Pandragon Dan

Pandragon Dan

Author/Reviewer/Blogger

Pandragon Reviews - Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth

NOTE: This will be my last Pandragon Reviews for a while – as I’ve previously stated that I am no longer accepting reviews due to my current workload. Please do not send me any review requests – however I will gladly accept interviews/blog posts if you wish to contact me about that.

 

I’m excited guys. I really am. Because today, once again, I am highlighting the highly talented Andrez Bergen. I’ve mentioned him numerous times on this blog and lauded him with as much acclaim as possible. For good reason. In my opinion, this guy is one of the best Indie Authors out there – if not THE best. His style of writing, attention to detail – and numerous references to music, pop culture, Anime and classic cinema, all mixed in with his Australian style of humour just come together in one perfect blend. It sucks you in and makes you feel that you aren’t just reading the story, you’re living it! That was the case I felt with Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat and One Hundred Years of Vicissitude.

 

So when I heard he had a new novel coming out I just HAD to read it! And as this will be my last Pandragon Reviews for a while, what better way to end it than with one of my favourite authors! So let’s wrap up warm for the journey that is Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth.

 

 

About The Author

 

Andrez Bergen is an expat Australian writer, journalist, artist and DJ from Melbourne, entrenched in Tokyo these past 13 years. He published his debut novel Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat in 2011, followed by One Hundred Years of Vicissitude (2012) and Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? (2013).

 

He has also published short stories and comics (such as Tales to Admonish with Matt Kyme) through Perfect Edge, Crime Factory, Snubnose Press, Shotgun Honey, 8th Wonder Press, IF? Commix, Big Pulp, Ace Comics and Another Sky Press, and edited an anthology of post-apocalyptic noir. On the side Bergen worked on adapting scripts for feature films by Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell), Kazuchika Kise and Naoyoshi Shiotani at Production I.G.

 

He additionally hammers together tunes as Little Nobody, he covets sashimi and saké, and lives in Japan with his wife and eight-year-old daughter.

http://andrezbergen.wordpress.com

 

https://twitter.com/andreziffy

 

 

 

Cover

 

This cover is just WOW! I love how the white background allows all the other colours to just leap out at you and Mina’s icy stare just catches you off guard. Notice how she appears to have puppet strings around her? Symbolism! This kinda reminds me of old school Sci-Fi novel covers – or even classic Horror movie posters. Either way it catches the eye.

 

 

Synopsis

 

She's a disturbed, quiet girl, but Mina wants to do some good out there. It's just that the world gets in the way. This is Australia in the 1980s, a haven for goths and loners, where a coming-of-age story can only veer into a murder mystery.

 

 

What I liked

 

Firstly, let me just say this. Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth – BEST. TITLE. EVER! This is one of those titles that, even if you don’t know what the story is about, you wanna check it out just by the title alone! It’s a title that captures the surreal wit that Bergen is famous for. It also catches you off guard a little as, on hearing it, I thought it was gonna be a sci-fi story. The tale I got was a little different, but still worth reading.

 

Like his other novels, Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth is told from the POV of the protagonist – in this case Mina. Mina is a kind introverted girl with some issues – mostly abuse at the hands of her older sibling and generally being just an outcast of society. Then she meets a dark character called Animeid (read it backwards and you get a hint as to what is going down) and then s*** really starts to get real! I won’t spoil too much of the story, but rest assured things get increasing more violent as the story goes on.

 

Now compared to other protagonists from Andrez Bergen’s previous novels, Mina is a little bit more introverted compared to say, the protagonists of Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat and One Hundred Years of Vicissitude – but she still has the biting sarcasm and wit that you would expect from Mr Bergen’s stories. She probably is a little bit more unstable mentally than many of the other characters, but I personally could understand a lot of her agony. She has a pretty unhappy lifestyle and pretty much is tormented by members of her own family. Throughout the narration, we delve a little deeper into her psychological state and, through the help of Animeid, she gains a little more confidence – possibly at the cost of her sanity.

