Thursday, March 30, 2017

Geektified's review of Spider-Man:Homecoming Trailer #2

By Jim Scroggs
March 29, 2017
JHScroggs on Twitter and Instagram

The last time we saw Peter Parker, he was trying to deal with high school and trying to be the best superhero he could be. Even Tony Stark was able to get him a new suit but it seems like things have taken a bit of a serious turn for our favorite wall crawler so let’s swing (see what I did there) into what our friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man has to offer in this second and possibly final trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming.

The trailer starts with Peter running across a New York city street into an alley to put on his suit. I like how when the suit is off, it’s really loose not that spandex material we’ve all been used to but there’s a little bit more footage of how the suit forms to Peter once the spider emblem is pressed, which is really cool. He swings through the streets and greets some on lookers in that typical Spider-Man fashion. Peter’s talking to Tony in the back of Tony’s car and Peter’s got a lot of questions, mainly about how to become an Avenger. Tony pushes back and says “ Can’t you just be a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man?” as Peter webs across trees, onto a roof and into a pool party. Tony then suggests “Just stay close to the ground” The same sequence of Ned Leeds finding out that Peter is in fact “The Spider-Man” follows. Peter and Ned are in science lab and Ned is peppering him with questions like “Can you summon Spiders?”, “Do you know him?” as they watch a Captain America fitness challenge video in gym class, which is just as campy as it sounds but it’s awesome to see. Peter, of course, mentions that he stole Cap’s shield to Ned and his final question is one we all have asked and that’s “Can I try on the suit?” We do see Ned Leeds in the mask for a brief second, which is a fun moment.

The tone changes when the voice of Adrian Toomes, played by Michael Keaton is talking about how people like Tony Stark “The rich and the powerful, they don’t care about us”. Someone's also holding the front plate of the Iron Man helmet. Based on the info that John Watts mentioned on Vulture's story, that's probably the helmet that Hulk ripped off in Avengers and the company that Toomes is involved in, picked it up after the battle. There’s an extended section of the scene with Donald Glover and I think,  The Tinkerer, shooting a weapon near a bridge and Toomes goes on to say” Times are changing, boys. It’s time we change, too” A quick shot of the Vulture suit is shown along with some other shots that has already been shown in the previous trailer. There’s a new section that takes place on a Ferry with Spider-Man encountering some bad guys saying “The illegal weapons ferry was at 2:30. You missed it” as he takes those guys out and one in a no look web shot, which sticks the last guy to the wall. The Vulture is shown with a similar weapon as the Tinkerer but flying through the ferry and splitting it in half. Spider-Man quickly swings to the impact point to try to hold the ferry together, which is a great shot but this is where I first noticed a possible unfinished CGI shot where it looked a little too animated.  I’m not a trained GFX artist by any means but I hope they can clean that up. Spider-Man is holding on for dear life but Iron Man is there to help keep the ferry together.

There’s another tonal shift here where Tony scolds Peter for being reckless. He asks “What if someone had died?” and Peter said that he “wanted to be like you”. Tony says “ I wanted you to be better” and he demands the suit back. Peter is devastated saying he’s “Nothing without this suit” This is where I think we get the MCU version of the great power speech. Tony then says “If you’re nothing without this suit, then you shouldn’t have it”  We all know Ben Parker has already passed so Tony is Peter’s father figure now and it just makes sense that this is how Peter needs to be taught a lesson.

From here on out, a majority of the Spider-Man shots are in his prototype costume from Civil War so I really think Peter will have to rely on his brain and instinct. Aunt May tells Peter “You need to stop carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders” and Adrian Toomes is telling Peter that he would do anything to protect his family. Obviously, Peter feels like he needs to protect Aunt May and his friends which is one of the best traits about him. At this same time, we see the Vulture suit lower down onto him so that means the suit is probably remote controlled as well. There’s a shot of Shocker fighting Peter and sends him through a bus and that leads to what could be the final battle between Spider-Man and Vulture in an abandoned warehouse (I’m glad to see that concept hasn’t gone away) and it looks like Coney Island where Vulture grabs Peter by his metal claws and lifts him up with his wings. It’s a really powerful image if I’m being completely honest. The last leg of the trailer has Adrian's line of “Don’t mess with me or I will kill everyone you love” shows shots of Aunt May and Peter kissing Liz Allen. That’s followed by an explosion at the Washington Monument, Zendaya’s character saying “My friends are up there”, a possible look a Spider tracer, a web trying to stop an elevator from falling, Peter saying “I gotta do this on my own” and that leads to a battle of The Vulture and Spider-Man on a plane at say 30,000 feet. It ends with Tony telling him to not to do anything stupid and that immediately cuts to Spider-Man trying to steer a plane with a web that as a busted engine. Tony says “Alright? ” Peter answers with a “Yeah”

This trailer didn’t really wow me at first but like any fan, I’m going to watch it multiple times over. I don’t know why it took so long to click (probably my multiple jobs and everything else in my life)  but this is what I’ve wanted to see in a Spider-Man movie since Spider-Man 2. There’s plenty of action but there are some real stakes that are involved like can Peter find the confidence to take out an adversary like Vulture when he feels like he’s behind the eight ball,  how can he juggle the two lives he leads as a teenager that’s also a superhero, What’s his relationship with Tony going to be like and what new things will we discover in this new pocket of the MCU? I’ll still be there opening night, probably in my Spider-Man shirt but I hope this is the final trailer for a film I’ve waited 2 years for.

