What To Watch While Quarantined

So right now, we are all in a situation. A situation that most of us have never seen before.

We are in the middle of a nearly world-wide pandemic and a majority of the population is under quarantine.

While under quarantine we tend to do a lot of things to keep us from going stir crazy. Most of us are locked in with our families that no matter how much we love them we still need a distraction. For some of us, it’s a chance to start that book we always wanted to write. Some of us have that project around the house that you have been holding off on like cleaning the attic, painting a certain room or organizing their home office.

However, the one thing that’s easily accessible, a fund favorite and very popular is finding a new show to stream. What better way to pass the time than sitting on the couch, pressing some buttons and finding nerd things on TV to help you leave the pandemic world for a little while. Well, here at ObsidianNomad we have the perfect suggestions for our fellow nerds. Mind you our list is not all there is to watch out there but just the ones we recommend.

The Netflix & Chill Plan

Let’s start with one of the most popular streaming choices: Netflix. The one thing I like that Netflix has to stream is Power Rangers. From Mighty Morphin to Beast they have just about all of it for your morphing fix. The CW Arrow verse is also represented on Netflix which would come in handy if you missed anything leading up to this season’s big crisis event. Arrow, Flash, Supergirl and Black Lightning are all here, however, Batwoman probably won’t appear until after the first season is finished and hopefully, we will be pandemic free by then. For original shows, Netflix still runs all 3 seasons of the ever-popular Stranger Things so you can catch up before season 4 airs later this year.

Straight from comic books, there’s the Netflix originals Umbrella Academy, Locke & Key, and newcomer I Am Not Okay With This. Marvel is still represented with the original series Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and the Defenders along with movies Avengers: Infinity War and Ant Man and the Wasp but catch them now because they might not be there much longer – we’ll get to that later. You can use a whole day to binge the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The real prize here is if you are old school like me Netflix is now showing the original live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from 1990 which is hands down the best version of the book ever.

Home With Hulu

Over on Hulu, there are a few nerd things for you to check out. All 4 seasons of AMC’s Preacher can now be seen which is a good watch. Also, catch while you can Marvels two sadly canceled show’s Cloak and Dagger which originally aired on Freeform and the Hulu original Marvel’s Runaways which I suspect are canceled for a reason we will get to later in this article. Anime fans can catch the wildly popular My Hero Academia which comes in two versions: dubbed or subtitled. If you’re really into Anime, then you will be happy to know that there is an Anime Favorites section that has everything from One-Punch-Man to Cowboy Bebop to Death Note to Yu-Gi-Oh.

DC Universe Streaming Survival Kit

On the DC Universe streaming channel there is something for every nerd’s needs but like I mentioned our list is stuff we recommend. DC Universe started some original shows from some of your favorite comic books like Doom Patrol, Titans, and Swamp Thing but my favorite hands down are the Harley Quinn cartoon series. There are some DC themed live-action and animated movies to watch with the gems here being the 1978 classic Superman The Movie and the 1993 animated Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.

If you like to re-watch some of the animated tv shows, then not only do they have the Superfriends from the 70’s and 80’s the Justice League series as well as Justice League Unlimited. How could they not have Batman the Animated Series and Superman the Animated Series? If you’re feeling nostalgia for old live-action series in the DC family then this streaming channel has the Saturday morning Shazam show from the 70’s, the prime time Wonder Woman from the 70’s with leading lady Linda Carter and all six seasons of the Adventures of Superman starring George Reeves.

Downtime with Disney+

Now let’s move to the big one: Disney +. Disney+ has two distinct universes that are any nerds wet dream. The Marvel Universe and the Star Wars Universe. Now the Star Wars Universe is represented in full force on Disney+ with every movie from the franchise except for Solo which is currently on Netflix and the last Star Wars installment The Rise of Skywalker which was very recently in theatres.

Also, what is not present and surely missed by true Star Wars fans is the Star Wars Holiday Special that aired on CBS in 1978. Never fear, because Disney+ made amends by giving us The Mandalorian the original series that some fans claim gives us the best of the Star Wars universe. Not to start an argument but my vote for the best Star Wars movie worth watching again is Rogue One.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is also represented well on Disney+. You can just about watch all the MCU movies in order ending with Avengers Endgame however you would be missing Infinity War and Ant Man & The Wasp which for now is on Netflix but I suspect that they will follow the way of Black Panther and as soon as that contract is up then they will come home to Disney+.

The Spiderman movies starring Tom Holland are also absent, but he is present in the crossover movies here. But if you really want to Marvel nerd binge on Disney+ then you have to go to the cartoons. You can watch the entire 90’s X-Men cartoon from the 90’s. You can binge Spiderman and his Amazing Friends. You can binge the 90’s Spiderman cartoon.

Of course, we didn’t hit every streaming channel and every show on the ones we did cover. Amazon Prime has The Boys based on a comic book and CBS All Access has Star Trek: Picard that come highly recommended. But while you are in self-quarantine streaming channels, we at ObsidianNomad want you to stay safe and stay healthy. Don’t spend all the time streaming, cleaning or doing projects. Hug your loved ones.

KennyWalker Jr

Black History in Comics – All-Negro Comics

Remember the name Steamboat. I want you to remember that name because it is the name of a character that is hard to find information on. This is a character so foul that the comic powers that be are trying to erase the memory of this character. Steamboat was an Afro-American character created in the Fawcett Captain Marvel books that were so offensive that his very existence was protested during a time of Jim Crowe and segregation by integrated groups.

The character appeared as Billy Batson and Captain Marvel’s valet from 1942 to 1945 and was created by C.C. Beck in an attempt to appeal to Black readers. This was a miserable fail and the protest forced the comic to discontinue the character never to be seen again. The point to this story is for a long time in comics minority characters had a hard time being represented in comics because minorities were not writing them.

In the 60’s and 70’s you still had the same problem. Even Black and Latino superheroes were first introduced on the cover of comics they first appeared in as villains. Once you bought the book you would read that they were actually this misunderstood hero. However, the perception is that they are the villain. Since you didn’t have the proper representation on the creative end most minority characters were seen as stereotypes.

