The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 138 – Baked Potato Rocket Launch

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 new Joker trailer, Matrix 4, Bond 25 and El Camino, and a lot of stuff from D23 this year, including the Sony/Marvel Spider-Man news, the Ms Marvel, She Hulk and Moon Night Disney+ show announcements, the Obi-Wan show, and The Mandalorian and Rise of Skywalker trailers.

Now Playing – Reading/Watching/Playing
Adam – The Fires of Heaven (The Wheel of Time 5) by Robert Jordan, All Systems Red (Murderbot Diaries 1) by Martha Wells, and An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon/Archer 1999 and Orange is the New Black Season 7 on Netflix, This Way Up on More 4/Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order on Nintendo Switch

Ian – The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal/Black Mirror: Bandersnatch on Netflix/Dynasty Warriors 9 and Skyrim on 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 – Hulk #3 (Marvel Comics)

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

Warning: minor spoilers (including Civil War II spoilers)

“What’s worse? Dying? Or getting that close to death… and getting turned around… and dragged back into the world…” – Jennifer Walters

 

Issue #3 of Hulk caught my eye this week. Partially because Jennifer Walters was on the front cover and I’ve always found She-Hulk to be that little bit more engaging than The Hulk himself, and the simplicity of the title. Only Hulk, not Incredible, Unstoppable etc. With so many the Adjective Super hero comics out there one with such a simple name stands out. This comic was bought to us by:

Cover by Jeff Dekal

Cover by Jeff Dekal

  • Writer – Mariko Tamaki
  • Artist – Nico Leon
  • Colour Artist – Matt Milla
  • Letterer – VC’s Cory Petit

We pick things up with Jen after the end of Civil War II. She had been knocked into a coma during the war, and her cousin Bruce’s death served as one of the key catalysts to the whole battle. I didn’t read Civil War II myself, so I was playing a little catch up here in learning the background to the comic. You don’t need to know too much of the detail though to understand the story telling approach taken by Tamaki. Jen is dealing with a hell of a lot. Work is both uninspiring and too much at the same time and she always looks tired, finding it hard to engage with her friends. In the mean-time crime is still taking place in New York, and conspiracies as always are developing.

Art by

Art by Leon & Milla

The art is bright and simplistic throughout. I think this was done to create that artificial light feel anyone who’s working into the evening on a winter’s night in retail will know well. It slightly clashes with the mood of the comic, which in actually helps set the tone. Jen is pushing on and trying to get back to day to day life because she has to. She has to keep at it even when it’s the last thing she wants. Even so, this approach by Milla may not be for everyone. Leon did a great job in portraying Jen throughout the issue. His line work leaves her looking exhausted throughout and as if she cannot be bothered to deal with people.

However, even a Hulk has hands. How well are they drawn this issue? This is not a combat issue at all. There’s no action to speak of and character interactions are entirely social. Hands are well used to convey emotion throughout the issue, however Leon and Milla’s art style is light on detail. Although hands are drawn well there are not many knuckles in this issue. 8/10 for hand drawing skills!

Final Verdict

I always enjoy a character exploration issue. It did take me a moment to catch up with things not having read Civil War II, however if this series continues along its initial set up we may be treated to a deeper engagement with Jen’s personality. I would like to see more Hulk myself too. For a series simply named Hulk, it was a little light on Hulk.

Score: 8.2 Hairnets out of 10

 

Comic Review – Civil War II #0 (Marvel Comics)

1

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

Warning: Minor Spoilers.

“We have to allow for freedom of thought, because if we do not we are not a free people” Jennifer Walters

Me again people, Adam will be back next week to cover the first issue of DCs Rebirth series. In the meantime Marvel are kicking off their own comic book event, Civil War II. Which just so happens to be kicking off shortly after Captain America: Civil War proved to be a success (for anyone curious after Adam and my review of Batman vs Superman, Cap 3 was HUGELY better and an excellent film).

CWIIFISo, this week issue #0 was released, following the current trend in releasing a #0 issue of a series to set the scene before everything kicks off. Written by Brian Michael Bendis, with art by Olivier Coipel and Justin Ponsor, Civil War II sets a scene where yet again tensions are heightening between those who believe in freedom and those who believe in security. However, instead of the Captain America vs Iron Man we’re familiar with, the story kicks off with one of my personal favourite heroes – She Hulk. She’s doing her thing, defending the innocent, literally, in court in her capacity as a lawyer defending The Jester who’s been arrested for discussing crimes he may commit. That’s her defence at least. He spoke about crimes, he didn’t commit any and convicting him for that would be a breach of his freedom of thought.

