Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Battlestar Galactica—Faith

The Upshot From The Sci-Fi Channel: The cancer stricken President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) and the hot-headed pilot Kara Thrace/Starbuck(Katee Sackhoff) each must make difficult leaps of faith in order to accept an uneasy alliance with the Cylons.

Well when FanBoyWonder and the rest of the viewerhood left the happy crew of the Demetrious, Helo (Tahmoh Penikett) had just instigated a mutiny against Capt. Starbuck, who had seemed to do her level best to invite the crew to rebel against her.

It doesn’t take long for pandemonium to ensue on the bridge before Samuel T. Anders (Michael Trucco) defends his wife’s command and seeks to prevent Lt. Gaeta (Alessandro Juliani) from initiating a FTL jump back to the fleet by shooting him in the leg.

The situation that had spun out of control so quickly shocks everyone back to their senses as everyone rallies to give Gaeta first aid. In that moment, Starbuck finds her reason again and proposes to Helo to take a raptor to the Cylon baseship.

It’s a good plan—but hey Sunshine…too bad you couldn’t dream that one up BEFORE our boy Felix got knee-capped.

So Starbuck with Anders propose to take the Cylon Leoben/Number Two (Callum Keith Rennie)back to the baseship and Starbuck asks Athena, the reengage Cylon Number Eight (as well as Helo’s wife--Grace Park) to come along as resident Cylon expert.

There is an ugly moment where Sellix (Jennifer Halley) gladly agrees that Athena should go with Starbuck’s group into the Cylon’s den—“hell ya, let Cylon go” and in that moment we see that after everything Athena has done and for all of her unflinching loyalty, the rebel Cylon is still not fully seen as one of the fleet by everyone.

Also tagging along is Jean Barolay (Alisen Down) whom we honestly didn’t recognize—in part due to her shorter hair cut but now after having looked her up realizes she was a member of Sam Anders resistance cell both on Caprica and on New Caprica.

Yet as soon as we saw her board the Raptor, our Spider Sense/Star Trek Red Shirt detector went off.

With the jump clock started at 15 hours and 07 minutes, Starbuck’s away team has exactly that long to find the Cylons, find the clue to Earth and get back before Helo jumps the Demetrius back to their must NOT miss redhead with the fleet.

Starbuck’s raptor jumps to find the single surviving baseship adrift amid the wreckage of a terrible battle between the Cylons. The scene matches Kara's visions exactly. After a dangerous brush with leftover ordnance in the battlefield, Kara's team boards the baseship. There, the Eights/Sharons greet their rebel sister Athena while Anders (the secret Cylon who is one of the Final Five) conceals his secret fascination with being on-board the Cylon baseship.

The Cylon Number Six model called Natalie (Tricia Helfer) reluctantly accepts the conditions of the human-Cylon alliance that Leoben proposes: Kara will visit the ship's hybrid while the Cylons use the Raptor's systems to supplement their damaged F.T.L. drive. The deal is threatened but not destroyed when old hostilities flare up between Barolay and another Six in a confrontation.

Apparently Barolay killed this Six model on New Caprica in a particularly grisly way—drown her in a septic tank—and apparently she couldn’t get over being killed by Barolay even after she downloaded into a new body. So after a couple swift whacks to the head by Six, Barolay drops dead.

Secret Cylon or not, Barolay’s death at Six’s hands enrages Anders and he puts a gun to her head ready to exact vengeance. Starbuck for her part seems eager to let Barolay’s death slide so as to not endanger her chance to see the Cylon baseship hybrid and her chance for the answer she seeks.

Finally, Natalie pulls the Anders’ trigger finger, killing the other Six and without a Resurrection Ship near by, Six is dead forever. An eye for an eye—the truce is maintained.

Just as an aside, what the frak is it with the hot warrior chicks getting killed? This weak Barolay, last week Gunny Mathias????? And don’t get us started again on the death of Callie Tyrol. We say again….what the frak????

Kara finally visits the hybrid, but the words of the mysterious being sound like nonsense. Soon, the hybrid must be taken offline to complete the interface between the baseship and the Raptor, but when the Cylons attempt to do this, a Centurion, acting as if the hybrid is under attack, shoots an Eight/ Sharon.

As the Eight lies dying, the hybrid begins to prophesy, suggesting not only that the final five Cylons may know about Earth but also that Kara is "the harbinger of death." Time is running out to rendezvous with the Galactica, but no one in the room is thinking about that as the ramifications of the hybrid's prophecy hang in the air.

Of course, we heard this same prophesy during the BSG Razor movie and even with time to chew on it, we still can’t make sense with it.

In the end, just as Demetrius is about to jump back to the fleet, the Basestar, led by the Raptor’s jump navigation system, appears much to Helo’s relief. Wait until Admiral Adama (Edward James Olmos) sees the big fish they caught.