In 1947, two years after Steamboat was banished into comic book oblivion, there was Afro-American representation in the comic book world. In 1947 All-Negro Comics hit the stands. A book that was written and drawn solely by African Americans. All-Negro Comics was the brainchild of Orrin Cromwell Evans.

Evans was a journalist who was a strong supporter of racial equality and thought that he could reach a broader audience with a comic book. All-Negro Comics was unlike any other book in the 1940’s, because, it projected Afro- Americans in a more positive believable role. Most comic books of that time were written by Whites and showed Afro- Americans in a negative and stereotypical light.

All-Negro Comics was a variety of different titles which included:

*Ace Harlem, a private detective feature drawn by John Terrell

*The Little Dew Dillies, a children’s feature starring cherub-like creatures only babies can see and talk to.

*Ezekiel’s Manhunt, a two -page boy’s adventure text story.

*Lion Man and Bubba, starring a college-educated African American sent by the United Nations on a mission to a uranium deposit on Africa’s Gold Coast.

*Hep Chicks on Parade, spot-illustration gags with highly stylized women wearing exaggerated fashions, signed “Len”.

*Lil’ Eggie, about a henpecked husband Egbert and his wife.

*Sugarfoot, a humor feature, drawn by Cravat, starring traveling musicians Sugarfoot and Snake Oil, who try to woo a farmer’s daughter.

*Remember – Crime Doesn’t Pay, Kids!”, a one-page public service announcement and next issue promo. 

Unfortunately, there would not be another issue. There were plans to put another issue out in 1948 but Evans had problems getting the newsprint needed. The speculation is that White competition purposely made it hard for Evans to get his second issue out. So, the first comic written and drawn by Afro-Americans only had one issue.

One issue with no characters resembling Steamboat.

However, the importance of this is that now it was seen that this could be done. You could make minority characters star as the hero of a comic book and not let them be stereotypes of that culture. No, Steamboat was not the last character of his type. Yes, there was a continued effort to make stereotypical characters throughout the 40’s and 50’s but in the 60’s you started to get characters that weren’t stereotypes.

Then you got Black Panther and Luke Cage from Marvel. You got Tyroc, John Stewart Green Lantern and Black Lightning from DC. Then you got the legendary Milestone line written about minority characters from minorities themselves with characters like Static.

But first, you had All-Negro Comics to pave the way.

Kenny Walker Jr

Birds of Prey is DC’s Answer to Marvel’s Deadpool

For the third time in a row in the past year, I walked into a DC/Warner Bros. movie with the wrong attitude. I walked in thinking this movie was going to suck. Maybe that’s how I should walk into all of them in the future because this movie far from sucked.

Two things about this review: 1 there are spoilers and 2 there is a hyena.

As a fan of superhero movies, Birds of Prey was DC’s version of a female Deadpool. Yes, it appears that the top execs at Warner Bros. finally realized that their superhero movie making playbook doesn’t work and that they should check out what the competition is doing and maybe cop their style. Harley narrating the story, the fun fight scenes, dark one-liners and the cartoony captions throughout the movie gave the movie that same quirky feel as the Marvel hit.

The full title of the movie is Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn. That’s a mouthful. In a nutshell, though, it tells you the premise of the movie. Harley breaks it off with the Jokers or he kicks her out however you want to interpret the situation. Now with the Joker being the craziest mofo in the DC Universe everyone is afraid of him. Because of this, Harley, Joker’s girlfriend, also has the run of Gotham. Disrespecting Harley is like disrespecting Joker and nobody wants that smoke.

The thing is when Gotham finds out that Harley is no longer Joker’s main squeeze things get real for Harley. Now everyone that has a problem with Harley can take it up with her and not have to go through Joker. Suddenly, it became open season on Harley. Now while everyone’s trying to make a name for themselves by killing Harley, Harley is trying to make a name for herself letting the world know that she does not have to have the Joker to be a villain not to mess with. She blows up factories, killed random people and even brought a Hyena to prove her independence.

Margot Robbie once again pulls off the perfect Harley Quinn. The crazy Joker’s girlfriend who did not first appear in comics but was first seen in 90’s TV’s Batman Animated Series then introduced into comic book continuity to rise into the DC sensation she is today. Margot Robbie’s live-action Harley Quinn first appears in 2016’s Suicide Squad and has been a standout character sense. But the results were perfect because there no one else that could have brought this character to life. With Birds of Prey, we get a full backstory on what makes Harley Quinn tick.

And just like when she was first introduced in the Batman Animated Series, she had a pet hyena. You really can’t beat that. This did not only serve as a coming to age movie for Harley Quinn, but Birds of Prey also introduced to the screen some very important characters to this DC Universe. The Huntress was the classic story of an anti-hero whose family was executed by the mob and she needs to get her revenge. Detective Renee Montoya was a woman cop working in a man’s police station not getting the respect she deserved. She had to prove herself.

Black Canary was a legacy hero. Her mom was a hero before she died and Black Canary was a good person trying to survive without following in her mom’s footsteps. To round up the gang was Cassandra Cain, the little pickpocket that everyone in Gotham was after. The thing I liked about these characters is that except for Cassandra Cain all the characters stayed close to DC book continuity. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosie Perez, and Jurnee Smollett Bell were excellent in their portrayal of the characters from the book.

Every comic book movie follows the same formula that a good villain makes a good movie. Ewan McGregor as Black Mask filled that tall order. The right amount of gangster and crazy made Black Mask an unpredictable villain which is what is needed for an unpredictable lead such as Harley Quinn. As a villain, Black Mask didn’t come alone. Chris Messina played the slice and dice villain Victor Zsasz and the main right-hand man to Black Mask. At some point in this movie, they seem to allude to the two stars having more than just a working relationship.

