The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 108 – No Sleep Till Phlebas

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, our fortnightly pop culture news and reviews podcast!

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Big News

This week we chat about all the The Incredibles 2 trailer, Legion Season 2, the Lost in Space Netflix reboot series, the Burnout Paradise remaster, the madness of Metal Gear Survive, the new Avengers lineup and the upcoming Amazon adaptation of Iain M. Banks’ Culture series.

Screentime – Black Panther

This week we review Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, the latest film in the MCU! We try to go light on spoilers, but if you are worried, skip 41:00-54:05.

Now Playing – Reading/Watching/Playing

Adam The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin/Agents of SHIELD Season 3/Basically no video games again
Ian Vorrh by Brian Catling/Altered Carbon on Netflix/Bayonetta 1 and 2 on Nintendo Switch

Check out any of those through those Amazon links and we get a kick back! Or you can go through here.

You can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.Fancy supporting our site? Head on over to our Paypal donation page! It’s completely optional, set your own price! Even £1 helps us with hosting costs and we’d really appreciate it! Cheers!

Comic Review – Mockingbird #1 (Marvel Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those times.

Warning: minor spoilers.

“Join S.H.I.E.L.D they said. Great health benefits, low co-pays…” – Bobbi Morse

Well this was supposed to be another indie comic review, but I managed to leave said indie comic 100 or so miles away in Coventry. The joys of living out of two addresses…. So when I got home tonight I realised I needed something else to review. A quick look at what was new out this week and Mockingbird (written by Chelsea Cain, art by Kate Niemczyc, colour artist Rachelle Rosenberg and letterer VC’s Joe Carmagna) caught my eye. I’ve never read any comics with her in before, but I’ve seen her alter-ego Bobbi Morse in Agents of SHIELD.

This is very much a first issue, but it is not an origin story. We know Bobbi has been injected with an experimental version of Cap’s Super Soldier Serum and SHIELD aren’t confident about the side effects it might be having. The comic entirely takes place in one of SHIELD’s research labs where Bobbi is having regular blood tests. We see her come in over a number of weeks and see how she’s fairing. Which is mixed to say the least (not that she’ll admit it!). We also get to see a few guest cameos in the background, from Howard the Duck reading a leaflet on stopping smoking to Hercules looking a little worse for wear.

The art is very much in line with a lot of Marvel’s other comics, like the current run on Thor, where the colours are strong and vibrant and things generally feel light and with a slight sense of humour about them. Speaking of, there’s a fair few references tucked away in this, some to the Agents of SHIELD TV show, and some to the Marvel universe in general if you know what to look for (read the forms!). This all adds to something Marvel have totally nailed in many of their current comic series – a sense of humour and danger all wrapped up into one. We also get to see a fun array of all of the outfits Mockingbird wears on some of her missions.

MockingbirdAs the plot focuses on her test results and current state of health I won’t go into too much detail on it, except to say it’s a very well written first issue, designed to grip the reader into wanting more. I was left looking for a few answers at the end of it, but there’s a helpful cheat sheet from the authors telling you what their rough plans are with the first few issues in the series (filling in the gaps between Bobbi’s appointments!).

In terms of criticism, I suppose the downside of keeping a lot of things mysterious is the reader is left with quite a few unknowns at the end. It would be nice to have gotten to know some of the supporting cast a little better as well.

Final Verdict

This is a very different first issue, but a very enjoyable one. I wasn’t looking to add any more comics to my regular list (I am supposed to be saving for a wedding…) but dammit Marvel you’ve done it again!

Final Score – 8.75 Vanishing Ping-Pong Balls out of 10!

Adam’s Top 5 TV Shows of 2015

Over the next couple of weeks we’re going to be sharing our top 5s of 2015, from everyone who writes here at The Lost Lighthouse. Adam will kick off with his favourite 5 TV shows of the year.

I’m taking a quick break from the depths of writing my PhD thesis to write about some of the things I actually cared about this year, starting with TV. Yes I still find time for TV. You’ll notice that not only are all five of my picks American shows, all but one of them are comic book based TV shows. Big whup, wanna fight about it?

