I Exist.

A Non-spoiler review of joker

Photo Credit: Collider

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.

Encyclopedia of Super

A Review of Jason Inman’s Super Soldiers

Photo Credit: WorldofBlackHeroes

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.

The Boys (Season 1): A Spoiler Summary & Review

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 the review.

The Seven

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”.

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.

Cliff Hanger

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.

The Verdict

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.