Had this been explored it may have added a new dynamic to the movie. In Birds of Prey, DC/Warner Bros. kept the characters close to the source material. Mostly all the characters had close ties to their comic book selves. In previous movies, this did not seem to be the concern. That narrative seems to have changed for the better. Making Black Canary a legacy hero and Huntress a long thought dead mobsters’ daughter out for revenge where great nods to the source material.

Since this was not the original Birds of Prey like in the comics that started with Barbara Gordon/Oracle and Black Canary I must admit I walk in nervous about this getting messed up. I wanted Oracle because in my mind you can’t have a Birds of Prey team without her. I was proven wrong. A big relief was not putting the Jared Leto Joker in this movie. They told a story with the Joker in it without using the actual character. Let’s face it, Jared Leto’s Joker was probably the worst part of Suicide Squad but to be honest if this article was not about that movie, we could definitely find other worst things.

Did I mention there was a hyena just like in the DC Injustice video game? How cool is that? What I didn’t like was the handling of the Cassandra Cain character. In the comics she was an assassin who’s fighting prowess was only second to Lady Shiva and Batman. Cassandra Cain was also mute and had to learn how to communicate through speech because her main form of communication was to read the body language of others. This was slightly disappointing not to be able to watch her fight and be reduced to the whiny kid in need of being rescued.

Another big miss was not using the Poison Ivy character. In comics and in the DC Universe cartoon series the two are the best of friends. This is a miss that should be corrected in the next Harley Quinn movie that comes out. Come on, you know there’s got to be another. When I first heard of this movie coming, I was not looking forward to it. I honestly thought it was going to be trash. I never thought I would be writing this review in this way but so far in 2020 Birds of Prey is the movie to see. Don’t read the bad reviews, do what I did and make up your own mind about this movie. But please go see it.

While you’re at it you can see how they put a pet hyena in the movie and made it work. Never seen anything like that.

Kenny Walker Jr

The 10 Most Influential Black Comic Book Superheroes

To kick off Black history month, we thought we would give a listing of who we think are the 10 most influential comic book superheroes.

We went through a lot of heroes and could not put everyone on the list as we wanted because we wanted to keep it down to 10. Every hero is equally important and believe me if I could have put 20 or 30 on this list I would have but if I mention every Black hero I know that would not make these 10 stand out. So here it is.

Black Panther – Marvel

Besides having a hit Oscar-nominated movie, Black Panther makes this list for being the first mainstream hero of African descent. Debuting in Fantastic Four #52 in 1966, Black Panther even pre-dates the political Black Panther Party. Black Panther was the first hero to identify with Black people in America. This is the same renewed effect when the character was made into a movie in 2018. Black Panther has stayed relevant enough to inspire more than one generation.

Storm – Marvel

The African goddess made her first appearance in Giant-Size X-Men in 1975. She was the first major Black female character in the mainstream comics. She was also the first Black X -Man. Storm has been on many X-Men teams and often leading them. Once when she temporarily lost her powers, she had to duel Cyclops for leadership and at the time her powers had been taken away from her. Storm proved she could lead the team by taking on the fully powered Cyclops and defeating him with no powers of her own.

Blade – Marvel

Blade debut in The Tomb of Dracula in 1873. Blade is a mix of vampire and regular humans who hunts vampires. Blade was the first Black character that put Black people in the horror situation. Blade was brought to life by Wesley Snipes in the Blade movies starting in 1998.

Black Lighting – DC

Black Lightning first appeared in his own self titled book in 1977. What makes him important is he was introduced as not being a criminal but a teacher. In the Bronze Age of comics, a lot of characters of color were introduced as characters who could possibly be a villain with various criminal pasts. Black Lightning was introduced as an educator.

However, his early depictions had him wearing an afro wig and speaking “Harlem jive” to conceal the fact that he was educated so people would not link him to his secret identity as Jefferson Pierce. The character was supposed to be used in the 1970’s Super Friends cartoon but due to disagreement with the creator, Tony Isabella, Hannah Barbara made a character based on Black Lightning named Black Vulcan. Black Lightning has also managed to capture a new generation with the CW show that deals with issues facing Black people in America today.

Falcon – Marvel

Introduced in Captain America #117 in 1969, the Falcon is the first Afro American superhero in mainstream comics. He would become Captain Americas partner and at a time shared the titles of the book with him. Falcon would grow out of Captain America’s shadow into his own books, guest appearances in other books, a member of the Avengers and even taking on the mantle of Captain America when he had to retire. Today Falcon, being played by Aaron Mackie, is a main character in the Avengers movies.

Luke Cage Marvel

Luke Cage has always been a hero for the people. Debuting in Luke Cage, Hero for Hire in 1972, Luke Cage was the first Afro American superhero to be featured as the protagonist and title character of a comic book. He was created at the height of Blaxploitation movies and was jailed for a crime he didn’t commit. Luke Cage has gone on to work with the Defenders, filling in for the Thing on the Fantastic Four and lead the Avengers. Brought to live action on Netflix, Luke Cage displayed true Black culture and history in Harlem, NY.

Cyborg – DC

Debuting in DC Comics Presents in 1980, Cyborg makes this list because he is a technologic hero that can be well identified and related to by Black youth in America. This is a hero that has the computer world at his feet because he can get into any system. Cyborg was brought to life by Ray Fisher in the Justice League movie.

Static – Milestone/DC

Static is the young hero from the Milestone universe that the fans are just waiting to see turn into live action. Created in the Milestone universe in 1993, static was the main character of his own cartoon. Because of his age, Static is a character that is relatable to youths of color in America.

Miles Morales – Marvel

When Peter Parker Spiderman died in Marvel’s Ultimate Universe, Miles Morales took over the mantle as Spider Man. Miles Morales debuted in Ultimate Spiderman #64 in 2011 and has remained a popular version of Spiderman. Miles was later integrated into the mainstream 616 Marvel universe giving fans a teenage Spiderman once again. The character’s popularity is so much so that he was used to star in Marvels latest animated movie Into the Spiderverse

Spawn Image

Spawn was created by Todd McFarlane and debuted in 1992. The cursed hero is a powerful lead into the world of the supernatural. His popularity has garnered the character a movie in the late 90s and talks of a second Spawn movie are rumored.

