s mid season break, Arrow also seems to have returned from the abyss. At least partially. Burned was essential for character development, and there was certainly a lot of that, especially for Oliver. The similarities to The Dark Knight Rises are striking, though not necessarily a bad thing, per se. The dialogue, is, for once, actually pretty good, and adds a lot to the development of both Oliver and Laurel. The action is also awesome, the little of it there is in the present day. But it’s the flash backs that make this episode. We’re finally seeing Oliver truly going down the path that will make him who he is now, and it’s extremely well done. If it weren’t for the fact that Firefly was such a weak character, this could have been one of the show’s best episodes.
Clone Wars – Eminence
Yes, it was all build up for what’s to come later in the arc. But really, when an episode is that good, who cares? Most build up episodes are slow paced, dialogue heavy affairs with simple plots. The plot of Eminence was fairly simple, but still strong. Maybe it’s because this episode came hot on the heels of Gascon and the fuck around gang, but it was an excellent episode. From the start, we have Mandalorians and Maul and Savage. And then, we get Black Sun. On Mustafar. On top of that, there’s a voyage to Nal Hutta which sees an awesome battle between the Sith/Mandalorians and a group of bounty hunters, who, surprisingly, made it out alive. And then there’s the trip to Jabba’s palace. The episode is fast paced and action heavy, and probably contains some of the season’s best action. There’s also an interesting who-will-betray-who-first plot going on between Maul and Pre Vizla. At times, it does feel a bit too fast paced, especially with the spice families, but I’m assuming that’s to ensure that we get more of the actual plot later in the arc, which, hopefully, will take up the rest of the season.
Young Justice – True Colors
True Colors sees an actual continuation of the Reach plot of Young Justice. While last week’s episode was a fun break from some of the heavy plot stuff, it’s good to see the plot refocused on the Reach. And, more specifically, their operations on Earth. Most of the episode follows Robin and his team – Blue Beetle, Impulse and Arsenal – infiltrating the joint Lexcorp/Reach farms. What they’re really doing there remains a mystery even tot he viewers. And well this is certainly an extremely interesting part of the plot, the real developments come in the form of two new characters. One is Deathstroke (YES!), who makes an attempt to kill Sportsmaster after Sportsmaster attacks Black Manta. It’s a brief appearance, but nonetheless pushes characters like Cheshire, Sportsmaster, Manta, and Deathstroke into new positions. The second addition to the cast is the Beetle from Mars, who saves Alpha team from Black Beetle, who’s obvious power is again displayed. The two Beetles are able to defeat him, after an awesome struggle. His revelation to Blue Beetle that there is a way to get rid of the Scarab is also intriguing. And then there’s Psimon, who is attempting to cure Aqualad, which will undoubtedly lead to the Light uncovering a few secrets. Surprisingly, we didn’t get to see any Superboy/Miss Martian stuff, which was hinted at last episode. Maybe next week.
Green Lantern the Animated Series – Prisoner of Sinestro
It was only a matter of time before Sinestro showed up. He’s a major character in the Green Lantern canon, and, frankly, I’m surprise it took them this long to add him to the cast. Granted, he isn’t a permanent member, and he probably won’t show up again for a few more episodes. But this episode was pretty great. Merging Sinestro and Neuroxys was masterful, especially since, at first, it appeared Sinestro had already become a yellow lantern. But Neuroxys’ mind control threw a wrench in the mix,and made the episode unpredictable and added suspense to it. Hal vs. Kilowag was hands down awesome, as was Hal vs. Razer. Sinestro’s actions at the end do hint at him eventually leaving the Green Lantern Core, which wouldn’t surprise me. However, Prisoner of Sinestro was something of a let down, as the only mention of the Anti Monitor were a few off hand remarks at the start of the episode. There is also a plot hole – how was the spider guild able to hold Neuroxys in the first place? It is fairly major, but doesn’t detract too much from the episode.
Keeping up with the New 52 is, quite frankly, pretty hard. So I have to pick and choose what series I read and which I decide against diving into. This week saw new issues of three of the series that I read, Batman, Batman and Robin, and Deathstroke. Both Batman and Batman and Robin remain extremely strong with Death of the Family story lines, while Deathstroke continues to build itself back up.
