Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The X-Files Season 11 Issue #1 Review



The X-Files comic is back for season 11 and I've got issue #1.  Let's take a look.


The first thing you're going to have to get used to is the baroque styling of the artwork.  I don't mean baroque in the classic sense where there is a profusion of detail, rather, it is the counterpoint of shadow that is used to heighten dramatic tension.  (Page one provided above.)

You could argue this intense use of shadow serves the mood of an X-Files "episode" well.  The original TV series was shot in the Vancouver area and the dank/damp northwest set provided the X-Files with the mood it needed.  Many argued that mood was lost when production moved to L.A..

I, for one,was not a fan of the artwork provided here.   I found the use of shadow overwrought and distracting.  The book's artist is Matthew Dow Smith and the colors were provided by Jordie Bellaire.  Bellaire must have been paid at minimum scale because color was not this comic's strong suit.



Another thing to get used to  is Mulder with a mustache.  Now that's spooky.  Not to worry.  Although he spends much of the comic with the "stache" it is just part of a clever disguise.

This would probably be a good time to introduce the rest of our characters .


Naturally, Scully is on board.


Thankfully, The Lone Gunmen are present and accounted for.  Skinner gets a mention and we have a new bete noir.

Gibson Praise.


Praise is not new to the comic.  Apparently, he was a large part of "season 10" of the book.  Here's how he is introduced to start season 11 and his relationship with the X-Files.

"...Mulder has seen his work with the FBI discredited and has found himself a fugitive from the U.S. government - all thanks to the machinations of a former ally, Gibson Praise, who now weilds powers far beyond what even Mulder can imagine."

And so, therein lies our story.

"Cantus."



Writer Joe Harris has our favorite paranoid, Fox Mulder, on the trial of a downed satellite deep in the Zion National Park of Utah.

Mulder, under the pseudonym of Anthony Blake a character played by Bill Bixby back in the seventies and known for his sleight of hand, has a lead on the downed satellite and is joined by a team of scavengers anxious to get their hands on the communication array of the Medici 3 satellite.

Simultaneously, Agent Dana Scully is sitting before an investigative board of the FBI led by Director Morales while Deputy Director Skinner is on administrative leave.  Scully is before the board defending Mulder while he is on the run from the FBI although she hasn't seen him in two months.

Writer Harris sets us on a couple of flashbacks with Scully to set the stage for her and Mulder's separation.  It seems Mulder hasn't kept his appointments and forgone any communication.


The chronological flips Harris employs is something we've seen plenty of on TV.  I'm not a fan of this either but it seems to be a popular story telling trope this day and age and it doesn't subtract too badly from the narrative stream.

Still, not a fan.


While Mulder and Scully pursue their goals separated by a continent both come in contact with the mysterious Cantus group to some degree.  We're informed by Director Morales that Cantus is merely a consultancy and efficiency contractor for the FBI but as Morales speaks we find Mulder's group has been compromised and Morales' board is under attack.

Jasco, a coworker of Mulder's,  pulls a knife on him while Morales suffers an ischemic incident.  A mysterious "off screen" voice speaks to both Mulder and Scully.  We don't know the nature of the voice, whether telepathic or by radio via earpiece, but we're led to believe it comes from Gibson Praise.

Praise tells our X-Files team to basically stay on target while their world spins out of control around them.  Mulder is spared Jasco's attack by a pack of wolves (I'm not kidding) and Scully is forced to call 911 while Morales dies before her and the rest of the board passes out.



Later, Scully finds and confronts Praise in Mulder's old office. (The "Truth is Out There" poster still in intact. Woo!)  Like Mulder she survives her encounter although it's a mystery why, while disarmed by Praise, she doesn't attack him hand to hand and try to apprehend him that way.




Mulder meets up with the Lone Gunmen (with trusty VW van in tow) and Langly closes the narrative loop by showing us how far the evil reach of Cantus extends.

Cantus has corrupted the Medici 3 software and downed the satellite after it received a communication from deep space. 

So the stage is set for our mysterious adventure to begin. 

We've got a malevolent figure in Praise and a shadowy government organization in Cantus pulling the strings while our underdog overachievers matches wits with them.

Nothing new!

I mean, in the old series we had the Smoking Man and his endless supply of Men in Black so this is hardly new ground.

Harris seeks to renew our interest in the vast government conspiracy while an untouchable rogue remains just out of reach.  The reintroduction of many of our old favorite characters is welcome but the chronological and set placement "sleight of hand" is a little dizzying.

Our storyteller is just scratching the surface and I'm sure he has a long way to go but I'm a little worried we've been here before. 

In fact, I think Harris is speaking through Mulder when he says in the penultimate panel....



Trust is earned Mr. Harris but I'll see you next issue!




Rating - Two out of four iconic posters.













Friday, August 7, 2015

Two New Sci-Fi Teasers!



Sci-Fi geeks got a double dose of delight when two new teasers broke recently.

First up is the teaser for the final season of Continuum.  Continuum is the Rachel Nichols vehicle where her character, Kiera Cameron, was sent back in time to fix the timeline by the gentleman who broke it in the first place.  (An oversimplification but pretty much it.)

Let's take a look at the trailer.




"Welcome back Kiera."

Now there's a shocker.  Is Kiera really back to the future or we getting a little standard TV misdirection?

Raise your hand for misdirection.

Yeah, me too.

