Saturday, February 04, 2006

Sci-Fi Friday round up--Feb. 3

Stargate SG-1: Ethon

The upshot: Daniel Jackson is held captive on a world under the influence of the Ori, while the Prometheus is caught in a firefight during the rescue attempt.

In a previous episode, SG-1 visited the planet Caledonia, where two rival nation-states were embroiled in a cold war (think U.S. and the Soviets) until it heated up into Armageddon. The episode opens with a Caledonian native from one of the two nation-states come to warn SG-1 of the Ori.

The Ori have sent a Prior to the planet, unleashed its plague to force worship and conversion and given the Soviet-like nation assistance in building a killer, energy blasting satellite. (Think Strategic Defense Initiative/SDI). Jackson goes to Caledonia to negotiate and is captured.

The Prometheus is dispatched to take out the satellite. The satellite’s defense shield holds but the satellite’s energy weapon punches through the Prometheus’ shields given to them by the Asgard. The ship is cut to pieces and the most (but not all the crew) abandons ship.

The team finds a way to destroy the satellite but as Jackson brokers a compromise between the two nations but in the end it doesn’t hold and they destroy each other after all. Not a happy ending and unlike our complaint about last week’s episode, there are consequences—the destruction of the Prometheus.

Stargate Atlantis: The Tower

The upshot: The team finds a world that possesses Ancient defense technology, where Lt. Col Sheppard finds himself a pawn in a rivalry between two heirs to the throne.

What appears to be a world of peasant villagers out of the Middle Ages gets a lot more interesting when the team discovers the ruling family living out of “The Tower” with distinct Atlantian architecture—it turns out a whole city identical to Atlantis is buried underground. The royal family rules the village with an iron fist—the price the peasants pay for the family’s protection from the Wraith—thanks to their possession of the Ancient gene and the remnants of ancient technology.

The Lord Protector is dying and Sheppard, who has the gene, is being groomed/courted to be the next leader. Dr. McKay, the wacky Canadian scientist, finds a way to deplete the city’s ZPM power source—removing the source of the ruling family’s power over the villagers.

It works out for the team as they are able to pick up city’s supply of Puddle Jumpers and defense drones in exchange for medicine and other supplies. It also dangles the plot twist that there is at least one other Atlantis-like city out there.

Battlestar Galactica: Scar

The upshot: The fleet is plagued by a Cylon raider that is picking off Vipers one by one and menacing the fleet with hit and run attacks.

This is a Starbuck episode as Capt. Thrace is mourning the resistance fighter/lover she left behind during her return to Caprica to retrieve the Arrow of Apollo earlier this season. Despite her impassioned pleas to return the fleet to Caprica to rescue survivors, Admiral Adama and President Roslin are unmoved—opting not to risk the last survivors of the human race and rather to continue their quest for Earth.

Even Starbuck realizes the wisdom of the decision but it doesn’t keep her from mourning the loss for the lover who surely must be dead and/or captured by the Cylons by now. As she descends into self-pity and self-destruction, Starbuck is still has a job to do...which is being in charge of the Viper pilots.

While the Battlestar Pegasus is dispatched to protect the colonial fleet, Galactica is an asteroid belt protecting a mining ship as they drill for the metal ore—the raw material needed which will allow the fleet to construct more Vipers and finally start replacing losses. What’s harder to replace are the pilots that are being picked off one-by-one by a Cylon raider they’ve named “Scar.”

As pilots die, Starbuck is slipping. Her subordinate pilot Kat has been nipping at her heels. Cocky and every bit as skilled as Starbuck, Kara Thrace is faced with the mirror image of what she used to be before she was put in charge and before she started slipping.

We find out via Cylon Sharon that Cylon Raiders are not only alive but they can reincarnate when they die just like “human” Cylons—or they could before the Colonials destroyed the Resection ship. The episode tease told us that there was going to be a one-to-one dogfight with Scar and a “nothing-to-lose” Starbuck but she realizes that she has something to live for and she lures Scar into Kat’s gun sights for the kill.

In typical Galactica fashion, there are no easy resolutions at the end of the episodes. Starbuck still has her issues, particularly with Kat, but she’s got hope and something to live for now, not just die for.

Monday, January 30, 2006

FBW’s Comics picks for Feb. 1

The pickings are a bit thin this week but here are a few recommended titles to pick up.

JSA Classified #8

Wildcat and The Original Flash, Jay Garrick, are featured in the companion book to the award-winning JSA.
The upshot: A mysterious figure has gained control of the Spear of Destiny, one of the most dangerous artifacts on earth, and is using it to pit the two founding members of the Justice Society of America against each other!

Given the events of Infinite Crisis #4 and the loss of the Speed Force, we’re not sure when this story is supposed to take place—before IC#4 or if it’s folded into the ongoing continuity-but regardless the JSA is the oldest and the best super-hero team around. Besides, given the Flash-killing mood of DC as evidenced in IC#4, we’re just glad to see Jay Garrick still running around.

Outsiders #33

The upshot: Arsenal's strike force infiltrates a Villain Society operation that's been targeting heroes throughout the DCU — and this one's aimed directly at the Marvel Family!

This issue has two things going for it: Guest writer Jennifer Van Meter, although unfortunately regular writer Judd Winick is slated to return. Second and most important, it features Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel. Plus it’s an Infinite Crisis tie-in.

Rann/Thanagar War: Infinite Crisis Special

The upshot: With the Infinite Crisis in full swing, the Cosmic Storm in the Polaris Galaxy rages out of control, threatening the fate of the entire universe! While the Rannian and Thanagarian flagships each suspect that the other is responsible for the disturbances, Donna Troy must lead her team of space champions into the cosmos in an attempt to prevent total destruction. But as the war rages on, a startling discovery will be uncovered, one hero will be forever changed, and another will make the ultimate sacrifice—at least that's what DC says.

This is a reluctant pick by us. So far, the Rann/Thanagar War—through the pages of the six-issue mini-series of the same name, as well as in recent issues of Hawkman and so far in Infinite Crisis—has been both entertaining and a confused jumbled mess. Here’s hoping this one-shot extra finally sets things straight.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

A special thanks to Brainstorm Comics

A quick thanks to Dan at Brainstorm Comics in Frederick Maryland, for so kindly posting the link to this fine blog.
If this is your first time here, look for regular posts following Friday night Sci-Fi episodes of Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica, plus our DC Comics picks of the week, reviews and Fanboy comentary.
Comments are welcomed and encouraged.
Also, a shout out to FanBoyWonder's Earth-2 counterpart John Micek. He'll be posting a review of DC's Manhunter in the near future.
Charles Wisniowski,
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