 

The one thing I liked about this story is that a lot of it was opened to interpretation – especially the character of Animeid. And as a lot of this is told from Mina’s point of view, we never really are getting the full explanation. Is there a supernatural element at work – or is Anim just in Mina’s head and she’s using it as a way of coping with all the crap that’s going on and using that as a way to help her stand up to her problems. Or maybe put something else right – again, no spoilers.

 

On a side note, it is great to read about a female protagonist. Not that I didn’t like his other main characters, I always enjoy reading about female leads that aren’t just “femme fatale’s”.

 

In many ways, the novel serves as a metaphor for growing up in general. Sorta like a coming of age tale in a way – albeit with somewhat darker themes of abuse and possibly mental illness. However, what I liked most about the story is that it doesn’t always go the way you expect it to and the tale can throw the odd twist in here and there. It means that even if you’ve worked out a twist, the story can still surprise you.

 

 

What I didn’t like

 

The only minor nitpick I would say about this (and it is just a nitpick) was that I felt some of the chapters were a little longer than they needed to be. Not that that was a major problem as the chapters are laid out so that they don’t overload you with too much info at once (which is always the trick when writing chapters), but I couldn’t help but think maybe the chapters could be shorter. That’s just a personal thing for me and the ONLY negative I would say about this book.

 

 

PROS (Frozen – that’s the Celldweller song NOT the film! Give it a listen):

  • Best title ever!
  • A great metaphor for isolation, loneliness and psychosis.
  • Tale is captivating and drags you in.
  • Has plenty of twists and surprises.

 

CONS (cold as ice):

  • Some chapters are a bit too long.

 

 

Summary

 

Once again, Andrez Bergen has written a tale that is entertaining, unique and has more style and substance in two pages than most recent bestsellers have in their entire word count! Why this guy isn’t winning more awards I don’t know – but he should. Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth is a great mix of coming of age with dark subtext and some possibly supernatural themes as well. It’s a captivating read – although maybe that’s just me being biased! Either way, I highly recommend this novel. READ IT NOW!!!

 

 

FINAL SCORE: 4.5/5

 

 

 

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PANDRAGON

 

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Reynard City Issue 24 Review

 

 

Reynard City is an online comic that I’ve followed quite closely (where I can) for the last few years. Described as being “mad as a box of frogs. And it is all the better for it.”, Reynard City is somewhere between a Saturday Morning Cartoon show and a superhero comic, featuring three kick ass foxes – Hyper Rob, Ak Girl and Supervixen. It has its fair share of craziness and insane stories – but I have been quite impressed at the darker themes it covers and the way it delves into the psychology of the main characters. Not only that, but each issue has different artists at the helm (some better than others if I’m being honest), meaning that you almost get a different story each time.

 

The Rise of Balloon Boy was originally put across as a Kickstarter project, which I was only too happy to sponsor. And I’m glad I did because the end result was an enjoyable – if heartbreaking – read. I’ll keep spoilers to a minimum for the sake of this review, simply because I’d have to go into great detail about what has gone before – and that would take too long. However, I should just warn you that the odd spoiler may appear here and there.

 

So, after the Perfect Platinum story arc, the team are trying to get their lives back on track. But the sinister Mega Fox (who is one of the most badass and evil villains ever) has a plan that will strike at AK Girl – by turning her lover into a machine known as Balloon Boy! It is the classic “lover/best friend gets turned into monster” storyline that we’ve seen in a few cartoons and comics (Harvey Dent springs to mind here) but it definitely works well here. And the ending is pretty heartbreaking to say the least.

 

The art is really nicely drawn and has a real cartoony feel to it. And aside from the Lovers Torn Asunder storyline, we also delve a little deeper into AK Girl’s psyche and learn a bit more about her unstable powers. My only minor criticism with the story, which I’ve found with a few Reynard City comics is that sometimes the story moves a little TOO fast for my liking. It tends to jump from one scene to the next and leaves me wondering what’s happening. But that’s not to say that the story isn’t enjoyable in its own right. Plus this story has an interesting twist at the end, somewhat similar to the post credit scene of Marvel’s The Avengers. It will be interesting to see where the story goes from here.

 

And not only that – but yours truly gets a cameo in this comic! I appear at the end in the crowd, which is pretty nice!

