Extant- Episode 3

John comforts Molly with science after her miscarriage. He had already been working on an android and decides that they should raise the program. Molly, in her grief, volunteered to go into space. Molly is remembering all this while she lays in bed.

John wakes up and proposes that they throw Molly a birthday celebration since she missed her birthday in space.

Ethan is nervous about orientation. Molly is going for an invigorated run, her health monitors encourage her to slow down, she sees a spaceship blast off. Orientation doesn’t go so hot, There are angry villagers there who call Ethan “a toaster.” 

Molly tries to see Harman but he’s not there, he’s drawn weird circle patterns (like the one that appeared on Molly’s stomach) on the wall. Sam is disappointed that Molly still hasn’t told John about the pregnancy. She says some version of, “the timing isn’t right.” 

At the party Sam takes Molly’s blood (which is weird). Molly’s dress is fantastic.

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Then Molly collapses and sees herself in space with Marcus. A bit later, John’s lab tech tries to flirt and insert herself into their family structure, but John pays no mind. Marcus’s brother arrives at the party, and Molly has a misunderstanding when he says that he sees Marcus everywhere.

The power goes out. John finds something moving in a box and finds it’s a chicken that Ethan caught earlier. Ethan doesn’t understand what things need food or water. John says, “no more birds and no more secrets.” That prompts Ethan to say that “mom says secrets are okay if you don’t want someone to worry.” John confronts Molly. Then she confesses.

Sparks said that the ISE implanted something in her without her consent. Which is gross and weird. 

As the party wraps up Molly looks for Tim (Marcus’s brother) to say goodbye. Her husband keeps saying that he is not there. She remembers him next to her in a group photo, which is on a screen… but there’s a empty space next to her. SO YOU ARE TELLING ME: THAT NO ONE STOOD NEXT TO HALLE AT HER OWN DAMN BIRTHDAY PARTY?! John tries to calm her but she says she’s losing it, she insists she saw Tim there, saw him talking to other people. The secrets all come out and she manically recounts her hallucinations. She goes off with Sparks because Sam will be there and something bad is happening and she trusts Sam.

Sam tries to go to her office but is held up by security, she sneaks around and shee’s that they are taking her files. Knowing they can’t be trusted she tries to call Molly, she gets John, expresses concern and then texts Molly to get out of the car. 

Molly goes for might over cunning. I thought she would fake morning sickness for sure. Anyway, Molly grabs the wheel, the car swerves and she gets out and runs as we see weird circles protruding on her torso. John is behind them and picks her up.

This show is getting serious. So much craziness, and what could ISE be up to? Halle Berry is just so phenomenal. Her/Molly’s meltdown after discovering the truth about Tim was astonishingly painful to watch. She has no idea who to trust and those she trusts are in danger… with still no clue as to why. And the plot doesn’t center around Ethan. And for Molly the baby she is carrying isn’t even the main focus., she wants to know why she has been betrayed, not gushing over possibilities. 

Which is good, because it’s majorly sick that they implanted something in her against her will and caused her to have abnormal brain scans and jeopardized her physical and mental well being as well as her family life and career ENTIRELY. 

Is Harlan real? 

I hate that Julie is being written as a romantic rival for Molly. I enjoy that John entertains none of it (and that he is supportive of Molly even when dealing with insane situations). Julie being flirty toward John and catty towards Molly her behavior makes it seem as though she is infringing on thei parenting and inserting herself into their family situation. But rather Ethan is her life’s work, too. Not just John’s.It would be nice if she was portrayed as John’s colleague and not a potential hook up.

Extant- episode 1

I’m a little wary of this show. Mostly because the overall premise is that a woman gets impregnated without consenting.

But there are things I immediately like. Halle Berry on primetime network, interracial marriage on prime time network, a mother with a high profile job, a black mother with a high profile STEM job on prime time network. 

Halle Berry’s character, Molly has just returned from space. 13 months alone. When she returns home she’s feeling ill while getting ready for her son’s party. She assumes that she’s just readjusting to earth. Her son’s party goes well, but the child pushes another and his father scolds him (no “boys will be boys” attitude? nice!). Molly’s female friends ask her how her family manages so well, her being away for so long, missing her family, her family doing family things without a matriarch and she is nonplussed. As the father tucks in the child in we see that he is an android.

The son was created, designed and programmed by the father.

