Staff Picks of the Week – June 16th, 2017
It’s Friday, which means it’s time for the Staff Picks of the Week! Each week I sound like a broken record, but you guys put up with me! Everyone knows how the staff picks work! Every week a select few of our staff share with you what has been keeping them entertained. But if you read the Staff Picks faithfully, you also know I am going to share what’s new at Rogues Portal this week! Check out comic book reviews for Quince #6 & #7, Giant Days Vol. 5, Popova #1, Strange Attractors, Misfit City #2, our own Sunny and Owl Girl and many more! E3 has been all week and we have had a ton coverage! Take a look at videos for EA, Microsoft, Bethesda, Sony, and Nintendo! Amelia continues her Jurassic journey with her Cinematic Retrospective of The Lost World. We have TV show reviews for Doctor Who: Empress of Mars, Teen Wolf Season 6: Part One, and Sense8 Episode 7. If you haven’t listened to our outstanding podcasts, what’s wrong with you? Listen to the latest episodes of Scooby Dos or Scooby Don’ts, The Comics Agenda, Not Enough Resources, and our newest podcast, Film Runners! And without further ado, the Staff Picks of the Week!
Robert’s Pick of the Week – My pick of the week this week is Batman 23. I know The Button Crossover is on the cusp of everyone’s lips and it was great. However, the concept of a great one and done story is amazing and when done well nothing beats it. Batman 23 was a team-up I thought I would never see, Batman and Swamp Thing. Tom King has been on Batman for a little under a year and his run has left me nonplussed. I’ve read all of the issues and none of the arcs have stood out as great. The only reason I’ve read it this long is I am a huge Tom King fan. This issue features Mitch Gerads whose work with Nathan Edmonson I’m a big fan of. Also, Sheriff of Babylon by them has been a seminal masterpiece. Together, King and Gerads create magic. This issue works for me on so many levels. In terms of story, it’s a straightforward whodunit. What makes this issue so special are the little moments between Swamp Thing and Batman. Not so much the witty banter between Bats and Swamp Thing but the way they play off each other is great. Mitch Gerads does great character work and he is one hell of a storyteller. Neither of the characters are great at emoting so Gerads does multi-panel pages to the emphasize the subtle changes in the moments. This is a great issue. Even if you aren’t reading this book current, but are a fan of the characters or good solid storytelling I recommend this issue. It’s my pick for single best issue of the year.
Christoph’s Pick of the Week – Ok, let me get a bit bold here: my pick of the week is the new Designated Survivor – the best TV show about American politics out there. Created by David Guggenheim, starring Kiefer Sutherland and with a very intriguing intro, Designated Survivor delivers a suspenseful story line, interesting characters and plot twists that really deserve the expression. By reading the description of the show, I knew that at the beginning a lot of politicians and political figures had to die so that the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Tom Kirkman could become President of the United States. But to see it on screen, with Kirkman and his wife Alex watching the horrific scenario unfold – I was on the edge of my seat. What makes Designated Survivor such a good show? The challenges Kirkman faces feel real and there is something at stake. He is a relatable character, part of a family, lives a normal life and is thrown into this surreal situation with no warning. We as the audience root for him (and the awesome supporting cast), because we understand his struggles. Throughout the 21 episodes of the first season I was never bored and always wandering what is really going on, which illustrates the ability of the writers perfectly. We also get to see some well crafted FBI and military missions, which are a nice addition to the tense atmosphere. Watch Designated Survivor.
Greg’s Pick of the Week – It’s been almost a week since the world lost the original Batman, Adam West. Interestingly enough, about a month ago I won an auction that contained lots of different graphic novels and biographies, and within the lot was the Adam West autobiography Back to the Batcave. Biographies are about a dime a dozen and often times are filled with half truths or inflated stories, but the thing about Back to the Batcave is that it doesn’t feel like Adam West does any of that. Instead, we get a book that is very matter of fact about his life growing up and how his acting career started. The other refreshing thing is West’s self deprecating humor. He is not afraid to make fun of himself or admit how lucky he was to play the role of Batman. One particular story near the end of the book asking if he would have played Batman again stood out as to the impact that he realizes he had on people by just being in the role. In addition to the honest and compelling life story of Adam West, the book also contains episode guides for the entire series which is a fun read for fans of the show. If you are a fan of the show at all you must pick up this book.
Amelia’s Pick of the Week – My staff pick of the week is The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker. The Hellbound Heart is the novella that inspired Hellraiser and introduced the world to the Cenobites. It was also the first Clive Barker book that I ever read and it changed my world forever! That’s not an over-exaggeration. I was fourteen at the time and, before reading The Hellbound Heart, I didn’t have any idea that horror books that weren’t gothic ghost stories and included blood and sex could still be beautiful. Barker knows exactly how to describe everything. From the slow, poetic death of summer into autumn, to skin being flayed back by meat hooks, there isn’t a single vividly gruesome picture that Clive Barker can’t paint, and The Hellbound Heart is the best example of that!
David’s Pick of the Week – My pick of the week is Friday the 13th the Game. The game was released a couple of weeks ago and was a buggy mess. I kept getting kicked from games, lost experience points, and not even being able to enter a game. I could sit here and go off on a rant about new games working online during their first week, but I won’t. There is a patch out now that fixed most problems. I am now able to play matches with no issues. The game is a lot of fun, exciting, and in some situations, extremely intense. The premise is simple, you play as either a counsellor or Jason. If you’re the counsellor, your goal is to call the cops, find car parts to fix the vehicle and make your escape, or survive the night. If you’re Jason, you run around killing everyone! There are a selection of Jasons to unlock and each have their own unique powers and finishing moves. The game is only $40 as a digital download and despite feeling like I was part of a beta test, the game has been a lot of fun since it has been working. If you love Jason, survival games with a “hide and seek” aspect, then check out Friday the 13th!
Billy’s Pick of the Week – My pick of the week is the 2002 live-action Scooby-Doo movie. This week marks the fifteenth anniversary of the film, and as one half of Scooby Dos or Scooby Don’ts, it wouldn’t be right to let the week pass without marking the occasion. While it’s definitely a goofy, dated film that relied a little too heavily on 2002-era CGI to bring its titular character to life, it deserves its praise. This is the film that cast Matthew Lillard as Shaggy. It rebranded Scooby-Doo in the mind of the general public after years of issues, opening the door for series like What’s New Scooby Doo to become shining rebirth for the franchise. Yes, it brought in musical artist Shaggy for the soundtrack solely for the joke, but Rowan Atkinson is delightful in his brief appearance and did I mention Matthew Lillard? It’s probably my second-favourite ghost-centric Matthew Lillard horror movie, and that’s saying a lot.