Spider-Man:Homecoming hit's theaters on July 6, 2017

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Comic Book Review: The Hellblazer #8, "The Smokeless Fire, Pt.2"

By: Jerry Montgomery
March 26, 2017

The Hellblazer #8
“The Smokeless Fire, Pt. 2”

Written by: Simon Oliver
Art by: Phillip Tan

The roadtrip (yawn) continues in issue 8 of The Hellblazer as Constantine and Mercury are in Paris France.  It picks up from last issue when Constantine was arrested by the French Police for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Seems like falling out a dead man’s window will do that. Anyway…

In Part 1 of “The Smokeless Fire” story arc, Constantine and Mercury arrive in Paris,  in search of a man by the name of Jacque Henry, who it has been said, met a Djinn (Yeah,  we’re still on that!) as a young boy while on expedition with his Dad in Arabia in 1936.  As it turns out, they’re not the only ones looking for him. A gang of Parisian thieves cross paths with Jacque Henry and while thinking he’s just a crazy old man, they also think he may have some money laying around. Enter inside man Dante, whose job it is to case the houses he does work for and then report back to the gang. As chance would have it, Dante has done work for the old man. So, the gang sets out to rob Jacque and this time with Dante along for the ride. Its time he push mad weight within the group. They race by on their motorcycles,  past Constantine and Mercury on the way to Jacque’s house. Mercury senses where they are going and the chase is on but how can you expect a chain smoking, three pack a day habit to keep up?

Needless to say, the gang busts into Jacque Henry’s house and demand his valuables. Jacque hurls off a few insults and makes Dante pretty mad to the point that he’s going to shoot him for talking that smack! Instead, in the excitement,  Jacque Henry suffers a fatal heart attack. Before he dies, he instructs Dante where to find his journal. At this point, Constantine busts in, ax in hand (ax?) But is fended off by a hail of bullets fired his way, allowing Dante and the gang to escape. Constantine follows Dante out the window and onto the roof but slips and tumbles into the bushes a few stories down. When he comes to, the drawn guns of the French Police are in Constantine’s face. That’s where we find ourselves now.

Issue 8 and Part 2 of “The Smokeless Fire” picks up at police headquarters with Constantine’s interrogation by a couple of French detectives and gets thrown in jail. Mercury,  consulting her “Genie in a broom closet .”, Adnan,  before bailing Constantine out, receives some surprising news from him.  While processing out of the slammer, Constantine spies a weeping woman claiming to be Jacque’s daughter. Constantine instantly recognizes her as an old mystic acquaintance from years back. He and Mercury follow her back to the dead man’s home and confront the imposter. It seems Constantine has the penchant for pissing off just about everyone he’s ever known and this woman is no exception, yet they are able to come to an uneasy deal between them. At first, Constantine is unsure what he’s looking for but through magic, Dante’s missing shoe (He lost it in his hurried escape!), and some good old fashioned trickery, he is able to learn that Jacque’s desert journal is what people are dying to get. The issue ends with Constantine and company in pursuit of Dante’s flying shoe (Don’t ask, just read it.).

The Verdict: Well, I have to say there hasn’t been much hellblazing in The Hellblazer. This story line has been going on for so long, I’ve forgotten why they’re ever in Paris. Writer Simon Oliver has scripted this story so far as one unending journey with little payoff. I’ve likened his story telling to if I asked Simon what time is it, he’d tell me how to build a watch. Artist, Phillip Tan can’t save the story either with his scribbly, inconsistent renderings of Constantine and Mercury.  He’s said that he was inspired by Alan Moore and John Totleben’s  run on Swamp Thing for his work here. I just don’t see it. Moore wrote some unsettling, horrific stories while John Totleban’s pencils bordered on crap- your-pants scary at times. Tan’s efforts fall way below the mark, looking more suited to a childrens book. The Hellblazer may well do better under DC’s Vertigo or Young Animals imprints to really do it justice. Imprints that would allow it to be what it should...edgy, r-rated, cerebral and worthy of the first Vertigo run, especially issues 1-9. So, you’ll have to read this barnburner to stay up to date with the story and hope that the point of it all will soon be revealed.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The SmackDown Files: WWE Presents - The Art of Throwing Shade II Starring John Cena (3-28-2017)

By: Keila Cash

Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live emanated from the Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia. Richmond was the final stop on the Road to WrestleMania. This is the final hard sell for the biggest show of the year. It’s time to put up or shut up time when it comes to putting the finishing touches on the Mania card. Did WWE leave fans wanting more or did they make the annual wrestling extravaganza feel less must-see? The answer to that question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of SD Live in no particular order.

·        Shane McMahon and AJ Styles signed their names on the dotted line to make their match at WrestleMania official. The promo exchange between McMahon and Styles was pretty paint-by-the-numbers, but the segment accomplished its goal by putting over the fact that their bout is a traditional wrestling match. There won’t be any smoke and mirrors to cover up Shane’s shortcomings as an in-ring performer. Styles is the best wrestler on the planet and it should be interesting to see if he can carry his boss to a good match at WM. It’s a tall order, but we shall see how it all plays out.

·        Becky Lynch vs. Carmella ended via disqualification when Mickie James’ brawl with Alexa Bliss spilled over into the ring. James attacked Carmella which caused the referee to call for the bell. James nailed Bliss with the Mick Kick while Lynch laid out Carmella with an Exploder Suplex.

