Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Is The Golden Age of NXT Over? (8-31-16)



By: Anton Ware
It is the brand that has been a game-changer for modern day professional wrestling. It’s become the place to be for young, rising talents and veterans alike looking to prove they can make it on the big stage. It’s also become a favorite for diehard wrestling fans looking for action-packed excitement and epic battles. That place is NXT, WWE’s developmental brand that showcases recently signed talent in attempts to prepare them for mainstream television. 

Run by WWE Vice President of Talent and Creative Triple H, it once started out as a glorified reality show with little fanfare and has now transformed into a worldwide phenomenon. The characters, production, commentary, and big-fight atmosphere are just some of the factors that play into the success of the six-year-old promotion. 

Originally, NXT was a competition-based reality show where several developmental talents would take part in not only matches, but challenges to test their physical and mental abilities. Keg carrying, an assault course, and a friendly game of "Rock em, Sock em," were some of the obstacles the wrestlers had to endure along with weekly eliminations. This would go on for multiple seasons as Wade Barrett, Kaval, Kaitlyn, and Johnny “Fandango” Curtis would end up being winners of their respective seasons.

On May 17, 2012, NXT shifted gears and became a weekly, episodic television show and replaced Florida Championship Wrestling as the sole developmental territory for WWE. From there, they would crown their first world, tag team, and women’s champion which laid the foundation for their first live special, NXT: Arrival on the WWE Network in February 2014. The event and specials that followed would become smash hits with critics and fans alike because there was an emphasis on match quality and its less-is-more approach within the show’s structure.

NXT also has the knack of not only making stars, but signing the hottest free agents in independent wrestling. Whether it's taking an unknown and making them an overnight sensation (Sasha Banks, Tyler Breeze, Enzo Amore and Big Cass) or bringing in a star with a massive cult following (Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, and Hideo Itami), the promotion has an eye for talent. However, one has to wonder if their streak of making and maintaining stars has come to an end?



Recently, NXT has gone through a number of changes within its roster. All three divisions have lost former champions due to call ups for the RAW and Smackdown Live! brands. Not only has former champions departed, but contenders have as well. Just in the women’s division alone, NXT has lost Carmella, Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax. Bayley, the biggest star of the NXT women’s division and former champion, became the newest member of the RAW roster last week to begin a program with current RAW Women’s Champion Charlotte. In a month’s time, NXT has lost four mainstays from the women’s division while current champ Asuka awaits her next challenger.

The tag team division also faced losses this year as crowd pleasers Enzo Amore and Big Cass received their call up the night after WrestleMania 32. American Alpha and The Hype Bros were added to the "Smackdown Live!" roster to deepen its new tag team division under the management of Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon. That leaves current NXT Tag Team Champions The Revival searching for contenders to challenge for their titles even though Johnny Gargano and Tommasa Ciampa gave them a great fight at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn two weeks ago.

Furthermore, the world title scene suffered as the face of NXT, Finn Balor was the fifth pick of WWE’s 2016 Draft and young upstarts Apollo Crews and Baron Corbin received call ups the RAW after WrestleMania 32.

So that again begs the question, can NXT maintain the star power that has been responsible for their success or will all the recent acquisitions for the red and blue brands be a step backward?

While the roster has taken some hits in 2016, they’ve added some notable talent to balance out the mass exodus of NXT Alumni. The biggest acquisition for the brand was the addition former New Japan IWGP champion Shinsuke Nakamura. Along with current Smackdown Live! star AJ Styles, this was seen as one of the major signings in WWE history as Nakamura brings in an extensive list of accomplishments such as prestigious tournament victories and an induction into the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame in 2015.



NXT also saw additions from rival promotion TNA Wrestling as former world champions Austin Aries and Bobby Roode aim to make their mark and add name value to the roster.

The brand has also made pickups from the independent wrestling scene as well. Standouts such as Rich Swann, TM-61 (the former TMDK), Johnny Gargano, Tommasso Ciampa and Ember Moon (the former Athena) are all looking to climb the ranks and become champions.

HHH, William Regal, and Gerald Brisco are always scouting for talent who have the potential to become big stars down the road. One of the most exciting things about NXT is that you never know who will come through the curtain during an event and when it comes to big time signings, the developmental brand doesn’t disappoint.

So what's your take Geektified family? How are you feeling about the current roster on NXT? Do they have the star power to keep things interesting or do they need to add more talent to keep the brand alive for years to come? If so, who would you add to the NXT Roster? Let us know in the comment section. 

Thanks for reading!



Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The SmackDown Files: The Miz is This Generation's Cowardly Lion Edition (8-30-2016)


By: Keila Cash 

Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of the SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SD Live! emanated from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. After a newsworthy episode of Monday Night Raw, the blue brand had to step up to plate and offer the rare one-two punch in terms of WWE pulling off back-to-back wrestling shows that were equal to each other for the first time in years. Did the creative team get the job done or did they wilt under the pressure? The answer to that question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of SD Live! in no particular order.

·         Daniel Bryan just threw some serious shade at Shane McMahon after he offered Bryan advice on how to handle disputes with talent considering Shane’s own beef with Brock Lesnar.

