The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 136 – Very Quickly Spooked Myself

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 the Nintendo Switch Lite, the Rebuild of Evangelion 3.0+1.0 footage from the Japan Expo 2019 in Paris, and the live action Mulan trailer.

Screentime – Spider-Man: Far From Home

This week we review the latest Spider-Man film, and the end of the MCU’s ‘Infinity Saga’. Beware of spoilers On(as well as unavoidable spoilers for Avengers Endgame as well) from 55:30-65-18!

Now Playing – Reading/Watching/Playing
Adam – The Last Man by Mary Shelley, Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett (Discworld 17) and The War of the Realms by Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, Matt Wilson and Joe Sabino/Neon Genesis Evangelion (started on Netflix, then switched to his DVDs), Jessica Jones Season 3 and Stranger Things Season 3 on Netflix, and Veep on NOW TV/Hollow Night on Nintendo Switch and The Witcher III on PS4

Ian – Seven Blades in Black by Sam Sykes, Death’s End by Cixin Liu and Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive 2) by Brandon Sanderson/How to Train Your Dragon 3, Alita: Battle Angel, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, and Aquaman all in flight/For Honor and Resident Evil VII on the PS4


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 Book Review – The War of the Realms #6 (Marvel Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

Cover by Arthur Adams & Matthew Wilson (Marvel Comics)

Its been a while since we did a comic book review, but this week the finale of Marvel’s The War of the Realms came out with issue #6, so it seemed appropriate to dive into! This event has been the culmination of years of work on Thor from writer Jason Aaron, with interior art on the event by Russell Dauterman, cover by Arthur Adams, colours by Matthew Wilson and lettering by VC’s Joe Sabino.

War has come to Midgard, and the Avengers and the rest of the world’s heroes struggle to fight off the forces of Malakith the Accursed and his allies, who have already laid waste to all of the other realms. Thor hangs from the World Tree in the middle of the sun, seeking an answer for how to defeat Malakith and end the war. Meanwhile Malakith awaits Thor at Stonehenge, where he has his parents Odin and Freya hostage and will kill them unless Thor alone comes to face him.

In this finale, Earth’s forces turn the tide on their invaders. Despite their losses, in New York (the exact centre of the Marvel Universe I believe) Captain Marvel tangles with Sindr, Queen of Muspelheim, while Daredevil (now the God Without Fear) leads the charge against Laufey, the Kind of the Frost Giants. At Stonehenge, Thor Odinson takes an artful interpretation of the fact that only ‘Thor’ can penetrate the magical shield Malakith has erected to bring allies in with him, as both his older and younger selves join the fight, along with Jane Foster: Thor, Goddess of Thunder. Together they take on Malakith and some of his strongest forces to save Odin and Freya and stop the War of the Realms.

The War of the Realms is the payoff of years of work, with possibly more set up than any event comic I have ever read. This is ridiculous superhero comics at its best, and Aaron and co totally stick the landing. With 6 issues they have told a complete story, that not only never felt like it was treading water (as events often do), but was also somehow magically delivered on time (as events never are). Nothing drags, everything is just a constant dopamine hit. Aaron’s character work over years, particularly with Odinson and Jane Foster, is so strong at this point and both have immensely satisfying arcs that finish up here, and have so much potential for the future. Most supporting characters are largely just that in this finale, but a few get the chance to shine (notably Daredevil). But this was always a Thor event. There are just a lot of Thors to share the spotlight.

Art by Dauterman, Wilson & Sabino (Marvel Comics)

Speaking of a dopamine hit – Russell Dauterman’s art on this book. Not to take anything away from the more recent arc on Thor, but I loved Dauterman during the Jane Foster era, and it is great to see him stretch into the full Marvel roster. But the scale and magic in this finale are what is truly impressive, from the insides of a boiled sun, to both a storm of gods and a god storm, everything is just gorgeous. And constantly on fire. Wilson’s colours make the art burst off the pages, with a richness of palette that makes the ethereal and the brutal seem real. Sabino’s letter work impresses too, with so much going on and so much being said, it only takes centre stage when it needs to, and remains discretely guiding the rest of the issue.

