Monthly Archives: December 2011

Comic Reviews: The Guild and The Cape!

COMIC REVIEWS!!!

The Guild: Zaboo(one-shot)

The last The Guild one-shot is the best. Simply put, Felica Day’s latest (and final) installment of one-shots focusing on different members of the Knights Of Good is one of the most fun comics of the year, and I regret already writing my “Top Comics of 2011” before reading this. Focusing on Zaboo, this issue serves as a prequel to the entire series, and chronicles Zaboo trying to get to Codex, the event that kicks off the phenomenal Guild series.

Co-written by Day and Sandeep Parikh, the actor who plays Zaboo, the issue contains numerous hilarious asides that tie into different RPG style games and other video games. Many of these jokes had me laughing uncontrollably, and it makes this book extremely unique when compared with other books on the shelf. Hell, it even separates this issue from the other one-shots in this series.  We also get some great backstory about Zaboo’s time in grade school (it doesn’t end well), and the depiction of his mother’s Terminator-like ability to come to her son’s aid is hilarious.

This book is only made sweeter with the inclusion of Becky Cloonan’s art.  The artist for the new upcoming Conan book for Dark Horse, Cloonan’s art is so amazingly awesome in this issue that it’s hard to describe. Her panel layouts add to the jokes peppered throughout the book, and her splash page of Zaboo escaping his house is one of the greatest pages I’ve seen all year. There is more action and energy in that splash page then in some runs from the big two this past year. In fact, the big two could probably stand to take notice of Cloonan’s art in this book and take notes.

The Guild: Zaboo is an incredible, awesome, hilarious, and beautiful book. I can’t throw more positive comments at this book. This is the last of the Guild  one-shots, but I hope this isn’t the last we see from Felicia Day in comic books. This book (and this series) has shown how great the comic medium can work with already established properties, and I hope to god we get more. Buy this. Watch The Guild, buy the books, and enjoy the fact that your life is better for it.

Joe Hill’s The Cape #3 (of 4)

Ho. Lee. Shit. The latest issue of The Cape has one of the most bugnuts things I’ve ever seen in a comic book. Adapted from Joe Hill’s short story, the third issue finds Eric going after his mother, and the things he’s done so far pale in comparison to what happens in this issue. Jason Ciaramella script goes places that even I was surprised with, and Zach Howard’s art is insane. I can’t wait for the next issue. If you like seeing bad people do bad things, then you can’t go wrong with The Cape. 

The Best Comics of 2011!!!

The year is winding down, and with it comes a time to do one of my favorite things: rattling off a list of some of the greatest (and worst) things of the year. Since this column is associated with the mighty Jetpack Comics, let’s take a look at some of the best comics that came out this past year. Of course, these are just my opinion; so feel free to yell at me if you disagree next time you’re in the store.

Uncanny X-Force
Let’s get this right out of the way: this is best thing Marvel is publishing. Period. It may even be the best thing being published by ANY company.  Rick Remender has taken characters that are way too over exposed (Wolverine, Deadpool) and characters that need more time in the spotlight, (Fantomex) and created a compelling team that operates outside of the current X-goings on.  From the opening “Apocalypse Suite” arc to the just recently wrapped “Dark Angel Saga”, Uncanny X-Force has been firing on all cylinders, and from the sounds of it, it’s only just beginning. 


Batman

When the DC relaunch was first announced, there was a lot of speculation about the creative teams for the 52 new series. Many fears were alleviated once Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo were announced for the (once again Bruce Wayne) Dark Knight’s book. Branching off his other Bat-tales from last year, while also being completely new reader friendly, Snyder’s ongoing tale has introduced fans to The Court Of Owls, a mysterious society that has been working in secret in Gotham for centuries. Bruce’s refusal to believe that they even exist is quickly starting to be his downfall. Snyder’s excellent portrayal of Bruce Wayne’s personality coupled with Capullo’s jaw-dropping visuals makes this one of the best titles to come out of the DC relaunch. 

Rocketeer Adventures
I love The Rocketeer. It was one of the first movies that my parents had bought a replacement copy because I watched it so much. So naturally, when I learned that IDW was planning on doing an anthology series with some of the best creators in the business, I was extremely excited, and the series exceeded my expectations. From John Cassady’s gorgeous story in the opening issue to the amazing pin ups that were spaced out throughout the four issue run, every issue of Rocketeer Adventures filled me with joy and made me feel like I was five years old again, watching Cliff Secord soar over the skies and punching out Nazis.  