·         After much deliberation, it has been determined that The Miz is a certified coward as he walked away from a fight against Dolph Ziggler. Initially, Miz talked a big game about bringing prestige to the Intercontinental Championship and bragged about how he was the hardest working made in the business by doing so much promotional work for WWE. He cut an impassioned promo, but Ziggler flipped the script by accusing Miz of doing these benevolent things for fame. The Showoff gave Miz the opportunity to prove the naysayers wrong by duking it out, but he walked with his tail tucked between his legs. Ziggler tried to bait Miz by calling him a coward once more, but Maryse held her husband back as the crowd showered him with boos as the opening segment came to a close.

·         As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I feared that Ziggler was going to slide back into mid-card land by feuding with The Miz and I was 100% correct. However, the dynamic might be different this time as both men have something to prove. Ziggler has been sulking over the past few weeks about not winning the big one while Miz cut the best promo of his career on Talking Smack last week which had the internet buzzing for days. I am surprised Miz didn’t destroy Ziggler on the mic about his career-long failures, but it’s not too late for the IC Champion to go scorched earth on his fellow Clevelander in the very near future. Overall, I thought this was a good way to start the show. 

·         The Hype Bros advanced to the semifinals of the Tag Team Tournament as they made quick work of The Vaudevillians. The match was decent while it lasted and The Hype Bros were very…Hype. Mojo Rawley is out of his mind, but he didn’t get on my nerves for a change.

·         AJ Styles and Apollo Crews had a fun match that held my interest from start to finish. Crews was impressive and proved that he could hang with Styles. Crews has all the physical tools to be a great professional wrestler, but he needs a jolt in the personality department. He can’t smile his way through every situation whether it’s good or bad. Crews needs to show range from a character standpoint in order for fans to forge a meaningful connection with him. Since his debut at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn I last year, he is still all style, but no substance as a performer. That needs to change as soon as possible.

·         As for Styles, he always delivers the goods in the ring. He brings out the best in his opponents and I am digging his cocky attitude as he now wants to be called, “The Face That Runs the Place.” Styles is in the zone right now and I can’t wait to see him challenge Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Championship at Backlash. It should be a show stealer.

·         Renee Young’s in-depth interview with Heath Slater was something else. WWE played into all the Southern stereotypes as Slater lived in a trailer with his wife named Beulah. She surprisingly looked normal despite how the company tends to overplay their hand when it comes to pulling off their zany brand of comedy. Fortunately, things didn’t get too crazy as Slater shined during the segment while Rhyno feasted on some crackers and cheese whiz. The Vienna Sausages were a nice touch as it added some much needed class to the festivities. Initial reservations aside, I thought this was a silly, but entertaining segment that showed off Slater’s comedic chops. Rhyno’s stoic silence was great as well.

·         Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt had a nice promo exchange to set up their match at Backlash in a couple of weeks. Wyatt claimed that he was not afraid of vipers and beasts and vowed to cut the head off the serpent and hang it on his wall while Orton had a nice comeback by admitting that he was damaged, but that was a part of his charm. The Viper talked about the scars inflicted on him by Cactus Jack and The Undertaker, but it made him stronger at the end of the day. Orton doesn’t fear Wyatt because they both have demons living inside of them. It’s a mutual respect thing amongst two damaged dudes.

·         Orton wanted to kick Wyatt’s ass, but Wyatt did his usual disappearing act before things got physical.

·         I loved Orton’s swag during his promo exchange with Wyatt. He was confident on the mic and didn’t belittle Wyatt in a demeaning way. Orton is not afraid of Wyatt or his parlor tricks and it’s refreshing to see someone say that without coming off as being condescending or goofy. If both men can translate their chemistry on the mic to the ring, they should have a stellar match at Backlash.

·         Carmella made another statement as she attacked Nikki Bella from behind while she was on guest commentary during the tag team match featuring Becky Lynch and Naomi vs. Natalya and Alexa Bliss. Lynch got distracted which allowed Bliss to pin her with a rollup with a slight yank of tights.

·         The match was decent and the crowd was into the action while it lasted. It’s nice to see the ladies get some much needed airtime and one has to assume that a six woman tag team bout will take place next week as the babyfaces need to get their heat back heading into the Six Pack Challenge for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at Backlash in a couple of weeks.

·         I cannot believe that fans actually printed out “Heath’s Kids” signs. That is so awesome!

·         Heath Slater and Rhyno are still alive in the tag team tournament as they dispatched The Headbangers in decisive fashion. Rhyno sealed things with a Gore and will go on to face The Hype Bros in the semifinals. That should be quite the spectacle.

·         Hello, Random person…

·         Kane is about to destroy the random man in the ring who stripped down to his underwear.

·         Kane just collected the easiest check of his career by destroying The Milk Man who has a license to wrestle. That was strange…

·         AJ Styles inadvertently disqualified Dean Ambrose after he accidently kicked Baron Corbin in the face when Ambrose was the intended target. Ambrose and Styles got into a brawl at ringside only for it to be broken up by Corbin because he still wanted a piece of Ambrose. However, The Lunatic Fringe quickly nailed The Lone Wolf with Dirty Deeds and dropped Styles’ family jewels on the top rope when he blocked Styles’ Phenomenal Forearm. Ambrose teased Styles and left him hanging on the rope as SmackDown Live! went off the air.

