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review 2016-05-04 00:00
Doctor Strange: The Oath
Doctor Strange: The Oath - Brian K. Vaughan,Marcos Martin Wong has a brain tumor and Doctor Strange goes looking for a cure. What he finds is a cure to all cancer. Too bad Timely Pharmaceutical doesn't want the cure going public. Can Doctor Strange, Wong, and Night Nurse get the serum back before Wong succumbs?

By the Hoary Fucking Hosts of Hoggoth, this was the best modern Doctor Strange tale I've yet read. The Oath of the title refers to the Hypocratic oath Strange swore back when he was Doctor Stephen Strange, asshole neurosurgeon. Strange wrestles with the dilemma of healing Wong with a cure-all elixir or releasing it to the world. A criminal named Brigand steals the panacea from Doctor Strange and shoot's him with Hitler's suicide gun. Strange, Wong, and Night Nurse go looking for him before Wong's time runs out.

Brian K. Vaughn and Marcos Martin craft a tale that revisits Doctor Strange's origin and explores his duties as both Sorcerer Supreme and as a doctor. Sadly, I found the idea of a pharmaceutical company not wanting a cure for cancer to be distributed all too real.

Doctor Strange is true to form here, unlike in The Defenders when he can't seem to keep his Wand of Watoom in his pants. Marcos Martin's art is pretty sweet, as usual, and his art has a nice Ditko vibe when Strange goes into Brigand's mind. Given that Benedict Cumberbatch is playing Doctor Strange, it's an awesome coincidence that the Doctor refers to Night Nurse as Watson.

That's about all all I have to say. Doctor Strange: The Oath grabbed me like the Crimson Bands of Cittorak and wouldn't let go. Four out of five stars.

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review 2016-01-20 20:44
Baseball's Creation Myth: Adam Ford, Abner Graves and the Cooperstown Story - Brian Martin

A well-researched and very interesting presentation on the origins of baseball in this country, and how our country in the early 20th century was ready and willing to believe a strongly patriotic, and patently false, version of this creation of our National Pasttime. Abner Graves, an avid businessman from Cooperstown, sent his "version" of the creation of baseball, which lavishly told of Abner Doubleday and his "invention", to A.G. Spalding via an article in the Akron Beacon. The tale then took a life of its own, and many even now still believe in the Cooperstown origin of the game. Since other versions are presented as well, this book ultimately comes to the conclusion that the origins of baseball may truly never be known. My only criticism of the book is the painstaking detail the author presents on Abner Graves, Adam Ford, and other subjects that don't seem very relevant to the overall argument. This bogs the book down, but reader perseverance will be rewarded with the last 40-50 pages.

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review 2015-03-01 17:26
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014), directed by Matt Reeves
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes [Blu-ray] - Keri Russell

Set 10 years after the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn opens with men and apes coexisting by staying out of each other's way.  But with his fuel stockpile running out and in desperate need of power for his city, human Malcolm (Jason Clarke) leads a small team into ape Caesar's (Andy Serkis) forest home to ask permission to repair a hydroelectric dam.  Nuts in each camp -- led by Koba (Toby Kebbell) in the ape enclave and Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) in Zone 2, the human city -- would rather wipe out the other side and be done with it.  Frankly amazing ape effects that are so real they rarely amaze lay bare an all-too-conventional story of enemies learning to respect and care for each other.  A movie with no surprises and little to delight the audience (other than a cute scene with a baby ape).  And, in spite of the bad guys of both species understanding "human" nature better than their peace-loving leaders, no irony or satire either.  Less a science fiction film than a slow-starting action movie, but well made.

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review 2015-02-28 17:19
Age of Tomorrow (2014), directed by James Kondelik
Age of Tomorrow [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] - Robert Picardo,Kelly Hu

Another Asylum (Sharknado) crockbuster, this one  fudging its title from Edge of Tomorrow. "When the sun strikes an altar hidden within the ancient Pyramid of the Sun in Mexico, it creates a beacon that triggers an alien blitzkrieg." So says Asylum, in a tacit admission that when your films are as bad as theirs, not even an accurate plot description matters. Kelly Hu stars as an unimaginative prostitute whose liaison with a smug but untalented alien spawns the cast and crew of this film. Perfect for viewers with no self-respect. Direct-to-video.

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