Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Winsome Wasp's Wardrobe #32

art by Gene Colan and Dan Green (from Avengers #206 1981)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Winsome Wasp's Wardrobe #31

art by Don Newton and Dan Green (from Avengers #204 1981)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Torchwood: Miracle Day - The Middle Men

Again, another week of mostly padding.

I know I keep missing out every other week with these Torchwood reviews but mainly it's because half of each episode feels unnecessary. I get the feeling this all would've made a marvellous 5-part mini-series whereas instead we get something that's... okay, I guess.

for instance, this week we found out that, yes, they do cremate the Category 1s - which we already knew about the week before. Meanwhile Mr. "Bad-mitten" and his rather short, puny-looking marine sidekick tried to cover things up whilst getting more and more depressed/mental.

Oh and Gwen's family got kidnapped (off screen, I might add). That was after Gwen somehow found some explosives just lying around (as you do!) and blew up the facility containing all the Welsh Category 1s. Which, I guess, saves PhiCorp from transporting them to the incinerators!

I suppose the team did put their recordings of everything that happened on the 'net so now everyone knows what's happening to the Cat 1s. This doesn't seem to be PhiCorp's fault though - it's the government that decided this.

Meanwhile, what's happened to poor old omni-sexual (not gay!) Captain Jack? I know he's now mortal and therefore vulnerable but you'd think he'd do a bit more than just sit behind a keyboard or slap waiters' bottoms.

Another things that bugs me is how 'death' is inconsistently portrayed. We've seen one guy burnt and blown to bits, his head cut off, with no lungs and yet he was still conscious. We've seen a woman's neck snapped and turned 180 degrees but she's still able to walk. And yet lately we've had people strangled and then fall unconscious, or shot and then left for dead, or have a heart attack and be considered "brain dead".

Anyway, next week's episode looks a little more interesting as we see a bit more of Jack's past. And Gwen decides to use Jack to get her family back.

Me, I'm just waiting to find out who's behind all this and what they've got against Jack.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Today I've been thinking about how I used to spend my Saturdays with my parents when I was a young 'un. We used to go to my grandparents in Winsford and do the weekly shop - and we'd also go into a Quality Save / TK Maxx -like shop which sold loads of different things. Including toys.

And from there I remember buying some Battle of the Planets toys that I'd never seen anywhere else (including other toy shops).

Back in the late '70s or early '80s I loved BotP, the Americanised version of Japan's Gatchaman. It was a fantastic cartoon with one of the best theme tunes ever. So of course I was eager to buy these things.

And yet, to be honest, these were nothing like the vehicles on BotP.

Now I didn't have all of these. All I remember having is the GodPhenix (first on the left in the first and second images), the Skyplane (second from the left in the first image), and the Helisky (on the right in the second picture). I may have also had the Skycar - I vaguely remember it so maybe I had it??

So although they mention "Battle of the Planets" and "BBC tv" on the box they were actually based on the Gatchaman II vehicles - which we never saw in the UK on the BBC. Still, these were some wonderfully colourful and detailed part-diecast toys with lots of moving bits and things that fired off.

Here's some more piccies.

The Skyplane:

The Helisky:

(which is missing its sort of batshaped rotors that used to fire off when you pressed that red crescent thing on the top).

(hmmm, perhaps my best mate had this and that's why I remember it?)

I still have my (battered and damaged) Skyplane, but goodness knows where the rest are.

Also, a few years ago I bought the complete DVD box set of the BotP cartoons. To be honest, they haven't aged well. I think I've only watched the first couple of DVDs and then got a bit bored. That 7-Zark-7 doesn't help - I wished they'd just kept the Japanese Gatchaman version and, perhaps, dubbed it.

At various times there's been talk of producing a new version - be a TV show, live action film or CGI film - of the original Gatchaman series. There are a number of trailers to be found on the web and on YouTube. Just last year for instance, a CGI version was being produced but now even that has been stopped.

Pity really, I'd love to see an updated version.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Winsome Wasp's Wardrobe #30

art by George Perez and Mike Esposito (from Avengers #202 1980)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Vampires are amongst us!

So in three days time will he rise as one of the soulless undead to prey on young women in their nightgowns?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Captain America - The First Avenger

I finally got around to seeing the latest Marvel film last night and, yeah, they did a good job. It's a very enjoyable film with a definite Marvel comic-book feel whilst being set (for the most part) during WW2.