 

This is a good story overall, a little bit depressing at times, but sets it up nicely for another possible trauma that AK Girl and the others may have to deal with. You can read this online, as well as the other Reynard City comics at:

 

REYNARD CITY

 

Check this series out if you get a chance! It’s a run read and something a little fresher than other comics out there. I recommend this series highly. :D

 

 

 

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PANDRAGON

 

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My Honest Review of Frozen

WARNING: This blog contains spoilers. All opinions and conclusions in this review are my own.

 

 

On April 1st, I posted a fake review of Frozen (which strangely, is STILL getting views and likes on my blog), which many would consider suicide considering how popular this film is. Thankfully, aside from a minor flame war on my Facebook page (which was part of the act), it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Mainly because I think a lot of people saw through the joke. Take that, Man in Shadow! XD

 

You guys can check out the original April Fools Day post HERE.

 

But anyway, I figured that, after doing that, it was only right that I did an HONEST review of it. So, I went ahead and brought myself a copy of Frozen – which makes this film the first Disney movie I have ever brought for myself! I wanted to see if this film is really as good as they say it was, but at the same time, I didn’t want to get caught up in the hype and judge it on its own merits.

 

 

 

 

So, I have just finished seeing the film and now I’m ready to give my honest thoughts. Is this really the best Disney film ever made?

 

 

Oh my gosh... this is going to be the best review ever!!! :D

 

 

For me, I can sum up this film in one word. Overrated.

 

 

WHAT... DID HE JUST SAY?!?

 

 

I can already hear the gasps of the millions of Frozen fans, who are probably cursing my name right now – but please just hear me out. This review that you’re reading is JUST MY OPINION. It doesn’t take away from any of the accomplishments that Frozen has done – I just disagree with the hype that it’s been getting. But I will try and explain myself so that you guys don’t think I’m trolling.

 

Firstly, I am NOT saying that Frozen is a bad film, because there is a difference between a film being bad, and being overrated. On the contrary, Frozen is beautifully animated, the special effects are amazing and the story had a very good moral. But, I have to be honest, at times I did feel the plot moved a little slowly for my tastes and felt a little "by the numbers". Nothing wrong with that, but considering this film has won numerous awards, i was expecting better storytelling.

 

The characters are, for the most part, brilliant. Anna was just adorable and a great heroine, even if she was a little annoying now and then. Elsa was just awesome! I think I’d actually go so far to say that Elsa is one of the best anti-heroines ever crafted – not to mention she is smoking hot! And I’m not just saying that because she froze me in a previous review! Another character I want to give mention to is Hans – yeah, he was a total bastard, but his character development was brilliant. I love the way that he started off as the hero, only for the film to do a complete swerve and him to show his true colours. However, his heel turn brings up some questions. If his plan was to kill Elsa, why didn't he just kill her there and then instead of bringing her back to the castle? You could argue that he was trying to prove to the other nobles that Elsa should be killed, but seeing as they already wanted her dead anyway at that point, he could have just killed her and no one would have known any different. Maybe I'll just chock this up to a traditional villain flaw.

 

However, I have to be honest, I found Olaf extremely annoying! Not quite Jar-Jar Binks annoying, but pretty close. Also, what was the point in Kristoff? What did he actually do? And don’t try and tell me that it was him that helped Anna get to Elsa – because Anna proved herself more than capable of looking after herself. It just felt like he was put in, well, just to have a hero. They could have easily cut him out the film and it would have been just as good. Although Sven was pretty cool.

 

Onto the songs, which many say are the main selling point of the film, harking back to the classic Disney musical films. Honestly, the songs were – just ok – a few good ones, but they didn't really do much for me. Which brings me onto Let It Go, everyone’s favourite Oscar winning song. I know people love it, but *sharp intake of breath* I have to be honest – I HATE this song!

 

 

Oh you did NOT just say that!!!

