Monday, January 4, 2010


The first part of last Friday's The Clone Wars double feature was "Grievous Intrigue" and it is the second season debut of everyone's favorite asthmatic cyborg general.

In the first season of The Clone Wars familiar characters like Dooku, Grievous, and Ventress were heavily used but it looks like the show's creators have made the wise decision to space out their appearances to avoid weakening their characters. After all, General Grievous becomes a little less effective as a villain if he is beaten by the Jedi week after week. So, in "Grievous Intrigue" the good general makes his first appearance well into the second season and he is back with a vengeance.

Grievous is back.

The Clone Wars has gotten darker in this season and the stakes are higher and the danger is much more real than it was last year and this episode is a great example of that. Much like in the opening of the original Star Wars, Grievous subdues and boards a smaller enemy ship captained by the Jedi General Eeth Koth and his clone troopers. Grievous boards two separate ships in this episode and both times their are some nice visual allusions Darth Vader boarding Princess Leia's Blockade Runner. In the second instance, he does Vader one better and actually cuts through the air lock with four light sabers.

Commando Droids: Less talking, more killing.

While we usually see Grievous surrounded by inept battle droids, it looks like his many complaints to Dooku have paid off and his boarding party consists of Super Battle Droids, Magna Guards, and the deadly Commando Droids. These new Commando Droids were introduced last year and they are the polar opposite of the the chatty and ineffective Battle Droids; they are fast, carry blades and are very good at taking down clones. You know right away that Eeth Koth and his troops are in a lot of trouble.

Eeth Koth: The tales of his demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Koth is captured and tortured by Grevious (he is the third character to be tortured this season, by my count). The general actually sends a hostage hologram to the Jedi Council in which he roughs up the captured Jedi Master. In both this episode and in last season's "Lair of Grievous," the cyborg villain is actually getting a bit of a character makeover and his nastiness is getting more fleshed out than it was in the Revenge of the Sith and in the early episodes of the series. It is strongly implied in these two episodes that his hatred of the Jedi stems from jealousy because, despite all of the enhancements he has undergone, he cannot use the force. Although, he still sounds like Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog.

This is a great starship...for me to poop on!

A team of Jedi including Obi -Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Adi Gallia are dispatched to rescue their comrade, devising an elaborate plan to engage Grievous while a smaller team boards his ship to release the Jedi Master. There is a lot of back and forth in this episode and it is never clear who winning. There is a ton of action and lightsaber battles as Grievous and the Jedi wrestle for control of the situation. Ultimately, the Jedi prevail with the droid general crashing landing on the planet below with a small squadron of droids.

One of the great choices made for this episode was the use of Eeth Koth and Adi Gallia, both of whom were introduced in The Phantom Menace as Jedi Council members but were replaced with doubles in the other prequels (although recycled shots from Menace were still used). However, these look-a-likes, Agen Kolar and Stas Allie, did not really look that much like the original actors so they were given their own names and identities and were said to have replaced the original Jedi. There has never been a really satisfying in-Universe explanation for this.

It is becoming sort of a running joke on The Clone Wars that many of the different races are assigned a random foreign accent: the Nemoidans keep their weird Thai/Japanese inflection, the Twileks speak with a French accent, the lemur people from last season, speak in an Irish dialect, Kit Fisto has a Caribbean lilt to go with his organic dreds, etc. The Clone Wars is becoming Battle for the Planet of the Accents and now Eeth Koth is revealed to have a definite South Asian/Indian accent.

Adi Gallia makes her debut on The Clone Wars.

So, both because these characters have uncertain fates in Star Wars lore and because of George Lucas' penchant for disregarding previously established Expanded Universe continuity when its suits this show's production, these characters could have easily met their deaths in this episode (in fact Eeth Koth was supposed to have died at the beginning). This adds an element of suspense and heightened stakes that is sometimes lacking on The Clone Wars. Perhaps the show will finally straighten out the whole look-a-like mess.

