Playing SuperDad

superdad

Yesterday I played SuperDad to my little girl.

What was supposed to be a quiet time at home with my seven-year-old daughter turned out to be the most nerve-wracking day of the year for me. We were chilling in front of the TV post-lunch when it happened. I remember trying to doze off and noticing her leaving my side, then — BAM! — a loud crash from the bathroom. Chaos ensued: a bleeding head, a lot of panic-stricken movements, a mad dash to the hospital emergency room in the middle of a scorching afternoon.

It was insane.

But, long story short, everything turned out copacetic in the end. The CT scan came back clean, and we were allowed to go home albeit with a waiver (doctors recommended 24-hour admission, citing “protocol” for kid patients). My daughter didn’t suffer nausea or headache overnight, and actually slept well considering what had just happened. And for that I look forward to a restful weekend with my favorite TV series, comics, and American Gods.

Today in comics: Punisher: Mother Russia

Life goes on, I guess. Whatever this is that afflicted me — the blues, depression, hormonal imbalance — is something I hope to snap out of soon. For the meantime I’ll strive to keep my head above water, so to speak. Fingers crossed my VL on Thursday will kill this gloom bug that seems to have penetrated my system. Argh!

Meanwhile, I continue to live and breathe comics. For today it’s Punisher MAX: Mother Russia.

mar051957

It’s the third Punisher MAX I’ve read since last week, after In the Beginning and Kitchen Irish. All are part of the 60-issue Punisher run that was penned by Garth Ennis, the dude behind the Preacher comics series. Basically it’s Punisher punishing gangsters, terrorists, shadowy government agents and other such violent men (as opposed to “super villains” with super powers). Reading the series in anticipation of the Punisher TV series that, according to the grapevine, will soon come out of Netflix.

Which reminds me I’ve yet to catch Daredevil Season 2.

Monday morning blues

3602829-1097053204-33362

Feeling kinda low since yesterday, the last day of my long weekend. It was the thought of coming back to work after four days of chilling at home, thinking about nothing, being surrounded by people I care about the most. It didn’t help that yesterday was rainy as fuck. No matter what I did to cheer myself up — alternately reading American Gods and Punisher MAX: Kitchen Irish and watching Constantine, even going to the mall with my family — my mood stayed in the dumps. Slept early last night thinking a proper eight-hour sleep would do the trick. But this morning I woke up not feeling any better emotionally. My movement was sluggish. Prepping for work took longer than it used to. And then I had to face the inevitable: work.

Indeed. Some stuff you can’t avoid in life: death, taxes and gloomy Monday mornings.

Upcoming treats

Hella

Cate Blanchett as Hela — one of many highlights of the two-minute trailer of Thor: Ragnarok that was released last night and is currently whipping up excitement among superhero freaks across cyberspace. Some point to Thor vs. Hulk as the ultimate highlight, but to me it’s Cate as Hela blasting apart the Mjölnir. Yes! Margot Robbie as bubble gum-popping, baseball bat-wielding Harley Quinn is so last year.

And yes, November can’t come soon enough. That’s also the month Justice League will hit the theaters (the two films will be a week apart). By that time, the second season of Stranger Things will already be available for streaming on Netflix. I see a lot of satisfied, well-fed geeks come Christmastime. Provided, of course, that these shows won’t suck.

The road to November is not actually without treats. In the big screen, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will be out in May, Wonder Woman in June, and Spider-Man: Homecoming in July.  On TV there’ll be a new Fargo season, American Gods and Silicon Valley this month, Game of Thrones Season 8 in July, and The Defenders in August. There are also reports of a Punisher series coming out on Netflix this year. So, yeah, treats.

What a solid year for escapism 2017 is turning out to be.

