Thoughts on: What Steven Universe Teaches us About The Human Condition

 

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Unless you have been under a rock for the past three and a half years you have most likely heard of Cartoon Network’s original series Steven Universe.  The series which features the adventures of a young half-alien boy named Steven and his family The Crystal Gems as they fight to protect the earth from all sorts of magical and alien threats.   At face value that may not sound like enough to drag you in, but if there is one thing that the current decade of animation has taught us is that you cannot judge a show by its appearance or its synopsis alone.  Over the past three or so years we have watched Steven Universe grow from a series about a young boy trying to learn to use his powers to one of the most progressive, complex and emotionally in-depth and mature series to ever grace our television screens.  And what really makes the series hit home for many is how human the characters are despite being magic alien gems.  So today we take a look at what Steven Universe can teach us about the human condition.

 

I. Dealing With Loss/Living up to Expectations

One of the key elements to Steven Universe’s lore is how Steven’s mom Rose Quartz for all intensive purposes passed away while giving birth to him.  Because of this we have seen characters such as Rose’s husband Greg and her confidant Pearl deal with the loss over the course of the series in different ways.  Pearl especially had been the main focus of this story arc as we saw how overprotective she was of Steven early on in the series and acting like a surrogate mother of sorts and all the while holding a silent grudge against Greg for taking the one she loved away from her, we saw this all come to a head in season 3 when Greg & Steven take Pearl on a vacation with them to the big city where we get various musical numbers one focusing on how Pearl still laments over the loss of Rose and ending with Steven serenading the two with a ballad about how he loves both of them and they should talk to each other about the loss of Rose Quartz.  The episode ending with some sense of closure for the two.   Loss of a loved one is also what drives the remaining Diamonds to have such a hatred for Rose Quartz and in some cases the Earth.  Rose was the one responsible for shattering Pink Diamond leaving her sisters in either a state of constant rage like Yellow Diamond or sorrow like Blue Diamond.

Another important element of Steven Universe is how Steven constantly feels the need to learn more and live-up to the example his mom had set for the Crystal Gems.  Over the course of the show we see him lament not being as strong as her, and even as his powers grow we see him struggle to fine that line between respecting his mother’s legacy while still trying to be his own person.   And Steven is not the only one dealing with this struggle as Amethyst, a character who is basically a big sister figure to Steven also views herself as inadequate, an aspect which was first touched on when she and Steven first visited the Kindergarten and Amethyst admitted to Pearl she felt like the others saw her as a mistake and later on when she realized she was falling behind even Steven in terms of ability.

 

These two tropes while not solely unique to Steven Universe are used in a very well done and natural way, and they show us that even though loss and self-doubt are part of life that they do not define us, and they can in the end make us stronger as long as we do not let ourselves be controlled by them.

 

II. Friendship

Like many lead characters in animation Steven has an uncanny knack for being able to make friends.  While this cliché is usually pretty aggravating, in Steven Universe it has been used organically for the most part, as Steven doesn’t just become friends with every new person or gem he meets, but slowly bonds with them over the course of episodes/seasons.  The most notable use of this was when the Homeworld gem Peridot was captured by the Crystal Gems after months of chasing her and falling prey to her traps.  While the rest of the Gems would have been just fine leaving her unconscious and imprisoned in a bubble, Steven freed her and over the course of several episodes formed a bond of friendship with her that eventually lead to her defecting from Homeworld and joining the Crystal Gems to help them stop the planet destroying geo-weapon “The Cluster” that had been placed deep within the Earth’s core.   We also see Peridot her self attempt to and at times fail to befriend her fellow refugee Lapis Lazuli and a sentient pumpkin-dog Steven created for them to have as a pet as well.

As for Steven himself we do see how his relationships with both the Gems and his fellow Beach City residents evolve over the course of the show, as they all essentially work off of each other to slowly grow and become better people.  We also see the difference in the way the various friendships work, some characters being more social or asocial than others, some being more eccentric or more talkative, over the course of the series we learn more about the Beach City residents and we see how their friendship with Steven effects them both positively and negatively.