·        The match between Lynch and Carmella wasn’t very good as it was sloppy in spots. Carmella is still green as a wrestler and that inexperience was on full display tonight.

·        Things got better when Lynch and James teamed up against Bliss and Carmella in an impromptu tag team. The action flowed much better, but the match still ended in controversy when Natalya tried to attack Lynch. Lynch cut her off at the pass, but the distraction allowed James Ellsworth to trip her which led to Carmella picking up the win with a roll-up.

·        Things got more chaotic when the heels attacked the babyfaces until a returning Naomi ran out to make the save. Naomi took out Natalya with a Hurricanrana on the entrance ramp followed by nailing Bliss with a forearm.

·        Naomi delivered a series of running kicks to Carmella before laying out Bliss with The Rearview.

·        Naomi announced that she will be a part of the SmackDown Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania as the segment came to a close.

·        I’m glad that Naomi has been medically cleared to compete in the Women’s Title match at WM. It was touch and go for a bit, but Naomi will be representing her hometown of Orlando at the biggest show of the year. WWE has a longstanding edict of wrestlers losing high profile matches in their hometown. Let’s hope Naomi doesn’t suffer a similar fate on Sunday.

·        Miz TV was another scorcher as The Miz and Maryse continued their Total Bellas parody. It was hysterical as they mocked John Cena’s house rules once again. The dinner scene featuring The Bella Twins, Daniel Bryan, and Cena was outstanding along with “Brie” and “Bryan’s” facial expressions during “Nikki’s” proposal to “Cena”.

·        However, things took a serious turn when Cena turned down Nikki’s proposal. He gave her the cold shoulder by saying he was only using her as a prop in order to make himself look good. Cena hustles the people in order to get ahead, he’s only loyal to himself, and he only respects the money his bank account.

·        Miz and Maryse ripped off their wigs and got dead serious when they warned John and Nikki that their world would come crashing down at WrestleMania. According to Miz, Cena had Hollywood to fall back on, but he was still a lumbering idiot. Maryse rubbed salt in the wound by saying that Nikki’s appearance at the Kids’ Choice Awards is the closest she’ll ever get to having children of her own.

·        John Cena and Nikki Bella made their way to the ring to respond to the Total Bellas “Finale.” Cena enjoyed the skit, but the fun and games came to a halt when he destroyed Miz and Maryse on the mic.

·        Cena put Maryse on blast for collecting a paycheck and taking up space while her female counterparts took care of business between the ropes by actually lacing up their boots to compete on a nightly basis.

·        He put her career in the proverbial trash heap by saying if fans searched for Maryse’s Greatest Moments on the WWE Network, it would turn up 0 results. Cena twisted the knife even further by stating that the only reason Maryse was back in WWE was because Miz begged the company to let her back in. By doing this, he was able to join the cast of Total Divas as well.  

·        Cena proceeded to put their marriage on blast by saying that Miz has followed in his footsteps by taking time away from the ring in order to shoot movies. However, Miz is only doing bootleg versions of movies Cena has already starred in.

·        Things got even deeper when Cena flipped Maryse’s claim about him and Nikki not having kids on its head. Miz and Maryse have been married for about three years and they still don’t have kids. Cena accused Miz of shooting blanks as the crowd oohed and ahhed after that epic burn.

·        Cena warned Miz about bringing a knife to a gunfight and goaded the A-Lister to punch him in the face. He encouraged Maryse to slap the taste out of her mouth but warned her if she made one move that Nikki would knock the Botox from her cheeks. Cena proceeded to call Miz a P**** before as the crowd continued to go off.

·        Maryse and Miz walked away as Nikki warned them that they were going to get their asses kicked at WrestleMania as the segment came to a close.

·        This was a mind blowing segment from start to finish. The Total Bellas Parody was awesome, but Cena read Miz and Maryse for filth with his promo. He was a surgeon general who carved up his victims from head to toe. It was a masterful performance that had the crowd hyped throughout.

·        This was a money WrestleMania segment in every sense of the word. The match is unconventional but it has exceeded expectations in terms of storytelling, heat, and shade. Cena has to propose to Nikki at WM because WWE is laying it on pretty thick with the proposal fake outs as of late. It’s the perfect fairytale ending to kick off season seven of Total Divas. If not, Miz and Maryse might come out of this feud feeling vindicated despite getting ethered by Cena tonight.

·        American Alpha, Heath Slayer & Rhyno, and Mojo Rawley defeated The Usos, Breezango, and Dolph Ziggler when Rawley nailed Tyler Breeze with a charging forearm in the corner for the win. The match started off a bit slow, but things picked up down the stretch as both teams did a parade of finishes that popped the crowd.

·        Rhyno goring Breeze was pretty sweet while Ziggler nailed Slater with a sick Superkick to keep the nonstop action going. This was a nice way to hype the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania. Sadly, The Usos won’t be defending their SmackDown Tag Team Titles at the PPV. I guess there wasn’t room on the card to accommodate the new Tag Team Champs in a meaningful way. L

·        Bray Wyatt defeated Luke Harper in a solid main event match. Harper’s revamped look suits him perfectly as he looks more clean cut and trim as of late. He was rocking the mini man bun like a champ as well. Harper and Wyatt worked hard and had a physical match that had great crowd heat throughout.  

·        However, Harper lost focus when Wyatt gazed into his eyes for a disturbingly long period of time. Harper broke the stare down and tried to nail his former brother with a Discus Clothesline, but Wyatt countered with Sister Abigail for the win.

