Power Rankings of the Umbrella Academy

If you look around the room in a competitive setting, you might start to think who the strongest component in the room is. Who can you take down if you have to? Well I am sure that same question came up in the minds of the adoptive brother and sister team known as the Umbrella Academy.

Season 2 of the Umbrella Academy premiered on Netflix July 31 this year and it has been taking the internet by storm. I can see why because I loved it. The family dynamic, the mystery, the drama, and the action made up for a wonderful binge weekend for me. The added plus to this season was the soundtrack. The music picks that followed this storyline were like their own characters. Speaking of characters, the use of history was amazing also.

Using Jack Ruby, the killer of Lee Harvey Oswald and Raymond Chestnut, a civil rights leader of the time was brilliant. Centering the climax of the show around the assassination of John F Kennedy because, hey we are in 1963 Dallas, Texas why not, was a different and refreshing take on a very tragic event. I really love the what-if factor in this story in what could have happened if the assassination were never to happen.

Yes, I strongly suggest binging Umbrella Academy season 2.

With the internet pouring with reviews we decided to take another spin on presenting Umbrella Academy to you. We decided to give you a rundown of the weakest to the strongest members of this team. So, sit back and check out how ObsidianNomad power ranks Umbrella Academy from the weakest to the strongest.


Number One – Luther Hargraves

Luther has superhuman strength and has a half-ape which to normal people would make him the biggest threat. Normally. Among his brothers and sisters, superhuman strength and a durable body will not get you extremely far in a battle. His power is the most physical of his brothers and sisters and although it might do great against their enemies it pales in comparison when you have brothers and sisters that really don’t even have to touch you to defeat you.


Number Four – Klaus Hargraves

When Klaus is sober, which during the first season was far few and in between, his power is to connect with the dead. Sounds kind of lame and you would think that would make him the weakest link but not really. Yeah, if he were a homicide detective, he could solve crimes just by communicating with the deceased and finding out what really happened but that is not the extent of his powers. As we have briefly seen at the end of season 1 and briefly in season 2, he can bring the dead back for short periods of time to use their bodies in a fight or even their powers. So, technically, he can summon a small army against his foes. He also can let the dead assume his physical form to experience life.


Number Two – Diego Hargreaves

The only member that carried his superhero dreams. Diego uses his power to redirect objects with his mind and his weapons of choice are throwing knives. Since he can redirect projectiles, then you have to ask, “why not just use a gun and redirect bullets?”. That being said, out of all his brothers and sisters he is the most trained in hand to hand combat and can hold his breath for long periods of time.


Number Three – Allison Hargreaves

By simply saying to an opponent “I heard a rumor”, Allison can make you do anything she wants you to do at the end of that statement. These things happen whether you want them too or not. As long as she can talk, she is on a power level that can even be thought to surpass the remaining brothers and sisters. Her powers kind of breach on a probability level status where even the impossible is done on her command. This makes her extremely dangerous not only in a fight but in real life if you are not on her good side.


Number Six – Ben Hargreaves

Ben died before we got to see the extent of his powers but what we have seen so far is pretty impressive. Ben had the power to release monstrous octopus tentacles from his body. Once released these tentacles can devastate the opponent. The monster or monsters on the other side of those tentacles are thought to be in another dimension, which makes you wonder had Ben got a chance to really explore his powers how powerful would he have been. Would the whole monster eventually come out and be an uncontrollable horror?


Number Five – The Boy

Since Number Five left the school, by accident, as a kid, their father was not able to train him on the complete use of his power. Number Five can teleport and time travel. He was also trained by the corporation to be the best assassin in the organization. His teleportation and time travel ability makes him quite dangerous in a fight because you never know where or when he can attack. Plus, Number 5 is trained in combat from the corporation and is quite ruthless so good luck taking him in a battle.


Number Six – Vanya Hargreaves

Imagine being so powerful that your parent tells you that you are not and puts you on medication and spends your life making you feel inadequate. That is Vanya’s story. The problem is that when she did realize she had powers all hell broke loose. Vanya has the ability to use soundwaves against her opponents to devastating effects. She can also use the soundwaves to levitate objects and herself. In season 2, she used her power to help resuscitate someone back to life. She literally singlehandedly took on all her brothers and sisters and almost won in season 1. Yes, she is, hands down, the strongest member of the group.

Do you agree with our list? Hit us up in our comments and let us know how you would make this list different.

Kenny Walker Jr

Our Girl is Stargirl

Say what you want about DC but the one thing they corner the market on is legacy heroes. Since The Flash #123 story “Flash of Two Worlds” in 1961, DC has always carried the tradition of having legacy heroes. This is the case with Courtney Whitmore, Stargirl.

I remember collecting Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.S. #0 when it came out in 1999. I was a big fan of the Justice Society of America which in the DC Universe was a team all about legacy and this was another legacy hero, so I bought it.