 

III. Dealing With Negative Emotions

Over the course of the show we have seen various subjects like Anxiety, Depression, Anger, self-doubt, fear, jealousy and sorrow all put on in full display and how the various characters have dealt with these emotions.  The show helps the audience accept that these feelings are part of life, but they do not define us and can only destroy or control us if we let them.  From Connie or Steven dealing with the fallout of Anxiety or Lapis being Jealous of a potential new roommate we see how these characters in both good ways and bad deal with their negative emotions and how these things can help or harm them in the long run.

 

IV: Love

While the word itself has become a bit of a cliché, Steven Universe uses love very well, from Platonic to Romantic to undefined relationships, love is a key part of why the characters do what they do. Ruby and Saphire’s love for one another allows them to remain fused as Garnet, Steven’s love for Connie allowing him to fuse with her in battle, or Pearl’s love for Rose causing her to remain dedicated to the Crystal Gem cause and protecting the Earth, or Steven’s love for his father and the of the residents of Beach City being a big reason for his desire to both befriend and protect them.  While it may be cliché, Steven Universe shows that love can be a positive and powerful force in our lives if we let it in and use it properly.

 

 

Overall this is just a light touch on the level of emotional depth and complexity the series has come to portray over the years.  Like with many modern animations there is much more to it than meets the eye and if you are willing to have an open mind and open heart you might just learn a thing or two from Steven and his family.

 

 

Steven Universe: Wanted special premiers tonight @ 7 P.M./6 P.M. Central on Cartoon Network.

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Thoughts On: Building Better Fanbases

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One of the most common complaints in the digital age and even before is how insane and down right toxic fandoms for everything from Comics to Cartoons, Film to television to video games can and have been.  One thing I always find myself wondering is why things are like this and really there is no easy singular answer to this question but today I will be doing the best I can to from my perspective point out the various flaws in the way we as both groups and individuals portray ourselves as fans.  So without further hesitation I ask if you will please humor me and see what you think, am I spot on or way off the mark?

 

 

I. The Psychology of A Fan

1: Fulfilling A Need:  Before one can ask what is wrong with fandom we must first ask why we become a fan of something in the first place?  There is of course no right or wrong answer, different people gain or lose interest in things for different reasons.  However in base psychological terms one could argue that we become a fan because we feel the thing we gain interest in fulfills a psychological &/or emotional need that was previously missing in our lives or was not present to a degree that we were satisfied with.  Whether it is  being inspired by superheroes, letting animation tug at your heartstrings or satisfying your adrenaline rush with certain scifi and horror franchises we all have our own reasons for partaking in the fictions we choose as they give us something we feel everyday life doesn’t and if we like what we partake in well enough, and if we feel it can help fulfill what we see as a gap in our emotional and psychological needs we will justifiably become a long time fan.

2: Obsession:  This is one step that every fan enters to some degree during their lives and it is arguably the most dangerous one to navigate through.  After we get our first hit of something we keep coming back for more, like an addict we can become increasingly obsessed with a character/series/franchise of choice to where it can consume every facet of our lives and we think about it every waking moment of our existence, we branch out from just casual enjoyment to a more hardcore endearment towards our new found obsession.  While this in and of itself is not always a bad thing and may just result in joining a forum or two, occasionally drawing some fan art, watching some Youtube videos and getting a couple of knick-knacks here and there for others and can become an extreme it can result in doing everything you do, every action being about or for this thing you now love to a point to where like any other addict it can interfere with your real life and the relationships with in it.  If left unchecked obsession can lead to an individual being unable to handle any form of criticism towards the thing they like taking a general critique of it as a personal attack on their honor and person which can lead to never ending ever increasing extreme and ridiculous arguments between different factions both within and outside of fan communities.  This is the most dangerous part of the fan life because it can easily lead fans to extremist levels of overreliance of the thing the love and lead them to be so out of touch with reality that they would openly threaten the life of another person for merely having a different opinion or viewpoint than them on it.  Thankfully though many of us grow out of this phase and slowly learn that not every negative word given is an attack on their person.