The War of the Realms has been a triumph of an event, hitting on all cylinders and showing the full scale of how ridiculous and amazing superhero comics can be, especially when you have a great art team that can deliver the insane ideas of the writer to their fullest. I can’t wait to see what is coming next for Thor and Jane, despite the bittersweet knowledge that the story to come in King Thor will be Aaron’s last on the character. Pick this up at your local comic shop now!

 

Comic Review – The Mighty Thor #703 (Marvel Comics)

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

Warning: minor spoilers.

Normally I would try to avoid reviewing a comic well into the swing of a story arc, but one of my regulars today really stood out as both an issue and an arc I want to say my piece on. The Mighty Thor has been an outstanding series of comics, once Jane Foster taking over the mantle of Thor after the Odinson became unworthy Marvel have done an incredible job in portraying a different kind of Thor throughout compelling narratives and great character development. The reason I’m highlighting this issue in this arc is it appears Jane Foster’s run as the Goddess of Thunder is coming to an end (seeing as the arc title is ‘The Death of the Mighty Thor’ this shouldn’t be too much of a spoiler). This comic is bought to us by:

  • Writer – Jason Aaron
  • Artist – Russell Dauterman
  • Colourist – Matthew Wilson
  • Letterer – VC’s Joe Sabino

There has been a built up to one hell of a confrontation in this comic – Thor vs the Mangog, for those not familiar with the Mangog it’s a monster that comes back time and time again to murder and destroy as many Asgardians as it possibly can. Jane Foster however, is still fighting her own battle against cancer, which isn’t going so well. This issue really feels like this will be it, soon Jane will need to choose whether or not to pick up the hammer one last time and likely not survive or to hang it up and step down as Thor. Personally, I’ll be very disappointed to see her go, assuming she does. Jane Foster as Thor has been a favourite of mine since she took up the mantle, and I had been hoping the Odinson would get his hands on another hammer (there is more than one of them kicking about at the moment!) and for the both of them to share the role. As you may be able to tell by my prioritising this issue, it does feel like there’s an emotional weight to this and I am hoping Jason Aaron can keep up to the standard set by The Mighty Thor run and give Jane/the Goddess of Thunder the send-off she deserves (assuming again, this does happen!)

Dauterman and Wilson’s art has to juggle two tones of story – one where Jane is battling cancer and facing the decision of her life and one where the Mangog tears through Asgard. To me, they handle this well, with duller tones during the Jane Foster focused panels and vibrant bright tones in Asgard. The Mangog is very, well, orange and is a villain who could easily look a bit ridiculous if handled incorrectly, but I think the artists do a great job in portraying how terrifying it must be to stand up against. I also very much enjoyed Sabino’s lettering, and the panel breaking screams during the battle between Asgardians and the Mangog.

Final Verdict

The build up to the finale for The Mighty Thor is showing a lot of promise, Jane’s characterisation and how caught she feels between her two lives is very compelling. While I don’t want to see the Mighty Thor go, this run of comics has been successful and in both Marvel and DC characters do happen to have a habit of coming back… like the one who gets a cameo on the final page!

Score: 9 Rainbow Bridges’s out of 10

Adam’s Top 5 Comics 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. This time Adam will go through his favourite 5 comics 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. For my final top five I’m ranking my favourite comics released in 2015. Comics are one of the few things I still manage to put a lot of time (and money) into, making a trip to my LCS every Wednesday for new comic book day. I read a lot of really excellent series, with new ones starting all the time. This year I’ve experienced a real shift from DC to Marvel, trying out and sticking with many new series of the latter before and after Marvel’s summer event ‘Secret Wars’, while dropping a large number of DC books – I’m now down to about 5 monthly books from them. But as this list will reflect, I tend to read more Image books than anything else these days.