Stargirl had the pleasure of being a legacy for two different heroes: Starman and the Star-Spangled Kid. When they died, she found the tools they used to fight justice and became Stargirl. Since then she has fought crime and been a pivotal force in the Justice Society and the DC universe in general. So, it stands to reason that she would be the next pick to star in a live-action show.

When it comes to relating comic book character to live action, there are some liberties that must be taken. Changes that must be made. The CW have been known for making those changes to fit a budget or a single script. When CW started the Arrowverse with its headlining show Arrow, all I could think was they have Oliver Queen in this closely resemble Bruce Wayne. That’s not who the character of Oliver Queen is. They have changed some origins to fit the Arrowverse into one neat package. Amazingly enough, Stargirl is not one of these shows where they had to dig too far away from the comic book. This show is as spot on as any fan can ask for.

The pilot opens 10 years in the past where we witness the last days of the Justice Society as they are defeated at the hands of the Injustice Society. With his last dying breath, Starman gave his greatest weapon, the cosmic staff, to his friend and sidekick Pat Dugan, otherwise known as Stripesy. Stripesy made the promise that he would one day find someone to be Starman again. 10 years later, Pat marries Barbara Whitmore and moves her and her daughter, Courtney, to Blue Valley.

Courtney, who is not fond of her new stepdad or stepbrother, eventually finds the cosmic staff which seems to work for no one else but her. That’s how Stargirl is born. That simple. The funny thing is that’s how it happens in the comic book. Such a simple origin makes a believable story. Now the tv show does add a small twist that is not in the comics, but this is a twist that I don’t mind because it actually makes sense. Both Courtney and Pat find that Blue valley isn’t exactly what it seems to be which makes this the perfect scene for mayhem in a small town.

Brec Bassinger is perfect as Courtney Whitmore/Stargirl. She plays the angst teenager turned adventure-seeking superhero to a T. However, even as this show is called Stargirl and does center around Brec Bassinger’s Courtney Whitmore, the main driving force behind this show is Pat Dugan played by actor Luke Wilson. Wilson’s comedic timing is what makes this show believable due to his ability to play the everyman.

His transition from awkward stepfather to former hero sidekick still trying to save the world is awesome. If you take into account some of the past projects Luke Wilson has been a part of such as Alvin and the Chipmunks and My Super Ex-Girlfriend that you can see where his particular acting talents shine. The comic book originated being a relationship between this unlikely duo becoming a well-oiled superhero team and the chemistry between these two actors translates that perfectly.

As of this article, we are only two episodes in of what will be a thirteen-episode arc but so far this has promise. That promise is because one of the producers and showrunners is Geoff Johns who is one of the creators of Courtney Whitmore as Stargirl. I believe this is the main factor that keeps this show close to the source material. As you watch the pilot episode and the second episode following, pay close attention to the many Easter eggs throughout the story.

Remember, the Justice Society of America is all about legacy so you will see that theme throughout the show. That’s what makes this show a fanboy’s dream. I’m certain I missed some eggs and I will probably have to go back and rewatch to find them. I mean forget the Justice League movie. This is so much better because you get to glimpse the JSA in action and I know we will probably get some more flashbacks.

Stargirl is a breath of fresh air superhero show that will appeal to so many: young ladies, the nerds, and even middle-aged stepparents who can understand the plight of Pat Dugan. Showing on the DC Universe streaming channel and your local CW station, you have every opportunity to treat yourself to a fresh look at a young superhero.

Give it a watch and tell us in the comments what you think of Stargirl.

Kenny Walker Jr

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

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


There was a time when comic book shows in multimedia were far and in between. Comic nerds and superhero fans were starving for entertainment other than what was on the pages at their local comic store. There might be one TV show with a guy in a mask one season and another with a lady with a lasso a few years later but that’s all you got. Then you may get one major motion picture with a guy in a cape and two decades later get another movie about a superhero vampire but that was your limit. Yup the pickings were slim.

When comic book heroes started showing up in serials in the 1930s. Flash Gordon, Shazam, Batman and Superman all came to life for about 15 minutes leaving you with a cliffhanger until the next episode. Another popular medium, radio, where every week you can hear the adventures of Buck Rogers and Dick Tracey. With a TV in the 1950s, your home was visited by The Lone Ranger and Superman. As decades past you had a very campy Batman, Wonder Woman, Spiderman, and yes, we had a Hulk. To satisfy our lack of live action we had some of the best classic cartoons. From Marvel superheroes in the 1960s to the Superfriends of the 1970s to G.I. Joe in the 1980s to the X-Men of the 1990s our Saturday mornings and after school schedules was set.

Then something happened. The late 1990s Sony Spiderman movies became a hit. Over in TV land, Smallville, a show about Superman’s beginnings ran for 10 seasons. Then Batman Begins and so starts the Christopher Nolan trilogy. Marvel launches the MCU with Iron Man and from there the industry blew up. Superheroes are everywhere.