3: Control & Reconciliation VS Submission:

If you manage to wade through the sea of obsession you will eventually find yourself at the shores of sanity once more.  You can acknowledge that you are a fan of something, accept you may be a fan of this thing for the rest of your lifetime, but you also accept that it is merely an interest a hobby, just one part of your character and psyche and not the totality of your being.  You realize that it is OK if not everyone else has the same interests as you and that it is OK if people like the things you like for different reasons. You learn to control yourself and only indulge in excess content related to this thing you love in moderation over reasonable periods of time and within reasonable expense.   You know there will always be people that both like and dislike your thing and that’s OK.  However if you don’t eventually get to a point where you break free of the bright and shiny lights of obsession you in a way are submitting to something, letting this thing that doesn’t even exist on the same plane as you, letting a mere idea and dream, a metaphysical existence control you and your actions.  Instead of being a mere fan you are now a servant to this force with no will of your own and like a cultist you blindly follow it wherever it goes and whatever the hive mind of the community says.   This is a very dangerous path to tread down as it can stunt personal growth not only as a fan of something but as a person as well.  At the end of the day we have to stand tall and say that we control our interests and that they do not control us.

 

In closing while being a fan can be a very satisfying experience we need to like with any other aspect of our lives practice these things in moderation and sensibility.  We are the ones responsible for our actions both good and bad while participating in a fan community and no level of delusion or obsession can ever justify treating a fictional character or creature with more decency and respect than a living one.  We must learn to keep ourselves in check and not overact to every thing said about our interests we dislike.

 

II. Fixing The Cracks

 

  1. Acknowledging Alternative Views:  While it is true that many sites and critics will be purposely overly negative or unprofessional to rile-up controversy just to get easy clicks and advertisement we should realize that not everyone who has a view differing from our own is out to harm or demonize the things you enjoy, in the wise words of the great sage Linkara “Get over yourself internet, not everyone has the same interests as you!”

2. Putting The Pro Back in Professional:  The advent of the digital age has arguably caused critics both young and old to get a bit lackadaisical in their practices, far too many critics online and in print form have taken a more hostile and troll like approach to their job.  Given this smug sense of elitism has always existed in the profession to a degree but we have known for decades you can dissect a film or any work of art and storytelling without being cruel even if most of your conclusions of it are negative ones.  Critics may be getting paid or praised for their word but at the end of the day they are also a type of fan and it is important to be aware of ones own confirmation biases both positive and negative when going into a review and still trying to give everything you view an even shake and letting each individual work stand or fall on its own legs.

 

3. Talking about the issues:  Whether we like to admit it or not things like Toxic Masculinity, Mental Instability,  Exclusivist mindsets, Sexism, Racism, Homophobia and every other nasty part of human nature can and do butt their ugly heads into fan communities.  It is important we continue to discuss these issues and call out those guilty of these practices to help make a better and safer fan community for those from all walks of life.

 

III. Final Thoughts

Overall the points and topics presented here are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the complexity of human interaction and how fans and fanbases/communities view one another.  In truth you could write an entire series of books about the psychology of the various fanbases on the internet and it could take a lifetime to even get everyone on board to consider addressing the problems inherent in their communities but I do believe that if we are willing to acknowledge the faults both within ourselves and the communities both online and off that we partake in we can make better more professional, mature, caring and empathetic fans in the future.  Or who knows maybe i’m just a madman.

Countdown To Free Comic Book Day 2017 Finale: True Heroes!

Free Comic Book Day 2017 is Almost Upon us!  And to close off our list of books to look out for at this years FCBD is the classic superhero!  So get your tights, capes & utility belts and get ready to hunt down these heroic books & events! 

52 (DC)

Action Comics (DC)

All-Star Batman (DC)

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows (Marvel)

Armor Wars Deluxe Edition (Valiant)

Aquaman (DC)

Batgirl (DC)

Batman (DC)

Batman Beyond (DC)

Birds of Prey (DC)

 Black Canary (DC)

Black Panther (Marvel)

Black Panther & Crew (Marvel)

Blackest Night (DC)

Blue Beetle (DC)

Bombshells (DC)

Bloodshot (Valiant)

Brightest Day (DC)

Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye (DC)

Convergence (DC)

Crisis on Infinite Earths (DC)

Cyborg (DC)

DC Universe Rebirth Deluxe Edition (DC)

Detective Comics (DC)