A warning now, there may be a few spoilers along the way. If you get to a title and aren’t necessarily up to date with it, read on only if you don’t mind finding out the odd plot detail. In particular for my number 2.

5. Justice League – Geoff Johns & Jason Fabok (DC Comics)

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Justice League is one of the few DC titles I have consistently picked up since the start of DC’s New 52 back in 2011. Geoff Johns has been writing the book since issue #1, delivering the sort of blockbuster superhero action you’d expect from the title. The artist has changed every few arcs on the book, and since the end of last year Jason Fabok has taken over as the main artist. The previous arc ‘The Amazo Virus’ was decent, possibly one of the weaker plots of the last couple of years (certainly not due to the art). However, the current story ‘The Darkseid War’ has been superb, and more importantly has given Fabok the chance to really let loose with his art, not just with excellent superhero action but with huge god Vs god action between Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor. His action sequences are superb and relentless, while not falling down when it comes to facial work like many action-orientated artists do.

The story is moving in to its second act this week, with the various members of the Justice League converted to various New God status. A real positive for the series has been seeing the story through the eyes and narration of Wonder Woman, while she leads the remaining Leaguers in a desperate battle while gods wage war on Earth. Justice League makes my list because it is one of the series I look forward to most whenever it comes out, and always goes to the top of my reading stack.

 

4. The Fade Out – Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips & Elizabeth Breitweiser (Image Comics)

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The Fade Out started near the end of last year, and wraps up it’s 12 issue run next week. Created by long time collaborators Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, the series is a Hollywood crime noir set in the late 1940s. The Fade Out deals with the murder of Hollywood starlet Valeria Sommers, and follows writer Charlie Parish as he tries to piece together his fractured and drunken memory to figure out who is responsible for her death and why. It’s very different to what I would normally read, but I’m so glad I picked it up.

Brubaker creates an interesting noir mystery and it is clear that plenty of research and care has gone into making sure the era feels right for both the setting, story and dialogue. The same can be said for Phillips’s art, with the style and characters feeling very 1940s, so they all really standing out. A bonus to the whole package are the back up articles from Devin Faraci in every issue, dealing with a different star or theme of old Hollywood. It’s really fascinating stuff. I’ll really miss this series when it’s finished, and will be re-reading it all when the final issue is out to see what I missed.

 

3. Southern Bastards – Jason Aaron & Jason Latour (Image Comics)

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Another Image series that started back in 2014 that continues to go to the top of my reading stack whenever it comes out is the brutal Southern Bastards, written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Jason Latour. This is a fucking mean book. Set in Craw County, Alabama, Southern Bastards revolves around Coach Boss and his football team the Runnin’ Rebs, state champions that essentially run the town. The arc that has run through this year has largely focused on fleshing out Boss and his various violent cronies, presumably before we return to the plot moving forward in the new year.

Aaron’s writing is incredibly dark, I tend to feel fairly bummed out after each issue full of terrible people doing terrible things, but it is so well written and compelling. Latour’s art is brilliant, bringing this world to life and imbuing it with a dirty feel and colour palette. Everything in Craw County is ugly, and that includes the people. I can’t wait to see how low this series goes in 2016.

 

2. Thor/The Mighty Thor – Jason Aaron & Russell Dauterman (Marvel Comics)

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Another one from Jason Aaron, but this time decidedly less bleak. I jumped on to the Thor ongoing series during all the fuss over “Thor being turned into Lady Thor” and the huge amount of internet bullshit that followed that announcement that essentially boils down to people being afraid of change, of giving compelling stories a chance rather than knee jerk reactions and being unaware that if comic book companies only cater to the currently relatively small readership prices will continue to rise until the industry dies. And I don’t want that. I like comics. The storm in a teacup followed on from Thor as we know him, the Odinson, becoming unworthy to wield Mjolnir. In his place, a mysterious female picks up the hammer, and starts to use it more skillfully than even the Odinson. He spends a large amount of the first run leading up to Secret Wars trying to figure out her identity, which is revealed to be the cancer-stricken Jane Foster. And using the hammer is rendering her treatments ineffective, so being a hero is slowly killing her.