Let us know what you think of our list and what characters would you add or take off to make your own list.

Kenny Walker Jr

The Justice Society of America: The History, The Now & The Legacy

I’ve always been a fan of the Justice Society of America. As a comic book nerd, one of my fantasies is traveling back in time to the ’40s and getting one of those original books that stared the team. The original characters of what is now the DC Universe: Hawkman, Green Lantern, The Atom, Sandman and the rest of the heroes fighting justice in their book way before there was even thought of a Justice League or Avengers. The Justice Society of America was the first superhero team in comics.

Not the Justice League. Not the Avengers. Not the Defenders. Not the Invaders.

The Justice Society of America first appeared in All-Star Comics #3 in 1941 created by Sheldon Mayer and Gardner Fox. When superhero comics saw a decline in readership at the end of the ’40s the JSA made its last appearance in 1951. After that, it was another 10 years in 1961 when you heard of the JSA again as Flash Jay Garrick appeared in and the issue of the Silver Age Flash Barry Allen comic titled “The Flash of Two Worlds”. In this book, it was explained that the JSA resided on Earth 2 and the JLA resided on Earth 1. Soon after the senior JSA made annual appearances in the JLA comic once a year in a “crisis” event.

When I started reading comics in the ’70s, I always loved the annual crossovers between the Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America. In the ’80s, I loved reading All-Star Squadron which told the WWII stories of some of the JSA members with the Squadron. As a kid, I learned some history from the books because the writers injected some actual WWII history in the stories. The JSA has been absent from the DC Universe as of late but that was all changed thanks to the events in the miniseries Doomsday Clock.

Once again, the JSA is back. This is not the first time the aged super team has been gone only to return. Surprisingly, the thing that makes the JSA legendary is the same thing that keeps them out of comics. See, the JSA was originated in the ’40s and is closely related to stories during World War II which makes for a good story but puts a time stamp on the team. World War II was almost 80 years ago and if these heroes fought crime and the war back then that would make them over 100 years old. No one wants to see a centennial in tights trying to fight crime.

To get around this problem, DC comics has tried many tactics. The speed force has been the reason to keep Jay Garrick Flash relatively young and active. The energies of the power ring have been the excuse for Alan Scott Green Lantern. At one point it was even retconned that during a mission in the ’40s the heroes were swept with a magical wave that kept them a little younger and more vigorous than most people. But as time moves on it will be harder to keep these heroes of WWII in the comics.

Another tactic used to fix this problem has been to bring in legacy heroes. Sons, daughters and other proteges have been introduced to carry the torch for the originals. This was done in the form of creating Infinity Inc who’s first appearance was in All-Star Squadron in 1983 before eventually getting their own title in 1984. When the legacy heroes are done right it’s a great thing. Believe me, there have been some misses. Hector Hall, the son of Hawkman and Hawkwoman, used Nth metal to become the Silver Scarab. It was a lame hero with lame powers and really not a good character.

Star Girl is probably the most popular among comic nerds because she was well written with a great backstory and cool powers. DC Universe streaming is coming out with a TV show about her that should start in 2020. When DC Comics started the New 52 storylines, the JSA as we knew it was nowhere around. Instead, there was a place called Earth 2 where a new younger version of the JSA would appear. On Earth 2, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were killed defeating Darkseid and new heroes arrived to help defend Earth. I personally did not like this group at all.

The concept made me long for the JSA that I was used to reading about. Some of the modern takes on the classics just weren’t connecting. That idea didn’t stick and thankfully was abandoned. Now it seems that the classic heroes are back with the legacy heroes along with them. And I’m in full geek mode because after Doomsday Clock their first DC story is with the Justice League. Here’s to hoping this brings back the yearly JSA/JLA team-ups because I would love to look forward to that every year. If you know nothing about the Justice Society of America, then do yourself a favor: GO READ SOME.

Go to your local comic guy – everybody has a comic guy – and get your hands on some JLA/JSA team-ups. Read some All-Star Squadron, Infinity Inc. and all the different versions of the JSA through the years. Don’t bother with the Earth 2 books though, in my opinion, you will be a victim of disappointment. If you are older, like me, you can imagine yourself as that older hero. If you are younger, then you can see yourself as that legacy hero. If you read the stories about WWII, then you can be like I was when I was a kid and imagine yourself back in another time.

Long live the Justice Society of America,

Kenny Walker Jr

The Fantastic Four – Comic Books First Family

Is the world ready for another Fantastic Four movie?

Here’s how it goes. Back in the 80’s, Marvel was hard up for cash so somebody had the bright idea to sell the movie rights to some of the popular characters. Constantin Studio brought the rights in 1992 and made a very low budget version of Fantastic Four in 1994 but was never released. They did press and appearances with the actors who thought the movie would be released but the studio had no intention of doing so. It was a ruse to maintain the rights. Then in 2004, 20th Century Fox got the movie rights to the Fantastic Four and produced a movie in 2005. A sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, was soon released in 2007. After an eight-year break from the franchise, the studio decided to do a reboot of the Fantastic Four in 2015.

Let’s be clear. None of these adaptions were overall well received by fans or the industry. These movies received hard criticism from all levels. When you think about the high level of Marvel movies from Blade to The Ant Man and the Wasp, you have to see the difference in the Fantastic Four movies. Just not up to par. I personally didn’t think the 2005 movie was that bad but the Rise of the Silver Surfer when Reed was in the disco lost me. The 2015 reboot was nothing but trash and was a shadow of what the FF truly is. In 2009, Disney acquired the rights to Marvel Entertainment. In 2017, Disney acquired the rights to 20th Century Fox Film and Television. So now you see how this all comes together and how we are having this conversation now.

