Matt Goes To The Movies 2019

Welcome to the first update of 2020, and of course that means it’s time for my Best Of 2019 at the Cinema! Last year really was a great year filled with some top notch Action films, stunning Superhero epics, out of this world Science Fiction flicks and of course spine tingling Horror pictures! Plus this year going to see movies with family and friends helped make what was a stressful year way more relaxing. So grab your ticket, buy some popcorn and soda and find your seat…it’s time to talk about some movies! I also would like to say thanks to Cinemark Dayton South, Cinemark At The Greene, Neon Movies, Danbarry Huber Heights, Englewood Cinema and Cranberry Cinema for being the places that showed the movies that entertained me throughout the year of 2019.

Let’s start with the Action films I saw in the theater. While I did not see too many of them, the ones I did see were very entertaining popcorn films that brought excitement to viewers. It’s crazy to think that Action Movies in the 80’s and 90’s were some of the world’s must-watch movies, and over the years with a few exceptions Action is not the massive box office draw it used to be. It makes me wonder if it’s because the Action Heroes of the past have gotten older and the younger generation of actors have not stepped up to take their places. Well with that, grab some popcorn and let’s talk Actions films!

# 4

The world is in major trouble when a bio weapon goes missing and MI6 agent Hattie Shaw is blamed, when in reality she is now the carrier for the weapon and has been set up by cyber enhanced terrorist Brixton Lore who wants to use the weapon for the downfall of mankind. What is the world to do? Well they call in DSS agent Luke Hobbs and former mercenary Deckard Shaw to work together to save the day as Hattie is Deckard’s sister and they both get to witness first hand just how skilled and brutal Brixton is. This is a great action comedy that delivers a great time as you eat your popcorn and watch the story unfold on the big screen. The film has a great cast. Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Vanessa Kirby, Idris Elba and WWE superstar Roman Reigns all deliver sold performances in such an overt the top film. The film did good for Universal at the Box Office here in America bringing in $173,810,100.00 on a budget of $200 million, with world wide gross being even higher. Worth watching if you enjoy fun over the top action films.

# 3

When the California John Bosley retires a new Bosley takes his place, and when another Bosley along with two Angels, Sabina Wilson and Jane Kano, are set up when talking to tech worker Elena Houghlin that leads to the Angels being defeated by an assassin and their Bosley dead. This hit was placed as Elena knows that new energy tech can be used as a weapon that will devastate the world, and it’s clear the company she works for has a rat that wants to sell the tech on the black market! With the new Bosley, the new Angels group of Sabina, Jane and Elena must find the rat, get the tech and most importantly stay alive and watch out for each other….and worse, it also seems as if someone in the Angels agency has also turned rogue! So who are the rats and can the Angels save to world from a massive and deadly tech attack, watch this 2019 sequel and find out. This was a fun watch, and, much like Hobbs and Shaw, was filled with over the top action and humor. The three new Angels are fantastic and lovely and played by Ella Balinska, Kristen Stewart and Naomi Scott, with the latter being an amazing actress and super beautiful. The movie sadly tanked for Sony bringing in a very low $17,765,238.00 on a budget of $48 million. While the internet critics trashed the film, do yourself a favor and make up your own mind. Go in checking your brain at the door and just enjoy this woman empowerment action flick.

# 2

John Wick is on the run, and the High Table has a price on his head for conducting business in a safe zone. Now he must fight for his life and find a way for a second chance at life as well as call in old friends to help him find the high order and try to make the wrongs right. This third film in the John Wick series is fantastic and is nonstop action and proves that action movies still do have a place in America cinema. Keanu Reeves gives a great performance as the assassin turned target John Wick, and the fight scenes are so amazing that they will remind you of classic Jackie Chan style action. Not to mention the end of the film leaves the plot thickening even more and really makes me look forward to the fourth film that is in the works. The film did fantastic for Lionsgate and brought in $171,015,687.00 on a budget of $75 million. This film is a great watch and worth owning on home media.

# 1

John J. Rambo is trying his best to live a normal life on his family ranch, and when his adoptive daughter Gabrielle travels to Mexico to find her real father and she gets kidnapped and sold into human trafficking. This sets Rambo on a rampage to get her back as well as get revenge on those who are responsible! This 5th film in the Rambo series is great stuff and shows that Sylvester Stallone is still one of the world’s best action movie stars, and that the character Rambo still has many stories to tell. Plus a movie that shows a pissed off Rambo massacring human traffickers is oddly relaxing in this day and age. Stallone is, as always, great as Rambo, and actress Yvette Monreal is great as Gabrielle. While this film was trashed by many “film critics” and even some viewers, I for one found it to be my favorite action film of 2019 and John Wick 3 is the only other action film that came close. The film did pretty well for Lionsgate at the US Box Office bringing in $44,819,352.00 on a budget of $50 million. This one is worth watching and owning if you are a fan of the Rambo films.

While Horror is my favorite genre of films to watch in theaters, I do also enjoy a great Sci-Fi and Fantasy film on the big screen. I mean who doesn’t love a good alien invasion or an epic quest gracing the silver screen as you get wrapped up in the story. So 2019 had some great films in this genre and this was also tough one to list as I enjoyed so many of them almost equally! So take a drink of your soda, and let’s get to this.

# 10

The world has been taken over by aliens who are stealing all of Earth’s natural resources and a group of underground fighters want to fight back and stop this invasion and prove that mankind will not just roll over. But these freedom fighters also have to face the cops who are also on the payroll of the aliens. Like all good science fiction, not all is what it seems as the story takes many twists and turns leaving viewers guessing on what is what and who is what. This film was a good popcorn flick and stars such fantastic actors as Vera Farmiga and John Goodman. The film tanked at the US Box Office for Focus Features bringing in a low $5,958,315.00 on a budget of $25 million! While this is not a groundbreaking alien invasion film it’s still an entertaining one that should have done better. Check it out on DVD or streaming on a boring night.

# 9

Explorer of the unknown Sir Lionel Frost wants to join the prestige group “Society Of Great Men” and makes a deal with the snooty Lord Piggot-Dunceby that’ll join if he can bring in a living Sasquatch. But once Sir Lionel Frost finds one, he befriends the beast and the pair go on an adventure to find the Sasquatch’s relatives called Yetis, but while they are doing so Lord Piggot-Dunceby and some hired guns are on a mission to kill the Sasquatch so Frost will never be able to join the group, and Piggot-Dunceby will go down in history as the world’s best adventurer. This is a truly fun kids’ film that has a charm much like “Wallace and Gromit” films, and has an amazing voice acting cast with names like Hugh Jackman, Zach Galifianakis, Zoe Saldanna and Emma Thompson to name a few. The film did very poorly for United Artists at the American Box Office bringing in only $16,649,539.00 on a budget of $100 million. While this film might have tanked, I for one very much enjoyed it and would have loved to have seen a sequel that I am sure will never be in the works.

# 8

Agent H in 2016 along with High T saved the world from a massive infestation of aliens called The Hive and after the battle High T climb to the top of MIB while Agent H seemed to have slightly lost it. But when Molly Wright was a young girl she witnessed the MIB at work and even helped protect an alien on the run, and now she is a member of the group and being called Agent M who is the new partner to Agent H! The pair are sent on a standard easy mission to guard an Alien royal that ends with an assassination and our agents are blamed and have to go on the run as there is a alien mole deep in the MIB and they must clear their names and expose the true alien invaders. Oddly enough this film did not do well for Sony as it only brought in a very low $80,001,807.00 on a budget of $110 million. While the film did not set the movie going world ablaze, it was a very fun popcorn film that was filled with some funny and adventurous moments. Worth watching if you like the other films in the series and Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth and Liam Neeson all do fantastic jobs as MIB agents in the film.

# 7

Gomez Addams and his new bride Morticia must flee their old home and find a new place in an abandoned mental asylum to start their family! So with former inmate now turned butler Lurch and their hand only friend called Thing, they make this asylum a home that ends up being filled with their kids Wednesday and Pugsley. But when a reality home improvement star buys and transforms the town below the Addams home things turn bad when the reality stars turns the town against them. Now The Addams Family must prove they are not monsters and that they are just a normal…well weird family. This was a fun little family film that features everyone’s favorite weird family and did really well for United Artist at the US box office brining in $95,720,779.00 on a budget of $40 million. This film was a great way to introduce a new generation to The Addams Family, and I am very much looking forward to the sequel that is in the works. Worth owning on DVD or Blu-Ray for fans of these characters.

# 6

A down on its luck circus welcomes a newly born baby elephant to the family, but to the horror of owner of ringmaster Max Medici, the baby is born with massive ears and is named Dumbo! With his circus losing money he is forced to sell Dumbo’s mom and this sets the baby elephant along with his caretaker’s children on a path to bring redemption to the failing circus. But when a rich con man amusement circus park owner gets involved, Dumbo’s safety and happiness are in danger and his friends will not let this happen. This take on Dumbo is done by director Tim Burton and has elements of the classic animated movie plus new additions to make it feel like a new tale. The effects are great, and Dumbo is adorable and the movie’s villain played by Michael Keaton is super greedy and sinister. This movie did pretty good for Disney at the US Box Office bringing in $114,766,307.00 on a budget of $170 million and brought in over $2 million internationally! Worth watching if you enjoy the animated movie and want to see those characters done with a Burton twist.

# 5

The Beast is still one the loose and kidnapping and killing young women when he is finally found by The Overseer, who is a man with superhero powers that is a vigilante who wants to stop his killing ways. This fight leads to both men being caught and brought to a mental hospital were they, alongside evil mastermind with brittle bones Mr. Glass, are being treated for their superhero complex disorder. But when Mr. Glass and The Beast team up and escape the asylum with a plan to show the world that super humans exist, things come to ahead and cards are played that expose those who want to put a lid on super beings and do whatever it takes to keep the secret away from the world. The is the third film in director M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable universe series as well as it appears to be the last, and this film mixes elements of many different film genres like superhero, science fiction, drama, thriller and even a dash of horror. The film did great for Universal at the US Boxoffice bringing in $111,035,005.00 on a budget of $20 million. A pretty solid ending the Unbreakable movie series.

# 4

Aladdin and his pet monkey Abu are thieves in the streets of Egypt and meet a beautiful woman while stealing that Aladdin falls for, the issue being she is the Princess! And when Aladdin finds a magic lamp, the Genie inside helps him via wishes try his best to get the attention of the woman of his dreams, but he has a thorn in his side as the Jafar the Grand Vizier of the Sultan is also an evil sorcerer who craves power and wants to control the genie in the lamp who wants his own life as well and wants to be free. This live action film based on the hit animated film is really well done and cast with Will Smith doing great as the Genie and Naomi Scott is not only stunning as Jasmine but also does an amazing job making the character seem very important. And Mena Massoud was the prefect actor to bring Aladdin to the big screen. The film did great at the America Boxoffice for Disney bringing in $355,559,216.00 on a budget of $183 million. Worth watching and owning and a must for fans of the animated film.

# 3

When baby Simba is born, he becomes the next in line to take over the massive animal kingdom in Africa. But when is father is killed by his uncle Scar, the baby lion is forced to run away from the kingdom and thinks his fathers death is his fault. While on his own he strikes up a friendship with Timon a meerkat and warthog named Pumbaa, and the three spends years together, while the kingdom falls under the rule of Scar who teams with the hyenas and keeps all the lionesses as almost slaves. But in the end Simba returns to the kingdom with his new friends, and they bring down Scar and his hyena’s and reclaim what was always his. This live action version of the classic Disney animated film is well done and even brings James Earl Jones back as the voice of Mufasa! Also in the voice cast is Beyonce Knowles Carter, Seth Rogen and Donald Glover to name a few. The film was a hit for Disney at the U.S. Boxoffice bringing in $543,638,043.00 on a budget of $260 million. Over all this was a great film and one that should be watched and owned if you enjoy the animated film version.

# 2

The First Order is being run by Kylo Ren who has set his sights on not only destroying the rebels but also tracking down the evil and still alive Emperor Palpatine who when found wants Kylo to be his new appetence and will allow him to combine the Empires forces that have been in hidden with the First Order making them unstoppable! As Kylo still battles his inner demons, Rey is training to be a Jedi and her friends are doing their best to try and figure out how to stay ahead of the First Order and also bring them down. When Princess Leia, Rey and the rest of the rebels figure out that the Emperor is still alive and is threatening to destroy planets again as all the new Star Destroyers have weapons that can do just that! And now Rey and Kylo are on a path to change the universe and all out war is in the cards in this final film in the Skywalker series. I don’t want to say too much about the film’s plot as I do not want to give away any major spoilers as this film is still very fresh in theaters. This was a very fun mega budget Sci-Fi film to sit in the theater and watch while eating some popcorn with a large crowd of people, and while the film is flawed and had some head scratching moments, it also delivered some top-notch action. I also have to say the cameos of classic characters also made me pop in the theater. Like always, the films did fantastic for Disney at the American Box Office despite “fan boys” bad word of mouth bringing in $407,782,706.00 on a budget of around $300 million. Make up your own mind and stop depending on the opinions of Rotten Tomatoes or random net critics on social media and watch the film for yourself and make up your own mind, while not a perfect Star Wars film it still was entertaining.

# 1

Dani Ramos is a young woman who works in Mexico City at an auto plant along with her brother, but what starts as a normal day turns bad when a new breed of Terminator called a Rev-9 is sent to kill her from the future, but she as well has a guardian that is a enhanced solider from the future named Grace. Later they are joined by Sarah Connor who has dedicated her life in hunting down and killing Terminators as they appear, and she knows the locations thanks to an anonymous person he texts her the locations. With the Rev-9 hot on their trail and no clear way of defeating it, they track the person who’s been helping Sarah only to find out it is a T-800 who after filling his mission of stopping John Conner found away to blend in with normal humans. Now the new motley crew of survivors set up a showdown to stop the Rev-9 and stop a new version of Judgment Day. This 6th movie in the Terminator series acts as a direct sequel to T2 and does a pretty great job of bringing a new layer to the storyline, as while Sarah and John stopped Skynet another tech terror rose in its place and has its own version of judgment day in the works. It was great seeing Linda Hamilton return to the series as well as having Arnold Schwarzenegger return as the T-800. Actress Natalia Reyes is great as the new “John Carter” for the futures resistant’s hero and Mackenzie Davis is okay as Grace the enhanced solider of the future, though at times I feel like she over does the tough woman approach. The film sadly did very poorly for Paramount at the American Boxoffice only bringing in $62,253,077.00 on a massive budget of $185 million ending what was suppose to be a new trilogy of films with these characters. While it was not a mega hit at the cinema, I still found this film to be a fun one that I will own on DVD when released and do feel it’s a shame that moviegoers just didn’t come out to see this film.

So as you have just read, 2019 had some really good Sci-Fi, Fantasy and even Kid films! But we are going to now take a look at the film genre that has been dominating the Box Office for many years now and of course I am talking about Super Hero films!

# 7

Hellboy as well as his friends of B.R.P.D. are on the hunt for monsters all over the world and when an evil sorceress is set free, the whole world is in trouble as she is uniting the monsters of the world for a takeover! Hellboy, who is a demon, is the key for her to totally take over, and this hero must fight his instincts and listen to his human side. This film was a great monster fight film but was a mess otherwise. Really don’t have much too say about this one besides the effects were good and I had fun watching in the theater. The film bombed at the US Box Office for Lionsgate as it brought in only $21,903,748.00 on a budget of $50 million. This film is for diehard fans of Hellboy, and while it was not the best Superhero movie I saw this year, I would have liked to see what would have happened in a sequel if it was made.

# 6

Kree Empire warrior Vers and her people are at war with the Skrulls, and during one of her fights she escapes capture and crash lands on Earth where she soon finds that the Skrulls have taken residence and she wants to settle the score with her enemies! While on Earth she meets Nick Fury an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. who helps her not only track down the Skrulls but also figures out what really is going on that leaves Vers aka Captain Marvel wondering what her real mission is as well as learn about her past that she does not remember. This is a pretty fun Marvel Superhero adventure that brings the powerful female hero Captain Marvel into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while some “fans” try and say this film is too preachy about Girl Power, I found it to be entertaining and a cool flashback to the 90’s culture. I mean you cannot go wrong seeing a Blockbuster Video again. My only real complaint about the film is that I felt at times actress Brie Larson is wooden in her emotions. At the U.S Boxoffice the film did great brining in a massive $426,829,839.00 on a budget of $175 million. Love it or hate it, this film is a part of the Marvel movie juggernaut and Captain Marvel is here to stay for years and movies to come.

# 5

With half the universe’s population gone thanks to Thanos, the rest of the world’s heroes track him down and kill him after he informs them that he has destroyed the Infinity Gauntlet. Once the threat is gone, the heroes don’t know what to do as they and the whole rest of life across the galaxy seem lost and with no direction. But the heroes find out that there is a chance that they could travel back in time and get the gem stones and bring back all those they have lost. So after having to push to get Iron Man and Thor on board, heroes like Captain America, Rocket Raccoon, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Hulk, War Machine, Nebula and the returning from the micro world Ant Man break off in teams and get the stones from the past! But this also alerts the past version of Thanos who uses his army to once more get his hands on the stones, and when the dusted heroes of the past like Spider-Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch return, it’s all out war to end this madness once and for all that leaves some heroes dead and others changing their future. While this film is very epic, I myself found it to be both good and very disappointing as some of the goofy humor and “Big Lebowski” Thor just didn’t work for me. Coming off the downbeat, truly epic feel of the last Avengers movie, the humor of this one really does take away all the gloom the last one built up. Plus making The Hulk into Professor Hulk was not something I wanted to see in the movie universe as by making Hulk super smart it takes away the character’s….well, character. On the other side it was very cool to see Chris Evans’ end as Captain America as I felt they did it right and it was great to give characters like Nebula and Hawkeye big story plots. The film did amazing for Disney at the American Boxoffice bringing in a massive $858,373,000 on the budget of $356 million. This one is worth watching and owning if you are a fan of the Marvel films.

# 4

The X-Men are sent to space in order to save some astronauts whose ship was damaged by a solar flare, but while saving them, another massive flare erupts and Jean Grey absorbs it all to save the lives of her teammates. Once home she starts to feel odd and has fits of rage that unleashes raw power. She soon finds out that Professor X has messed with her mind making her forget what she did that caused her mother’s death and lead her to be at the school. With her mind filled with raw power and rage, Jean tracks down her father and the meeting leaves her raging that ends with her friend and X-Men member Mystique dead. Jean becomes a loose cannon and even tries to find shelter with Magneto, but finally meets up with Vuk, an alien shape- shifter who wants to drain all her cosmic powers. Can Professor X, Magneto and the X-Men save their friend and get Jean the help she needs or will the aliens take her powers and destroy the universe. This final film in the Fox X-Men series in my opinion was really good and while flawed in some part still was a very entertaining film that I enjoyed. Sophie Turner who plays Jean Grey/Phoenix is fantastic, and she has quickly became one of my favorite actresses going in Hollywood, and she does a fantastic job of going from scared to cold blooded. The action is well done, and the story of Jean getting the power of the Phoenix and learning about her past is fantastic, oh and I should also note that Dazzler makes an appearance. Sadly this film did not do well for Fox at the Boxoffice here in America bringing in only $65,845,974.00 on a budget of $200 million. While it might not have had the hype of the Disney Marvel films, I for one found this film to be very entertaining and worth owning on home media.

# 3

Billy Batson is a kid who has bounced in and out of foster homes, as he just wants to be reunited with his mother who got separated from him while at a carnival. He is placed once again in a foster home that has caring parents and many siblings, one who is a fan of superheroes and is handicapped, and when at his new school he takes up for his new foster brother against bullies and ends up losing them at the train station. And while on the train, he is taken to another world and meets the Wizard Shazam, who has chosen him to carry on the powers of the gods! Now when he says the word Shazam, Billy turns into a muscle bound superhero who still has the mind of a young teen! But an evil power hungry man that was deemed unworthy to be the new Shazam as a kid is armed with demons attacks and wants Billy dead…and so starts Shazam to rise and find his own inner strength to not only save his own life but those of his new foster siblings, and together they fight and save the day. This was a great Superhero Comedy film and was very well done, and while I do understand that they changed Shazam (Captain Marvel) from the comics, it still was fitting and was a great way to introduce kids of 2019 to the character. The film did okay for New Line Cinema at the U.S. Box Office bringing in $140,371,656.00 on a budget of $100 million, and over seas it did even better! I really enjoyed this one. The trailer made me very worried that this film would be really cheesy, but after seeing it I even own it on DVD now!

# 2

Arthur Fleck is a man with mental illness who lives with his equally unstable mother and his work is an advertising clown for hire. When he loses his job he is pushed too far when some rich dudes mess with him on the train ends their life, and so begins his downward spiral into madness, revenge, love and murder. And when Arthur who wants to become a stand up comic is made fun of by a late night host live on the air and called a joker and he finds out that his mom has lied to him his whole life, he starts to think that Thomas Wayne (yep Bruce Wayne’s dad) is his father as well and it finally comes crashing down and Arthur Fleck is no more and where this once broken man stands is The Joker. This dark themed film deals with mental illness, depression, deception, fame, poverty and sadness, making you as the viewer feel all types of different emotions. Joaquin Phoenix is fantastic as The Joker and makes the character his very own, plus Zazie Beetz, Robert De Niro and Frances Conroy are all great in their roles. The film did top fantastic for Warner Brothers at the American Box Office bringing in $333,453,468.00 on a budget of only $55 million. This is not your typical Superhero film and is very dark in nature and worth owning in your collection on any home media format.

# 1

Peter Parker is upset after the passing of his friend and mentor Tony Stark and decides that he is going to go on a school trip overseas with his classmates instead of being the masked hero Spider-Man and have a somewhat normal life. But while on his school trip one time S.H.I.E.L.D leader Nick Fury calls on him to help an interdimensional hero named Mysterio who has been fighting giant monsters that have been appearing around the world. And worse for Peter is that Tony Stark has left him in his will a very powerful pair of sunglasses that if hacked can be used as a powerful weapon, and when he feels that he is not worthy of them, he gives them to Mysterio who he thinks is a real hero. But when Mysterio is found out to be a con man, Spider-Man must risk his life to save his classmates and the world from his evil plan. This hands down the best Superhero film of 2019 as I found it to be true to the Spidey character and hands down Tom Holland makes the best Spider-Man and Peter Parker. I was also happy to finally see Mysterio make his big screen debut, and he is done right by Jake Gyllenhaal who took elements from the comic as well as added his own touches to make him work. The film did fantastic for Sony at the American Box Office bringing in $390,532,085.00 on a budget of $160 million. If you like Spider-Man, make sure to watch this film. It’s worth owning on DVD or Blu-Ray and having a place in your home media collection.