·         Ambrose and Corbin had an adequate match, but it felt out of place. It was weird seeing Corbin in the main event spot because he was been torturing Kalisto backstage over the past few weeks. I don’t know how he leapfrogged his way into a non-title match against the WWE World Champion, but he held his own. He is still missing something from an in-ring standpoint and I can’t quite put my finger on it. He showed promise in NXT last year, but he has regressed a little bit since his promotion to the main roster. Corbin can cut a good promo when he is given good material to work with, but he needs to put all the pieces together in order to become a well-rounded performer.

·         As for Ambrose and Styles, their brawl featured nice physicality that popped the crowd. However, things got a little too cutesy when Styles had to oversell his privates being injured on the top rope. With next Tuesday being the go-home show for Backlash, there should be less laughs and more seriousness coming from both men leading up to their WWE World Title match.

·         Overall, I thought that tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live! was serviceable. It came off as a maintenance show as the go-home broadcast for the first SD-only PPV is next week. The in-ring action was light on substance, but I expect a more cohesive show next week as the semifinals of the Tag Team Tournament gets underway along with the women jockeying for position leading up to their match at Backlash.

·         Plus, Miz will continue to act like the Cowardly Lion while Ziggler continues to goad him into a fight. It’s a weird situation considering the fact that Ziggler was pissed off last week after he failed to win the big one at SummerSlam and lost his chance to compete for WWE World Title against Styles and Ambrose at Backlash. It seems as if WWE is hell bent on keeping Ziggler a babyface which is a mistake in my opinion. Hopefully, the creative team has a game plan for Ziggler that will actually help him get sustained heat instead of the crowd popping for his theme music and sitting on their hands for everything else.

·         SD Live! should be a hotter show next week because it’s the go-home episode before Backlash. It’s their first major test selling a standalone PPV without any help from Raw to help even things out. Let’s hope they pull it off. Fingers crossed!


On that note, this wraps up another edition of The SmackDown Files. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back Monday night with a brand new installment of The Raw Exposé. See you later, boys and girls!

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Raw Exposé: The Kevin Owens Is The King of the Universe Edition (8-29-2016)



By: Keila Cash 


Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The Raw Exposé. Tonight’s episode of Monday Night Raw emanated from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. The WWE Universal Championship is on the line as Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Big Cass, and Roman Reigns vie for the big red belt made out of Kryptonite. Who walked away with the title? Was it a safe bet, a sure thing, or sweet surprise? The answer to that question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of Raw in no particular order.

·         The opening segment of Raw featuring Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Big Cass, and Roman Reigns discussing why they will win the WWE Universal Championship was very good. Kevin Owens’ promo was the best out of the four, but I thought Cass and Rollins held their own on the mic as well. Reigns didn’t have much to say as he let his fists do the talking as all hell broke loose with Reigns hitting Rollins with a Superman Punch which set the tone for what’s to come during the Fatal Four Way Elimination Match later tonight.

·         The fact that the opener lasted less than ten minutes was a plus. There was no need to have a drawn out discussion about winning the Big Red Belt and I loved the one-liners Owens, Rollins, and Cass hurled at each other. It struck the right balance of being funny, yet serious at the same time. Overall, I thought this was an effective way to start the show.

·         Neville vs. Chris Jericho had a good match as it featured nice back and forth action with a hint of chicanery from Jericho as he tried to gain an unfair advantage at every turn. I am glad that both men had the opportunity to have a proper match after Neville broke his ankle during their previous bout earlier this year.

·         During the closing moments of the match, Neville nailed Jericho with a Superkick and went to the top rope to hit the Red Arrow. Jericho rolled out of the way and quickly put Neville in the Walls of Jericho which turned into the Lion Tamer when he pressed his knee against the side of Neville’s face. Neville tried his best to hang on, but he tapped out.

·         It was a match that allowed Jericho to get a quality win while Neville looked good in the face of defeat. I hope this doesn’t become a recurring theme because Neville has a lot to offer as an in-ring performer. At least he won a few matches since his return to make his loss to Jericho easier to digest.

·         Nia Jax claimed another victim in short order. It was nothing to write home about.

·         Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows have transitioned from the medical field to the retirement home sector as they poked fun at the Dudley Boyz for being old and washed up. It’s a step up from talking about male genitalia.

·         Sami Zayn picked up the win against Jinder Mahal in a decent match. It was a little surprising to see Zayn involved in an enhancement bout, but it was refreshing that he continued to sell his ankle injury from last week. Continuity and good in-ring psychology can go hand and hand sometimes. Mahal was in control for a while, but it didn’t last long as Zayn nailed him with the Helluva Kick to get the 1-2-3. The match came off a bit cold, but I’m glad Zayn got a win under his belt. Mahal has been firmly slotted as enhancement talent to put other people over. At least he’s getting a check.

·         Random observation: Kofi Kingston is wearing unicorn horn tipped shoes…

·         The New Day and Bayley vs. Anderson, Gallows, and Dana Brooke was solid as Bayley picked up the win for her team as she dropped Brooke with the Bayley to Belly Suplex. Bayley looked good and Brooke held her own minus that ugly double dropkick that barely connected before the match went to commercial. The action picked up after the break and everyone managed to shine despite how wonky mixed tag matches can be at times. 