All in all, "Grievous Intrigue" is a really strong episode of The Clone Wars, and a nice return to form after the show got a bit bogged down in the four episode Geonosis story arc and then a two week break. The show is doing a great job building up Grievous as a villain and I hope Dooku and Ventress get the same kind of treatment. "Grievous Intrigue" was followed by "The Deserter."

Patrick Garone
Senior Reviewer

Read More


Soundtrack to Post-Apocalyptic Drama Features Original Score by Nine Inch Nails Collaborator Atticus Ross

Reprise Records will release the original motion picture soundtrack to the Hughes Brothers-directed feature film The Book Of Eli on January 12th, 2010 — three days before the film hits theaters nationwide on January 15th, 2010.

The Book of Eli Original Motion Picture Soundtrack features an original score by composer/musician/producer Atticus Ross, marking his third collaboration with the Hughes Brothers and his first feature film score. Ross’ music is a unique hybrid score of electronic and organic elements; writing with his wife (Claudia Sarne) and brother (Leopold Ross), the basic tracks were recorded at his studio in Los Angeles before departing to London where it was finished in Abbey Road Studios with a full 80 piece orchestra.

Ross’ other film credits include co-writing and producing “Go All the Way (Into the Twilight),” the Perry Ferrell single for the hit film Twilight, the score for the Allen Hughes’ vignette for the film New York, I Love You, as well as the music to the Hughes Brothers TV show 'Touching Evil" . Ross has also incorporated his musical style into collaborations and productions of such major artists as NIN (the albums With Teeth, Year Zero, The Slip, and the Grammy-nominated Ghosts), Jane's Addiction, and Korn.

The Book of Eli stars Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis, and Gary Oldman in a post-apocalyptic tale in which a lone man, Eli (Washington), fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind.

The soundtrack will be released in four configurations: standard CD, a digital version available through all digital service providers, and a special exclusive iTunes edition that will feature a remixed track by Dave Sitek (TV on the Radio). A vinyl version will be released in February. The Book of Eli is being distributed domestically by Warner Bros. Pictures.

The track-listing for The Book of Eli Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is as follows:
  • Panoramic
  • Outland
  • The Journey
  • Amen
  • The Convoy
  • Solara Violated
  • Safe
  • Human
  • Meant to be Shared
  • The Passenger
  • Den of Vice
  • Gattling
  • Blind Faith
  • Convoy Destruct
  • Movement
  • Carnegie's Demise
  • The Purpose

Read More

Comic Review Transformers: Tales of the Fallen #6 (IDW)

Could it be? Can IDW actually produce a comic series that makes Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen a better movie, one with a coherent story? The ongoing Transformers: Tales of the Fallen series is starting to make me wonder if this is possible. While the series got off to a repetitive start, it is really starting to hit its stride with the previous entry focusing on Ravage and this new one which spotlights Arcee, the female Autobot who had about a line and a half of dialogue in the movie.

One of the things that this issue does really well is to provide some much needed background on some of these characters that only appeared briefly in the movie. It also addresses some continuity issues that were raised by this movie that was not only unconcerned with continuity from the previous movie (welcome back, Bonecrusher) but even with events from earlier in its own story. The movie-verse Arcee was introduced in the expanded universe and toylines that supported the original Michael Bay Transformers movie so it was a bit jarring to see her reintroduced as a trio of motorcycles early in the movie.

This comic actually explains some of the events that happened in between these movies and how Arcee was nearly destroyed and rebuilt by a Decepticon scientist as part of a super secret project, so the fact that she's a weird-looking three-in-one robot is actually explained. Skidz and Mudflap are also introduced as by-products of these experiments which makes their appearance and behavior a little easier to swallow in the context of the story. I quite enjoyed the artwork as well and it does a great job of highlighting the very biomechanical aesthectic of these new Transformers designs while simplifying them enough so that they are easy to make sense of.

The Tales of the Fallen series is actually shaping up to be a good read and one that may help redeem the narrative failures of the movie which it supports. The real test will be if the comic supports the movie enough so that one could read the comic and watch the movie and feel like between them both you get a satisfying story telling experience. I was skeptical of this series at first but now I am excited to see what it has in store.

