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Marvel Legends – Smart Hulk Wave – Loki (Comic)

I’m not super keen on Loki’s comic book look. He’s a little too, court jester in style for my liking. Still, he’s kind of a big part of the whole Thor and Asgardian world, being Thor’s brother and all, so not having a Loki to go with my other Asgardians was kind of a hole in need of filling. Plus, frankly, I kind of wanted everyone else in the wave.

I’m sure someone who keeps better track than I do would know which “buck” this is, but it’s pretty much just “Bulky dude in spandex”. The figure is honestly pretty basic overall, though it does match his look. The best part of this figure is the most unique part, specifically the head with the cheese eating grin. The face is goofy and fun. I do kind of hate how his pony tail is permanently swooshy in style.

Loki is the God of Mischief after all.

The only accessory he includes in a sword. I am kind of surprised he doesn’t have a cape or anything, I guess this costume design just doesn’t have one. Some extra hands could have helped flesh out the package as well.

I don’t have much else to say about this figure, he’s a notable character, but it’s just such a boring design.


Captain Marvel (2019) – Review

Spoiler Free Thoughts and Review

Infinity War and Endgame are, not surprisingly, coming out very close to each other.  At least when compared to the previous Avengers outings they are close to each other.   This is kind of understandable given how disruptive the end of Infinity War was.  Even Agents of SHIELD essentially took a prolonged break to wait for things to be fixed.  A couple of films have squeezed in between, both featuring things that will likely show up prominently in Avengers End Game.  The first was Ant-Man and the Wasp, which according to the post credits scene, effectively happens simultaneously along side Avengers Infinity War.

Captain Marvel gets around this problem by taking place in the past.  Only the credits scene happens during “present day”.  This is kind of a first for Marvel films which have always taken place “Present day”.  Captain America: The First Avenger got around this by having it’s current day scene happen at the end of the film after Steve wakes up from his long cold sleep.

The core of the film is an origin story for Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, aka Vers (pronounced Veers).  The majority of the film takes place in the mid 90s with some flashbacks to Carol’s past life 6 years previous.  It sort of mixes up the standard “origin” concept this way since it doesn’t just start with “here is how she got her powers” then “here is how she learns to be a hero”, which is nice.  Her original also ties heavily into the plot itself.

The real show stealers of this film are Samuel L. Jackson, who plays a CGIed younger version of himself as Nick Fury, and Carol’s cat Goose.  Ben Mendelsohn also does a pretty good job as the Skrull leader Talos throughout the film.  There are some good funny bits, mostly involving one or more of these three characters though it’s not a constant joke like Guardians of the Galaxy.

So how is the movie?  It’s… alright.  There has been some controversy with the film getting brigaded with negative reviews on review sites.  It’s not the best Marvel film by any stretch, but it’s certainly not god awful like some of these “ratings” suggest.  It’s like a pretty solid 7/10 or so probably.

Synopsis and Spoilers

The film opens with Carol, at this point known as Vers (Veers), living on the Kree home world and training with Yon-Rogg to join an elite Kree Commando force known as the Starforce.  We get a brief look at how she has no memory of her past but has dreams of it occasionally through a brief dream sequence where she is injured on the ground along side Annette Benning’s character and being attacked by a Skrull.  The Starforce and Kree are at war with the Skrulls.  The Kree should be fairly familiar to anyone following the MCU, they have showed up in a few movies and the Agents of SHIELD show quite a bit.  The Skrulls are new to the MCU though.  Basically, they are tricky aliens who can shapeshift.  It’s not a plot element in the movie but Super Skrulls can also replicate the abilities of super heroes.

Anyway, Vers gets summoned to meet with the Supreme Intelligence, leader of the Kree, who takes the form of “something important to each individual”.  In the case of Vers, it takes the form of Annette Benning.  Vers is recruited into Starforce and the little party of fighters head off on a mission to rescue someone on a Skrull planet.  They arrive, we get to see the Starforce in action a bit when they are ambushed by Skrulls, and Vers heads into a base alone to look for the hostage.  It turns out it’s a trap and the hostage is a Skrull, and Vers is taken captive.

We get a few flashes of her past again, as the Skrulls scan her memory for information.  They find a memory of Vers and Annette Benning together on an airfield on Earth, after reviewing the memory several times they discern the location of the airfield.  Around this time Vers manages to break free of the system and starts fighting her way out of the Skrull ship.  She escapes as the ship explodes and crash lands in a Blockbuster video on Earth.

This brings up my first kind of problem here, we later find out she was out for a few hours, but it’s not really explained when the Skrulls traveled to Earth from wherever they were.  I mean, obviously it happened, but the way it was presented felt a little random and convenient. 