Demon Knights

This book came out of nowhere, and is probably still on the fringe of the DC “new 52”.  Focusing on Etrigan The Demon and his random band of medieval heroes, Demon Knights gives writer Paul Cornell freedom to go crazy with the medieval DC universe, and his knack for solid character work is in full force here. This is a book that I look forward to every time it’s released, and wish that each issue was twice as long as it really is. 

The Strange Talent Of Luther Strode
A mix between Kick-Ass and the Hulk, Image Comics’ The Strange Talent of Luther Strode is extremely bloody, but also extremely entertaining. Creators Justin Jordan and Tradd Moore came out of nowhere, and deserve every accolade they get with this series.  The book tells the tale of Luther Strode, a nerdy comic fan who mails away for a Charles Atlas type workout plan and gains extreme level super strength. This is a book FOR the dweeby comic nerd who was picked on his high school (so, a majority of us), and secretly wished that they could gain superpowers. As of right now it’s a six-issue mini, but hopefully this will give it the push it needs to become an ongoing. 


These five aren’t the only books worth your time though.  IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles relaunch rules, Action Comics got Grant Morrison back after Final Crisis, Wonder Woman is surprisingly good, Amazing Spider-man has been rock solid this year, and yes, I still like Mark Waid’s Daredevil.  Even the impossible, a great Aquaman comic book, happened in 2011.  But not everything that happened in comics was great this year. So stay tuned for next week’s column, where I’ll look at the flip side of things, and give you my opinion on what I thought were the WORST books of the year…

Comic Reviews: Batman: Leviathan Strikes! and Venom!

COMIC REVIEWS!!!

Batman: Leviathan Strikes! (One-shot)

When DC launched the “New 52” a lot of people were wondering what would happen with Grant Morrison’s Batman epic Batman, Inc., the controversial new series that saw Bruce Wayne “franchising” out Batman, creating a literal army for the entire world.  Despite some of my criticisms of to how “in character” this move was, Batman, Inc. was for the most part enjoyable, and with this one-shot we finally get some closure on the first part of the bigger “Leviathan” story.

Leviathan Strikes is essentially the final two issues of Morrison’s Batman, Inc. storyline, which is apparent from the fact that both stories included in this beefy one-shot aren’t connected much at all. The first story, which feature art from the great Cameron Stewart,  features the Stephanie Brown Batgirl’s investigation of a British all-girl prep school. If you haven’t guessed already, the events in these two stories take place pre-“New 52”, and while we don’t get any details about what’s happened to Stephanie, the story is still very entertaining, and presented the character in a great way. This was my first time reading anything featuring Stephanie, and I was really impressed with her as a character. Stewart’s art is phenomenal in this story. It has just enough detail, but still has a cartoon-like quality to it. To say I’m a fan of his art is an understatement to be honest. Morrison’s script is pretty straight forward as well. I like Morrison, but I hate when he gets too “out there”, as I feel like he’s someone who comes up with great ideas, but sometimes has trouble reigning them in for the average comic book reader. Thankfully this first story if easily digestable.

The second part of the one shot hones in on the “Leviathan” storyline more directly, and is a great example of Morrison working with grand ideas and accessibility for the reader. Batman’s fight against Leviathan is mind-bending, and you’ll probably have to read it at least twice to get it. Thankfully this isn’t a bad thing (strange, I know), because you’ll get to see more of Chris Burnham’s artwork, which is great in it’s own right. Like a mix of Eric Powell and Paul Pope, Burnham’s art is great during the rugged fight scenes, and Morrison’s script fires on all cylinders, especially when we get the big reveal as to who is really behind Leviathan. Hint: it’s not who you think.

Batman: Leviathan Strikes! was well worth the wait, and while I may have had some problems with Morrison’s Batman, Inc. in the past, I’m actually looking forward to it in the upcoming year. I wish we had some more explanations as to how this ties into the “New 52” universe, but I’m sure someone will fill us in at some point.

Venom #11

Holy crap. Rick Remender is a sick, sick man. With Flash Thompson on the run and working for Crime Master, he’s forced to team up with the one person he hates the most: Jack O’Lantern. Remender reveals plenty about this new incarnation of the Spider-man C-level villain, and holy shit, is it dark. This is not for the faint of heart, and Lan Medina’s final page will haunt me for a while now. If you’re looking for a superhero book with a very sinister dark side, Venom is the one for you. 

Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows!

Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows (2011)
Starring: Robert Downy, Jr., Jude Law, Jared Harris, Noomi Rapace
Directed By: Guy Ritchie

The holiday season is quickly becoming the new blockbuster are for studios, and this season is no exception. With the releases of Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol, and newest Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movie, entitled A Game of Shadows. If the latest Holmes adventure is any indication, we’ve going to have a lot of fun this month at the multiplex.

The newest adventure for Holmes and Watson (Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law, respectively) involves the duo matching wits with the infamous Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris), all while Holmes deals with the fact that his brother from another mother Watson is a newlywed. Holmes, in the midst of trying to solve the evil Professor’s latest scheme, is also at a loss dealing with the fact that his BFF Watson is moving on with his life. He’s no longer rooming with him on Baker Street, and is not an active participant in his cases. Thankfully though, the two still have great chemistry together on screen, and in many ways, the scenes between RDJ and Jude Law are the highlights of the film, which is saying a lot since there are some spectacular action sequences in this film. 

Harris as Moriarty

In many ways, this is a sequel that improves on the original. The action is better, the characters are stronger since we know them already, and the villain is a lot stronger. I had no problem with Mark Strong in the previous film, but Jared Harris’ Moriarty is awesome.  I always pictured Moriarty as a lot bigger than Holmes (probably cause I watched The Great Mouse Detective a lot as a kid), but within minutes I was sold on Harris. Moriarty is extremely intelligent (like Holmes), but also has a very imposing and intimidating look, all without really doing much. Guy Ritchie really nailed home the fact the Moriarty is a dark mirror of Holmes, a fact that I really appreciate as a fan of Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories. There are also some great nods to the original story that Moriarty appears in, “The Final Problem”, and Holmes even refers to him as “The Napoleon Of Crime”, just like in said story.

Rounding out the cast is Noomi Rapace as Simza Heron, a gypsy who’s brother has ties to Moriarty, and Stephen Fry as Sherlock’s older brother Mycroft. Both are great additions to the cast, and I was really impressed by Rapace, as this was my first exposure to her work (I know, I know, I still haven’t seen the Swedish Dragon Tattoo films).  She may not have had a lot to do with the action scenes, but she was still a good macguffin to get Holmes and Watson to go after Moriarty.

There are a lot of people that cried foul when Sherlock Holmes came out over the fact that Sherlock Holmes was a “brawler”. This really bothered me, because Doyle states in many of his Holmes’ tales that he can fight, and even enjoys a good scrap or two. Needless to say, if you were one of those people who didn’t enjoy seeing Holmes take out some goons by analyzing their weak points in slow-mo, then you probably won’t like this one any better. I for one, enjoy it, mainly because Holmes SHOULD know how to defend himself when working on crimes, and the fighting style presented in these films (Holmes observing his enemies quickly and predicting their strikes) is EXACTLY how someone who thinks like him would fight, and I really enjoy watching him kick ass. The “fight” between Holmes and Moriarty towards the end of the film is awesome, and I love how it showed that they both can not only fight, but are also equals in terms of intelligence.

BFFS

Robert Downey, Jr. is once again extremely entertaining as Holmes, and Jude Law’s Watson is the ultimate straight man to his antics. If you’re a fan of the original, you owe it to yourself to see this one, it blows the other out of the water.

3 1/2 pipes out of 4

Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises PROLOGUE!!!!