Beer, babe, and Constantine

Friday night the wifey and I found ourselves closing the workweek at Fred’s Revolucion in hipster-rich Cubao Expo in Quezon City. Weirdo workmates and the sorely missed grunge heydays dominated the conversation over strong beer and a delicacy called dinakdakan. Background music was a vicious war between piped-in 90’s alt-rock and dudes playing acoustic sets in an adjacent watering hole. It was fun and liberating — we felt like we were in our 20’s again, just starting on this weird phase called “adult life. ”

The next day, Saturday, we woke up sluggish — hangover and the heat reminding us that we are no longer in our 20’s. Oh, well…

inuman

So, except for a visit to the dentist, I spent the weekend at home napping and trying to regain my energy. For entertainment I watched the first five episodes of the ill-fated Constantine TV series (cancelled by NBC after only one season — oh the humanity!). Not Legion-level great, but it has its appeal, especially if you dig the DC Vertigo series from which it is based. And Matt Ryan really slays as the occult hero John Constantine.

constantine

I also watched Split, M. Night Shyamalan’s latest thriller starring James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy, which is good, and read Fight Club 2 the graphic novel, which is gritty and weird and full of surprises. Limited time, however, prevented me from watching the latest Wrestlemania. I simply did not have the five hours needed for it.

Now it’s Monday, start of another workweek, but this one will be two days short, thanks to the Holy Week tradition among Catholics. Although I still have to clock in my nine hours on Maundy Thursday, it will be from home, so no hassle there. Perhaps I can now find time to watch Wrestlemania 33, check out the Undertaker’s last appearance, and get all nostalgic and shit. Yes, back when I could handle heat and hangover with flair.

“Let the bodies hit the floor…”

last-resident-evil-poster

Another reason why I can’t be the next Roger Ebert: How I appreciate a film depends highly on my mood. Take Resident Evil: The Final Chapter for example. When I first saw it with my wife a couple of weekends ago, I thought it was crap and regretted spending time with it. Then, late last night, bored and gloomy and settling down from a stressful day, I decided to give it another whirl (don’t ask). It was still crap, but at least now it was crap but fun. Heavy on CGI but light on substance — who gives a shit? I wasn’t looking for a cinematic masterpiece, anyway. I just wanted something loud, proud and criminally dumb. Big guns and body slams to lift my mood. The movie did the trick: I was in a far better place in my head when I turned off the laptop.

And then I understood why Hollywood keeps churning out this kind of films despite the bad reviews: There is a market for masochistic viewers who have suicidal brain cells but do not give a shit. Just consider: There will be another Transformers movie in June.

Next on my list: Underworld: Blood Wars.

So it goes…

My two cents: The Walking Dead

… or how Sasha saved the latest season from Shitsville.

I will not beat around the bush: I love the Season 7 finale! And the critics seem to dig it as well. The consensus seems to be that it’s a whooping comeback from a lackluster season that saw the show’s ratings dropping to its lowest in five years. As a viewer who endured one sluggish episode after another (including some that were downright shitty), it’s nice to be rewarded for my torment. That awesome finale ensured that I’ll still be on board the zombie train come Season 8.

nexe0fd2jos5az_1_b

What I like best about the season finale was the grand exit the writers gave Sasha, a character I didn’t really care about until she stumbled out of that damn coffin and gave Negan the freakout of his life, thus giving Rick and his posse the distraction they needed to launch a counterattack. I thought that scene of self-sacrifice was expertly done. Ditto the scene leading to it — Sasha, closed up and looking unusually calm, listening to a sad song on an iPod, reminiscing about her last moments with Abraham who, as we all know, met the business end of Negan’s baseball bat during the season’s pilot episode. With her last-minute act, Sasha jumped from a second-tier character to the show’s ultimate heroine.

Having said that, however, I could do without Maggie’s monologue that punctuated the episode and the season as a whole.

So there.

Losing my comic-con virginity

At the start of the year I promised myself two things: 1) to start a new or rekindle an old hobby, and 2) to go out more often on weekends (as opposed to shutting myself off from the world, which is how I spent 2016). Last Saturday’s comics convention in Pasig City provided an opportunity for me to hit the proverbial two birds with one stone.

skomikon20172b2528blog2529

It was my first time to attend such an event, though there had been many attempts in the past. On the way to Bayanihan Center-Unilab, the venue, with my brother, I could hardly contain my excitement. When we finally reached the place and gained entrance and saw stacks and stacks of comics both local and foreign, it was all I could do not to lose my shit. The world outside disappeared. I became that wide-eyed kid in a candy store. Indeed, there is no one more excited in the world than a first-timer.

komikon

The first I raided was the National Bookstore booth, conspicuously located at the entrance of the venue. Although there were dozens of interesting titles from big-name publishers like Marvel, DC and Image being sold at discounted prices, budget considerations made me settle for Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. Chose it because I read a digital version of it last year, and thought it was one of the creepiest, most disturbing graphic novels I’ve ever read (another is Shadows Fall, which I never got to finish). I told myself then that I should have a physical copy of it.