After using the Earth’s phone system and some Kree technology, Vers manages to contact Yon-Rogg and sets out to find out why the Skrulls were looking for Annette Benning.  Not before being confronted by SHIELD and Nick Fury, with Agent Coulson in tow as a rookie agent.  Fury doesn’t seem to quite believe Vers’ story about aliens and Skrulls and Kree.  They are interrupted by an attack by a Skrull whom Vers chases down on foot with Fury and Coulson pursuing in a car.  Vers fights with the Skrull a bit on an elevated train as the SHIELD agents follow on along behind.  Fury gets a call on the radio of his car from Coulson, who wonders where everyone went from the Blockbuster, which alerts Fury that Coulson in the car isn’t who he thinks it is.  After a brief fight he wrecks his car, killing the Skrull who reverts back to his normal form.  Vers loses the Skrull she was following in a crowd. 

After changing to some normal clothes from her fancy Kree suit, Carol takes to searching the internet for clues about Annette Benning’s whereabouts.  Coulson gets some information on the Skrull body at the SHIELD base before, in classic Fury fashion, showing up randomly to talk to Vers.  Since he now believes her story, they agree to team up to figure out what’s going on and head to a secret base where Annette Benning was working.  In the base they find that the person they are looking for has been dead for years.  They also find a cat that appeared previously in Vers’ memories and some information on the Light Speed drive that had been worked on there.  Vers also discovers that she is in a photo of the test experimental test plane.

Meanwhile, Fury has contacted SHIELD to let them know where he was, only it turns out that his boss has been replaced by a Kree.  In a bit of a clever bit, he discovers this when his boss calls him “Nick” instead of “Fury”.  He previously made a huge point to Vers that no one calls him anything but Fury.  No one.  He tricks the Skrull into splitting up by commenting “Just like in Haiti”, which I only mention as it comes up again later.

Anyway, Fury reunited with Vers, who is not happy at all about him alerting SHIELD to their location.  There is a brief battle before they escape in a Quadjet, which looks a lot like a bulkier and older model Quinjet.  They discover that the cat managed to stow away with them on board the jet.  They set off to visit Maria Rambeau, who was listed as the last person to see Vers alive in her past life. 

It turns out Maria was best friend to Vers in her past life.  They bond, we learn that Vers is from Earth (which we all kind of expected given the flashbacks).  We learn that her name isn’t Vers, it’s Carol Danvers.  There is a half a dog tag that reads “Carol Dan” on it.  Carol had a jacket that apparently Maria’s daughter wears sometimes.  Maria is a little town since she is happy her friend is alive and a little irritated that she was off on another planet. 

This is all interrupted by the arrival of Talos, the Skrull commander, now in his normal Skrull form.  He wants a truce, and to talk, and to reveal… the plot twist.  It turns out that Annette Benning wasn’t human, but was a Kree scientist known as Mar-Vell.  He plays back a recording of the crash Carol was involved in, the one that’s he had been dreaming about.  Mar-Vell and Carol are piloting the experimental craft and get shot down by some alien craft.  Only instead of being attacked by Skrulls, it turns out she had been attacked by Yon-Rogg.  The Kree were the ones after the Light Speed Drive all along, not the Skrulls.  During the confrontation, Mar-Vell had revealed her secret to Carol.  Carol then fires a Kree weapon at the Light Speed drive, causing it to explode.  Somehow the energy is absorbed into Carol’s body.  Seeing this power, Yon-Rogg abducts her, her memory is wiped, and she is recruited to Starforce.  We also see him pick up the other half of the dog tag which reads only “vers”, which was the missing half of “Carol Danvers” on the complete dog tag, and the reason she is called “Vers” early on.

Carol is a little pissed that she has been lied to of course. 

This recording also leads to the secret coordinates that aren’t on the Earth, but are actually in orbit around Earth.  The Skrulls modify the Quadjet for spaceflight and they all (Carol, Fury, Talos, Maria, the Cat) head into space.  Once there they discover Mar-Vell’s secret cloaked space station, which, surprise, contains a bunch of Skrull refugees.  Specifically, Talos’ family, who had been working with Mar-Vell.  It also contains the source of power that the Kree are after in the Tesseract Cube.  Carol gives the Tesseract to Fury for safe keeping, or specifically, Goose the Cat eats is with a bunch of tentacles that spew out of it’s mouth, because it’s not a cat it’s a Flurgen. 

The Starforce squad shows up and use an implant in Carol’s head to force her to power down.  Carol is then, once again, confronted by the Supreme Intelligence.  The Skrulls and Fury and Maria are locked up.  Carol confronts the Supreme intelligence who kind of taunts her about how weak she is.  This pretty much causes her to overcome the implant and unleash her full power.  She wipes the floor with the Starforce Squad.  Meanwhile, Talos has disguised himself as a Starforce grunt, and alerts Fury with a comment about Haiti, which is once again, kind of clever.  They overpower their captors and escape with the Skrulls to the Quadjet.  Along the way we get to see more of Goose’s true power as the Cat eats several of the guard whole.