·        After the match was over, Randy Orton taunted Wyatt on the TitanTron. Orton returned to the burned down shack and drove a staff into Sister Abigail’s burial ground to bring forth the apocalypse at WrestleMania as SD Live went off the air.

·        The ending was a bunch of hocus-pocus nonsense, but it's par for the course at this point. As I mentioned last week, the Orton-Wyatt feud has jumped the shark once again and I can’t wait for it come to a head at WM. The match should be good, but the buildup post-arson has been poor. This was a ho-hum way to end the final SD Live before WrestleMania.

·        Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live was solid. The show had a clear sense of purpose with a few surprises sprinkled in for good measure as the Road to WrestleMania comes to an end.

·        Naomi’s return gave a much-needed boost to Women’s Division heading into WM, but the title match is on the preshow which sucks because Naomi’s entrance would have been pretty cool to watch at night. The match stipulation is still a mystery, but we shall see what WWE has up its sleeve on Sunday.

·        AJ Styles and Shane McMahon having a traditional wrestling match is an odd call. The hardcore stunts were a clear sign that we were heading towards a demolition derby at Mania. The magic 8 ball was wrong in this case and one can only assume that Styles and McMahon will try their best to make this match work despite being confined to the ring. Considering Shane’s age and history of injuries, that might be for the best.

·        The John Cena-Nikki Bella/Miz-Maryse segment was tremendous. Outside of a minor hiccup a few weeks, ago this has been the best feud in WWE outside of Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens. This storyline has been fun to watch and everyone deserves a round of applause for a job well done. The match itself won’t be a barn burner, but it should be entertaining nonetheless.

·        Noticeably absent from tonight’s show was Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin hyping their Intercontinental Championship match at WM. I guess their final hard sell took place last week, but it would’ve been nice to hear from both men one last time. The comedy segment featuring Daniel Bryan and Tyler Breeze cosplaying as Nikki Bella should’ve been left on the cutting room floor in order for the IC Title match to get some last-minute shine.

·        Despite that small quibble, the rest of the show breezed by as SD Live put the final exclamation point on things heading into the biggest show of the year. The blue brand hit a lull for a bit, but the show has come back with a vengeance over the past couple of weeks. The SD Live side of the Mania card is not perfect with the exception of the mixed tag team match, but I expect the wrestlers to show up and show out on Sunday. Move over Disney World, WrestleMania is about to slay the night away. Hopefully…

On that note, this wraps up another edition of The SmackDown Files. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back next week with a brand new installment of The Raw Exposé. See you later, boys and girls! 

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Raw Exposé: Magna Carta Holy Grail - In Search of The Big Red Kryptonite Belt (A Brock Lesnar Story)

By: Keila Cash 

Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The Raw Exposé. Tonight’s episode of Monday Night Raw emanated from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Philly would serve as the backdrop for the final episode of Raw before WrestleMania. It’s the calm before the storm. It’s the next to last exit before hitting the I4 towards Orlando. This long winding road leading up to the biggest show of the year is almost over.

It’s been a so-so build on television, but nothing beats the excitement of WM Week. It’s a celebration of all things professional wrestling leading up to the Granddaddy of them all. Was the WWE Hype Machine in full effect or did it suffer a major breakdown instead? The answer to that pressing question can be found throughout out this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of Raw in no particular order.  

·        The opening segment featuring Bayley, Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Nia Jax was fine, but the dialogue was rough in spots. Charlotte made the most sense by saying that Sasha was using Bayley in order to worm her way back in the Raw Women’s Championship picture. Sasha downplayed Charlotte’s claim by saying that there would be a time when business came before friendship and vowed to win the Women’s Title at WrestleMania.

·        Nia Jax made her way to the ring and chided the other ladies for acting like a bunch of high schoolers trading the belt back and forth like a game of hot potato. Things broke down into a brawl as Michael Cole tossed to commercial break.

·        It should be noted that the Women’s Title bout has been changed to a Fatal Four Way Elimination match. This will allow the action to flow more smoothly which should make the ending a bit more unpredictable. The division has been cold as of late, but the women are talented enough to pull off a good match at WrestleMania if they are given the time to do so. Bayley winning the championship at WM would have served as the perfect coronation, but WWE decided to pull the trigger on free television instead. It’s too late to put the genie back in the bottle and wish for a better result. That only happens in fairy tales produced by Disney. 

·        Bayley and Sasha Banks defeated Charlotte and Nia Jax when Bayley dropped Charlotte with the Bayley-to-Belly. The match was solid as Bayley ended her losing skid heading into Mania. The fans were into the action as well which helped repair some of the damage from the so-so opening segment which caused them to break out in an annoying CM Punk chant.

·        Bayley and Sasha Banks’ celebration was cut short when Nia Jax attacked them from behind. Jax laid out both ladies with the Samoan Drop before wiping out Charlotte with a running body avalanche. Jax picked up the Women’s Title belt as the crowd showered her with boos. This was an effective way to get heat on Jax heading into the Fatal Four Way Elimination match.

·        Sami Zayn will not only be fighting for a spot in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WM, but his career is also on the line when he faces Kevin Owens in a No Disqualification match per the order of Stephanie McMahon. The bastardization of their “Last Match Ever” decree continues, but the match should be great nonetheless. Since the bout is No DQ, expect Owens’ former best friend to make a cameo appearance. *wink, wink*

·        Austin Aries made Noam Dar tap out the Last Chancery after nailing Dar with a wicked Discus Five Arm. This was a nice maintenance win for Aries heading into his Cruiserweight Championship match against Neville at WrestleMania.