Molly wakes up and looks through old news articles, photos of her and Marcus. A former romantic partner who passed away. 

Her friend and doctor, Sam calls her in. Molly’s tests have returned. She’s pregnant. Not only was she alone in space, but she wasn’t able to conceive with her husband. This is what lead her husband to “create”/program Ethan. 

Molly flashes back to an issue on the spaceship when they passed by a solar flare. She lost power and saw Marcus on the ship.13 hours missing from the log, when she meets with the panel she says she accidentally deleted the security footage instead of copying it. They don’t believe her, because she doesn’t make mistakes like that.

Ethan’s father presents his research to Yasimoto Corp, but Humantix is denied funding after he wiles out on a woman for saying his son is not equal to her daughter because Ethan doesn’t have a “soul.” He replies that Ethan has what all children have, synapses, shared experiences. Life.

Molly’s bosses contact Yasimoto and tell him that funding was denied, so Yasimoto reaches out and backs Humantix as a private citizen to get closer to the family.

Molly takes Ethan to the park for icecream, after getting a balloon with a note, Molly tells Ethan that it is time to go. He drops his icecream and lashes out and runs off, Molly chases him and finds him with a dead bird. Ethan says it was like that when he got there.

Molly is creeped out. She relays such to her husband so says Ethan is just adjusting to her return and ends with a hostile “that kid is the closest we will come to having a child!” Which, since Molly is hiding a pregnancy is not true at all.

They make up the next day. Tensions are high and no one said anything that wasn’t true. Molly is scheduled to see a psychiatrist, a previous astronaut committed suicide and now the psych evals are required. She has more flashbacks. She hallucinated Marcus coming to her on the spacecraft, she freaked out and deleted the tapes, on the footage Marcus wasn’t visible, but you could see her reaching out to him.

Then, back at home, the astronaut wo supposedly had killed himself shows up in her yard, he tells her that he is not a hallucination (so he knows about the hallucinations) and tells her not to trust anyone as her husband calls her in for dinner.

So there is a lot going on. How would a hallucination cause her to become pregnant? How would her employers have impregnate her? If that was the goal, why would they send a man first? Is her son really a creep, or did he just find a dead bird? 

Great first episode for something that seemed convoluted.

I enjoyed the next level future science: the synthetic soul (to steal the term from “Almost Human”), private sector space travel. And the it was coupled with societal standards that may never match society’s progress with science no matter how much we know: gender roles (Molly’s friends asking her how she manages to have her career) and the concept of intangible humanity that keeps us separate from other creature (and in this case:robots).

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And that’s just a fabulous haircut that Halle has.

Captain Marvel #3

Tic, in Carol’s ship (with her cat) comes back to attack The Guardians (especially Quill to get back at the king of Spartax). The action takes a turn for the funny. Carol and Peter play off each other well, DeConnick paints them with the same sense of humor and it works really well. David Lopez is perfect for this, the way he displays Carol, Tic and Quill’s expressions is perfect.

After Carol decides to take Tic back to Torfa the Guardians go back to whatever they were doing. And Carol tries her hand at diplomacy. It doesn’t go smoothly. She’s aligned with the Galactic Alliance who have been moving these aliens from planet to planet, exposing them to toxins and are attempting to split up families. (Also, turns out Tic was looking for Secret Avenger Spider-Woman who recently got her first taste of outer space in Secret Avengers #2). Then we get serious. 

The people on Torfa are not amused. A white woman with good intentions but no understanding of the complex situation which she seeks to address: who has words rather than actions, thoughts rather than resources, who brings the lower level thinking “Why don’t they just leave there then?”  Perfect. Please read this article written by someone about the privilege and hypocrisy of “voluntourism” because it’s really a smart (and hard to hear) realisation that good intentions aren’t helpful, if people need resources they need resources, they don’t need a bunch of people “helping” (re: exploiting to make themselves feel/look influential and worldly) who have limited knowledge and insight. 

Eleanides drops the knowledge. They are not idiots, they’re looking for a cure. If Carol’s not there to help take care of the sick or find the source of the poison or protect them from the Galactic Alliance… she’s not their champion then, she’s a self righteous white woman unaware of her own privilege. And a comic book explains something beautifully that so many people do not even attempt to understand.

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Lopez’s cover is phenom. All of these covers so far have been really simplistic but BOLD. Loving the strictly Captain Marvel golden yellow, red and blue. Primary colors FTW. 