Carol and Yon-Rogg blast out of the station in a shuttle, but not before Ronan arrives to cleanse the Earth of it’s Skrull infestation.  His starships launch several missiles at the planet.  Carol uses her newfound Super Saiyan powers to fly into space, destroying the missiles along the way and easily dispatching one of Ronan’s ship.  Ronan turns tail and exits the area to go off and get killed by the Guardians of the Galaxy later.

Carol returns to the surface to confront Yon-Rogg.  Realizing he is no match for her, he goads her into proving she can fight him with no powers, but she blasts him anyway.  Because she is “the hero” she tosses him into the escape pod, programs it to head back to the Kree home world and tells him to let the Kree know she is coming for them.

She says her goodbyes to Fury and Maria, leaving the Goose and the Tesseract with SHIELD.  She makes it her mission to help the Skrulls find a new home world and to combat the Kree, and she leaves with the Skrulls to parts unknown.  Before leaving she leaves Fury with the modified pager he can use to summon her in case of emergency.

There are two end credits scenes.  One with the Avengers in Avengers HQ, lamenting their loss at the hands of Thanos and pondering the meaning of the Pager, which was activated by Fury at the end of Infinity War.  The pager has mysteriously stopped sending a signal and they don’t know why.  Suddenly, they turn and a very angry looking Carol is there, and asks ‘Where’s Fury”.

The second scene shows Fury’s desk, Goose jumps up on the desk.  Anyone who has owned a cat can probably predict what happens next in the context of the film, I know I did.  I mean cats like to eat things they shouldn’t like plants, or Tesseracts, but these things don’t really flow through the digestive tract.  Goose starts hacking and coughing before ejecting the tesseract out onto the desk.  It’s pretty funny.

How it’s Connected

So, there’s a fair amount of connected here, but the biggest and most obvious is the Tesseract which first appeared in Captain America: TFA and later in the first Avengers film.  It also made a brief appearance in Thor: Ragnarok, since after Avengers it was stored in Asgard, where it was saved from Ragnaros by Loki.  Then again in the opening for Avengers: infinity War where it was taken by Thanos and inserted into the Infinity Gauntlet as the Space Stone.

The Tesseract is shown to be the source of power for the Light Speed drive that was being developed by Mar-Velle which exploded and infused Carol with her super powers.  It makes sense that this would be able to power a super powered space engine since it’s the Space Stone, which has the ability to let the user travel across space.

Fury gets his eye scratched out by the cat Goose, which is supposed to explain why he has an eye patch in the future.  It’s kind of cute since it’s bad ass Nick Fury and you expect it to have happened by something more than a cat.  In this same line, it’s a little lame, because you expected it to be more than a cat.  Ok, technically Goose is a Flurgen or whatever.

Near the end of the film, the Kree general Ronan makes a brief appearance.  His small fleet of ships shows up to destroy Earth but are stopped by Captain Marvel when she goes Super Saiyan.  Ronin, you may recall was the primary antagonist of the first Guardians of the Galaxy.  He isn’t the only character to show up in Captain Marvel from GotG, Korath (“Star-Lord Man”; “Who?”) shows up as well as a member of the Kree Star Force squad that Carol is a part of.

Then of course there is Agent Coulson, whom Fury refers to as “Rookie”.  His roll isn’t very big but it’s nice to see him show up again in the films and not just Agents of SHIELD.

There is also a slightly cheesy brief bit at the end that implies Fury got the name for The Avengers from Carol’s pilot nickname of “Avenger”.

Then of course the credits scene, where Carol answers the call of her pager sent out by Fury at the end of Infinity War, and shows up looking rather pissed.

One other note that may or may not become relevant later, Carol’s friend has a daughter named Monica Rambeau.  She is like 10 maybe in the film.  She carried the Captain Marvel mantle in the comics briefly, and even lead the Avengers briefly.  I doubt she elevates to that level in the MCU, but she may show up again “present day” as an adult.  She is also a member of the slightly niche with a cult following group Nextwave.  I would be pretty happy if they opted to make a Nextwave film.

Thoughts on what’s next

Captain Marvel will show up again alongside the Avengers in the next film, Avengers: Endgame.  Her massive power level will definitely be a strong addition to whatever fight happens in that film.  I look forward to seeing her go toe to toe with Thanos.  I also wonder how well she will play with the rest of the characters.  In her own movie here, she comes off as pretty single track on her goals.  I can see her showing up, discovering what has happened to Fury and everyone else, and jetting off to beat the shit out of Thanos as soon as she discovers his location, despite protests from anyone else (Steve Rodgers). 

I can also see her getting along with Thor in interesting ways.  Thor already outclasses all of the other Avengers in power level, which became supremely clear in infinity War, but I feel like Carol may actually be stronger than he is in a straight fight. 

