Monday, January 23, 2017

Countdown to Countdown, Part II

I feel like most of this stuff doesn't play out in Countdown
Better buy every DC Comic to make sure
We've reached the second and final part of the Countdown pre-blog. If you haven't yet be sure to check out Part I. I'll wait.

There are a lot of characters in Countdown and we follow a lot of plot lines, much like in 52. While looking at every single character that is important in this book would not only be hard to write and hard to read but it would also spoil important plots that I’m not willing to do. (“Yet”, I should say. Trust me; I’ll be spoiling the hell out of this series once we get to the reviews).

However there are certain key characters that I think would be helpful for someone reading my review to have passing knowledge of and know what they were up too leading up to the series. For example, the average person reading this may not know who Kyle Rayner is, that Donna Troy is one of DC’s most complicated characters or that Superman was once Jimmy Olsen’s abusive father.

Superman: "Your love and admiration disgusts me, Jimmy."
Okay, that last one isn’t really all that important, but still…never forget.
Important character notes after the jump.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Countdown to Countdown, Part I

Don't worry; most of this foreshadowing leads nowhere
Today Beta is Dead turns seven years old! Just typing that out made me feel depressed suddenly…

Anyway, I recently moved to a new place and during the process a certain stack of comics came back into my possession, despite me having lost access to them nearly six years earlier; I found every single issue of DC Comic’s Countdown to Final Crisis. This is my least favorite goddamn comic of all time and I’m going to review the hell out of it! Yes, I dislike it more than Spider-Man: One More Day, not because OMD is better (it sure as shit isn’t) but that story only spat in the face of one character’s mythos whereas Countdown took a dump on a huge chunk of the DC Universe. Plus, even though I hate it, OMD did result in many long lasting and (eventual) positive changes to the Spider-Man comics whereas every change and storyline point in Countdown was either retconned (retcon, short for "retroactive continuity"), forgotten or straight up ignored within a MONTH of the series’ end despite months of hype.

 So what is Countdown to Final Crisis? Well, it was a comic book limited series that ran weekly for an entire year beginning in 2007. It was the spiritual successor to the extremely well received 52, another year long comic that took place directly after the events of the big DC crossover Infinite Crisis and ran in real time, instead of the rolling time line most superhero comics adhere to (52 was also the first appearance of the new Batwoman, who I believe was the best new comic creation of the 2000s). The great success of 52 led Dan DiDio, then head honcho of DC Comics, to commission another such series. However, despite the critical success of 52 DiDio supposedly wasn’t a fan of it and opted for the new series to be a “superior” version of the comic. For context, this is the same guy who opted to wipe Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown out of existence and then get upset at fans at conventions who questioned the decision at Q&A sessions at comic conventions. Anyway, though it’s not immediately clear in the beginning it would turn out that Countdown was the lead-up to DC’s next big crossover event, Final Crisis.

 I think I’ll save my exact issues with the comic itself for the review, which will be split into several parts. For today I want to look at the lead-in to Countdown, as this book has a lot of baggage that the Average Joe would need to know before they could possibly understand it (but don’t get it twisted; this comic won’t make any sense no matter what). So this is sort of a “Countdown to Countdown to Final Crisis.”

The Countdown begins after the jump.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Beta's Top Ten Favorite Movies of 2016

I’ve managed to put together another Top Ten Movie list but before I get to that I want to quickly talk about the the current state of Beta is Dead. I have plans to start posting regularly again, though what ultimately turns out to be “regularly” I cannot at this time assume. That said I have plans for the beginning of a new series of blogs starting January 14th (to coincide with the anniversary of the blog) which I have been planning for a while as well as the annual Black Superhero Month in February. We’ll see how it goes; best laid plans and all that.

Alright, enough of that jibber jabber. 2016 was not a great year and as far as movies went there were probably more disappointments than winners. That said there were still plenty of good films out there all year round, so much so that I actually had a hard time figuring out which movie would make the list. For example the likes of Deadpool and Star Trek Beyond just barely didn’t make the list. And, as always, I’m just one man with a full time job so my ability to see every movie in theaters was severely limited and as a result I missed a lot of flicks that acquired critical buzz. Moonlight, Jackie, Fences and others all alluded me this year and therefore weren’t considered. Loud sigh.

My ten personal favorite movies of the year after the jump.