The Keepers Season 1

How had I never heard of this crime?

For those who don’t know, I’m a true-crime buff. 90% of what I watch on TV, and a good 60% of the films I watch, are crime documentaries. I can rattle off names, dates and statistics of so many killers and rapists and paedophiles that it isn’t even funny, and I rarely come across new ones, let alone interesting new ones.

So how had I never heard of the murder of Cathy Cesnik?

I don’t actually care about the sexual molestation supposedly going on at Archbishop Keogh High School. The documentary didn’t present sufficient evidence to make me think it even really happened (I do suspect it, on the balance of probabilities, but I am far from convinced beyond a reasonable doubt). In fact, the people the documentary creators chose to highlight, and their attitudes, made me doubt many significant claims – once someone starts saying their word should be all that is necessary to convict and imprison someone, they lose a lot of credibility with me.

Too many episodes explore that too deeply and move too far away from what is really important and interesting here – the murder(s).

I often say “the deader they are, the better they were”. It often seems to me that only the nicest, kindest, most altruistic people in the world ever get murdered – if you believe the people interviewed about the murders for TV programmes. There’s almost always at least a handful of skeletons in the closet…

… but this time, I’m actually convinced that Cathy Cesnik was a pretty damn awesome, lovely woman. It isn’t because she’s a nun – I suspect she would have dropped that habit (get it?) under certain circumstances. We actually learn about her breaking a rule at the convent when she was worried about her friend, and someone else suggests she might have been prepared to stand up to a more senior priest, to his face, in the open.

I think she had a well-developed sense of right and wrong and, at the time, being a nun seemed to her to be the best way to do the right thing. If it got in the way, I think she’d have stopped being a nun.

So while I frequently make jokes about murders, even some really brutal ones, and am pretty desensitised to them in general these days… this one really got to me.

Again – how had I never heard of it?

The more I watched this series, and the more research I did myself, the more questions were raised. The programme clearly had its own answers, but I found that only some were plausible, and even those lacked anywhere near sufficient evidence – and googling the producer/writer/director led me to understand that they had a pretty well-developed anti-Catholic bias and would jump at the chance to finger a priest for something awful.

So, really, the only good thing about this series was alerting me to the two murders. The rest was hamfisted, biased nonsense.

But now that I know about an interesting murder where the victim is someone I care about… well… it is gnawing at me.

If you’re going to watch the programme and the murder is your interest, you only really need the first episode, and might get some benefit from the final two. If “child” abuse (we’re talking 15-19 here, so…) is what you’re wanting to learn about, episodes two through five will be your main bag – assuming you don’t mind an utter lack of evidence, incredible “witnesses” and alleged victims, and a really, really nutso attitude about how “justice” should work.

Uchuu Sentai Kyuuranger Space 14

Oh, wow. I can’t breathe.

That was hilarious. I was laughing so hard that I’m surprised the neighbours didn’t call the police, fearing I was being tortured in some amazingly fun way. I’m not usually a fan of comedy episodes (or comedy series, frankly) but this had me in stitches – I would just manage to wipe the tears from my eyes and catch my breath and then the episode would send me over the edge again. And it was the good Super Sentai humour, too – Hurricanger-style, but x100.

Absolutely loved it. I think Kyuuranger may have just surpassed Timeranger as my favourite series, but don’t hold me to that just yet… because it might have just been a bit of enjoyment recoil now that Kotarou is gone.

There is something a bit off-putting about this series but I can’t quite put my finger on it just yet. But everything else is glorious.

Iceman #1

Writer: Sina Grace
Penciler: Alessandro Vitti
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Ewwwwwww.

Bobby Drake has always been my favourite X-Man. He isn’t my favourite mutant – that’s Vance Astrovik. He isn’t my favourite character called X-Man – that’s Nate Grey. But he is my favourite member of the mutant team known as the X-Men.

But this comic isn’t about Bobby Drake. It’s about “suddenly gay” Bobby Drake.

I actually don’t have a huge issue with the BENDIS!-borne “revelation” that 1960s teen Iceman was secretly gay. I think it was hamfisted, awful storytelling, but I have no issue with the character being exposed as gay.

I do have an issue with that somehow turning adult Iceman gay. It puts a really unpleasant spin on many of his past stories. I don’t think the X-Office or the creators of this title have really thought it all the way through. Also, I just don’t understand why one version of the character being gay means the other somehow is, from a basic causality/continuity standpoint.

But that isn’t even the big problem. The big problem is that this book exists solely because Bobby Drake is somehow gay now and that’s all it is really about. It’s really framed as “I’m a successful mutant, a functional and thriving part of one minority/marginalised group. So why have I never dated guys despite being gay? Gay is just another minority/marginalised group, it should be easy.”

If Marvel wanted to tell that story, well… one, it has already been done. And two, there are more interesting, actually gay characters they could have used.

You know what might have made this book not suck? Framing it as Bobby seeing his teen self happy and thriving as a gay mutant, then thinking “Hmmm, my love life has always sucked. I don’t think I’m gay… but maybe I should consider dating guys. It might be the problem.” It would then allow the character and creators to explore how self-perception and outer perception shape a character and often hide truths a person themselves doesn’t realise.

