The Neurotic Ninja

Rants, reviews, and ruminations on the comic book industry and pop culture

Doctor Who

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Doctor Who Planet of the Dead was another entertaining installment into the  series, if not quite spectacular. It was a variation on a David Tennant’s Doctor trope of having the Doctor fall into a situation with a group of innocents with a dangerous alien threat emerging, and the Doctor miraculously pulling off a save. The episode in particular very much reminded me of “Midnight” from Season 4, with a little added mortal peril and special affects for flair.

Honestly though, with the knowledge there will be at least two more appearances before David Tennant steps down as The Doctor and his new replacement, Matt Smith, steps in the peril was obviously little. Instead Planet of the Dead viewed as a light hearted love song, with perhaps subtle themes to the Doctor’s end being sown (The Doctor feels this might be planned). There was very little actual push towards the end until the final few moments of the episode.

Tennant’s Doctor does a nice job summarizing the major part of his character’s evolution and arch throughout the episode. This is most pointedly done when The Doctor responds to a somewhat snide remark from the Lady Christina de Souza, his companion for this stand along episode, in the midst of danger.

One scene deftly illustrates the nature of who The Doctor is when he points out that the most important things are the everyday ones like food, home, and people we love when trying to assure the passengers on a bus that travelled to a barren planet through a wormhole. After receiving a cheeky response from Lady Christina de Souza about him being just all full of hope The Doctor hits the nail on the head.

“I live in hope,” he dead pan responds.

As the series progresses other small nuances of the 10th Doctor’s character quirks are brought to light as well. As we learn that a mindless alien horde has devoured the planet the Doctor and bus crew were sucked into, and that they are also the source of the wormhole that will lead the horde to Earth to devour it too, The Doctor, and Lady de Souza become quite animated. We see the familiar gleam of Tennant’s Doctor rising to the challenge of beating an almost unbeatable set of circumstances

“The worse it gets the more I love it,” The Doctor exclaims.

“Me too,” said Lady de Souza, played by the wonderfully sassy and strong Michelle Ryan.

Perhaps the saddest part of the whole series is the fact that Ryan was not able to become a more permanent fixture in the Who Universe. I fell in love with her interaction with Tennant almost immediately.

The episode ends with the help of some lovely secondary casts members such as Professor Malcom Taylor played by Lee Evans. Taylor is a professor on the Earth side of the rift who ultimately acts heroic by standing up to his superior in UNIT in waiting for the Doctor to come through before closing the wormhole. He is also ga-ga for the Doctor and hangs onto every little word the Doctor speaks to him through one of his “doctored” cell phones from the Planet of the Dead.

Malcom can also be viewed as a stand in for many fans of Tennant’s Doctor at the end of the episode, when finally meeting the Doctor in person all Taylor can do is grab him and say “I love you. I love you.”

After what appears to be a nice and tidy solution, with The Doctor receiving a huge round of applause and love the audience is reminded that Tennant’s end as The Doctor is near. Carmen, a clairvoyant psychic, tells The Doctor  an unnamed it travels back through the dark and that “he” will come with four knocks. This of course is setting up the 10th Doctor’s demise.

We still have one more Tennant/Doctor mini- movie to go with Waters of Mars before the final episode.

And looking ahead, some details were revealed on the ending of the 10th Doctor on Sunday, July 26 during the San Diego Comic-Con conclusion which Tennant and Russel T. Davies attended.

It seems that The Master will return to bridge between the 10th and 11th Doctor and that Timothy Dalton plays a mysterious role, possibly as another Time Lord? Ah, the speculation begins. And I must say, I’ve learned to love every version of the Doctor from my introduction to him played by Tom Baker repeats of Doctor Who on my local PBS station as a child throughout the reboot. And Tennant himself reflected that sentiment too, according to the What’s Alan Watching? blog coverage of the SDCC panel.

“And I never forgot him, or loved him any less, but then Peter Davison came along, and within three weeks, I thought he was the best. I think what makes the show go on forever.”

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Torchwood Day 5 finale

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The end of Torchwood: Children of Earth culminated in an emotional, gripping, and uncompromising hour of science fiction television. Day Five was a pitch perfect crescendo to the past four days blazing bitter-sweetly across the screen with a plot line that gave no quarter and threw more surprises into the mix within the first 3o minutes compared to 21 episode seasons of some shows. Comparisons to Battlestar Galactica, the penultimate science fiction programing that gave no quarter in its  allegory of the modern day war on terror, were definitely fair comparisons.

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Torchwood Children of Earth, Day 4

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In Torchwood Children of Earth Day Four the other shoe drops in a very heavy fashion. We learn more clearly the real significance of the name of the mini-series. And the brilliance of humor and character in Day Three is brought low by episode’s end.

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Let me in, let me in

I just finished reading this CBR interview with Marv Wolfman who took the time to promote the upcoming DC Universe Online . The game had a playable demo last year at a SDCC video game booth that had long lines to try out. Even then it was nicely rendered and looked like a heck of a lot of fun. I’ve never played a Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game before, though my favorite genre of video game tend to be the large sandbox style games like Infamous, Grand Theft Auto, and Left for Dead. I see long sleepless hours ahead for play time in the game and already am trying to determine the type of character I want to portray (I know, massively geeky).

