Posts tagged Aliens

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Saga #12 review

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Writing: Brian K. Vaughan

Art: Fiona Staples

Review by Melissa Megan

Oh, Saga, how you play with my emotions. The games this series plays are heartbreaking, thrilling, disturbing. The opening scene of issue #12 is a prime example. Prince Robot IV has been wounded in war and calls upon the aid of the medic, a mouse-like creature with healing skills. As the medic administers medicine, he explains that he’s not a native to the planet but is supporting Prince Robot’s forces in hopes of earning his degree and as thanks for their help on his home planet. It’s almost warm and fuzzy until a poisonous gas is released upon the unit and the medic reveals that he wasn’t given a mask to protect himself. It gets messy from there.

In the present day, Prince Robot is on a mission to track down Alana and Marko, like so many others. His government has their own reasons for wanting to dispose of the forbidden family. He’s landed on a solitary , foggy planet where he believes a reclusive author can lead him to the fugitives. Mister Heist wrote a romance novel that Alana and Marko are fans of; the book is believed to be a revolutionary text in disguise and Prince Robot thinks the novel was the inspiration behind the couple’s idea to run from their homes and duties.

The majority of issue #12 is focused on Prince Robot’s verbal chess game with the intelligent author, trying to surmise if he has knowledge of the whereabouts of Alana, Marko and Hazel. It’s not quite as much fun as the usual plethora of alien creatures and formidable planets, but it’s engaging and imperative to the story line. And as usual, the issue sets up an exciting and tense possibility for the next one to come. Holy shit, does this book perfect story telling. Magnificent artwork accompanying genius writing makes Saga an absolute masterpiece of a comic book. I’m not sure how many ways I can say that I love this series, but I’ll keep trying.

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Review: Saga #10

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Writing: Brian K. Vaughan

Art: Fiona Staples

Review by Melissa Megan

 

Marko and Alana are the hottest couple in comic books. Does anyone not know that by now? The opening of this issue is yet another fantastic example of Brian Vaughan’s perfect writing in this series. The first panel, Marko standing shirtless, gently asking “Please. Keep reading.”, is not only sexy but gives the exhilarating feeling of being spoken to by this 2 dimensional book character. This leads to a touching peek at where the intense love between Marko and Alana began. I can’t recall ever reading about two characters in a comic book before that I felt so intimately connected with, as if Saga is really just the biography of a couple of very close friends of mine.

Then, there’s the hunt for the missing ghostly babysitter. Marko and his hard edged mother find themselves searching a strange planet that they’ve been told will soon be ‘hatching’. And yet another shining exhibit of why Saga has quickly gained huge praise and is selling out copies everywhere: incredibly fresh, creepy, awesome alien life forms and settings. It just never stops with this series, each issue throwing new and fascinating characters at you, opening up new worlds filled with completely unique adventures. No matter what comparisons you can make between Saga and other books or films that it shares style with, I honestly don’t think anything like this has been accomplished before.

To sum up this issue, Marko and Alana reunite with their missing babysitter, family ties are strengthened and a planet gives forth new, dangerous life. Gwendolyn, Marko’s bitter ex, is hot on their tail and employing the help of an infamous assassin and a child with special powers of sight. An unfortunate loss leaves us wondering how many more there will be before Marko & Alana are either captured or somehow escape for good.

Saga rocks my socks off, every freakin’ month. I dread the day that this series comes to an end, because it’s one of the most exciting, creative things I’ve had the honor of reading in years. The writing of Brian K. Vaughan and the art of Fiona Staples are a magical marriage that many, many comic book readers are thankful for.

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Review: Attack the Block (2011)

Since Halloween is steadily approaching, I figured I would suggest a few films that are definitely not made for children but have taken both the horror and sci-fi genres to a different level within the last few years.

I had the absolute pleasure of going to see Attack the Block earlier this month in Plainville, CT. I follow Edgar Wright on twitter and when he announced that the release was widening into my area, I had to go. Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World instilled a little faith in Mr. Wright.

Each movie was a genre movie. It wasn’t a comedy trying to itch that genre niche. They are genre movies that have incredibly funny moments in them. They show a great nod to comedy, but display an intense love for the genre in the storyline.

I’m sure some people are saying “he only produced Attack the Block”. You’re correct. I still have faith in something that Edgar Wright would put his name on.

Faith bolstered, Mr. Wright.

Attack the Block is a science fiction thriller written and directed by Joe Cornish. It is the tale of a teenage gang that takes it upon themselves to defend their council housing in Lambeth from alien invaders.

