Image: Amazon/Skybound Entertainment
Greetings, Nerds, and happy Monday! Another weekend in the best year for superhero tv is in the books, so let's get right into what I watched this week, My Pull List, and whatever else I'm into from the pop culture grab bag.
SPOILER WARNING FOR THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER EPISODE 4, AS WELL AS INVINCIBLE EPISODES 4 AND 5
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier-Episode Four
The intensity of this show is ramping up like crazy, and Episode Four has been the best one yet, ending on one of the most intense moments I've seen in the MCU since Endgame.
I know in my Episode Two review I said that I felt a bit of sympathy for John Walker, as the mantle he took up was controversial by little fault of his own, but honestly, by the next episode, I hated this dude. Wyatt Russell has done a great job at portraying Walker snapping after he can't always get his way. Walker's representation of the system he serves works really well, as he says he's there to protect, but only if you comply with his methods. While I'm usually not a fan of fridging, Lemar's death actually hit me pretty hard. He was a great moral anchor for Walker, and clearly, without him, Walker's actually will likely spiral more and more into impulsivity and rage. That last shot of Walker murdering one of the Flag Smashers with his shield is obviously emblematic of that. Overall, this Episode, along with the Isaiah Bradley scene and others throughout the show are doing an excellent job of depicting the common occurrence of Impostor Syndrome in Black America.
Additionally, while I don't think it was a complete turnaround, Marvel dealt with some of the problems I've had with Karli Morgenthau and her band of rebels in the earlier episodes of this show. It was clearly intentional to have Morgenthau be sloppy in her methods, setting up her conversation with Sam in Episode Four that turned out to be one of the best scenes in the series so far. After surviving an attack by Walker and an attempted assassination via Zemo, it looks like Karli is going full send on her agenda.
Finally, I love how the show has been handling Bucky's continued redemption. The flashback scene where he finally overcomes his brainwashing was surprisingly powerful, and the Dora Milaje showing the backup defenses they put in place against him made it all the more heartbreaking. Hopefully Bucky will get some form of closure on his past by the end of this show.
Basel's Score: A lot going on in this one, but somehow this week was able to establish a really solid through-line to make them all connect.
Invincible-Episodes Four and Five
As the world of Invincible continues to grow, I find myself more and more engaged each week. As someone who has not read the comics, I currently find Mark Grayson to be one of the best young superheroes since Brian Michael Bendis' run on Ultimate Spider-Man. As the world of Invincible continues to grow, I find myself more and more engaged each week as we learn about the show's world with Mark Grayson.
I loved Episode Four's massive scale, as Mark had to take on a massive Martian Empire, while Darkblood the Demon Detective continues his work on the Murder-Case involving Nolan and the Guardians. Episode Five's massive battle was also great. Despite being the main character of the show and earning some plot armor in the process, I was genuinely scared over how much damage he took against the Battle Beast. While I think it bloats the show a little bit, I'm also very interested to see more about what sneaky strings Robot is pulling behind the scenes. While the action is a huge draw from this show, Invincible's biggest strength is Mark's story outside of his superhero life, and how he has to balance his two identities.
If I could offer one annoyance with this show, however, it's the animation. Somehow, I feel like the animation has gotten worse with each episode, as traditionally animated characters are fighting poorly-rendered CGI mechs or armies. At one point, Mark was looking out onto what seemed to be a straight-up composite photo of a city. The characters are enough for me to not be too annoyed by it, but it definitely breaks my immersion from time to time.
Basel's Score: If this show gets renewed, Amazon better give this story the budget it deserves.
My Pull List
Batman: The Detective #1: Batman heads to London to take on a tragedy abroad that somehow connects back to Bruce Wayne. Hopefully, we'll see some National Lampoon-Esque European Galivanting from the Caped Crusader. (Out April 13th)
The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries #1: I don't care that this is a comic targeted towards younger audiences, and you shouldn't either. Anytime Batman gets paired up with an unexpected pop culture partner, you know the writers will be at the top of their game to bring you the best story possible. (Out April 13th)
Spider-Man: Spider's Shadow #1: Branded under Marvel's "What-If?" line of comics, Spider's Shadow will take a look at the possibility of Peter Parker succumbing to the evil temptation of the Symbiote Suit that's turned so many into an incarnation of Venom over the years. (Out April 14th)
What I'm Into This Week-Neon Genesis Evangelion
I try as best as I can to broaden my horizons when it comes to media, and I'm always a fan of dipping my toes into the world of anime. Considered one of the best series of all time in the medium, Evangelion provides an amazing post-apocalyptic story that sees humanity struggling to combat massive, monster-like angels. Their last hope at salvation is to pilot massive mechs known as Evangelions in order to take down these supernatural monstrosities.
See you next week!