Talking Peter Cannon with Kieron Gillen

When we reviewed the first issue of Dynamite Comis' take on PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT, we were taken aback by what we read. Was this a WATCHMEN derivative? Did Kieron Gillen think people wouldn't catch on? By the end of that issue, it became clear that things were muddier than we thought (if that makes sense), and the second issue had us hooked. This was something different, something that was far more metacomic than it was supehero adventure.

When the fifth and final issue came out, we were certain that the whole thing was a reaction to what WATCHMEN had brought us, and how it had changed the industry.


Watching Without Feminism Goggles, Captain Marvel Actually Fun Superhero Flick

Captain Marvel BD

CAPTAIN MARVEL was, perhaps, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe film to come with pre-release baggage. The marketing machine started things off by signalling how much of a milestone it was that this was the first Marvel film to have a female lead, as though that were a reason to watch the film. Then lead actress Brie Larson began making disparaging comments about the opinions of white male critics. There was simply too much pre-movie commentary that came off as "You will enjoy this movie for the reasons we tell you, or else you're a bad person."

That was before the film hit the theatrical circuit, where I did not see it. More time has passed now, and viewing CAPTAIN MARVEL on Blu-ray is my first exposure to the film. And with the hype and anti-hype simmered down, I could actually sit down and watch this without being told that I have to have a feminist mindset, or that there's a politically subtextual nuance to every comment, or that Brie Larson doesn't smile enough.


Batman vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Fun Action Flick with Anime Sensibilities

Batman vs TMNT Blu-ray

When high tech thefts occur in Gotham City, pulled off by stealthy ninjas, eyewitness accounts place a team of metahumans at the scene of the crime; "lizard men" Batgirl (RACHEL BLOOM) calls them. But these are not lizards. They are a quartet of terrapins, previously exposed just over a decade ago, to a DNA-altering substance that changed them into anthropomorphic creatures who were trained from an early age in the ancient Japanese martial arts. Yes, they are Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and they've come to Gotham City from New York hot on the trail of the evil Shredder and his minions, the Foot Clan.


Thunderbolt Claps Back at Watchmen in Final Issue

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt 5

PETER CANNON, THUNDERBOLT wraps up its story arc with this fifth issue, whereupon the titular character takes on the titular character. It's Peter Cannon vs. Peter Cannon, but really it's more Charleston Thunderbolt takes on Watchmen's Ozymandias. But there's more going on here than simple homage from Kieron Gilen and Caspar Wijngaard.


Capes, Cowls, and Coming Out: History of the Batwoman

Batwoman from then to now

When the superheroes became popular, lo many decades ago, an attempt was made to draw in more readers by adding characters that would be (or so the theory went) relateable to girls. There was already Wonder Woman, Phantom Lady, and others, but none of them had quite the popularity of a Superman or a Batman.

And so the quick-and-easy path seemed to be to create female versions of these characters. It was a hit-or-miss process, with more misses than hits. In the Superman comics, a Superwoman was introduced in Action Comics #60 in 1943. She was easily forgotten (although has resurfaced in one incarnation or another over the years), and largely eclipsed when sixteen years later Kara Zor-El made her debut as Supergirl in the pages of Action Comics #252.


Golden Age Gets Brassy with Heroes at Large

Heroes at Large 2

So many comic book superheroes passed into the public domain that they have become golden again -- golden for independent publishers that is, who are free to use these characters to tell their stories. They're at the heart of Dynamite Comics PROJECT: SUPERPOWERS series, and have shown up in other various series.


Future Shock as Legion Villains Battle the Justice League

Justice League vs Fatal Five

Just when I was getting used to the idea that every DC Animated Universe release was going to be a continuation of the New 52 paradigm, they throw us a curveball and give us another chapter in JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED -- and a most welcome one at that!

The voice acting trinity of Kevin Conroy, Susan Eisenberg, and George Newbern return as Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman, with Kevin Michael Richardson joining the team as Mr. Terrific and Daniela Bobadilla as potential League recruit, Miss Martian.


Long Live the King: Aquaman Comes to Blu-ray and DVD

Aquaman on Bluray

When the Marvel Cinematic Universe was being birthed, there were labor pains. How could they have a successful franchise, when their top selling titles -- Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, and X-Men -- were already franchised out to other production houses?