5. True Detective – Season 2

True Detective s2

My number 5 is the only pick that isn’t a comic book TV show, and is also potentially the most controversial choice. If you believe everything you read on the internet, the torrent of articles online about what a failure True Detective Season 2 was is pretty damning. Yet everyone I actually spoke to in person enjoyed it, maybe not as much as the first season but enjoyed it nonetheless. It seems that Season Two’s main crime was not being Season One. Sure, it was convoluted and confusing, the dialogue was overwrought and the characters hugely broken and brooding… but as for the first point, having a TV show demand your full attention and you still might not get it on the first viewing isn’t the worst problem a series can have. In fact, it can be more rewarding. And if you say that Season One wasn’t confusing and convoluted you’re a liar.

As for the second issue, as I see it overwrought dialogue and larger than life brooding characters was exactly what the show was aiming for. The writing wasn’t bad. It was specific. True Detective Season Two starred a new cast of characters in an entirely separate story from the previous season, setting the format of the show as an anthology series with an internal ethos but not a set style. The style of the second season was a brooding LA noir, and the dialogue bled that style all over.

Season Two starred Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch as Detectives Ray Velcoro, Ani Bezzerides and Officer Paul Woodrugh, brought in to investigate the murder of a man found with his eyes burned out and his body dumped out on a bench. Vince Vaughan played the man’s criminal partner Frank Semyon, now left in the lurch, and Kelly Reilly starred as his wife Jordan Semyon. As the plot developed, conspiracies reared their ugly heads, dirty cops were stabbed in the back by even dirtier cops, and criminals basically did what criminals tend to do. Also there was a guy in a raven mask.

As with the first season, the performances of the main players were really the strongest aspect of the show. I enjoyed Vince Vaughan (regardless of what everyone else seems to think, I thought he was decent) and Kitsch, but it was Farrell and McAdams as Velcoro and Bezzerides that really blew me away. While the latter generated a chaotic stress and snarkiness that constantly felt on the brink of breaking point, Velcoro was just a depressing mess of a man with a hair trigger. The tag line ‘We get the world we deserve’ drew me in, and the end of the first episode with the detectives surrounding the body, having all driven there independently drunk and blearily staring at each other for the first time, hooked me. Did I enjoy True Detective Season Two as much as the first season? Was it as good? Who gives a shit. It was it’s own beast and I enjoyed the hell out of it.

Favourite part – The ridiculous shoot out and carnage with everyone at the end of ‘Down Will Come’, the other ridiculous shoot out with Woodrugh at the end of ‘Black Maps and Motel Rooms’, and the slow motion glass smash from Frank in the same episode… but my actual favourite part of every episode was the haunting intro  ‘Nevermind’ by Leonard Cohen.

4. The Flash

The flash

The CW’s Arrow show may have started off shaky, but a few episodes in it found it’s feet after the main character became less of a murdering Batman-clone with a bow and arrow. Despite how well the first season ended, I don’t think anyone predicted how good the sophomore season would be. Good job it was too, because the success of Arrow (which I enjoy a great deal) is the only reason we have the unbridled superhero fun fare that is The Flash. Arrow may be dark and gritty like most of the DC live action output these days (but nowhere near as gritty as the cinematic universe, which is mind bogglingly not connected to the TV universe), but one thing it isn’t afraid to do is embrace the extended DC universe. The Flash takes this and multiplies it by time travel and multiverses.

Grant Gustin was introduced in Arrow as Barry Allen, and I think the original idea was to have an episode of that show be the backdoor pilot for The Flash. Instead, they decided to have the accident that imbued Barry with the speed force powers of The Flash occur at the end of his appearance on Arrow, then repeated the scene in The Flash pilot. Over the first season and the half of the second we have had so far, the glee with which the showrunners have included the wackiest elements of The Flash’s rogues gallery without hesitation has been just brilliant to watch, from Weather Wizard and Mark Hamill reprising his role as The Trickster, to god damn Gorilla Grodd and briefly King Shark. But the willingness to go for broke on some of the more out-there stuff, while the show still maintains it’s audience, really impresses me. The concept of time travel is introduced incredibly early on, until eventually Barry manages to achieve it himself, and in the second season we have Earth-2 and parallel versions of villains and other characters. It’s pretty insane, but it works.

