This one’s a pretty by the numbers episode with a dose of pretty serious personal stakes. It’s yet another one that takes a comic storyline that was spread out over several issues and compresses it into one. The ‘Reanimen’ first appeared in Issue 6, whereas their creator didn’t officially show up until Issue 20. While I do enjoy the slow burn of the comics with all the mystery, revelations and build up, for this show it totally makes sense to not do that for pacing.
With the upcoming release of “MORTAL KOMBAT” (2021) – in theaters and on HBO Max on Friday, April 23rd, we figured what better way to prep than to do a deep dive into the rich mythology and ever-evolving backstories of this epic video game franchise? (Click here for Part One!)
Mortal Kombat II (1993) is often considered by many old school fans as the best game in the series, it built on the first game in a number of ways: increased the roster, added several new characters, deepened the story, upped the blood, and doubled down on the fatalities. Following Liu Kang’s victory in Shang Tsung’s tournament, Shao Kahn hosts a second tournament in Outworld with plans to invade Earth should Raiden’s warriors fail. It was a smash hit at the time, but also caused quite the controversy, eventually leading to the creation of the ratings system. The wave of popularity that followed soon lead to the first “Mortal Kombat” feature film in 1995 and a not-so-great sequel, “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation” in 1997.
You might be familiar with that name if you’re a fan of Michael Cera movies, or retro-style beat ’em up video games, but you might not have read the original comics by writer/artist Bryan Lee O’Malley that started it all – and I’m here to tell you that you absolutely owe it to yourself to do just that.
saga, titled “Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life” opens with the line “Scott Pilgrim is dating a high schooler!” – and right away we meet our ‘hero’, Scott Pilgrim: a mild-mannered slacker in his early 20’s with very little ambition and no direction to speak of, which honestly sounds a lot like myself at that age. Scott’s part of a band (the Sex Bob-Ombs) and they kinda suck, but make up for it with determination.
Bryan Lee O’Malley weaves an intricate plot of weird and interesting characters with laugh out loud humor on every other page, nerdy references sprinkled throughout, and some of the most genuinely heartfelt moments in modern comics, in this ultra meta, video game inspired, coming of age story.
With the upcoming release of “MORTAL KOMBAT” (2021) – in theaters and on HBO Max on Friday, April 23rd, we figured what better way to prep than to do a deep dive into the rich mythology and ever-evolving backstories of this epic video game franchise?
In the original, somewhat controversial kontroversial 1992 arcade classic (created by Ed Boon and John Tobias), the evil sorcerer, Shang Tsung, hosts a tournament on a mystical island to determine the fate of Earthrealm. The game was revolutionary at the time, featuring 7 playable fighters who were all brought to life with digitized frames of live action actors. The game has since spawned 10 sequels, spin-offs, komics, action figures, kartoons, and three live action films.
As one of the longest-lived fighting game franchises ever, Mortal Kombat has always had a large, diverse, colorful cast of characters- sorry, kast of kharacters (this is exhausting). But after nearly a dozen games the sheer number of characters has exploded, and unless you’re a die hard MK fan it kan be a bit konfusing (UGH) trying to keep track of who is who and how they all relate to each other.
So far every single episode of this season has had a gigantic wtf moment, but that last one was truly insane! I swear, I was yelling at the TV for the entire last half of this episode. When it was all over I just looked over at my fiance and said “I seriously can’t believe they did that, that episode was so crazy!” – to which she responded, “You say that every episode.”
Warning: This recap/review will inevitably contain spoilers (especially for Episode 1), so proceed with caution…
Episode 2: “Here Goes Nothing”
Right off the bat, this show continues to impress me – the visuals are stunning, the music is really unique, the sound design is mind-blowing, the story is fast-paced, and the characters are all cast perfectly and fully realized! The animation is so glossy and smooth throughout, all the cityscapes are breathtaking, there are entire sequences that feel like they were ripped directly from the comic with just how well the art-style was emulated, and… seriously, I just can’t get over how good this show looks and sounds! (Have I mentioned how awesome and different the music is?)
Ok, so this episode immediately starts with two extremely clever call backs to the first one – we see the guard from the opening of the first episode with his stepson in London where we see the result of Mark accidentally launching a trash bag into orbit as it explodes around them!
“Invincible” is… hard to describe to the uninitiated. First starting in 2003, this Image comic series by Robert Kirkman (of ‘Walking Dead’ fame) follows a young man, Mark Grayson, who just so happens to be the son of the world’s greatest superhero, but when his own powers kick in, everything changes forever. And that summary doesn’t do it justice, but honestly it’s really hard to go into further detail without spoiling the $#!÷ out of it!
Long story short, I’ve read the *entire* run of this comic (all 144 issues!), I have the first printings of the first few issues sealed and graded on my shelf, I have several of the graphic novels, and I even have an Invincible t-shirt that I used to wear to comic cons that doesn’t quite fit the way it used to. Suffice it to say, I’m a fan.
It’s an incredible comic that feels like reading an entire universe of stories told through one title. It’s got everything I’ve ever wanted from a comic book: cool visual storytelling, crazy sci-fi shenanigans, insane superhero brawls, great characters, drama, humor, and gorgeous color-popping panels by artist Ryan Ottley and Kirman’s co-creator, Cory Walker (issues #1-7, 127-132). It’s also has some of the most disturbing moments in comic book history – you guys, it gets dark fast! I mean, Nerdist even called this series “The Game of Thrones of Comics” and I can’t say I disagree.
However, I think one of the most endearing things about this title is that it genuinely feels like an epic saga.
This is it, the battle of the century: It’s King vs God, Zilla vs Kong – as a Fire-Breathing Lizard takes on one Giant Angry Ape – in this no-holds barred clash between the King of the Monsters and the Titan of Skull Island! Who will come out on top? Why are they fighting? How that monkey get so big? Will we survive to find out? Find out on the latest season of Podcasters Assemble (probably)…
Last time in Part 2 we tackled all three Wolverine movies and Deadpool, this time we’re taking a look at the new (and far better) X-Men trilogy – First Class, Days of Future Past and Apocalypse!
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Michael Fassbender (Magneto / Erik Lensherr), James McAvoy (Charles Xavier / Prof X), Jennifer Lawrence (Raven / Mystique), Kevin Bacon (Sebastian Shaw), Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), Nicholas Hoult (Hank McCoy / Beast), January Jones (Emma Frost), Lucas Till (Alex Summers / Havok), Oliver Platt (CIA agent), Zoë Kravitz (Angel Salvadore),Caleb Landry Jones (Banshee), Jason Flemyng (Azazel), Edi Gathegi (‘Darwin’), Rade Serbedzija (Soviet General), Michael Ironside (US Navy Captain), Don Creech (Stryker Sr.), and Hugh Jackman (Wolverine cameo).
Plot: Realizing that they should have hired Matthew Vaughn for X-Men 3 like he wanted, and that there was nowhere to go with the franchise after Brett “that smell on my thumbs is my ass!” Ratner ‘Batman-and-Robin’d-it’, Fox reboots the franchise with re-casted characters. Magneto hunts for Sebastian Shaw, a mutant that was in charge of the concentration camp he grew up in, while Charles Xavier works with agent Moira Mactaggert and the CIA to gather a team of young mutants. They must team up to stop Shaw from starting World War 3 while learning how to use their powers and accept themselves.
Erik Smash: Following the unbelievably terrible X-Men: The Last Stand and even worse X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Fox finally gets it right with director Matthew Vaughn! “X-Men: First Class” is a back-to-basics prequel / reboot that tells the story of how the X-Men were first formed by a young Professor Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr aka Magneto!