2019 was, as always, the year of the Superhero films as four out the top 10 grossing films in America were made up of them! But for me the main attraction for any year in cinema is the Horror Movies, and 2019 had its fair share of them that covered everything from psycho slashers to ghosts to even killer animals. This year was filled with some really good ones and choosing my top spot was really hard, so sit back relax in Rotten Ink Theater and let’s talk Horror.


# 26

Strange things are going on around the world after the Earth is rocked by too much fracking in the arctic, and this causes the dead to rise from their graves and look for human meals as well as do the things they did when alive. Now in the town of Centerville, the police force made up of Chief Robertson, Officer Peterson and Officer Morrison must find a way to protect themselves as well as warn the townspeople about the undead uprising. Throw in some zany locals like the horror film loving gas station owner Bobby and the samurai sword swinging funeral home owner Zelda, and you have a cheesy zombie comedy. The film was directed by Jim Jarmusch and has an all star cast featuring such names as Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Selena Gomez, Tilda Swinton, Tom Waits and Danny Glover to name a few. For me this film fell flat on both comedy and horror, and while the actors all did great jobs in their roles, the film’s script was filled with plot holes, characters that go nowhere and “hip” dry humor. This film was a major letdown and came off too aware and preachy about the director’s own message of consumerism. The film had a limited release and brought in $6,563,605.00 for Focus Features and was one I ended up giving a second chance once on DVD and I still found it a disappointing bore. I should also note this almost made it to my Worst Films list!

# 25

Danni Ardor is a young woman who has suffered a major loss and travels to Sweden with her boyfriend and his friends to attend a secret festival, but once they get there, they find that the this peaceful place filled with oddly friendly people is really a strange cult that has some very deadly rituals. Can Danni and her friends escape…or do they even want to…check out this Drama Horror Film by Ari Aster and find out. Now this is another one of those films that I was looking forward to seeing in the theater that ended up letting me down as I found it to be overly long, poorly written and at times laughable on how cartoony it got with over acting moments and dumb decisions. Actress Florence Pugh does great for most of the film as Danni even though they make her break down in over the top ways. The film did ok for A24 at the US Box Office as on a budget of $10 million it brought in $27,426,361.00. While a disappointment on my first viewing, this will be one I will watch again someday on DVD.

# 24

Aaron returns to his small town home when is father passes away and must rebuild is relationship with his mother. And while home, he also reconnects with his old friends as well as his ex-girlfriend who is now dating the town cop. But things get weird when Aaron finds an urn and makes wishes that come true, but each one have very sinister outcomes. He soon learns that his wishes have unleashed a demon who is after his soul and wants to leave a path of deaths behind him. This is a great creepy little horror movie that is all about a Djinn demon that grants wishes and ruins lives doing so. While the movie does have some plot flaws that make for some cheesy moments, it was a film that got some good scares out of the audience I saw it with who all seemed to like it as they left the theater. The film brought in $22,912.00 at the US Box Office playing for only one day for Fathom Events. This is one I bought on DVD when released.

# 23

Frances McCullen is a young woman from a small town who is now living in New York with her friend Erica. While on the subway, she finds a purse and returns it to its owner an older woman named Greta that she befriends when she learns that the woman’s daughter now lives in France. But the friendship soon turns creepy when Frances finds out that Greta is really an unstable stalker who has set her sights on her and will not leave her alone. What is Frances to do when Greta steps over the line and will stop at nothing to become not only her friend but also her “mother”. This is a great Horror Thriller and has some really great creepy moments as Isabelle Huppert who plays Greta is devilishly sinister as Greta and Chloe Grace Moretz is fantastic as Frances and proves she needs to be in more Horror Movies as she plays a likable character very well. The film did okay for Focus Features at the US Boxoffice doing $10,519,425.00. This is one that is a fun watch and one I own on DVD once released.

# 22

The Firefly family that consists of Captain Spaulding, Otis Driftwood and Baby survived being shot over 20 times and find themselves in prison on death row and becoming almost folk heroes to the masses. And after the execution of Spaulding, the once crazy family is down to only two…or so the world thought! While out on work duty, Otis is sprung by his half brother Winslow Foxworth Coltrane, and the pair sets up the prison warden in order to free Baby. Once the three are reunited, they head to Mexico to lay low and unlucky for them they have caught the eye of a cartel who is run by one of the sons of a victim of theirs during the escape. Now what’s left of the Firefly family must once more fight for their lives when death comes looking for them. The film was a Fathom Events release and did really well for its limited run at the US Box Office for Saban Films bringing in a total of $2,172,949.00 on a budget of $3 million. Fans of Rob Zombie films will enjoy this bloodbath film for all its slaughter and foul-mouthed characters, worth watching, and I even bought once it was on DVD.

# 21

Riley Stone goes to Hawthorne College and is a member of the MKE sorority with her close friends Kris, Marty, Jesse and Helena and it’s Christmas time right before the winter break and she was the victim of an attack that was done by a sorority frat house leader who oddly was able to get away with it! But also masked killers are attacking and murdering young women around the college, and soon Riley and her friends find themselves on the hit list of these masked killers who seem to hate women and act like soulless emotionless killing machines. Throw in some humor, PG-13 kills, and message that “Boys Be Boys” is not okay and you have his remake of the classic holiday slasher film. This film does not take elements from the original film nor the 2006 remake and tries its best to make a new story set at a sorority house. The film’s main actress is Imogen Poots who plays Riley, and she is fantastic as is Lily Donoghue who plays Marty as I found them to be the best characters in the film. The downside of this film is at times it comes off preachy about its message and the characters at times seem like the after thought to it. The film did very poorly for Universal at the U.S. Box Office and only brought in $10,086,145.00 on a budget of $5 million. While this movie is not perfect, it was still a fun watch in the theater that once out on DVD I will watch again.

# 20

The Creed family have moves away from the big city to a farm house with lots of wooded lands in Ludlow, Maine and soon meet their new neighbor Jud. All seems well, that is till Louis who is a university doctor cannot save a young man hit by a car and that seems to talk to him even after death. But things for the family get worse when their daughter’s cat Church is hit by a car and Jud shows Louis a part of his land that brings the dead back to life, with some changes…Church is back, but he is not the same at all! During her birthday party daughter, Ellie is killed when she is hit by a truck and heartbroken Louis does the unthinkable and brings his daughter back…and this joy soon turns to horror. This remake is okay and does not stack up well to the original that is a true classic. This film takes its own twists and turns from the book and original film adding a new layer to the story…in fact you could almost look at this as a sequel that takes place in modern times that has history repeating itself. John Lithgow who plays Jud is fantastic at playing the aging man who knows the town’s evil secret. And actress Jete Laurence plays Ellie, and she is as well great in the role as she can snap from sweet kid to evil killer kid with ease. Not to mention all the cats who played Church also steal the film with their performances. The film did okay for Paramount Pictures at the American Boxoffice bringing in $54,724,696.00 on a budget of $21 million. While not great, this creepy tale was worth seeing in the theater and is one I have on home media. Check it out if you like the tale of Pet Sematary.

# 19

Stella is a young teen that wants to become a writer and has some emotional issues dealing with her mother leaving her and her father behind. On Halloween night she along with friends decide to break into the town’s local haunted house, and when the town’s bullies lock them inside a hidden room in the house, they find the storybook written by Sarah Bellows and take it with them…big mistake as the book seems to be writing itself and bad things are happing to people in town just like in the stories! Now Stella and what’s left of her friends must find away to stop the book, save their lives and set Sarah Bellows spirit free. This spooky PG-13 film is based on the hit book series and delivers some great creatures designs as well as brings many of the books classic tales to the big screen. The film did pretty well for Lionsgate bringing in $68,947,075.00 on a budget of $25 million. If you enjoy the book series or even like the Goosebump movies series, this is one you will want to check out. I own this one on DVD when it was released.

# 18

Mia and sister stepsister Sasha head out with some friends to a hidden swimming hole that is also an opening to a underwater tomb and tunnels that their father and his team are exploring, and for fun the girls enter the water and tunnels only to get trapped by a cave in and are being stalked by blind cave sharks who are hungry for human flesh! Can the young ladies survive this shark attack or will they just become lunch for these underwater terrors? Watch the movie and find out. This animal attack film was a pretty good follow up for “47 Meter Down” and has a really feel of dread in moments that add to the horror theme of the film. The film is well acted with Sophie Nelisse, Corinne Foxx and Brianne Tju being the standouts. The film is rated PG-13 so it’s not overly bloody but does have some pretty brutal shark attack moments. The film sadly did not do that great for Entertainment Studios at the US Box Office as it only brought in $22,260,900.00 on a budget of $12 million. Worth watching if you enjoy shark horror movies.

# 17

Detective Jack Radcliff and his niece Ashley Radcliff are close and to his horror, she and her parents are murdered one night and his world changes. After the murder oddly enough he keeps getting phone calls from his dead niece who is calling from the past and now he must change her future as he must research the past to find out who killed them. Can he save her in time and will he be able to bring the killers to justice or will he become a victim himself. This Horror Thriller is a great watch and is well acted with very likable characters. The film had the budget of $5million and brought in only $5,215,062.00 for OTL Releasing at the American Box Office. I cannot say too much as I don’t want to ruin the films twist and turns, but this film is really good and a must see for fans who like Thrillers with Horror elements.

# 16

A massive hurricane is about to hit Florida when university swimmer Haley Keller gets a call from her sister who is worried about their father who is not answering his phone and whose house is in the path of the massive storm! When checking his home, she finds he is not there and heads to the family’s old house where she finds him in the basement bitten by an alligator as several have made their home their and keep the father and daughter from escaping as the hurricane rages on inside. As the water rises and the alligators pour in, Haley and her dad must fight to survive. This Sam Raimi produced animal attack film is a fun fright flick that showcases some very brutal gator attacks and likable characters. Many times in the movie both Juliet and my cousin Stephen jumped showing the film did back some scares. The downside to this film was not anything about the film itself but the other people in our row who talked almost the whole movie!! The film did good for Paramount at the American Box Office bringing in $39,014,193.00 on a budget of $13.5 showing that lower budget Horror does make money. Well worth seeing and owning on DVD for those who love physical media like I do.

# 15

A new phone app is sweeping the nation that tells you the exact day and time you will die. Young nurse Quinn Harris downloads it when a patient shows her the app that says he will die the time he would go into surgery. Now Quinn is starting to see demonic things as her death date is getting closer and she cannot get the app off her phone. Along her countdown she enlists the help of a cellphone dealer, a weird priest, a young man who also downloaded the app and even her very own young sister who has also made the mistake. Will Quinn out smart this demonic app and save all the lives that are on the line or will she become just another victim to the growing list? This was a pretty fun film that brought together tech and classic biblical demons that felt like it could have been right at home in the late 90’s Horror releases. The film did pretty good for STX Entertainment bringing in $$25,569,747 on a budget of $6.5 million. I really enjoyed this one and will own it on DVD when it is released.

# 14

Miles was born a special child with high intelligence, but he seems to be having a very hard time making friends and interacting with kids his own age. And worse, he seems to be getting more and more aggressive even leaving painful traps for his babysitter and attacking a fellow student in class. Soon his mother finds out that the spirit of a serial killer has entered her son at birth and wants to finish a kill he started. ow she must find a way to save her son’s soul and rid the world of this killer once and for all. This is a pretty great possession/evil kid Horror Movie that brings some solid spooky moments as Miles has very sinister things on his mind and acts on his urges to hurt and kill others. The film also was a great way to see the Orion logo once more on the big screen, and the film really did feel like one that would have been right at home in the early 80’s. The film did only so-so for Orion Pictures at the US Boxoffice bringing in $14,852,586.00 on a budget of only $6 million. While this film might not be ground breaking when it comes to the killer kid Horror genre, it still was a fun watch at the cinema and one I own on DVD.

# 13

Zoey Davis is selected to take part of an Escape Room along with a group of strangers that is put on by a big company called Minos, but once the game starts, the group soon find out that the rooms are designed to kill those who don’t solve the puzzle. Now Zoey and her fellow players must use their sharp minds in order to survive and find out who is responsible for this twisted game. This was the first Horror Movie for the cinema in 2019 and was a great way to start the year as it was a thrilling PG-13 SAW inspired flick. The film also keeps you as the viewer on the edge of your seat wondering how the characters were going to escape each death trap room. The film did well for Sony at the Box Office here in America bringing in $57,005,601.00 on a budget of $9 million. The film leaves itself open for a sequel, and I hope they do one as there is more to tell about Minos and their deadly escape rooms. It’s worth owning on home media if you’re a fan of this style of Horror.

# 12

Maggie Thompson is the new girl in a small town in Ohio, and she quickly makes friends who like to hang out and drink, but being to young to buy alcohol they end up meeting Sue Ann Ellington (who likes to be called Ma), an older woman who ends him helping them get alcohol and allows the teens to party in her basement. But while it starts out fun, things soon turn weird when Ma is not what she appears and is a woman with lots of mental issues, secrets, lies and has set her sights on revenge and control on those she feels have wronged her! Blumhouse and Universal once more team up and deliver a highly entertaining Horror Thriller where the films villain is both evil and yet you do feel bad for her throughout. Octavia Spencer is fantastic in the role of Ma, and I really hope that a sequel or even a prequel is made to allow her to return to the role. The film did pretty well for Universal at the US Box Office bringing in $45,373,120.00 on a budget of only $5 million! This is worth owning on DVD, and when released I bought it for my collection.

# 11

Brandon Breyer is adopted by Tori and Kyle, but from any orphanage as he really came from a rocket that fell from the sky and on his 12 birthday he starts to change and the sweet boy they raised has turned into a egotistical super powered being who wants to take over the world and will silence anyone who stands in his way. With deaths and missing persons piling up around them, the Breyer’s must figure out a way to stop their son who is really a monster. This film is almost like a ‘’What If” Superman was evil story and is really a fantastic watch as the tension is high and the character of Brandon Breyer is so cold that he truly is scary. Elizabeth Banks who plays Tori Breyer does a fantastic job as well as being the voice of reason for Brandon and the one who keeps him slightly in line and keeps his raging evil powers in check…well at least hidden. The film is gory in spots with some of the kills being brutal and gross, and this was refreshing in a world filled with Paranormal Horror Films. I for one hope this film does get a sequel as I would love to see how the world will fight back against Brandon, and the film’s credits tease that there are more like him in the world with different powers and how would they fit in…so come on Gunn family give as a sequel. The film did really well at the US Box Office for Sony brining in $17,300,439.00 on a budget of only $6 million. So if you like Superhero films as well as Horror, do yourself a favor and make sure to see this one as I even rushed out to get it once on home media!

# 10

Andy and his young mom have had to move back to the city she grew up in when they fall on hard times. Andy is having a hard time making friends, and the cop who visits his mom down the hall is the only one he is making. But things change when, for his birthday, Andy gets a Buddi doll that is defective, but still makes him the talk of the school and he makes friends as they use the doll to pull off pranks…you see the doll that is very high tech and can learn and move and is named Chucky! When Chucky feels that Andy is being wronged or that someone is standing in the way of their friendship, he takes bloody revenge on them as he learns to murder by watching horror movies. But when Andy wants nothing to do with Chucky, the doll is mad and wants revenge and sets up a bloody showdown at the department store his mom works for that leaves several dead, many injured and a son fighting for the life of his own mother. This remake is very familiar and yet also very different as Chucky this time around is a computer powered doll who is sinister, but does not hold a candle to the classic Chucky who was the reanimated spirit of a serial killer. Mark Hamill does great as the voice of Chucky, and Audrey Plaza plays the mom and is fantastic. The film also has some good kills and has a them song sung by Hamill that will be stuck in your head for days. The film did okay for United Artists at the American Box Office bringing in $29,208,403.00 on a budget of $10 million. While not in the same ballpark as the original, I was still very much amused by this remake and was a fun popcorn film at the Cranberry Cinema. When released, I  bought it on DVD to join my Child’s Play movie collection.

# 9

Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita and Little Rock are back years after the events of the first film and have made a home for themselves in the White House, and life is a normal as it can be with zombies all around them. But things change when Columbus purposes to Wichita. Things get crazy again as she and Little Rock run away stealing the car again! While heartbroken, the pair go shopping and Columbus meets Madison, a young ditzy blonde, and the pair start to date. But Wichita shows back up and informs them that Little Rock has ran away with a hippie and they need to get her back! Now with emotions high Wichita leads Tallahassee, Columbus and Madison on a quest to save Little Rock that leads them all over from Graceland to a Sanctuary that is weaponless! In a world filled with zombies and weirdo people, this mission is dangerous and funny and made a great sequel to this Horror Comedy. Woody Harrelson is funny and fantastic as always, having Rosario Dawson as an owner of an Elvis Hotel was a nice touch as she as well is great. One of the funniest actors in the film is Zoey Deutch who plays the ditzy Madison as she cracked me up! The film is packed with good jokes, zombie kills and over all was a great popcorn film. The film did alright for Sony at the U.S. Box Office as on a budget of $42 million it brought in $72,785,288.00! This was a fun sequel and one I will own on DVD when released, and I do hope they make another film in the series.

# 8

Tree Gelbman’s life is going good as she has broken the cycle she was in and had stopped her killer for good…but things get bad for her again as she is once more stuck in living the cycle of her birthday and murder…but there is a twist as this time around she finds herself not the main target and stuck on a loop in another reality where her mother is alive but her boyfriend is dating Whitney, her main frenemy! Now Tree must choose to stop the killer in this new world and stay to be with her Mom or go back to her own reality and be with her boyfriend! The choice hard, and the Baby Face Masked Killer is on the loose what is Tree to do? This is a very fun sequel that blends elements of Horror, Comedy and Sci-Fi together to make for a fun ride to figure out who the killer is and what will Tree do when it comes to her decision. Sadly this film did not do overly great at the US Box Office for Universal as it brought in $28,051,045.00 on a budget of only $9 million…yeah Universal was not pleased even though the film made a profit and sadly it looks like the third film is now in limbo. But if you liked the first film and enjoy the replaying world around Tree, this is one you must see, and yep bought it when released on home media.

# 7

Young Adelaide separates from her family on Coney Island and finds herself in a hall of mirrors when a thunderstorm knocks out the power and she sees a reflection of herself that seems to have a mind of its own. Years later Adelaide is married to Gabe Wilson, has two kids and they are about to vacation near Coney Island and her memories of that night are making her uncomfortable. And her worries are corrects as attacks start to take place all around by what appears to doppelgangers of the victims, and when Adelaide and her family come face to face with twisted versions of themselves, they must fight to stay alive! This second Horror Movie by Jordon Peele is a really cool mind bending journey that not only tries to scare you but also tries to enforce that nothing is stronger that a family bond. The film has some great twists and turns, and I will not spoil them here for you, but do yourself a favor and check this one out. The film does a great job of blending humor into the blood horror and the pacing is excellent. The film did outstanding for Universal at the American Box Office bringing in a total of $174,702,345.00 on a budget of $20 million. This was the highest grossing Horror movie of 2019 and really does show Horror is back being a draw at the cinema! I bought this fright flick as well on DVD when released.

# 6

Danny Torrance is an adult now and the events of the Overlook Hotel have left him a drunken mess with no direction in life, that is until he drifts his way into a small town and finds friends, a job and the help he needs. He also uses his shining power to make friends with a young girl named Abra Stone, and life seems to be going good as he also learns how to capture and lock away all the spirits from the Hotel that have tormented him for years. But both Danny and Abra’s life is about to change as Rose The Hat, a cult leader who has her followers feed off the psychic powers of folks with The Shining, is on the track of Abra who has so much power. ow Danny and Abra must fight back in the real world as well as the spiritual, and this fight leads them all back to the Overlook Hotel for a showdown that will leave you chilled and thrilled. This sequel to The Shining is really well done and Ewan McGregor as the adult Danny Torrance delivers a top-notch performance. Rebecca Ferguson as Rose The Hat is creepy, and in my opinion one of the best villains in Horror Cinema this year. The film for some reason did very poorly for Warner Brothers at the Box Office here in America bringing in only $31,488,764.00 on a budget of around $55 million. I’m not sure why this film did not do well as it was a fun Horror Thriller ride that delivered some good scare moments and likable and frighting characters. I will own once out on home media as I would like to watch this one again sooner than later.

# 5

Grace is marring Alex who is part of the Le Domas board game empire, and while the family is odd, she loves her soon to be husband, and after the wedding she is told that the family plays a weird game as a family to welcome her into their fold…the game is picked at a blind random by Grace and unlucky for her its Hide And Seek as this means while she hides the family armed with weapons hunt her down to kill her! You see their family made a packed with a Devil that if that card is drawn they must kill the person as a sacrifice or they themselves will die by morning light! Now Grace must fight to escape with her life from a family that is crazy and are fighting for theirs! This is a great Horror Thriller that even adds a dash of Comedy to bring entertainment to the viewers. Samara Waving is great as Grace and is a hero I found myself cheering for the whole film as she fights back, in fact she is the female hero the genre needed this year! The film I should also say has some great kills and adds in that supernatural element to make for a soon to be cult classic for sure. The film did pretty well for Fox at the U.S. Box Office as on a budget of only $5 million the film brought in $28,901,546.00! While it could be a stand alone movie I do hope that it gets a sequel as I would like to see were the story goes with The Devil and his deals. And of course when released on DVD I got it for my collection and think you should get yourself a copy as well.

# 4

Judy Warren is left with a babysitter while her parents Ed and Lorraine are out. Her babysitter is Mary Ellen and her friend Daniela Rios decide to bake a cake for Judy as her birthday is coming up, but things for not go well once Daniela goes into the Warrens room filled with cursed objects and touches things and even opens the case that houses the evil doll Annabelle! After doing this the three young ladies are in for a night of terror as Annabelle awakens many of the ghosts and demons that were trapped in that room and they want nothing more then to torment and kill with the likes of such creatures as a werewolf, The Bride and The Ferryman running loose looking for souls. Now Judy must be as brave as her parents and return and lock Annabelle into her case to stop this madness before it’s to late! This film has some good twists and turns as you learn lots about Judy Warrens as well as why Daniela touched the cursed items, this third film in the Annabelle series is well done and adds more to the story of this cursed doll. The film did well for New Line Cinema at the U.S. Box Office bringing in $74,152,591.00 on a budget of around $32 million. Another great film in The Conjuring universe that delivers some very amazing evil sprits with The Ferryman being the best in my opinion!