Meanwhile, back among the fleet, a fully bald Laura Roslin endures diloxin (their version of chemotherapy) in the Galactica's infirmary, she meets another patient, Emily Kowalski (Nana Visitor—Major/Col. Kira Nerys of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), who is near death. Roslin is dismayed that Emily relies on Gaius Baltar's (James Callis’) radio broadcasts of his sermons for comfort.

Emily reveals that she never liked Baltar before, but now wonders if he is divinely inspired because his sermons echo a visionary dream she experienced. In this dream, as she journeyed across a beautiful river to join the spirits of her lost family, she sensed a caring presence that she calls God. Emily is no mindless zealot, but rather a smart, compassionate woman who has found faith despite a terrible situation.

The chemistry between Visitor and McDonnell is amazing. These two veteran actors were truly in the zone with this scene.

Roslin opens up to Emily, confessing her own fears about dying. The women's budding friendship is cut short by Emily's death, but the encounter has clearly changed Roslin.

As she visits Admiral Adama in his quarters, she shares her experience with him and he confesses that he didn’t believe at all in Earth—that he had just used the legend of Earth as a carrot to keep the fleet going after the attacks but it was Roslin and her faith that in turn gave him the faith to believe in Earth.

We really love these two together. Even if they have never consummated their relationship (which we think they did on New Caprica), Adama and Roslin share an intimacy that was hard fought for and well earned and as deep as the ocean and it’s about the sweetest thing we’ve ever seen on television.

Aw Frak…Laura Roslin can’t die. Cancer be damned. So say we all.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

FanBoyWonder Comic Book Spotlight—The Huntress: Year One

Greetings sports fans. FanBoyWonder finds ourself in our usual place of late—behind the eight-ball. We are behind with our review of last Friday’s Battlestar Galactica as well as our promised review of the Iron Man movie with our best pal Kemosabe.

The truth is we had a medical emergency in the family and have been occupied with that until now. Not to worry as we strive to return to “normalcy” and hope for the best as we deal with recovery in the long term.

Anyway, we wish to spotlight what we see as a promising new five-issue mini-series from DC Comics that’s hitting stores Wednesday—The Huntress: Year One.

Here’s the Upshot From DC Comics: As the last survivor of a family eliminated by bloody rivalries among the mobs of Gotham, young Helena Bertinelli was sent overseas for her own safety — but began a quest for vengeance instead. Breakout writer Ivory Madison teams with Cliff Richards for a continent-spanning story that reveals one woman's journey from hunted to Huntress!

The Huntress has always been a sentimental favorite to us but it was the Helena Wayne character, not Helena Bertinelli that captured our imagination all those years ago when FanBoyWonder was a wee-laddie.

Here’s the quick lowdown for the uniformed: The Huntress as we knew her was created and introduced by Justice Society of America writer Paul Levitz in the late 70s. Huntress was the daughter of Batman and Catwoman of Earth-2 and she was a product of both their legacies.

Along with Power Girl, Huntress was a fresh, female face among the old timers of the JSA and a fan favorite (at least among this fan) during the annual Justice Society/Justice League crossovers during the late 70s and mid-80s.

In 1985, the Helena Wayne’s Huntress was killed during the CRISIS on Infinite Earths then her entire existence as Batman’s daughter was retroactively erased from existence in the new post-CRISIS continuity.

Following the CRISIS, DC caught to reinvent the Huntress with an entirely new origin as orphaned mafia princess Helena Bertinelli ,but to us, her re-introduction was poorly handled and we never warmed to this new character with a familiar name whom we considered a pretender.

Even as we never warmed to her, we didn’t like how Huntress Bertinelli never seemed to get any respect—especially from Batman—as the “black sheep” of the Bat-family.

It wasn't until Gail Simone got hold of the character in Birds of Prey that the character really took hold with us.

Enter comics newcomer writer Ivory Madison who has assumed the ambitious task of giving Helena Bertinelli the proper (re)introduction that she was denied two decades ago.

"Helena has very strong moral values, believes in honor, and is a loner. She’s principled, smart, and truly—truly—independent. She carries the pain and loss of her family with her at all times, and wants to destroy the mob with an epic vengeance. She doesn’t fit in. That’s the problem. She doesn’t fit in with the mob, she doesn’t fit in with Batman, she doesn’t fit in with anyone,” Madison told Newsarama in a recent interview.

I attempted to capture the essential nature of Helena’s personality by showing readers the crucial moments in her early life, the moments that made her who she is. We have all the exciting Year One stuff: how she got the name Huntress, how she got her costume, why she returned to Gotham from Italy, who really matters to her in her life, and how she realized she was capable of being a hero,” added Madison.

Madison’s enthusiasm has spread to us and we’re eager to give this mini-series chance.

The Huntress: Year One, $2.99, Issue #1 on sale Wednesday (May 14), Issue #2 on sale May 28.

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