Thursday, June 19, 2008

Final Crisis Management—(Another) Artistic SNAFU

FanBoyWonder has made no secret of our skepticism in dealing with DC Comics’ latest big “event” Final Crisis by big deal “rock star” comics writer Grant Morrison.

Our skepticism comes from both the fact that DC’s other recent event, Infinite Crisis, was a storytelling failure of the worst order and that DC has failed more often than not since Infinite Crisis.

Besides despite a few impressive works, taken as a whole Grant Morrison has been a hit or miss performer with us—more often missing than hitting.

Frankly, we weren’t expecting much going into Final Crisis and having read the first issue, we further lowered our already diminished expectations. We deduced that if the story was going to make any sense at all, it would come together in the later issues so for the time being, the series would have to be carried on the strength of the art by J.G. Jones.

Jones’ art in that first issue was impressive, although it seemed to lose some artistic steam in the middle pages.

So despite our skepticism, we were floored when we read the story in Pacheo Joins JG Jones on Final Crisis.”

Some eagle-eyed Newsarama writer picked out this little nugget in the September previews, discovering that Carlos Pacheco will be joining J.G. Jones on the art chores for Final Crisis #4 and will apparently be working together with Jones on art for the remaining issues.

Newsarama quoted DCU Executive Editor Dan DiDio who explained that the move is being made to keep the miniseries on schedule.

Following the break in the schedule and beginning with issue #4, Carlos Pacheco will be joining JG Jones and handling a portion of the art chores on the Final Crisis mini series. We feel that Carlos, whose work on Justice League of America #21 stood out amongst the events leading up to Final Crisis, is an excellent addition to the team and his style will nicely complement the tone and feel JG Jones has set for this series.”

Prior to this, representatives from DC have stated that Jones was maintaining his schedule on the series, according to Newsarama.

If we were feeling charitable, we would see that this was a damned if they do, damned if they don’t situation for DC—stick with Jones solo on art and go late or bring in artistic back up and remain on schedule.

But we’re NOT feeling charitable, so WTF??? This series has been in the pipeline for a year and Morrison himself has said that scripts were in the can well into Countdown to Final Crisis. So what’s the deal?

What absolutely killed Infinite Crisis—besides a rambling story no direction and less soul, was that IC primary artists Phil Jimenez and Andy Lanning could never came close to carrying the book themselves and had to rely on a veritable committee of illustrators, including original CRISIS on Infinite Earths artist George Perez.

We should not that back in the day, Perez—with inkers Dick Giordano and later Jerry Ordway—penciled the entire 12-issue CRISIS by himself with each issue on time.

And now word has come down that the Final Crisis artist can’t hack it on schedule—as promised.

Heroes Die. Legends Live Forever” We’ll tell you what else lives forever—the stink of an over-hyped, under-delivered “event.” Final Crisis indeed!

FanBoyWonder Welcomes Home Our Wonder Kids

FanBoyWonder would like to take a quick moment to proudly announce the return of our granddaughter Brianna The Girl Wonder to our humble home, along with her new baby brother T.J. the Wonder Lad—7 months old—as well as their parents, Laurinda the step-daughter and Kenny the son-in-law.

The Wonder Kids are with us for an extended visit as they look to relocate and get on their feet. Despite some cramped quarters, it’s good to have our family back.

It’s been a long two years since Brianna first left with hard words spoken back and forth between mother and grandparents but we’re all coming at things with a different outlook and we’re determined to make the best of it looking forward.

Meanwhile our little girl has grown up and is a very beautiful 7-years-old. T.J. the Wonder Lad remains in good health at 7 months old following his emergency heart surgery just days after his pre-mature birth. He has amazing curious eyes and we look forward to getting to know him better.

Welcome home kids!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Battlestar Galactica—Revelations

The Upshot From Sci-Fi Channel: After taking President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell), Gaius Baltar (James Callis) and a handful of colonials hostage, the Cylon Number Three/D’Anna (Lucy Lawless) pressures Admiral William Adama (Edward James Olmos) and Acting President Lee Adama (Jamie Bamber) to allow the Final Five Cylons to join the Cylon fleet.