Anyway, at the National Bookstore booth, there was this dude:

spiderman

Inside: more comics. I joined the pack of hungry geeks leafing through boxes and boxes of old issues dug from the warehouses of Comic Quest and Comic Odyssey. Was able to score complete sets of old limited series including an obscure one by Warren Ellis called Down. Considering the sheer number of the comics (priced P20 to P50) as well as the long line of gawkers, it took me awhile to reach the last box. And by then I was a couple of hundred bucks poorer. Oh, well…

oldcomics

On to the meat of the event now: the local comics. Yes, support local industry and all that. If only I’ve the money, I would’ve scored every local title available there. But — alas — due to an uncooperative wallet, I only had to choose the ones that really grabbed my fancy. One of them, P*cha, eh ‘di Komiks, was even signed by the author, Toto Madayag.

TotoMadayag

In the end, I was a line from an Alanis Morissette song: I’m broke but I’m happy.  And not even the rain that fell in buckets and trapped us near EDSA Central on our way home could dampen my mood. It was hands down the highlight of my weekend, and a high note to open a brand new month. The goal now is to save up for the next comic-con.

Something wicked this way comes

So I was fucking around the internet last night (actually, this morning), trying to come down from that high that was Legion Episode 5, when I stumbled upon the info that — shit! — there will be a Fargo Season 3 this year. I don’t know how long this piece of juicy info has been going around cyberspace, but it made me giddy with excitement. So much so that sleep didn’t come for another hour or so (and why I’m paying for it now at work with a dizzy head and a craving for strong coffee).

fargo-season-3-images-ewan-mcgregor-1-600x401

Ewan McGregor: Ready for some black comedy

I guess it goes without saying that I’m a big fan of the first two seasons.

Anyway, true to tradition of using big stars, Fargo S03 will be top-billed by Ewan McGregor, last seen playing a candelabra in the latest Beauty and the Beast movie, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, last seen chasing alien bugs in BrainDead. I’ve seen the teasers and the full trailer, and they all look winners to me.

Universe, please make it April 19 already.

My two cents: Iron Fist

ironfist

Online reviews on how bad Iron Fist is are dime-a-dozen. So much so that those who do not share the opinion may feel like a freak. I know I felt like one when I told friends that, in spite of its flaws, this series is still watchable, and I was met with raised eyebrows. But “watchable” is the best I could come up with to describe this new Netflix show, and that’s not exactly high praise. Major beef: the fight scenes.

0409_kick_106_unit_02800r

Iron Fist fight scenes: uninspired

For a series that has a main character described as a “living weapon,” the fight scenes in Iron Fist are notably short, uninspired, and terribly lacking in intensity. Then don’t look under-rehearsed, they look like rehearsals, actually. However, thanks to Bakuto, Davos and Colleen Wing, who is as beautiful as she is deadly, we still get to see some serious ass-kicking here. But those are in the later episodes, and if I were to consider the negative reviews, only a handful of viewers are tuned in by that time. Many seem to opt out midway into the series.

iron-fist-jessica-henwick-1200x520

Colleen Wing: serious ass-kicker

Indeed, in order to fully enjoy Iron Fist, you have to plod through a number of slow episodes that could test your patience. At first, you’ll feel like you’re watching a Wall Street drama instead of an action superhero series (only with a kung fu freak there upsetting everybody). But wait ’til you get to Episode 8 and your patience will be rewarded. The meat of the series is actually on the last five episodes. It is when the pace picks up speed, the fight scenes become better, and Danny Rand/Iron Fist starts showing some fangs. And there’s also an interesting cliffhanger that hints of a promising Season 2. All in all, Iron Fist is not as bad as many reviews may lead you to believe. Me, I’ve no regrets giving it a whirl.

Like the rest, I am now ready for The Defenders.