Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

The Wyatt Family Unites, and Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Thoughts From WWE Raw:

The Wyatt Family destroys John Cena in a 3-on-1 handicap match. This week’s main event was really strong. By putting the fans in control of the main event, the WWE got to almost gauge their support for both Cena and the Wyatts. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Bray once this program with Cena blows over. Clearly the fans are warming up to them. Is it too soon to make Bray Wyatt a bizarre and non-traditional hero figure, akin to the likes of The Undertaker, Kane, Mankind, or Goldust? Or do we put him back with Daniel Bryan in the near future, and have him try his hand at a main event program?

I’m very curious as to how the creative process works for Bray Wyatt’s promos. How much does he come up with, and how much does creative come up with? How much is ad-libbed, and how much is scripted? I’m always curious about that kind of stuff, but his are especially interesting in that respect, as they’re so articulate.

Daniel Bryan appears on Raw, mere hours after his father passes away. Obviously WWE wrote around him this week, keeping him off the mic and writing him out of the show in the very first segment. Kudos to WWE for making the right decision. As a fan, I extend my condolences to Bryan, and my gratitude for being willing to come out on television despite the terrible circumstances.

Rob Van Dam def. Cesaro. I’m surprised to see RVD advance over Cesaro in the tournament to decide a number one contender for the Intercontinental Championship. Cesaro would have been a great choice, but he’s obviously got unfinished business with Jack Swagger. Hopefully, this feud will help decide whether Cesaro is indeed a heel, or the babyface that the fans want him to be. I maintain that if he’s a face, the alliance with Paul Heyman doesn’t make sense.

Bad News Barrett def. Sheamus. Along those same lines, it’s very interesting to see Bad News Barrett pick up a win over Sheamus. Sheamus has proven himself as someone who can consistently play a role in delivering some really good matches, and tonight was no exception. To his credit, Barrett has taken a persona that could have been a disaster, and made it work. The fans are into him, and that might bode well for him in the next couple of weeks.

“Rybaxel” joins the announce position during a match. Good Lord. Who the hell gave these guys headsets? One of them has no personality, and one of them has about half a brain. I’ll give Curtis Axel credit for at least trying to put his team over, though. What was that story Ryback told about his dad serving Mr. Perfect and Razor Ramon at a bar? What the hell has that got to do with anything?

Evolution and The Shield trade verbal barbs. The only gripe I have with this segment is with The Shield’s half. Ambrose kicked things off well, as one might expect. Reigns brought things to a nice, concise point. But Rollins seemed to lose his focus and get carried away. His part of the promo seemed to go about 30 seconds to a minute longer than it should have. Still, while this program doesn’t do any favors for Daniel Bryan’s main event profile, I can’t deny I’m interested to see this match at Extreme Rules.

Cody Rhodes pushes Goldust away after they lose to The Usos. THERE we go. That’s what I want to see. Plant the seed. Cody’s the heel, Dustin’s the face. Let’s do this!

El Torito pins Drew McIntyre in a six-man tag match. You know, I was actually mildly amused by the Hornswoggle vs. El Torito stuff. But ouch. So much for “The Chosen One.”

Mark Henry takes center stage in a promo for Slam CityIf only he’d been that dominant against Brock Lesnar…

Images from wwe.com.

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A Ghostbusters, Vol. 7 Review – Sinterklaas is Coming to Town

TITLE: Ghostbusters, Vol. 7
AUTHOR: Erik Burnham
PENCILLERS: Dan Schoening, Burnham, Felipe Torrent, Erik Evensen
COLLECTS: Ghostbusters #9-12
FORMAT: Softcover
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
PRICE: $17.99
RELEASE DATE: April 9, 2014

(Need to catch up on IDW’s Ghostbusters? Check out volumes One, Two, Three, Four, Five, and Six.)

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

First and foremost, R.I.P. Harold Ramis. Never forget, Ghostheads, never forget.

Normally, it’s difficult for me to get into holiday-themed comic books or TV shows. For instance, there’s a wonderful episode of Justice League called “Comfort and Joy,” which takes place during the holiday season. I can never bring myself to watch it because something feels off about watching a holiday episode in, say, April. In this case, however, I’ll take whatever excuse I can get to see Erik Burnham and Dan Schoening do more Ghostbusters. And that’s exactly what they give us with Happy Horror Days!