It saddens me that the game has been in development this long. I remember seeing it at the Con last year and wanting to purchase it and play it, like, today. Wolfman’s interview only has me that much more stoked. Plus, I do enjoy the fact that the creative team are comic artists and Wolfman is part of that. His gaming tweets definitely show his credentials for wanting to help create a great online gaming experience.

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Favorite Comic Book Quote

This one is from Kingdom Come. What a great read and I love Superman’s conflicted characterization.

Our job is thankless… but we do what has to be done. Right now, we’re humanity’s only hope. Be heroes.

– Superman

Or it could be added, an editor.



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First reads

Just finished Green Lantern #44 and Tales of the Corps #2. The Blackest Night saga is the one over-arching story arc I’ve allowed myself this summer and so far I’m liking what I read.

Tales offers itself as a primer to each corps origins, powers, and weaknesses nicely. Told in small takes we get an actual feel for how emotions are harnessed by the various cores, or tribes, throughout the universe. For someone trying to catch up on years of Lantern history and lore after being out of touch for a while the primer is great. With a story this epic for the Green Lantern title it is smart too, otherwise a new reader may be totally lost. (And even with the three issue mini, I know there are still nuances to the story missed that does not allow one to fully appreciated.

As far as the actual meat of Blackest Night, well that is played out in Green Lantern #44. What a story and portrayal of J’onn J’onzz by Geoff Johns. The action is pretty much full on within the first few pages of the book, as a dead J’onzz returns to Earth as the harbinger of death for his former allies, Barry and Hal, both of whom died in their own pasts. In the view of the new Black Lantern, both should have stayed dead. And as he notes, it would be sort of justice (since justice too is dead) since The Flash refused full fusion with the Speed Force and if Hal would have permanently laid down his life at one point he’d be in Hell for his past actions.

Over the rest of the book Hal and Barry are in the fight for their lives as Geoff Johns and artist Doug Mahnke deftly and imaginatively use the Martian Manhunter’s power sets to push them both about. A reader feels the confusion as Barry and Hal wonder where J’onn went after his initial appearance at the Gotham cemetery where they are investigating Bruce Wayne’s grave. Sudden with no warning and a swoosh the characters are pummeled. After all, J’onn can cloak himself with invisibility. As a Black Lantern J’onn’s mental powers play to good affect too, as Barry is tricked into seeing Hal as the Martian Manhunter, who it would seem Barry is handing a beat down to. The reveal of the trick is beautifully played out in a two page splash.  Mahnke is spectacular in his craft in this book.

The powers of the Black Lantern continue to play out as well. Beyond raising the dead, the Martian Manhunter is able to read his preys emotion through the color spectrum, and obviously builds on a theme that is revealed by Scar half way through the issue. The mission of the Black Lantern’s is to stamp out all of the erratic emotions playing out all willy-nilly over the Universe, a mission it would seem is a core part of the Green Lanterns who are ruled by the Will for order. The Black Lantern’s approach, Scar believes, is better in terms of imparting peace and order – that being death.

And the issue finishes as any good installment of a multi-part storyline should, with a mind blowing cliff hanger with John Stewart that leaves the reading slightly dumbstruck by the shear brilliance and audacity of the next possibly Black Lantern to be resurrected. Johns’ story telling makes one glad to come back to the big superhero comics.

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Tomorrow is here — Torchwood ToE, Day Three

Torchwood: Children of Earth continues to pick up steam with major revelations tonight, and new mysteries to be resolved in the last two evenings. Balanced between humor and jaw dropping plot twists issues of family and security continue to play out.

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Pop Candy reader of the day

Darn, so they aren’t all comic folks on Pop Candy this week. I guess that is forgivable. This week’s featured reader at Pop Candy is Natalie Morales from the cancelled ABC Family series, The Middleman. The show was promoted pretty heavily (along with Samari Girl by ABC Family at last years Con) I believe.

(Is it wrong to admit that I don’t watch tons of television?)

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Wednesday’s pull list

As I delicately sculpt the new pull list to fit my budgets and my tastes here is this week’s as found on Comixology:

Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #2

Green Lantern #44

Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter HC

Wednesday Comics #3

I know there are a lot of great hero books out there, but I’ve decided to try to limit my big one to GL right now. As far as offbeat hero books are concerned, I’ve been told Ed Brubaker’s Incognito is a must.

This is perhaps the lamest question to ask, and I know there are a ton of podcasts out there that talk new comics each week, but which books should I absolutely be reading right now and why?

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They’ll make a movie outta anything

The recent announcement by Blizzard Entertainment and Legendary Pictures signing of Sam Raimi to direct a World of Warcraft  adaptation made me laugh a little.

I’m not saying it doesn’t have the potential to be a good movie with Raimi at the helm (definitely skeptical though), it’s just hilarious that Hollywood is jumping over anything with geek culture.  We are taking over the world!

I loved Raimi’s first two Spidey movies and want to see Drag Me to Hell after hearing the horror flick was surprisingly better than its trailer made it appear. Plus, come on, he’s the legendary director of the Evil Dead series.

I’m sure a lot of fans of WoW will be stoked, but I have yet to see, or ever been excited to see a video game film adaptation since I was so disappointed with Street Fighter (<– a funny).  I don’t know why I have more of a problem with video game adaptations than comic books, but these movies so often smell of quick buck opportunism (not that comic book movies historically have not). Perhaps that is because Raimi hasn’t made this great one yet?

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