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#Critics Cinema

#Critics Cinema

Darth Vader #8

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 10:00 AM PST

Sometimes it's hard to be a Dark Lord of the Sith (especially after you've murdered most of your friends, choked out your wife, and had your best friend cut off your legs and leave you to burn in a pool of lava... okay, that last one he probably deserved).

Darth Vader #8 picks up with a bored Darth Vader getting the chance to stop terrorizing Imperial officers and direct his attention elsewhere. While the arc also focuses a bit more on the Emperor's Inquisitors, we don't see much of them here as the two halves of the story are split between Vader and Jedi Master Jocasta Nu who returns to the Jedi Temple to safeguard hidden Jedi relics from the Sith.

Even a Jedi librarian isn't immune from emotional reactions as we see in the issue's final panels when Jocasta chooses to confront the Inquisitor rather than make her escape foreshadows much more action in issue #9. As for Vader, I'm sure he'll relish the attempt to face off against another Jedi (although we might have to wait an extra month for that confrontation). Worth a look.

[Marvel, $3.99]

Legends of Tomorrow - Crisis on Earth-X, Part 4

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 08:00 AM PST

The four-part crossover concludes with the death of one of the Legends (helping the show write off the character of Firestorm which it never learned to use properly), the arrival of the other Legends (better late than never), and our heroes' return to Earth-One for a final confrontation with the Earth-X invaders. Keeping half the Legends in reserve until the final episode does help boost our heroes numbers in the final episode, but is a disservice to Ray (Brandon Routh) who, given his tenure in the Arrowverse, certainly draws the shortest straw this time around. The death of Stein (Victor Garber) is hardly surprising, but how he is kept alive from his critical wounds at the beginning of the episode, and his sacrifice, both work well.

In terms of action, the finale saves the best for last offering plenty of fighting between our supporting characters and the Nazis with inter-cut battles between the Flash (Grant Gustin) and Reverse-Flash (Tom Cavanagh), both versions of Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), and Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) squaring off against Overgirl. The show ends with the expected funeral to a friend and the nice surprise of a double wedding for Barry and Iris (Candice Patton) and Oliver and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards). Overall, "Crisis" irons out some of issues we saw in the first crossover last year. More interconnected, it flows much better as a consistent storyline (and I did enjoy the special opening). With a funeral, two weddings, and the return of a fan favorite, there's plenty for the individual shows to mine heading into their Fall finales.

The Flash - Crisis on Earth-X, Part 3

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 06:00 AM PST

Things are looking pretty bleak for our heroes at the beginning of "Part 3" (and aren't a whole hell of a lot better by the end). Most of our leads are captured and imprisoned on Earth-X, the Reverse-Flash (Tom Cavanagh) is preparing to carve out Supergirl's (Melissa Benoist) heart, and Cisco (Carlos Valdes), Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), and the Arrow B-team are trapped in the particle accelerator. Enter Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller). Well, a new version at least (complete with his comic book trademark glasses the previous Earth-One Cold was too cool to wear). We also get a new hero in the Ray (Russell Tovey), a grizzled General Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan), and a last-ditch plan for our heroes to make it back to their Earth before it is too late.

The action is heavy on both Earths, but of the four episodes this was the weakest to me in terms of story but does have some stand-out moments including Ray and the Flash fighting Tornado, and the crossover's only major casualty. After being rescued by Cold and the resistance, our heroes only need to fight through a never-ending wave of Nazis and the Red Tornado to get to the gateway which can send them home. While the body count continues to rise, our heroes are no closer to getting home as the episode comes to a close. Despite Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Iris (Candice Patton) managing to temporarily halt Kara's unscheduled surgery, things continue to look bleak for our girl heading into the final episode as well. As for the rest of the Legends, they're still no-shows (although we do get a glimpse of the Earth-X version of the Waverider).

Arrow - Crisis on Earth-X, Part 2

Posted: 28 Nov 2017 12:00 PM PST

"Part 2" of the four-part crossover focuses on the fallout of Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris' (Candice Patton) wedding and the explanation of who the villains from Earth-X are and what they want on Earth-One. While our heroes manage to push back the Nazis in "Part One," the second episode offers a counterpunch from the evil dopplegangers (whose identities seemed fairly obvious to everyone except, apparently, our heroes). Heavier on action than the first episode, there are still smaller conversations shoehorned in here and there to give those not in the fray something to do. "Part 2" also offers small cameos to Arrow's B-team who arrive to provide support against the Nazi horde.

One thing that's clear, and helps explain why we see so little of him combined on Legends of Tomorrow, is that the writers have absolutely no idea on how to use Firestorm other than as a special effect. He's pretty much useless here against the bigger threats of our evil threesome of Overgirl (Melissa Benoist), evil Oliver (Stephen Amell), and the Reverse-Flash (Tom Cavanagh). The defeat of our heroes explains one goal of the Nazis, capturing Supergirl to save their own, although a larger second goal (the subjugation of the planet, maybe?) is never spelled out so simply. With action moving to Earth-X for "Part 3" it will be interesting to see what new, and familiar, faces our heroes encounter.