If life is a comedy, then for Arthur Fleck, no one is laughing. Though I’ve thrown out words to describe this movie previously, such as “unnecessary” or even to go as far as saying “a money grab” I must now eat them with a side of humble pie. Though there is no absolute Joker origin story, Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix have crafted an unsettling look into madness and what could have easily caused the Clown Prince of Gotham to put on the face paint. No, it wasn’t falling into a vat of chemicals or facial scars that created this Joker, but rather governmental budget cuts and an uncaring society who looked the other way time and again. Joker is eerily realistic in its portrayal of violence which can cause an anxiousness few films could ever attain (Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade being one of those…minus the violence of course). This movie does not shy away on its social commentary either, putting modern society’s gun violence, lack of attention and facilities for those with mental illnesses, and the widening wage gap right in our faces. For a movie about a clown there are no gags, few puns, but just raw manic emotion which will make all audiences wonder, “Where does Joaquin Phoenix go from here?” as he leaves it all on the screen. So, let’s all put on a happy face and be glad DC finally decided to take a risk and birthed a classic. YoungYoda out.
I suppose I should be proud to be the writer of ‘The Nerd
Corps’ first book review on this site as I offer up my opinions on Jason Inman’s
‘Super Soldiers’ in this post. As an
adult it has grown quite difficult to find time to read as my attention has
turned from only school and books to a life full of dog walks, significant
other dates, podcast recordings, movie watches and full-blown attention deficit
disorder at times. I did my best to read
this as quickly as I could and unfortunately that was over the span of a few
months. So, to Jason and everyone else,
I apologize in the time it took to write this review.
Starting off, let me introduce Jason Inman who you may have
heard on the podcast twice as he graciously agreed to talk with myself and Raul
for around an hour each time (Episodes 85 and 237 if you want to take a listen). Jason is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom,
an author of books (duh) and comics (Jupiter Jet, Science!, etc.), and quoting
from his website jasoninman.com “a former host of DC All Access and a
regular guest on Collider Movie Talk, Geek & Sundry, Collider Heroes,
Screen Junkies, SourceFed, and Film HQ…Besides uploading weekly videos on his
youtube channel, Jawiin, Jason has hosted his own podcast Geek History Lesson for
over five years which was nominated for a Podcast Award”. These two aspects of Jason, that of a veteran
and that of the encyclopedia of all things nerd, come into play with his book Super
Soldiers which focuses on the comic book heroes and villains who served the
United States military.
First, I must comment on the ease of reading I found with this book. Jason has the ability to condense a lot of history of these super powered figures into four to eight pages each. His inclusion of many of the lesser known heroes and villains such as Gravedigger, Isaiah Bradley, and Nuke along with various unfamiliar (to me at least) details of the more popular figures (Captain America, Punisher, etc.) helped keep my attention piqued as each chapter I was exploring the details of someone I didn’t know or finding out more about the heroes I had grown up with. Jason does not shy away from the controversial aspects of each character’s history either but delves right into their history, be it Batwoman’s sexuality during the peak of “don’t ask, don’t tell” or the mistreatment of Gravedigger and Isaiah Bradley due to being black men in a WWII America. Any comic book fan will want to run out and pick up the back issues of many of these character’s comics (I’m personally going to buy up as much of Gravedigger’s “Men of War” as I can find).
On top of all this, Jason includes his own military experiences
helping to bridge that gap between comic book lore and reality. From speaking on the difficulty of
transitioning back to civilian life, just like War Machine, to pranking his sergeant
ala Beetle Bailey, he is able to compare and contrast the life of an enlisted
soldier with these fictional stories of super powered (and sometimes not so
superpowered aka Sgt. Rock) heroes.
This, in my humble opinion, is a must read for all fans of comics and comic book heroes. The amount of information contained within these 218 pages is astounding, so be sure to keep this close at hand when researching who came before Captain America or how Flash Thompson went from bully to hero. As Sir Francis Bacon coined once upon a time, “Knowledge is power” and as Super Soldiers goes, “Knowledge is Super Power”. YoungYoda out.
P.S. be sure to pick up Super Soldiers on Amazon and give a follow to Jason at the following: Twitter & Instagram- @Jawiin; Go listen to his podcast “Geek History Lesson” (@GHLPodcast) wherever you listen to podcasts.
What would you get if Superman had landed in the front yard
of a government facility instead of the Kent’s farm? You’d get “The Boys”. Basically, Amazon’s response to Netflix’s “The
Umbrella Academy,” “The Boys” is a gritty,
reimagining of The Justice League that’s equal parts Watchmen and Brightburn
with a dash of Batman V Superman.
Viewers are thrown into a world where superheroes are not
only real, but also commercialized thanks to the corporation Vought
International and its vice president Madelyn Stillwell. Vought’s main roster of superheroes is known
as The Seven and each have their fair share of movies, merchandising, and
public events to attend to. Vought keeps
a close eye on each hero to the point where crimes are basically staged, and a
camera crew is there to capture every moment in order to get their heroes
trending and the money flowing. Vought’s
main purpose though, is to get their heroes into the military and reap those billion-dollar
contracts that come with it. At Vought,
heroes are made, not born…both socially and literally. I’ll get to that “literally” part, later in
Now, to introduce The Seven (now, there are other
superpowered individuals shown throughout the series, but these are the mains,
the cream of the crop):
First, we have their leader, Homelander. Shown as American as apple pie. Homelander is basically the love child of
Captain America and Superman. Armed with
a cape of the Stars and Stripes, heat vision, and no weaknesses, he is shown
throughout the season as Vought’s enforcer and also their most marketable and
valuable hero. To the public, he is perfection,
but we all have front row seats that show him taking down a government official’s
plane, letting a plane full of people crash into the ocean, and spiraling into the
insanity of a god-complex.