·         I will say that WWE needs to dial it back a little bit when it comes to the presentation of Bayley. She is a professional hugger with a carefree personality. However, pairing her up with The New Day is taking happiness to the freaking extreme. She’s was bordering on being a caricature of herself which gave me butterflies for all the wrong reasons. Bayley’s wrestling calmed my nerves, but it’s a delicate balance to strike when it comes to her character. She should be presented as being joyous, but serious at the same time. The New Day’s unicorn magic works in most cases, but their shtick can be hit or miss which negatively affects their feuds sometimes. I don’t want Bayley to suffer a similar fate, but I understand why WWE decided to put them together. They are popular and the crowd popped huge for them. Fortunately, Bayley handled her business in the ring by staying true to herself. The ovation from the fans was a clear sign of that. I just want WWE to exercise control by not tinkering with Bayley’s character too much. There is no need to fix what’s already working.

·         Sheamus is up 2-0 in his Best of Seven Series against Cesaro. As always, they had a good match which culminated with a series of European Uppercuts from Cesaro to Sheamus. The Swiss Superman dropped the Celtic Warrior with a dropkick from the top rope and it appeared that Cesaro had the match under control. Sheamus managed to gain the upper hand when he dropped a charging Cesaro back first into the ring post. Cesaro immediately grabbed his back as the referee checked on him. Sheamus tossed Cesaro back in the ring and wasted no time putting him in the Cloverleaf. Cesaro quickly tapped out in order to fight another day. Cesaro is behind the eight ball as he needs to get back in the series before he falls to 0-3. I doubt he’s going to choke when it counts most, but stranger things have happened. Just saying…

·         Americo…Is he Captain America’s long lost son?

·         Braun Stroman picks up another easy win as he committed the carnal sin of removing Americo’s mask. That generated more heat than the match itself.

·         We can officially add Tommaso Ciampa, Cedric Alexander, and Johnny Gargano to the Cruiserweight Division. If they are given ample television time, the Cruiserweights should steal the damn show every week.

·         Stephanie McMahon just tried Finn Bálor by saying that the first-ever Universal Champion would be crowned later tonight. I am sure it was a Freudian slip, but still. It stings a little bit.

·         Oh Joy. A CM Punk Chant. Get over it, people!

·         Paul Heyman is carrying a stack of 500 one dollar bills. He is a frugal baller.

·         This whole Stephanie McMahon-Paul Heyman segment was a complete waste of time. Stephanie was at her emasculating best as she snipped Heyman’s balls and added them to her vast collection. Heyman’s apology was okay, but it was nothing special. Both parties should have been laughing their asses off about putting the screws to Shane McMahon. Stephanie should have been gloating about The Beast taking down two key stars from SmackDown. Sadly, she had to get her lady rocks off by berating Heyman when they should have been sharing a toast instead. This failed on so many levels.

·         Darren Young defeated Titus O’Neil only for Young and Bob Backlund to get attacked afterwards by O’Neil. I guess this feud must continue. Yay! *Insert Sarcasm Here*

·         Enzo Amore knows how to wake a crowd up. The Houston fans went off for his introduction. Amazing…

·         Big Cass has been eliminated from the Fatal Four Way Bout. Cass had a nice showing as he was dishing out big boots left and right. He rose to the occasion and showed that he can go when the lights are on bright. His moment in the sun will come in due time.  Cass needs Enzo and vice versa right now. There is no rush to strap a rocket to his ass right now.

·         That was a hell of a counter by Reigns. Rollins was trying to hit Reigns with a flying knee, but Reigns nailed him with a Superman Punch from midair. It was a beautiful spot that was timed perfectly.

·         Triple H!!!! With a pedigree to Reigns!!! Shit just got real!

·         I guess Hunter just cashed his receipt after losing to Reigns at WrestleMania.

·         Double swerve alert! Triple H just pedigreed Rollins and Owens picked the bones to become the new WWE Universal Champion. Holy shit!

·         Wow. Just Wow. The Fatal Four Way Elimination match featuring Rollins, Owens, Big Cass, and Reigns was a hell of a bout before Triple H interfered. The action was strong throughout and everybody had their moment to shine which drove the crowd insane. The drama was at an all-time high as the next elimination built to a stunning crescendo. Triple H attacking Reigns from out of nowhere was shocking. Rollins getting up the dirty pin was expected, but to see Hunter betray his protégé with The Pedigree pushed things over the top. Owens sold being in absolute shock as Triple H gave him the nod of approval.

·         Owens was overcome with emotion as Triple H raised his hand in victory as Mick Foley and Stephanie looked completely stunned by what happened. Triple H gave Foley the death stare and didn’t even acknowledge his wife as he exited the ringside area via the barricade. It was quite the visual as the head honchos were left bewitched, bothered, and bewildered.

·         The show ended with Owens parading with the Universal Championship as the crowd chanted “You Deserve It!”

·         This was a tremendous way to end the show. The Triple H double swerve was something that nobody saw coming. This was a genuine surprise that leaves the door open for so many possibilities. Is Owens the new corporate face of Monday Night Raw? Will Rollins finally become a babyface after Triple H stabbed him in the back? Where does Reigns fit into all of this? Will he go back to feuding with Rusev for the United States Championship or will he and Rollins team up to take on Triple H and Owens? Were Foley and Stephanie in the know or were they truly blindsided by the Chief Operating Officer of WWE? There is so much to unpack and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. The best part of the brand extension is that we have to wait until next week to see the fallout. Cliffhanger Mondays are back in full effect.