Doom Patrol (DC/Vertigo/YoungAnimal)

Earth-2 (DC)

Earth-2: Worlds End (DC)

Earth-2: Society (DC)

Faith (Valiant)

Final Crisis (DC)

The Flash (DC)

Flashpoint (DC)

Forever Evil (DC)

Future’s End (DC)

Generation Zero (Valiant)

Green Arrow  (DC)

Green Hornet (Dynamite)

Green Lantern (DC)

Green Lantern Corps  (DC)

Green Lantern: New Guardians (DC)

Green Lanterns (DC)

Hellblazer (DC/Vertigo)

Infinite Crisis (DC)

Infinity Gauntlet  (Marvel)

Invincible (Image)

Justice League 

Justice League of America  (DC)

Justice League Dark (DC)

Justice League: Generation Lost  (DC)

Justice League Unlimited (DC)

Kingdom Come (DC)

Legend of Wonder Woman (DC)

Multiversity: Deluxe Edition (DC)

Ninjak (Valiant)

New Super-Man (DC)

Nightwing (DC)

Old Man Logan (Marvel)

Omega Men (DC)

Red Hood & The Outlaws (DC)

Robin: Son of Batman (DC)

Savage Dragon (Image)

Secret Six (DC)

Secret Wars (Marvel)

Shade: The Changing Girl (DC/Young Animal)

The Shadow  (Dynamite)

The Spirit  (Dynamite)

Supergirl (DC)

Superman (DC)

Super Sons (DC)

Swamp Thing (DC)

Teen Titans (DC)

Telos (DC)

Titans (DC)

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (Marvel)

Vision (Marvel)

Wolverine (Marvek)

Wonder Woman (DC)

Wrath of The Eternal Warrior (Valiant)

X-Men (Marvel)

X-O MANOWAR (Valiant)

Youngblood (Image)
And there you have it a go to guide to superheo comics for FCBD tomorrow! Hope you have A great one!

Countdown To FCBD Day 3: For The Gamers!

Comics often crossover with other forms of media, and one of the most notable in the 21st Century would be video games.  So to all the gaming guys & gals out there here are some books to look out for come Free Comic Book Day!

Assasins Creed (Titan)

Call of Duty (Darkhorse)

Darkstalkers (Udon)

Dragon Age (Titan)

Injustice (DC)

Legend of Zelda: Legendary Edition  (VIZ)

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (VIZ)

Megaman (Archie)

Megaman Megamix/Gigamix (Udon)

Mortal Kombat (DC)

Pokemon Adventures (VIZ)

Ratchet & Clank (DC/Wildstorm)

Resident Evil (VIZ)

Sonic Boom (Archie)

Sonic Universe  (Archie)

Splatoon (VIZ)

Street Fighter (Udon)

Street Fighter X G.I.Joe (IDW)

Swordquest (Dynamite)

Tekken (Titan)

World of Warcaft (Wildstorm)

Countdown To FCBD Reccomindations Day 2: Sci-Fi, Horror & Suspense!

In day 2 of our countdown we have a list of Horror, Sci-Fi & Suspense titles for older fans to take a look at come Free Comic Book Day!


28 Days Later (IDW)

Afterlife With Archie  (Archie)

Aliens (Darkhorse)

Animosity  (Aftershock)

AVP (Darkhorse )

Black Eyed Kids (Aftershock)

Blackest Knight (DC)

Buffy (Darkhorse)

Cannibal (Image)

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Archie)

Creepy (Darkhorse)

Demon Knights (DC)

Future’s End (DC)

Ghostbusters (IDW)

Ghost Rider (Marvel)

Hellboy (Darkhorse)

Infestation (IDW)

I, Vampire  (DC)

Justice League Dark (DC)

Marvel Zombies  (Marvel)

The Normals (Aftershock)

Predator (Darkhorse) 

She-Wolf (Image)

Silent Hill  (IDW)

Tales From The Crypt (EC)

Walking Dead (Image)
  And there you have it, a list of terrifying & thrilling titles to look for come FCBD!