Secret Avengers #3

Awesome week for Marvel titles and I still grabbed for this one first.

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Look at the cover! Tradd Moore and Matthew Wilson created this magnificently detailed cover, Widow looks pissed wiping a bloodied nose, Spider-Woman is frantically disarming a bomb and Coulson appears to be in real trouble while still looking hilarious, which is just perfect.

Maria Hill Micromanages the Secret Avengers. Phil Coulson Blows up space stations. Nick Fury has one eye. Black Widow Played by Scarlett Johansson, except when she’s not. Spider-Woman New to the secret team ops thing. Hawkeye Eats about 4 protein bars a day.

Black Widow, Spider-Woman and Coulson are sent to the island Sokotra to neutralize a failed poet with a nuclear device. While they are there, Spider-woman and Widow find themselves against Derrida’s soldiers while Coulson is cowering. Natasha thinks he’s having a PTSD thing. She lets Jessica handle the bad guy while she goes to protect Phil.

Those menacing eyes at the top of the cover? They belong to Lady Bullseye. And she’s gunning for Widow.

Meanwhile the space bomb starts talking to Jessica and tells her that it is going to commit suicide. The bomb’s chosen name is Vladimir. Spider-Woman talks him out of suicide by offering caramel gelato. 

Coulson overcomes his anxiety and jumps in a Jeep, runs over Lady Bullseye. “I just killed Lady Bullseye? Oh my. I’m on a roll.”

I really enjoy this series so far. Consistently fun, quirky and badass. They pull villains and settings from all corners of the Marvel Universe. And Spider-Woman got to kick ass AND use quick thinking and more stereotypically girly means of problem solving. Michael Walsh’s art is kick ass, somewhere in between more classic styles and more modern, some panels switch color schemes (colors by Matthew Wilson) or go with blank backgrounds or silhouettes, it creates momentum and excitement and is well matched to Ales Kot’s quirky writing style.

I will note that Nick Fury and Phil Coulson look like their film counterparts, but the others do not. Including Black Widow, even though they name dropped ScarJo.

The end pages have Fury and Hawkeye going after The Fury who is lost in space.

Future’s End #1

I was lukewarm about the FCBD issue #0, but the concept intrigued me enough to pick up this issue. 

The JLA has been turned into evil robot bugs. Bruce Wayne and Terry go back in time to kill Mr Terrific before he can unleash Brother Eye technology. *gasp* Batmans don’t kill people! Future Bruce Wayne bites the dust (for now) and just before tells Terry that he can’t tell anyone what he’s doing: ESPECIALLY BRUCE WAYNE! Terry doesn’t even go far enough back and the events are already in motion.

So in this issue: Terry’s coming to grips with the fact that he has arrived 7 years too late. The machine was calibrated for them to be travelling with Bruce, robot A.L.F.R.E.D. explains (sure, that makes sense) and then Terry takes on the cyborg that caught a ride with him.

The mobile HQ of Stormwatch is suddenly malfunctioning and the engineer if hijacked by the corrupt technology. With an ominous, “I am the storm you were created for. I am here.” After an intense struggle: the ship is destroyed. Grifter assassinates a family to get to a small girl, who turns out to be an alien. The Green Arrow has been attacked and he reached out to Firestorm. New 52! Firestorm recap: Jason Rusch gave Ronnie Raymond the God particle and they both were transformed into Firestorm with Jason as the brains and Ronnie as the brawn. Ronnie’s a selfish jock type, as shown here: he ignores Jason and Green arrow for womanly affection and when they find Green Arrow dead at the site of an explosion, Jason blames him.

Interesting set up.

This comic book is weekly, I’m going to try a few more before I form a conclusive opinion. 

Terry’s funny. This could be a good series, but I am concerned that they’re pulling out all sorts of B and C list characters for this. I don’t read enough DC to keep up with who’s who and why it’s significant. 

Patrick Zircher is the lone artists on this 4 writer issue (Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen). The art is very detailed, the facial features, the intricate technology: it’s wonderful. 

Captain Marvel #2

Firstly, Kiss My Wonder Woman did a great write up of Captain Marvel’s return.

In the second part of “Higher, Further, Faster, More.” Carol Danvers is making friends with her ship’s AI. Her cat, the cat that Rhodey wouldn’t watch, is making himself comfy on the controls. This is a flash back to “Two weeks ago” and really, my main (albeit minor) issue with this series is the nonsensical time skips. Why are we doing this? 