Also the cross-overs with Arrow just make it seem like everyone is having a great time making these shows, which always comes across on screen and sells both Flash and Arrow that much better. This year we had Vandal Savage, Hawkgirl and Hawkman. So happy.

Favourite part: There is a lot to choose from, but I’d probably go with Episode 15 ‘Out of Time’, when after seeing an image of himself running beside him, Barry later accidentally travels back in time, giving him the chance at a do over when things didn’t turn out so well, risking paradoxes at the same time.

Minor complaint: A bit picky of me, but there is a moment in season one where a character mentions a singularity, and Danielle Panabaker’s character Caitin Snow, a scientist, says words to the effect of “A singularity, what’s that?”. Bullshit she doesn’t know. I get that you felt the need to have someone ask the question for the exposition, but there was a  journalist and a cop in the room at the same time. Either of them would have been fine.

3. Agents of SHIELD

AoS3

I’ve gone on about how much I like SHIELD on the podcast. Everyone gave it a harder time than it deserved when it started. At worst, it was average. Then it got good. Then Winter Soldier happened and it got great. For me, it’s stayed at that level since and of all the weekly shows I watch this is the one I look forward to the most.

Season two brought in the concept of Inhumans, powered individuals that Marvel are essentially trying to use to replace the mutants (at least on screen, possibly in the comics) due to not having the rights to those characters. While still trying to deal with Hydra, Coulson has to deal with rebuilding SHIELD and these new Inhumans, whether they are threats or potential allies. The season introduced some great new characters, in particular Adrianne Palicki as Mockingbird, but also brings some huge changes to the original cast too, some through emotional depth and some through physical change. The added growth in all the characters that started in the first season was really fleshed out in the second (and more so so far in the third), in particular for Skye, who Coulson spent a lot of the time telling everyone how special she was and important early on in season one, while the show only really started to show us why later. That has led to a really strong father-daughter relationship from Clark Gregg and Chloe Bennet that has been really enjoyable to watch.

Season three so far has brought in Inhumans into a Secret Warriors plotline, as well as other worlds and Powers Boothe. All great stuff.

Favourite part: This scene in Season 2 Episode 19 ‘The Dirty Half Dozen’ where Skye straight up John Wick’s a bunch of Hydra goons in a brilliant single take tracking shot.

 

2. Daredevil

Daredevil

Daredevil marked the first of the announced Marvel and Netflix collaboration shows – 13 episode series dropped onto the streaming service in one go ready to be binge-watched. Putting aside the issues that many have with this model, some of which I agree with (in the rush to avoid spoilers, burning through the series in days compresses the enjoyment), after a shall we say ‘poorly received’ movie, I think there was a certain level of apprehension with how Daredevil would turn out, and what that would mean for the series to come. We really shouldn’t have worried.

Daredevil drastically shifted tone from the rest of the MCU, taking it to a dark, brutal and bloody place that it hasn’t gone to yet and set the stage for what is to come with the rest of the Netflix shows. Charlie Cox played the Man Without Fear brilliantly, with Elden Henson and Deborah Ann Woll as his friends Foggy Nelson and Karen Page effectively playing his drinking buddies and grounding him when he became too dark and driven, Vondie Curtis-Hall as the driven journalist Ben Urich, and Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple, a nurse who fixes up Matt Murdock when he is cut up and beaten within an inch of his life. But as good as they all were, Vincent D’Onofrio really stole the show as Wilson ‘Kingpin’ Fisk, a tortured leviathan of a man who took the whole 13 episodes to realise that his methods for ‘saving’ Hell’s Kitchen actually made him a monster, all while providing a mirror for Cox’s Matt Murdock to ask if he was really any different.