It's hard to imagine it now (and for longtime comic boom fans, it was even hard to imagine it then), but at the time all this was going down, Iron Man, Hulk and Captain America were not top-tier characters for the House of Ideas. There was literally nowhere to go but up with these guys, and so that's where they went.


Insomniac's Spider-Man Swings Into Position for Best Game of 2018

Spider-Man PS4 Best Game of 2018 from Insomniac

As with prior years, 2018 was a wide-open field of new electronic and online games, and our readers let us know their favorites. Of particular interest this year was the inclusion of some old-school games given new twists -- tabletop and board games, which, while never excluded before, made their presence known well enough that we can safely say that rolling dice and drawing cards is going to continue to be as much of a favorite pastime as pressing buttons.


Who Watches Peter Cannon? Peter Cannon Does, in Thunderbolt #2

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt #2 Dynamite Comics review

When I first reviewed PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT #1, I went over the relationship the character has to WATCHMEN, and how the premiere of this series not only paid homage to that series but also absorbed it into its own story. Too brazen and in-your-face to be called a rip-off, Kieron Gillen and Caspar Wijngaard gleefully took the keys from Alan Moore, jumped in, and peeled out for a joyride in his jet-black Magickmobile.


Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Selected as Critical Blast Best Movie of 2018

Spiderverse Best of 2018

Every year, Critical Blast asks its readers to tell us what they believe are the best of the best in entertainment -- movies, television, books, and comics. Readers are presented with a list of potential nominees, with the ability to write-in their own favorites. The idea is, it's all fan-driven.

And this year, when we asked our readers to tell us what they felt the best movie of 2018 was, we had a number of responses. AQUAMAN, BLACK PANTHER, and AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR all put in strong showings.

But it was another superhero who beat them all out -- even if he needed an army of himself from across multiple parallel dimensions.

With a sizeable 28% of all votes, the Best Film of 2018, as decided by the readers of Critical Blast, goes to the Marvel Entertainment animated feature, SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE.


Dole Alliance with Captain Marvel Commemorates Female Superheroes in Food, Health and Wellness

Bananas Over Captain Marvel

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.  (Feb. 18, 2019) — While Carol Danvers fights to save Earth from a galactic battle as Captain Marvel, Dole is celebrating other female superheroes for their battles waged a bit closer to home.

Powering the Hero Within” (#DoleHero) is a 10-week empowered-living alliance between Dole and Marvel’s Captain Marvel inspired by Danvers’ dramatic transformation into the title character of the much-anticipated March 8 release. Taking its cue from Danvers, Dole is acknowledging influential women in food, health and wellness plus female-focused nonprofit groups working toward a healthier, more heroic world. 


Wonder Twins Debut Less Than Wonderful

Wonder Twins 1

The latest in the Wonder Comics imprint from DC Comics is WONDER TWINS #1, taking the memorable teen sidekicks from the SUPER FRIENDS television show and bringing them into...well, not the mainstream DC continuity, at least as far as we can tell so far. If anyone can correct us on that count, we'd be happy to hear it. But for now, it seems that, at least WONDER TWINS, exists in its own little side-continuity of a parodic DCU.

Let's dig into the book by Mark Russell and Stephen Byrne and see what's behind those covers--and determine if it's anything more than the controversial Pon Farr scene that we were treated to in the previews.


Happy Valentine's Day from Our February Bombshell, Batgirlio!

Feb 2019 Bombshell Batgirlio

If Spring is when our thoughts and fancies are supposed to take a turn for the romantic, then why is Valentine's Day right smack dab in the middle of wintry February? Oh, who cares, when you have some gorgeous cosplay that's hot enough to melt the snow from your sidewalk?

So we're cutting out paper hearts, gluing on glitter and beads, writing rhymes in our fanciest cursive with red markers, and slipping this special Valentine into your decorated mailbox for all your little love notes and cards -- as we happily present to you, our readers, the...


Critical Blast Bombshell, February 2019



Heroes in Crisis, Readers in Remorse

Heroes in Crisis 5

We've reached the exact midway point of Tom King and Clay Mann's murder mystery series, HEROES IN CRISIS, and things are adding up less and less.

We start with the cover, which shows the case file for the murder of Jason Todd. Except he's alive as the Red Hood. We've gone over that whole thing before when Batman gave his confession at Sanctuary about so many of his partners dying when they're all alive and kicking.