The Fantastic Four #1 debuted with Marvel Comics in 1961. With the success of the Justice League over in their competitor’s line up, Marvel wanted its own team book. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were put to the task. With what was called the “Marvel Method” of creating back then the story of exactly who came up with the concept is a little blurred but both men take equal credit. However, Stan Lee can take credit for adding the infamous tagline “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine”. What makes the Fantastic Four different from any other team is that it is about a family.

The original team consisted of Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic, who can stretch his body part to unknown limits; Susan Storm Richards, The Invisible Woman, Reed’s wife who can bend light to create force fields and turn invisible; Johnny Storm, The Human Torch, second character to take that name, Sue Storms brother who had the ability to burst into flames and fly; and last but not least, Benjamin Grimm, The Thing, Reed’s best friend who was endowed with superhuman strength at the price of a hideous rock appearance. The original concept, which has changed over the years due to changing times and to keep things current, was that the team embarked on a scientific mission into space to gain an advantage in the cold war.

While in space the ship was bombarded with cosmic rays which transformed the team and gave them fantastic powers. They were to be portrayed as a dysfunctional yet loving family unit. A family with all the problems of a regular family, the bickering, the secrets, the loyalty, everything. As time went on, members of the team would go and return being replaced by others who would join their family. Eventually, Reed and Sue would marry and have children which would solidify the family motif. The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine was a fixture in Marvel comics representing for over 50 years.

Then in 2015 Marvel announced it was canceling the Fantastic Four comic.

Although Marvel had said that they were canceling Fantastic Four to give it a break for a while, others speculated that Marvel wasn’t pleased with what Fox was doing with the movie rights. It was believed that Marvel didn’t want to promote or be associated with what Fox was doing. Who could blame them? Especially after the 2015 fiasco. The 2015 Fantastic Four movie grossed a mere $25,000,000.00 in its first weekend and a worldwide gross of approximately $167,000,000.00. Much lower than the other films. The plot swayed away from the original concept and this FF did not have the same family feel. I personally was thrown off by Johnny and his dad being Black and Sue being adopted. Sue Storm wasn’t even part of the mission that got them the powers but received her powers as an after effect of the mission. It was a mess.

Meanwhile, in comics, the end of the Secret Wars storyline found Reed and Sue going out to explore a new multiverse with their children Franklin and Val. Ben Grimm went in space to travel with the Guardians of the Galaxy and Johnny Storm served as a liaison for the Inhumans. When Marvel revived the classic Marvel Two-In-One with the Thing, he teamed up with Johnny Storm the Human Torch. Their quest would eventually lead to bringing the band back together. August 2018, The Fantastic Four was back on the comic racks. Fans were excited because now that the movie rights were back under Marvel control through Disney there was a new call for a new movie. A movie done right. Fans know that with the winning formula Marvel has so far with its properties they could finally do a movie worthwhile. But are we really ready for another Fantastic Four movie?

Speculation is that we could see another FF movie by 2020 but I think we might need a little more time to get the taste of the last one from our mouths. With the introduction of Captain Marvel and the Skrulls in that movie in 2019, there is definitely a place for the Fantastic Four. The Fantastic Four origin story has already been done twice with a lackluster response from critics and fans. Including Dr Doom is too predictable.

How can this work?

For the next phase of Marvel, they should start by mentioning Latveria and a college kid genius named Reed Richards. We don’t even need to see them just know that they exist in this universe. Then, by 2020, you can have a Reed Richards show up to advise Captain Marvel, Black Panther, or Scott Lang or even tutor Peter Parker for college prep. You must do an origin story. There’s no getting around that. This time you do it the Marvel way. For your first movie reboot, you go classic: Mole Man. You introduce Victor Von Doom but you don’t do Dr. Doom until the sequel because trust me there will be a sequel. You can even wait and do Dr Doom in the third movie and do the Negative Zone in the sequel. You don’t have to rush it. The main goal should also be to build up to your next big event. Your next Infinity War. That would be Galactus coming to Earth.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe would do the Fantastic Four the way they were meant to be done: as a family of adventurers. They are not superheroes. Jack Kirby said in his version of the Fantastic Four creation that he modeled them after his DC Comics creation Challengers of the Unknown. The same basic concept just the FF have powers. The MCU would know what 20th Century Fox got wrong which is how to portray the characters. Once again, however, this is something that must be built up. You can’t just jump right into another Fantastic Four movie after the other failures, especially the last one, which is still so fresh. Best bet is to give it at least 4 or 5 years. 2022 I think we should be ready and the set up would be primed.

Are we ready for another Fantastic Four movie? In my opinion, not yet.

Give us some feedback and let us know what you think of the opinion stated on this site.

Kenny Walker Jr

Star Wars: Rise Of Skywalker or Was It?

Yup, there are spoilers in this article so if you haven’t seen the movie and plan on doing so and don’t want it spoiled then stop now. Come back after you’ve seen the movie.

Let’s be clear. The main thing I was looking for in this whole final trilogy was the only thing missing in the first two episodes: The return of Lando Calrissian. I got my wish seeing Billy D Williams flying through space in the Millennium Falcon braving the odds in a daring rescue. You would think I would have been satisfied with that but that just wasn’t enough.

Rise of Skywalker has been weighed down with good reviews, bad reviews and so-so reviews. I’ve talked to quite a few people who have seen it and I’ve gotten a lot of mixed response. I’m not going to tell you this was a bad movie or a good movie. That’s for you to decide. I’m going to point out some points of this movie that either I loved, bothered me or left me with more questions. That’s where I am with Rise of Skywalker – mentally I don’t know where to put it.

I must start with the elephant in the room. What the hell was it that Finn was going to tell Rey? We are all left to wonder because that was a plot devise that never saw a resolution. The romantic in me would like to believe he was going to express feeling for her. A fan favorite theory is that he was going to tell her that he too has a little of the force in him. Sadly, we will never know since the director choose to leave that in the movie and not on the cutting room floor where I believe it belonged. Don’t try to finish a trilogy with an unanswered issue.