Like many BSG fans, FanBoyWonder was blown away following the events of Revelations, as it was a satisfying mid-season finale that both requires time for us to digest all of the implications while also has us wanting more.

But alas this was the last original BSG on Sci-Fi for all of 2008 with the remainder of the Battlestar Galactica’s fourth and final season to air January 2009 at the earliest.

Aboard the rebel Cylon baseship, we see that D’Anna has wasted no time completely filling the leadership vacuum created with the shooting death of the Cylon Natalie Six (Tricia Helfer) aboard Galactica by Athena (Grace Park).

D’Anna announces that Rebel Cylons will hold the Colonials hostage until the four of the Final Five are safely aboard the baseship. Interestingly, D’Anna pointedly refuses to answer questions about the fifth of the Final Five—a little something for next year.

D’Anna allows Admiral Adama to leave with her on the raptor to Galactica but Roslin along with the other Colonials must stay. As Adama and Roslin embrace, she tells him to forget them and blow up the baseship rather than allow the Final Four to point the Cylons to Earth.

When Adama and D’Anna arrive on Galactica’s hanger deck, they explain the deal and she spies the Secret Four Cylons—Col. Tigh (Michael Hogan) Tory Foster (Rekha Sharma), Samuel T. Anders (Michael Trucco) and Specialist Tyrol (Aaron Douglas).

Cryptically, D’Anna says that she is already in contact with the Secret Four and all that the Adamas—both the Admiral and the (acting) President—need to do is NOT interfere with any traffic the baseship to allow the four to return “home.”

Tory immediately volunteers to go back with D’Anna to “help” her boss President Roslin and Tigh forcefully objects and D’Anna sees where Tigh stands.

As Galactica works to hatch a rescue plan, the Admiral defers the final call to his son the President and President Adama concludes that President Roslin is correct—the hostages must be rescued but not at the expense of allowing the Cylons to find Earth.

Meet the Cylons

Tory—the one of all of the Secret Four who has most enthusiastically embraced her Cylon origins--is pleased to meet her long lost cousins and she wastes no time kissing off her old boss Laura Roslin.

Her antipathy toward Roslin, not to mention her cold-blooded “airlocking” of Tyrol’s wife Callie via, has really soured us toward Tory and drained any sympathy for Tory. Frak her!

Speaking of airlocking, the situation escalates quickly after D’Anna executes a hostage and threatens to send one colonial out the airlock every quarter hour unless the other three Secret Cylons report to the baseship forthwith.

Things get even weirder when the Secret Four start hearing the Cylon head music again and three of them (Tory remained aboard the baseship but heard it nonetheless) are drawn to Starbuck’s (Katee Sackhoff’s) Viper—the one she was flying following her return from the dead and the one that she said she flew to Earth.

Tyrol says there is something about the Viper that has changed, and Anders suggests they get Starbuck. Tigh agrees, then walks out and proceeds directly to Adama’s quarters.

Tigh confesses that he has known that he is a Cylon since the Ionian nebula—just like Boomer (Grace Park), the switch went off. Adama expresses doubt and can't believe that man he’s known for 30 years is a Cylon.

Adama asks the questions the viewers are asking—A Cylon that ages? Couldn’t he have been brainwashed on New Caprica? Tigh replies that he knows what he is but he also knows that D’Anna will back down if Adama threatens to flush him—one of the Final Five—out an airlock.

As marines take away the now former XO in chains, it’s jarring to watch the slow motion unraveling of William Adama right in front of us.

With the daily pressures of protecting the remainder of the human race, with the woman he loves who is dying cancer now being held hostage by the enemy and now learning that his best friend in the universe is now and always has been the enemy, Adama doesn’t just break—he shatters.

Tigh’s revelation was worse than even the two bullets he took from Boomer when she “switched on.”

It’s oddly touching watching the son cradle his broken father telling him it’s going to all right. Watching Lee be the strong one for William who declares he can’t kill Tigh. Lee promises to take care of it.