·         As for Owens, he was my sleeper pick from last week. I really wanted him to win because he would offer something completely different as champion. He deserves this opportunity to thrive and succeed in the main event scene. Owens is one of the best workers and talkers in the company and I believe he will bring some much need shine to big red belt. As the fans stated, he deserves it.

·         Overall, I thought this was a very good episode of Raw. The main event was filled with great wrestling with a big fat swerve thrown in as an added bonus. It was amazing to watch it all unfold. The rest of the show featured solid in-ring action with a couple of squashes mixed in for good measure. Outside of Bayley veering into the land of Velveeta Cheese by teaming with The New Day and Stephanie McMahon getting on my nerves during the top of the third hour, this was a strong show that didn’t overstay its welcome.

·         As always, the follow up is key. What will the creative team do to make sense of what happened tonight? They have a lot of moving pieces to navigate and I am sure Triple H’s fingerprints will be all over the final product. He doesn’t appear on-screen unless he has a contingency plan in place. We shall see what The Game has in store for us next week. 


On that note, this wraps up another installment of The Raw Exposé. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back tomorrow night with a brand new edition of The SmackDown Files. See you later, boys and girls!            

Get Excited for Civil War #5!!

CIVIL WAR II #5 Pits Iron Man vs. Captain Marvel in All Out Grudge Match!


New York, NY—August 29th, 2016 — The battle lines have been drawn and war erupts! As the devastating fallout from the death of Bruce Banner sends shockwaves across every corner of the world, Iron Man and Captain Marvel duke it out with the future of the Marvel Universe on the line! Today, Marvel is pleased to present your first look inside the explosive CIVIL WAR II #5 – coming at you this September from the A-List creative team of Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez and Justin Ponsor. As punches are thrown and the war hits a fever pitch, truth behind Ulysses’ predictive powers stands revealed – and it’s a game changer! Plus – an ending so shocking it’ll have the world talking! Don’t miss the thrilling next chapter when CIVIL WAR II #5 comes to comic shops and digital devices onSeptember 21st!

CIVIL WAR II #5 (JUN160760)
Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
Art by DAVID MARQUEZ & JUSTIN PONSOR
Cover by MARKO DJURDJEVIC
Variant Covers by KIM JUNG JI (
JUN160761), MICHAEL CHO (JUN160762)
and PHIL NOTO (
JUN160763)
FOC – 08/29/16, On-Sale – 09/21/16
To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook.
About Marvel: Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing. For more information visit www.marvel.com © MARVEL 2016

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND/OR ARTWORK PLEASE CONTACT:
Chris D’Lando
MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT

212-576-4061
cdlando@marvel.com
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Nothing contained in this e-mail shall (a) be considered a legally binding agreement, amendment or modification of any agreement with Marvel, each of which requires a fully executed agreement to be received by Marvel or (b) be deemed approval of any product, packaging, advertising or promotion material, which may only come from Marvel's Legal Department.
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Sunday, August 28, 2016

DC Rebirth: Wonder Woman #5

By Jerry Montgomery

Wonder Woman #5
“The Lies Pt. 3”

Writer: Greg Rucker
Art: Liam Sharp

Wonder Woman. Hubba Hubba. The name conjures up a lot of images for me. Saturday morning cartoon. Prime time TV show. Major motion picture. Lynda Carter. Gal Gadot. Golden Lasso. Invisible plane.(Ok, maybe not that last one.) Now, just like every other DC character, Wonder Woman too has been given the Rebirth treatment. She’s probably the most famous heroine and feminist icon of all time, making her debut in 1941. She still looks great at 75! Beauty and brawn all in one.

In “The Lies Pt.3”, the adventure continues deep in the jungle of the country of Bwunda with a covert military force led by an extremely buffed up Steve Trevor. I mean, come on! He’s enormous!  He’s been assigned  to stop a man known as Cadulo and his army of bat-men, or wolf-men or hyena-men(or something like that .), who have been terrorizing the countryside and kidnapping young girls. All in the name of the ancient God,  Urzkartaga, whom Cadulo hopes to manifest in solid form and spread his influence through what else? Procreation! Wonder Woman too is in Bwunda, but is it merely by accident  or something more? It’s hinted that Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman share some unknown connection with one another that naturally, will be explored in further issues. She searches for Steve, all the while questioning the motivation of the Gods and the price of their patronage…or the lack of. Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva, also known as Cheetah, a half woman, half cheetah(and full bred god) and one time enemy of Wonder Woman, accompanies her through the dark jungle and to help her solve the growing mystery of Thyemyscira. Can Wonder Woman trust her for long?

The Verdict: A good story with a  good mix of mystery and action, however, you may want to read a few of the previous issues to fully understand the story. The artwork is gorgeous with nice inks and good saturated color. My only complaint is how the character Steve Trevor is depicted…as large as all get out! Anyway, this chapter is solid storytelling with an interesting array of characters, so, there is a lot of potential to make this title as popular as Detective Comics or Action Comics. If mythology and mysticism are your thing, then this is the title for you!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Geekcap: Killjoys "Johnny Be Good"

In Old Town, many bodies lie dead. Dutch is handcuffed in a hall when a man gives her a drink of water. A mob pounds against the doors of the Royale, begging for Dutch’s blood. Inside a man and Pree go over what to do with Dutch now that a mob wants her dead and the wall is down. The man is more interested in what happened to Jelco since they raided Spring Hill. Using a poison he found, the man demands that Dutch answers. In a remote planet, D’avin has Jelco captive, threatening to shoot Jelco should he run or if Dutch is killed.