The connecting threads between everything in the MCU are always icing on the cake, and its difficult to know whether it is better to go overt like the crossovers between movies, the show altering changes that SHIELD has in response to the films, or to take a more subtle approach. I think the Daredevil writers made the right call in keeping it subtle, instead using the ‘Battle of New York’ from the first Avengers film as a reason for a now affluent and gentrified Hell’s Kitchen being run down and struggling again, but not having any overt cameos or camera winks.

Due to the critical and fan response to Daredevil, a second season has already gone into production and we’ll be getting that in 2016 along with Luke Cage. This time they’re bringing in Élodie Yung as Electra and Jon Bernthal as The Punisher, one of my favourite Marvel characters. I really couldn’t be more excited about this.

Favourite part: Pretty much the same as everyone’s. Daredevil had some amazing action sequences, but I don’t think they ever topped the hallway fight at the end of episode 2 ‘Cut Man’. Brutal.

 

1. Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones

I’ll admit, Jessica Jones may only be number one because of how recently it came out, in that same whole-season-dump-at-once model as Daredevil, but I’m halfway through revisiting it already and think it is a superb piece of TV. After the first Marvel show from Netflix was such a success, I was very much looking forward to the next one. This second show just came out last month, proving that Daredevil wasn’t just a fluke and pushing the dark, more adult MCU even further than the violence and brutality of Daredevil. Instead of being a dark action show though, thematically and stylistically Jessica Jones is a brooding and intense noir, telling the tale of an alcoholic private investigator with super strength who, after an abortive attempt to become a superhero than ends very badly, is washed-up and struggling to make enough to pay for her cheap whiskey.

The show centers around Jessica, played by Krysten Ritter, clashing with the man who was responsible for her fall from grace. Kilgrave, played chillingly by David Tennant, has the ability to control anyone just by giving them a command. Anything from telling you to throw a drink in your own face to jumping off the top of a building, the victim is compelled to do whatever he says. This terrifying power provides the show with some incredibly dark and weighty subject matter, with consent and compulsion at the forefront. It’s all handled brilliantly, and Ritter and Tennant are just excellent to watch.

The supporting cast is largely great too (I found the upstairs neighbours a little dull), in particular Rachael Taylor as Trish Walker, Jessica’s best friend, Carrie-Ann Moss as Jeri Hogarth, a well respected lawyer who trades favours with Jessica, Eka Darville as Malcolm, the tragic junkie neighbour, and Mike Coulter as Luke Cage, a bartender who she’s been following for a case. Coulter is especially exciting, as Luke Cage is the star of the next Netflix series coming (after Daredevil Season 2) and I thought he was great here.

Favourite part: Jessica not giving a bag of dicks what her neighbour thinks. In fact basically all of Jessica’s dialogue.

What were your favourite TV shows of this year? Let us know!

Adam

Honourable mention goes to: Doctor Who, which I felt was a huge improvement over last year partially due to the inclusion of two parters that have been sorely missing over the last couple of series, but more to do with Peter Capaldi really settling in to the role and delivering some superb performances; Rick and Morty, a show I burned through in about 24 hours after being told about it. Incredibly funny, inventive and very, very bleak; Parks and Recreation, which I only started watching last year but has become one of my favourite shows, and its final season somehow delivered a satisfying ending for an entire cast of brilliant characters while maintaining the heart-warming and sincere yet funny edge the show always had without seeming cheesy or unearned; Archer, which continues to be hilarious even this far in, and I can’t wait for season 7 in the new year; and Agent Carter, which was basically a joy to watch, Hayley Atwell owned the screen (and I’m glad they keep bringing her in as Peggy at different ages in the MCU) in an excellent period piece where the world was even more embarrassingly unequal than it is now. Plus she beat the shit out of a lot of people. Bring on season 2.

The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 43 – Donation Butter

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, brought to you by The Lost Lighthouse.