The story is tightly weaved and incredibly enjoyable, with really top notch plot and character work from Jason Aaron. Dauterman’s art is superb though, and probably the series’s main selling point for me at this stage. There are huge action splashes that are breathtaking to behold, and the cosmic and otherworldly elements and characters of the Nine Realms have looked great so far. When this series wrapped up for Secret Wars I was disappointed, but then delighted to hear that the same team was returning for the continuation after the summer event with The Mighty Thor. The issues so far from that I feel have been even better than the pre-Secret Wars material.

And calm down nerds. Eventually Odinson will be Thor again (in fact there is a fairly large hint in a Secret Wars tie in that we may be looking at having two Thors, which makes me happy as Jane Foster as Thor is great), Steve Rogers will be Cap again (it is his 75th Anniversary in 2016…) and I don’t really know or care what is happening with the Hulk. Just enjoy the stories. Or piss off. Either way do it quietly so the rest of us can read our comics in peace.

 

1. Black Science – Rick Remender & Matteo Scalera (Image Comics)

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Big Image bias in this list isn’t there? My favourite series of the year is the extremely high concept sci fi Black Science, written by Rick Remender and beautifully drawn by Matteo Scalera. Starting back in late 2013, Black Science focuses on a group of alternative scientists pushing the boundaries of conventional research, led by Grant McKay, formerly of the Anarchist Order of Scientists. Their project, ‘The Pillar’, breaches into different dimensions, but someone sabotages it. It’s stuck jumping across different worlds – dragging everyone that was present along with it, including the other scientists and Grant’s kids Pia and Nate.

The story has jackknifed through gorgeous worlds, deadly worlds, diseased worlds and the slowly dwindling cast of characters has had to interact with multiple versions of themselves in various realities. And while that is all pretty high concept and mind-bending, the latest arc ‘Godworld’ is utterly insane. Remender’s writing is complex and layered, with excellent and dark character work and intelligent science fiction that commands your attention. Scalera’s artwork renders Black Science as one of the most consistently superb looking books on the stands every month. The worlds he brings to life are just stunning.

The latest part of Godworld is due out next week with issue #19, and I’ll probably read it on the tube on the way home. And it will probably be weird, and anyone sitting next to me will be deeply confused and terrified. And I don’t care.

Comic Review – Thor #8

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he reviews of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

As Secret Wars continues to roll on, we’ve started to see the end of a few Marvel Comics series before the entire landscape of the Marvel Universe changes at the end of the event. This week Thor finished with issue #8, wrapping up the first run for the new Goddess of Thunder introduced after Odinson became unworthy to wield the hammer Mjolnir and a mystery woman picked it up instead. Thor was published by Marvel Comics, written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Russell Dauterman, with colours by Matthew Wilson and letters from VC’s Joe Sabino. Although this was the last issue in this run, Aaron will be writing the upcoming Thors tie in to Secret Wars, so it won’t be the end of the story.

At the end of the last issue, Thor was confronted by the Destroyer, controlled by Cul at the behest of his brother Odin the All-Father. Furious that someone else has taken the hammer, the Destroyer was sent to claim it back. However, a whole host of heroes turned up to aide her, including Captain Marvel, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Freya the All-Mother, Odinson and Lady Sif along with various other Asgardians. The group work together to fight the machine, but it’s still a tough battle. Afterwards, Odinson speaks to Thor, desperate to finally find out her identity. He’s narrowed his list down to just one name, certainly made easier after a large number of the candidates fought alongside them just now, and just wants her to admit it and tell him how. He even promises to share the words that Nick Fury told him that made him unworthy… until the person he thought he was talking to turned up to shout at them both. Taking the opportunity to avoid further questions, Thor flies away to hide out in secret. But on the final page, her identity is revealed just to the readers.