# 3

Anna Tate-Garcia is a single mother and a caseworker who stumbles upon a client who has locked her kids into a closet with bruises on their body and this sparks for them to be taken away from their mother. Once in custody the kids have a fear of a woman…but not their mother and when they are found drowned in a nearby stream while in care their mother is blamed for the killings and is arrested. But things get worse when Anna and her own children soon find themselves being marked by La Llorona who is an evil sprit who was responsible for killing the kids in the stream as well as hundreds of others over the decades and now wants to murder Anna’s kids! Now Anna must find a way to save her kids before they end up just another number in the body count of La Llorona! This supernatural horror flick is part of The Conjuring universe and is filled with creepy moments and lots of jump scares that truly bring the classic Mexican legend to the big screen, that is perfectly casted and has a suspenseful pace. This movie did well for New Line Cinema at the US Box Office bringing in $54,733,739.00 on a budget of $9 million dollars showing that New Line is a very solid player in the Horror World again. This film is worth seeing for those who like The Conjuring films, enjoy the Weeping Woman Legend and who get scared from Supernatural Horror. Worth owning as I bought on DVD when released.

# 2

Years have passed and Pennywise The Dancing Clown has not been seen, until 23 years after the Losers Club brought him down in Derry, Maine. Now much older and forgetting the pas must reunite in back in Derry and try and end Pennywise once and for all, but this time this killer clown is fighting back and wants to end the Losers Club before they end him. This is yet another amazing, scary and spooky film based on the hit novel written by Stephen King. This second chapter is filled with some very nasty kills and moments and brings a feel of dread throughout it, not to even mention that Bill Skarsgard is once more fantastic as Pennywise and brings a real mean spirit to the character. What really works for this film is that it flows so well with Chapter 1 and the elements of youth and adulthood facing a terror are done so well. It’s crazy to thank that Warner Brothers and New Line Cinema are climbing back to the top when it comes to making Horror Movies with its only other main rival being Universal! The film did great for WB bringing in $211,593,228.00 on a budget of $79 million at the American Box Office. IT Chapter Two is a fantastic film that almost took my # 1 spot and was only slightly edged out, and yes worth owning on home media for sure.

# 1

Godzilla King Of The Monsters is one of those films that critics and online “fans” doomed at the Box Office with their over trashing and poor scores…but I for one say ignore all that nonsense and never trust Rotten Tomatoes and make up your own mind on films. This film as Monarch in trouble over not sharing with the world about all the Titans that live among us, and worse a terrorist group has decided to wake them up with the hopes they will destroy mankind and become the rulers of the world once more! So they wake up Mothra, Rodan, Ghidorah among others….and the worlds only hope is Godzilla who needs to defend his thrown as Alpha when Ghidorah decides he wants to rule all the monsters and make the Earth in his own vision. In other words it’s Godzilla vs. Ghidorah with Rodan and Mothra injecting themselves into the fight! Add in the drama of Monarch and the terrorist group with a dash of family drama between a husband, wife and daughter and you have one entertaining film! The film stars the likes of Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, Millie Bobby Brown and Ken Watanabe who all do fantastic and the score from Bear McCreary is amazing! This sequel to the 2014 film makes major improvements and delivers a good Kaiju film that is filled with some cool fights as well as badass monsters. The film sadly did not do great for Warner Brothers here in America bringing in only $110,500,138.00 on a massive budget of $170 million. While the negative modern Horror Fans may have trashed it on their social media those who go into movies to be Entertained and don’t spend the whole movies runtime looking for flaws enjoyed the hell out of it. Worth owning for sure!

2019 was filled with lots of great films and it was amazing to see all of the listed above in the theaters with my friends at all the different cinemas. I must say this year in Horror Movies was really good filled with so many good ones with only one being on the border of being one of the worst films I have seen in a very long time. But as you can see the usher is here and wants to clean up all the spilled drinks and popcorn from the floor, so I think it’s time for us to wrap up this review and before we go, I want to let you know that my next update is going to take us to an evil cursed house as we talk about Ju-On as the new film in the American Grudge series is in theaters now. So until next time watch a movie or three and support your local theater. See you next time to settle a Grudge.

The Holiday Challenge Of The Go-Bots!

As I have said many times here at Rotten Ink in the early and mid 80’s robots ruled the world for kids as so many cartoons, toys, comics, video games, model kits and movies showcased them and the young and young at heart could not get enough. For many the King of 80’s cartoon/toy robots are the Transformers followed by Voltron…but for me the top are the Go-Bots! Yeah I know many of you are laughing out loud and saying how in the world could you put the Go-Bots over Transformers, Voltron, Robo Force and the answer is very simple as I liked the fact they were in scale with my G.I. Joe’s and Star Wars figures plus I liked many of the characters like Leader-1, Scooter and Cy-Kill! For me this update is lots of fun to cover and write about as The Go-Bots deserve way more respect than they get from toy collectors and it’s about time they get a proper comic book series! I also want to remind you all that Go-Bots was my # 5 out of 10 for my Should Have Been A Star Comic way back in 2013 and it took till 2018 for IDW to make this happen! So if you’re ready to take a trip down memory lane and chat about the Go-Bots lets get to it!

Go-Bots hit toy shelves in 1983 thanks to Tonka Toys who was able to get molds from a Japanese toy company Popy who had a series called Machine Robo that was going strong there. Tonka wanted to cash in on the Robot-Mania that was going strong in America and taken an unknown toy series and rebranding it for the US market seemed like a quick and easy way to cash in and deliver a cool toy line for kids who would buy them up. And this worked as Go-Bots became a pretty popular toy brand and had a good following with youngsters who enjoyed these simple changing robots who were in scale with their Star Wars and G.I. Joe figures. These guys also ended up getting their own cartoon series in order to help push the toys and give the figures more character. The figures like all good 80’s toys had good guys called Guardians that were lead by Leader-1 who could turn into a jet and the Renegades lead by the motorcycle transformer bot called Cy-Kill and they were bitter enemies who lead their respected sides into battle and every day life. But Go-Bots time at being the most loved changing robot figures was cut short when America was blessed with Transformers both as toys and a cartoon in 1984 and they dominated pretty much ever sense when it came to robot action figures. The figures even though loosing the grip of being must have transforming robot toys for kids survived until 1987 when the final GoBots were released. Tonka sold the Go-Bots to Hasbro in 1991 and that is were the brand is still to this day, even having modern figures that were made for very youngsters. While they might not be as respected nor collected like Transformers the Go-Bots are still a very cool toy and cartoon brand that was spawned in the 80’s! I for one remember using the figures in my toy wars and Leader-1 was always in the planning room with Luke Skywalker, Buck Rogers, Captain Kirk and First Sergeant Duke!

Hanna-Barbera in 1983 to go along side the toys made a cartoon mini series to help push the figures and give the characters a backstory as well as personalities. The main series “Challenge Of The Go-Bots” started in 1984 and lasted 65 episodes with 2 seasons and ended in 1985! The episodes followed the war between the good guys lead by Leader-1 as they try and stop the evil ways of Cy-Kill and his band of evil bots! Each episode ran for 22 minutes and was made by Hanna-Barbera Productions and was a semi popular cartoon for the time. I mostly remember it airing in reruns on USA Cartoon Express on the USA Network, and with this sparked my love for the figures even more! It’s crazy as just like the figures the cartoon is often over looked and forgotten about as it’s our shadowed by Transformers even in the toon world, and while the cartoon is great and I have lots of great memories of watching it…I must admit that the Transformers toon is a better show over all. The cartoon has been released on VHS as well as on DVD and are worth watching if you grew up with the Go-Bots as its are true blast from the past viewing.

A short time after the Challenge Of The Go-Bots ended Hanna-Barbera Productions and Clubhouse Pictures teamed up and made “Go-Bots: Battle Of The Rock Lords” an animated movie that hit theaters in March 21, 1986! The film is about robotic transforming rock people from space who need help from Leader-1 and the Guardians to return to their planet and overthrow the evil Rock Lord Magmar who is killing his own kind to get their power sceptres! And of course Cy-Kill joins the fight and helps Magmar and his evildoers. The film did very poorly at the Box Office here in the US only taken in $1,338,264.00 and worse critics and fans alike also trashed the film as they thought it was a poorly made family flick….not to mention “Transformers: The Movie” was also released that year and once more it out shadowed Go-Bots in another medium…is it just me or do you feel like Transformers was the bully of robot properties in the 80s? GoBots: Battle Of The Rock Lords was released on VHS and has yet to get a proper DVD or Blu-Ray release here in America. While it might be the weakest of the 80’s toy line movies released it still is a flick that entertained fans of the Go-Bots. I can remember renting this movie on VHS and liking it, but it sadly was a shell of a film compared to “He-Man & She-Ra: Secret Of The Sword”, “G.I. Joe: The Movie” and “Transformers: The Movie” all that are amazing watches and captured the mood and feel of the toys and cartoon series that spawned them.

Growing up I had lots of Go-Bots that I would get from stores, garage sales and even trades with fellow kids and they seen lots of play as I really did like them, while I know they are very basic in their transforming features but they held a special place in my toy collection. I had many favorites as Cy-Kill and Turbo were at the top but for me the best figure was Leader-1 as he just was such a cool figure as both robot and jet and he was always a major part in my Toy Wars and always looked after the droids during battle. As I got older many of my toys were donated to my cousins and in that batch was my Leader-1 figure and while I am glad he made them happy and they were able to have adventures with him, he was one figure I missed. But lucky for me while at Mavericks Cards And Comics one day they had a near mint one for very cheap so I was able to get one back and now he sits on a shelf at my job looking over the store. I can remember many of my friends growing up who had Go-Bots always mentioned Leader-1 as one of their favorite figures from the line. So if you grew up with the Go-Bots or still love them to this day leave me a comment and let me know what character was your favorite.

Also besides the toys and cartoon the Go-Bots also spawned lots of cool merchandise over the years for the fans to get their hands on and for them to bring in extra money for the brand. They have and had Halloween costumes, magazines, posters, home media, lunch boxes, shirts, computer game, comic books, books, soundtrack, coloring books, card game, board game and so much more! Over the years I have had many of these items like the cartoon on VHS, a T-Shirt of Leader-1, some of the books, coloring books & magazines and of course I have the comics from IDW as they are the main attraction of this update! So if you are a fan of Go-Bots there is some great stuff out there for you to collect.

I have worked for both a Comic Book store as well as several Media stores and a topic that has came up at many is the Go-Bots or Transformers talk and I have always found it very interesting as in all the talks I have been apart of most have a very weird hatred for GoBots as the fans of the Transformers are very rabid when it comes to the honor of their favorite changing robots, and to be honest besides myself I can only think of one other coworker who would take up for them during these topics. One phrase that is said so much during talks is that Go-Bots were the K-Mart versions of the Transformers, and to me this is a silly statement as while they might not have been as detailed nor as popular they were released before and did bring transforming robots into the minds and hands of the kids to pave the way for the Transformers. Plus most modern mass market Transformers in my opinion are really junky and are bargain basement level toys. So I also need to stress I love Transformers and grew up watching the cartoons, playing with the toys as well as reading the Marvel Comics and they were a major part of my youth, I just want to take up for Go-Bots as they seem to always get the short end of the stick when it comes to respect for them when it came to 80s toys and cartoons. Plus the art below is pretty great and well played to whom ever the artist is!

So as you can see I am a fan of Go-Bots and I know many of you readers are or were a fan at one point and had at least one in your collection. So now lets get to the comic reviews and I want to thank IDW for making them and Mavericks Cards And Comic for stocking them. And for me this is really a great way to start the countdown to Christmas Eve as Go-Bots really does make me flashback to my youth. I want to remind all you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready like I am, as I have wanted a comic series based on the world of Go-Bots sense I was a youngster and now its time to finally read one.

GO-BOTS # 1  ***
Released in 2018     Cover Price $3.99     IDW     # 1 of 5

The Go-Bots are leaving among humans now and Leader-1 and human Mark are one secret missions to save prisoners of war. Scooter along with his human friend A.J are hanging around and while she is at classes he is getting paid to drive people around to get extra money for A.J. And the world’s top sport now is racing Go-Bots and Turbo and his human rider Matt Hunter are champions of that sport. And after winning the big race Matt and Turbo are approached by. T. Coriander Banks who takes them to an underground fight arena and the witness Cy-Kill kill other Go-Bots and robots. And Matt and Turbo soon find that Banks has tricked them and wants them to fight with Cy-Kill and they decline and barely escape alive. They return to the site of the arena and everyone is gone besides dead bodies of Go-Bots and Humans! Meanwhile Mark and Leader-1 get a new mission to stop a rouge band of Go-Bots and once found Leader-1 is tricked and all his programing and codes stolen by Cy-Kill who is running the pack of evil Go-Bots as he wants to kill all the humans and rule the world! A.J meanwhile goes to have a quick meal with her teacher Professor Braxis who informs her that he as well has his own Go-Bot and shoves her into his basement were she see’s Vamp who approaches to attack when Scooter busts in and saves her and roughs up the Professor who claims he was just joking. Once outside the world is going crazy as the Go-Bots have turned on humans due to the stolen codes and A.J asks Scooter if he is going to turn on her as he stands with his fist clinched.

This first issue shows that Go-Bots are not just kid’s toys anymore as this issue is filled with murder and death plus does a great job of building this comic universe. The plot of the comic has the Go-Bots being programed to obey humans and work alongside them and for our entertainment and when Cy-Kill the evil robot decides he wants to take over the world he and his followers start a Go-Bot revelation and turn on the humans they once served. And all of this is set in motion when Leader-1 is tricked and defeated and all his secrets and codes stolen. Leader-1 and his human friend Mark are heroes who help our government in secret missions and really is a hero who don’t care to take a human life in order to save those who are in need…that is as long as Mark allows it. Scooter and Turbo as well are good bots that as well have befriended humans and seem to do their best to protect both Matt and A.J who are their pals. This far hands down my favorite good Go-Bot is Leader-1 as I find him to be smart, brutal and yet noble. Cy-Kill is as evil as ever as he does not mind killing his fellow Go-Bots as well as humans and robots and wants nothing better than to kills anyone who opposes him on his quest to take over the world. Very evil Cy-Kill is and the perfect bad guy for this series and really is a baddie that you can fear and I look forward to see just how bad he will get as more issues are released. To be honest I have read lots of IDW comics based on toys/cartoons over the years and I must say that Go-Bots # 1 is the best I have read and really makes me hyped for this series as a whole. The cover I have is very eye catching and showcases Leader-1 who is the true icon of the Go-Bots. The interior art is done by Tom Scioli who also wrote the script and at first I was a little “blah” on the artwork when seen in previews but once reading the full book I must say I really liked it and I feel he captured the look of the characters as well as has a dash of the old school yet has a modern and updated feel. So lets see what issue two has in store for us.

GO-BOTS # 2  ***
Released in 2018     Cover Price $3.99       IDW       # 2 of 5

Cy-Kill listens as Screw Head who tells of how he and a human were working in a dangerous mind that ended up taking the like of the human and leaving the robot hurt showing mankind does not care about the Go-Bots! This sets Cy-Kill off who demands some of his followers to dump Leader-1 in a junkyard as he and his crew cause chaos and damage that will hurt mankind. Meanwhile we find out that Scooter fights the urge to attack and tries to get A.J. to safety and they end up running into Turbo and his driver Matt Hunter and they quickly know that they will have to all stick together as they are found by police Go-Bots who want to break up these do gooders. Meanwhile Leader-1 barely escapes being crushed and kills his captives and is now our for revenge. Scooter and Turbo ditch the police bots and make their way to Tonka as they hope to find a patch that can fix all this and meet a programer and his forklift Go-Bot Spoons and are informed that this has nothing to do with the chip and is all about the fact the Go-Bots are having a revolution! Once outside A.J., Matt, Scooter and Turbo figure out that they must fight to live and find T. Coriander Banks who is dying and admits he is the cause of this all and as he dies the evil GoBots attack Turbo and Scooter who fight for their lives as well as of their human friends. As things look bad for our heroes they are saved from death when Leader-1 and a band of good bots show up to take on Cy-Kill and his renegades as the humans also make their play with the army! As Leader-1 and Cy-Kill have a bloody fight that leaves them both injured its Leader-1 that comes out the winner and he is surrounded by both sides who want them to lead them…one sides wants to get things back the way it was with humans in charge while the other side want to take over…what is Leader-1 to do.

This second issue is fantastic and brings GoBots to a whole new level as the Renegades as cold blooded and enjoy not only killing humans but also fellow robots who are loyal to mankind. The plot of this issue has Cy-Kill leading his Renegades to war with the humans as Turbo and Scooter along with their humans try to survive and almost are killed until the once injured Leader-1 shows up and wins a massive battle that now leaves him with a decision to make on to help mankind or be loyal to his own GoBots who are sick of being used and taken advantage of by man. I love that this issue leaves us on a cliffhanger that leaves the hero Leader-1 with a decision that will change the lives of many and will give him not only power, but will also make him a hated figure as he will not be able to please both sides. Leader-1 in this one is a hero who steps up and becomes the warrior we all know that he is, plus I love that even with his face cut halfway off and bleeding like a stuck pig he never gave up and was able to defeat a well more rested Cy-Kill. Speaking of Cy-Kill he is 100% cold blooded and gets joy out of killing and loves that his followers do so blindly and do whatever he says. Turbo shows that he as well is a fighter and even with the odds against him is willing to fight to save his human friend as well as do what he thinks is right, meanwhile Scooter is kind of a chicken who is by no means a fighter and quickly begs for his life when things go bad. I also love that Tonka is the company who make the GoBots and they through up their hands when things go bad and say well people should have treated them better! And somehow I feel this is a hidden message for toy collectors who always seem to trash GoBots and treat them like they are generic dollar store toys. The cover for this issue is great and showcases Cy-Kill and the interior art is great and done by Tom Scioli, again his style has grown on me. So lets move onto issue three and see what Leader-1 decides and if Cy-Kill will once more rise to cause an issue for humans and robots alike.

GO-BOTS # 3  **1/2
Released in 2019      Cover Price $3.99       IDW       # 3 of 5

On GoBotron the planet of the Go-Bots and under the rule of Leader-1 is being visited by a group of astronauts from Earth who is with space shuttle bot Spay-C and are attacked by Zod a massive dinosaur robot who is the terror of the planet! And before the attack Leader-1 and his followers chase Zod off and take Spay-C prisoner and it’s clear that Leader-1 is running his world with an iron fist as he sets Spay-C to be reprogramed the next day, and the astronauts are lucky enough to escape, and they risk their lives to save him. Leader-1 has a vision and returns to ask Spay-C to help him and his followers and as they start their journey they are attacked by Cy-Kill who once more has followers and has also got Zod as an ally and this causes Leader-1 and his crew to flee to space but the renegades give chase, but are tricked and left behind. Leader-1 and his group hyperspace to the other side of the planet and Leader-1 explains that the item they seek is here, as the enter the inner layer of the planet its clear its not like the above world as this one is covered in rocks and sand and Spay-C runs off only to fall and become injured, he is later found by Turbo and Scooter who share with the astronauts that Leader-1 is not the kind Go-bot he claims to be, and as Spay-C tries to attack Turbo the astronauts run off and find Rocklords as well as that the planet they are on is Earth!

This issue takes place way after the events of issue 1 & 2 and has Leader-1 ruling over the world and is paranoid about his enemies trying to over throw his rule, but while once noble he is now more unfair and has no issues killing those who do not follow as well will brainwash to get allies. And when he meets a Go-Bot from space he thinks that he has the answer of how to bring peace to the worlds, but of course Cy-Kill and the Renegades want to rise to power and will do whatever they can to stop this quest. In this issue Leader-1 really is not a nice robot as he comes off as a crazed paranoid leader who will do whatever it takes to keep his power…and this makes him very dangerous. Cy-Kill is as power crazy as ever and seems like he will not stop until he takes over. Zod who is a massive dinosaur robot that is such a killer that all the Go-Bots fear him, plus once he joins forces with Cy-Kill all bets are off! Spay-C is an interesting character who goes from protecting his human friends to drinking the Kool-Aid that Leader-1 is forcing on him. The true hero of this series is Turbo who really is the one who watches after humas as well as his fellow Go-Bots like Scooter, he really is the most heroic bot of this series this far. I like also how in this issue the Go-Bots under the rule of Leader-1 build their own world GoBotron over Earth causing the world as we know it to be forever changed. The series has taken a real downbeat turn as it’s clear that there are very few heroes left and the world is filled with lots of greys that seem to be only looking out for themselves. The cover for the issue I have is pretty cool and showcases Spay-C and the interior art is great and done by Tom Scioli again. I do also want to say that while I enjoyed this issue it’s story does seem a little disjointed and that hurts it slightly when it comes to the star rating. But while flawed still highly entertaining and I cannot wait to see what issue four has in store for me.

GO-BOTS # 4  ***
Released in 2019     Cover Price $3.99       IDW       # 4 of 5

The astronauts are shocked and sadden by the fact Earth is now a shell that is the underbelly of a world created by the Go-Bots. Turbo meets up with the humans and forces Spay-C to explain what happened to the world and he lets them know that he has been looking out for them as from space he witnessed the destruction and was waiting to wake them from sleep chambers when things got better…but they never did. As Turbo shows the astronauts the remaining humans who have devolved Cy-Kill and the renegades appear and snatch up some humans causing Turbo and Spay-C to spring into action and save some of them. But the Renegades drop Zod who is ready to kill all in his way, and during the drop the ground shakes and Leader-1 has a vision of the Go-Bot God named Courageous and sets his way to find the Lazer Lance a staff he thinks can kill Zod and stop this fighting once and for all. After the explosion Spay-C is down for the count and Leader-1 runs into Turbo and Scooter and tries to call for a truce and asks them to help him find the Lance so they can all defeat their enemies, and Scooter knows the location! So they all climb to a skull cave and even have a run in with some of the Rock Lords, but once in the cave the run into Professor Braxis who is old and crazy and has created an army of Vamps who attack Leader-1, Turbo, Scooter and the rest of the Go-Bots but lucky for everyone during this fight the Lazer Lance is found and the Vamps flee as Leader-1 goes outside with lance in hand just as Zod and Cy-Kill and the rest of the Renegades appear! Just as Leader-1 is about to use the Lazer Lance it’s taken from him by Cy-Kill who breaks it and all looks bad for our heroes until the Rock Lords help them and cause all the Renegades to fall into a pit! Leader-1, Turbo, Scooter and the repaired Spay-C with the astronauts all join forces and use the damaged Lazer Lance to take down Zod once and for all as he explodes and causes a massive earthquake! As they regroup they notice the Go-Bots Command Center approaching and it open fire and many blasts hit Leader-1 and it even beams up Scooter and other Go-Bots…and we learn that Cy-Kill and the Renegades are the ones controlling the massive ship, and Turbo and Spay-C decide to go on a suicide mission to try and get Scooter back as the Go-Bots mourn what looks like the death of Leader-1.