 

 

Many of you who read my April Fools post will remember I said something similar to that in the post (albeit a little more over the top). To tell the truth, this was the bit that I was being 100% true. I can’t stand this song! I’d hoped that seeing it in the context of the film would make me change my mind – and whilst that bit is pretty cool, my opinion stays the same. I just think that Let It Go has been played to death, and that it’s been played so many times it’s just become annoying. Also, I have heard some REALLY bad covers of this song and they have probably stuck with me, so that when I hear this tune I just think of that. Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT trying to undermine its achievements and popularity – but there are better Disney songs and even better songs in the film. Personally, I’d say the troll song was better.

 

But, if there is ONE thing that I will say I really enjoyed about this film was the twist ending. (Spoilers ahead, but if you read the beginning you know that anyway). When Anna’s heart is frozen and she is dying, only an act of true love can save her. But, in a shocking twist, it’s not Kristoff that saves Anna, she saves HERSELF. Sacrificing herself to save Elsa from Hans, whilst Elsa weeps for her, her love breaks the spell. Yup, this time it’s FAMILY love that prevails. This I think was an excellent twist and all respect to Disney for going against their usual conventions. However, again, this bit totally negates Kristoff being in the film.

 

Some of you may be thinking about my earlier comment about this film being overrated, and you may be thinking “How can it be overrated when it’s won Academy awards, Oscars, BAFTA’s and probably a few more to come”. Like I said, I have total respect for everything this film has accomplished – but, with all due respect, I don’t judge a film by how many awards it’s won, if I did then Titanic would probably be my favourite film (another film which is good, but not that good). I judge a film based on these factors:

 

Do I like the story?

Do I like the characters?

Do I think it works as a film overall?

 

For me, Frozen only ticks one and a half of these boxes. Also, strangely enough, whilst Disney and Pixar are guaranteed to make me shed manly tears – this one is the first Disney film that I DIDN’T cry at. It’s not that I didn’t connect with the characters, just not enough to bring the tears out.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong guys – I WANTED to say that this is the best Disney film ever. I wanted to get caught up in the hype and be on the Frozen bandwagon. But, as Elsa would say “Don’t you see, I can’t.” It's certainly entertaining and has it's good points, but it is NOT the best Disney film ever. I can actually name 5 Disney/Pixar movies that are, in my opinion, better. And they are, in no particular order.

 

 

 

 

 

Up of course is one of my favourite films of all time. I'd even say that Despicable Me was a better film than Frozen. Yeah, I know that's not a Disney film, but it still was more enjoyable and had more depth than this film.

 

But, like I said at the beginning, everything you have read is JUST MY OPINION and it doesn’t take away anything that this film has accomplished. I want to make that clear so you guys don't think I'm trolling. Sorry if you guys wanted me to give this a rave review, but I wanted to be honest about my feelings. If you guys like, or love this film, all power to you. I genuinely am not trying to upset anyone.

 

So, just to finish, I'm not saying Frozen is a bad film. However it is rather mediocre in my eyes and certainly by no stretch of the imagination as good as people say it is. I know people love this film - but I don't. Sorry. Hopefully you guys understand that’s just my opinion and you won’t be too upset with what I said.

 

 

He said he hated Let It Go!!!

 

LET'S GET HIM!!!

 

 

Hey, guys... woh! Can't we just... talk about this... oh CRAP!!!

 

(Bolts out the door)

 

 

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PANDRAGON

 

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All images above are copyright of their respective owners. I claim no ownership of any of them.

The Day of the Doctor - My Review

Go on, River Song – what does this blog contain?

 

Sorry, couldn’t resist it!

 

 

Well, who’d have thought it? 50 years of Doctor Who! I did have a really nice speech about how cool Doctor Who is – but let’s be honest, what can I say about this amazing show that hasn’t already been said a million times before? So why not just get straight into the review – because I’m sure you’re all itching to hear what I thought of it!

 

The Day of the Doctor has quite possibly been one of the most highly anticipated Doctor Who episodes ever – possible the most anticipated episode in ANY TV series ever! Not just because it’s a celebration of 50 years of the Doctor, or that it had both Matt Smith AND David Tenant share a screen together (it’s not the first time that more than one Doctor have appeared together, but this one was particularly interesting), but because many fans were left befuzzled by the ending of The Name of the Doctor, where we discovered there was a regeneration that we never knew about! All we knew at the time was that this was a reincarnation that “broke the promise” and did something that was “not in the name of the Doctor”. Later mini episodes of The Night of the Doctor (which featured Paul McGann’s Doctor) showed us that this reincarnation was the “War Doctor”. Someone who had seen the horrors of war and was determined to end it once and for all – no matter the cost. And who better to play this than John Hurt – a man who’s very expression looks like he has seen war and all its horrors – and it has damaged him ever since?