Final Notes

There isn’t a lot of the larger picture that is advanced here, but it does introduce us to a new hero which will add a new dynamic to things going forward.  The film does a fairly decent job of sort of explaining where Carol has been since her time in the 90s and the present day time.  So far, nothing has happened that would have given Fury cause to summon her before either.  The invasion of New York was handled by the Avengers and Ultron was a problem, but not one that he really knew about until last minute, and once again, the Avengers managed to keep it under control.  Ultimately, it’s a nice introduction, but it’s kind of unnecessary in the grand scheme of things.

Mafex – Gwenpool

So, I don’t really do “Figure of the Year” stuff, but if I did, Mafex Gwenpool would very likely be my “Figure of the Year”.  I can’t express how worried I was about this figure leading up tot he release.  All of the previous Mafex figures I have picked up had some sort of issue, most often, arms or heads that don’t stay attached well.  The sculpts on the figures are all great, but the quality is a little dodgy.  I’ve mentioned before that as much as I like Mafex being cheaper than say, Figuarts, I wish they would accept a bump in cost if it meant they had better quality control.  It seems like this is starting to be the case across the board, because I’ve noticed a bump in the price on their figures, but I have also noticed that the join tolerance issues are pretty much going away.

So onto Gwenpool. Some brief background on the character, who isn’t a Deadpool spin off or a really even a Gwen Stacy/Spiderverse character.  Recently, Spider-Gwen has become a popular new character in Marvel comics.  She’s essentially an alternate universe iteration of Spider-Man, where Gwen Stacy was bit by the spider instead of Peter Parker.  At one point, Marvel did a series of parody covers as sort of a riff on Spider-Gwen, with Gwen Stacy as other heroes, like Thor, or the Avengers, or, Deadpool.  The Deadpool version ended up being popular enough that it was made into it’s own parody comic, though Gwenpool is not Gwen Stacy as Deadpool, she is Gwendolyn Poole, a new character.

Confused yet?

So, anyway, Gwenpool, is supposed to be a normal comic fan person from “the real world” that was sucked into the Marvel Comics universe.  She has no actual super powers aside from an encyclopedic knowledge of Marvel characters, all of their super powers, weaknesses, secret identities, etc.  She uses this “ability” to sort of extort her way into becoming a mercenary in the Marvel Universe after getting some training from Captain America punching bag, Batroc the Leaper.

I mean, I already said it’s “Figure of the Year”, I’m not sure how much more praise I can give it than that.  The previous Marvel Legends is… not great.  It’s an ok toy, but the likeness is so off it’s may as well be a different character.  The Marvel Legends went for a sort of realistic look that just comes across as being some sort of weird midlife crisis old woman or something, the Mafex absolutely captures the essence of the stylized Gwenpool look.

She includes a bunch of fun accessories.  She has a pair of Katanas, two masked and one unmasked head with separate “hood down” part, a cell phone, and a couple of animal themed backpacks.  She also has a bunch of alternative hand options.  The handles on the Katanas in the back are also removable, which I mostly want to mention because mine were in very tight and I wasn’t sure they were.  One more minor complaint,t he only “holding” hangs she has are made for her Katanas, so she can’t really hold any other weapons (guns) from other figures very well.  She does tent to use other weapons at times.  You can sort of balance other things in her open palm hands, but the effect isn’t real super great.

The poseability is very good as well.  Between the joints and the alternative hands and heads, there is such a great range of action and emotion that can be expressed by this figure, which is great.  It’s just a very fun design which translates over to a very fun figure.

I have some other minor complaints.  The worst offense is that she really needed a second unmasked head (there is one coming with the upcoming Evil Gwenpool figure).  Basically just the smiling mouth on the unmasked head.  The unmasked head also had some iffy paint app choices, mostly on the mouth, though I’ve seen some light touch ups done by folks that really improved it.  I also kind of hate that she can’t wear the animal backpacks and the sword backpack at the same time.  Not a huge issue, but it would have been a nice addition.

I don’t have a lot to say about this figure, but it’s really a great figure.  The only real problem with it is that there are some who really dislike Gwenpool as a character.  Which is understandable, she is, by design, a little obnoxious.  Her whole shtick isn’t really meant to be a serious world shattering story like other heroes.  It’s pulling up F list nobodies like Batroc the Leaper and doing goofy stories with them.

(PS, Scooter not included, I just got it for her to use in the same order).

Review – Marvel Legends – First Ten Years – Ant-Man (Ant-Man and Yellowjacket)

Unlike Thor, Ant-Man did get a dedicated wave during the time of his movie.  It just, only had one movie figure in it, Ant-Man, and the rest of the wave was Ant-Man themed comic characters, sort of, the 3 villains of the wave weren’s Ant-Man villains.  the Build a Figure was AoE Ultron, though in the comics Hank Pym built Ultron, not Tony Stark.  Anyway, the point is, there wasn’t a Yellowjacket figure, comic or otherwise.  Marvel has seriously shied away from doing figures of the movie villains for whatever reason.  This set remedies that problem.