Black Cloud #1 Review

Publisher: image tumblr_oj8kbjohQp1r8ybe2o1_500

Written By: Jason Latour, Ican Brandon

Art By: Greg Hinkle, Matt Wilson

Letters By: Aditya Bidikar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Cloud is a new indie series from Image Comics written by the same team responsible for Spider-Gwen (Marvel) and Southern Bastards (image).  If I were to try to describe what it is about just by going off what I had read I would undoubtedly fail at doing so, instead I will just quote the synopsis given for the book instead.

“Zelda was born in a world of dreams, and hers burned bigger than anyone had ever seen.

Now she’s on the run in our world, the dreams broken in her hands.

But the pieces are for sale, the rich and the powerful are buying, and suddenly her world isn’t the only place Zelda’s running from.”

 

In theory this sounds like an interesting story, however the execution is sorely lacking the book doesn’t do much to explain what is going on to the reader other than the vague bare essentials we Know the main character is running from something in this alternate world, but we don’t know why, we know she is strapped for cash and taking jobs for spoiled rich people, but we don’t know why.  Not that there is anything wrong withholding information to create suspense or mystery for a story, but the book doesn’t even manage to do that properly.  There is no feeling of suspense or tension throughout the entire book, not even when the lead character is confronted by a group of dream world inhabitants that are less than happy to see here.  The book also feels like it bounces around a lot which is always annoying in a story weather it is a film or a comic. Overall the first issue sadly seems to fall pretty flat for a concept with such potential.

 

On the art side of things however Greg Hinkle and Matt Wilson do a solid job of bringing the story to life with nice color or sometimes lack of color palate and decent character designs for the cast of both the real and dream worlds.

 

Overall Black Cloud is a good story in theory but in execution it feels rushed and incomplete.  There is potential for this series to do great things in the future, but it will have to learn to take its time and flesh out its characters and world more if it wants to contend with other popular image titles like Saga or  The Wicked + The Divine anytime soon.

 

Final Grade

Story: 2

Art 6

Overall:  4 out of 10.

Adam Strange/Future Quest Special #1 Review

Warning: This post contains spoilers!

Disclaimer: this review is solely my opinion.  Adam Strange, Johnny Quest and related characters are property of DC Comics, Hanna-Barbera & Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Publisher: DC ComicsAdam-Strange-Future-Quest-Annual-1-600x922

Written By: Mark Anderyko, Jeff Parker, Dan Didio

Art By: Steve Lieber, Veronica Gandini, Phil Winslade, Chris Chuckry

Letters By: ALW Studios, Dave Lanphear, Nick J. Nap

 

 

 

 

 

The last week of five week months is often a dull one for comic shops, but thankfully March 2017 decided to be different and give us some great annuals and crossover specials from DC comics.  Today we take a look at the first of the four specials released Wednesday Adam Strange/Future Quest.  So without further adieu let the adventure begin!

Something important to note is that from a continuity perspective the story in this book takes place after the Death of Hawkman mini-series and issue #12 of Future Quest.  Neither are necessary reads to understand or enjoy the story, but the prior knowledge the two bring regarding the cast of characters in the book can lend to an extra layer of enjoyment for the reader.

The story starts with Adam Strange traveling through time and space uncontrollably via the Zeta beam after being stranded there at the end of the Death of Hawkman mini-series.  He escapes the Zeta beam via the vortex  and is found unconscious in the Lost valley by Johhny’s friend Todd who contacts Johnny and Hadji about the new development.  The Quest team are not the only ones made away of Adam’s arrival however as some agents of F.E.A.R. that have been stranded in the valley spot the newcomer as well.  The rest of the issue basically consists of Adam Strange and the Quest team trying to fight off some mind-controlled dinosaurs and fend off the agents of F.E.A.R. while trying to help Adam regain his lost memories and return home.   When Birdman appears and his resemblance to Hawkman helps Adam regain the rest of his memories the group goes on the offensive and they are able to send the evil agents off to be chased by the Herculoids and Adam is able to return home.

The second story in the book is a short back-up that previews the upcoming Top Cat ongoing that shows good ol TC stuck in Gotham city where he recounts his tragic tale to Batman and explains he and his friend Benny got transported there from his world and he is looking for his friend who got lost along the way.  The story is short, but solid set-up and gives us a good look at this version of Top Cat and co.