The Dark Knight Rises prologue (2011)
 Starring: Tom Hardy
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
I saw it. Thanks to one amazing friend of Jetpack, I was lucky enough to catch a free screening of the first 6 minutes of The Dark Knight Rises. So how was it?
Stunning.
I’ll try to keep this spoiler-free for those who want to try and see it in IMAX before Mission Impossible 4 (or online), but I will say that Nolan has really outdone himself with this. Much like the prologue for The Dark Knight, which introduced audiences to Heath Ledger’s Joker, the newest footage from Christopher Nolan’s third film introduces Bane, played by Tom Hardy. Hardy is definitely an intimidating figure, and his portrayal is very, very creepy. He’s extremely imposing, and the mask is very awesome and disturbing, even if it does make it nearly impossible to hear what he’s saying.
Essentially the prologue shows Bane attacking a CIA plane and kidnapping a doctor under their protection. We learn that Bane had offered to hire this doctor, and wants to ensure that he didn’t reveal his plans to anyone. We also get hints and clues that this is the beginning of a much bigger overall plot. While previous villains in the Nolan Bat-films had their sites on Gotham, one gets the feeling that Bane’s plans, while including Gotham, also stretch far beyond the city’s borders. From what little information gathered from the footage, it’s obvious that Bane is a very powerful figure to his men, so much so that he has an almost fanatical following.
There’s an incredible feeling of tension in the prologue, even though it’s only six minutes long. A large part of this is Nolan’s decision to film the sequence with IMAX cameras, and my god; he is a master with this format.  For everything that James Cameron did (for better or worse) for 3D with Avatar, Christopher Nolan has done for IMAX. This is truly the ultimate way to see the prologue, which is really unfortunate since there are only 100 screens that fit Nolan’s specifications for viewing the prologue.  Nolan has stated that he’s a huge James Bond fan, and this footage solidifies my hopes that he gets the chance to direct one of that franchise’s future installments.
There has been a lot of talk around the Internet that Bane’s dialogue was completely incomprehensible. While he was a little hard to understand in some of the more action heavy parts of the footage, I didn’t have nearly has hard of a time understanding him as others did. That might have been because I had heard of the problems beforehand, or maybe I just have better hearing than most.  I’m fairly certain that Nolan will address this issue for the actual film, he’s way too smart to not listen to the public on this, or allow something that can affect the narrative of his film.
You think you know, but you have no idea
Despite this quibble, the footage is spectacular. Everything about it is incredible and ensures that the film starts out with something that you have never seen before in an action movie.  The sizzle reel of some quick scenes afterwards sent chills down my spine, especially the final shot we see before the now famous bat symbol logo. The strange thing is that this sizzle reel actually featured many scenes that we’ve seen from set photos that were leaked online. However, even though we’ve seen these scenes being shot, we still have no idea what they are in the context of the film, which is probably the reason why Nolan included them.  There are definitely more questions than answers now after seeing the prologue, and it makes the wait for July 20th that much harder…..

Comic Reviews: Avengers X-Santion and Batman & Robin!

COMIC REVIEWS!!!!

Avengers: X-Sanction #1 (of 4)

The lead up to Marvel’s next event begins here with Avengers: X-Sanction. Under the helm of the creative team of Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness, the first installment of the four-issue mini finds the return of Cable to the Marvel universe, and he’s got the Avengers in his sites. Apparently he is under the assumption that The Avengers will bring about the death of his adoptive daughter Hope, whom he most recently “sacrificed” himself for.

This issue is technically fine, although we don’t get too many answers as to how Cable is back, or why he believes the Avengers are responsible for the “death” of Hope. All we get are some sequences in a strange time dimension with Blaquesmith, some sort of alien time dude (to be completely honest, I know next to nothing about Cable), who tells Cable that The Avengers are the reason for Hope’s death in the past. Cable, whose return is also a little questionable. The fact that his techno-virus is currently ravaging his body is pretty cool though.

Even if Loeb’s script is a little hard to follow, Ed McGuinness’ pencils are fantastic as always.  I’m a big fan of his over-the-top style, and this issue is no exception. If you aren’t a fan of his art before, this probably won’t change your opinion on him, but if you are a fan, this is a treat. The opening battle sequence between the Avengers and a group of villains is very cool to see, and McGuinness’ depiction of Cable is pretty grizzled (so awesome).

If you’re looking for answers about the upcoming Avengers vs. X-Men mega-event,  you’re probably going to be disappointed with X-Sanction. It’s a tease for what’s to come, and even though I would’ve liked some more answers than I got, I’m still going to pick up the next issue.

Batman & Robin #4

Peter J. Thomasi and Patrick Gleason continue their intriguing look at the relationship between Bruce Wayne and his son Damien, and the cracks are starting to show. It’s really cool to see Bruce Wayne, who is known to be a character that is almost over-prepared be completely clueless when it comes to being a father to his son.  Throw in the new villain Nobody, and you have a whole new dynamic to the Batman and Robin team. While it may not be at the level of Scott Snyder’s Batman series, it’s damn close, and well worth your $2.99.