That's okay, Kiera may in fact be back (although that's not how we left her) but, if true, she'll be sent right back to the past to fix what isn't  juuust right.

We catch quick glimpses of our favorite characters.

Kellog


"The soldiers are here to create a better future."

So intones Matthew Kellog as the elevator closes the door on the discussion.  So Kellog knows all about the soldiers from the future.  As of last season finale these soldiers were just about to chase down Kiera and her new ally, Brad.    How involved is Kellogg in the mission of the soldiers?  Does he have a hand in directing them?

Carlos


No spoken words from Kiera's partner.  He does slump his shoulders though.  Heavy hangs the head that wears the crown?  With Carlo's resignation the dapper look and the blinds behind him, Carlos seems to have new responsibilities.  From partner to Boss?

Verta



"Open your eyes to the truth."

Verta arrives, with gun naturally, ever the freedom fighter he seems to be warning Kiera.  How much does he know in this new time stream?  Still the henchman for Kegame?

Alec


Along with Carlos, he had the best of plot lines last season.  How much does the future kingpin control the past?

Kiera



"It's time for me to focus on myself."

That sounds awfully selfish.  Her mission always was to return to her family.  But hasn't that future disappeared.  (Her husband was a creep anyway.)  Still, there is always her son.  That's a worthy goal.  Is she speaking to Alec?  How far can she push him this time.  He kind of went off the rails last season.

Title Card: "The Future Becomes...."


Curtis


"Your destiny will catch up with you."

Destiny Curtis?  So you can't change time?  Methinks we can't quite trust him.  He's probably trying to protect his destiny.


Garza



"What's the plan?"

"We destroy it."

Garza is back in all her kick ass glory.  Her peace treaty with Kiera seems to be holding and the two of them make one of the most unstoppable duos on TV.


 What is "it" they want to destroy?  Another time machine?  A soldier haven.  Kellog's yacht?

Title Card: "History"


From here all Hell breaks loose and we get a lot of quick cuts including much gun play and plenty of Kiera action shots.

For some reason water plays a role ( a mechinism for time travel?)


Brad finally shows up and he looks like he's primed for "surgery."


We get alook at a "future gun" and I say future gun because in the next frame Kiera seems to get zapped and all of time and space gets warped around her.  I'm not sure if that is Kiera in the frame above but it sure looks like Brad in the background.  Kiera wouldn't be shooting herself (would she?) and the two frames are only related by following each other in the teaser.  A TV type clue?


Title Cards: "The Story Ends"..."Here"


"Kiera!" a shocked Alec exclaims.


Then he dissolves into his older self and proclaims,

"You changed the past." 


Hospital bed Kiera (as seen to start the teaser) rolls her head over seemingly in disbelief.  (I don't believe you either older Alec.)


 As the teaser closes, Kiera is shot by that time/space warping gun.

Well, we can't close on an up note can we? 



Star Trek - Renegades

 
Everyone knows there is a new Star Trek coming out right?

Here's the trailer.


A little cheesy right?

Some of the dialog is cringe worthy and even a few seconds of the acting looks like its been delivered straight from the forest.

Let's take a look at some of our major players.

Adrienne Wilkinson as Captain Lexxa Singh 





The titular star of the show, Adrienne plays a distant relative of Khan Noonian Singh.  (He had kids?)  Her lines are some of the cheesiest.  In response to being "hunted" she responds, "That's the way we like it."  Yikes, at least she didn't spit on the floor to add gravitas.



Walter Koenig asAdmiral Chekov

Leave the gravitas to Walter Koenig.  Looking a little worse for the wear, Koenig returns as Admiral Chekov.  He is 143 in the show so I guess we can cut him some slack.  Koenig seems to slip easily back into the role he's been playing for about 50 years.  Not bad.

Tim Russ as Tuvok




 Perhaps the most convincing player in the trailer.  Tuvok is supposed to be wooden and Russ nails it.  Compliment intended.

Sean Young as Dr. Lucien


Yowsers!  I haven't seen her in a while.  That doesn't mean she hasn't been busy.  Check out her IMDB page.  No matter what she's done she'll always have Blade Runner on her resume.

Edward Furlong as Fixer


Poor Ed never could catch fire from his terminator days.  Still has the street cred from that movie though.  He looks like a young James Spader here.

Robert Picardo as Dr. Lewis Zimmerman



Looking good Doc! Picardo plays the original Dr. Zimmerman that was the creator/inspiration for the EMH or Emergency Medical Hologram on Voyager.

Gary Graham as Ragnar



Don't they know there is a "Ragnar" on TV already?  Graham has appeared as a Vulcan on Star Trek before (Enterprise) and most notably he was in the classic, "Alien Nation."

This production hopes to catch on as a pilot in hopes of landing a place on network television.  What else does it have going for it aside from some notable names?


The spaceships are cool.  Checkout the USS Archer.


The "Icarus" is the one the Renegades will be tooling around in.  Seems to have a little Klingon and Cardassian in its bloodlines.  (The bridge looks totally Federation.)


The alien bad guys look appropriatley ugly.


And the space battles seem to be pretty well done.




So all in all things may seem a little minor league but there is potential.  Especially if they manage to keep it action heavy.  Tim Russ and Walter Koenig have a passion for this, their second production, so that is a plus.

Word is Michael Dorn, aka, Worf is pushing for his own "Captain Worf" series so the more Star Trek the merrier.

It seems like a long way until Star Trek Beyond hits the big screen.  Enjoy what we have until then!