·        Seth Rollins signed the Hold Harmless agreement which cleared WWE of all liability in the event Triple H seriously injured Rollins during their Non-Sanctioned Match at WrestleMania.

·        The promo work from HHH and Rollins was good, but the segment didn’t have a lot of heat to it. Hunter talked about how Rollins shouldn’t be ashamed about wanting to live the good life by trying to appease his haters. Rollins countered by saying that his biggest regret was joining Triple H three years ago. He sold a piece of his soul in order to get ahead and it worked for a while. However, Rollins lost his self-respect along the way and decided that he needed to find redemption in order to make things right.

·        After Rollins signed his named on the dotted line, Triple H kicked the table against Rollins’ bad knee.

·        Rollins countered with an enzuigiri and was about to nail The Game with a Pedigree, but Hunter went after the injured knee again.

·        HHH was about to drop Rollins with his finisher, but Rollins moved out of the way and tossed Triple H out of the ring.

·        The Game got back in the ring only for Rollins to whack him with the crutch as Hunter rolled out of the ring to fight another day.

·        I’m glad that Rollins finally grew a conscience, but it’s too late to right all his wrongs six days before WrestleMania. His contrition should’ve taken place seven months ago, but he decided to whine to Stephanie McMahon when he didn’t get his way. Rollins’ de facto babyface run has been lackluster which explains why his feud with Triple H is not tearing down the house from a heat standpoint. Their match at Mania should be very good, but I don’t know if the crowd is going to be invested from an emotional standpoint.

·        The Big Show participated in an over the top rope challenge featuring Jinder Mahal, Bo Dallas, and The Shining Stars. Big Show tossed them over the top rope with ease, but he was ambushed by The Golden Truth and Curtis Axel which allowed the eliminated wrestlers to return the favor by tossing him over the top rope.

·        Big Show delivered choke slams and knockout punches to everyone except for The Golden Truth because they got the hell out of dodge.

·        Braun Strowman came out and threatened to kick Big Show’s ass, but decided to wait until WrestleMania as the perplexing segment came to an end.

·        I think Big Show won the match, but the bell never rang. If this was WWE’s way to kill some time, mission accomplished! In all seriousness, this was a sleepy way to hype the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Outside of Big Show and Strowman, the wrestlers representing Raw are perceived as a bunch of chumps who have no chance at winning the big gold trophy.

·        Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson attacked Sheamus and Cesaro backstage as they sent a clear message that they were ready for their Triple Threat Match for the Raw Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania. The beat down was pretty vicious which plays into Gallows and Anderson’s wheelhouse. If they were booked liked legit badasses on a consistent basis, these ambush attacks would mean so much more in the grand scheme of things.

·        Neville and Jack Gallagher had a solid match as Neville took care of Gentleman Jack with a beautiful superplex from the top rope followed by the Rings of Saturn for the win via submission. Gallagher had a nice moment when he took flight with his umbrella and laid out Neville with a senton. However, the outcome of the match was pretty academic as The King of Cruiserweights took care of business heading into his Cruiserweight Title match against Austin Aries at WM.

·        Roman Reigns talked a big game, but The Undertaker has already dug the plot for his soul heading into their match at WrestleMania. Reigns sounded more heelish than usual by saying he didn’t give a damn about Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, John Cena, and Undertaker’s claim that they were the true Alpha Male in WWE. The ring was his yard and everybody inside the Wells Fargo Arena were in his house.

·        Taker shut down Reigns by telling him that he would Rest in Peace as he magically summoned the sound of thunder before dimming the lights.

·        The segment was short and sweet and didn’t overstay its welcome because Reigns and Taker are not known for being the greatest talkers in the world. Keeping things nice and simple was the way to go in this instance.

·        Big Cass’ Allen Iverson impersonation was pretty good.

·        Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. Anderson and Gallows never got underway because Cesaro and Sheamus attacked the Tag Team Champs from behind with a ladder. However, Gallows and Anderson was the last tea, left standing as they knocked Enzo off the top rope with a ladder. This was a nice way to get out of the match without either team eating a pin 6 days before Mania.

·        The video package hyping Triple H vs. Seth Rollins did more to make me care about their match than their promo exchange from earlier tonight. That’s saying something…

·        Sami Zayn not only saved his career, but he’s going to WrestleMania as he defeated Kevin Owens via a roll-up thanks to an assist from Chris Jericho. Zayn and Owens had a nice match that survived the 10:30 Lull Period of Death as they put on a show for the Philly crowd. The action was hard-hitting throughout as the fans chanted “We Want Tables” down the stretch.

·        Things got interesting when Samoa Joe made his way to the ring. However, Jericho saved the day when he attacked Joe from behind with a steel chair. KO knocked Y2J off the ring apron, but the distraction allowed Zayn to pick up the win.

·        Owens tried to attack Zayn after the match was over, but Jericho made the save by hitting Owens in the back with a steel chair. He shooed his former best friend out of the ring and put him on The List of Jericho heading into their match at WrestleMania. This was a great way to promote Jericho vs. Owens while Joe is on the outside looking in heading into the biggest show of the year. One would think The Destroyer would have a high profile match at Mania, but it looks like he will be Triple’s H heavy instead.