The stories as a whole are mostly entertaining romps, Jeff Parker gives us a solid script that builds on both of the series the special shoots out of and like with the main future quest series, both Adam Strange and the Quest team get ample time on panel to help showcase both are equal players in the story.  And while many of the cast of the main Future Quest book may not be present for the story itself, they are at least mentioned in passing as are the cast of Strange’s latest adventure.  Though overall I will admit compared to the rest of the crossover specials this one does feel a bit bland.   As for the back-up strip, while it is short it manages to use its eight pages well and crams in enough content to help justifiably explain how Top Cat has become DC’s equivalent to Howard the Duck while properly setting up for the ongoing series coming out later this year.

The art on the book is also well done as Steve Lieber and Victoria Gandini help the special retain that silver-age meets modern vibe the main Future Quest book has been known for.  And having as style that fits in line with the Johhny Quest cartoons with a slight indie vibe thrown in.   Phil Winslade and Chris Chuckery do a solid job on the Top Cat back-up as well balancing the darker colors of Gotham city with the more vibrant colors of Top Cat while still giving the strip a somewhat more serious Noir feel even with the cartoon elements.

Overall Adam Strange/Future Quest Special #1 may not be the strongest of the four crossover book released this week, but it is still a well executed and enjoyable read for what it is.

Final Grade

Story: 7

Art 7:

Overall: 7

Thoughts On: Power Rangers (2017)

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS!

DISCLAIMER: This post is solely my opinion.  Power Rangers is property of Lionsgate & Saban Brands.

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The 21st century has finally progressed to the point where on top of 80’s nostalgia movie studios are slowly moving into the 90’s nostalgia as well and fans wait in both fear and anticipation as to what Hollywood might do with their favorites from their childhoods.  This past Friday the 2017 reboot of Power Rangers hit theatres nationwide for fans young and old to enjoy.   But does it make you shout “Go Go Power Rangers!” or is it as repulsive as Rita herself?

 

 

Lets get the few negatives out of the way first.  One problem this movie suffers from is that the first half does suffer from some Michael Bayesque toilet humor, and on top of that the films version of Goldar being a generic giant monster instead of the loyal alien warrior we all know and love is a bit disappointing.    But overall while these aspects are a bit aggravating they by no means ruin the film as a whole.

 

Truth be told the Power Rangers movie has a lot going for it.  Despite being more serious in tone then the original television series it still manages to have fun with itself and at its core still has the same Power Rangers feel to it.   It also helps that all of the actors give solid performances for the most part and manage to make the new versions of these characters stand out on there own and not just copy and paste imitations of the originals.  The most notable changes, and ones arguably for the better is that the subtle, even if unintentional racism of the old series is gone and there is an added level of diversity which helps the cast feel more natural and human.  In this incarnation Billy, the blue ranger is a young African American boy  who is extremely smart but also has his fair share of quarks due to being on the autism spectrum.  And honestly I cannot say how glad I am to finally have an autistic superhero in a mainstream film. In today’s world when we are constantly debating about proper representation in media the autistic community is one that often gets overlooked in favor of others.   The fact that autistic youths now have someone that tells them there quarks and disabilities won’t prevent them from doing great things is a much needed and inspiring one.   And as someone who is technically on the spectrum, even if just barely, I for one am glad that Saban & Lionsgate added this extra level of depth to the character.  On top of that we also see representation for LBGTQ youths with Trini, the yellow ranger who openly comes out to the group.   Like with Billy, Trini’s role in positive representation and showing that an individuals sexual orientation is irrelevant to the act of being a hero is an inspiring one.

 

But diversity points aside, how does the film actually hold up story wise?   Honestly it is pretty solid here as well.  I will admit there are moments the film stumbles in places as the dialogue tries to balance the more serious story with the overall ridiculousness of Power Power Rangers, and there are some things that if you think about just don’t make sense at all such as how can there be  Mammoth and Sabretooth Tiger zords when set animals didn’t exist when the original ranger ship crash-landed on Earth during the time of the dinosaurs and made the zords, but hey, if that didn’t ruin the original why let it ruin this.   Overall the general narrative is solid as it gives us well done introduction to these incarnations of Zordon, Alpha, Rita and the rangers.  There are also some genuinely heart-tugging and heart-warming moments between the characters as well as some genuinely funny moments from Alpha, the Rangers and even Rita.  Overall while a bit rough around the edges at times, the story succeeds in what it sets out to do and properly establishes the Power Rangers movie universe while being able to keep the audience entertained along the way.