There are currently about 16 comic books inspired live-action shows on TV with four more starting next month in June. There are at least 8 comic book inspired movies due out in 2018. These numbers do not include the countless cartoons and kid shows based on comic books and superheroes in general.

The question we now need to ask ourselves is: Has the industry oversaturated the fanboys and girls with the comic book world?

The recent cancellation of Marvel TV’s Inhumans it may signal that this superhero boom may be over. Although Marvel put a decent push for Inhumans by releasing the pilot in IMAX it did not go over well with the fans. It was perceived as too campy compared to the MCU that fans have been used to getting. On top of that, the fate of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D seems to be a little uncertain. Yes, the CW seems to be going strong with their line up of superhero and comic book shows every night which all have basically been renewed for next year but of all the shows Arrow which was the flagship show that started it all is at the bottom of the ratings. Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War have topped the box office this year with millions but our payoff for Infinity War is a year away. Will the fans wait that long, or will the attention move elsewhere?

In some respect, you can say that it feels like the industry makers are taking our love for superheroes too far and not giving us the quality that we are used to. Just stick a cape on it and the people will buy it. There’s no need for quality, compelling storyline or character development when you know there will be ticket sales and viewers based on the superhero content. Netflix’s Jessica Jones might have been that show to display this. Overall this Marvel Netflix outing was not up to par with previous shows almost like it was rushed to get the product out to the fans. DC is coming out with its own streaming service called DC Universe in 2018. Set previews of its upcoming show, Titans, has not been sitting well with fans. Already there’s debate about whether this first live action Titans will live up to its comic book predecessor.

The remainder of 2018 promises some awesome things in movie, TV, and streaming. It’s up to us the audience to determine if we are still fans. It’s up to us to determine if we just want to see our favorite characters on the screen regardless of the content. The superhero genre is still booming but whether it’s waning a bit remains to be seen. There are some great plans for comic book superheroes on the big and small screens even past 2020 but the question is will this genre stand the test of time.

Kenny Walker Jr

Chasing Dion: Families Sacrifice for SuperHeroes

Chasing Dion follows the superhero cinematic trend, with its own twist. This new Netflix series focuses on the family dynamic in a superhero universe. In this Universe, an asteroid is responsible for the characters superhuman abilities. Any individuals, in Iceland, observing the Aurora light that night, had their DNA altered and developed superhuman abilities.

But it was not just the humans, animals and the ground itself were poisoned by this same phenomenon. All these individuals returned to their regular lives, which would become anything but regular. These genetics are also passed down through genetics, the viewer discovers while watching the journey of the main character, Dion.

Dion just arrived at a new school, but the new changes to his body compound the typical stressors of being the new kid at a public school. Dion is having breakfast with his mother, Nicole, as is their morning tradition. Running late, as usual, Nicole rushes Dion, leading to him tripping and spilling his bowl of cereal, only the cereal does not hit the ground as physics would predict.

At this moment, Dion realizes there is something different about him. He stares at the milk, and pieces of cereal suspended in the air, which only drops as his mom scares him as she calls his name. After a few more small incidents, Dion decided to show his mom. In a scene akin to exorcism and haunting films, Dion creates a cyclone of toys, with enough power, one Lego cuts his mother’s shoulder.

Being a single mom is hard enough, add a superpowered child, and the level of stress reaches epic proportions. Sacrifice was a major theme within Chasing Dion. This series showcased the effect a superhuman child would have on a single mother. Due to the discovery of Dion’s superpowers, his mother, lost one job, left an interview early, and risked her new job at the dance studio due to Dion’s newly developed abilities.

But she was not the only one to sacrifice for Dion’s benefit. Pat, Dion’s godfather, also risked his position at Biona. Dion tried to help cure Pat’s headaches, which caused him to become extremely ill. Dion’s aunt, Cat, brought him to the ER, where she was a resident doctor. Nicole tried a few times to inform Cat of Dion’s newfound superhuman abilities, but as a woman of science, Cat was ready to have Nicole committed.

Following protocol for severely ill patients, she drew Dion’s blood for testing. Nicole was desperate for her to stop the testing, as she warned Dion, using his powers in public would lead to a black van abducting him. Exactly how the scene ends, Cat get caught erasing Dion’s medical records after witnessing him levitate firsthand, but her now ex-girlfriend called the CDC when Dion’s temperature rose to one hundred and fifteen degrees.

There seems to be almost no limit to Dion’s power. Other superheroes in the movie seem to have limited powers. The farmer could grow plants with his hands, his son is telepathic. Dion’s father, and Charlotte, could turn invisible and teleport. Like his father, Dion can utilize invisibility and teleportation, with the additional abilities of healing, telekinesis, and the ability to manipulate on a molecular level.

