TV Review: Silver Surfer (1998)

Original Run: February 7th, 1998 – May 16th, 1998
Created by: Larry Brody
Directed by: various
Written by: various
Based on: Silver Surfer by Jack Kirby
Music by: Shuki Levy
Cast: Paul Essiembre, Camilla Scott, Colin Fox

Marvel Entertainment, Saban Entertainment, Fox, 13 Episodes, 22 Minutes (per episode)

Review:

This show came out in a time when I was way more interested in chasing girls than watching Saturday morning cartoons. Also, I was probably really hung over on Saturday mornings in 1998. Plus, this series was really short-lived that I didn’t even know it existed until years later.

I binged watched it online in an afternoon, though, as I wanted to see if it was as good as some of the other ’90s Marvel cartoons that were on Fox and existed as part of that X-Men ’92 animated Marvel canon.

I think that this is pretty decent but it didn’t pull me in like the X-Men or Spider-Man cartoons of the same era. Also, it relied heavily on CGI and with that, gave us a weird mix of traditional hand-drawn 2D animation with 3D CGI graphics. It’s not terrible, visually, but it’s a bit jarring at times and the two styles have never really worked together for me. Also, the CGI stuff looks really cheap, which is probably just because of the time when this was made, as CGI animation wasn’t as refined as it would become.

This is similar to the other shows it shares a universe with, as it adapts the comic book stories but takes tremendous liberties with the material due to the length of the episodes and trying to get the franchise off of the ground with lots of characters as quickly as possible. Considering that everything is condensed down to just 13 episodes, I’m okay with it.

I really liked the three-part origin episodes more than the rest of the series but it was cool seeing what characters they started to sprinkle in and a second season, had it been made, could’ve been an improvement with a much larger universe to explore and a richer mythos.

All in all, this was a fun way to waste a Sunday afternoon. It’s hard to tell what this could’ve been due to it not surviving a short, first season.

Rating: 6.25/10
Pairs well with: other Marvel animated shows from the ’90s.

Comic Review: Civil War

Published: April 11th, 2007
Written by: Mark Millar
Art by: Steve McNiven

Marvel Comics, 196 Pages

Review:

I loved Civil War when I first read it over a dozen years ago. It reignited my interest in Marvel Comics and I stuck with a lot of the core stories that were born out of these events.

For those that don’t know, this pits two factions of superheroes against each other: one group led by Captain America and the other led by Iron Man. It would also go on to inspire the movie Captain America: Civil War, nine years later.

Cap’s group is against a new law that would force superheroes to give up their secret identities and become agents of the government. Iron Man agrees with the law, after a group of C-list heroes are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of children. Spider-Man, the third central character, starts the story on one side and then switches after certain events give him newfound clarity.

The story, the idea and its execution are near perfect. In fact, I’m not sure how this wasn’t a story idea before this, as it seems like a natural development for the superhero genre. Regardless, Mark Millar penned magic here and this is, hands down, one of the greatest mega events in comic book history.

Having just read two of DC’s massive Crisis events and seeing how they were massive clusterfucks, this is the complete antithesis of those and goes to show how much better Marvel is (or was) at bringing a massive group of characters together.

I also really enjoyed Steve McNiven’s art and it fit the tone well. McNiven was one of the top artists at the time and his talent was put to great use here.

My only negative takeaway is that this story should’ve been longer than seven issues. It felt like there was a lot more story to tell. But then again, there are literally dozens of Civil War tie-ins that you can read for more context and to see what other heroes were up to during this saga. From memory, a lot of them were also pretty good.

Rating: 9.5/10
Pairs well with: all the other Civil War crossover tie-in trade paperbacks, as well as The Death of Captain America.

Comic Review: Death of the Inhumans

Published: July 4th, 2018 – November 7th, 2018
Written by: Donny Cates
Art by: Ariel Olivetti, Kaare Kyle Andrews (covers)

Marvel Comics, 121 Pages

Review:

I have never been a fan of the Inhumans and really haven’t read much with them in it other than where they crossover with other Marvel heroes or groups. However, I always thought Black Bolt was kind of cool but the other characters felt dated and hokey to me, even by the time I picked up comics in the 1980s.

I do like Donny Cates, however, as everything he touches lately turns to gold. So I figured that I’d give the Inhumans a shot with Cates writing the story.

I’m glad that I did because Death of the Inhumans is pretty solid and now that I have watched the Inhumans TV show and understand the mythos better, despite that show not being very good, I was able to grasp these characters and their personalities better.

This is a very dark story and the title isn’t misleading but the story does suffer from Marvel being unable to commit to the bit, as these “deaths” aren’t true deaths and the doom and gloom is undone by the end.

I guess I didn’t know these characters enough for their deaths to effect me as heavily as they should have but the sentiment was still there and it still fueled Black Bolt as he went into the big finale with no fucks given. I liked seeing this but I thought the finale ended up being a bit of a cop out and it seemed too easily resolved. But I don’t really think that’s Cates’ writing as much as it is Marvel having control and probably having other plans for these characters in the short term.

The new villain Vox was cool as hell but there is a twist to the villain that I won’t ruin here. But I loved his look, his style and just how utterly evil he came across on the page.

Additionally, the art was great and a fan favorite character that hasn’t been seen in a long time makes a glorious comeback about midway through this miniseries.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: other recent Donny Cates works: Cosmic Ghost RiderVenom and his Thanos run.