I love Matt Kindt. I read his newest comic, Ether #1, with a huge smile on my face. I entered the first page having no idea what the story was about or what I was getting myself into and enjoyed it all the more for approaching it in such a way. I’m incredibly wary of giving away too much so that anyone who wants to read this book will have the same joy in experiencing it as I had. So instead, I will write about my reactions to the book and how it compares to Kindt’s more recent work.

In Issue #3 of Lady Killer 2, Joëlle Jones nails the idea that evil comes with a smile on its face.

Maeve wakes, dresses, and walks the street.  Behind her two men bump, turn, and shoot - one falls. She does not even turn.  She is fixed and focused.  She enters the Mariposa Saloon and Hotel where she is the madame and relieves Clementine of a newcomer who looks like he plays rough.  She insults his manhood, taunts him as he prepares to have sex with her, and then encourages erotic asphyxiation by further insulting him while he assaults her.  She dies and wakes on the table looking at Felix.

As I’ve read and reviewed the Lumberjanes / Gotham Academy crossover event, I’ve extolled many aspects of this collision of two worlds that have seemed so wonderfully destined to collide.  Delightfully funny and savvy characters coming together and interacting, whether they get along with each other or end up providing the story with entertaining friction - seeing both groups of kids trying to work in environments well out of their comfort zones, discovering what new skills and knowledge each group brings to the situation, and how they share those skills between themselves.

The alien invasion picture has been a staple of the movie business since the space race of the 1950s opened people’s minds to imagine what may be out there in vastness beyond our solar system.  These films can often be filled with a sense of awe and spectacle, along with the contemplation of our place in the universe.  Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind is probably still the high water mark for spaceship awe, with its slack-jawed vision of alien grandeur (The Devil’s Tower finale still holds up beautifully.), most recently imitated by Stranger Things.  But sometimes an alien invasion movie can be simply ludicrous.  With their B-movie origins, the alien invasion picture is more often than not pretty ridiculous.  In the '50s, the threat of an invasion was played up Cold War generated hysteria, like in the classics The Day the Earth Stood Still or Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  But lately, as this summer’s recent Independence Day sequel demonstrated, they can also be largely stupid and void of any real subtext. 

What do they say about women? You don’t talk down to them, you don’t disrespect them, you don’t hit them, and you absolutely do not ever attempt to swindle them. And when a woman says, “I want my water…and my bourbon,” you do not hesitate.

Tales from the Darkside is the more obscure Tales from the Crypt for those that don’t remember the mid to late 1980s. The horror anthology was created by George Romero in 1983 and ran until 1990, spawning Crypt and other impersonators and a feature film. A few years ago, a potential revival was pitched, and Joe Hill was brought in to work on the first five episodes. Hill’s work and family attachment to the project (His father contributed several stories to the show and to the film.) made him the obvious choice. While the project never got off the ground, IDW decided to partner with Hill again and bring those scripts to the still-passionate Locke & Key fans. Despite the best “graphic novel” treatment, it’s difficult for the story to not feel like you’re reading a half-baked film treatment.

Brian Haberlin’s telling a story I’ve been looking for for years: science fiction full of exploration and discovery, grounded in a clear interest in real(ish) science, more about the ship, its crew, and the things they encounter than blowing up bad guys. I mean, there are bad guys, and existential threats, and action…but, like in the best eras of Star Trek, these are there to heighten the drama – obstacles to overcome. They raise the stakes. They aren’t the point. There’s an inherent optimism and exceptionalism to it (again, much like Star Trek, to which Haberlin makes overt references on numerous occasions), and when the majority of science fiction offerings in popular culture have been focused on deadly aliens and laser swords for a number of years, Faster Than Light feels like coming home again.

Well, the Cubbies were off by a year of winning the World Series according to Back to the Future, but at least they finally won!  In this day and age, however, you know director Robert Zemeckis and producer Steven Spielberg can release a special edition where Marty goes to the future of 2016 instead of 2015.

Forget everything you think you know.

So speaks the Ancient One to Mister...forgive me, Dr. Strange.  It's also a good reminder for the audience, as well, though judging by my theatre, everyone was ready for a new kind of trip.  Marvel's doing something hard, something almost more difficult than tossing RDJ into a powered suit and seeing what shakes out.  They have to build it again, but in a world where we already have so many pieces and a comfortable sense of what's happening.  The success and shine of Winter Soldier and Civil War have spoiled us with solidly continuing storylines that have built upon everything that came before, with Ant Man and Doctor Strange opening up new worlds (the Quantum Realm and, well, the entirety of the multiverse, respectively) that are harder to ground in reality.  The only current franchise that has attempted that has been Thor, and it's not an uncommon belief that those films tend to be the weakest of the offerings we've have over the last decade.  This is the ground that Marvel has to win to bring Infinity Wars to the screen, and, honestly, Phase 3 looks to be shaping up pretty well.

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