As comic book fans would say, Dion is lining up to be OP, overpowered. Next season will see if he gets the Superman treatment with developing more powers as his heroic tale continues. In a series full of parallels to the unjust reality of our world, the most poignant scene occurred after Dion experienced racism for the first time at this new school. Dion was using his father’s watch as a mental block to prevent him from using his powers in public.

One of the school bullies, a white kid, took Dion’s watch. Dion lost control and used telekinesis to propel the bully into the wall. When it came time for the white principal to wield punishments, he was gun-ho about suspending Dion, with no repercussions for the bully who attempted to steal Dion’s watch.

Nicole is hesitant to explain this racist mentality, and the lifetime battle dealing with racists, but after a conversation with her sister, she sat down with Dion and explained there will always be people like the principal, judging Dion for his skin color. Chasing Dion utilized misdirection to further the storyline without revealing twists until the time was right.

From the first few episodes, it seems Biona is just another evil scientific empire, putting their experiments ahead of humanity. It is revealed one of their employees is responsible for the “Storm Deaths.” This big twist was hinted at with mentions of this character having been in Iceland, and headaches he has been struggling with as the other characters develop superhuman abilities.

Dion’s own Godfather, Pat, is the Crooked Man, or the Man in the Storm. Pat’s exposure to the asteroid in Iceland leads to a degenerative disease which could be stalled by the absorption of the other superhumans. Chasing Dion is a unique superhuman perspective, while borrowing typical Superhero tropes.

Like many superhero origin tales, Dion lost his father at a young age, and his powers were passed down genetically. He has trouble controlling his emotion-based powers, but they kick in when he or someone he loves is in danger, and the villain was right under the heroes nose the entire time.

These superheroes’ power is based on the ability to manipulate ions, more of a Matrix style explanation of superpowers opposed to the genetics. Dion is the one to save this world, and after watching season one, viewers will make sure to save the date season two premieres.

Mike Hoff

Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance The Essence of Revolt

Almost forty years after the original, Netflix revives a cult classic. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is a prequel series to the 1982 Jim Henson film, The Dark Crystal. In the film, and now prequel series, the Dark Crystal, which was known as the Crystal of Truth before it became corrupted, is the core of this world, Thra.

This show is visually stunning from the Dreamfast between Gelflings, to the Gelfling’s and other creatures, as well as the diverse landscapes of Thra. The captivating storytelling leads to enamoring characters eliciting empathy from the viewer for their plight.

The creatures of Thra have been subjected by the Skeksis’, and this series, if you have not seen the original film, gives fans hope the subjugated species would find a way to win. Those who have seen the 1982 masterpiece, still want to see the Skeksis pay for their crimes, even though they know the bad guys will win this revolutionary war.

There are three main Gelfling heroes in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. Rian, a member of the Stonewood clan. This is the warrior clan of Thra. Rian’s father is the Captain, charged with protecting the Skeksis and the Dark Crystal. Rian is the first to witness the Skeksis’ atrocities. Rian saw the Skeksis’ steal the essence of Mira, his girlfriend.

After his escape, The Chamberlain of the Skeksis’ planted the seeds of lies that would convince Rian’s clan he not only killed Mira but carries a sickness that would spread if another Gelfing chose to Dreamfast with him. Dreamfasting is a moment of shared consciousness between Gelflings.

This plan would ensure the Gelfling would not discover the truth about the Skeksis’ draining the essence of the Gelfling’s. Rian eventually comes to bear the Dual Glaive, which contains the missing crystal shard from the Dark Crystal.

While Rian is unable to unite the Crystal and the shard, it was his bravery and Dreamfasting that would play a major role in uniting the Gelfling clans to finally revolt against their oppressors. Deet, and the rest of the Grottan tribe live underground in perfect harmony with their surroundings and fellow creatures.

Until the Darkening spreads, corrupting the Nurloc. A few of these infected creatures attack Deet, forcing her above ground. This is when she encounters the Sanctuary Tree. This sentient tree chooses who can hear them speak, so Deet was chosen for the quest to end the Darkening.

Unfortunately, this hopeful, joyous, and loving character will be transformed into the literal personification of the Darkening. The Emperor, the leader of the Skekzi’s, has channeled the Darkening through his staff, and uses it to attack the Gelfling rebellion. Deet, with the power of the Sanctuary Tree, absorbs all this energy and becomes infected.

Thus, at the end of Age of Resistance, she banishes herself for fear of the harm she could do all those she loves. Sacrifice for the greater good was a common theme throughout Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. Bold Juergen, Rian’s friend, suffers the torture of having his essence drained as the Skeksis’ question him about his friend’s whereabouts, yet he does not yield.

The Captain, Rian’s father sacrificed his life to save Rian from the Hunter, as did The Archer, the Mystic half to the Skeksis half, The Hunter, sacrificed himself twice to save Rian and ensure their quest to save Thra would continue. First, he shot the Hunter with arrows which would have led to his death if not for another sacrifice from Mother Aughra.