Batman # 16
Batman # 16 continues Death of the Family, which is easily the New 52’s highest point so far, and also one of the best Batman story lines so far. In #16, we see the Joker’s lunacy taken to new heights, as many of Batman’s major adversaries also take the stage, such as Penguin, Riddler, Two face, and Scarecrow. Furthermore, the four hostages Joker had who were dressed up as members of the Justice League was awesome. Joker also shows Batman the defeat of his “family” – Nightwing, Robin, Red Robin, and Batgirl. Scott Snyder’s understanding of both the Joker and batman has driven this story line, and issue 16 is where it truly culminates, as the Joker shows Batman two things: 1, that Batman is more human than he would like to admit, and two, that he can be defeated.
Batman and Robin #16
Batman and robin’s sixteenth issue also sees the continuation of Death of the Family. Continuing from the previous issue, #16 sees Damian Wayne fighting his father, and, at the same time, succumbing to the Joker’s poison. Damian’s pleading with his father is excellent, and shows how much Damian has changed since the beginning of the New 52. Obviously, he isn’t really fighting Batman, but the issues is still powerful nonetheless. Especially the final scene, where Damian admits that he’d rather die than fight his own father, at which point Joker terminates “Batman”. Another excellent chapter in the saga.
Deathstroke has finally returned in full force, after a few off issues. This two issue story, of Deathstroke killing the unkillable man, is a back to basics Deathstroke. Above all, he’s a master assassin, and that’s what this issue focuses around. His analysis of the Unkillable Man in the fifteenth issue allowed for him to formulate a plan. An ingenious plan, I might add. Making the unkillable man kill himself proves Deathstroke’s strategic mastermind, and his obvious talent as an assassin. The culminating scene, in which he sets the people on their dictator, is extremely powerful, and carries a strong message that power is truly in the hands of the people. Honestly, though, I feel that this could have been a three issue arc, allowing for the characters and overall story to be developed more. The two issues felt slightly rushed.
At long last, I have seen it. Django Unchained is bloody, violent, profane, and obscenely funny. It’s easily the bets movie I’ve seen in a while, probably even better than the Hobbit. Granted, the “n” word is used a little excessively, and that does annoy me. But other than that, I have no issues with the movie. The acting is top notch, espeically Leonardo DiCaprio’s Mr. Candie. The plot is also extremely interesting, and, though it may seem simple, it is actually a pretty complex movie about parts of America’s history that we like to forget. But what really makes this movie the extraordinary movie that it is is the characters. Christopher Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jamie Foxx perform excellently as Dr. King, Mr. Candie, and Django, respectively. Plus, each of them is written extremely well, and they are all well executed, well developed characters. And then there’s the action. It’s extremely bloody, but extremely well done, and the action scenes are a lot of fun.
Coheed and Cambria – Sentry the Defiant
It sure took them long enough to release the studio version of Sentry the Defiant. There have been live videos and a few acoustic versions on YouTube – but none of them even begin to compete with the studio version. Sentry the Defiant is the fifth and final of the Key Entity Extractions, and is also the best. Which is hard to believe, considering that Vic the Butcher was my favorite Coheed song until this came out. And I was not at all disappointed. The music is amazing, and Claudio Sanchez’s writing is stellar. Sentry does contribute to the overall story of the Afterman, but the lyrics are also applicable to real life. If the rest of Descension is anywhere near as good as this song, it will easily be their best album to date.
Lego Lord of the Rings
Currently, I have completed about 70% of Lego Batman 2. Finding this acceptable, I decided to dive into Lego Lord of the Rings. Lego Lord of the Rings is easily the bets Lord of the Rings game to date, but not the best Lego game to date. The problem is, it isn’t Lego enough. The environments are beautifully done, and almost everything about the game is awesome But the world just doesn’t feel Lego enough. The game as a whole doesn’t feel Lego enough. The simple, yet fun, gameplay is back, the puzzles are back, the collectibles are back, and the distinct brand of Lego humor is back. And these all make the game great. But it’s too much Lord of the Rings and not enough Lego. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is something of a let down, considering it’s a Lego game. On the whole though, it’s an excellent game. The world is bigger than Lego Batman’s, and there’s a lot more too. The Lego recreation of the movies is also a great deal of fun. On the whole, Lego Lord of the Rings is an extraordinary game, though more Lego and less Lord of the Rings would have been nice.