Hellboy Review

Spoiler free post here – unless you count the fact that the movie stinks as a spoiler.

If you’ve read THE WILD HUNT then you know much of what to expect in this latest Hellboy film. And if you enjoyed THE WILD HUNT, you will likely be disappointed by this film.

Credit where it’s due, David Harbour looks the part but then most people would under that amount of make-up. Ian McShane looks mostly bored throughout and the rest of the cast are forgettable, there to deliver a handful of lines peppered with F-words that are supposed to make you laugh, but fail throughout. The first trailer was criticised for focusing on the humour – I only wish that had carried over into the film.

It’s a mess: bogged down with exposition, moving from one CGI-heavy fight scene to another, with a tired, old seen-it-all-before ending where the protagonist is brought back from the brink by a timely pep talk.

It would be easy to blame director Neil Marshall – and Cthulhu knows I blame him for The Descent and Doomsday . . . Dog Soldiers was great but after that, it’s all been downhill – but nothing really works here. It’s just a mess of disappointing scenes bundled together.

The first Hellboy was great and even though Hellboy II: The Golden Army wasn’t brilliant, it was still much, much better than this offering.

You get two strong right hands, Hellboy, but only just.

Sunday Reviews

HAWKMAN #11

London, and the rest of the world, is in danger from the return of the Deathbringers and even an army made up of Hawkman and all his previous incarnations from across time and space may not be enough to stop them.

This issue is basically a big fight scene as Hawkman and his former lieutenant Idamm go against each other while the other Hawkmen fight the Deathbringers, and finishes with a cliffhanger as London is about to fall. Its not bad – it looks good, as you’d expect with Bryan Hitch, but I’m left thinking this could have been condensed rather than dragged out.

JUSTICE LEAGUE ODYSSEY #8

Darkseid finally spills the beans about the real reason the League are here: he knew the Source Wall would be destroyed and that the Multiverse would fall and has spent millennia preparing for the event. He needs the League to recover a handful of relics so he can build Sepulkore, an ark to hold life and protect it from the end of the Multiverse. Before the League decide whether to work with him, Blackfire attacks, forcing Darkseid to send Cyborg off to find the first relic, while Azrael reveals a previously unknown power.

As I said for the previous issue, the unsteady start to this series seems to have smoothed out as Dan Abnett takes over and brings a less frenetic pace to the book while tying in, at least tangentially, with the main JUSTICE LEAGUE book and it’s big-scale story. Oh, and it looks great, too.

Shazam! Review

A spoiler free review here for you, folks, so fear not.

Young Billy Batson is an orphan with a persistent habit of running away from foster homes before he ends up in his last chance home with loving and understanding foster parents and five other foster kids. Chief among them is Freddy, a wise-cracking, self-professed superhero expert and, while Billy tries not to get attached, he can’t help himself defending Freddy when the local bullies torment him. Billy runs and ends up being transported to the Rock of Eternity where the wizard Shazam grants him his powers to save the world from the Seven Deadly Sins that have been released by Dr Sivana.

Billy gets back to the real world and confides in Freddy that he has powers; Freddy’s response is to film Shazam testing those powers, uploading the clips to the net and basking in the views. Eventually, though, Sivana comes calling, wanting Shazam’s powers for himself. Cue various fights before the big finale where Shazam gets some help from some others and – no real surprise – defeats the bad guy.

Story-wise it’s not a great deal more than that, but that’s not saying it’s bad by any means. Most of the main characters have enough screen time; Rosa and Victor (the foster parents) seem to genuinely like their rag-tag family of kids; and the leads of Billy, Freddy and the adult Shazam are clearly having a blast – the last two particularly.

And it’s funny, too – not belly achingly hilarious, but enough to make me smile and chuckle plenty of times throughout; the big villain speech scene towards the end was great, for example. It’s clear that with this, Zack Snyder’s grimdark version of the DCU has finally been laid to rest, and not a moment too soon.

A little slow in some places, and a little too long in others, it’s still a fun film so gets three lightning bolts out of five.

Sunday Reviews

BLACK HAMMER ’45 #2

On their way to rescue the scientist from the Nazis, the Squadron run into Die Feldermaus, the winged German ace who manages to down them before he’s defeated, forcing them to head to the allied lines and find other transport. When they’re able to get some, they request a drive and meet a young Abraham Slam.

It’s another blast of an issue with full on Nazi bashing and World War II action. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of the art style, but the story’s good.

GREEN LANTERN #6

Controller Mu and his Blackstars have invaded Rann and force Hal Jordan to shoot Adam Strange as a test of loyalty. While completing this test gets him an audience with Mu, Jordan’s surprised to find that Mu knows Jordan is a double agent and has played into his hands as Aleea Strange – Adam and Alanna’s daughter – is host to the U-Mind which has been turned into a U-Bomb that only Jordan can disarm. And in a burst of green energy, Jordan does what he needs to only to wash up with little memory in a magical world where a very old enemy sits.

Morrison’s mining Green Lantern lore here with the U-Mind (a Silver Age concept that last appeared in the early 90s, I think) along with a revamped Myrwhidden who hasn’t been around since the late 80s. No great surprises (did anyone really think Jordan was going to kill Adam Strange?) but not bad, either.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #21

Thinking that Superman is back home rather than trapped in a pocket dimension, the League relax and enjoy the peace of the future world until the World Forger is forced to show his hand and admit that the way to this future full of peace is one which the League cannot condone: they are offered the choice of saving only the good beings in the multiverse, while all others must day. Rejecting this offer, they’re sent to Apokolips which has become a jail for metacriminals and is bring run by someone very familiar.

Another good, solid issue; when he isn’t throwing everything and anything at the page, Scott Snyder can pull out some damn good stuff.

OBERON #3

Forced to run the Labyrinth by Mother Mayie, by command of Oberon, Bonnie is soon chased by a hungry man-pig who is intent on eating her. When any powers she may have fail to manifest even under these circumstances, Oberon steps in and saves her. That night, Mother Mayie attempts to steal Bonnie from Oberon, conscious that Titania had the girl under protection and keen to get into her good books, but Oberon is having none of it.

Once again, glad I took the chance on this series. The writing’s still top notch and the art is stunning.