Anyway, they’re on a medical transport to Torfa (to bring back the green female alien that Rhodey and Captain Marvel found in a vessel headed for Earth) -we already know this doesn’t happen. The route they’re on has been claimed by the Haffensye Consortium and they crack wise at Carol and tell her she can’t pass. Yeah, right. And they start launching missiles at each other with oddly teethed villains calling for her destruction. 

She busts out of the ship in costume and goes to face them head to head When the Guardians of the Galaxy (in their soon to be cinematic line up) back her up. They are victorious (but we knew THAT). And then they tried to work out why a “medical transport” was just attacked. They about get to the reason when Rocket tries to fire on Carol’s cat that he thinks is a Flerken. It’s hilarious. But the gunfire wakes up the previously unconscious alien transport.

Quill then informs carol that Torfa had been poisoned. 200 years prior all life was wiped out and then the Galactic Council relocated refugees there. The Council attempts to rectify the mistake after people start getting sick, but they don’t have enough ships to do it quickly and refugees won’t leave behind loved ones. The awoken alien watches on as this is explained, first with dismay and then with anguish. As Quill starts making light of his daddy issues, the alien grabs a gun and demands, “How could you?!” 

Gamora acts fast, but Carol stops her and tries to negotiate with Tic. Turns out the alien came in search of the Avengers but then she takes aim at Quill (presumably because he’s the Prince of Spartax) a fight breaks out and Tic makes off with Carol’s ship, Carol impulsively suits up and takes off into deep space after a vehicle that can outpace her. 

(but we know she’ll catch it. This is why I hate time skips)

Another great light hearted but not frivolous issue. 

David Lopez’s art is perfect again and Louthridge sticks to the bold red, blue and gold overtones. So much of Carol, Quill, Tic and Chewie the cat’s personality comes through the facial expressions and body language. It’s remarkable and suits the tone of DeConnick’s writing perfectly. The emotions are really palpable and once again this issue runs the gamut from silly to a little sad to action packed and witty. 

Secret Avengers #2

Best Buddies Coulson and Fury are drifting through space. Widow, Spider-Woman and Hawkeye are on their way to save their butts. There’s a lot of bickering. Spider-Woman is not ready for space. “But we’re in a car and we’re flying to space and cars don’t fly in space unless they are miracle cars and is this a miracle car we clearly need a –” “No. we don’t need a miracle. All we need is will… imagination.. …a dependable team of scientists. ..and a big red button.”

Back on Helicarrier Iliad, where Maria Hill has taken a bullet to the hand and is being held hostage by the Latverian assassin who has just told her that his parents died because of SHIELD’s actions. Collateral murder. She’s defenseless. Meanwhile, MODOK is watching SHIELD satellites fall from the sky. Another scientist (with an exposed brain) asks MODOK what they should do about the more pressing and nearby issue with Director Hill. MODOK decides to save her, because he’s an ego maniac.

Coulson + Fury = bro time in outerspace/drifting toward the sun. MODOK = watching satellites. Black Widow, Hawkeye and Spider-Woman make it the the smash up space station that Coulson and Fury fell out of and assess the situation. And fix things, and it turns out they needed Hawkeye after all! The satellites stop falling and MODOK saves Maria Hill by taking down the assassin with a trained lab rat and a syringe. It’s super cute and silly. “CLAP FOR MODOK!” 

Maria’s not impressed.

Then Coulson and Fury, who are resigned to death but still cracking jokes are scooped up by Widow, Spider Woman and Hawkeye (of all people) in a nanobot blanket that MODOK designed. MODOK is genuinely surprised that Maria spied on him and copied his work.

“This is the secret Avengers, there are no rules.” -Maria Hill

This series kicks so much ass. It’s witty and zany. Ales Kot arms everyone with witty but distinct dialogue, I get to read Coulson lines in Clark Gregg’s voice, Michael Walsh and Matthew Wilson do and excellent job of keeping the art clear, crisp, colorful and expressive. The bright colors and Hawkeye’s dopey facial expressions really emphasize the fun feel of this one. Everyone has really expressive eyes, a feat since it’s very cartoony. 

Black Widow is a total bad ass, I like her as a mentor for the new Secret Avenger: Spider-Woman. I like the 50-50 female/male split. Ummm… + MODOK.