Captain America himself was pretty much spot on. Chris Evans did a fantastic job of selling the honourable little guy who just wants to do the right thing and stop bullies. Although, perhaps at times, he was a little too understated and needed a little more presence. The skinny Steve Rogers effects were generally good although there were a couple of times when Evans' head looked a little too big for his body (plus his voice sounded too deep for such a small chest).

The other actors in the film were also excellent. I particularly liked Stanley Tucci's Dr Erskine and Tommy Lee Jones as the gruff general.

As well as being a great pulpy, action film it was also quite amusing, with a number of pithy one-liners from the supporting cast (especially Jones' general).

It was also good to see the Howling Commandos (here led by Captain America, not Fury), sniper Bucky, Cap's original costume and shield, Cap 'punching' Hitler, and even a brief shot of the original Human Torch. A pity we didn't see anything more of the Invaders - perhaps that'll come in a future film.

Regarding Cap's Shield I thought it worked extremely well and didn't seem clunky. I loved seeing Cap throwing it around. I also thought it's introduction was refreshing - no big reveal, no convoluted explanation of its abilities, just "it's made of Vibranium that can absorb vibrations. And that's all the material we've got so we can't make any more". Simple.

My only complaint would be that they tried to fit too much into the movie. As well as introducing Steve Rogers, his super soldier transformation in Cap, his initial time as the war bond poster guy, a montage of his various fights against Hydra and then taking on the Red Skull, they also had to fit in the modern day stuff showing SHIELD finding Cap's shield in the frozen north and then Cap waking up in Times Square (why the heck was he kept in a facility just off of Times Square of all places?!?). The beginning and end bits felt a little tacked on - although I would say these were the only parts that made this film feel like an extended prequel to next year's Avengers film.

So, a very entertaining film though not as great as Iron Man and perhaps not quite as good as X-Men: First class. But better than Green Lantern. I hope future Captain America movies expand on the WW2 setting, leaving Cap's modern day adventures to the Avengers film(s) - which, based on what I've seen of the preceding individual movies, is bound to be amazing.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Winsome Wasp's Wardrobe #29

art by John Byrne and Dan Green (from Avengers #201 1980)

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Torchwood: Miracle Day - Escape to L.A.

You know what's missing from this series of Torchwood? Aliens.

Okay, so there have been vague hints of aliens but we haven't actually seen any. In the past, the aliens have been pretty upfront - even in the Children of Earth miniseries the 456 aliens were quickly introduced. Here though all we have is a mystery and some sort of conspiracy. Its just not very Torchwoody.

As my parents-in-law pointed out, this series seems somewhat padded out. Yeah, there's a story there but it's 5 episodes stretched out to 10. For most of this week's episode, things seemed to drag somewhat. They introduced the "Dead is Dead" thing just for this episode it seems as its leader was killed at the end (erm, spoiler!). It was looking a little mediocre until the bit in the server room with the assassin. Then things looked up, as it seemed we were about to discover who was behind everything. Of course, it was all just a fake out - but we did find out that whatever it is it has something to do with Jack and his past. Perhaps all this is just to get at Jack after all?

It'll probably be someone or somethings that we, the viewers, haven't seen before. But it would be cool if they were the Daleks, eh? I mean, its not like Moffat has done much with them over in DW.

There were a couple of little 'mistakes'. How did Rex and Jack get back into the secure server room when they realised Gwen was in trouble? Why did Rex get on Esther's case for going to see her sister when he went to see his father? Why did the hired assassin have so much information about what was going on?

So, yeah, if it wasn't for the last part of this episode, this wouldn't have been much of an episode. Torchwood is proving to be a little disappointing for me. Not bad but not CoE good either. Unfortunately, it's not making me desperate to watch the next episode.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Fishy Friday

Marine Man

Strength: 5
Toughness: 3
Special Powers: 2
Status: 1

Finally, there's Marine Man, a created by Ian Churchill. A mix of the Big Two's premier fishy heroes, Steve Ocean is a marine biologist with his own TV show - a sort of superpowered Jacques Cousteau. Or something like that.

...And that's a-trout enough for Fishy Friday, a trawl through the watery world of undersea comic book heroes (not including fishy villains and aquatic supporting characters, of course)!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Winsome Wasp's Wardrobe #28

art by George Perez and Dan Green (from Avengers #201 1980)