Patrick Garone
Staff Reviewer

Read More

Comic News: Boom Studios for January 6th

Boom Studios has released previews for their books coming out on December 3rd.

Written by Michael Alan Nelson
Drawn by Marek Oleksicki
SC, 24 pgs, FC, SRP: $3.99
COVER A: Tim Bradstreet
COVER B: Sean Phillips
Diamond Code: SEP090678

Selena and her new comrades have faced the Infected, but how will they fare against all the firepower used to enforce the U.K. quarantine? The pulse-pounding conclusion to the first arc ends here and the crew will never be the same again!

Written by Michael Alan Nelson
Drawn by Francesco Biagini
SC, 24 pgs, FC, SRP: $3.99
COVER A: Francesco Biagini
COVER B: Paul Harmon
Diamond Code: NOV090671

A bold new mini from the writer of the best-selling FALL OF CTHULHU and the critically acclaimed series HEXED! A supernatural crime story in the vein of 100 BULLETS — a man named Dingo who’s after only one thing: a box. And he’ll stop at nothing to obtain it, no matter how many bad men get in his way. But the real question is, what’s in the box? And why is Dingo willing to kill to get it back? A rough-and-tumble thriller with a hint of the unearthly and a pinch of something nasty…

Written by Fausto Vitaliano, Marco Bosco
Drawn by Vitale Mangiatordi, Marco Mazzarello
SC, 24 pgs, FC, SRP: $2.99
COVERS A & B: Magic Eye Studios
Diamond Code: OCT090795

Double Duck continues! Donald shows us his dashing, adventurous side as a globe-trotting secret agent, thwarting the plans of those who would threaten the peace! This is Donald Duck like you’ve never seen him, as only BOOM! Kids can deliver!

Written by Claudio Sanchez, Chondra Echert
Drawn by Sheldon Vella
SC, 24 pgs, FC, (4 of 6) SRP: $3.99
COVER A: Sheldon Vella
Diamond Code: NOV090681

Kill. Audio. Art. Murder. The power these two brothers hold between them could save Sight and Sound…or destroy it! Will Kill Audio find his true purpose so the results don’t end up with everyone dead? A surreal adventure from Coheed and Cambria frontman Claudio Sanchez.

Writen by Stefano Ambrosio
Drawn by Alessandro Perina
SC, 24 pgs, FC, SRP: $2.99
Covers A & B: Magic Eye Studios
Diamond Code: OCT090798

The epic WIZARDS OF MICKEY tale continues! Student of the great wizard Grandalf, Mickey Mouse, along with friends Donald Duck and Goofy, must face off against the Phantom Blot and his nefarious Team Black Phantom! Join BOOM! Kids for a whole new epoch in Disney publishing!

Written by Roger Langridge
Drawn by Roger Langridge
HC, 112 pgs, FC, SRP: $24.99
TPB, 112 pgs, FC, SRP: $9.99
HC ISBN13: 978-1608865307
TPB ISBN13: 978-1608865048

Scooter discovers old documents which reveal that a cache of treasure is hidden somewhere within the theater…and when Rizzo the Rat overhears this, the news spreads like wildfire! Can Kermit keep everyone from tearing the theater apart? And just who is Peg-Leg Wilson…and what’s his connection to the Muppet Show stage? Find out in this hilarious collection from celebrated creator Roger Langridge!

2nd Prints Available

WALL-E #0 2nd Print
Written by J. Torres
Drawn by Morgan Luthi
24pgs, FC, SRP: $2.99
Cover A, B: Morgan Luthi
Diamond Code: OCT098148

Superstar writer J. Torres (TEEN TITANS GO!) chronicles Wall-E’s life before the events of the hit film. Wall-E is not yet the hardworking robot we know and love. Instead, he lets the few remaining other robots take care of the trash compacting while he collects interesting junk. But when the other robots start breaking down, Wall-E must learn to adjust his priorities…or else Earth is doomed!


Read More