The Scarlet Spider

As a lifelong fan of Marvel’s wall-crawler, I of course have very strong feelings towards the infamous “Clone Saga” event that dominated the ongoing Spider-man titles in the mid to late 90’s.  Granted, I was nine when Ben Reilly made his debut as the Scarlet Spider, but it doesn’t mean that my preadolescent mind wasn’t aware of the bait and switch coming around the corner. There was no way Marvel was going to completely change their flagship character in such a major way, and even though I may not have a blind love of Ben Reilly/Scarlet Spider, I can see where some fans are coming from when they say they love the character. I’m a child of 90’s comics too. I love Carnage, Venom, Azrael, The Age Of Apocalypse and many other events and creations that older readers look at with disgust. But it’s what I grew up with, so I have a soft spot for them. 
 
For those who don’t know, Ben Reilly was an attempt by Marvel to “de-age” Peter Parker. In many ways, it was the original “One More Day” (and handled the issue better than OMD did).  Tying back to a Jackal story from the 70’s, which saw the villain successfully clone Peter. The storyline introduced Ben Reilly, a man who looks stunningly similar to Peter. He also claimed to be the real Peter Parker, and that the Peter we had been reading for he past twenty or so years was in fact, the clone. Yep, the Peter Parker who gained an alien costume and fought it, married Mary-Jane Watson, and was expecting a child (don’t worry, Marvel forgot about this too), was suspected of being a clone. Of course the fan outcry was expected, but somehow, the fans welcomed Ben Reilly, and there has been a growing show of support for the Scarlet Spider, even if he didn’t have the best fashion sense.
That’s really my gripe with Scarlet Spidey: the costume. A hoodie? Really? That’s what you choose to place over your spandex costume? Does it get chilly swinging so high up, cause it looks like Spider-man’s doing just fine without one.  I know it’s a little nit-picky, but then again, I wouldn’t be a fan of comics if I didn’t obsess over something as dumb as a superhero wearing a hoodie.
Ugh….just….ugh
At least the Scarlet Spider in the upcoming relaunch won’t be rocking the homeless look. Yes, that’s right, starting in January; Marvel is giving the Scarlet Spider his own series. “But wait”, you say, “didn’t he melt into a pile of goop at the end of the “Revelations” storyline?” Why yes, he did. See, this clone isn’t Mr. Reilly. It’s actually SPOILER Kaine, the other, failed clone of Peter Parker. Yes, he survived “Grim Hunt” (and subsequently has the powers that Peter got after “The Other”-remember those, cause Marvel doesn’t), and after being turned into a giant Tarantula in “Spider-Island” (which was pretty cool), is now back and cured of his cloning degeneration. He’s also moving to Houston, Texas, for some reason.

I applaud Marvel for giving the fans of Scarlet Spider what they want, even if it’s not exactly what they want. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of the character, it will be cool to have a different flavor out there for the Spider-man line of books, and I’ll definitely be checking out at least the first issue.  But the second there’s even a hint of a hoodie in the book, I’m out.

Comic Reviews: Deadpool and Detective Comics

COMIC REVIEWS!!!!

Deadpool #47

Oh Deadpool. I’ve been with you from the beginning, even though the rest of the comic-reading world gave up on you a long time ago. Yet, for some reason, I can drop you. Oh, I tried, and actually got a few issues away from you. Until the introduction of “Evil Deadpool”, that is, then I promptly picked up the issues I’d missed and here we are, on our way to the “DEAD” story-arc. I may hate most of the people who are fans of you, but for some reason, I can’t drop you Wade.

This issue continues Deadpool’s fight with his evil doppelganger, a bizzarro Deadpool constructed out of body parts that had been lopped off of the Merc With A Mouth. Since Deadpool can regenerate, there’s no need for him to hold onto these parts, so of course, someone took them and made themselves and evil Deadpool. Last issue ended with Captain America showing up to kick Deadpool’s ass, mistakingly believing that the REAL Deadpool was responsible for all of the chaos his evil twin as caused.  Issue #47 picks up right where we left off, and opens with a pretty entertaining fight between Deadpool and Cap. I personally enjoy it more when Deadpool acts stupider than he is (as opposed to just throwing out one-liners), so this fight was a welcome addition to the issue. Deadpool escapes, and upon learning what his doppelganger has planned, he decides to do the same thing and steal his rival’s thunder, believing that in doing so, he’ll just do something else.