This fourth issue is a great read and one heck of a great chapter in this mini series! This issues plot has Leader-1 still on his vision quest to get a lance that is his only hope to finally stop Zod, but along the way he must face Cy-Kill and his band of evil doers as well as make peace with Turbo, Scooter and the Rock Lords! Leader-1 in this issue comes off a creepy, crazed cult leader who has a vision and makes his followers follow him on a quest blindly. While in this issue Leader-1 starts off a little power crazed, by the end I think he is starting to realize that he has become a monster himself and tries to rebuild a friendship with the likes of Turbo and Scooter. And while Leader-1 was gunned down at the end of this issue and it looks like he is dead…I am going to say he is not and will be back for the 5th and final issue in the mini series. Turbo once more is the real hero as he looks out for his now dimwitted friend Scooter, is man enough to put his fight with the Go-Bots aside in order to bring down Zod. Cy-Kill is a psychopath who guns down and kills many Go-Bots, tortures humans for his own amusement and is just as power hungry as Leader-1 as he wants to rule the world. Spay-C in the issue comes around and fights on the side of good, glad to see him have a bound with Scooter and Turbo. Oh I also really like that Cop-Tur tries to step up and challenge Leader-1 to become the leader and gets his block knocked off…great stuff! One element I also found very interesting in this issue is the addition of Courageous who is a God like figure for the bots, I also like that the Rock Lords are around and have been created by the “Gods” and they are the more pure versions of the Go-Bots. While the story again jumps oddly in spots it is a great read that is packed with action, drama and even some cool cliffhangers. The cover I have is a little weak and does not do this issue justice. And like before Tom Scioli did the interior art and does a fantastic job. So with that lest see what the final issue in this mini series has in store for us, and most important lets see what the fate of Leader-1 is!

GO-BOTS # 5  ***
Released in 2019     Cover Price $3.99       IDW       # 5 of 5

Spay-C drops Turbo off on the command center that has been taken over by Cy-Kill and his Renegades in order to get his friend Scooter back and bashes and smashes all that get in his way. He finally makes it to the control room and confronts Cy-Kill and gives him a choice fight him and die or let Scooter go and let them leave…Cy-Kill decides to fight and his gunned down. Turbo finds Scooter and the pair try and leave but are found by Crasher who ends up becoming allies with them and both want to end this war that was started by Leader-1 and Cy-Kill! The newly allied Go-Bots return to Earth and Spay-C and some of the Humans are going to try time travel while the others stay and find that the Earth has been under attacked by an army of Vamps being controlled by Professor Braxis and they meet a younger generation of Go-Bots who are now fighting this war, showing that the fighting will never end. The new Go-Bots decide to head to space and make their own world and even take the bodies of Cy-Kill and Leader-1 and rebuild them as one new Go-Bot. While the humans on Earth along with Go-Bots start their own quest to rebuild the planet and in the end Spay-C and some of the some of the astronauts return to the past to warn the world about the uprising of the Go-Bots…but like always those in power do not listen so it as it appears our future is doomed.

This mini series is fantastic and has a surprise connection that I will discuss a little later in this issue review, as it’s a big spoiler. The plot of this issue has Leader-1 dead and Turbo on a quest to save his friend Scooter from the command center that is being controlled by the coldblooded killer Cy-Kill. Once Turbo finds his enemy he kills him and saves his friend only to find that GoBotron has been attacked by Vamps and that the younger Go-Bots have grown in size and have no ties to Earth and want to make their own way on a new planet so they leave. And with that the humans that are left as well as many of the old Go-Bots must find away to rebuild the Earth that has been left in terrible shop after the rise of the Go-Bots. Turbo once more shows that he is the true hero of this series as he does not care about this war that rages on over two Go-Bots egos and just wants to save his friend and respect humans and their lives. I like the fact Turbo don’t want to be in charge and really just want the world to get along and for both humans and Go-Bots to live together. I also like that this series had the guts to kill off both Leader-1 and Cy-Kill who are the franchises two biggest characters, and this move reminds me of how they killed Optimus Prime in the Transformers Movie. I also like how the astronauts decide that they will try and make the best of the new Earth and will help and try and educate the remaining humans who have almost became cavemen again. Plus its so true to life that with major warnings of doom for the world we all share, those who have power choose not to listen as they don’t want to change their lifestyles to make a difference. Now I have to talk about the series main spoilers so if you don’t want to know skip the rest of the review…..Ok I need to stress I think that it’s amazing that the younger Go-Bots will grow to be the Transformers and that the artificial planet GoBotron will become Cybertron! That’s right we get a sneak peek of Optimus Prime who is GoBot Road Ranger as well as Bumblebee and the bodies of Leader-1 and Cy-Kill and are turned into Starscream! I love that finally someone gives Go-Bots the respect they deserve, as they are really the first major changing robot toys! The cover for this issue is cool and yet silly and has Leader-1 holding the body of Cy-Kill and I must also say again the art of Tom Scioli at first was not my cup of tea, but this series made me a fan. Check out the art below to see the style of Scioli.

Go-Bots really do make me think about my youth and Christmas time so this comic mini series was the prefect way to get me into the holiday season! I would love for IDW to do more as I feel that many other stories could be shared about Turbo, Scooter and the rest of the Go-Bots. And for the next update and our countdown to Christmas Eve I will be staying in the world of classic toys turned into comic book heroes as we will be looking at Stretch Armstrong! So until next time readers and friends read a comic or three, watch a Christmas Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a stretching good time.

The Turkey Day Labors Of Hercules!

Happy Thanksgiving friends, family and readers, and thanks for spending a part of your holiday with me here at Rotten Ink once again. As we all are sitting here waiting for the turkey, ham or whatever your main dish choice is to cook and while Football is on the TV, I want to reflect that this year will be the seventh time I have covered the one and only Greek Mythology hero Hercules. With this go round we will be covering a comic that showcases his 12 Labors! The tale of Hercules is one that I have always enjoyed, and I can remember renting many books from the library and even buying some all about Greek Mythology as it has always captured my attention as well helped fuel my creative mind, not to mention the classic Sword And Sandal films were staples of my viewing when I was a youngster. So if you’re ready to go on another Turkey Day Adventure with Hercules and myself, we should start our amazing adventure and see how Herc conquers his 12 labors and delivers another special update.

One of my favorite Hercules films of the 60’s has to be the one called “Hercules Against The Mongols” from 1963 that had Mark Forest play the role of Hercules! The film follows Hercules as he takes on the heirs of the conquerer Genghis Khan and shows why good always beats evil. But while this is a fantastic Sword and Sandal fantasy adventure film that showcases the power and noble was of Hercules, the sad fact of the matter is that this film was not originally a Herc film and was only dubbed one in the USA when distributers thought that the name meant more to movie goers than Maciste, the real hero behind this film as well as many of the Hercules, Samson and Goliath films here in America. The thing I like about this film is that Hercules takes on an army of bloodthirsty warriors who just want to conquer, take over and kill…and they don’t stand a chance against the pride of Olympus. Mark Forest makes a pretty good Hercules, and while he is now Steve Reeves, he captures the cocky hero nature of this demigod hero. This movie can be found on VHS, DVD and even plays on TV Station Comet TV from time to time, so if you love Hercules flicks, make sure to check this one out.

While we are talking about the film Hercules Against The Mongols, we should take a few moments and talk about actor Mark Forest who played the title role. Lou Degni was born on January 6, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York and began his bodybuilding career at the age of 13 as he knew that becoming a strong man was his calling. This lead to him opening his own gym in Long Island so that lifting would always be a part of his life. But during his adult life, he also tried his hand in acting and auditioned to play Tarzan in a film and did not get it but did end up taking a gig in Las Vegas playing one of Mae West’s musclemen and even helped earn his status of strongman by entering and winning weightlifting competitions including Mr. Muscle Beach in California. In 1958, the world of cinema changed when Hercules starring Steve Reeves hit cinemas around the world and the sword and sandal films became big business! And the second American actor approached to travel to Italy and make these films was Mark Forest who made his first film in 1960 with “Goliath And The Dragon” and many more would follow like “Son Of Samson” (1960), “Mole Men Against The Son Of Hercules” (1961), “The Lion Of Thebes” (1964) and “The Terror Of Rome Against The Son Of Hercules” (1964) and many more. During this time of course Lou Degni took on the stage name of Mark Forest, and this was the name he was best known for. Mark would ride the short lived popularity of the Sword and Sandal genre until the end, and afterwards got involved in opera in Italy and later became a vocal coach in California. Mark Forest is one of those classic actors that I hope someday soon Monster Bash Convention brings in so that I can meet him, while long retired from acting and weightlifting, Mark is a true legend of Cinema strongmen.

Remember in our first update about Hercules when we took a look at the DELL Comic and the Steve Reeve movies? Well we also talked about WWF Wrestler Hercules Hernandez during that update, and for this update I want to briefly talk about another Pro Wrestler who went by the ring name Hercules Ayala and was a monster of the squared circle. Hercules Ayala, whose real name is Ruben Cruz, was born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico on July 14, 1950 and upon moving to the mainland of the U.S., he meet NWA wrestler Angelo Savoldi at a gym and was trained by him to become a wrestler himself and had a very brief run in the WWWF. He then would go on to wrestle in such federations as Stampede Wrestling for around 8 years and even won the Tag Titles with Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart! Also during this run, he worked for smaller Canadian federation Lutte Internationale where he became their Heavyweight Champion beating David Shultz and losing it a month later to Abdullah The Butcher. He would return to Puerto Rico and would join WWC and as well would capture their World Title beating Randy “Macho Man” Savage! He would go on to feud with Carlos Colon and would lose a loser leaves town match in 1989 and was written off from WWC. A few years later, he would show up in AWF and become a World Champion again for a short time. He would go on from there to work sport appearances in Puerto Rico even for WWC again. While he is not a huge name here in America, he does have a big name around the world and his many title wins in many federations show that he made his mark in the world of Pro Wrestling.

So I am sure many of you readers are wondering about the Hercules Comic that I was writing and my friend Jeff Potter was doing the art for that was going to be released by Sparkle Comics as part of the Sword And Sandal Comic line…well sadly the comic has been placed on the back burner for now as the first release in the series Samson was not the mega hit we had hoped for causing some shifts in the production line, and Potter and I worked on bringing back classic superhero Black Jack back to the comic world instead! But while on the backburner for now, it does not mean that this Hercules comic is 100% dead as at some point Jeff and I will return to it and unleash it onto the indie comic reading masses as I am proud of the story I wrote and I know Potter’s art will kill it! So for those of you Hercules comic fans know that we will be releasing this comic soon it was just not in the cards for 2019. Below is some very early concept art that Potter did for the series so you can see the style we were aiming for.

So I think it’s time for this update that we take a look at the graphic novel of Hercules and the 12 labors set before him, and this one is a great pick to showcase Hercules in all his heroic glory. I want to thank Amazon for having this in stock and making this update possible. And as always I want to remind you all that I grade this comic on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s head out and see just how Hercules can complete his 12 labors!

Hercules: The Twelve Labors  **1/2
Released In 2007     Cover Price $8.95     Graphic Universe   #1 of 1

Zeus, the King of the Gods, had an affair with a mortal woman that spawned the demigod Hercules who was hated by his stepmother Hera! When Hercules was a youngster the evil Goddess even sent venomous snakes to his crib to kill him, but they were no match for his power. As an adult Hera, masking herself as Zeus, makes Hercules pledge himself to his cousin King Eurystheus who is jealous of his powerful cousin, and with Hera whispering in his ear, they come up with labors for Hercules to do. The first labor has Hercules going to Thebes and killing the man-eating lion with the thick hide with his bare hands, and when he does so, he skins the lion and makes himself a new cloak! His second labor is to go to the swamps of Lernea to take out the Hydra! Once in the swamp Hercules and his nephew figure our how to defeat the Hydra and do so. The third labor is to bring back a golden deer, that King Eurystheus thinks Hercules will kill and bring down the wrath of the gods for killing it…but Hercules is too smart and brings it back alive! After each finished task, King Eurystheus is getting more and more angry at his cousin and Hercules with ease finishes the next that are to kill a massive Boar, clean out multiple stables in a single day, chase off killer birds who are tormenting farmers, steal a angered white bull from a King, later steal a pair of horses that are being abused by a king that are now cruel and man eaters and his ninth labor has Hercules at was with the Amazon Women as he is tasked with getting the queens golden belt! And after each task King Eurystheus grows more frustrated, and Hercules himself gets more disappointed as he does not like being a thief for his greedy cousin. The tenth labor has Hercules stealing cattle from a Monster that he ends up killing. With his eleventh labor he must get a golden apple from a tree that he needs the help of Titan Atlas to do so and must switch places with him holding up the sky for a short time! With his twelfth and final labor, King Eurystheus send Hercules to Hades to bring back the three headed dog Cerberus and with the blessing of Hades, he tames the beast brings it to King Eurystheus and ends his labors!

This graphic novel is a great kid friendly read that brings the legend of Hercules alive for readers. The plot is simple and has Hercules having to do labors that are impossible for most in order to please his greedy cousin who is a King with the hopes that Herc will die as that is what Goddess Hara, who is the one who set this up, wants. Hercules is very prideful, noble and respectful to the demands of the Gods as he does what he is asked even if he disagrees with it. Plus I feel like the Hercules has the feel of Hercules from the old Sword And Sandal films, making it a very fun adventure to read. Hara is the issue’s main villain as she gets joy out of trying her best to kill and ruin Hercules and his legacy. She pushes so much for his downfall that she herself gets outsmarted by Hades who figures out that she is the one who has set this all up. The second baddie has to be King Eurystheus who is just a cruel and jealous man who hates his cousin cause he has the power and respect that he wishes he had! The side killer animals are great as well as who don’t love the Nemean Lion or Cerberus! The pacing of this graphic novel is also very fast and teaches you the story without dwelling on the small details, making it a cool action comics mixed with a little history in folklore. It’s also very cautious of showing any violence as it’s clear this is meant for all ages and to be used as a teaching comic. The cover reminds me of something you would find at a School Book Fair and is eye catching for youngsters, but not so much for adult readers. The interior art is done by Steve Kurth and is good stuff and has a real Marvel/Star Comics appeal. Over all this is a great read and one that could help get kids into Greek Mythology as it delivers a fun time. Check out the art below to see the style of Kurth!

Thanks for spending another Thanksgiving with Hercules and myself here at Rotten Ink, and as always Sword And Sandal comics will always have a home here on this site….but I am sad to say that next year will be the last time, at least for a while, that I will cover Hercules on a Thanksgiving update as I felt I have talked about almost all I can about this iconic mythology hero. Now don’t get too sad as I will continue to do Thanksgiving Day updates as many of you readers seem to enjoy them on this holiday, so next year I will be taking a look at Hercules Unbound from DC Comics and this will wrap up this tradition of Herc on Turkey Day! I hope you enjoyed this update and that you are having (or had) a great Thanksgiving as holidays with loved ones, something you should never take for granted. Our next update will start our countdown to Christmas Eve and we will be taking a look at the GoBots, those underrated changing robot toys from the 80’s! So until next time enjoy your turkey, watch a football game or two and as always cherish your loved ones. See you next update for a robotic good time!

American Hero: Rambo

Happy Independence Day 2019 to all you readers, family and friends. This is a very important holiday for Americans as this the day that we truly celebrate our Independence! On this holiday we all prepare for the fireworks and are gathered with friends and family grilling out burgers, steaks and hotdogs. Here at Rotten Ink I have been working hard to once more bring you an update about an America Hero in the world of comic book, and this year I have chosen to take a look at John J. Rambo, the iconic character of novels as well as a film series that later this year sees a fifth installment! And I feel 100% that Rambo goes alongside other American themed heroes we have covered in the past like Captain America, Fighting American and The Original Shield who all fight for freedom and deliver amazing comic adventures. So while the burgers are grilling and the gathering is going strong, let’s sit back, relax and celebrate the one and only Rambo!

Let’s talk about the book that started it all for Rambo. First Blood was a novel written by David Morrell in 1972 and was about a Vietnam Vet named John Rambo who is being harassed while hitchhiking through a small town in Kentucky and fights back when the police department treat him like scum and cause him to flashback to when he was a POW. He escapes and this causes a manhunt for him that leads to a terrible shoot out where in the end both Rambo and the sheriff meet their maker, as Rambo dies by a shotgun blast to the head at the hands of his one time commander Trautman. The novel is a dark sad twisted ride as one man who served his country is treated like a common scumbag by the hands of those he defended just because of his look and the length of his hair. The book is a great read and is worth checking out if you like war books and or like the films.

The novel was turned into a film in 1982 and starred Sylvester Stallone as Rambo and made some major changes to the story having Rambo and the Sheriff both living and Rambo going to jail in the end. The film still followed the manhunt through the woods and the stand off in the town making this open for a sequel that came in 1985 with “Rambo: First Blood Part II.” This time Rambo is asked to go back to Vietnam and take pictures of POWs but instead rescues them! “Rambo III” was released in 1988 and had him helping Afghanistan fight off Russia as they tried to invade them. This film also had Rambo fighting a tank with a bow and arrow while on horseback! 2008 saw the release of “Rambo,” the final film in the series thus far that had Rambo saving some missionaries in Burma, and proving that he is a man of honor as he also helps take down an evil general who is committing genocide on his own people. The Rambo films are all badass and rank as some of the best action/drama films ever made! I could go on and on about the films and will in a future review. I just wanted to touch up on the films for this write up. If you have not seen these films, do yourself a favor and go watch them. You can find them on VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray.

2019 is filled with many great films like “Avengers: Endgame”, “Godzilla: King Of The Monsters” and “Star Wars IX,” but for me my most hyped film of the year is “Rambo V: Last Blood”! I have been a fan of not only actor Sylvester Stallone but also the Rambo films for as long as I can remember and to see what is reported as the final film in the series this year is something very special for me as the character has been a big part of my childhood and even adulthood. In fact many people are shocked when I tell them my favorite actor, writer and director is Sylvester Stallone as many people always think that I would say John Carpenter, Wes Craven, George Romero, Tod Browning or some other icon of Horror Cinema. But do me a favor, if you’re reading this and enjoy the Rambo films or even just action films in general, make sure to go to your local cinema on September 20th and see this film as I am sure its going to be one amazing ride as Rambo takes on a drug cartel!

Now let’s talk about the man John James Rambo, who is the son of R. Rambo and Marie Drago. He was born in Bowie, Arizona and in 1964 at the age of 17 he was drafted to fight in Vietnam straight out of high school, and after his tour at war, he returned to the U.S and joined Army Special Forces at Fort Bragg and was trained by Colonel Trautman. Rambo returns to the Vietnam War as part of the SOG brigade in 1969 and during this time he is traumatized by events he sees with one being the death of his close friend Joseph Danforth. He would later also become a POW. and he was repeatedly tortured and only he and one other member of his team were able to escape the camp. A short time later, Rambo asked to return to the war and even learned new skills like how to fly a helicopter. By 1974 he finally was discharged from the military holding a pretty high rank, mostly likely a Captain. Once back home in America he returns to find that people are very hateful towards the soldiers returning home and he himself is dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. Rambo, now a drifter and homeless, goes to Hope, Washington to visit an old war friend only to find he is dead and that the local law enforcement don’t want him around as they are cruel and try and bully him to leave their small town. Rambo is pushed and he fights back and takes the war to the Sheriff’s office, and it’s only Colonel Trautman that is able to talk him down. After these events Rambo is sent to prison, but Colonel Trautman is able to get him out to do a secret mission for the government to find out if Vietnam still has prisoners of war…Rambo takes this mission and disobeys orders as instead of just taking pictures and reporting back, he saves them and brings them home. In 1988 Rambo is next sent to Afghanistan in order to help the people fight the Russians who have tried to invade their country. In 2008 Rambo is now living in Thailand and makes his living capturing snakes and selling them to locals for fighting as well as giving rides on his boat. Rambo is asked by a bunch of missionaries to take them to Burma that is a warzone in order to help its people with medical and spiritual aid. And after saying no at first, it’s because of a woman named Sarah he agrees to…and once he does his job and the Burmese army captures and kills some of the missionaries, it’s up to Rambo to go in and save them, and of course he does. At the end of this rescue Rambo decides to let it all go and returns home to America. And this is where we are at in the life of Rambo as the events of the fifth film will tell us more about his life and who knows maybe death. Rambo is very layered and deep character, and the film and novel versions have different paths for his life, but one thing is for sure, Rambo is an iconic character of American pop culture.

Rambo has also made it to the world of video games and has had games on systems like Commodore 64, Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Arcade Machines and as of late a rail first person shooter for PS3 and X-Box 360. The one that most know about is the NES version that has you playing Rambo who is wearing red spandex pants and mostly uses a knife to fight Vietcong, spiders and other animals. This game was also on the receiving end of a review done by The Angry Video Game Nerd for his popular YouTube show. So for those who like Rambo, there are video games out there for you to play. I thought about doing a NES Challenge for the Rambo game but decided that maybe we will tackle that on a later update.