This week we chat about a few things from this year’s San Diego Comic Con, including the new Batman Vs. Superman and Suicide Squad footage, Con Man, some behind the scenes clips from Star Wars VII and Ash Vs. Evil Dead, while Gary wishes that Terminator Genisys was worse than it is and Adam hates the concept of love that transcends the space-time continuum.

Agents of SHIELD/Agent Carter Dubsmash (which got even better after we recorded)

[audio http://welcometorapture.podbean.com/mf/web/y97k8s/wr43.mp3]
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If you have any thoughts. questions or opinions anything this week you can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.

London MCM Comic Con – Day 3: Agents of SHIELD Panel

Adam headed off to the MCM Comic Con Expo in London this weekend. This is what he saw.

For the last day of London Comic Con this year I spent a large amount of the day admiring the great art in the Comics Village (and picked up a couple of indie comics that I’ll be reviewing over the next couple of weeks), saw some more excellent cosplay and headed over to a couple more panels.

Agents of SHIELD Q&A

When I arrived in the morning the first panel I headed to was the Agents of SHIELD Q&A, with cast members Iain de Caestecker (playing Leo Fitz) and Nick Blood (who plays Lance Hunter, the only person I have ever seen with a more comic book real name than his character). Season two of SHIELD has finished over in America, but we are still a couple of episodes from the end of the season over here in the UK (airing on Channel 4). While a lot of people seem to have a fairly negative view of SHIELD, I think at worst it started reasonably (where people expected it to be mind blowing, with every single Avenger guest starring) and ever since it reacted to the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier as part of the wider MCU I think it has been excellent. Season two has carried this on, with the continuing fight with Hydra and the emerging Inhumans storyline playing a big part. The extended cast with the new agents has been a bonus too, with the introduction of Bobbi, Mack and Hunter rounding off the cast from season one nicely.

One of the overwhelming impressions I got from the panel, which actually spoke to the cast in general, was how tight de Caestecker and Blood seemed. Whenever they were asked who their favourite character was, or who they liked working with most, of course they were going to say each other because they were there, but they dragged it out for comic effect. The pair had the entire crowd laughing throughout the panel too. When asked about their character’s origin stories and who would play their parents, de Caestecker described ad libbing with his actual mother, who would only refer to him as Iain and when he tried to correct her she responded “don’t be so stupid”, and Blood joked that it would be an interesting twist if Agent May turned out to be his mother, and the story of how and why she abandoned him.

Lance-Hunter-Leo-Fitz-Argument

With regards to plot developments, de Caestecker was asked about how he approached changes to Fitz’s character as a direct result of what happened to him at the end of season one, to which some people called spoiler (again, why go to a panel if you’re either not up to date or expecting spoilers, especially for last season), and he talked about how he appreciated any extra aspects for him to tackle to allow the character to evolve, and studying up on the effects that the damage he sustains would have on a person and their character.

They were asked about superhero costumes they would have (pyjamas and a cape, and a Liverpool football kit with Steven Gerrard on the back), the Inhuman powers they would want (the ability to not need sleep, and the ability to sleep at any given moment), the Avenger they’d most like to guest star (Tony Stark to give Fitz romantic advice), codes for going to the toilet when on set (and lying about how long others had been away) and who pulls the best pranks. Apparently Clark Gregg (Phil Coulson) goes for psychological pranks, as being privy to plot developments slightly earlier than the rest of the cast he often teases about what is about to happen or who is going to die. Overall, Iain de Caestecker and Nick Blood were funny, affable guys that really sold the idea that the cast of the show get on well, which is always nice to see.

 

Adam

The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 29 – 2014 Holiday Special (Not Pro-Khan)

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, brought to you by The Lost Lighthouse.

This week was our 2014 holiday special, and by that we mean we summed up all of our favourite TV shows, films and video games from the past year into nifty top three lists and blabbed on about why we loved them all. We also read out and judged some of your favourite nerdy things of 2014 too!

Download this episode (right click and save)

If you have any thoughts. questions or opinions on anything this week you can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.

The Never Weekly, Sometimes Not At all Argument: Which Is The Best Comic Book TV Show This Season?