 

The only real jarring flaw with the film is the CG effects are extremely hit and miss, sometimes things will look well detailed, other times they look more like a direct to video movie.  This back and forth can be aggravating ,especially when characters like Goldar, the putties and the rangers alternate from blending in well with their surroundings to looking much less defined.   Still though this doesn’t happen as often as I may be making it out to and while it may take away from the immersion at times it is by no means a deal breaker.  Though if possible I hope they do fix this on the Blu-Ray release.

 

Overall  for me Power Rangers is the little superhero movie that could.  A none DC/Marvel film that has managed to get fairly positive reviews from critics and fans for the most part and provides a worthwhile two hours of entertainment for viewers of all ages.  I hope the film is successful because I for one would be fine if Saban & Lionsgate are able to succeed in their plans for this franchise to be anywhere from six to eight installments long!

Steven Universe Ongoing #2 Review

Warning: This post contains spoilers

Disclaimer: Steven Universe and all characters are property of Rebecca Sugar, Cartoon Network & Boom Studios.

 

 

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Publisher: Boom Studios

Written By: Melanie Gillman

Art By:  Katy Farina, Missy Pena, Whitney Cogar

Lettering By: Mike Fiorentino

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beach City adventures continue as today we take a look at the second issue of Boom Studios all new Steven Universe Ongoing.   Is it as good as the first or does it suffer from Sophmore slump?  Let’s find out.

 

 

The second issue starts with Steven and Connie going to the movies, excited to see the film adaption of Connie’s favorite book series “The Unfamiliar Familiar”  sadly once they get there and find out the film is rated PG-13 and with Connie being under 13 and Steven looking much younger then his biological age of 14 they are not allowed to go see the film as the attendant says they can’t go without an adult’s permission. They try to remedy this by fusing into Stevonnie however this ploy ends in failure as well.  On the way back they run into Kiki or should I say Kiki runs into them, literally, and the two start hanging out, Kiki and Stevonnie become fast friends and after spending some time together shopping and trying on cloths Kiki asks Stevonnie to the school dance.  Later that night at the dance things start out well but quickly become awkward during the slow dance.  This causes Stevonnie to run to the restroom and unfused, Steven and Connie unsure what to do, wondering if they should come clean about who they really are.  After some discussion they reunite with Kiki and say that they really like spending time with her and would like to remain friends.  Kiki agrees to this and she and Stevonnie enjoy the rest of the dance together.

 

In terms of story like with the first issue the premise is a fairly simple one however it is executed in an extremely well done manner and like the show handles its subject matter fairly well, the quick friendship made between Kiki and Stevonnie is cute and like the first issue helps show how the book utilizes the more slice of life elements of the series to its full advantage.  Also the struggle between Stevonnie being uncertain if Kiki’s feelings towards them are romantic or not and Steven and Connie’s uncertainty about the situation and weather or not being Kiki’s friend in a different form would make them liars or not is also an interesting one as both of these situations are ones readers can relate to.  In essence the second issue is a simple story about new friendships mixed with tones about the questions of gender and self identity all wrapped into one easy to digest package.   I think my only nitpick would be that Beach City’s theatre must be super strict, I mean c’mon I’m pretty sure most of us got to go see PG-13 movies as kids even without the presence of adult supervision.  But that minor nitpick aside the book is a genuinely enjoyable read.

 

In terms of art Katy Farina continues to hit spot on by near perfectly imitating the television shows style from character designs to facial expressions and even characters physical queues and movements and Whitney Cogar continues to do an excellent job on coloring duty!

 

Overall the Steven Universe Ongoing continues to be an enjoyable all-ages series that stays true to its source material while coming up with new tales with Steven and the residents of beach city.

 

Final grade

Story: 8 out of 10

Art: 8 out of 10

Overall 8 out of 10.