In 1986 Rudy- Spears Productions was at it again when they decided to turn the R rated Rambo films into a cartoon series called “Rambo: The Force of Freedom” in which Rambo was no longer a loner but instead helped lead a group called The Force of Freedom alongside his friend Colonel Trautman into doing battle with a terrorist group code named S.A.V.A.G.E. lead by the General Warhawk who was a trader in his home country in Europe. The series ran for one season and a total of 65 episodes before being canceled, and the episodes would have Rambo and gang stopping such plots as stopping takeovers of small countries, fighting cults, stopping missiles and everything else in between. While Rambo and Trautman were the main attractions, characters like White Dragon and Touchdown Jones were the support that helped make the cartoon series more fun. While it only lasted one season, it had a lot of episodes and helped fans of Rambo with the wait in between movies. Growing up I remember watching this show from time to time and found that all I wanted in the series was to watch Rambo kick some S.A.V.A.G.E. butt! Not a lot of kids I knew watched the series, and by this time a lot of them were watching more Nickelodeon shows or the more popular shows on ABC, NBC and USA. The series did get some VHS releases as well as later some episodes released on DVD.

So besides the movies and cartoon on VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray and other home media and the novels and video games, many other very cool merchandise items have been made based on Rambo! Many action figures have been put out and have been done by companies like Coleco, NECA and Toy Island to name a few…my favorite is the Coleco Rambo figure that was based on the cartoon that I had as a kid. Also made were the films’ score soundtracks that have been released on Vinyl, Cassette and CD! These scores are amazing and the song “Home Coming” by Jerry Goldsmith from the First Blood album is powerful and iconic. There were also T-Shirts, Posters, Comics, Buttons, Chewing Gum, Trading Cards, Stickers, Magazines, Lunch Boxes, Halloween Costumes, Erasers, Toy Guns, Arcade Machines and so much more amazing products! So if you are a fan of Rambo, there are many amazing things in the world for you to collect…and I suggest not only the Coleco toy but also do yourself a favor and get the score soundtracks for the film as they are top notch.

So as you can see, Rambo and America go hand in hand and in fact all through the 80’s he was used as an icon to show the American Spirit and even the likes of President Ronald Reagan used him as an inspiration to hype up his run. And now that the burgers are probably almost done and the fireworks are about to fill the sky, we should get to the review of the Blackthrone Comic simply called Rambo! I want to thank Lone Star Comics for having this issue in stock and want to also remind you all that I grade this comic on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So get your red headband ready as we are going to war alongside the one and only John J. Rambo.

Rambo # 1 *1/2
Released in 1989     Cover Price $2.00     Blackthrone      #1 of 1

Major Valane was a bad apple and was dealing in the black market during his time in Nam and after being investigated by higher ups in the US Military, things turn bad and he is believed to be dead…until he is spotted on a nature documentary. The government sends for Rambo to make sure that he can spot Valane and make sure he is alive as Rambo was one of his solider who witnessed the Major set up his own people and even killed Rambo’s friend Wild Bill and forced a wounded Rambo to be in a prisoner of war camp! So ready for a rematch and revenge against Valane, he heads to Canada and battles the harsh weather until he can track Valane and his band of militant hoods. During his search Rambo is attacked by a mountain lion and is saved by one armed vet Brewster who befriends the war hero and helps him stand his ground when Valane’s men track them down and Rambo comes face to face with the man who helped murder his friends.

Sad to say this is really bad and does not capture the feel, mood or character of John J. Rambo at all and really just feels like a cheesy C-Grade army comic! The plot has Rambo traveling to Canada to find a beloved to be dead army Major who was a trader and a black market dealer that set up his own men leaving many of the dead and Rambo a prisoner. Rambo then fights for his life and finds that his old foe is indeed alive and surrounded by a new group of mercenaries. John Rambo in this comic is a man who loves America and loved his fellow solider who survived beside him in Vietnam, he also is a survivor and is willing to run into danger to get the Intel his country needs. But this does not feel like the Rambo from the films, as he is way to positive talkative, makes lots of mistakes and seems to be really aligned with the army in this comic….so in other words the comic Rambo seems very much off. Brewster is a pretty cool side character who is missing an arm that happened during the war being a hero and lives alone in a cabin in the woods of Canada, and the best part is he is still great with a gun! Major Valane is a scumbag who sold out his own team in order to gain money and now has faked his death and is still doing crime! He is cocky and surrounded by tons of militant soldiers who are willing to kill and be killed for him. He is a great bad guy for this style of army comic and sadly didn’t get to live up to his full potential…and the reason being is that the series was canceled after this issue and we never even get to know how Rambo escaped Major Valane and his goons grip! Yep Blackthrone pulled a Star Comics and canceled this series before it got a proper ending for readers. The cover for this comic is pretty eye catching if you’re a Rambo fan even if the art is only so-so. The interior art is very hit or miss as at times it looks like your standard late 80’s indie comic and other pages almost seem unfinished or rushed, and I am sure artist Aaron Lopresti knows that this is not his best work. Over all this Rambo comic is a big letdown as it does not tell all that great of a story, does not do justice to the character and is over all below average. Check out the art below to see the style used in this comic…and yeah Rambo looks nothing like Sylvester Stallone.

While the comic might have been a letdown, we still have all the movies we can watch to scrub this from our memories. I hope you are having (or had) a good fourth of July as this day is one we should truly take pride in our nation and celebrate our freedoms. For the next update we will be leaving Rambo behind and will be going on vacation to once more visit Monster Bash and talk about Night Of The Living Dead as we spend some time in Evan City Cemetery! So until next time, watch a Rambo film or four, see Rambo V in the theater and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time as we spend more time with the undead.

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Ink!

Rotten Ink…The Final Frontier…This Is The Blog Of A Grown Up Monster Kid….His Mission Is To Write About Comics, Movies and Horror Hosts…And To Boldly Read And Review Lots Of Fun Comics!! Welcome to Rotten Ink. For this update I felt like I really had some unfinished business with the world of Star Trek. While I covered the original TV series and the Motion Picture, I did not get to really talk about the sequels that starred the original cast, and I think now is the time to travel back to space with the crew of the U.S.S Enterprise and take a look at the most well respected and loved film in the original crews sequels, Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan! During this update mission we will talk about the film, its legacy, merchandise, my thoughts on the film and will of course review the IDW adaptation of the film! So put on your none-red Star Fleet Uniform and let’s take a space journey with Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the rest of the crew.

So to do this update right, we must take a look on the screen and talk about the film in general. For that we will be taking the film’s plot from our pals at IMDB and then after I will share my thoughts and memories of the film from over the years. And no joke, my friends and readers, I am really looking forward to talk about this film as well as all the other sequels in future updates as for me Star Trek films are as big of events as Star Wars films. So if you’re ready, I am ready to discuses the Wrath of Khan!

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (1982)

“It is the 23rd century. Admiral James T. Kirk is an instructor at Starfleet Academy and feeling old; the prospect of attending his ship, the USS Enterprise–now a training ship–on a two-week cadet cruise does not make him feel any younger. But the training cruise becomes a deadly serious mission when his nemesis Khan Noonien Singh–infamous conqueror from late 20th century Earth–appears after years of exile. Khan later revealed that the planet Ceti Alpha VI exploded, and shifted the orbit of the fifth planet as a Mars-like haven. He begins capturing Project Genesis, a top secret device holding the power of creation itself, and schemes the utter destruction of Kirk.”

Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek wrote a sequel to his first motion picture that would have had Captain Kirk and crew having to set history right after the Klingons change events on Earth going back in time. Paramount Pictures however was not impressed with his script and the poor performance of the first film in their eyes that they also felt had too big of a budget. After fights over the script, Paramount booted Roddenberry from the film, and Harve Bennett was called to executive produce the film. The downside of Bennett was that he was not a fan of the series and had to binge watch the original series after which he selected the character Khan Noonien from episode Space Seed as the villain for his film. The film’s script went through lots of drafts that even at one point had Kirk’s son being a leader of rebels, and finally they all agreed on a script that was done by Jack B. Sowards and Nicholas Meyer and production started. The film’s shocking moment was having Spock die early in the film, but after it leaked to the press, this was twist was changed to the end of the film. Nicholas Meyer also directed the film, and production started on November 9, 1981 and made Paramount happy as the film’s budget was way smaller and even their TV branch was put in charge of its over all production. When dailies started to come in, Paramount knew they had something very special and that this film would make up for the failure of the first film in their eyes. The film’s production like all bigger blockbuster titles had a few hiccups but over all came together very well and was released in theaters on June 4, 1982 and was hit for Paramount Pictures as it was the 6th grossing film of 1982 in America bringing in $78,912,963.00 on the budget of $11 million. The film beat out many great titles that year like First Blood, Annie, Poltergeist, Dark Crystal, Friday The 13h Part III, Tron, Blade Runner, Road Warrior and many more cult and respected films. Say what you will about Star Trek, but the proof is in the Box Office that this is a film series that has had ups and downs but will forever have a place in the hearts of the Trekkies worldwide.

As I stated before, I grew up a Star Trek fan and can remember the excitement when I first got to watch Star Trek II on cable. The one thing I cannot remember was if it was on HBO or Cinemax as that part of my memory is fuzzy. I remember that we all sat as a family and watched it, and after it was over, I can remember playing with my Mego 3 ¾” Star Trek Kirk Toy and having him take on the Empire and try and outsmart Darth Vader like he did Khan in the movie I had watched. It was a film that I would watch anytime I would find it on cable and can even remember asking my Mom to check the cable book to see when it was playing. I can also remember watching the film on VHS with my aunt Theresa, my uncle Thurman and my brother Bryan at my grandparents’ house as my Uncle was a big Trekkie! In the 80’s I feel like Star Trek films were events and would get old and young excited to get to the cinema, and these were films I can remember talking to classmates about. And this film was one of the biggest of Trek movie talk as the topic of Khan being the biggest threat to the crew and being the most iconic of their villains always being a hot topic, plus let’s not forget the most important moment of this film and that’s the death of Spock! I have had so many amazing talks about this film as it’s one of the best in the series…but this is not my favorite of the Trek films, and you readers will have to wait till I review it to find out. Star Trek II is a film I have bought on VHS and DVD and is a film I watch about once a year either at home or at work. The one thing that has always worked well for me about this film is that it always feels as if a cloud of gloom is overhead and the threat of Khan is very high and really set the tone and pace of future films in the series and showed that Star Trek could also deliver Science Fiction action just like Star Wars and Flash Gordon. Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan is a very iconic and well-respected Sci-Fi film and is one I would recommend seeing if you have not. Plus I am not going to lie, actress Kristie Alley was really hot as Starfleet crewmember and Vulcan/Romulan Saavik. I thought so as a kid and still will stick by that in 2019!

The most iconic scene in the movie is of course when Captain Kirk screams the name of Khan with pure anger. And like all iconic scenes, this has been parodied a number of times on many different movies and TV shows like Robot Chicken, In Living Color, Big Bang Theory as well as many more internet parodies. It’s amazing to think how impactful this scene is as many movie watchers and lovers know this scene and some have gone on to say it’s one of William Shatners best performances. So right now I want you to take a deep breath and scream “KHHHHAANNNNNNN”…felt good didn’t it?

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan was a big hit and like all big box office hits, this film had its share of cool merchandise over the years that was and is very cool for Trekkies who can not get enough of Khan and his Wrath. We got books, magazines, soundtrack, toys, posters, shirts and even playing cards and so much more, much of which I owned when I was younger. Growing up I had the movie on VHS that as I stated before would watch pretty often. I had the paperback novelization that I read while living in Waynesville and later when older I even had the Playmates action figure of Khan! And all of the above stuff that I owned then, I still own now and the one thing I do want is the soundtrack on CD as I find the score by James Horner to be very good as is all of the scores for the Trek movies. So if you’re a fan of Star Trek II and are a collector, there are lots of cool items for you to collect.

For many Trekkies Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan is their favorite film in the franchise and is the bar that all the sequels that followed had to live up to and for sure that bar was set high due to this sci-fi motion picture as it’s a true classic. And shocking that this film did not get a comic adaptation until 2009 thanks to IDW who knew the world needed one. And thanks to Game Swap Kettering and Lone Star Comics, I was able to get copies of these issues for this review. The voice on my communicator is wanting me to tell all you red shirts that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready to battle Khan with the crew of the Enterprise, let’s boldly go where IDW allowed us to go thanks to this three issue comic mini series.

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan # 1  **1/2
Released in 2009     Cover Price $3.99     IDW       # 1 of 3

Saavik is training to be a Captain for a starship and fails her test under the watch of Admiral Kirk who is feeling his age as well as really wants to leave the his promotion as he would rather be a Captain again and be with his crew on the Enterprise. Meanwhile Checkov has landed on a planet and soon finds himself as the prisoner of super engineered human Khan! And while Kirk is hanging out on the Enterprise with his old crew, Khan is controlling the mind of Checkov who is now tricking his way into taking the Genesis project away from Carol Marcus and her crew including Kirk’s son David he had with Carol! After Carol calls Kirk who denies the order to take Genesis and he takes back over the Enterprise and heads to Carol to get answers.

It’s amazing to think it took over 20 years for comic readers to get an adaptation of Wrath Of Khan, and I must say in this first issue IDW delivers the goods and fills that gap that used to be void of this comic in the collection of Star Trek issues. This issue’s plot has Kirk wanting to take his role of Captain of the Enterprise back and Khan who blames Kirk for abandoning him on a planet that has been left baron for decades. Now Khan is playing a game and is luring Kirk and the Enterprise where he wants them with a trick of taking the world builder tech Genesis. Kirk in this issue has gotten a promotion some time back and is now an Admiral for Starfleet when all he really wants to do is be a Captain for the Enterprise as he misses his friends and crew as well as the thrill of exploring space. Kahn is filled with anger and yet is calm and just wants his revenge on Kirk who he really does blame for everything that went wrong for him and his people that Kirk sent into space decades ago. Carol and her son David are the heads of Genesis and are also at odds over Kirk as the young man has lots of built up anger toward his father. One thing that puzzles me is when Kirk keeps calling Saavik a Mr. as clearly she is a she! The cover is amazing and is very eye catching for fans of Star Trek and the interior art by Chee Yang Ong is great stuff and characters look like the actors who played them. Over all this first issue is a great build up for the action that is to come and makes me look forward to reading the next issue.

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan # 2  **1/2
Released in 2009     Cover Price $3.99     IDW       # 2 of 3

Kirk along with Spock and McCoy are watching a file about the Genesis Project and how in the wrong hands it could wipe out a whole planet killing everybody along with it. As Kirk and the Enterprise are about to set out to get answers of who really gave the order to hand over the project, another Starship appears and attacks taking out power and when coming on screen Kirk finds out that Khan is the man in the other starship and he wants Kirk to surrender as well as Genesis! Kirk stalls for time and in turn sets up Khan and damaging his starship as well leaving both Captains coming up with battle plans and becoming a game of chess in space. The Enterprise rushes to the Genesis labs and finds many scientist dead as well as the Genesis project, Carol and David are all missing. Kirk, McCoy and Saavik beam aboard the lab and they find Checkov who seems to be confused and things seem very bad. Kirk ends up figuring out where Carol is hiding and finds that she as well has Genesis & David with her, but it was a set up as Khan still had Checkov under control and beams up Genesis to his ship and thanks to McCoy’s fast actions he breaks the hold he had on Checkov. Now they are all stuck in the lab! But after hours pass Spock is able to fix the transport room on the Enterprise, and now Kirk is on a mission of revenge.

Our second issue has Kirk and Khan going after each other and both using their minds in order to get the upper hand. While Kirk is blindsided in this first encounter, it’s his years of being a Captain that turns the tide and allows him and his crew to figure out what to do from here by giving them a few moments to plan. And in the second chess move, Khan gets the upper hand and outsmarts Kirk and even is able to get his power monger hands on Genesis. In this issue Kirk goes from gaining is confidence back, to doubting himself due to age to getting into rage mode. Khan goes from being cocky to rage filled to blood thirsty showing that he really is a madman who only cares about his own goals and his own revenge plan. I like how David Marcus also has lots of build up anger toward his father Kirk, and this also adds a layer of stress to Kirk who has lots on his plate this far. The Enterprise Crew seems to be around but also take a back seat in the story with even Spock not being a major focus…and that’s shocking as Spock is one of the biggest characters in the series. This issue also brings in a good amount of Star Trek style action and brings us readers to a great point in the story where in the next issue Kirk and Khan’s blood feud will come to an end. The cover I have for this issue is okay and is a photo of Spock from the movie and the interiors once more are being done by Chee Yang Ong and is good stuff. This second issue is as good as the first and is a great way to lead us to the final issue in this adaptation series, so with that let’s take a look at the final issue.

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan # 3  **1/2
Released in 2009     Cover Price $3.99     IDW       # 3 of 3

Kirk and the rest are now back on the Enterprise and must make a run for it fast as Khan and his starship are gunning for them. Kirk figures out that if they enter the nebula Khan’s shields would stop working and after sending a message that mocked Khan, the madman follows and after being out moved and outsmarted, his ship is blown up but not before the Enterprise also takes a hit that leaves the engine room to fill with radiation. Before he dies, Khan triggers the Genesis that is about to go off that would leave not only Khan dead but also the whole crew of the Enterprise, and worse Scotty cannot fix the warp engine due to the radiation! Spock takes things into his own hands and enters the engine room and fixes the core and allows the Enterprise to get away before Genesis goes off. Kirk rushes to the engine room and is able to share some words with Spock who passes away from the radiation. Kirk and the crew send Spock’s coffin into space with it landing on the new planet created by Genesis and Kirk feels the sadness of losing his best friend but does gain the respect of his son David. In the end, Kirk is back and has found himself once more and is ready to explore space.

This final issue brings us the final showdown between Kirk and Khan that shows no matter how smart and evil Khan is, he is still outclassed by the wise Kirk. I also like that this comic really does make it clear that both Khan and Kirk have massive egos and each does not want to lose to the other. The whole main part of this final issue is the fight between the two. Their weapons of war are starships, and the odds are even. Only Kirk’s experience is what wins the day. The Genesis Project is something that could really help the universe by given new places to live as well as food supplies that could last forever, but as seen here, in the wrong hands it can be used as a weapon of mass destruction and can kill the population of a whole planet if used that way. Another of the subplots going on in this issue is Carol and David having to get the help of Kirk who is the one time lover of Carol as well as the father of David who they both don’t speak to. And yet we also have the fact Kirk is having issues about getting old as he wants to be doing more for the Starfleet than just being an Admiral. And finally, the major story of this series is that fact Spock puts his life on the line and is willing to die in order to save the Enterprise Crew that he views as his friends. Sad stuff as Kirk and Spock speak for the last time (well in this comic) as Spock slowly dies. Over all this comic adaptation of The Wrath Of Khan is well done and captures the mood and vibe of what many think is the best Trek movie. The pacing is well done and keeps you on your seat for the final battle as Khan is so revenge thirsty that you want to see him be brought down…even if you do understand why he is so angry with Kirk. The photo cover on this one is as well okay, but I would have liked to have gotten the one with art. The interior art is done by Chee Yang Ong and is very good and as I said before he captures the look of the characters really well. Over all, this is a fun and great comic mini series and is a must read for fans of the film it’s based on. Check out below for the style of Chee in this issue.

So it looks like our space adventure with the crew of the Enterprise has came to an end, and next year we will take a look at DC Comics adaptation of Star Trek III: The Search For Spock! Star Trek really is a blast to the past for me and brings me back to my youth when Trek was very popular in our household. But for our next update, we are going to dive into the world of forgotten superheroes as we take a look at the masked hero Rottweiler and maybe a few other surprises. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a Sci-Fi film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a indie hero good time!

From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Kong Skull Island

Christmas is creeping up on us, and as always, this time of the year makes me think of things from my past that still bring me joy to this day. That’s why I decided to choose to once more take a look at King Kong, a giant movie monster that has always brought me joy, and what better way to kick off our countdown to my Christmas Eve update then to do a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update that breaks down Kong Skull Island and the Legendary Comic prequel comic series released to promote it. Now I am sure some of you readers are saying “What!? Kong Skull Island is not a Horror Movie but an Adventure film!” My answer to that is that I have always considered King Kong and Godzilla films to be giant monster horror films that have elements of fantasy, adventure and science fiction…plus if Fangoria and other horror magazines covered Kong, then it has elements of a Horror Movie. So let’s sit back and take a look at From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Kong Skull Island.

Before we explore Skull Island we should first take a look at its ruler, King Kong! King Kong is a massive giant gorilla that stands about 104 feet and makes his home on Skull Island. He is very protective of his home and most of the creatures and primitive humans that live on it. No one is really sure where King Kong and his massive family blood line came from; all that is known that in the Legendary Pictures timeline is that he’s the last of his kind up to this point. He is massive in stature and stands more like a human than a primate and is super strong as well as smart when coming to survival. He also uses the land around him to his advantage, and while not overly aggressive toward man, he could easily kill one in seconds. King Kong uses his pure power and size to crush, smash and pummel his target. He also can use his fists to deliver massive hits to his enemies and can use his huge sharp teeth to rip and tear his foe. His brain allows him to make better decisions, making him more dangerous than most of the monsters his size. We should also note he can use things like trees and chains as weapons! But while Kong is massive, he does have weaknesses like all living creatures such as fire, bullets, bites and beatings. All can hurt and even possibly kill him. King Kong also bleeds and wounds effects him like they would normal gorillas. But while he can be hurt, it’s very hard to keep King Kong down as his heart and will to survive is a true force of nature.

So now that we know the power and attack style of King Kong, we should take a look at the film that this version of Kong comes from. The film’s write up will be coming from our friends at IMDB and it will be followed up with a little production history of the film as well as some of my memories of watching it for the first time. So let’s dive into the movie that inspired this comic mini series.

Kong Skull Island (2017)

“A washed up monster chaser convinces the U.S. Government to fund a trip to an unexplored island in the South Pacific. Under the guise of geological research, the team travels to “Skull Island”. Upon arrival, the group discover that their mission may be complicated by the wildlife which inhabits the island. The beautiful vistas and deadly creatures create a visually stunning experience that is sure to keep your attention.”