The man, in turn, poisons Dutch, causing her to vomit blood as a result of lying. Despite Pree’s defense, Dutch admits that she is aware of where Jelco is since she helped him escaped. Pree threatens to shoot the man, but Dutch reminds him that he will have to answer to the crowds outside regardless. The man reminds Dutch that last night more than a hundred citizens were killed with no one to answer to after their escape. If Old Town can’t hang Jelco, they will hang the person who helped him escape.

In the previous night, D’avin and Dutch burst into the Royale where everyone is drinking and partying under the influence of the Wall. Once Dutch finds John and Pawter she knocks them out to bring them back to the ship.

On Lucy, John wakes up, at once angry at whatever they used to knock him unconscious, but Dutch and D’avin then explain the Wall’s purpose. Since it acts as a mood inhibitor, he could not act on his own free will, but, fortunately, Dutch and D’avin have developed sensor blockers to move through Old Town without being affected. Once Pawter awakens, she informs the group about the Company’s plan to poison the weak and cull the strong with new food rations. Lucy confirms the plan by analyzing the food, but Pawter fears that they have no way of stopping Jelco who maintains an influence over the Company. To save the people of Old Town, the group plans to sneak inside Spring Hill Compound to shut down the wall and ultimately kill Jelco.

Lucy: I do not wear pants, John. I am a computer.

John plans their entrance by moving through the same stopping point he tried, though D’avin reminds him that he was caught the first time. As John mourns his conflict with Dutch, D’avin remains more optimistic, reminding his brother that Dutch forgave him even after attempted murder. However, D’avin does add that Dutch is likely jealous since John appeared to have chosen Pawter over her.
Meanwhile, Dutch goes over their plan with Pawter. Pawter thanks Dutch for her help, but Dutch fires back that Pawter had already lied to them, and, ultimately, she is not ready for this mission. Pawter believes that she is, but Dutch warns her against putting John in danger for her own desires.

The group sneaks inside Spring Hill with John and D’avin sneaking through the systems and Dutch and Pawter sneaking through the halls.  All of their guns except for Dutch’s are set to stun with Dutch planning to kill Jelco. Unfortunately, the halls and bases appear to be deserted with no sign of any guards or Jelco. John and D’avin come across a power system for the Wall that D’avin recognizes from Arkyn. John attempts to work through the system but is stopped by the intelligence on the computer, Julian. Julian informs him that there has been a changeover within Spring Hill Compound, which a Company worker would know.

With the system against them, Dutch hands Pawter a gun to kill since in case they will be separated. Pawter refuses to kill from her status as a doctor, but Dutch warns her that she’ll have to act instead of having other people work for her like John. Pawter reminds Dutch that John helped her of his own free will and remarks to her that sometimes he wants to be more than just a killjoy.

Dutch and Pawter make their way to Jelco’s office though John struggles to work through Julian. Since shooting up the system could risk a nuclear meltdown, their only solution is for Dutch and Pawter to work through the computers in Jelco’s office. When Pawter acts too quickly when accessing the computer, it triggers an alarm that alerts Jelco over a holophone. Though the compound is still empty, Jelco plans to send guards to apprehend the two.


In the midst of Jelco’s call, John discovers a call to Qresh within the compound, revealing that Jelco is still in the building. Dutch then leaves to find Jelco herself, leaving Pawter to defend herself. As Dutch searches for Jelco, D’avin fights against the guards to catch up to Dutch.

With Lucy’s help, John manages to work through Julian and give Pawter access to Jelco’s system, giving her a security feed of the outside. She shuts down the Wall’s systems and broadcasts to the people of Old Town, warning them not to eat the company portions. However, John cannot officially destroy the wall without a Qreshi access code, something not even Pawter knows. With no other choice, Pawter contacts Delle Seyah Kendry for the code. Although Pawter demands on behalf of Old Town, Delle Seyah refuses to give in, remarking on the plan to develop walls all over Westerly. After the people of Old Town are purged of their weak, the masses will demand a quarantine of the area, begging for the Walls. Furthermore, she reminds Pawter, there could be no way for her to save all of Westerly when Old town cannot take care of itself.

Dutch then tracks down Jelco to a lab beneath the Spring Hill Compound. To her surprise, the lab appears to have preparations for Level 6 experiments including the green plasma. She continues to follow Jelco secretly.

With John struggling to work through the system, Pawter takes matters into her own hands. Using the transmission, she encourages the people of Old Town to fight against the Wall and the lies of the Company, using the mood inhibitors to enhance their rage. The people then slam themselves against the Wall, killing many in the process but shutting down the systems permanently.

Dutch confronts Jelco who admits that the program is used to create an army of Level 6 soldiers with the strongest members of Old Town. Meanwhile, John catches up to Pawter only to find the Wall set to rage before its destruction. He questions what Pawter had done but warns that the members of Old Town are working their way into Spring Hill Compound. They run to escape, but Dutch continues to corner Jelco. In desperation, Jelco reveals that he knows more about the program and where they get their supplies. If she keeps him alive, he will lead her to them. Despite her reservations, Dutch orders D’avin to take Jelco on their ship as she attempts to fight off the crowds blocking their exit, leading to her capture.