This was another great issue from Jason Aaron, and I am very sad to see this book go as it was one of my most anticipated every time it was due. Every issue was really solid superhero storytelling, with a compelling mystery behind the new Thor’s identity, further machinations from both villains and supposed gods and brilliant dialogue. Throughout, the juxtaposition between the inner monologue of a woman that was clearly from Earth (or at least not from Asgardia) and the flowery Shakespearian language that was spoken aloud was a lot of fun to read. Dauterman’s art has been excellent too, to the extent that I found that I really missed it during the fill-in issue after the first arc. Here it really with the opportunity to draw so many of the Marvel heroines taking on the Destroyer, with an array of different attacks that look great, and Wilson’s colours help to make them pop out of the page.

Thor ended this short run as strongly as it started, and I’m reassured that the reason for it ending is due to Secret Wars and not due to sales, which were pretty good according to Aaron on the letters page. For anyone that dismissed this series because they ‘didn’t like Thor turning into a chick’, pull your head out of your rectum and actually give things a chance rather than having a knee jerk reaction. The Goddess of Thunder has been a great character to read, and while I’m sure Odinson will lift the hammer again (and Steve will return to being Cap, and Tony will stop being even more of a douche. Calm down nerds) I hope this new Thor remains, even if it ends up being through some form of comic book handwavery (I’m going to guess that Secret Wars ends with 2 Mjolnirs on Earth-616). Pick this up at your LCS or digitally.

Score: 9 Frost Giants out of 10

Comic Review – Thor #1

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he is going to attempt a mini review of his favourite one, with potential minor spoilers.

This week I knew what my review would be before I even went to the comic book shop. What with all the hype, perceived controversy and it being a new number one I picked up Thor #1 despite not really reading much Marvel of late, or having followed the preceding run of Thor: God of Thunder and the Original Sin event that led to this new series. Thor was written by Jason Aaron, with art by Russell Dauterman, colours from Matthew Wilson and letters by Joe Sabino, and was published by Marvel comics. Full disclosure, this is the first issue of Thor I have ever bought. I don’t read anywhere near as much Marvel as I would like, occasionally dabbling in things like Avengers, Deadpool, Punisher and Wolverine, because I generally prefer the DC universe and haven’t really been able to afford investing in both major publishers AND whatever indie comics take my fancy.

Everyone knows who Thor is and what his deal is. God of Thunder, hero and Avenger, and the son of Odin, the All-Father of Asgard (or Asgardia as it is now, I’m not sure why). The current state of affairs is laid out in an informative synopsis on page six (Marvel comics usually have these), with Odin returning from a self-imposed exile and butting heads with his wife Freyja, who has been ruling Asgardia as All-Mother. These capricious gods bicker over who is now in charge, what to do in response to a later threat, and how to deal with a very mopey Thor. Speaking of Thor, at the end of the Original Sin event, merely by whispering something in his ear (that we still don’t know) Nick Fury caused Thor to deem himself unworthy of wielding his hammer Mjolnir, dropping it during a battle on the moon. This issue finds him still by his hammer, totally unable to lift it, and nor can any of the other Asgardians including Odin. Meanwhile, Midgard (or, Earth) is being attacked by Frost Giants and Malekith the Accursed. Freyja and Odin argue over whether to respond, and Thor heads to the armoury to go and defend his ‘home’, and without Mjolnir he has to bring an axe and face the threat alone. No spoilers, but it does not go well. It isn’t until the final pages however, that we get to see the much anticipated new Thor. The inscription on the hammer is changed, and a new Goddess of Thunder holds Mjolnir aloft on the last page. We’ll have to wait until the next issue to actually see her in action though.