It also remedies another problem.  The MCU Ant-Man figure we got for the first movie had a horribly inaccurate head.  It was based on some pre-production art or something, because the head had a visible human mouth and the breather unit was attached to the chin.  In the movie, Paul Rudd’s face isn’t visible while he is in the suit.  The head for this set is more accurate to the movie’s design.  There is also an unmasked Paul Rudd head as well.  It’s different than the one from the recent Ant-Man and the Wasp version, with the goofy smirk.  Unfortunately, the heads are not cross compatible, they use entirely different pegs.  I have no idea why Hasbro hasn’t standardized the head pegs.  It seems like it could only be a win for the on the production side, since it would mean easier parts reuse, and it would mean for easier head swaps for people who buy the figures.

Aside from the heads, the An-Man is essentially identical to the original release.  The red parts have a bit of extra texturing to them, but it’s the same sculpt otherwise.  Including the slightly weird hands.  The better Ant-Man is nice, but the real winner of this set is Yellowjacket.  It’s nice to see Hasbro finally pushing a lot of the villains from the MCU out, because they all had some really nice designs and having someone for the hero to fight is always good.

The figure itself is pretty much what you’d expect.  It’s similar to the Ant-Man in that it’s a little stiff and clunky in design, but a lot of the MCU figures fall into this bucket, it fits with the “realistic” look and style though, so it’s not a huge problem.  The fun part is his backpack and the pair of stingers hanging off of it.  There are several extra joints to let them pose in several different ways, though it kind of feels like there could be a few more joints to make it perfect.  It holds to his back well though and does the job.  He generally looks pretty menacing and matches the movie design well.  The upper stinger pylon things don’t have any joints though, which is kind of a bummer.  He also doesn’t have an unmasked Corey Stoll head, which is kind of a bummer, though I don’t recall him ever wearing the suit without the helmet either.

The set also includes a set of micro sized Ant-Man and Yellowjacket figures.  They are the same ones included with the original Ant-Man release with marginally better paint.  It’s a nice extra bit but nothing super amazing.  The mini figures don’t even really stand on their own or anything.

So, unlike the Thor and Sif set, this set has a much broader appeal.  Ant-Man is a much more well received film than the Thor movies and the re-release figure is a definite improvement over it’s original release, so it feels like less of toss aside item than the Thor.  Yellowjacket is also a nice figure with a little more play value than Sif.  It’s a good set overall.

The Inhumans – Season 1 – The End

Yeah, I skipped a few of these.  I just didn’t really feel compelled to write much about the last few episodes.  I really tried to like this, and really wanted to, and I was pretty excited to know there was an Inhumans movie/show coming for the longest time.  The actual product was just so… underwhelming.  I can retread some of the problems I’ve mentioned previously.  The complete lack of super powers.  The unlikable characters almost universally across the board.  The constant retreading of the plot itself about oppression of the people, blah blah.  Maybe a little more showing and a little less talking next time.

It seems that this show was apparently done by the same guy who did Iron Fist, and I can certainly see that.  I didn’t hate Iron Fist like a lot of folks did, but it is definitely the weakest of the Netflix shows for a lot of the same reasons.  The best parts of Iron Fist were all the parts involving the Hand.  Everything with the Meachums and all the bull shit around Rand Corp, that was boring and repetitive and lame.  Basically, once again, too much boring talking among unlikable characters, not enough super powers and action.

You can also contrast The Inhumans with the other currently running super hero series, The Gifted, which is a little light on the powers, and uses a lot of “non effects” powers like memory alteration and invisibility, but it still manages to keep up action and keep things moving.  I think my biggest probblem with this show is that it felt like nothing happened.  We got 8 episodes, but it was 8 episodes of the Royal Family wandering in the woods and 8 episodes of Maximus talking about how he wants to save the people.  Contrast this with something like, Agent Carter, which had this mini series slot on ABC before, where all sorts of crazy things happened and the plot kept moving along and building.

Even with 8 episodes we really just don’t get much out of the characters.  Block Bolt spends the entire series looking grumpy.  Medusa just comes off as a push bitch for the most part.  Crystal pretty much just escorts the dog around, Gorgon and Karnak have some weird undertones to their relationship going on but it’s not clear if they are just in a  great buddies romance or if the writer’s just didn’t want to deal with gay mixed couple space alien romance.

Almost all of the human characters of the series ended up being throwaways, though bootleg Felicity Smoak has some potential to maybe transcend into SHIELD or something.  I doubt it but she’s one of the more likeable characters in the series.

As for the last few episodes, Gorgon gets killed then revived through a second Terra Genesis which causes him to go kind of crazy.  Everyone returns to Attilan where Maximus has wired the place to be destroyed if he dies.  The Royal Family urgently tries to evacuate the city, which seems to be deserted anyway, I mean maybe some more shots of a panicked populations or something would help.  For all the talk of “The people” in this show, we barely get to see them at all.