In 2014, Legendary Pictures was going to team up with Universal Pictures to make a King Kong movie, but this plan quickly changed when Legendary switched to Warner Brothers in order to add Kong into the world of Godzilla. The next step for them was to find a director and many names were suggested like Guillermo del Toro, but they ended up picking Jordan Vogt-Roberts. Next up was the script that had lots of writers attached with names like Max Borenstein, John Gatins, Dan Gilroy and Derek Connolly and the finished product had elements from each writer’s ideas. Next they worked on the design and look of King Kong for the movie and then cast names like John C. Reilly, John Goodman, Tom Hiddleston and Samuel L. Jackson for major roles. On October 19, 2015 filming started, and it was over all a smooth production that ended on March 18, 2016. The only bump this film had was a lawsuit from writer and artist Joe DeVito who wrote about Skull Island and felt this film stole many of his ideas. The film’s budget was $185 million and brought in $168,052,812.00 at the US Box Office and $398,600,000.00 foreign. The film was also scored by Henry Jackman, and his music was very well done and fitting. The film was # 20 for the year and beat out such other Horror and Sci-Fi films as Split, Annabelle: Creation, The Mummy, Alien: Covenant, The Shape Of Water and Happy Death Day to name a few. The film was meet with mix reviews from critics and fans with most finding it very enjoyable.

Kong Skull Island was one of my most anticipated films of 2017 and was one of the films that I along with my gal Juliet and friend Jeremy Hoy went to on opening night at Cinemark Dayton South. I was blown away by it as the film lived up to what I wanted and that was King Kong fighting other giant monsters with a fun human story. On my “Matt Goes To The Movies 2017” update Kong Skull Island was my top Horror Film of the year. Since I was a youngster, I have always been a big fan of King Kong and when this film was released I made sure to get the film on DVD as well as got the CD of the score that I have played on Alpha Rhythms on WYSO Public Radio. Kong Skull Island leads to Kong’s next appearance for Legendary Pictures in 2020 that will have him taking on Godzilla with the makers of this film saying there will be a clear cut winner! While I also really love Godzilla, I am cheering for King Kong as he has the brains and raw power to stop Godzilla’s rampage and rage. Do yourself a favor if you have not seen this film yet and make sure to check it out as it’s a giant monster film packed with action and adventure and even a little horror.

Kong Skull Island was a prefect choice to make a comic series based around it, as the movie starts with a young Kong with his family already dead. So this comic series brings his past to light and allows us to witness the sadness and rise of Kong to really be the King of Skull Island. I also really want to say that I have been looking forward to sitting and reading this comic series since it was released as I truly do enjoy King Kong in films, comics and novels and this one being tied to the newest film in the Kong series really peaks my interest. I want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for getting me these issue for my pull file and would like to remind you all that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s see what Legendary Comics brings to the table with this mini series.

Skull Island The Birth of Kong # 1  **1/2
Released in 2017    Cover Price $3.99     Legendary Comics     # 1 of 4

The year is 2012, and a group of sailors find a Monarch recorder and return it to the company. It turns out that the recorder belonged to Aaron Brooks, a solider for the company and son of Houston Brooks that has been missing sense 1995. Houston unlocks the recorder and starts to listen to Aaron’s words. He lead a team to Skull Island as he doesn’t trust Kong to keep the islands’ monsters in check. Before Aaron and crew can land on Skull Island, they are attacked by giant flying monsters that cause them to have to leap out and the pilot and helicopter to crash. As Aaron and his crew move, they are attacked leaving one of his people dead and another missing a leg when dinosaurs attack, and if not for Kong they all would have been killed. After they regroup, they are soon greeted by natives who are speaking English, showing that Skull Island is changing!

Skull Island has become a place that has been hidden and kept secret by the government and Monarch as they just keep an eye on it as well as its King the great ape named Kong. But a young worker for Monarch does not think it’s right that the world does not know about the monsters on the island as well as relying on Kong to keep the monsters in check, so he and some other hotshot workers travel to Skull Island to expose it to the world…and this was a big mistake! Aaron Brooks is a young hotshot who thinks that he knows it all and wants to expose the world to the giant monsters, and at this point all he has done is get some of his crew members injured and dead on an island he has no business being on! His crew are all go getters, but now it’s clear they are second guessing going along with Aaron’s plan. Our baddies at this point are the creatures that live on the island, and they are just hungry and want to eat what they can kill. Kong himself appears briefly as he smacks away man eating dinosaurs who were eating our cast for lunch, and as quickly as he saves the day he also disappears. The Natives seem to be educated, which makes you wonder who has taught them and why they think Aaron and his crew are special and been foretold would come for decades. This first issue is a build up for our mini series, and while good, is a little slow and bland and thus far only adds a hint of Kong and a heck of a lot of Aaron and his cocky way. The cover is great and very eye catching for fans of King Kong and the interior artwork is good but not my style and is done by Zid. Over all this is a good issue but nothing special, and I am looking forward to issue two and hope Kong has more of a part and we get some answers to questions this issue has presented.

Skull Island The Birth of Kong # 2  **1/2
Released in 2017     Cover Price $3.99     Legendary Comics     # 2 of 4

Aaron and his crew find themselves the guests of the IWI who are nursing them all back to health and are telling them that they have been waiting for them to come. Aaron finds out that one of the young tribesmen learned English from Hank Marlow, a downed U.S. air force pilot who taught his father many years back. Aaron also begins to notice one of his own men is becoming addicted to the juice the natives are given them and is having visions of the islands past and the bloodline of King Kong! The young tribesman and some warriors take Aaron and his crew on a very important pilgrimage to the parts of the island and along the way they find some history of Kong and the people who live on the island and are almost even attacked by a massive water animal, but they also find old weapons left behind by Monarch from years back. But before they can use them, the mighty roar of Kong echoes out and the creature goes back into the water as Aaron and his crew gear up and head out to finally meet King Kong.

The second issue has Aaron and his crew being taken in by Skull Islands natives and being healed of wounds and shown the history of the Kong bloodline. While Aaron and most of his crew are cautious and focused, one of his members is acting odd and over drinking a juice and claiming to be linked to the island and filled with visions. Aaron is kind of just a man who rushed into something thinking he was going to be the hero of the day and in return just got his crew lost and in some cases dead.  Thus far to me, he has also really come off as a self centered person who craves to be that guy who sticks it to the system. The rest of the crew are just around, and one is clearly slipping into madness and is one I think will be the downfall of not only the crew but also himself. The natives seem nice and mean no harm to the crew and even seem like they would die to protect them. Kong is not seen, and we only get treated to quick flashbacks of his family from the past. While this second issue is a good read, it also is a very slow burn and even with a monster showing up and “attacking,” nothing really seems to happen and it feels like a filler issue. The issue has no blood and scary spots, and the biggest issue this comic has is that Kong, the main attraction of the mini series, is nowhere in site. The cover is cool and showcases Kongs fighting skull crawlers and the interior art is fine and done by Zid again. Over all not much to say about this issue so let’s move onto number three.

Skull Island The Birth of Kong # 3  **1/2
Released in 2017     Cover Price $3.99     Legendary Comics     # 3 of 4

Aaron and his crew, while looking for Kong, find the body of the sea monster as Kong has killed it and all the other giant beasts are coming to the area to feed.  While the feeding frenzy takes place Aaron gets word from his pilot that he is alive and the helicopter can still fly and they plan to meet up in the bone graveyard and end their trip to Skull Island! When getting to the graveyard they soon find it crawling with Skull Crawlers and must take shelter in a cave and in a vision from one of the crew, they are told about the death of Kong’s parents as well as his birth that all took place on the same day…baby Kong witnessed as Skull Crawlers killed his mother and father before his young eyes. Aaron has heard enough, and as they all rush to the approaching helicopter they witness it get shot out of the sky thanks to their crazed fellow crew member who also shoots one of his own dead and demands they all go and see Kong!

This issue brings our story more on track as Aaron and his crew decide that Skull Island is not for them and just as they are about to leave, they are forced to stay due to one of their own turning crazy and downing their helicopter killing the pilot as well as one of his fellow exploring crew! Aaron in this issue is finally becoming a character that’s likable as he knows now that he has made a big mistake in coming to Skull Island to try and test the rule that Kong has over it, but while he finally sees his mistake, he still has lead three people to their deaths. The crazed crew member is a psycho who really thinks Kong is a god and is willing to kill his own friends just to be able to see the great ape in person. The Skull Crawlers are around and are as mean as ever, and lucky for Aaron and his crew they have not been spotted and became dinner…yet! King Kong is shown as a baby in a heart breaking part of this comic as he as a newborn watches his parents die! As an adult we only get to see the aftermath of his fight with the sea creature that is dead. Two things I really like about this issue is that we do get to see Kong’s parents in action as they take on a horde of Skull Crawlers and that when Kong kills something, the rest of the beast around come and feed on the corpse of the fallen. This issue has lots more action and suspenseful moments making it the best issue in the series thus far as it delivers a more classic Kong feel. The cover for this issue is heartbreaking for fans of Kong as it shows him as a baby crying over the bodies of his Mom and Dad. Interior art again is done by Zid who I should also say did all the covers as well. Over all, a good solid issue that was a fun and quick read and really does make me look forward to see what happens when Aaron and crew finally do get to see King Kong in all his hairy glory.

Skull Island The Birth of Kong # 4  ***
Released in 2017     Cover Price $3.99     Legendary Comics     # 4 of 4

Aaron along with what’s left of his crew and the tribes men are being held captive by a Wildman who has lost tough with reality and is taking about blowing up the fence around the village to see if Kong will protect them all and prove he loves mankind. Aaron and the rest escape the madman when some creatures from the jungle appear and attack letting them get to the village, but they are too late to warn the villagers as the madman blows up the walls and allows giant spiders to enter who start attacking and killing any one they see. They even kill Aaron’s last crew member besides the madman and all hope seems gone, until Kong shows up and starts smashing the spiders and saves human lives. After Kong runs off the spiders, he also smashes the madman and looks at Aaron letting him know that he is as people say the true King of Skull Island and a protector of man. Aaron decides to stay on Skull Island and help the IWI rebuild the wall and sends his recorder on a small-unmanned boat into the ocean. We end back in modern times and Aaron’s dad at his retirement party tells his former co-workers that he is going on a cruise to some place warm.

Now this is what I have been waiting for in this comic series as we get King Kong beating up and smashing giant spiders and saving human lives and even taken one of a clear crazy man! The issue’s plot has Aaron and his crew being taken out one by one by the creatures of Skull Island as well as one of their own who has flipped his lid and believes he is one with the island as well as linked to Kong. The mad man also decides to test the nature of Kong and blows up the wooden fences around the IWI village allowing all the creatures to enter and attack and kill and waits for Kong to save them…what a nut and he does get to witness Kong who appears and saves the day but he also get the wrath of Kong who smashes him into the ground! Aaron learns that some secrets are best left hidden and that he must stay on Skull Island to help rebuild what he and his now all dead crew destroyed. And Kong proves that he really is the King of the island and that he does understand that he must help the weak and small humans from the beasts that make up his home. This issue is filled with action and adventure and really allows our characters to learn from mistakes and witness the wonders they questioned. Aaron who at first was an unlikable rebel character by the end turns into a guy you come to understand and cheer for as he does the right thing. This issue has violence but no gore or mass amount of blood and does have an adventure horror feel to many of the scenes. The cover is eye catching for fans of King Kong and has him doing what he does best and once more like the interiors is done by Zid. This comic mini series is a slow burn just like the Pacific Rim one I took a look at early this year, but unlike it, I found this one to be entertaining even with the lack of Kong in issues. Over all if your fan of Skull Island and King Kong in general check this series out. While it is not the best Kong has to offer in the world of comics, it’s at least a solid one with a fun story. Check out the art below to see the work of Zid and see what King Kong the 8th Wonder of the World looks like in these issues.

King Kong will always be my favorite giant movie monster and while I also love Godzilla, Kong will always be the tops for me. Plus I really do think that Kong makes for a great comic book character and hope that more issues of his rampages and adventures will come out sooner than later! Kong Skull Island was one of my favorite movies of 2017 and was a perfect film to go alongside the original 1933 film. So with this being the Christmas season and all, I think that my next update will be something everyone loves to chat about for this Holiday time of the year and that’s the 1961 giant ape film Konga! Wait what? You don’t gather with loved ones and chat about Konga over a glass of eggnog while sitting by the fire? Well if you have not, you don’t know what you’re missing! So we will be leaving Skull Island and go to London for our next update, and until then, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always enjoy your Holiday season with all your loved ones. See you next update for a Konga good time.

Hercules: The Turkey Day Wars

Happy Thanksgiving readers and friends, and welcome back to another Rotten Ink Turkey Day update all about the one and only mighty hero of Greece, the slayer of the Nemean Lion, the pride of Olympus and the hero who has been a main stay in culture and media as he has muscled his way into books, movies, TV, comics and video games. Of course I am talking about Hercules! Writing about Herc on this holiday as truly become something I look forward to doing; this sword and sandal hero was always one of my favorites growing up as his labors and adventures always captivated me. So while your turkey or ham is cooking and those potatoes are waiting to be mashed, let’s take another turkey day adventure with the one and only Hercules and this time the company who has brought us this adventure is Radical. So sit back, hit mute on the football game and get ready to spend some quality time with Herc and me here at Rotten Ink!

As I am sure you readers know what I am about to say and it may come as no shock, but I am going to say it anyway: I am a fan of the legend of Hercules from the myth all the way to cinema and have always enjoyed the fact you could take this hero and place him in any situation and watch as he saves the day. I mean think about classic style films “Hercules Against The Moon Men” and “Hercules Against The Mongols” that took our hero out of his normal settings and had him battle people and things not from his era.  Somehow, they just worked. But one of the biggest adventures Hercules has ever had was from the myth and would be his 12 Labors. Ever since I was a kid, one of my favorites of his 12 Labors was when he took on the Nemean Lion, a true battle of man and beast. The Nemean Lion was a massive beast that had super sharp claws and his skin could not be pierced by weapons. He tormented the people of Nemea and was rumored to been created by Typhon and Echidna. King Eurystheus was in charge of giving Hercules his labors, and his first one was to kill Nemean Lion who was a super lion and who was said to be unkillable, Hercules started his journey by buying arrows and talking to locals about the location of the beast, and once he found its cave, he blocked one entrance and forced the lion to fight him in closed combat where he was able to nab the lion into a headlock and choke the life out of it. Once dead, Herc used the animal’s own claw to skin it and carried the dead animal back to the kingdom where he both amazed and scared the King who banned him that moment on from entering the Kingdom after his labors. Hercules would go on to wear the hide of the Nemean Lion as part of his armor. I am not sure why I like the first labor as much as I do….I am sure it has to do with the fact I have always liked lions and Hercules and having them fighting each other in a death match is pretty epic. I want to also say that The Nemean Lion, while dead in the mythology world, just might live again in the pages of Sparkle Comics, but you will have to wait and see how and what comic it comes back in. And I want to say this is just the start of Hercules’ Labors as we will be taking a bigger look at his labors on another update in the future.

In 2014 Radical Comics was able to have a movie made based on their Thracian Wars comic series thanks to Paramount Pictures who released it worldwide to the joy of modern sword and sandal fans. The film was directed by Brett Ratner and stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Hercules along with such actors as Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell and Reece Ritchie and was a great action film with lots of Hercules moments of power…well sort of. The film is about Hercules and his friends creating a legend about himself that allows them to get paid in order to do amazing things like defeat the undefeatable and wage one man wars, all the while the story goes out about it being Hercules, when in fact it was he and his crew. But they soon find themselves being tested when one kingdom doesn’t buy into the stories, and Herc and his crew must fight for their lives. I really do like the twist in this film as it makes you wonder if Hercules really the son of Zeus or is it all made up in order to build his legacy, then at moments he is as great as he says he is…so I think it is really up to the viewer to decide. I saw the movie in the theater when released, and it was fantastic even making the # 5 spot on my “Matt Goes To The Movies 2014” update for Superhero Movies and was one I recommended to friends who ended up seeing it and enjoying it. Oddly enough, in 2014 another Hercules movie was in cinemas called “Legend Of Hercules.” While entertaining, it was not in the same league as this one. The film did poorly at the US box office only bringing in $72,688,614.00 on a budget of $100 million and was 46 over all at the cinema. But it did however bring in more than many other cult films released that year like “Purge: Anarchy”, “Robocop”, “Dracula Untold”, “Muppets Most Wanted”, “John Wick” and “Birdman” to name a few. So if you like Hercules films or just like fun action films starring The Rock, make sure to check this movie out!

So now that we have chatted a little about Hercules in myth as well as in modern cinema, I think it’s time we get to the comic review of the five issue mini series from Radical, because I am sure you are ready for some tasty thanksgiving dinner like I am! So let’s get into this one. I want to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for pulling these comics for me when released. Yep, this is a comic mini series that I made sure to get when released as I worked for Mavericks at the time and had to check out a new Hercules book. I want to also remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and you are looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready to join Hercules as he goes to war, we should get to the comic reviews.

Hercules The Thracian Wars # 1  **1/2
Released in 2008     Cover Price $1.00     Radical Comics     # 1 of 5

Iolaus and Meneus are traveling to a poor and sloppy kingdom on Amphiaraus’ promise of gold and victory as the young King has hired Hercules and his crew to bring Thrace back together by winning a war. But these barbarians of the Kingdom all take turns making fun of Hercules as well as his mother to try and get under the skin of Meneus and Iolaus before Herc arrives. But once Hercules and the rest of his crew show up, their words and mood changes as they see they truly are warriors and can back up their words and Hercules is a man with a loyal & brutal band of friends. But when Hercules is pushed too far by the words of one of the barbarian warriors, he is forced to kill him and orders his friends to kill every man and woman in the throne room and they do just that! Hercules, who was hired to bring Thrace together and train these barbarians to fight, became their Grim Reaper, as he delivered nothing but brutal death. After the slaughter Hercules and his men soon find out that the king and his guards were not the true King and his men as outside is the true King Coyts and his men looking well armed, trained and angry.

This first issue started out a little slow and was worrisome onwhether it would deliver a fun Hercules adventure, and by the end it turned into a bloodbath slaughter that would make Conan The Barbarian happy! The comic’s plot is this: Hercules and his crew are hired mercenaries who arrive at a terrible kingdom with a jerk King and a room full of drunken slobs that end up pushing the son of Zeus’ buttons that leads to them all getting slaughtered only for Hercules to find out he has been set up as the real King is outside with his massive army! Hercules is very cocky in this issue and partly lazy and is willing to start a war over being insulted. He also very much depends on his crew in order to win battles as well as scout the way of the land before he even arrives. I also like that he is wearing the hide of the Nemean Lion. His crew are loyal to Hercules and are amazing warriors who are brutal and all have their own weirdness from one having visions to another who is a cannibal. The fake King and his drunken goons are rude and crude and all find themselves very dead and have no skills when it comes to battle! While we barely see King Coyts in this issue, you can tell he is going to be one proud and strong fighter. The one thing that I liked in this comic is the fact that while Hercules is our main hero, he is also very arrogant and showcases that he is not fully a good guy. I also really like the fact that this comic is very bloody and had kills that would fit in most Horror Comics! The cover is very cool and very eye catching for fans of Sword and Sandal and Greek Mythology style comics. The interior artwork is done by Admira Wijaya and is pretty great and very fitting for this style of comic. So I will say the first issue is a great set up for this mini series and was a great way to try and bring Hercules back to the world of comic books. So with that let’s see how Herc and his crew deals with the army that is waiting for them at the end of this issue.

Hercules The Thracian Wars # 2  **1/2
Released in 2008     Cover Price $2.99     Radical Comics     # 2 of 5

Hercules and his crew stand their ground as King Coyts and his army order them all to stand down and follow him into the hall where Herc and them slaughtered all those people only to find that King Coyts set them up to test how brutal they were as fighters. Hercules and his crew have now gotten the jobs to train the soldiers for war and Coyts’ daughter seems to have taken a liking to Hercules, but our heroes also seem to be very on edge on this job they have taken as things just seem very odd. Plus the army’s general Sitaces seems to also to be keeping an eye of Hercules. After months of training, the army is ready for war and they decide that night to kill a young boy to appease their God, and this act sickens Hercules and his crew. Sitaces makes his army and Hercules attack small villages and slaughter all the people they come across, and finally right before the big battle, Sitaces must return to King Coyts and tell him of their victories and as he leaves, it’s clear Hercules and his people have been set up as they are attacked by a sky full of arrows!

In this issue Hercules and his band of warriors are paid lots of money, wine and good times in order to train an army of soldiers who are just brawlers, but along the way they soon find that this army are scum and they kill to bully and their general seems to have another mission and that’s to ride the world of them! Hercules in this issue is a great teacher of war and seems to be pleased with spending time with the King’s daughter as well as have the thrill of battle, but while enjoying it all, he also seems to be on edge and aware. We also get to know female warrior Atalanta who is a lesbian and has a love hate friendship with fellow member Meleager a warrior who was a ladies man and has fallen head over heels in love with her. Sitaces is a very bloodthirsty warrior in King Coyts’ army and rocks a wicked scarred face and seems to not value any human life. And as far as King Coyts, he is a man drive by ego who will do what ever it takes to be the ruler. I really like the ending of this one as hundreds of arrows are falling from the sky and could kill not only Hercules and his crew but also any of the army who have been left behind with them. This also makes you wonder if Sitaces set them up or if it the scouts did! The cover is great and eye catching for fans of Hercules and Sword and Sandal and the interior art by Admira Wijaya is great and fitting. Over all a great second issue and one that helps build up this adventure for Hercules. So with that let’s see how Hercules escapes this deathtrap.

Hercules The Thracian Wars # 3  **1/2
Released in 2008     Cover Price $2.99     Radical Comics     # 3 of 5

Hercules and his crew are like lambs to the slaughter as the enemy is all around them and they are stuck in a valley, but like all heroes Hercules pushes back and drives his enemies lead by Lord Rhesus back and now have them on the ropes. Hercules himself, while wanting to end the battle, is also very mad at one of his crew Tydeus, who is bloodthirsty and not listening to orders causing them to be at odds. Hercules and his crew now have Rhesus and his guards backed against a cliff, and it’s clear they are not going to just give up and push the fight until only Rhesus is left standing and instead of dying at the hands of Hercules flings himself off the cliff! As Hercules and his crew sit for a while, an arrow comes from nowhere and kills Meneus and this sets Hercules into a rage who rips the attacker apart with his bare hands. Once they bury their friend, they head back to King Coyts with a story of victory and also slightly accuse Sitaces for the set up, but it’s quickly smoothed over as Hercules goes off with the King’s daughter and a big feast is planned. Later that night after the feast Hercules sneaks up and hears King Coyts praying to his Gods in order to get the power to his newly trained army to attack Greece and Mount Olympus!