New Thor

There has been a lot of coverage about the new Thor, with the announcement that she would be a woman actually being made on The View in the US. Read any comments thread on an article, Instagram picture about Thor, Twitter argument and any other terrible social media connection and you will see the same thing – rational people futilely trying to argue with people who hate the idea that Thor is changing (generally hate the idea of any change occurring) and insisting it will be terrible without reading the damn comic and finding out. We talked about the news on our podcast, and even though I hadn’t been reading the series my knee-jerk reaction was to say it was stunt-casting and a gimmick. Thinking about it for more than one second and it is clear that it isn’t at all, and even if it was, it worked. I’m reading the series, and I’ve put the rest of Jason Aaron’s Thor right to the top of my list of trades to buy because I enjoyed the hell out of this. Maybe coming in to this cold has made me less bothered by change, but Thor is still Thor, he’s just not got the powers of Thor (that sentence actually made sense in my head). There is a need for someone to step in and take up the powers and mantle, and in this case it just happens to be a woman.

Was it a gimmick to draw in new readers? Who cares? We want more people to read comics and for the medium to keep thriving. In addition, the female contingent of comic fandom is constantly underestimated, so having more balance in some of the biggest series and characters makes absolute sense to better reflect the state of those actually consuming the comics we love. That isn’t to say that now that Thor is a woman, only women will appreciate it, because guess what? It’s a fucking character, a superhero that we can all read and love and gender shouldn’t actually effect whether or not we want to read a book at all. If a story is well written then things like that shouldn’t matter, and it should be written to take into account an entire potential audience and not just 50% of them. Not accepting change is childish, and idiotic to assume that things will be permanent. Remember when every superhero ever died at some point, and how they’re not dead now? Thor will be Thor again eventually I’m sure, this is just a new and hopefully compelling story in which he is not the titular character and not the God of Thunder. Without instigating big changes, like a lot of the other stories happening at Marvel right now, characters become stale and boring. Stakes mean nothing if our hero always comes out on top, and is always the most powerful with nothing to challenge that.

Ultimately, I don’t think Jason Aaron was aiming to create all this controversy. I think he had an idea for a great story, and was trusted to run with it. The closest thing I have to a complaint is that the new Thor barely appears at all, but that has only made me certain I will be back for issue #2 because I want to see who she is, and how much ass she is going to kick. And you can guarantee that she will kick all sorts of ass. The old Thor (nomenclature gets difficult, ‘Original Thor’?) is the focus of the bulk of this issue anyway, and Aaron has indicated that he won’t exactly be taking a back seat. I thought the writing was really strong here, and I loved the Asgardian Shakespearean-style dialogue. My favourite line, from Freyja, was “I spoke with the mortal they call ‘The Captain of America’.”. That especially tickled me. I’ve seen a few comments about the art being good, but not as good as the previous artist on Thor: God of Thunder. The benefit of not having read that at all, is that I don’t have that complaint at all. I thought the art from Dauterman was great and the colours from Wilson were really vibrant.

This was really more of a poorly assembled rant than an actual review. Basically, you can’t know you are going to dislike something unless you actually try it out. Change has to occur for things to stay interesting, and to decide you hate something just because something has changed without giving the actual story a chance is misguided. In the letters section, Jason Aaron actually responds to a letter from a reader that genuinely says (before the issue has come out) “Now you have me seriously considering leaving comics altogether.”, coming back by stating that this is all part of the story he’s been building for the past two years, and pointing out the various others who have wielded the hammer in Thor’s stead. This sort of reaction is totally insane to me, especially as it is presumably from an actual adult rather than the child it sounds like. Aaron responds gracefully, whereas I probably would have called the guy a dick.

I loved this, and am genuinely interested in what will happen with this new Thor, what will happen to the old/original/Thor Odinsson/Thor-Classic Thor and especially in how they will interact with each other. I’ll carry on with this, find room in my budget for more Marvel, and start picking up the rest of Aaron’s run on Thor.

Buy this.

 

Score: 9 Ravens out of 10