John: Whoa, what happened? Why is the wall set to rage? Pawter what did you do?

In the present, the man then reveals himself as Herin, a former treasury secretary for Tighmon. When Tighmon attempted to get back at the Company, he, along with other members of the union, was killed. Feeling responsible for the loss, Herin tries to appeal to Dutch’s loyalty, but Dutch refuses to tell the truth despite the poison. To convince her further, Herin allows to John to talk with her, and he asks where Jelco is. Despite speaking with John, Dutch continues to lie to Herin.

D’avin takes Jelco to the Badlands where they meet up with Borna for a weapons deal. Using Jelco’s money and Company connections, they manage to acquire a major weapon D’avin can use to take down a Company building.

In private, Dutch and John talk as Dutch reveals that she wants to buy D’avin time to escape despite the risk to herself. However, John remarks that it doesn’t explain Dutch’s recklessness in getting caught and poisoned. Dutch admits that she fears there is a monstrous killer inside her, and John is the only one who keeps it at bay, leading to her feelings of betrayal with his choice for Pawter. John explains that he wanted to keep both of them, though he is sorrowful about Pawter’s choice to destroy the Wall at the expense of lives. Dutch surprisingly takes Pawter’s side, understanding the feeling to want to keep John safe and happy. With enough time passed, Dutch then tells Herin that Jelco is with D’avin who is at the moment working to destroy Spring Hill Compound.


Using his new weapon, D’avin successfully brings down the Company building, but Herin still demands Dutch be hanged. Dutch acknowledges his emotions, understanding that they couldn’t quell an angry mob with nothing. However, before a fight can break out, Delle Seyah arrives at the Royale for a truce. If they listen to her, she can ensure Westerly independence.

While the group understandably distrusts Delle Seyah, she reveals that the destruction of the Wall has led to the distrust of the Company. Following Old Town, no city in the Quad would agree to a Wall around their area. In other words, she admits, Pawter has defeated her. With representatives of Old Town and Pawter’s agreement, Delle Seyah begins to prepare an official transfer of power. However, with the transfer, Pawter must agree to give up her title and power.

Outside the Royale, Pawter explains her decision to John. Despite John’s protests, she agrees to relinquish her power, refusing to play politics or risk John’s life any further. Although the cost is large, Pawter prefers it this way for her to continue to help Old Town as a doctor. In the midst of her loss, John offers to recruit her for their team if she chooses. Regardless of what happens, the two share a kiss.

At the Royale, Delle Seyah, Pawter, and Herin sign an agreement. As part of Westerly tradition, Herin offers the women a knife to provide their blood in agreement. Before Delle Seyah takes her turn, however, she stabs Pawter and orders the Scarbacks to kill the rest. The remaining representatives of Old Town, including Herin, are then killed as Dutch and D’avin struggle against the Scarbacks who appear to be Level 6. John attempts to save Pawter, but she continues to bleed out before dying in his arms. Against his wishes, D’avin knocks John out for the three to escape.
Delle Seyah reveals to a dying Herin that the Scarbacks work for her in exchange for immortality with the plasma. Rather than independence, Delle Seyah declares Old Town part of Qresh territory, leading to a peace arrangement under her control.

Meanwhile, Dutch, D’avin, and John return to Lucy where they discover Jelco escaped with the help of Fancy. Rather than kill them, however, Fancy offers a way to save the Quad by having Dutch meet up with Khlyen herself.

Level 6 Notes

  • Herin references Tarren Tighmon, the team's original bounty from "Wild, Wild Westerly."
  • Big Borna, whom John fought to free Pawter, returns from "Schooled."
  • The episode title refers to the song "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry.
  • Pretty curious in how Delle Seyah did not cut her hand for the agreement. Could she also be a Level 6?

Photo Credit: Syfy

DC Rebirth: Superman #5 (Spoilers)

Review: DC Universe Rebirth: Superman #5
Submitted: Joshua Williams, Comic News Writer
24 August 16





The Eradicator has come to Earth, forcing Superman to leave his adopted home planet behind.  While keeping the citizens of Metropolis safe, Superman also must find a way to keep his family safe.  Will he have time to protect everyone and find a place to do battle?


Son of Superman: Part Five,” written by Peter S. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, begins on the moon with Superman transporting his family (Lois Lane and his son Jon) in an oxygen-rich capsule.  Knowing the dangerous implications of a fight between Superman and the Eradicator, their safety is of the utmost importance.  After gathering intelligence, via surveillance, Superman learns of Batman’s secret Batcave, located on the moon (Batman conducted this surveillance on Batman in secret, in a sort of spiteful way, before the events of Superman #5).  Unbeknownst to the Clark family, the Eradicator shows himself and the battle commences.   Superman has a plan to defeat the Eradicator, which includes entering the Eradicator’s ‘Phantom Zone.’  Our villain has the souls of Krypton living here; Superman needs to reach these souls in an effort to get them to help him battle and defeat the Eradicator.  Meanwhile, the Eradicator focuses on destroying Jon.  Lois comes into the fray when she discovers Batman’s infamous Hellbat Suit.  Lois and Jon do an exceptional job keeping the Eradicator at bay, as Superman returns from his negotiations.  We believe the negotiations go well as Superman looks invigorated and has a plan to defeat the Eradicator as the issue ends. 