Man, this was one pickle that I was sure would leave Hercules injured, but instead sees him win against all odds and end a war with one brutal battle. This issue’s plot has Hercules and his crew being set up, and they must fight for their lives in order to escape the valley. Once they do so, they lose one of their own members to a sneak attack and return to employer only to learn he is a scumbag who wants to over throw Greece and kill Zeus on Mount Olympus! Hercules in this issues shows why he is a true iconic fighter as he does not stress over the attack and leads his group to a victory. He also shows he is pure power as he rips a man apart in a bloody gory rage! His crew are all great fighters and sadly their youngest member Meneus is killed with an arrow to the head and Tydeus is out of control and is a warrior who just enjoys killing and eating his victims! King Coyts and Sitaces are pure scum who both crave power and terror as they just used Hercules and his crew to train an army for them that they will in turn be used to attack them and their homelands! What I really like about this comic series is that while Hercules is our “hero,” he really is no hero and is just a demi-god doing bad things for others in order to get gold! I also like that his crew, while all warriors, do seem to care about each other, well all but Tydeus who cares about no one but himself even if the others watch out for him. The cover for this issue is great and the red brings out the wicked look of Hercules who clearly is in a rage for war. The interior art once more is done by Admira Wijaya and is good stuff. Over all this is another great issue in this mini series and makes me look forward to reading the final two issues.

Hercules The Thracian Wars # 4  ***
Released in 2008     Cover Price $2.99     Radical Comics     # 4 of 5

Hercules is talked out of attacking the King in the temple, and this is a bad thing as he finds the tracks of Hercules in the snow and places he and all his crew under arrest until he can figure out a way to kill them all. Hercules tries to use his charm on the King’s daughter but soon finds that she has been using him all along and spying for her father and for him escaping and plotting against the King, Hercules is taken and tortured by Sitaces who is taking joy in his evil deed! Sitaces admits that he has been with the King’s daughter and he was not the one who set them up, all the while he is whipping and burning Hercules’s flesh. But Hercules has had enough and with his power he breaks free and smashes and kills two guards as well as breaks the back of Sitaces and brings the dungeons walls down on top of him! Hercules then rushes to his crew, and they make their escape in a bloody fight that leaves King Coyts in a rage and wants all of them dead! Hercules and his friends regroup around a campfire and decide that they will not run to Greece, and they will bring the fight to Coyts as they want to bring him down.

Wow! This fourth issue is great and showcases just how badass Hercules is as he bashes, smashes and slaughters any and all who get in his way. In fact I would say that this is the best issue this far in the series and is action packed and had a real feeling of dread and danger as the issue’s plot has the King and his army holding and bullying Hercules and his friends until they have had enough and push back! I also like the fact that the King’s daughter was just a pawn in her dad’s game as she in real life hates Hercules and Greece and was only using him to get information. Hercules in the issue really has been pushed as not only does the King plan on attacking his homeland of Greece but he also has been used and now abused and this means war in his eyes. His crew are also being treated like scum and are forced to stay inside a building and are not being feed and bullied into not having weapons and are all marked for death. King Coyts is a ruler who has used and abused his way into being even more powerful and is wanting to bring down Greece and Zeus as he has zero respect for those Gods. His daughter as well is scum as she uses sex in order to try and manipulate her target. And Sitaces the army leader is sadistic and gets what he deserves as he is broken and crushed leaving him a none factor now in the coming blood battle. This issue is filled with lots of action and lots of blood and feels like a true Sword And Sandal film from the 60’s with added modern style gore. Plus I really like the cliffhanger of Hercules and friends gearing up for a battle that they are the underdogs in, but they show no fear in the face of death. The cover is great and Admira Wijaya’s interior art is as always solid. Over all this issue is a great one to build up to the final in the mini series and is making me really looking forward to see how this adventure comes to an end.

Hercules The Thracian Wars # 5  **1/2
Released in 2008     Cover Price $2.99     Radical Comics     # 5 of 5

Hercules and his crew sneak back in the kingdom and start their slaughter and take out many of the guards by setting a fire in their quarters while they sleep. Once inside the castle, Hercules and his friends kill even more guards and even ram a spear into the King’s Daughter! King Coyts sees that his days are numbered and runs to make his escape as Hercules and friends follow him into a chamber of mazes and traps. But after dodging traps and almost capturing the evil King, Hercules and his crew find themselves trapped in the chamber as Coyts escapes….into the waiting ax of Tydeus who beheads the King and will dine on his brain after he frees his friends. Once free Hercules and pals find the gold room and steal all they can carry and as they leave the castle, they are greeted by Rhesus who they thought was dead and now has a new army and allows Hercules and them to leave with their lives, but not the gold! In the end Hercules and some of his friends sail away on a new adventure as Tydeus and others go their own way ending The Thracian War.

Hercules and his friends have gotten revenge after being set up and have stopped an attack on Greece but as always walked away empty handed when it comes to being paid for training an army to fight. So everything they did in this war really only caused death to people and only made them look like heels in the eyes of the people who witnessed their slaughter and training of a tyrant’s army. Hercules in this issue really just wants to end the life of King Coyts and his daughter and wants to stop the planned attack on Greece and while he does get to stop the act of war and gets to kill the daughter of his enemy, he is sadly not the one who gets to kill King Coyts. That honor went to Tydeus who is crazy and is a berserker when it comes to attacking and is really the most scummy of all of Herc’s teammates and by all accounts is just a cold blooded murderer. King Coyts is not only scum but also a coward who runs when it comes to battle and the odds are not in his favor. His daughter, on the other hand is a fighter and does not die without putting up a fight. The issue while bloody and filled with action seems to be more of a fast paced issue and the action seems to go by way too fast. But with that said, I will say that I do think Radical Comics really does know how to make a good comic mini series based on Hercules and writer Steve Moore shows he really does understand the world of Sword And Sandal. Plus the art by Admire Wijaya is very fitting and is perfect for this style of comic books. The cover for this issue I have is also very eye catching and reminds me of Frank Frazetta. Over all this is a great mini series and was an enjoyable read and fun review this Thanksgiving update, and I would recommend if you like Hercules to check this series out. Below is some artwork from this series so you can see the style of Wijaya.

Thanks once again for spending a part of your Thanksgiving holiday with me here at Rotten Ink as I am sure you’re much like me and are very much looking forward to diving into a tasty dinner and a chatting with family and loved ones. So next year, meet here again and we will once more talk about Hercules and cover another comic adventure of his! But to wrap this up as mashed potatoes are calling my name, make sure to spend some time with your loved ones as the Christmas season is just around the corner. Oh and I must also share with you that my next update will be a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update, and we will be traveling to Skull Island to once more visit Kong! So until next time, read a comic or three, eat a second plate of food and as always support your local Horror Host. See you all back for another tour of Skull Island on our next update.

War Ready: The Robotic Tale Of Pacific Rim

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, friends and readers.  This month at your local cinema, the second film in the Pacific Rim series called “Pacific Rim Uprising” will be released and once more has giant robots taking on Kaiju in order to save the world from destruction.  This film series is a part of the Legendary Pictures Monsterverse world, making these characters in the same world as King Kong and Godzilla! This update will be a quick one and will just add to the excitement of the film’s release. So let’s climb into this giant robot made out of old metal mop buckets and Campbell soup cans and get war ready to fight the giant Kaiju and save this blog from their invasion.

So before we dive too deep into the world of fighting giant monsters with giant robots, we should first take a look at the first film that not only inspired the sequel now in theaters but also the comic mini series that we will be reviewing today. I will be taking the movie’s plot from the good folks at IMDB, and after, I will give my thoughts about seeing the film in the theater and the impact it has had on my friend Jeremy Hoyt!

Pacific Rim (2013)

“When monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes – a washed up former pilot and an untested trainee  – who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse.”

When this movie’s trailer first appeared at the theaters and on the internet, I was pretty hyped for it as I love giant monster movies and wanted to see what this film had to offer in the way of destruction and creature designs. And while I enjoy giant robots, I am not a fanatic about them nor am I a super fan of the film work of Guillermo del Toro who I find good but not fantastic like many of my friends do. I went into the theater with an open mind, armed with a blue ICEE and a medium popcorn, and was ready to watch giant robots fight giant monsters alongside my pal Josh Weinberg. After watching the movie, I can remember both Josh and I just thinking that the movie was entertaining but nothing too special. I really did enjoy the look of the Kaiju, and the look of the giant robots were very well done.  What I didn’t enjoy is all the drawn out human aspects of the film that were laced with what I call Independence Day speeches given by characters to unify the troops. While I enjoyed the first film, I was in no way a super fan and am looking forward to checking out the sequel at my local theater. On the other side of things, my pal Jeremy Hoyt loved the movie and enjoyed every second of it. I must also say that some of his favorite comics and cartoons in the world are Transformers so I think he just really likes giant robots! Like all good movies, lots of merchandise was released for fans of this film, including the soundtrack, comics, novel, toys, shirts and posters. Personally, the only merch I got was the movie on DVD and the comics. So while I enjoyed Pacific Rim and the world it created, I would by no means say that I am a mega fan but am looking forward to the sequel.

The major threat of this film series are the Kaiju, who are engineered by beings from another universe and are sent to Earth via a portal with the sole goal of killing all of humankind. So in other words, these giant monsters were created to be a biological weapon to use against the enemies of their creators. There are all types of Kaiju, all with different appearances, powers, and strength, and each are major threats in their own ways. Some of the different Kaiju include Knifehead, Onibaba and Hammerjaw, to name a few. These monsters use their giant size and powers to destroy any thing or robot that gets in their way. But they can be stopped by the Jaeger, who are the giant robots controlled by two human pilots that are Earth’s only hope of survival. While it’s not been made official (and this is just a theory and wild guess by me), I think soon you will see the Pacific Rim Kaiju and Jaeger mixed into the world of Godzilla and King Kong that Legendary Pictures has established. So as you can see, the Kaiju are very dangerous and very much your typical giant monsters that are infused with powers thanks to science. Below are some pictures of some of the Kaiju from Pacific Rim, so check them out.

So as you can see these Kaiju are a force to be reckoned with and thank the heavens that for the Pan Pacific Defense Corps and their Jaeger drivers for keeping the world safe from these threats. But now we are at the point of this review where we will be looking at the comic books, and I chose Pacific Rim: Tales From The Drift for my reviews.  While a graphic novel based on Pacific Rim was released in 2013 called Pacific Rim: Tales From The Year Zero years before Tales From The Drift, I wanted to read a mini series of floppy issues and not a GN. I want to thank Mavericks and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock, and weirdly enough I’ve had most of this mini series for years and just now have sat down and read them.  Here is to hoping it’s a solid and fun read! I want to also remind you all that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So with that, it’s time to witness the Tales From The Drift!

Pacific Rim: Tales From The Drift # 1  **
Released in 2015     Cover Price $3.99     Legendary Comics   # 1 of 4

Duc and Kaorl are a husband and wife that control the Jaeger known as Tacit Ronin. During a fight with a massive Kaiju, they are injured when the beast continues his attack. We flashback to when Duc and Kaorl first meet when Duc manned a helicopter that saved a sub that Kaorl was in that was gathering data on the breach line that the Kaiju use to enter our world. When we cut back to modern times, Duc and Kaorl are injured, and their robot is being filled with radioactive gas. Their Jaeger Tacit Ronin is being dragged into the breach line, and they are clearly loosing the battle and their lives if they do not get help!

This first issue is a mix of drama, action, horror and romance as we follow a husband and wife team who are in the battle for their lives against a massive Kaiju, who is brutal in his attack. As our main characters are being beaten up, they have a flashback to what looks like their first meeting that lead to their romantic link. Our heroes Duc and Kaorl are likable based on what little we know about them as they both love their jobs, they both would risk their lives to finish their jobs and they seem to really love each other even if their first meeting went bad. The Jaeger they power, Tacit Ronin, seems like a powerful machine but to be honest, it gets taken down and beat up pretty easily and it almost seems like they should not have been sent in to fight the monster alone. The Kaiju himself is big, mean, filled with hate and does what he was created to do, smashes and tries to kill what ever gets in his way. This issue is very thin plotted, and the story is a little all over the place as we go from modern to flashback to modern to flashback and so on with no clear reason or explanation. The characters seem like wooden generic action characters that say silly lines to each other and have over all bland personalities. The battle between Jaeger and Kaiju is one sided and makes our heroes seem like failed fools as they seem lost for the most part on how to repower the robot and get the toxic gas out of their area. Now I know it sounds like I didn’t like this first issue, but I did enjoy it as it had good art from Marcelo Maiolo, who has a very modern independent comic style. The cover is also well done and very eye catching for fans of the film, and seeing a giant robot fight a giant monster is still cool no matter how one sided the fight is. Over all, this is a middle of the road comic that is not terrible and is not amazing.

Pacific Rim: Tales From The Drift # 2  **
Released in 2015     Cover Price $3.99     Legendary Comics   # 2 of 4

Duc and Kaorl are in serious trouble as they are slowing losing energy from the gas that has filled their control room, and the Jaeger they command Tacit Ronin is taken a beating. The pair drift in and out of consciousness as they flashback to being forced to act as a team in order to fight the giant Kaiju that threaten the world, and how at first they could not stand even being around each other but they ended up coming to respect each other. Back in current times, the Jaeger Coyote Tango comes to their aid so they can retreat and get out of Tacit Ronin as soon as possible so they do not die from the gas. But when Coyote Tango starts to lose the fight with the Kaiju, Duc and Kaorl use all the strength they can in order to attack the Kaiju with one massive blow. But this act of heroism leaves Duc passed out and possibly dead!

This second issue has our heroes at death’s door from not only the Kaiju’s attack but also because the toxic gas is zapping them of life! The plot in this issue is paper thin and has our heroes getting their butts kicked and thinking back to them being brought together to be a team and then risking their own lives in order to help their fellow Jaeger drivers. Duc and Kaorl in this issue are pretty much still cool characters who lack an real depth besides the fact that now they care for each other but in the past they did not. The Kaiju is doing what he does best, trying to kill and destroy,  is just like the last issue. Coyote Tango is there to help, but we really know nothing about him nor do we even get to see who his controllers are. This second issue, while entertaining, is very weak on story and delivers nothing really new to the story as most of this just feels like rehashed plots from issue one just spiced up a little with different situations. The cover for this issue I feel is a little weak and does not really deliver in the eye catching department and the interior art by Marcos Marz seems just slightly more sloppy and rushed in this issue. Over all there’s not much to talk about as this second issue just kind of putts along and delivers another middle of the road comic issue in this mini series.

Pacific Rim: Tales From The Drift # 3  **
Released in 2016     Cover Price $3.99     Legendary Comics   # 3 of 4

Duc and Kaorl have survived the battle, but their powerful blow to the Kaiju has left both Jaegers, the Coyote Tango and Tacit Ronin, down for repairs. While recovering in the hospital, the husband and wife team are told by Captain Stacker Pentecost that they have been discharged from the Pan Pacific Defense Corps as going back in to control a Jaeger would overload their brains and kill them. As Kaorl and Duc try and deal with early retirement, a massive Kaiju starts to attack and destroys the only ready Jaeger, Victory Alpha, with ease. With many of lives of innocent people in the balance, Stacker must reinstate Duc and Kaorl who have volunteered to put their lives on the line in order to wait for back up from Japan to save the lives of many.

This third issue sets up that our heroes Duc and Kaorl all in one day are forced into retirement due to injury that would leave them dead if they try and pilot a Jaeger to, by the end, forcing their old boss to put them back on duty in order to save innocent lives that are now in danger because of a Kaiju attack. The story in this issue is a little better as it gives our heroes a real time to shine as they would rather die themselves than to stand by and do nothing as people die around them. It’s very weird because while they have not flushed out really real personality for Duc and Kaorl, as a reader, I have found myself cheering for them in every issue! Captain Stacker Pentecost is a man with lots of pride and hates the fact that he had to discharge his friends and later has to risk their lives in order for them all to do their jobs. Victory Alpha, the only Jaeger in the area and the only hope for the people around, is truly outclassed as the monster smashes him to bits. A team of a brother and sister are controlling him, and they do manage to escape the robot before it’s smashed! The Kaiju in this issue is called Ragnarok, and he is one bad monster who has multiple arms and is ready to smash and kill anyone that gets in his way. Nice to see that the plot for this third issue at least thickened and seemed to have gone somewhere different and, as I stated before, gave the main characters a little more personality. The cover for this issue is kind of bland and reminds me of some lame space romance title Image Comics would have released. The interior art once more is done by Marcos Marz and is good with once more a few panel and pages seeming a little rushed. Over all this was once more a middle of the road issue in this comic mini series that is nothing too special.

Pacific Rim: Tales From The Drift # 4  *1/2
Released in 2016     Cover Price $3.99     Legendary Comics   # 4 of 4

Duc and Kaorl enter Tacit Ronin and go out to face Ragnarok, who is also ready for another battle. Our heroes give it everything they have and battle the giant beast pushing it back to the water and away from the city all the while hammering and cutting the giant monster trying to slow him down. But sadly as they fight the monster, they themselves are taking massive damage and are slowly killing themselves. As they get weaker, they know they have to kill the monster and do just that by cutting him in half, but this brave act also leaves them dead and the world lost some true unselfish heroes. Our tale ends with the pair being buried, and the world knowing what they did for them.

This last issue is just one massive battle issue that has lots of splash panels and fight scenes that are chaotic, and at times you are not so sure what you’re looking at. This final issue’s plot has our heroes going into war one last time and giving their lives in order to save others. I have to say this because it’s really how I feel, Tales From The Drift could have been wrapped up nicely in two issues but seems to have been dragged out so that Legendary Comics could get enough pages in order to do a graphic novel as this mini series plot was super thin and lots of pages seemed to be taken up with filler and plot elements that went nowhere with the flashbacks being the worst for this. Duc and Kaorl are cool character who were great heroes in the story, and while likable, they sadly fell into being generic style science fiction heroes.  While they died heroes, they were just not written well over all. The Jaegers felt like after thoughts in this series with all of them until the last fight getting their butts kicked and all seeming like they would never have stood a chance against the monsters. Another thing I hate to say is while Ragnarok was a powerful Kaiju, his look was super cheesy and reminded me of a Power Ranger baddie. The cover on this issue is pretty cool and looks more like two astronauts looking into the face of Satan in Hell than a moment from Pacific Rim. Marcos Marz’s art in this issue is kind of bland and was nothing special, and while some might think it’s good, it’s definitely not a style I can say I really like. Over all as a long time comic reader who really enjoys comics based on films, I have to say that Pacific Rim: Tales From The Drift was nothing special and was kind of a drawn out bland generic story that was made in order to cash in on the film’s fans and to get a graphic novel in comic and book stores. While I didn’t hate this mini series, I can’t say I was a fan and would only suggest it to diehard fans of Pacific Rim. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Marcos Marz, and see what you think of his work.

While I feel that this comic mini series does fit well into the movie universe that Pacific Rim has created for itself, I found these comic issues to be very slow and have a lackluster plot. But while this comic series was not all that great, I am still very much looking forward to seeing Pacific Rim Uprising at my local cinema. It’s time to leave the Jaegers and Kaiju behind as our next update will be another in my “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” series and will feature the newly released comic based on the 1990 film Ghoul School that was released by Seduction Cinema Comics under their new branch called Camp Comix! I am very much looking forward to this update as I have always enjoyed this sadly mostly forgotten shot on video gem! So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time as the bell is ringing and Ghoul School will be in session!

Alien Invasion: Alien Nation

Imagine if tomorrow we found out that there is life on other planets.  Now imagine them coming to Earth and working everyday jobs alongside us; how would your mind handle this? Would you fear them because they were different and not born on Earth? Would you embrace them as fellow living beings? What kind of languages, religions and cultures would they share with us? I for one would be very interested to learn about and from them and would embrace them as fellow living beings….that is unless they are like the aliens from Mars Attacks or Independence Day.  Then I would say we as the world would need to come together and drive them from our planet! Today’s update is an Alien Invasion update that brings aliens to Earth who want to become productive members of our very own society and want to be treated with respect.  These aliens are The Tenctonese aka the Newcomers and are from the film Alien Nation that spawned a TV show, comic books and novels, and we will be digging into the DC Comic adaptation of the film as well as explore the world of the film that was released by 20th Century Fox in 1988! So sit back look to the skies and think about alien friendship, as I am proud to bring you Alien Invasion: Alien Nation.

So let’s start this invasion off right and take a look at the film that this comic is based on, as without this film Alien Nation would not be a cult classic film that many Sci-Fi fans enjoy and love still to this day. The movies write up will be taken from our good friends at IMDB, and after that, I will write a little about my first time seeing Alien Nation as well a few more memories of its legacy.

Alien Nation (1988)

“A few years from now, Earth will have the first contact with an alien civilisation. These aliens, known as Newcomers, slowly begin to be integrated into human society after years of quarantine but are victims of a new type of discrimination. When the first Newcomer police officer, San Francisco is assigned his new partner, he is given Matthew Sykes, a mildly racist veteran, the animosity between them soon gives way to respect as they investigate the Newcomer underworld, and especially Newcomer leader William Harcourt.”

I can remember the ads on TV and in the newspaper for the release of Alien Nation. It really piqued my interest as growing up in the 80’s, just like Horror and Fantasy films, for me Science Fiction was a big genre as films like Star Trek, Star Wars, Aliens, Enemy Mine, Blade Runner, Back To The Future, Planet Of The Apes and Last Starfighter were all popular with fans and my generation as a whole. But sadly, I was not able to go to the theater and see Alien Nation as my parents did not want to go to see it, plus it was rated R so could not see it on my own as I was only around 9 years old when it was out. It would be some years later when I first got to see it thanks to a VHS rental from a local video store on a weekend. I can remember the whole family watching it and all of us enjoying it as it felt like it was a film that had a deeper meaning behind it and yet felt like a true modern style science fiction film. After the first time watching it, we saw it a few other times as it would later go on to be shown on paid cable stations we had, and at some point I ended up buying it on VHS. The film had an amazing cast that included James Caan, Terence Stamp and Mandy Patinkin, all of whom were fantastic in their roles with Stamp and Patinkin being unrecognizable in their roles as aliens. After seeing the film I can also remember watching the TV Show Alien Nation that started in 1989, and I remember finding some of the comics from Adventure Comics years down the line at The Bookie Parlor and can remember going crazy when I got to read the cross over mini series they did with Planet Of The Apes called Ape Nation in 1991. But by the mid 90’s sadly Alien Nation had lost its footing in the world of pop culture as the TV Show was cancelled after only 22 episodes and the comic series from Adventure Comics ended in 1992. But while Alien Nation never got a movie sequel or even a more modern comic series, it still remains a classic 80’s Science Fiction film that I think everyone should check out.