Mother Aughra sacrifice her life to save the Vapra princesses and Maudra Fara, the leader of the Stonewood clan. Maudra Fara in turn sacrificed herself to save Seladon, so she could continue her quest for redemption. Princess Brea is royalty amongst the Vapra clan, represent the aristocracy. Thra is run by a Matriarchy, in every clan, a woman rules over the land.

Brea’s mother, their leader, the All Maudra, rules over all Gelfing tribes, as they do the bidding for the Skeksis’. Princess Brea has an insatiable thirst for knowledge, which leads her to question the Skekzi’s rule. In her quest for knowledge and to save Thra, she found a secret room with symbols of all seven tribes engraved in stone.

At first, she attempts to solve this puzzle by the order of the class system. Eventually she realizes class does not mean best, and all clans are equal. Once solving its mystery, she stumbles upon Lore, a rock “monster.” The Heretic, a shunned Skekzi, and his mystic were the ones to create Lore, the Protector, to escort her to the Circle of the Suns to meet Lore’s creators and find the key to defeating the Skekzi’s.

Lore saves Brea on a few occasions. One of which occurred after Seladon sold out her family to the Skeksis’, leading to their mother, the All Maudra’s death during the battle of the Gelfing’s and Skekzi’s. After she, and her essence, were saved by Mother Aughra, she joined the fight to restore the harmony in Thra.

Mother Aughra may not have been one of the main Gelfing’s but she is a hero throughout the adventure. Thra created Mother Aughra to communicate with the sentient beings to help create the Age of Harmony. After the urSkeks, the beings when Skeksis’ and Mystics combine, built Aughra an Observatory and Orrery in exchange for her knowledge of Thra.

While Aughra sent her consciousness into the stars, the Skeksis’ were created, ultimately leading to their proclamation of power and subsequent reign of terror. Mother Aughra took blame for the damage done to Thra. Just like most of the Gelfling’s ready to revolt, she would do everything in her power to help save Thra.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance has as many engaging “secondary characters,’ as main characters. Deet’s escort, was a Podling with dreams of being a Paladin warrior. The Pod people domesticated the Fizzgig’s, another species of entertaining creatures.

The Chamberlain of the Skeksis was like the Littlefinger of Game of Thrones, always scheming and looking for an angle. The Heretic and his mystic counterpart, the Wanderer mystic, shined in spectacular fashion. This series was jampacked with heroes to cheer for, villains to root against, and “side” characters you want to see survive the impending war.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance could be a surreal allegory to the oppression of the masses today. Just as geography, class systems, and propaganda create dissension amongst humanity so did the Skeksis utilize these tools to gain control and give them absolute power over the Gelflings and Thra itself.

The Dark Crystal symbolizes fossil fuels. As the Skeksis corrupted the Dark Crystal, Thra began to suffer. The Skeksis would stop at nothing for immortality, even if it meant the destruction of the planet itself. Just as the Corporatocracy will destroy every resource for the almighty dollar.

Unfortunately, the Gelfling’s may win the battle, but ultimately are doomed to lose the war. Much like in our profit driven world, the world continues to crumble under the hands of corruption, despite millions and millions looking through the crystal of truth. Hopefully, we won’t lose the essence of humanity

Mike Hoff

The Boys: The Grey Area of Superhero Universe

While the heroes featured in The Boys television show have familiar superpowers, the premise is unlike any other superhero cinematic universe. This show is dark, gritty, and gory with scenes not for the faint of heart. The Boys is also packed with political punches regarding sexual harassment, back door deals and blackmail, along with human experimenting.

The Boys did a great job of adding twists and turns while interweaving the storylines between heroes and villains, as well as showing the commonalities between them. By the end of the first episode, the viewers witness disgraceful sexual harassment by a male member, Deep, against the newest member of the Seven, Starlight.

This first impression reveals all is not as it seems, to both Starlight and the viewer. This is also when the perversion of Translucent is brought to light as he is revealed to be spying on Starlgiht and Queen Maeve in the women’s restroom, and it only gets darker from there. The show starts with the heroine, Queen Maeve, their version of Wonder Woman, saving the lives of two teenage boys, with help from Homelander.

The rescued boys proceed to ask Homelander, a mix between Captain America and Superman, for a selfie, and he follows that with a photo op with all the civilians in the area. This scene depicts the celebrity status of The Seven which is prominent through the remainder of the season. The story takes place in a world where the superhero team, called The Seven, are revered like celebrities by some and worshipped as Gods by others.

But not everyone loves these heroes, as collateral damage plays a key theme in this season. The Boys are a group with disdain toward the “Supes.” Billy Butcher is their leader, having been recruited by the CIA. Billy Butcher hates Homelander with every inch of his being. Billy’s wife, Becca Butcher disappeared after an affair with Homelander, and he has been on a path of vengeance leading to the final showdown.