·        Paul Heyman did a masterful job hyping the Universal Championship match featuring Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg at WrestleMania. Heyman respected Goldberg for being a real-life superhero and legit badass, but he was about to take a trip to Suplex City where he checks in as Champ, but he won’t check out as Champ. WrestleMania 33 would mark the death of a Superhero and the beginning of a new era with Lesnar as the new Universal Champion.

·        Goldberg made his way to the main stage and decided to bring some Mania flavor to Philly by running down the ramp and spearing Lesnar onto the floor. Heyman was in absolute shock as Raw went off the air with Goldberg standing tall while his client was licking his wounds from the main stage.

·        This was a great way to end the show. Heyman was awesome on the mic. Goldberg kept things short and sweet by giving fans a taste of what they can expect at WrestleMania when he nailed Lesnar with a wicked spear.

·        Lesnar vs. Goldberg has to last longer than 1:26. If they are going on last, it needs to be an epic battle that grabs the fans’ attention. If this is Goldberg’s last hurrah, he needs to go out in a blaze of glory. A 10-12 minute match would do the trick, but his stamina might hamper things. If he can surpass the five-minute benchmark, everything else should be gravy.

·        It will be interesting to see if Lesnar is going to work extra stiff during the match. The Beast is known for getting a little rough in the ring and I don’t know if Goldberg can withstand the punishment. In any event, the match should be a spectacle with a raucous crowd cheering on Lesnar for the most part. Here’s hoping the match exceeds expectations. Fingers crossed!

·        Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of Monday Night Raw was decent. The in-ring action was a bit better this week, but I thought WWE did a nice job bookending the top of each hour with a money segment hyping the key matches at WrestleMania. The results were mixed, but I thought the Roman Reigns-Undertaker and Brock Lesnar-Goldberg segments did the best job in terms of making WrestleMania feel like a must-see event.

·        The Women’s segment that kicked off the show was okay, but the division has been hampered by the hot potato booking of the Raw Women’s Championship as of late. Bayley is less over since winning the title in Las Vegas last month and the haphazard booking of her character hasn’t helped matters either. Patience is a virtue and I wished the company showed more restraint by letting Charlotte’s PPV winning streak end at WM. It’s too late to re-write history, but the Fatal Four Way Elimination Match featuring Bayley, Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Nia Jax should be good despite the lack of heat heading into the title bout.

·        Triple H and Seth Rollins are in the same boat as their feud has fallen below expectations. This is a match that has been built up for well over a year, but it doesn’t feel like an epic encounter because Rollins’ character has taken a hit in the credibility department in recent months. He came off as a spoiled brat who didn’t get his way until he had an epiphany from the clear blue sky that he was a total jackass during his unholy alliance with Triple H.

·        If Rollins was presented as a likable babyface sooner, he would be more over with the crowd. Sadly, he is playing behind the eight ball heading into his Non-Sanctioned match against HHH at Mania. Let’s hope Rollins has a virtuoso performance without seriously hurting himself.

·        Everything else on the WM card was given some shine, but it will be interesting to see how many of the matches end up on the Kickoff Show. Neville vs. Austin Aries for the Cruiserweight Championship has been bumped to the pre-show. It wouldn’t be surprising to see three more matches suffer the same fate once everything is timed out. We shall see how it all plays out over the next few days.

·        The Road to WrestleMania is almost over. The journey has been bumpy at times, but the final destination should offer some interesting surprises come Sunday. SmackDown Live will put the final exclamation point on things during their go-home show tomorrow night. Let’s hope the blue brand takes care of business heading into the biggest show of the year.

On that note, this wraps up another edition of The Raw Exposé. I hope you enjoyed it and I will back tomorrow night with a brand new installment of The SmackDown Files. See you later, boys and girls! 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Comic Book Review: Action Comics #976, "Superman Reborn, Pt. 4"

By: Jerry Montgomery
March 24, 2017

Action Comics #976
“Superman Reborn,  Part 4”

Written by: Dan Jurgens
Pencils by: Doug Mahnke

Superman isn’t what he used to be. You may not be aware, but there have been two versions of the mighty Kryptonian running around at the same time and neither one is said to be the real Superman. The same being said for Lois Lane. It may have been pretty confusing continuity-wise except for the fact of both New 52 versions of both Supes and Lois both died pretty much in the same manner. That left Rebirth Superman and Lois standing, along with their son, Jon. As long we’re on the subject of someone not being what they used to be, what about Clark Kent? Aren’t he and Superman supposed to be one in the same? Then why is a guy running around Metropolis calling himself Clark Kent and what is the mystery that surrounds him? Is he really who he says he is?

Issue #976 is the conclusion of the “Superman Reborn” story arc, a crossover event spanning between the Action Comics and Superman titles. The story thus far, Clark Kent has been increasingly integrating himself into the lives of Superman,  Lois and their son. Integrating so much, that it bordered on creepy. Then, Jon disappears  into thin air, right in front of Superman’s and Lois’ eyes. Their search takes them to the apartment of Clark Kent, who, is not Clark Kent at all. It turns out to be one of Superman’s most iconic villains, if you can call  him that.  Doing his best impression of Harry Angel/Johnny Favorite from the movie, Angel Heart, Mr. Myxztplk, made himself into Clark Kent and put the whammy on himself to forget who he really was. No longer the 5th dimensional imp, he went about life as the bespectacled,  mild-mannered reporter of the Daily Planet….but why?