Meanwhile, Captain Marvel is having a discussion with Doc Samson, about how despite how many super heroes there are keeping the world safe is getting harder and harder. The Ultimates and having to intervene pre-emptively to prevent disaster at times. We also see Ulysses, a teenager who’s getting caught up in the Terrigen Mist which turns certain people into Inhumans. Finally, Rhodey is meeting with the President of the United States, who is trying to kick start Rhodey’s political career (before Tony Stark gets funny ideas about running for president!)

CWIIThe stage is set, we can see key members on each side and it looks like key issue will be pre-emptively stopping crimes with She-Hulk against and Captain Marvel for. War Machine and Ulysses are yet to pick side but will be key players. I really enjoyed Jennifer’s speech about freedom of thought, an issue very relevant in the real world and providing another conflict that isn’t a rehash of the first Civil War.

Coipel and Posnor’s art is excellent here as well. Despite there not being much super hero action taking place, the strong character work from Coipel, facial expressions and the cinematic scope and renderings give the issue a sense of scale. Posnor’s colours add to this cinematic feeling, with She-Hulk’s visit to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier almost shining with lens flare above the clouds, or layering thick shadows into Rhodey’s meeting with the President.

Final Verdict

The stage is set for Civil War II, we haven’t had the final spark to set things off but it’s only a matter of time. It’s also good to see different heroes in the limelight this time, now if only we’d get an MCU She-Hulk film!

Final Score – 8.5 Drunk Shi’ar out of 10!

Comic Review – Civil War #1

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

More Secret Wars tie-ins are coming out from Marvel every week, with varying quality and relevance to the main event series. Some are entirely new concepts, while some have been based on classic storylines that are being retold or continued, like Old Man Logan or Planet Hulk. So far I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve tried, but the Secret Wars series itself is especially strong for a summer event. This week Civil War #1 came out, a new spin and continuation of the hugely popular 2006 series by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven. This new series was written by Charles Soule, with pencils by Leinil Francis Yu, colours by Sunny Gho and letters from Joe Sabino.

Civil War follows the original plot of the Superhuman Registration Act, a government initiative to have all masked heroes have their identities known to the government and to be trained properly before going out to fight crime. Tony Stark thought this was all a great idea, while Steve Rodgers (quite rightly) considered this a breach of civil liberties, leading to most of the heroes of the Marvel Universe siding with Iron Man or Captain America and fighting it out. In the original series, the Civil War eventually ended. Not so in this new tale (which bears the Secret Wars banner on the cover and the same intro, but seems totally unconnected to the Battleworld).

The story picks up during the prison clash, but this time the prison detonates and many heroes are killed, along with 15 million others in the city. 6 years later the country is divided. Literally divided down the middle, with the east side of the USA dubbed ‘The Iron’ and led by President Stark, and the west presided over by General Rodgers, known as ‘The Blue’. After all these years a peace treaty is organised on the bridge where the two sides meet. Each man is joined by one of his most trusted compatriots, the former by She-Hulk and the latter by a Peter Parker in what looks a lot like MCU Falcon gear (presumably because The Blue seems like a lot of open expanse, not a lot of buildings to web sling around). Steve and Tony meet and discuss terms, more land for The Iron, more resources for The Blue. But before they can get any further an attempt is made on Cap’s life, and the negotiation breaks down as soon as it has started. He and Peter depart, certain that the war can only end one way.

The potential for these retellings of classic stories that has come out of Secret Wars has been exciting to see, providing the opportunity for these tales to go towards a far more extreme end, rather than something that shakes up the MU status quo in some small way before ultimately being righted or changed again due to the nature of serialised superhero comics. Soule has done just that in Civil War, taking what was already a fairly bleak and grim story and making it even more so, resulting in an America that we never would have seen in the original story without it being savagely retconned a few years later. While there are a few narrative jumps as to how we got there, the real meat and strength of the issue comes when the two former comrades are negotiating. The character work is great, and there are some nice concepts like The Punishers and the Bullseye Boys teased which could be a lot of fun in the later issues. Yu’s art shines when showing off the landscapes of The Iron and The Blue, the latter particularly looking desolate but beautiful. The grizzled look of the two men, especially Stark who is starting to look a lot older even in 6 years, adds weight to the never ending conflict between them.

Civil War is a great ‘What if?’ tale if the question you ask is ‘What if the original Civil War never ended and was also far more depressing with loads more death?’. You don’t need to be reading Secret Wars to enjoy it, and the writing and art are both very solid. Check this out at your LCS or digitally.