 

I was particularly excited by this episode as, whilst it was hinted at before, we never really knew the FULL details of how the Time War ended. All we knew was that the Doctor was responsible for it and it has haunted him ever since. But enough backstory – let’s get to the review.

 

The Doctor gets a call from U.N.I.T., who have a note from Elizabeth I (who in this is played by Gavin and Stacy’s Joanna Page – and she is wonderful!) and her “credentials”. The credentials are in the form of a 3D painting, painted using Gallifrey technology. The title is called either “No more” or “Gallifrey Falls” (no one really knows) and shows the Fall of Arcadia. The story then cuts to the past, during the Time War, where the War Doctor has gained control of a device called The Moment or Galaxy Eater. This will end the war – but destroy both races. However, the device is actually sentient and, before he can activate it, it appears to him in the form of Rose Tyler (once again played by Billie Piper) in her Bad Wolf incarnation. She questions him as to whether he really wants to do this and shows him the man he will become if he does.

 

Meanwhile, in Elizabethian England, the Doctor (David Tenant’s Doctor) is wooing Queen Elizabeth (as you do), only to find himself in the middle of a Zygon invasion. The Zygons are using special technology to time lock themselves inside the paintings of the National Gallery in London, so that they can invade the future from the past. All three Doctors must now band together to stop this – whilst at the same time they must decide if what they did (or will do in the case of the War Doctor) was the right thing.

 

So that’s the set up, but the big question was – was it any good?

 

The short answer is no.

 

It’s wasn’t good.

 

It was AWESOME!!! :D

 

No, correct that, it was AWESOMESAUCE!!! :D :D :D

 

In fact, it was AWESOMESAUCE spread over a WIXY BURGER! :D :D :D

 

Ok, I'll stop with the strange sayings now! :)

 

But seriously, I know I’m gonna sound like a mad fan boy Whovian – but this genuinely was one of the best Doctor Who’s ever! Normally I would have put on my Facebook or Twitter what I felt about it – but I had so much love for this episode that what I wanted to say could not be summed up in just a few characters. Hence this review.

 

In actual fact, the story was a lot more light hearted than I expected. The trailers for it built up that it would be a really dark story about how the Time War messed the Doctor up, but there was a lot of comedy moments in it. The trio of Doctors bounced off each other perfectly, their quips and timing spot on. It was almost like the Three Stooges in Doctor Who form. I think the funniest bit was when they all tried to work out how to escape from a dungeon – only to find that the door wasn’t locked!

 

But don’t get me wrong, for all the humour there WAS some really dark elements to this. Like I said, this story was about what the Doctor did to end the Time War and it was interesting to see how it affected each of the Doctor’s incarnations. You had the Doctor that tried to forget (Smith), the Doctor that couldn’t forget (Tenant) and the Doctor that was yet to do the thing he most hated (Hurt). Never before have I seen the choices of one person reflected so brilliantly and on so many emotional levels. One of the saddest points was when the Doctor was asked “did you count”, referring to the number of children that died because of his actions. It added a real moral dilemma and really questioned the value of “what losses are acceptable” in war.

 

I must give a special mention to Rose Tyler, who is like the guardian for the War Doctor in this story and his second chance. Now, I must admit – as controversial as this may sound – Rose Tyler (along with Donna Noble) is one of my LEAST favourite assistants, so I wasn’t really happy to hear that she was coming back. However, this incarnation was very well done and a nice twist to those expecting to see the same Rose. She was both prophetic and humorous at the same time and really acted like a guardian angel for ALL the Doctors.

 

If there was one negative I had about this show it was the Zygons. Don’t get me wrong, it was cool to see them again, but I never really felt that they fit into the story as well as they could have. It kinda felt like they were brought in to – well, just be brought into the story. And the resolution of them was a bit too simple for my tastes. It wasn’t bad, I just think that they were somewhat overshadowed by the Time War.