But let’s talk about Rey’s love life or the non-existence of one. Daisy Ridley’s Rey was never quite given a love interest. From the start I thought that Rey and Finn would make a unique couple in that she was more of the hero than he was, but he started off posing for her it seems to get her attention. From the start they had a connection where they looked out for each other and cared for the others well-being. Her relationship with Kylo Ren was somewhat different in that they shared a unique bond that neither could explain. It was never thought to be a romantic connection.

I honestly thought her secret origin would make her his sister or cousin. Turns out that she is the yin to his yang and that they are destined to join  together to sacrifice themselves as one to aid Palpatine’s rise to power. What looked totally uncomfortable to me was that dying kiss. Where the hell did that come from? I’m waiting for Finn to pledge his love for her then all the sudden she’s lip locking the guy that’s been trying to kill everybody for three movies. But let’s not forget the tension that began with Rey and Po.

This was borderline reminisce of the banter between Han and Leia. It was only borderline because let’s face it you can’t duplicate the chemistry between a Carrie Fisher Princess Leia and a Harrison Ford Han Solo. Can’t be done. Although you didn’t have time for such a thing because it wasn’t set up in the previous two movies, the missed opportunity was the potential love triangle.Speaking of missed opportunities, you already killed Han, Luke and potentially Leia for obvious reasons, but the missed opportunity was to go complete circle with the entire original cast.

At one point everyone thought Chewy was dead and I would have stuck to that idea. Now, you might say, Chewy going out like that would have been lame but not every hero goes down in a blaze of glory. Sometimes it’s the simple unexpected deaths in a battle will make the death that much more real. The simple death means it can happen anytime anywhere and not in some grand finale or fashion. C3PO had a larger part than in the previous two installments seemingly making a grand sacrifice for the Resistance. His memory was wiped, and he was not the same droid that they had come to love.

However, this sacrifice was minimized by R2D2 who had the back up memories of his fellow droid friend. I think the story would have been better with the memory wipe of C2PO and then his destruction and somehow the destruction of R2D2 along with the death of Chewy. The whole premise and feeling of out with the old and in with the new to continue the fight would have been more meaningful if all the old warriors had sacrificed in one final battle. And Lando? Well you must have one old timer to tell the youngsters how things were done.

I’m still looking for clarification on exactly what that kiss was all about.

The whole Palpatine thing I did not see coming. Not sure who’s ass they pulled that one out of, but it would have come off better if it was something built up to in the first two movies of the trilogy. The explanation is relation to Rey is the only thing that made it remotely work if at all. Ultimately, it was probably a better plot twist then making Rey a Skywalker or a Solo as a lot of us suspected. Rey taking the name of Skywalker at the very end in place of Palpatine is what seals the meaning of the title of the film. Originally, before Carrie Fisher’s death, Leia was meant to be the last Skywalker that rises at the end.

I like this ending better because it was unpredictable. Like his grandfather before him, Kylo Ren aka Ben Solo put aside the ways of the dark side and fought on the side of good. The movie starts with Kylo Ren on a path of destruction that would do his grandfather proud. But there is a traitor in his mist feeding information to the Resistance. Unceremoniously, that traitor is revealed to be General Hux who put himself in this role for no other reason than his hatred for Kylo Ren. This revelation catches you by surprise not so much for who is revealed as the traitor but the forced way it was done throwing any thespian studies by the actor out the window.

After letting Finn and his crew escape, Hux is easily revealed as a traitor and executed. That simple. Adam Driver does an awesome Kylo Ren/Ben Solo who is angst at the world and has no idea on who to direct his anger management issues towards. That has been his go to for three movies and it works for him until the very undecisive end. “Am I a bad boy? Am I a good boy? We don’t know but I’m not changing this look on my face regardless. Now kiss me before I die”.

Can anyone explain the reason behind this kiss?

Heartwarming and what I call one of the best scenes in the whole movie is Chewbacca’s reaction to the death of Leia. He drops to his knees and gives a whaling cry at the news of the death of another dear friend. He is comforted with a sincere “I’m sorry Chewy”. This little scene makes up for the way Chewy and Leia walked by each other when Han was killed. You would have thought they would have been all over each other crying, but no. Cool new characters were introduced but there was so much going on and so much to tie up in this movie that you really couldn’t focus and give them too much back story.

Well there was the character of Jannah who was awkwardly confronted by Lando on her origins and when she confessed on not knowing where she was from Lando’s reply was “Well let’s find out”. Because on a final installment of a trilogy you want to leave a cliffhanger. Who knows that could be a Disney + series in the making called Let’s Find Out Where This Mysterious Character That No One Really Cares About Comes From.

Companion book material of the movies reveals her to be the long-lost daughter of Lando. I totally hate that idea and cringe at the possibilities. Meanwhile, as you introduce new characters, Rose is placed in the background. She survives the movie but in Rise of Skywalker she is not part of the close friend group that is Rey, Finn and Po that you would expect her to be.

But that kiss though.

Rise of Skywalker is very entertaining as far as action. At times when the plot was thinner than paper we were rewarded with great action. We were moved to different planet locations and gratuitous action scenes to make up for the lack of plot and forgotten plot points of the previous movies. Except for a few lulls like the reveal of Rey’s past which was almost a sleeper, we were on a fast track to wrap up a saga that started over 40 years ago.

I’m going to go on record as not saying whether Rise of Skywalker was good or bad but perhaps different. The anticipation of waiting over 40 years to get to an end that, honestly, I don’t recall anyone ever asking for can lead to certain expectations. Expectations that can not be lived up to no matter who was writing or directing the project. So, I’m going to remain indifferent and like parts of the movie and cringe at other parts. Ignore the missed opportunities and welcome the new ideas.

I’m going to wait until Rise of Skywalker comes to Disney + and watch it repeatedly until I understand that damn kiss.

Kenny Walker Jr

Harley Quinn the Queen of Comic Villainy

Let’s be clear: I’m not on the Harley Quinn train that DC seems to be on.