Butcher kidnaps Madelyn, as she is the only thing Homelander cares about. Unfortunately, Homelander discovered a secret kept from him by his maternal leader, so he kills her, then flies Butcher to learn the truth about his beloved Becca. Another member of the Boys, The Female is a mute woman that has been subjected to human testing, as she was injected with Compound V, granting her super strength, speed, and the ability to heal.

She develops a connection with another member, Frenchie, and he tries to help her feel more human than freak. He is genuine in his attempt to help, and treats her like a person, a feeling even the Seven do not receive. This opening scene not only set a precedent for the level of adoration by the public, but it is also one of the few scenes in which the Seven save the day.

Unlike the Marvel and DC cinematic universes, there is no ominous threat looming over the world, except the Seven themselves. The Seven is more about public relations than heroics. Starlight gets admonished after saving a woman from being raped because the footage from the CCTV camera shows her beating up two men.

Only when the woman comes out as the victim on social media does her approval rating skyrocket and she then receives praise from Madelyn Stillwell. Madelyn is the brains of Vought Industries, as she controls the Seven. She is the person selling superhero protection to cities. In the first example of backdoor deals and blackmail, Madelyn tries to sell the services of Nubian Prince to Baltimore for three hundred million dollars, although the deal is never finished.

Madelyn gets undercut on the price by the Baltimore politician as he mentions “Compound V,” which quickly ends the meeting. Later, the politician and his family are killed by Homelander on a plane. This series of events give the viewer the first sign that Homelander is a villain wearing a hero’s cape.

But that’s not the only villainous reveal, reading between the lines, this shows Vought’s superheroes services, like the modern military industrial complex, have the sole purpose of monetization and profit, not protecting freedom and the lives of its citizens. Which is why she is pushing to pass a bill that will give the Seven a military contract.

This is the first superhero show to have civilians as much the main characters as the heroes. Hughie, a smitten lovebird follows the path to becoming a Supe Killer after A-train, the fastest man alive, runs through Robin. Robin was Hughie’s girlfriend, so Vought tries to buy his silence with forty-five thousand dollars.

When his dad tries to convince him to take the money, he says, “You don’t have it in you,” before Hugh storms out of the room. Later Translucent, the “Supe” as he is making his escape, declares Hugh doesn’t have the gall to kill him. Hughie proves them both wrong and kills Translucent. From the trauma of loss, Hughie has now crossed a line into villainy, and the viewer can empathize with this villain’s origin story.

Compound V is the Boy’s insight into addiction, but also its super serum. It is revealed Compound V creates superheroes, but it is also used for highs.” It is disclosed that Homelander was the subject of human experimentation, and raised in a lab, his only human interaction being the doctors in charge of him.

This alludes to his dark side, including the murder of the politicians, letting an entire plane full of people die, and the eventual murder of Madelyn, having been caused by his upbringing. The doctor who raised him, whom he also killed, mentioned Homelander’s upbringing was his greatest failure, and Homelander’s actions support that claim.

It is also divulged that Homelander created a Super-Villain then destroyed a terrorist camp before framing them for creating this Super-Villain. His motive was to ensure Madelyn’s superhero bill gets passed. This revelation about Compound V was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Starlight.

Starlight and Hughie were dating throughout the season but broke up when she found out Hughie was a member of the Boys, the group that killed Translucent. After discovering the truth about Compound V, she changes her mind about the Seven as a whole, then saves Hughie from A-Train. In a twist, the viewer discovers A-train was on Compound V when he killed Robin.

A-Train’s addiction to Compound V leads to Robin, his girlfriend’s death at his hands, and eventually his near death. When another twist occurs, and Hughie saves A-train with CPR. This is a great parallel into the extreme lows addict’s will reach in the real world, and again humanizes these “Supes.”

The Boys was a wild ride from start to finish touching on political and social issues and the double-edged sword of superheroes existence in a war driven society. Collateral damage, sexism, and hidden political agendas are just a few ways this show parallels real life.

There are few characters and plotlines not mentioned in this article which lend to the quality of the Boys. The comic series differs in many ways, but also gives insight into some potential future storylines. This show has a bright future despite its’ dark tone. So, if you can handle a woman being sexually harassed, a man dying by oral sex, and a weird mom fetish, the Boys is a show you won’t want to miss, then decide if there are any heroes in this show.

Mike Hoff


On June 14, 2019, the last of the Marvel Netflix shows came out. Jessica Jones season 3 marks the end of a very short era where Marvel fans were treated to the adventures of the street level side of the Marvel Universe. I remember that first season being a breath of fresh air and another introduction into yet another part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

After Daredevil, this was the perfect follow up to the Marvel Netflix Universe. The super-powered detective, Jessica Jones, played by Kristen Ritter, displayed another street level hero dealing with everyday life. The Purple Man making the perfect villain and the tie in with Luke Cage all 13 episodes making the season worthwhile.