The first few minutes of the movie established how unsavory the youth had become when we witness them mugging a nurse as she is walking home. The mugging is interrupted by something crashing from the sky into a parked car. The gang leader Moses goes to check it out and is attacked by a creature that he kills with the help of his friends.

What proceeds is absolute chaos. Throughout the area, the sky is lit up with fireworks, masking the illuminated single creature transporters crashing against the Earth and everything built on it.

Joe Cornish’s directorial debut is not something to be missed. His vision is well executed with phenomenal performances by John Boyega (Moses), Jodie Whittaker (Sam), and Luke Treadaway (Brewis, who I had taken to calling “British Butters”). The cinematographer, Thomas Townend, kept the pace with dynamic shots and exceptional angles.

I am beyond pleased with this movie. The aliens were actually alien and something that I had never seen before. Initially, when I saw the second alien in the movie I threw my hands up in the air because I thought it was so cheesy. Then it opened its mouth and I screamed “AWESOME!” in the theater.
(Make note: I am a horrible person to go to a movie with.)

All of the special effects were marvelous as well. Some scenes were perfect homage to scenes from the past. There are moments where you know what’s happening to these characters off the screen is more terrifying than the blood spatter you see. My favorite weapon was only used briefly as a defensive maneuver (motorbike).

The ending was exactly what needed to happen and I was not disappointed at all. I absolutely loved Sam and how she spoke with the boys in the gang. Brewis was the character where you could see someone following him just to play a sad trombone “wah wah” whenever he opened his mouth. Nick Frost was hysterical as the skeezy drug dealer for the block. There is a moment between him and Brewis where the entire theater laughed.

I loathe spoiling any of the story for you, so I suggest you get your hands on it. Attack the Block is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Attack the Block will kick you in your face with awesome.

Falling Skies

Falling Skies: Geek TV Worth Watching

 

Falling Skies was picked up by TNT this week for a second season, so now is the time to give this post-alien invasion show a chance. The show tells a surprisingly intimate tale of humanity struggling to both survive and flourish in a world decimated by an alien race. Picking up six months after the destruction of all major cities and most of the human population, viewers are never shown images of cities burning or the military fighting back. All we know and see are a small group of survivors in the Boston area struggling to eat, to find shelter and to stay away from the patrolling invaders, known as “Skitters”. The survivors have organized themselves into paramilitary units across the country and have attracted civilians seeking protection. Skies focuses on the “2nd Mass” unit, headed by Will Patton’s Captain Weaver. These resistance units, while emulating traditional military structure, are almost entirely made up of civilians. Struggles between the military leaders and the needs of the civilians who are not able to fight are common and I look forward to continued storylines in this area. Battlestar Galactica covered this ground quite thoroughly, but this is a new show and I want to see how they interpret humanity’s struggle to fight back while ensuring that a civilized society persists.

The emotional core of Skies is Noah Wylie’s character Tom Mason and his family. Mason is a widower of the invasion and has three sons to look after. The eldest, Hal, is still a teenager, but he has become a soldier out of necessity and Tom has learned not to coddle him, but rather support his part in the war effort. His youngest, Matt, is still a child and Tom is desperate to protect him and keep him out of harm’s way, especially since his middle child, Ben, has been captured and enslaved by the Skitters. The aliens have placed hundreds (or more) captured children and young adults in living harnesses that completely control them. They are slaves and the show has begun to explore the possibilities of using these children as attack squads since any resistance fighter would find it almost impossible to fire upon a human child. This is a disturbing, yet potentially rewarding plot point that I hope Skies continues to explore.

Tender familial bonds are focused on through several parent-child relationships on the show and there are even touches of romance. Hal is in love with a fellow resistance fighter and there are hints that Tom may be developing feels for a sweet doctor (played by Moon Bloodgood) who lost her own family in the attacks. Skies is concerned mostly with human relationships and there are many tender moments on the show, obviously producer Steven Spielberg’s influence. It will be interesting to see how the action vs emotion ratio alters as the series continues to delve deeper into the lives of these resistance fighters and their civilian supporters. We have already gotten very up close and personal with the Skitters (impressive effects on a cable budget) and I hope we start to learn more about them and their intentions. The show could use a few more scares, but I am curious enough to keep watching and I am very engaged with the characters, especially the quiet strength of Wylie’s character.

You can catch the Pilot at http://www.tnt.tv/series/fallingskies/ and new episodes on TNT.

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