The responsibility of restoring Krypton has fully been accepted by the Eradicator.  His sole purpose is to destroy everything non-Kryptonian and to do so at all cost.  The Eradicator needs Superman to complete his mission, and killing Jon is just a part of this goal.  The most interesting part of the Eradicator has to be this ‘Phantom Zone,’ though this issue does not give much exposition about its origin, even after Superman visits this place.  However, Tomasi and Gleason present the ‘Phantom Zone’ beautifully.  Readers can expect such talented writers to develop some intriguing series of events stemming from the ‘Phantom Zone.’



Tomasi and Gleason add another layer of depth by including Lois Lane.  Batman has apparently created this secret lair in an effort to protect the citizens of Gotham from his dangerous experiments.  Lois stumbles upon the Hellbat Suit during her encounter with the Eradicator.  Reintroducing the Hellbat suit is a great touch, as fans know Tomasi and Gleason first introduced the Hellbat suit in Batman and Robin.  Additionally, the Hellbat suit was forged in the sun by Superman, revamped by the Justice League, and permits Batman (or the person wearing it) to survive the harshest conditions. 

THE VERDICT:  In the new DC Universe Rebirth, the new Superman seems as though he will consistently have villains attacking those closest to him, while pressuring him to decide between Krypton and the love for his family.  The complexity of the Kent family bond is gracefully explored in this issue and is delivered smoothly.  DC Comics proves, once again, that they have a specific plan for our traditional heroes that we all love and appreciate.  Including Tomasi and Gleason as writers on the Superman story-arc gives restoration to one of the most popular gadgets and story-arcs of Batman.  Giving Lois Lane ownership of the Hellbat suit restores the character who has been overshadowed by Superman and her son.  Fans of Superman should be excited; they’re in store for an excellent issue. 



DC Scooby Apocalypse #4 (Spoilers)

Review: DC Scooby Apocalypse #4
Submitted: Joshua Williams, Comic News Writer
24 August 16


The gang barely escapes their underground base that has been overrun with vampire-monsters.  Daphne, Velma, Fred, Shaggy and Scooby (the traditional Hanna-Barbera Scooby Doo, Where Are You team) decide to take a break, after their escape, in a ghost town.  Their thinking is: ‘this town is deserted, this should be a good place to rest.’ As night approaches, the town grows ever more crowded… crowded with the infected!  Let’s hope DC make Hanna-Barbera proud with their new story-arc, Scooby Apocalypse.


Scooby Apocalypse #4, written by Keith Griffen and J.M. DeMatteis, begins as Velma is suddenly awakened from an uncomfortable sleep.  She realizes she has overslept and is late for her turn to guard their camp.  Velma is surprised to find Daphne up to the task (with Scooby on guard) and on full alert as she approaches.  The conversation between our heroines heats up and heats up fast.  Daphne accuses Velma of co-conspiring with the Four (The Four are Velma’s employers, who operate several underground facilities and perform weird scientific experiments; their current experiment, however, went haywire) and partially blames Velma for what has happened.  As the comic unfolds, readers learn that our gang is being hunted.  Soon, our deserted desert town becomes very crowded and all of our beloved characters find themselves in extreme danger like we’ve never seen.



Griffen and DeMatteis have a difficult task at hand in making Scooby Apocalypse a success.  Giving Velma more of the spotlight is a great approach since she has always been the most intelligent.  It seems as though the gang will be going as far as Velma takes them.  With Velma at the forefront, what kind of tension will this put on the gang?  Griffen and Dematteis successfully incorporate a ‘nemesis’ dynamic between our two heroines.  Besides being pleasantly surprised by the others actions (in a good way, thus far).  Even as Daphne questions Velma’s intentions and believes Velma has undisclosed information about the recent tragic events.    As the reality of post-apocalyptic life sets in, Daphne’s instincts as a reporter begin to kick in.  What happened to the rest of the population?  Are Scooby and the gang the only survivors?  Velma knows there are several other bunkers similar to the work environment Velma recently worked in. 


The narrative of Scooby Apocalypse #4 definitely poses some problems.  There is virtually no action in this issue, just dialogue to move the plot along.  Therefore, readers would need to read some of the previous issues to make sense of some of the plot details.  While our non-traditional heroines take the reins in this issue, we get nothing from our leading men.  Besides cracking a few Hanna-Barbera style jokes from the 1960s and 70s, this issue offer almost nothing. 

THE VERDICT: As Scooby Apocalypse begins, the intense action of the first few issues instantly catch the readers’ attention.  However, creating new and different themes from such an old traditional cartoon naturally has problems.  Firstly, Griffen and Dematties do not use Scooby Doo really at all.  He has only a few lines; perhaps the introduction of Cyber-Scrappy, our puppy-villain, will pull more plot out of our main character.  Finally, the writers are faced with a very difficult task: creating a post-apocalyptic world.  The underground base… is that borrowed from Resident Evil?  The deserted town, on the other hand, seems a bit similar to the Walking Dead.  The Scooby Apocalypse is just kicking off, so readers can expect discrepancies and holes in the plot because DC intends to add a bit more gore and seriousness to a traditional kid cartoon; however, with the talent creating this story-arc, these issues should be smoothed out.  I expect them to do so, and to do so soon.