The second season wasn’t as well received. It included a drunk sex crazed Jessica Jones trying to come to terms with the ending of the first season, a return of her long thought dead mother who was murderous psychopath and best friend Patsy Walker, played by Rachael Taylor, just being an annoying pain in the butt want to be hero throughout the whole thing. Ritter’s angst-driven I’m a bad girl routine became old and trite real fast.

The only payoff was that Patsy Walker received the powers that would make her into the superhero Hellcat that we know from the comics. Or was it? Season 3 opens with Jessica Jones again dealing with the aftermath of the previous season. The death of her mother at the hands of her best friend has her even more of a loner than before. However, even though her pain she is discovering her new mission to be a hero.

Season 3 steps the detective reluctant hero back to her star status of season 1. You see the lead character back on a path of growth as she was in the first season. We get a Jessica Jones not only trying to see her full potential but actually living up to it. Ritter has come full circle and embraced her character. To help this progression the writers have taken the Jessica Jones storyline back to the noir detective that we saw a glimpse of in season 1.

As season 2 was filled with typical one-liners and hackneyed script writing to overcompensate how badass Jessica Jones is to the point whereby the 5 episode you were watching saying “ok, we get it she’s a drunk badass”. Season 3 showed a more compassionate side along with being that badass. There was a more vulnerable Jessica Jones that not only showed when she was mortally wounded but when the character consistently wanted to do the right thing no matter how much she wanted to revert to her old ways.

This was less about strength and fight scenes and more about solving the mystery and catching the bad guy legally and alive to face justice. The character development of the other supporting characters was well scripted and plotted out to give them all a fitting finish. Malcolm, played by Eka Darville, goes a total 360 from season 1. The drug-addicted loser who sometimes helps Jessica is now a successful detective in his own right.

He has made the biggest jump in 4 seasons with this last season dealing with his own demons and almost struggling the same as Jessica with being a hero and doing the right thing. Carrie-Ann Moss’ Jeri Hogarth is still trying to come to terms with her pending doom from ALS. She learns a valuable lesson as she attempts to use her money and manipulation to buy her happiness in her final years.

The twist in the Patsy Walker storyline elevates her from being one of the most annoying parts of season 2 to one of the most interesting components of season 3. The one element in all the Marvel Netflix series is the twist that happens sometime towards episode 7 or 8. Jessica Jones did not disappoint in the twist that Patsy takes a big part in. Taylor surprises on how invested she becomes in her character to pull off this twist.

As in any good crime drama superhero series you can’t pull off a good story without a better villain. Greg Sallinger, played by Jeremy Bobb, was that villain. Sallinger was a highly intelligent man who was always one step ahead of everyone. He was a psychotic mastermind that turned out to be more than a match for Jessica and her allies. That’s what made this season enjoyable for me. It wasn’t about strength because he was no match for our hero in that department. This became a battle of wits. A true detective story. Honestly, because of season 2, I was not happy that the Marvel Netflix Universe would end with Jessica Jones.

It wasn’t grand enough for me. I wanted to see more Luke Cage, Daredevil and Iron Fist. I wanted a Misty Knight and Colleen Wing series. I wanted to see another Defenders story with possibly the Punisher, Electra and Bullseye making appearances. There was more story to be told there. I wanted to see these characters stick around long enough to be included into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and, yes, I was one of the people who was hoping they would step out of a Dr Strange or Wong portal in Endgame). Even though I will not get to see any of those things, what I did see was a fitting ending that did not disappoint.

Let us know what you thought of Jessica Jones season 3 in your comments below. 

Kenny Walker Jr

Game of Thrones: King of Modern Television

Game of Thrones, one of the most popular television series of recent time, arguably all-time. This show is so popular, you can see MEMEs splattered over social media about people who DID not watch this epic fantasy saga. Now that it is over, apparently fanatics are seeking therapy. Not since The War of the Worlds has an entertainment broadcast traumatized viewers like Game of Thrones. Most fans watched for the dragons, sex, and violence. Personally, the best parts of Game of Thrones throughout the entire series was the dialogue, foreshadowing, and the repeated theme, history repeats itself.

Dragons were like the tenth best thing about Game of Thrones. This show shocked people into fandom from episode one, and never looked back. I can remember vividly when I first watched Jaime Lannister throw Bran out of the window. First was the big risk they took with the adulterous, incest scene between Cersei and Jaime Lannister. Its shock value seemed diminished seconds later with an act of attempted murder when a “Knight” pushed a child from the window. I was instantly hooked, wondering how they would “WOW” me next. From Ned Stark’s beheading in Season One to the Red Wedding to Jon Snow being killed by the Night’s Watch to Cersei blowing up the High Septon, their fanbase jaw’s would drop week after week.