Score: 7.5 SHRAs out of 10

Comic Review – A-Force #1

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

Another week, and the third Marvel review in a row. This week A-Force #1 came out, one of the first tie-ins to Marvel’s big summer event Secret Wars (review of issue #1 here), following some fairly ridiculous commentary that I will talk about later on. A-Force is written by Marguerite Bennett and G. Willow Wilson, with pencils by Jorge Molina, inks from Molina and Craig Yeung, colours by Laura Martin and Matt Milla and letters from VC’s Cory Petit.

Secret Wars started with the Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe colliding, ending both universes and the multiverse itself.  From the second issue, it appears that this collision resulted in a reconfigured reality known as ‘Battleworld’ – a world ruled by Doctor Doom and divided into numerous regions, each presided over by a baron or baroness. One such fiefdom is Arcadia, the “feminist paradise” ruled by the baroness She-Hulk, who protects the area and it’s citizens with an all-female team of heroes called ‘A-Force’. When a Megalodon (giant prehistoric shark) attacks during a routine patrol, Captain Marvel leads Ms. America, Sister Grimm and Dazzler to deal with it before it harms any civilians on land. During the fight, the actions of one member of A-Force violates the border rules of Battleworld, bringing the punitive functions of the Thors, the enforcers of Doom’s absolute rule, to Arcadia. As She-Hulk struggles to fight against these laws she risks the safety of all of Arcadia, but the alternative is giving up one of their own to life imprisonment on ‘The Shield’.

SW Map.jpg

I was worried going in to some of the Secret Wars tie-ins that they would feel impenetrable to new readers, especially those looking to check out this female led book. The first issue of the main event did feel somewhat closed to those without any firm knowledge of the Marvel Universe, the second felt like more of a clean slate for the story. A-Force echoes the latter, with the basics of Battleworld covered in a summary on the fourth page (after a gorgeous double page splash of Carol Danvers leading her patrol in the skies over Arcadia), and each major player given the bare essential background early on in the issue (for example a green box stating ‘Jennifer Walters SHE-HULK. A-Force team leader. Baroness of Arcadia. Green’.). The writing is brisk, exceptionally tight and compelling, with each character (even the few I didn’t actually know or was more unfamiliar with) feeling fully realised and well rounded. Bennett and Wilson have a great handle on these characters, and the story at this point seems disconnected enough from Secret Wars to be self-contained, while still being shaped and informed by it. The art team of Molina, Yeung, Martin and Milla does a really nice job here too, bringing the superhero action to life and balancing the varied characters and colour palettes well. There is a vibrancy and enthusiasm, despite the dark undertones and cracks in Arcadia, that make this a real pleasure to read. And Captain Marvel punching a giant shark may be one of my favourite panels I’ve read all year.

A Force

Credit: Marvel Comics

I’d be remiss to not address the New Yorker piece about A-Force ‘Looking at Female Superheroes with 10-Year-Old Boys’ by Jill Lepore. In the article, she asks why the Marvel superheroes all look like pornstars (apparently she watches very niche porn where everyone wears spandex leotards, but fine), ignoring the variety of body shapes and characters that the comic presents. Instead she chooses to heavily criticise and rather than actually do any of her research, relies on the knee jerk reactions of two 10-year-olds and her own preconceptions of comics to undermine the importance of the book. The fact she both says that “Thor became female because he’s a Norse god and I guess he can be whatever he wants” and “Captain America became black” speaks to a lack of the most basic internet search that would indicate that neither of these statements are in fact correct, and has instead opted for the sensationalism response instead. The odd thing is that the article actually has a seemingly well researched section about DC Comics, William Moulton Marston and the creation of Wonder Woman.

I’ve not linked in the article, frankly because I don’t really want to give it any more clicks. I will link to G. Willow Wilson’s response, because she manages eloquently take the high road, without seeming angry (like I haven’t) and delivers an impassioned rebuttal. I’m rather fond of how she closes it out too:

“I have been a little cheeky thus far, so let me close by saying that I imagine Dr. Lepore and I want the same thing: better, more nuanced portrayals of women in pop culture. What I don’t understand is why someone in her position would, from her perch a thousand feet up in the ivory tower, take pot shots at those of us who are in the trenches, doing exactly that.”

I really enjoyed A-Force #1 and on top of following the series throughout Secret Wars, I hope that the series continues in some form after the Marvel Universe is put back together. Will you get more out of this if you’re up to date on Marvel, Secret Wars and all of these characters? Maybe. But even if you’re not, this is a great story with a well written cast of kick-ass, but just as importantly nuanced, characters. Did I mention Captain Marvel punches a giant shark? Buy this at your LCS or digital comics platform.

Score: 9 Megalodons out of 10