Oh and Triton shows up, kind of randomly.  You know, that guy that fish guy Gorgon was supposed to find in Episode 1.  He’s just sort of another Karnak, in the sense of he does some martial arts occasionally and is bald (and green).  Ultimately though, nothing is really resolved in the series.  Everyone sort of does things, and stuff happens, but there feels like there isn’t any purpose to the actions being taken.  There’s just something missing here, and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Someone is optimistic about the future of the show however.  There wasn’t really any resolution as to what happened to Maximus or Attilan, he’s trapped there and the place is sort of collapsing but never really dies.  There was some sort of weird glowing thing happening on the throne itself, but we don’t know what.  There’s mention of some sort of larger enemy, but no details given.  The Inhumans are all on Earth now to start anew, maybe in a new hidden city or just by blending in with the population.  What I’m saying is, there was a lot of set up for more, I just, seriously doubt there will BE more, given how poorly this show has gone over.

The Inhumans – S01E05 – Something Inhuman Comes This Way

So, I was wrong last week,  I guess the Inhuman that Blackbolt and Medusa captured wasn’t the one who controls plants but an Inhuman named Locus, who uses echolocation to find people.  They did leave the other Inhuman from the prison behind though, which wasn’t super clear, because now Mortis has him captive.

A lot of this episode focuses on Karnak and the resolution of his story line.  Last episode had Karnak being intimate with the girl from the pot farm, which seemed to trigger the guy running the place because he shot his partner.  Things open up this week continuing this plot line, only now Karnak is in the gun’s sites.  Karnak and his girlfriend escape but she ends up shot int he process.  They are somewhat rescued when the dude chasing them gets called off by his bosses who are on the way to pick up the drugs.  The drug lord, for lack of anything better to call him, ends up shooting the pot farmer and sends his goons off to capture Karnak to tie up loose ends.  Ultimately Karnak and his girlfriend get captured.

Meanwhile both Gorgon and Black Bolt’s group are both heading towards Karnak’s location.  Gorgon is alone so there’s not much going on with that front but Black Bolt, Medusa and Locus are having a sort of heart to heart discussion about how most of the Inhumans are upset about the caste system.  Locus is unhappy that her “purpose” is to find things and that’s all she gets to do, though she wants to do more.  She keeps telling Black Bolt that he needs to be a better leader.  Medusa points out that Maximus isn’t any better, since he’s also just using her to find the Royal Family.

There are a few vague flashback sequences, between Karnak and Gorgon.  Basically how Gorgon is always screwing things up and Karnak is always picking up the pieces.  It feels a little hamfisted and ends up sort of being a set up for later int he show when Gorgon gets to rescue Karnak and fix Karnak’s problems.  I think the biggest issue I have with all of this is that it’s very sudden.  Like the whole point is to sort of show the relationship between Karnak and Gorgon, in the past.  It just doesn’t work super well given how segregated all of the characters have been.  I kind of feel like this is one of the biggest problems I’ve had with this show.  The main characters never interact with each other.  Instead they interact with all of these random humans, random humans that feel more like obstacles than characters.

Anyway, Gorgon frees Karnak and during their escape they reunite with Blackbolt and Medusa.  Karnak’s girlfriend suggests that they need to leave and she will stay behind to get the police to arrest the drug lord and his crew.  Also, apparently during the run up to their encounter, Locus got shot, because she decides to die very suddenly, I guess her usefulness was exhausted.  Just another example of how forced a lot of the events on this show are starting to feel.

We also get a few bits of Crystal bonding with her human friend and Auran reuniting with Mortis and planning to hold the Doctor hostage in order to draw out Blackbolt.

I’m kind of starting to feel glad this show isn’t going to be long running.  I kind of like the idea but I’m not really liking the execution here much.  I’m hoping, now that everyone is together again, we’ll get more interaction and things will get better.  We still have a bunch of kind of powerless super powered folks.  Karnak still doesn’t have his foresight abilities, Medusa is still shaved, Black Bolt still can’t speak without obliterating everyone.

I still kind of feel like the future of this show is pretty obvious.  After the group reunites with Crystal and Lockjaw, after dealing with Auran and crew, they will return to the moon.  Maybe Maximus has managed to get powers via the Doctor, but essentially Black Bolt will just return and probably be a better king, after having some new experiences.  It feels kind of predictable and I don’t really see any other direction or twists, especially given the limited time left.

The Inhumans – S01E03 – Divide and Conquer

After a bit of a real life out of town trip, I’m a little behind on a few things, but I’m still here for an Inhumans Write up on Episode 3.

So, just a random side note, somewhere between the first couple of episodes sand this third episode, everyone figured out how to use their wrist band comm links without pulling them off and talking into them.  Something that seemed kind of weird in the first few episodes.  Also apparently Hawaii is full of secret criminals.  The guys Gorgon palled up with int he first episode are all pretty well armed and Karnak stumbles upon a group of edgy land squatters growing a bunch of pot in the forest.