Its opening scene was as detailed as the show. If they showed Winterfell, you knew you would see a Stark trying to do the right thing. Kings Landing, a Lannister plotting their next malicious move. In Essos, Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons, while Beyond the Wall meant the White Walkers are coming. This show was as much about the villain’s journey as it was the hero’s journey, and these evil characters were just as appealing in their own villainous ways. Game of Thrones specialty was creating characters so enthralling and dynamic, fans were as excited to see how the story of B characters played out, not just main characters. “Secondary” characters like The Hound, Tormund, a wildling from Beyond the Wall who wound up as one of John Snow’s most loyal friends.

Bronn of the Blackwater, the man was promised a castle early in the series, and the fanbase was all over social media. Gendry, a King’s bastard was almost sacrificed but was set free by Sir Davos then disappeared for seasons. Again social media wondered if he was still rowing. So the show gave back, when Sir Davos, the World’s Best Smuggler,  says “I thought you might still be rowing.” This is an example of a show giving back to its loyal fandom. The villains of this show captivated audiences with their cruelty. Season after season, there were villains we loved to hate. After the first few seasons, Joffrey Baratheon seemed like the vilest character, until Ramsey Bolton was introduced, then Joffrey’s sadism seemed like amateur hour.

Hearts stopped when the Night King, the White Walkers magical leader, turned the dead Wildlings and Northmen at Hardhome before the survivor’s very eyes, but his evil was nothing compared to the heinous acts committed by the Mad Queens, Cersei Lannister and The Dragon Queen in the end. Who was the most clever man in Westeros? It Varys. You could always count on Littlefinger, the most conniving, Varys, the Master of Whispers and Tyrion Lannister, who drank and knew things to deliver the wittiest conversations. Littlefinger and Varys’ deceptive schemes were consistently moving plot points and keeping fans guessing their true motives, while Tyrion stole the show with his witty banter just about every scene. Often he was the comic relief surrounded by the most malicious characters.

The fun didn’t stop with the show for Game of Thrones fans. In between seasons, the fandom would spend countless hours creating their own theories about the show, or scouring Youtube to hear theories about the future fate of their favorite characters and storylines. Some of which turned out to be correct. One in particular, “R + L= J,” Rhaegar Targaryen plus Lyanna Stark equals Jon Snow, was an underlying theme for the entire series. These also ranged from Bran as the Night King, the world was in a Giant’s eyeball, and the story was being told by Samwell Tarly decades after these events occurred. While most of the theories turned out to be wrong, fans would not have concocted them if Game of Thrones didn’t do so many things right.

This show is not without its flaws. There were storylines abandoned and unanswered, like the mysterious Quaithe that knew everything about the Dragon Queen, yet was only in two episodes. Flaws like Melisandre, a century-year-old Red Priestess that turned old when she took off her magic necklace in one scene but was still young while wearing it with another scene. Then there was the issue with the CGI cost of the direwolves, and their lack of appearances. And of course, the war scenes. First, fans were unhappy because they didn’t show wars early on, just the aftermath. Then the dreaded “Too Dark” final battle between the White Walkers and The Greatest Army the World has Ever Seen. One of the last seasons many perceived flaws in the eyes of Game of Thrones fans.

There is actually a petition with over one million signatures to have the last season rewritten. So Game of Thrones is not above reproach from its fanatics. Complaints include lazy writing, as the majority of the last episode was callbacks to various scenes scattered throughout the seasons. Some felt character arcs were abandoned in lazy manners, such as the death scene of Jaime and Cersei Lannister. Three of the most pivotal, Arya Stark kills the Night King, Jon Snow kills Daenerys, and Bran the Broken being named King, were absolutely hated by millions because fans believe it was forced just to surprise the fans. I am part of the 1% of Game of Thrones fans that enjoyed the final season. While it had its obvious flaws, so does every television show and every movie. Any flaws I could point out are simply nitpicking.

The war with the White Walkers was too dark, yet the majority of war scenes in any genre film or television show are essentially impossible to follow. I have never cried while watching a television show. But Game of Thrones last season brought me as close as I’ve ever been when Jon Snow killed Daenerys. I fist pumped when they named Bran the Broken King of Westeros and literally leapt out of my seat when Arya killed the Night King. I especially loved the final episode because it was a callback filled episode. Characters, story arcs, and scene settings went full circle. Game of Thrones started with three men entering the North and ended with the King Beyond the Wall, Aegon Targaryen, formerly known as Jon Snow walking into the true North to start a new kingdom. 

I feel bad for the millions of fans disappointed with the last season, it is a shame so many did not enjoy the end of their favorite show.

But they are only that upset because Game of Thrones climbed the ladder to become the King of Modern Television.

Mike Hoff