To me this is the same thing that was done with Wolverine and Deadpool over at Marvel. You get a breakout character and you plaster them everywhere. Harley is that breakout character for DC Comics. This means we get to see the character get their own book and show up in every other book. In today’s cinematic world that would get the character their own movie or TV show.

Unlike most comic characters Harley Quinn’s start was on TV. Harley Quinn was meant to be a one-off character in September 1992 on Batman the Animated Series as the Joker’s girlfriend. The character was a hit and made it to comic book pages in September 1993. Now after getting her own book title and starring in a live action movie, Harley Quinn is the star of her own TV series on the DC Universe streaming service.

Harley Quinn is not your kid’s cartoon. Like every other DC Universe original show, Harley Quinn is adult themed and laced with profanity. The series tells the story of Harley Quinn striking out on her own. She realizes that she is not as important to Joker as she thought she was. She always thought of herself as his partner. He treats her like a sidekick. This is about her breaking away from the Joker and becoming her own woman.

But just as the Joker is obsessed with killing Batman, Harley is obsessed with showing Joker that she is her own woman. Now take that concept and add comedy. In recent times, DC is learning that taking the dark approach to everything is not the route to go. Harley Quinn takes a more comedic look on the Batman universe and Gotham City. It doesn’t glorify crime or the evil of the villains but just takes a more comedic look at the dark underworld of Gotham.

Kaley Cuoco does an excellent job as Harley Quinn. The series shows you the real character that is Harley Quinn. She’s crazy but she is also smart. She is underestimated as the Joker’s girlfriend and often dismissed, and she wants to show the world she is more than that. The series delves into the history of the character in that she was once a prominent doctor who was turned by the Joker into a villain. She’s a crazy lady who still retains the knowledge of her old profession.

We cannot talk about this show without giving prompts to the supporting cast. So far most of the Gotham underground has been represented along with some other villains. One main stand out is Lake Bell doing the voice work for the Poison Ivy character. Poison Ivy is like Abbott to Harley’s Costello. Harley is like every bad kid going to the Chocolate Factory and Ivy is like Willy Wonka calmly sitting there going “No. Wait. Stop.” But Harley does it her way anyway leaving Ivy at the end going “Did we learn anything from this?”.

However, the one thing that translates from the comic in this series is the friendship between the two women. Actor Alan Tudyk does an awesome job with Joker. It’s really some Mark Hamill Adventures of Batman level work that this man puts into it and that’s a good marker to have. He shows the random craziness that is Joker and how you never know what the Joker could care about or not care about. Another stand out is Frank the Plant voiced by J. B. Smoove.

This is some Little Shop of Horrors kind of stuff and a great comic relief in a show that is full of comedy. Almost every villain you can name shows up on this show voice by some very notable actors. Listen for talent such as Wanda Sikes, Sanaa Lathan, Jason Alexander, Tisha Campbell-Martin, and Howie Mandel. One of my favorites is voice actor Matt Oberg who does a few of the villains but the main one that stands out to me is Kite Man and the running joke with him. It will have you on the floor.

Like I stated in the beginning, I am not a big Harley Quinn fan. However, this show is worth taking another look at the character. New episodes every Friday. Check it out.

Kenny Walker Jr

Superhero Weaknesses

Sometimes the power of a superhero can be overwhelming. They can be created so powerfully that they seem impossible to defeat. Superman can move mountains; Green Lantern can do anything in his imagination and Thor is literally a God. However, for all their power there are some drawbacks. They do have weaknesses. 

Superman Kryptonite

Let’s tackle the obvious and easiest one first. As we all know Superman was born on another planet which was destroyed. Apparently, shards from the destroyed planet can weaken Superman and even kill him and small meteorites have made their way to Earth to keep the man of steel humble.

Green Lantern yellow

The Guardians power ring choose Hal Jordan to become a Green Lantern because he was fearless and with this ring, he can do whatever his mind can create. Green Lantern can combat any foe that he comes across ….as long as the color yellow is not involved. The power of his ring cannot even touch anything yellow meaning if you paint his whole world yellow, he’s just a guy with a glowing green ring.

Green Lantern (Golden Age) wood

The first Green Lanterns ring has more of a mystic background. There is no space corps involved. However, this Green Lanterns weakness is wood. So, if a tree is falling on you and there’s nobody around to save you if this Green Lantern shows up you are still out of luck.

Wonder Woman bound at the bracelets by man

Ok now, this is a bit sexist and slightly pornographic. Wonder Woman’s power rivals that of Superman and she has stood toe to toe with him. One of the things that makes this possible even though he is stronger is her training as an Amazon warrior. However, if an ordinary man happens to be able to sneak up on her and bound her by her bracelets, she is powerless. Considering the times in which she was created, this was a simple fix in making a woman submissive.

Daredevil loud sound

Daredevil is the man without fear. He is blind with heightened senses. He doesn’t need to be able to see. In fact, his heightened senses are much better than sight making him a very formidable superhero. However, if you overload him with noise then you have a good chance of defeating him. You must overload his high senses. Makes sense.

Flash too much Speed

The fastest man alive has a weakness that is his greatest strength. Running too fast. For as powerful as Flash is if he runs too fast, he can destroy himself.

Thor more than a minute away from his hammer

We’re putting this in even though it no longer applies. But this is too classic to let go. when Thor first appeared, he had a human alter ego named Donald Blake which was a handicapped doctor who used a cane to walk. When said doctor tapped this cane on the ground, he became the demigod, Thor. The cane reverted to its true form of Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. Thor had to be connected to his hammer. If the hammer left his side for more than 60 seconds than Thor would revert to Donald Blake. Marvel decided this was a dumb foil and got rid of the concept back in 1984.

Human Torch asbestos

Johnny Storm the Human Torch is a very powerful being. His ability to go supernova and literally be able to destroy everything if he chose is a power to be reckoned with. However, if you happen to have some asbestos on then you can have the fight half won.