Auran, Maximus’ enforcer continues her hunt for the group on Earth, starting with Gorgon.  Maxumis sends her a few reinforcements including a mysterious Inhuman named Mortis who wears a mask has glowey eyes and generally comes off as extra sinister.  They track Grogon into and obvious trap, and after a short fight Mortis steps in and reveals his power, some sort of Cyclop-esque blast from his eyes/face.  Gorgon freaks out and flees with his newfound friends.

Meanwhile, Medusa gets a change of clothes after practicing her breaking and entering skills, during the process she find a news paper with Black Bolt on the front page, giving her some much needed direction on where to search.  It’s too bad that a kingdom with fancy wrist communicators doesn’t have a text messaging system in place for it’s mute King to use.  Maybe this mess could have all been avoided.  Instead Black Bolt gets to sit around in prison.  he is befriended by another prisoner, who is operating under the order of another mysterious person who seems to be pretty well off.  The guards are angry at Black Bolt’s assault of police officers previously, and are doing their best to encourage the other inmates to harass him.  Unfortunately their plan doesn’t work out as the prisoners are all pretty happy about the cops getting beat up.  The guards instead antagonize Black Bolt directly, which results in a prison riot.  during the ensuing chaos, Black Bolt escapes with the help of his new friend, who reveals that he too is an Inhuman by melting a door.  They both escape in a helicopter with the mysterious rich guy just as Medusa arrives to watch them fly off.

Up in the kingdom of Attilan, Maximus basically orders Crystal to give a speech supporting him as king.  She blows him off, pretty expectedly, and she disables the guards before running off to make an off world exit along with Lockjaw.  Man, Lockjaw is terrible at his one job.  He just sort of teleports people to the general vicinity of where he needs to go.

So, you can kind of get an idea of where things are going, maybe.  The Royal Family spends some time on Earth and hopefully become better rulers as a result.  Maximus wants to be the voice of the people, but he’s kind of going about things in a very jackass sort of manner.  Some of the brief flashbacks we see suggest that Black Bolt didn’t really want to be king, meanwhile Maximus, who’s Inhuman power is apparently being Human, really wants to be king.  This story sounds kind of familiar, I’m not quite sure where from, I see something about a Thunder God and his Trixster brother, but I can’t quite place it.

Speaking of Thor actually, a lot of Thor takes queues from Norse Mythology.  Thor, Loki, Asguard, etc.  I know it’s based on the comics, but you can really tell there was, at some point, some sort of kooky generational change in the Inhumans story.  While Inhumans is more freshly in the spotlight of Marvel, it’s an older comic.  But you get names like Medusa, Maximus, Gorgon, Triton etc, that all clearly are listed from Greek mythology, but then you get names like Black Bolt, Crystal, and Lockjaw, that are all just sort of, goofy hero names.  Black Bolt’s name doesn’t even have anything to do with his power.  I suppose maybe the other good Greek names were taken (Heracles, Colossus, Cyclops, etc).  i don’t know, but I feel like there was an original Unhumans story that had all of these Greek names, then later they added new characters with these other names.

I’m still enjoying the show, but I can see where a lot of the complaints people have come from.  Almost none of the characters are likeable heroes, or relate-able in any real way.  All of the Royal Family is blindly loyal to Black Bolt who, if Maximus is to be believed is kind of a tyrant, though he seems likable enough.  He kind of keeps beating up cops and prison guards but he also is kind of out of his element a bit.  It’s not super clear what Maximus’ end game is if any one of these characters make it back to Attilan, he’s not really a match versus any of them, even with his guards.  Now that Lockjaw is back in play it shouldn’t take long for them to make a return either.

 

The Inhumans – S01E01&02 – Ramsay Snow is at it Again Edition

Despite that it seems the critics don’t care for it, I’ve been looking forward to The Inhumans premier for a while.  I’m not an expert on the subject, but from what I’ve looked into, there are essentially two kind of Inhumans in the Marvel Universe.  Well, they are all the same thing but sort of two factions.  There’s the descendants of Inhumans who were once on Earth, they turn unexpectedly when exposed to Terrigin.  In the comic this happened when a mist enveloped the world, in Agents of SHIELD this happened when the Earth’s water supply got contaminated.    In the MCU, these are Inhumans from Agents, Quake, Yo-yo, Hellfire, etc.

There’s also the descendants of the Inumans who fled earth years ago, living on the moon.  The Inhumans show deals with these Inhumans, specifically, the Inhumans Royal Family.  Black Bolt and Medusa are the King and Queen, Maximus, is the King’s brother, Crystal, Medusa’s sister and her giant canine companion Lockjaw and cousins Gorgon, Karnak and Triton (who is mentioned but doesn’t really show up in the first two episodes).

Something of note, this series is only 8 episodes long, it’s essentially a mini series.  I have no idea if there will be any additional episodes or seasons, probably no one does.