Tigh’s look of stunned incredulity after President Adama decks him and after he asks Lee “Where’s the old man?” and Lee answers “Right where you left him” was priceless. Even after confessing it and saying it aloud to Adama, Tigh still can’t quite believe that he’s a Cylon—that he’s NOT one of them.

As an aside, we liked the Lee Adama that we saw here. President Adama was in control and knew what he was about from the start as opposed to the Commander Adama we saw in BSG: Razor where he was unsure and allowed the Old Man to countermand his orders.

Whether they believe it or not, Tigh still believes he’s a Colonial Officer and there are colonials in danger on that baseship so he not just volunteers himself into that airlock but he gives up Anders and Tyrol.

As marines drag away Tyrol and Anders, Anders tells Starbuck—his stunned wife—that there’s something different about the viper and to look for it.

The standoff gets more tense as President Adama informs D’Anna that he has Tigh, Tyrol and Anders and they each get airlocked SHE doesn’t stand down.

With Lee just about to push the button—Tigh to his credit asks him what he’s waiting for…do it! And Starbuck comes in the nick of time saying the Cylons just gave them Earth.

Starbuck’s viper has picked up an emergency Colonial wireless signal—the only ship in the fleet that picks it up and it MUST be a signal from Earth. President Adama shares this with the Cylons.

They agree to a truce and President Adama grants the not-so-secret Cylon Four an amnesty and D’Anna releases the hostages.

Admiral Adama returns to uniform—buoyed greatly by the return of Laura Roslin and he decides—HE decides, no more buck passing here—that they have to “roll the hard six” and all jump to the coordinates, jump to Earth now before the alliance falls apart again.

The entire Fleet - now including the rebel baseship - successfully jumps. Lt. Gaeta (Alessandro Juliani) the one-legged wonder announces that the constellations match (from the star chart on Kobol we assume). The Fleet has jumped into orbit of a blue/white planet - Earth.

The crew is euphoric and Adama says it all in his fleet wide speech:

"Crew of Galactica. People of the fleet. This is Admiral Adama. Three years ago I promised to lead you to a new home. We've endured a difficult journey, we've all lost, we've all suffered, and the truth is I questioned whether this day would ever come. But today our journey is at an end. We have arrived, at Earth."

Even if we didn’t know that this was the MID-season finale, this is Battlestar Galactica. No happy endings here.

As a detachment of ships, Cylon and Colonial like, fly to the surface, we next see Adama’s hand digging into the soil with a Geiger counter clicking. It’s radioactive.

The camera slowly pulls back to see the stunned faces of the whole crew as they are standing on a river bank near the ruins of a city—not immediately recognizable—which was apparently destroyed long ago.

“Earth” says Roslin in flat disbelief.

What the hell do they do now? That’s un-uttered question on everyone’s mind before the screen fades to black.

Okay—Here’s FanBoyWonder’s theory based on nothing more than our gut and clues from the episode.


What makes us say this? It’s all circumstantial evidence so here goes.

When the fleet jumped to the planet, the “camera angle” showed a blue planet partly covered in total darkness with the sunny side obscured by cloud cover. Earth-LIKE to be sure but the episode does not go out of its way to show viewers that it IS Earth.

Contrast that to the last seconds of Crossroads Part 2 from last season where Earth and the North American continent is clearly visible for the viewer to see.

If not Earth—what is it? We think that this planet could be Terra. For those of us old enough to remember the original BSG, the Colonials found a planet and a civilization of humans called Terrans.

They were remarkably similar to Earthers but it was later proved NOT to be Earth.

Note, the devastated city that the Colonials (and the viewer) saw could have perhaps resembled New York City but there were no definitive recognizable signs of NYC or of Earth for that matter (no half-buried Statue of Liberty for example).

This could instead be yet another “lost colony” of Kobol that was founded and was destroyed a long time ago.

Want to prove us wrong? We won’t know for sure until sometime in 2009. Aw Frak!

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