Deadpool’s plan is pretty surprising, and I’m impressed that writer Daniel Way decided to go in such a dark direction for the series. Of course, it’s Deadpool, and is presented in a very light-hearted way, but still, Deadpool kidnaps a kid. Not exactly Saturday morning cartoon stuff. Artist Salva Espin keeps the same art style that has become the standard “Deadpool look”.  To be honest though, I’d really like to see someone new take over art duties. At the very least, it would shake up the series enough so that each issue doesn’t look exactly the same.

Detective Comics #4

Well, looks like it took Tony Daniel four issues to fall back into the same old traps that he fell into with his previous Batman run. This means that the writing is, well, not up to snuff. This issue wraps up the story of new villain Dollmaker, and it pretty much happens as you would expect it to: Batman fights Dollmaker’s goons, another bad-guy’s henchman shows up, Batman escapes the death trap, Gordon is rescued, and Dollmaker escapes. Blah, blah, blah. Oh, there’s also an ending with Bruce and his new girlfriend (seriously, how many does he have at this point?) that is kind of random. To be honest, I had completely forgotten about this girl. Even Batman diehards like me are having a hard time finding positives with this issue. 

“The Walking Dead Season Two Mid-Season Review”

SPOILERS FULL STEAM AHEAD!

Bernthal, pre-“murder haircut”
The Walking Dead has shambled its way to the mid-season mark, and is taking a break from lumbering about our Sunday nights until February.  So far we’ve made it to Hershel’s Farm, Carl got shot, Maggie and Glenn (and Andrea and Shane) got it on, and Rick learned that not only was his wife knocked up, but also that she slept with Shane when she believed he was dead. Quite a lot for a six-episode run. So when we compare this half waypoint to the previous season, how does it stack up?
Not too bad. I had some problems with this batch of episodes, which I’ll get to soon, but as a whole the season has had some great moments and awesome zombie action. Not only that, but there has been some pretty big character moments, with the best being the slow, gradual disintegration of Shane’s mental state.  Jon Bernthal has done a phenomenal job this season showcasing the absolute bug nuts levels of crazy that Shane has gotten to, yet for all of his actions, you still kind of feel bad for the guy. Here’s someone who yes, lost friends and family in the zombie outbreak, but he also gained a new family in Lorie and Carl. Then his best friend comes back, and all of that is gone. In all honestly, I’m starting to feel like the show shouldn’t follow the comic when it comes to Shane, as he’s become such a linchpin for some of the big moments that it will be hard to imagine the show without him.
“You can park your RV right next to the zombie barn. I mean…”
Bernthal’s not the only one with the acting chops this season though. Andrew Lincoln’s turn as Rick continues to impress me, even if he sometimes struggles keeping his southern accent. His scenes with Shane are exceptionally well done, especially when the two have their disagreements with how to handle the search for Sophie, and the revelation of what exactly is in Hershel’s barn. Speaking of Hershel, holy crap does Scott Wilson creep me out. Even though I knew what Rick and company were in for on his farm, I was still invested in his character, and Wilson made him a very quiet and terrifying individual, like someone who presents a warm (but stern) exterior but contains something about them that is very unnerving.  Glenn and Dale continue to be my favorites on the show. There are moments where it feels like they literally walked off the pages of the book. Oh, and Norman Reedus’ Daryl Dixon continues to be a badass.
“YOU IN THE BACK! STOP CRYING!”
Speaking of Daryl, his personal quest to find Sophie, who was the driving narrative of these six episodes, was dragged on way too long ( not to mention how annoying her mother, Crying McCryerson was). Saying this is a double-edged sword, as the payoff of the last ten minutes of the mid-season finale wouldn’t be half as effective as it was if it happened two or three episodes earlier. That being said, there were at least two episodes that could’ve been cut into one, which in turn wouldn’t have made this season drag as much as it felt like it did.
Another minor quibble I have is with the commercial break cliffhangers. Sure, they’re bound to happen, and are a necessity to ensure that you don’t flip the channel once that GEICO commercial hits, but in the “Chupacabra” episode I honestly felt like there was one every single commercial break. It gets very old very quick when done this way. Not to mention that episode featured Andrea shooting Daryl, a move that goes to show just how far the TV version of the character needs to go in order to be half as badass as the she is in the comic book.
Despite these quibbles, I still found the first half of Walking Dead’s second season to be very enjoyable. The character work was well done, and acting was, for the most part, very good. Hopefully the next batch of episodes in February are a little tighter in the plot department, but, this show is still a lot better than 90% of television out there. 
What’s The Grade?:

So far, a B+. It’s good, but we’ve got a little more to go to get that A.