Now, what he does, is done in the name of revenge. Kidnapped by the mysterious hooded being known as Mr. Oz, he imprisoned Mr. Myxztplk, citing the reason precautionary. Not for what Mr. Myxztplk has done, but what he could do. He is chaos in the existence of Superman and for that , he is placed in a negative space prison, negating all of his powers. Not to worry though, he believed that Superman was his friend and once he realized that Mr. Myx was missing, he would scour the galaxy to find him…only he never came. Time is immaterial in the negative space, so who knows how long Myx was there?  Angry and hurt, believing that Superman didn’t care about him, he escaped and to hide from Mr. Oz, turned himself into Superman’s alter ego.  Once he began to remember who he was, he put his plan into motion, kidnapping Jonathan and making his parents forget about his existence. Superman is able to defeat Mr. Myxztplk ‘s games and find his son, he just doesn’t remember who he is.

Now, in #976 of Action Comics, the conclusion of Superman Reborn, Superman continues his battle with Myxztplk, still unaware who this young boy is and why Myxztplk took him.  Will and how can Superman defeat a foe with magic powers bent on revenge? Can Lois and Superman remember what they have been made to forget? And who are those two ghostly figures that seem to be haunting this storyline? The issue ends as promised with a closing of the continuity gap left within the DC universe between the New 52, Flashpoint and Rebirth, with a surprising new revelation but also raising new questions for all other characters. all pointing towards the planet Mars. And we all know who resides there…watching…watching. If I am to give any spoilers away, it is only this…the issue ends as did the end of Watchmen #12.

The Verdict: Obviously,  if you’re a fan of Superman or you’ve been following this title,  you cant miss this one! More importantly, there are questions answered as well as raised here concerning the growing mysteries of Rebirth. So, even if you’re not big on Superman, this is no doubt, a must read. It seems that some gaps are being filled concerning the possible new existence of all DC characters. Are they all is store for what has transpired here in Action Comics #976? This is an exciting piece of the puzzle that all began with Batman finding that certain smiley faced button in the wall of the Batcave. I really applaud the writing going on at DC and Dan Jurgens, who are crafting a new mythos to some of their most popular and revered characters. Even if you’re just coming on board to DC titles now, you’re in store for something wonderful, so sit back and enjoy the ride.

Geektified's review of the Justice League trailer

By Jim Scroggs
March 25, 2017
JHScroggs on Twitter and Instagram

         I've certainly been critical of the WB/DC Films in how they've handled their marketing. They released one or two unnecessary trailers for their last films, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad and I was praying that they would get the memo to stop this trend. I think they finally have done that with release of the first official trailer for Justice League. Yes, this is big first step because we got 4 trailers for BVS if you include Comic-Con. With less than 8 months out, this isn' a teaser or a sneak peak that somehow would be 90 seconds long but just a simple official trailer with a good amount of action and plenty of wow moments so lets jump right in, shall we?

         The trailer opens to a snowy, mountain environment, someone attaching a saddle to a horse and riding off. Cut to a flyover shot of icy ranges and voice over of Bruce saying "We need to be ready. You, me, the others. There's an attack coming from far away" We see Bruce at the top of a mountain looking down to a village, presumably where Aquaman/Arthur Curry is. The voice of Diana warns Bruce that the attack is already here.  Dr. Silas Stone is then shown in his home as a Motherbox starts to stir and when they cut back to him for a reaction, you can see a Parademon over his shoulder enter the frame. Diana wants to know where the others are and like classic Bruce fashion, he gives a little smirk.

         The first look at Arthur Curry/Aquaman is him saving a sailor, taking him to a bar and taking a little souvenir of scotch, whiskey or whatever he drinks. Diana introducesk us to Victor Stone describing him as having "Organic and Biomechitronic body parts. A Cyborg" He stops a car from hitting someone and tells him that he should probably move. The first quip of the trailer but I'll get more into that later. We've all seen the first meeting of Barry Allen and Bruce but this has a little more  like Barry running and him being in shock when he realizes that Bruce is Batman. Batman then swings into action against some parademons and quickly gets them out of the way. Diana is heard saying" They said the age of heroes would never come again" as we see quick shots of Flash, Cyborg Wonder Woman, Aquaman and that leads to shots showing off what they can do. Aquaman takes a leap and throws his triton into two parademons, Wonder Woman sweeps the legs of a some random guys, similar to what we've seen in the trailers for her solo film, Cyborg flys into the night sky and Flash is just too fast some someone and pushes something through a door and into a wall. I'm guessing after the Barry meets Bruce scene, both of them are in Bruce's car and Barry asks bruce what his super power is? Bruce's response is "I'm Rich".

         The sounds of Come Together by Gary Clark and Junkie XL is a solid theme for this trailer as Batman flies into a hole, gets into The Night Crawler to help Diana. There are quick shots of Victor Stone playing football, Diana using her gauntlets and shield, Barry using what looks to be the speed force, a shot of Lois Lane, Aquaman using his power of the ocean, a first look at Amber Heard as Mere,  Billy Crudup as Henry Allen in a jail phone call with Barry,  A giant battle scene with what looks to be Amazons, which would be amazing if Diana instills the help of her fellow warriors of Themyscira, the Batmobile trying to blow away more parademons, which Diana helps with and Diana landing between Aquaman and Cyborg ready to do battle with two words: Shall We? The trailer ends with Jim Gordon talking to Batman on a roof top about how it's good to see him working with others again while Wonder Woman looks on. That little line is a big one because that seems like is another reference to past Robin's so maybe this could lead to an appearance from Tim Drake. Aquaman joins in and simply says "Dressed like a Bat. I dig it" Bruce says this could only be temporary and the final shot is of Aquaman giving Batman a head nod and riding the Batmobile in order to take out some parademons. Yes, I will repeat that. Aquaman is riding on top of the Batmobile.