Add to this the polluting of past heroes during their Sanctuary confessions, some unbelievable confrontations, a major revelation that's actually more of a plot hole than anything else, and HEROES IN CRISIS begins to shape up into one beautiful mess.

Key points in this issue include:

  • Batgirl lying to Batman (unconvincingly) and getting away with it.
  • Booster Gold getting the drop on The Flash.
  • Superman giving a longer speech than the one that got cut from SUPERMAN IV.

Here, take a look for yourselves:


Catching Up: The Flash Episode 512, "Memorabilia"

Flash Memorabilia

With this episode, we finally delve deeper into the mystery of why Nora Allen (JESSICA PARKER KENNEDY) is visiting from the future -- and it's not just because she wants to capture Cicada (CHRIS KLEIN). She's taking direction from none other than Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash (TOM CAVANAGH), to change history.

Of course, stopping Cicada is part of that, and the hope is that they can appeal to him to stop his meta-killing crusade if they can resolve the core of his motivations: his comatose niece, Grace (ISLIE HIRVONEN). To awaken her, the team utilizes a memory machine from another Earth, brought over by Sherloque Wells (also CAVANAGH), that will allow them to enter Grace's memories. But when Nora learns that it will also allow her father to potentially see her own memories, she decides to go in early, and alone, becoming trapped in Grace's mind.


Reign of the Supermen Weaker Follow-Up to Death of Superman

Reign of the Supermen Blu Ray DVD

With THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN, the DC Animated Universe gave us a story that was emotionally impacting, as it developed the budding romance between Superman (JERRY O'CONNELL) and Lois Lane (REBECCA ROMIJN), with the Man of Steel having recently revealed to her his secret identity of Clark Kent. And then, Doomsday came, the battle was joined, and Superman was dead.

Or was he? Because the cliffhanger ending left us with a stolen body and an empty tomb.


Jesus Christ: Super...Hero?

Second Coming

As the 1980s were drawing to a close, DC Comics mature imprint, Vertigo, had a series called SWAMP THING. Rick Veitch was writing it, and his story arc had the plant elemental on a journey backward through time, having him wind up in historically important events to the DC timeline.

SWAMP THING #88 was intended to be "Morning of the Magician," which would have placed Swamp Thing at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. DC pulled the plug on the issue and Veitch walked away. While there was nothing seemingly blasphemous about Christ's appearance in the story, DC was shy of the controversy, since they had a SWAMP THING television series in development.

They've apparently gotten over their shyness, because now Vertigo is releasing what is intended to be a six-issue miniseries, SECOND COMING,


Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt is a Total Ripoff of Watchmen -- and That's Cool!

Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt

Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt, was one of the set of Charlton characters used as the basis for DC Comics' WATCHMEN series. Doctor Manhattan was supposed to be Captain Atom. Nite Owl was supposed to be Blue Beetle. Rorschach was supposed to be The Question. Comedian was supposed to be Peacemaker. Silk Spectre, Nightshade. And Ozymandias, the smartest man in the world, was supposed to be Peter Cannon.

So going into the comic book, PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT #1, from Dynamite Comics (and Kieron Gillen and Caspar Wijngaard), there's a natural bias to thinking, "This character reminds me of Ozymandias."

In fact, there are three phases the reader will go through when reading this comic:

1. Gee, this is kind of derivative of WATCHMEN.

2. Oh for crying out loud, they're just ripping off WATCHMEN.


What do we mean by that? Watch and see...


Catching Up: The Flash Episode 510, "The Flash & The Furious"

Flash 510

THE FLASH has been having some really great episodes in this fifth season.

"The Flash & The Furious" is not one of them.

This mid-season premiere introduces us to the Silver Ghost (GABRIELLE WALSH), whose meta-tech ability is...a key fob that controls any car. She's a car thief.

And when she steals a Lamborghini while Barry Allen (GRANT GUSTIN) is supposed to testify in court as a CSI for the trial of the Weather Witch (REINA HARDESTY), he gets paged to deal with it as The Flash.

Let's reiterate: a CAR is stolen, and because it's faster than a standard issue police cruiser, S.T.A.R. Labs thinks it's important enough to buzz in a pair of superheroes.

What next? Shining the Batsignal in response to a stickup? Firing up Jimmy Olsen's signal watch for a kitten in a tree?


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