TV – Justified: Season 3: A-

justified season3A-
It begins with a great stand-alone episode whose final scene reminded me why I liked Timothy Olyphant’s character, and the show in general. When you cultivate such strong characters, as Justified does, including those only used in a single episode, it’s a simple thing to keep the viewer interested. It introduced several entertaining new characters and improved many of the existing ones. My only minor complaint remains that the Boyd character and his mini-arcs remain mostly a lull in the main, more compelling plot-lines.

Advertisements

TV – Orphan Black: Season 1: A-

orphan black season1A-
It’s a fantastic premise, one which facilitates all kinds of great drama and symbolism. And for the most part it lives up to that promise. At times it leans on “because the plot requires it” reasoning a bit much, but there’s usually an acceptable amount of intrigue created by such leanings. Tatiana Maslany does an excellent job juggling several roles, (mostly achieved through differing accents and wigs), but it’s especially impressive when she’s doing a scene where one clone has to pretend to be another. It uses several fun “not who/what you think” moments, and has a near-endless potential for plenty more.

Comic – All-New X-Men vol1: Yesterday’s X-Men: A-

all new xmen vol1A-
The premise, (that Beast brought the original X-Men to the present so that adult Cyclops can feel bad about his current situation) certainly seems to be a thinly-veiled commentary on the sad state of the modern X-Men timeline. Bendis handles the original X-Teens reacting to their future selves quite well and their interactions feel genuine, especially the Beasts. I did find it odd that Angel was basically ignored, but perhaps that’s a seed for future events. As someone who hasn’t read any current X-Men in quite some time, it was easy to jump into, despite all their convoluted recent history. I always enjoy Immonen’s art and he continued to deliver.

Movie – How to Train Your Dragon 2: A-

how to train your dragon 2A-
The animation was fantastic, the new dragons fun, and the story well-plotted, but none of it felt nearly as funny or clever as the first film. It also had some odd pacing, with the slower dramatic family moments clashing with the central conflict’s foreboding urgency. If I wasn’t so distracted with comparing it to its predecessor, I’m sure I would’ve been enthralled, especially by the dragon battles, but it just couldn’t surpass that strong precedent.

Book – Last Argument of Kings: A-

last-argument-of-kingsA-
The finale to Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy is a great example of “epic” done right. But then it was over, and not one of the characters got much in the way of closure. But it was as thrilling and fantastic as the other two, with Abercrombie’s characteristic wit spilling over each and every well-nuanced character, while forcing you into the most vivid and intense battles I’ve seen put to the page.

Comic – Avengers: Endless Wartime: A-

avengers endless wartimeA-

Warren Ellis often has a formula. And it often works. This time we have Norse dragon-god babies turned into Nazi living weapons. Though it’s clearly influenced by their movie personae, most of the Avengers gets some good micro-arcs, especially Bruce Banner. He gets the right voices for Wolverine, Hawkeye and Iron Man too. The story could be more exciting, but it’s a like a really good filler episode for a non-existant Marvel cinematic universe Avengers TV series.

Comic – B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth vol 7: A Cold Day in Hell: A-

bprd hoe vol7A-

Two huge revelations triggered crazy events at the end of volume 6. Then this volume practically ignored them, initially returning to the small scope and focus on the grunts of the BPRD. It’s a more character driven approach and well done, but I just wanted more of the epicness the series is capable of. The final arc returns to the wild and imaginative storytelling that makes this my favorite series, but it’s yet another story thread while I’m still aching for more on the events already happening.