       I've never been one to say that "DC Films should be "serious and gritty" because at the core of most of those characters, they are bright and vibrant. I'm very, very ok with how this looks a tad dark but still has fun to it. Look at how bright the speed force is and even with Wonder Woman's costume, it's not a muted color palette. These characters have different personalities and humor to some extent so of course they will crack a joke or two and that's ok. Barry is a kid, Victor has a bit of a strained relationship with his father, Arthur and Diana are royalty and Bruce, as he put it, is "rich" with Ninja like abilities. That collection shouldn't work but it does. Aquaman stole the show and I really believe he could do the same in the film. I didn't want to see Superman at all and I'm glad that didn't happen. If they want to tease him in the next on, say with a shot of a black suit or long hair, I'm perfectly fine with that because we all know he's going to come back. Hell, Henry Cavil was on set so it's not a huge secret. I really want WB/DC to succeed, put out good films that we can all love and I really think that this is a step in the right direction.

Justice League will hit theaters on November 17, 2017

Justice League Trailer

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Rebels Recap: Star Wars Rebels “Twin Suns”

Welcome back Rebel fans to another exciting recap of Star Wars Rebels, “Twin Suns” which depicts the conclusion of one of my favorite Star Wars characters. This episode is the last one before the season finale which airs today so stay tuned for one epic finale. So, without further a due let’s dive into this recap and from this moment on SPOILER ALERT is in effect for the remainder of the recap you have been warned.

The episode opens with Darth Maul in the deserts of Tatooine wandering around searching for Obi-Wan Kenobi, and he is wasting away and the only thing keeping him afloat is his hatred for Kenobi. So, with no point continuing to wander aimlessly, he devises a plan to call Kenobi out by using Ezra as bait.  The next scene shows Ezra being awoken by a familiar voice coming from Kanan’s room. The Holocrons are calling out to him. First the Jedi Holocron plays a message from Kenobi and then the Sith Holocron has Maul yelling out which leads Ezra to believe Kenobi is in danger.

Once he brings it to Hera and Kanan’s attention they believe it to be a trap and that he should remain here on Chopper Base for preparation to liberate Lothal.  But of course, Ezra disregards the warning because he believes Maul is his responsibility and proceeds to take a ship to Tatooine. Ezra is accompanied by Chopper who sneaks onto the ship to watch out for Ezra.  He uses the Holocrons as a tracker to find Kenobi, but once he lands he is ambushed by Tusken Raiders. The ship is destroyed, and Mauls helps by taking out the Tusken Raiders but keeps hidden from Ezra.

Ezra is now left to wander as Maul did along the deserts of Tatooine. He tells Chopper to find help, but Chopper refuses to leave Ezra alone to the mercy of this unforgiving sandstorm.  So, the two venture out into the storm and eventually Chopper shuts down, and Ezra passes out but not before he sees a glimpse of a figure. That figure being the one only Obi- Wan Kenobi who as rescued both Ezra and Chopper from the storm.

When Ezra comes back to consciousness the first thing, Kenobi says, “You’re in the wrong place, Ezra Bridger.”  As soon as I heard that line spoken two things stood out, the first being the voice which sounded so much like Alec Guinness, and the second was this character is Ben Kenobi and not Obi-Wan Kenobi.  This scene transported me back to New Hope and had to be one of the most satisfying scenes in Star Wars Rebels thus far.


Once Ezra knows it to be Kenobi they are interrupted by Maul and Ezra says he will finish him for he was the one to lead Maul to Kenobi. But Kenobi tells Ezra to go back home and that this is not his fight. Ezra leaves with Chopper and Maul, and Kenobi start to talk, but you know tension are high. When Maul begins to question that being here was not just to hide but to protect something or someone. Kenobi unleashes his lightsaber right away because the secret that we all know must remain secret. So, there is momentary standoff where they were starting intensely at each other before they both attack.  Then rather quickly Kenobi gives the final blow and Maul who then falls into his arms. Interesting fact Maul tried to use the same move that Killed Qui-Gon Jinn on Kenobi.

The battle is over, and the next line of dialogue reveal Maul's final words. Maul ask, “Tell me… is it the chosen one?” Kenobi replies, “He is.” Maul's last words, “He will avenge us.”  It makes me wonder if the one Maul hated could it be the Emperor the one who has been pulling strings since the very beginning. Maul can now rest knowing that the Emperor will meet his end. It has been quite a journey with this character, and I will never forget all his memorable moments especially his introduction in Phantom Menace.

On a lighter note, Ezra returns to Chopper Base and is ready to free Lothal.  The episode ends with Kenobi looking at a familiar homestead and a young Luke Skywalker running home in the distance. Another interesting fact is that Luke and Ezra are the same age give or take a day.  The episode ends on a hopeful note but the season finale which airs today looks very dismal.  The season finale will show the rebellion go up against Grand Admiral Thrawn head on at Chopper base.  So, stay tuned the episode will first air today at 11:00 am on Disney XD Star Wars Rebels, “Zero Hour: Part One & Two.”
Photo Credit: Star,, Disney, Lucasfilm
Created by: Jasmine Yard
Here’s a preview for the next episode of Star Wars Rebels: #Geektified #StarWarsRebels #StarWars #Rebels #Empire #Force #Jedi #Sith #DisneyXD