The first episode works as sort of a set up for the various characters, you get a bit of a feel for how they interact and what their abilities are.  There is talk of the Inhumans who are starting to show up on Earth due to the water contamination, which is great.  I was worried a bit they may end up isolating this story off from the larger MCU and from Agents of SHIELD which has involved Inhumans in the larger plot for several seasons now.  I doubt it becomes a full on crossover, but I could see them doing some little nod at the end of the series with a cameo.  On the other hand, the Agents of SHIELD cast seems to be stranded in space somewhere as a set up for the next season, so you know, that’s a convenient excuse to stop Coulson and Daisy from showing up to say hello.

The episode wraps up by pushing out the core plot, the King’s brother Black  Bolt, played by Iwan Rheon, best known for his portrayal of Ramsay Snow/Bolton in Game of Thrones.  He’s shown to be “the voice of the people” who are unhappy with the strict caste system of the Inhumans society.  He also apparently doesn’t have any powers or abilities, and comments are made that he is only human.  I guess it’s sort of the a Squib of the Inhumans world.  At least they didn’t make him the castle janitor.  Being brother to the king in a society of powered people, even when you don’t have powers, has gotta be pretty nice.  Apparently not though, since he’s not happy and stages a coup.

I’d hate to say type cast, but Maximus feels very Ramsay Snow.  Not quite as crazy as Ramsay but the actor definitely seems to have found his niche as the fake sincerity, weak but manipulative bad guy.  He does a pretty good job of coming off as sinister while not being an obvious threat.  It’s not clear in this show how he managed to get the guards to side with his cause, I guess they all prefer to protect the masses than the royals.  Fortunately for the Royal Family, Crystal is quick thinking and uses Lockjaw, the giant bulldog with teleportation abilities to get everyone safely to Earth, specifically, to Hawaii.  Well, everyone except for herself.

The second Episode follows up with Maximus working to solidify his position and dispatching his agent Auran to take out the various members of the Royal Family.

It also takes the chance to explore more of the abilities and personalities of each of the members.

Gorgon, a strong fighter with horse hooves for feet was originally dispatched to locate Triton in the first episode.  He befriends some surfers on the beach where he is stranded.  Karnak ends up lost in a forest.  His ability isn’t super clear.  During the coup he is shown being killed after fighting some guards, only to seemingly do some sort of recalculating time rewind to return to life.  Later he is shown in the forest trying to calculate the best route out of the forest.  It seems like his power isn’t rewinding time but calculating and predicting.  The previous fight never really happened, he simply played it out in his mind and realized that the plan wasn’t the right path so he chose a different plan where he emerged victorious.  Apparently getting knocked on the head puts his calculations out of whack though, as he ends up walking in circles in the forest.

Medusa and Black Bolt get most of the action here.  Medusa’s ability is her hair, which is very long and can be used like tentacles.  Well, it was, until Maximus shaves is all off.  Once in Earth she starts doing her best to reunite with Black Bolt, though she is the first to be hunted by Auran.  Even without her hair she is a formidable opponent and manages to ambush and kill Auran.  I kind of wonder if her hair grows back at an accelerated rate.  Her entire ability rests on her hair, it seems like kind of a shame if she goes the entire series without it.  Side note, we also learn Auran’s power, she wakes up from her death and regenerates herself back to life.  Her death certainly seemed anti climactic after how much she was pushed up as being this bad ass tough enforcer.

Definitely the most entertaining path is Black Bolt.  Black Bolt’s power, is his voice.  His voice is so powerful that even a small utterance unleashes a massive wave of energy, so he doesn’t talk, at all.  It’s shown in a flashback that Black Bolt accidentally killed his parents with his voice at a young age, which is part of where Maximus’ resentment comes from.  He also seems to have the least understanding of how the human world around him works, which isn’t helped by his inability to speak.  He wanders around a bit before going into a store for a change of clothes, where he promptly walks out wearing said clothes prompting the police to be called on him for shoplifting.   During his arrest he accidentally lets out an “umpf” which obliterates one of the police cars.  He eventually cooperates with the police and they take him in to the station.  Frustrated by his lack of speaking, he finally gestures to them to lock him up.  They book him and put him in a jail cell.  I guess he figures he could get out any time and he’s probably safest in the jail cell.

Overall, I found it enjoyable.  Some of the motivations could have been a little better fleshed out but how much does stuff really need to be spelled out in black and white.  It’s essentially a story we’ve seen before.  Honestly the real angle here is more that Maximus, at least insofar, is kind of in the right.  His methods could be a little less brutal, what with trying to kill his family and murdering a member of the genetic council, but leading a revolt of the downtrodden worker against the elites is kind of a noble cause.  Maybe his ambitious run a little too deep and he is deceiving the people.  Maybe Black Bolt and Medusa will see that they need to lighten up a little bit and allow a bit more freedom for the workers.  We’ll have to see how things play out over the rest of the series.