Second of The Seven is “The Deep,” who you can pretty
much think of as Aquaman, if Aquaman was a serial harasser of women (so, like
Great Value Aquaman). His storyline is
actually the catalyst that leads Annie January aka the newest member of The
Seven (Third of our members if you’re keeping track), known as Starlight,
to rebel against The Seven (more on that later).
Fourth is Queen Maeve, basically Wonder Woman if Wonder
Woman had lost herself and the whole point of being a superhero. Through the season we see Maeve in this
constant battle to be a good hero or just continue doing the selfish deeds her
group and Vought has demanded.
The Fifth of our super degenerates is Translucent whose
skin is both as hard as diamonds and can turn invisible. However, to be
completely invisible, no clothes are required and as Starlight states “Translucent
has boundary issues”.
Sixth is Black Noir who has no speaking lines throughout
the show and whose costume looks something akin to Spiderman: Far from Home’s “The
Night Monkey” attire.
Last, but not least is our Seventh “hero” otherwise
known as the world’s fastest man, A-Train, basically The Flash if he was hopped
up on steroids. I left A-Train last on
our list because he can be thought of the main antagonist of this story since
his brutal collision with Robin Ward sets off the events where The Seven become
the hunted by “The Boys”.
Now, “The Boys” are led by Billy Butcher, who throughout the
season we’re led to believe is on a mission of vengeance against Homelander for
the rape and murder of his wife, Becca.
His background is somewhat left to the imagination throughout the series,
but we learn in the later episodes that he was CIA trained to bring down Homelander
and has now made it his mission to rid the world of “supes”. Billy, in his own words, realizes that just
like The Spice Girls, individually he sucks, but with a group…he’d be
unstoppable. This leads him to our next
protagonist, Hughie Campbell whose girlfriend was the aforementioned Robin
Ward. Hughie is the shy tech geek who is
a non-confrontational character at the beginning of the show, but we watch him become an essential
part of the group with his ability to hack into apartment cameras, pulling the
trigger on the pipe bomb that was shoved up Translucent’s ass (also the first
kill on The Seven), and wooing Starlight.
Next up is the one who happened to figure out this weakness against
Translucent, Frenchie. Frenchie, with
over 30 different aliases, is Butcher’s main go to when he needs munitions
made, bunkers infiltrated, or the like, but who can never stick to the plan. However,
he befriends another super who had been locked in a Chinese, drug den/basement,
Kimiko. The last member of “The Boys” is Mother’s Milk who you can think of as
Butcher’s right-hand man, that continually wants out, but is always pulled back
into the mix/sh*t of Butcher’s gravity.
“The Boys” continually are the thorns in the sides of “The Seven” as they uncover the secret to the heroes’ powers, which is the substance known as Compound-V (who many of the “supes” also abuse, including A-Train). They figure out that no heroes crash landed onto earth or were just born with their gifts. No, Vought approached parents of newborns, offering them the chance to make sure that their little bundle of joy would have a special life, a super one. From there, these children’s veins were pumped full of Compound-V. Not only that, Vought was also creating super villains by going to war torn nations on America’s terrorist watch lists and giving the compound to those children in order to create an image where their “heroes” would be necessities on the battlefield. Unfortunately, these revelations are too little, too late as a bill allowing “The Seven” into the military passes through Congress.
So, if you’ve read this far, I’ll let know where “The Boys”
are left at the end of this great season.
Butcher, going basically on a suicide mission, has his whole plan to hit
at Homelander’s weakness, Madelyn Stillwell, basically…umm…torched. Madelyn, strapped into a vest with enough C-4
to level Jersey, has her face melted inward (it’s pretty gruesome, no lie) by
Homelander who had become jealous of the attention that was taken from him and
given to her newborn, Teddy. Now, Butcher
seeing that he now had no bargaining chip, lifts his finger and detonates the
vest. The next scene we see Butcher
waking up, unharmed, on a lush, green lawn with Homelander right there wishing
him a good morning. Who happens to own
this lawn? None other than the thought-deceased
Becca Butcher who walks out of the house with her son, the apparent love child
of her and Homelander…DRAMA ALERT.
Hughie, Frenchie, and Mother’s Milk make it out somewhat all
intact after a rescue mission to save Kimiko with Starlight making her decision
to be one of the good one’s and protecting the four from A-Train who, in a
large dose of karma, has a heart attack while trying to murder/maim
Hughie. Hughie then shows his
compassion, performing CPR on A-Train and Starlight then taking over telling
Hughie he must leave before any others of The Seven find him.
So, yeah…colossal cliff hangers. I guess it’s a good thing the show got
renewed for a Season Two before Season One even dropped.
In my opinion, if you’re a lover of comics and comic book movies (specifically DC and The Watchmen), then this is a must watch. This show can be thought of as a sandwich of amazing ideas. The two slices of bread, one being the imagery we saw in Batman V Superman, where Batman, just a human with no special powers, watches Superman’s collateral damage in the act of “saving” the city and the other slice being from The Watchmen where heroes begin thinking that they’re actual gods and humans are beneath them. In between these slices is great visuals, dialogue, acting, and a story where it’s not just your typical superhero black and white, but all kinds of shades of gray. Also, with the first season only being 8 episodes, it never seems to drag like other shows with 12 or 13 episodes. It’s also a story of the underdogs who ban together to stop a seemingly unstoppable force. Who doesn’t enjoy a good underdog story? Anyways, I give this series a solid 9.5 out of 10. (The only reason I took off half a point is because Haley Joel Osment’s appearance made me realize how old I really am. Dope beard though). Let us know what you thought of the first season of “The Boys”. YoungYoda out.