You know, rather than “Oh he’s gay so I guess I am or something hai gaiz.”

Also? The art is gross. Bobby even makes a reference to being “buff” but he’s just fat. Everyone is except the spit girl. They look awful, as in “I don’t find them attractive” and as in “the art style is not aesthetically pleasing and makes it more difficult to follow the story”.

A really big failure. But looking at Sina Grace’s other work, I suspect he delivered exactly what Marvel wanted, which tells you a lot about Marvel, doesn’t it?

Uchuu Sentai Kyuuranger Space 13

Buh-bye, Kotarou. Don’t hurry back, okay?

This episode was freaking awesome. I love Scorpio. Everything about him just oozes badarsery. I have a feeling he will be the Starscream of this series, and if so, it can end one of two ways: either Stinger manages to convince him to become a good guy and he turns on Jark Matter, but dies; or he tries to usurp the leader of Jark Matter. Either way will work well, I think, but the latter would be better.

I don’t think Super Sentai or Kamen Rider has gone the zombie path before, so the threat in this episode was a fun novelty! There was also some great stuff done in the action direction department… a really quality episode!

But the best part was Champ (of course). He’s been my favourite from the start (with Stinger coming a very close second). When Lucky asked him if it was time for him and Stinger to start getting along, I was totally in Champ’s corner – if someone killed my creator or mentor, there is no way I would tolerate them. I think people should be amazed Champ was as nice to Stinger as he was!

But then… on learning the truth… Champ was awesome. I don’t think Stinger would have been down for a whole apology, and he recognised that and partnered with him the best way possible. Good work, OushiBlack!

I’m very excited for the next episode, not least of all because I think it will be sans Kotarou.

 

 

Uchuu Sentai Kyuuranger Space 12

R.I.P. Ikaagen. You were one of the more interesting early-in-the-season lieutenants. 🙁

So the thing I don’t get now is why the Kyuurangers can’t just use the Futago Kyuutama every battle. And just launch straight in with RyuuTeiOh KyuuRenOh every time they have to fight a Moraimaazu. When the Pegasus Kyuutama was introduced and clearly made ShishiRed overpowered, we got an explanation for why he can’t simply use it for every battle – no such reason was offered for these two options.

There was nothing especially remarkable about this episode, sadly. The Kyuurangers simply plucked more powers out of thin air and won. The only interesting things, really, were the yet-again creative use of the tokusatsu effects for the robo battles (the rain) and a song that sounded very much like it was by Psychic Lover.

The ending dance also changed. The pelvic thrust has been removed for something a bit like “dabbing”. I suppose Toei doesn’t like the idea of Kotarou, a child, thrusting his pelvis on TV. But being hurt repeatedly in battles is fine!

Youngblood #2

Writer: Chad Bowers
Penciler: Jim Towe
Publisher: Image Comics

Where is Rob Liefeld? He draws better than Jim Towe does, and he owns these characters. Sigh.

I was very shocked to see this comic contain the word “fucked”. I have very little familiarity with Youngblood and its characters, but thought it was fairly standard superhero fare, so really didn’t expect that. It isn’t a drawback, it was just very surprising.

I’m increasingly getting the feeling that this is “written for the trade”. Not only do I feel that you need some decent knowledge of the history of the franchise to really understand what’s going on, the pacing and direction of the plot really feel like something you’re expected to read in one sitting, not monthly. I’m not confident this will go beyond six issues, and if it does, it’ll be in trade-focused arcs.

I’m not too fond of that.

I came here expecting a good, ongoing, exciting, dynamic comic. I’m getting something steeped in nostalgia and written for the trade. I’m not overwhelmingly impressed, but I still really want to be.

Future Imperfect #5

Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Greg Land
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Okay, so that ending was a bit of a letdown. A lot of a letdown. And sort of predictable.

That doesn’t mean I wasn’t entirely unhappy with this issue. I liked that the “Ancient One” guarding the Destroyer armour was Rick Jones, although I don’t know why Doom would have set it up that way, or why folks like Ulik feared him so much.

I liked that Janis is Rick’s grand-daughter. Could Marlo be the grandmother? And if so, who is the mother/father on the Jones side?

That was all quite intriguing and, had it been explored, it might have made the ending good.

Instead… it turned out the Destroyer armour does some sort of wish-granting thing? Except it doesn’t actually grant wishes, it just makes the person believe their wish was granted… even though it clearly wasn’t (anyone with a modicum of common sense could tell it wasn’t really Doom who Maestro was defeating).

And everyone just goes home to Dystopia. But doesn’t Doom appoint the Barons? So Doom will know something has happened. And Ross!Thing won’t just take over, Doom will have to appoint someone – and the other limiteds all tell us he generally doesn’t appoint good guys.

So I don’t really get the point.

The twists, surprises and shocks all made it a fun journey… but I was expecting some sort of pay-off. There are many other, better ways this could have ended, and I’m left somewhat disappointed.