The Tenctonese are from the planet of Tencton and are human like in appearance besides their heads, which have no hair on them and are slightly bigger with reddish spots on them that also run down their spines. They are stronger than a normal man as well as smarter as they were born and bred in order to be slaves. They eat food raw and that includes meat and veggies and in order to get drunk, they gulp down soured milk! They can be poisoned and die by such things as chocolate, tobacco and fluoride with salt almost being like acid to them as it can burn their skin. Their nerves and organs are different than ours as is the way they make love and things that can harm humans seem to have no effect on them including many types of poisons. They also look at sex as something special and not taboo and find adult movies childish. So what I am trying to say is that while they can be killed, they are definitely smarty and stronger than us and if they were real and here on Earth we would be smart to work with them and not against them as they could very much be our downfall!

So we have talked about the film as well as the Tenctonese, and I think it’s time to take a look at the DC Comic adaptation of the film and get this invasion going! I also just want to say that one other reason I think I have always enjoyed Alien Nation is the fact besides being a good science fiction film it also is a good buddy cop film! But if you look in the sky, a message has just been written in the stars and it says, “I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story”! So let’s get to it and see if the comic holds up as good as the movie.

Alien Nation # 1  ***
Released in 1988       Cover Price $2.50       DC Comics       # 1 of 1

It’s been three years since the Newcomers came down from space on their ship and became part of the populace in America.  This anniversary is all over the news and is causing people to remember where they were when the aliens landed. While on duty, cops Matthew Sykes and Bill Tuggle are involved in a shootout with some robber newcomers who leave Bill dead and Sykes very bitter toward Newcomers. He decides to team up with promoted Newcomer officer Sam “George” Francisco as he thinks he might be able to help him find who killed his partner as a rash of fake robbery murders have been taken place targeting the aliens. Sykes and Francisco follow the leads and find out one of the gunmen from the robbery worked at a gas plant and that’s the connection between the cop killing and the Newcomer killings. The pair of cops go around and uncover clues and even along the way start to build a friendship as they both see that their job and family is what matters in both of their lives. And soon George opens up to Sykes and lets him in on a Newcomer secret that there is a powerful drug that was made that all Newcomers took when they arrived and some got addicted to it.  The drug has side effects, and he thinks that this drug is the reason for all the killings. They finally are able to figure out that Newcomer William Harcourt is the man behind the killings as well as the man behind making the drugs, and when George and Sykes go to arrest him, he overdoses on the drug and turns into a raging hulking alien monster who stalks Sykes down trying to kill him.  This fight leads them to the ocean, and Sykes is only able to beat Harcourt when he pushes the supped up alien into the salt water that acts as acid and burns him up. George is able to pull Sykes out of the water and into a helicopter and they solve the case, destroy all the drug, take down the super powered alien bad guy and still make it to Sykes daughter’s wedding.

This DC Comic adaptation of the film Alien Nation is a great read and holds the magic of the film and even quickens the pace slightly and delivers a great buddy cop science fiction comic. The film’s plot has a cop whose partner is killed by an alien and his next partner is from the same alien race that murdered his last.  He must learn to put aside his hatred in order to solve the case and become a more tolerate person. This comic does a fantastic job of blending all the elements that made the film special together to make for a quick pace comic. Matthew Sykes is a cop who is good at his job but fails in life at being a good person as he has a rough and hateful attitude, but as he goes long on one of his most important cases he learns to try and be a better person and not hate those who are different from him. Officer Sam “George” Francisco is a Newcomer and the first of his race to be on the force and climb the ranks, he is a good cop who is by the book and he as well learns by the end of this case to lighten up and finds friendship and understands its value in life. Our main bad guy is William Harcourt who is as well a Newcomer and is a rich alien who is very slimy and is involved with drug making, selling and the murders of his fellow race! And once he is discovered to be a scumbag he overdoses on his own drug and causes himself to become a hulking mutant alien and does his best to murder our two main characters! This comic is filled with action, drama and even a little dark humor and this helped add to the enjoyment of the read, and proves that many comic adaptations of films can be well done. The cover to this comic is well done and is eye catching for fans of the film, and the interior artwork is pretty good and is done by Jerry Bingham. Over all this is an entertaining and good comic based on a cult classic film and is worth a read for those who enjoy Aliens and Buddy Cop stories. Check out some artwork below and see what this comic has in store for you.

Alien Nation is a great science fiction film about an alien invasion that allows them to live among us and not try and take us over like say Independence Day or hunt us for sport like Predator that I have covered here at Rotten Ink in the past. But I think it’s time to leave this Alien Invasion behind and crank open another Undead File for our next update as we will take a look at the Original Walking Dead series! So until next time, read a comic or three, watch an Alien film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a zombie gut munching of a good time!

 

January The 13th: The Muppets Take Manhattan

In 1989, hockey masked killer Jason Voorhees, aboard a cruise ship filled with high school seniors, slashed his way into Manhattan, New York and took that city by brutal storm. But just five years before, in 1984, a band of goofy stage performs took it by laughter and cheer.  This band was lead by a noble green man named Kermit The Frog and his friends are The Muppets, and yes, they as well took Manhattan! This film and its STAR Comic mini series adaptation are the topic of this second update of 2018…wow, we are in 2018 and this is amazing as 2017 seemed to fly by. But let’s not focus on that; let’s focus on the third Muppet movie that starred Kermit and the gang getting into a fun and wacky adventure. Like many kids my age, growing up I loved The Muppets and saw this movie a tons of time as it played on HBO when I was a kid. I even taped it off TV on Beta when I was younger. My gal Juliet also loves The Muppets, and I almost had her do this update but decided that I also had some things to say about this movie! So let’s travel to New York with our pal Kermit and see why he and his pals decided to take Manhattan.

The Muppet Show was created by Jim Henson and was a variety show that aired on ABC from 1976-1981.  My brother Bryan and I used to watch it in reruns as even our Dad was entertained by these colorful puppets who had great personalities and added humor by interacting with their celebrity guests. Kermit The Frog was the head of this rag tag group of performers that had the likes of Fozzie Bear a terrible stand up comic, Miss Piggy a diva actress and singer, Gonzo a weird big nosed guy who would do stunts and Rowlf The Dog who played the piano and sang, to name a few. Amazing guest stars like Alice Cooper, Vincent Price and Mark Hamill added to the enjoyment of this program that would go on to spawn movies, comic books, video games, novels, cartoons and toys, and this is why Disney ended up buying Jim Henson Productions and continues to make Muppet stuff for fans to enjoy. Now I could really get into the history of The Muppets and their creation and such, but I would rather save that for another update that possibly Juliet will handle.  So our main focus for this update is the third movie adventure they had. But to sum it up, growing up I was a big fan of The Muppets and watched the show in reruns, loved the cartoon Muppet Babies and enjoyed the heck out of the movies over the years….so in other words, The Muppets Rule!

Growing up I was lucky that my Mom would buy me lots of toys from stores like Hearts, Hills and Gold Circle and would find also lots of great toys at garage sales.  Besides The Muppet Babies figures that were in Happy Meals from McDonalds, I had the cool Fisher Price figures called “The Muppet Show Players” that they released in 1978 with a total of seven figures in the set that included Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Animal, Rowlf and Scooter. The figures stood about 3-4” tall and had limited movement and came with a stick that allowed you to clumsily move The Muppet around and make your own plays and shows with them. Now keep in mind that these toys were made a year before I was even born and as a kid, I got some of them from Odd Lots, who had them in stock in the 80’s!! I am not sure if maybe if Fisher Price rereleased them or if a large stock of them was found, but my brother and I had many of them growing up. As I said, our parents got us many from Odd Lots and we also found a few at garage sales. I know I owned Rowlf, Fozzie, Animal and Scooter and remember my brother owning Kermit, Animal and Gonzo, and we both really did enjoy them and kept onto them for many years before we ended up giving them to our cousins when our mom “pushed” us to give many of our toys away to them. But I can remember playing with these toys and having them on the side of the Jedi in the toy wars I used to have when I was a youngster growing up in Waynesville. So did any of you readers grow up having these Muppet Fisher Price toys?

To me, the Muppets are as iconic as Looney Tunes and Disney Cartoon characters and seem to have always been a part of my life from watching them on TV all the way to reading comic book adventures about them and everything in-between! I mean heck, one of the first vinyl records I ever owned was the soundtrack to The Muppet Movie. My favorite Muppet of the main cast of characters was Fozzie The Bear as I found him to be a lovable goofy unfunny comedian who was funny because he was not funny! The other that comes close to Fozzie in my book is Gonzo as I love the fact he is so weird, had a creative mind and his close friends are rats and chickens! But my favorite minor character always has been Sweetums, a large ogre monster who towers over Muppets and humans alike and looks like a mean son of a gun but is a semi nice guy unless he is pushed or you mess with his friends. Sweetums first appeared in the TV Special “The Frog Prince” in 1971 and was a bad guy and son of an evil witch Taminella and would later make appearances on The Muppet Show becoming more of a cast member in season two. He would also go on to be in many of The Muppet movies as well as video games, comics, books and toys throughout the run of the show and beyond. I think I have always liked Sweetums lots because I have been a Monster Kid for as long as I can remember, and he looks like a giant monster that could have been the main baddy in any G rated horror film of the 70’s. Many actors have played the character, but the one who made this giant Muppet suit monster his own was Richard Hunt who played him from 1975 to 1991 and the original suit actor was Jerry Nelson who only played him once in 1971 for his first appearance. So while Fozzie and Gonzo are amazing characters who are my main cast favorites, good old Ogre Sweetums has a special place in my heart as well. Take a look at the pics below to see why this aging Monster Kid dug him.

Growing up I always thought that the monster used as a mascot for Noble Roman’s Pizza in the 80’s was The Muppet Sweetums, and once older, thanks to YouTube, I was able to finally see that he was not indeed pushing cheep greasy pizza to hungry people in the 80’s but instead the pizza place made their own walk around Muppet who very much looked like a knock off of Sweetums complete with his under bite bulldog like jaw! But let’s be honest, I really do like the fact Noble Roman’s Pizza has a mascot, and while he is not as memorable to many fast food junkies as say Ronald McDonald, The Noid or Colonel Sanders that we have covered here on Rotten Ink, he still made his mark for those kids in the 80’s who remember him…plus it appears as if they still somewhat use him but have changed him quit a bit as he no longer has brown fur like Sweetums and now has blue and purple fur much like the My Pet Monster doll! In my youth I can only remember eating Noble Roman’s Pizza less than a handful of times and can remember eating there with my cousins Dino and Norman. I have never been a big pizza eater and can remember not really enjoying my slices of the pie from them. Just wanted to throw this in as I am not sure when in the future I would be talking about Sweetums or the knock off Noble Roman’s Pizza mascot…check out the pics below to see why younger me thought they were one and the same.

So I think we are at the point of this update where we will be taking a look at the movie that spawned this comic adaptation and was a film that my brother Bryan and I watched many times and even owned on VHS for years until I, like a fool, sold all my VHS off to a second hand store that underpaid for them all. But here is what we will do for this quick look at the film, I will take the write up from our pals at IMDB and then will talk a little about watching it for the first time aka what I can remember and then talk about how well it did at the box office and such. I hope you’re ready to talk about some Muppets cause we are about to dive in their world!

The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)

“The Muppets graduate from college and decide to take their senior revue on the road. They hit the streets of Manhattan trying to sell their show to producers, finally finding one young and idealistic enough to take their show. After several mishaps and much confusion, things begin to come together for them.”

If memory serves me right, I first saw this film on HBO when I was a youngster and my Mom use to hype up all the big kids movies that came to that paid station (that we would have on and off during my youth) to me and my brother who always were so eager to watch movies as we both loved cinema even at a very young age. There was always something very magical about watching a Muppet Movie as they always seemed like events much like many of the film series from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s did.  When a new Superman, Star Wars, Star Trek, Jurassic Park or Batman film was released, it was a major deal to many of my friends as well as the film going public and for the longest time The Muppet films felt that way! While The Muppets Take Manhattan is a great family film and was one I liked, it never was my favorite Muppet film growing up as I always loved The Great Muppet Caper as that one was just over the top silly and was one I had seen more often on TV and home video. The film was released to theaters on July 13, 1984 and was a hit for Tristar as it brought in $25,534,703.00 at the US box office on a budget of $8 million and came in at # 39 for the year beating out such films as A Nightmare On Elm Street, Sixteen Candles, The Neverending Story, Children Of The Corn, Supergirl, This Is Spianl Tap and Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai to name a few. So as you can see, in the 80’s The Muppets had box office draw and were favorites of kids and the young at heart. One thing I do want to also say is that as I kid I always thought it was amazing that the cast of Sesame Street was in this film as they are guests at a very special wedding that we will talk about in the comic review…I wonder if they will make an appearance in the comic or if they will be cut out due to rights issues?

Now that we have talked about Muppets Take Manhattan as well as about my favorite underrated b-cast Muppet, I think it’s time we dive into the adaptation comic mini series released by Star Comics! It’s been a while since I did an update about a Star Comic, and it feels good doing one based on The Muppets as they are a fun one to talk about! Also this is not the last time I will have an update here at Rotten Ink about them as sometime this year or next my gal Juliet will do a bigger update on The Muppets in general. So before we get started, I need to remind you that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I also want to thank Bell Book And Comic and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock and making this update possible. So let’s take a trip to New York with Kermit and the rest of The Muppets and see just how they take Manhattan with laughter.

The Muppets Take Manhattan # 1  ***
Released in 1984     Cover Price .60     Star Comics   # 1 of 3

Kermit The Frog as well as his fellow Muppets have just put on a musical show the day the graduated collage and the show is such a hit the crowd and his friends push Kermit to go to New York and try and get it on Broadway! Kermit and friends pack up their stuff and head to New York with fame and stars in their eyes and the first day they go and meet Martin Price who claims to love the show and wants it to go straight to Broadway…but only if Kermit and his friends all pay him $300 a piece! The Muppets know this is wrong and before they can say no the police bust in and try to arrest Price for fraud over the years and this criminal tries to take Gonzo hostage but the blue weirdo is saved by Animal and price is brought to justice. Kermit and pals don’t loose their faith in the show even after day after day and meeting after meeting they get told NO! With no money in their pockets they stop at a diner for some soup and meet the owner, his daughter Jenny and rat waiter Rizzo who all befriend the struggling stage actors and as Kermit gets the soup, Scooter talks the rest of the gang that they should split up and make their own way to impress Kermit and themselves! As his friends all leave New York one at a time Kermit goes to the Empire State Building and looks at the city and gets motivation to get his friends back and his show on Broadway.

This first issue in the adaptation is really well done and captures the mood, music and characters of the film very well. The plot of this first issue has Kermit graduating collage and putting on a great musical show that leaves him being pushed to bring the show to Broadway by the audience and his fellow friends. And once in New York he finds that getting the show on Broadway was way harder than expected and he and his friends sleep in rented lockers and in the end his friends split off from him to get jobs and leave Kermit all alone in the Big Apple. Kermit The Frog is a very creative Muppet who believes in his projects and his friends and is chasing his dreams to be around his friends and entertain the world with his production shows. Kermit is just a great frog who has a heart of gold and makes friends wherever he goes. Scooter is a Muppet who pushes Kermit to do this show and is the goof who tells the other Muppets they should all split up and get normal jobs…what a goon…stand by your friend man if you believe in his art. The rest of The Muppets are around and all have faith in Kermit and don’t want to split away from him but it’s the idea of Scooter that forces them to all walk away, so it’s sad to say but I think Scooter is this issues bad guy next to the con man Martin Price! Jenny and the diner workers are all good people who you know will be playing a bigger part in issue # 2! Very solid issue and a great way to start off this mini series, and I must say the cover is amazing and very eye catching for fans of The Muppets and the interior art it top notch kids comic stuff done by Dean Yeagle and is the style that made me fall in love with Star Comics all those years back in my youth. I can’t wait to see how issue 2 brings the story to life.

The Muppets Take Manhattan # 2  ***
Released in 1984      Cover Price .60      Star Comics     # 2 of 3

Kermit is motivated to get his show on Broadway and his friends back in New York and heads to Pete’s Diner and gets a part tome job working in the kitchen as does Rizzo’s fellow rat friends! While Kermit is trying to get his show picked up a weird person in shadow keeps following him! Kermit has Jenny help him by designing cloths that he thinks will make agents pay him more attention and sadly this seems to not help get his show off the ground. The shadow figure following him is Miss Piggy who gets upset when she see’s Jenny hug Kermit and worse when se returns to her job she is fired after getting an extreme make over from her co-worker! Kermit does not give up and this time takes Rizzo and the other rats to a high-end restaurant in order to build up his show but once more he his tossed out and the show is not picked up. After being defeated again Kermit is down in the dumps and runs back into Miss Piggy who has beat up a would be purse snatcher and he gets her a job at Pete’s as a waitress. Good news comes via a letter when Kermit is called to meet a producer who turns out to be the young son of the producer who wants his first project to be Kermit’s musical! Super hyped Kermit calls Jenny at the restaurant and tells her that the show is going to happen and that she can do costumes and to let Piggy know that they are Broadway bound. As Kermit leaves the building to get back to Pete’s he is hit by a car and looses his memory!

Kermit in this issue pushes forward on trying his best to get his show to play in New York as well as get his friends to come back so they can all work together and make something special. Kermit also tries to change who he is in order to get the attention of producers and dresses like a goof and even acts and says things like one. Also Pete’s Diner turns out to be great place for Kermit to work as it puts a little cash in his pocket, is a home base for him as well as he has met lots of new friends. Jenny, Pete and Rizzo as well as the fellow rats are all great people who clearly believe in Kermit and his musical, as they are all willing to help him in his time of need and depression. Miss Piggy while she has walked away from Kermit she still loves him and has stayed in New York in order to keep an eye on him and once they meet back up she ends up working with him at the diner. The young producer is a good kid who clearly has seen the talent and special nature of the Kermit musical and chooses it as his first project even though his father does not share his love for Kermit’s play. This issue is great and builds up more of the will that Kermit has to make his own way and to impress his friends and also delivers us drama in the way of Kermit getting hit by a car and forgetting who he is making the musical’s future in jeopardy. The only down side of this issue is that besides Kermit, Miss Piggy and Rizzo none of the other Muppets make an appearance besides a brief cameo of The Muppet Babies in a two panel flashback and this is a bummer for fans of the other characters. This issue has a good cover and once more fantastic art by Dean Yeagle and is another top notch kids comic adapting a great kids movie. So lets see what issue three the final issue in this mini series has in store for us!

The Muppets Take Manhattan # 3  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .60     Star Comics   # 3 of 3

Kermit is taken to the hospital after being hit by a car and is a blank slate not even knowing his own name. Meanwhile Miss Piggy, Jenny, Rizzo and Pete are awaiting his return and when hours pass and the producer of the show stops by to say the show starts in 2 weeks they must try and find their missing friend! As they hit the streets looking for him Pete writes telegrams of the good news and The Muppets all come back to town and meet at the diner and all are told of Kermit missing and all hit the streets looking for him and all come up empty handed. Kermit is now going by Phil and is working at an ad firm and just by luck on opening night he and his co-workers stop at Pete’s for lunch and his friends are happy to see him, but he don’t remember them so they kidnap him and take him to the theater to try and jog his mind. After hours of trying they are not able to and the show starts and just before they are to go on without him Kermit laughs at the fact Miss Piggy loves him and she slaps him so hard he hits his head on the wall and snaps back to normal and rushes to get onstage on time for the start of his opening night of his big musical. The show is a hit as the crowd loves it, Kermit has his friends all around him as they do the show and he and Miss Piggy are married live on stage as part of the show and this is how The Muppet Took Manhattan!

The finial issue in this adaptation is just as good as the first two issues and shows just why Star Comics when around was the best kids comic company going, better than Archie and Harvey and all others of that time. The plot of this issue has Kermit with memory loss wondering around New York as Phil as his friends and musical are in need of him. And when all looks lost Kermit remembers who he is and pulls off a massive hit musical and even marries his long time girlfriend Piggy live during the show! I love that Kermit takes on the name Phil and works along side other frogs and creates cheesy ads and slogans for products like soap! I also love as Phil is he kind of rude and laughs in Piggy’s face when she talks of her and Kermit’s plans for marriage…yeah he laughs in her face and gets slapped for his terrible manners! But I love that when he remembers who he is Kermit kicks into creative gear and gets stuff done! Miss Piggy in this issue loves her green skinned man and worries about him missing and does what she can to try and find him, and while she tricks him into marriage she is not nearly as diva acting as she normally is. The rest of The Muppets (Gonzo, Fozzie, Scooter, ect.) are all background players and do what they do well and that’s add fun moments to this comic and story. Jenny, Pete and Rizzo show that they are great friends as they as well get worried about Kermit and do what they can to help find him and make his show a hit. I also love that they did add the Sesame Street characters to the wedding and that through out the issue you get cameos from those cranky old critics Statler And Waldorf who as well add their own brand of humor. The cover of this issue has Miss Piggy and Kermit getting married and is eye catching for fans of The Muppets and once more Dean Yeagle and is great stuff. This three issue mini series is a must read for fans of The Muppets and the film its based on as it is a pure fun all age comic series that is entertaining and just plan fun! I would say that my favorite Character in this mini series is Kermit as how can you not like a guy trying to chase his creative dream and wants to share it with his friends. While my favorite backup character would be Rizzo as who don’t like a rat who waits tables and gets all his other rat friends jobs. So to sum it up make if you dig Kermit and his friends make sure to give this a read. Check out some art from this comic series done by Dean Yeagle below and see just how fun it is.

The Muppets are icons of TV and kid friendly shows, and while they have lost some steam nowadays, they still have a special place in my heart as seeing them they make me think of my youth and all the good times I had with my family watching them on TV and movies. And as I have said, this will not be the last time you will see The Muppets here at Rotten Ink.  Juliet confirmed with me that she will indeed be doing an update about them in the future! For our next update, we will be walking away from New York and The Muppets and head to the world of Horror Hosting and a rundown mansion that is the home of the one and only Ghost Host.  This Maryland Horror Host will be the next Icon we chat about. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update ghost and ghoulies!