This book sees the boys (and girls) in gray go to work on Halloween, El Dia de Los Muertos (the Day of the Dead), the Sinterklaas celebration (more on that in a bit), and New Years Eve. Most of the cases involve children in one way or another. But how are they connected? And is it all leading to something terrible on the horizon…?

As a life-long Ghosthead, this series remains an absolute joy. Burnham’s writing is as close to the tone of the movies as we’ve ever seen from a Ghostbusters comic, Dan Schoening gives us delightful cartoony likenesses of the actors, set in a world that seems to be a hybrid of the movies, The Real Ghostbusters, and ’80s culture in general. There are so many little Easter eggs in these issues it’s almost impossible to spot them all in one sitting. But if you go to Ghostbusters.wikia.com, and look up the individual issues, they actually go panel-by-panel for you. For instance, in this book alone you’ll find a ghost based on Bill Murray’s Caddyshack character, a quick look at Laura Summer, the voice of Janine from the first two seasons of The Real Ghostbusters, and a litany of other RGB references. It’s an honest-to-God treasure hunt for children of the ’80s.

Vol. 7 sees Mel character come back to the team as a Ghostbuster/FBI liaison, and we see quite a bit of her in this book. I continue to have trouble getting into her character. To yours truly, she still comes off like a stand-in for Dana Scully. One would think the more time we spend with her, the less that would be the case. But she still seems very vanilla. I appreciated her being placed in a Day of the Dead story, as it texturizes her a bit differently than the other characters. But simply put, I just don’t find her very interesting. I’ve recently wondered if that’s because, unlike most of the other characters, we’ve never seen Mel in the movies or on a cartoon. But by that logic, Ron Alexander would be a boring character by comparison, and that’s certainly not the case. It’s unfortunate, as there’s certainly nothing wrong with injecting a bit more femininity into the Ghostbusters.

The creative highlight of the book is issue #11, in which Peter, Egon, and Mel investigate a haunting by Sinterklaas, the mythical figure whose legend helped inspire the creation of Santa Claus. Like Santa, Sinterklaas leaves gifts for good children. But he also punishes the bad ones, fairly severely in some cases. Hearing Egon get picky about how it’s not Santa Claus, it’s Sinterklaas,” is amusing. But what really makes it special is what Venkman does when he comes face to face with the spectral Sinterklaas, who has a small child in his grasp. He maintains his trademark Venkman snark and wit. But the scene also illustrates that deep down, under all the scheming and womanizing, he has a kind heart. It’s a fantastic character moment.

This book also plants some seeds for Mass Hysteria, the big story IDW is doing to commemorate the 3oth anniversary of Ghostbusters. These occur in the main story, as well as the various back-ups Burnham does with various artists. Particularly notable is the debut of Eduardo, who fans may recognize from the Extreme Ghostbusters cartoon. Like Kylie, he helps out at Ray’s book store. But this book sees him sucked back into ancient Mesopotamia, to deliver a message to the Ghostbusters from an entity called Tiamat. Google that word. It’ll give you some interesting insight into what Burnham, Schoening, and the gang are planning.

In issue #12, we see the Chicago Ghostbusters run into a familiar face: Alyssa Milano’s character from Ghostbusters: The Video Game, Dr. Alyssa Selwyn. Dr. Selwyn has brought the “World of Gozer” exhibit to the Windy City, and as one might expect, things go bad. Erik Evensen’s art isn’t done any favors when it’s put next to Schoening’s work. But all in all, it’s nice that they connected the Chicago team to Mass Hysteria that way, and incorporated a familiar character in the process.

Ghostbusters, Vol. 7 is less fulfilling than its predecessors (as I said, I’m not a fan of holiday episodes). But by the standards Burnham and Schoening have set, that’s still more satisfying than a great many other books you’ll find on the stands. But it does give the reader a sense that something big, and not-to-be-missed is coming. And again, based on Burnham and Schoening’s reputation, I’m inclined to believe it.

RATING: 7/10

Front page image and image 1 from comicvine.com. Image 2 from uwstout.edu. 

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