Martian Manhunter fire, matches

A lot of people aren’t familiar with the Martian Manhunter. His powers put him in league with Superman and in my opinion, make him even more powerful. He’s got super strength, flight, invulnerability, heat vision, shapeshifting, invisibility, and telepathy. However, if you got some gasoline and light a match to set the whole room on fire than it is literally on. Martians weakness for fire is what helped Batman defeat a room full of Martians in a classic Justice League story.

Firestorm organics

Firestorm the Nuclear Man is very powerful indeed. I mean, come on, he’s the nuclear man. One of his main powers is his ability to transmute objects. So, you try to shoot him with a hail of bullets and he turns them into flowers or cotton balls. He can transmute anything except anything organic. He can not transmute humans or animals in any way.

Shazam & Captain Marvel Jr saying their own names

These two heroes go in together because not only are they related to each other of sorts but they have the same weakness. Shazam used to be called Captain Marvel but because of rights and confusion, he is now called Shazam. However, for Billy Batson to become Shazam he has to say his name for the lightning to strike so if he is in his superhero form and says his name again, he reverts back to Billy Batson. The same applies to Captain Marvel Jr who has to say Captain Marvel to get his powers. In Captain Marvel Jr’s case, this may no longer apply since Shazam has been retconned and Captain Marvel is no longer a thing in the DC universe.

Gladiator self confidence

Gladiator is like a space Superman. You name it he can do it. Strength, speed, slow aging, invulnerability, the whole thing. However, an attack on his ego and give him doubt then you have him right where you want him. For all his grandiose posturing and bravado, if you shake his confidence than the battle is won.

Power Girl raw unprocessed natural material

Power Girl has a slightly confusing background. Originally, she is the Earth 2 cousin of Superman but that has been changed in so many different ways. She is now on an Earth 2 that I care not to go into but that doesn’t change the fact of why she’s on this list. Her weakness is raw unprocessed natural materials. So, man-made bullets she can handle but if you try to drive a wooden stake through her heart like a vampire you are on to something.

Wolverine The Muramasa Blade

Over the years, Wolverine has become annoyingly hard to kill. Don’t get me wrong, Wolverine is a great character but over the years they kept throwing things at him and he would not die. So, what do you do with a character you make too powerful? You create a special sword that can actually kill him. For good.

Adam Strange too long away from Earth

The hero Adam Strange is not so much a hero on earth as he is a hero on the planet Rann. He was drawn there by the zeta beam. However, this is also his weakness. He can not stay away from Earth for more than a year at a time. So even if he’s in the middle of a mission and his year is up, he vanishes back to Earth.

Kenny Walker Jr

You Must Watch Watchmen

You Must Watch Watchmen.

So, I’m having a text conversation with a friend of mine and I asked had he seen Watchmen yet. Said friend being the film and tv critic that he is in his mind answered with a very caviler attitude saying he wasn’t wasting his time with that show. I tell him what a great show it is. His response is that since he had seen the movie what’s the point of seeing a continuation of the same characters.

My response was, “Bro, that’s not what it is.”

His rebuttal was that he liked shows with more diversity and from the movie this was all about a couple of White guys.

My response again was, “Bro, that’s not what it is.”

“Really.” He replied. “So, what is it about?

I proceeded to tell him what I’m about to tell you: You must watch Watchmen.

Watchmen adds to the lore of the universe created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons in 1987 DC Comics. The Watchmen originally was a 12 issue comic book mini-series that told a story of a group of superheroes called the Minute Men in a universe where Nixon remained President for multiple terms and we had easily won the Vietnam War due to the help of America’s premier superhero, Dr Manhattan. In this alternate universe in 1985 the hero named Ozymandias aka Adrian Veldt, tried to bring the world together by faking an alien invasion that killed millions. He created a giant alien squid to materialize in New York City. The book was made into a movie in 2009 as an exact replica of the book however instead of a giant alien octopus there was an atomic explosion. Dr Manhattan moves to the planet Mars. There’s a lot more so read a trade paperback and then see the actual movie. Trust me on this.

You must watch Watchmen.

Although it takes place in another reality, Watchmen is a show that tackles issues of our real world. Racism, police brutality, crooked politicians it’s all here. Watchmen touches on issues of race that have made some uncomfortable and lost a small portion of audiences. Showrunner Damon Lindelof has taken this world created by Moore and Gibbons to another unexpected level introducing us to new characters and a different storyline that ties in directly with the book and movie. Lindelof also brought a few characters back from the source material to help solidify the past with the present.

You must watch Watchmen.

The original Watchmen book and movie where really a big superhero murder mystery. The real master mind behind the murder was not some supervillain out for money, power or revenge, but a superhero who thought he could make the world a better place with mass murder. It was a mystery until the very end. When you got to the end, you were totally shocked and surprised. Lindelof has kept that same amount of surprise in every episode. Every episode has a “what the what?” moment that has you wanting more on your tv every Sunday night at 9pm. Once again, this is an alternate reality where the greatest and strongest hero lives on Mars and Robert Redford is President. Anything can happen and when it does it takes you for a loop. The writing and acting is done in such a way that you must know what happens next.

You must watch Watchmen

This is not all just a murder mystery. The action is well worth a trip on a Sunday night. In this reality, police where a victim of what is known as the “White Night”, where several of them where assaulted and murdered by a White supremist group called the Seventh Kavalry. Because of this assault, the current police force where mask to protect their identity so another mass slaughter does not happen. Love is also in the air on Watchmen. The love of family; the love of a comrade in arms; the love of a mission; and the love of a lie.

You must watch Watchmen.

As of this article Watchmen is about 6 or 7 episodes in and we are hitting close to the season finale. I would like to be able to give you a prediction of what to expect but, honestly, this is not that show. This is a true mystery where layers are on top of layers and when the real gets pulled out you are shocked and stunned. This show has taken me on so many rides that it would be impossible for me to give it justice just telling you. I will simply put this the only way I know how.

You must watch Watchmen.

Kenny Walker Jr