 

Speaking of the Time War, we actually got to see some of the Fall of Arcadia in all its CGI glory. Explosions, Daleks, laser guns and people running scared, it was almost like watching a Hollywood battlefield scene – and it was just epic to watch! Not only that, but there was an uber cool moment where the Doctor used his TARDIS to bulldoze through an army of Daleks and decapitate them. Now tell me that wasn’t awesome! :D

 

But the best moment of the whole episode has to be when the three Doctors go back in time to the moment where they end the Time War, deciding that what they do is out of choice. But then Clara reminds them of who they are – the Doctor – and the promise they made. It’s then than an alternative shows itself. Rather than destroy Gallifrey, they would use the same technology the Zygons used and send Gallifrey to a frozen space and time – so that they will live on, but the war would still end. But surely the calculations of this would take YEARS to get right, surely?

 

Well, the Doctor has been around a LONG time and so the Doctors put all their heads together to use their combined knowledge to work it out. But three Doctors aren’t enough – well how about 13? Yes, in a scene that will no doubt have every Whovian screaming for joy, all in the incarnations of the Doctor band together to save Gallifrey. But wait; didn’t I say 13 and not 12? Yup! For a few brief seconds, Peter Capaldi’s Doctor joins in the fight. It’s only a few seconds of a shot – but you should have heard the way me and my brother squealed in delight! :D

 

And as if THAT’S not enough, the Doctor gets to meet the curator of the museum afterwards – and he’s only played by Tom Baker! :D Seriously, I think I had more fangasims in this one episode than anything I’ve ever seen before in my life! But it’s here that the curator tells Doctor the real name of the picture... “Gallifrey Falls No More.” Does that mean his plan worked? Well, that’s heavily hinted to be the next storyline for the Doctor.

 

Steve Moffat described this episode as a “love letter to the fans” and it was certainly that! The past and present collided together in a beautiful way that never felt contrived or mashed together. The Three Doctors together worked a charm and once more they put in everything they had into this story. Some fans may fell it controversial to negate what has essentially been the Doctor’s main driving force the last few years (the death of his people), but I actually think this was wonderfully done. In many ways, this story wasn’t just celebrating 50 years of Doctor Who, but a redemption story for the Doctor. Through this, John Hurt becomes a true Doctor and counts as one of his regenerations for real.

 

This story had everything we needed from a special Doctor Who. Humour, gravitas, Daleks and Tom Baker! To quote from Christopher Eccelson’s Doctor – fantastic!

Thank you Steve Moffat for bringing us arguably one of the best Doctor Who episodes ever! :)

 

 

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PANDRAGON

 

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Doctor Who and all related media is owned by the BBC

First Impressions - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

WARNING: For those who haven't at least seen the first episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., this blog contains a lot of SPOILERS. Please read at your own risk!

 

 

I dunno about anyone else, but I have been REALLY impressed with the number of Marvel films that have come out recently. Before then, Marvel films were kinda hit and miss (Spider-Man being a good example - Fantastic Four being a bad example), but since the release of Iron Man, the Marvel movie franchise has skyrocketed. What I particularly love about them is that these movies actually stay pretty true to their comic book counterparts (well, for the most part anyway) and have a strong continuity between them. As for the Avengers movie? Well if you read my review about it last year, you'll know that I consider that as close to a perfect superhero movie as possible (this often results in many arguments with my brother, who considers The Dark Knight the best superhero movie ever).

 

When I first saw trailers for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., I got excited - especially when I heard Joss Whedon was on board! Considering he did such a great job with Avengers, I knew this was going to be golden! Just last night I saw the first episode, which aired in the UK on Channel 4 at around 20:00pm. And, much like with the Avengers movie, I did not come away disappointed.

 

This first episode is set sometime after the events of the Avengers and Iron Man 3 and featured S.H.I.E.L.D. on the hunt for a group called The Rising Tide, a cyber terrorist cell that has been causing a little bit of a kerfuffle lately. New recruit Grant Ward (a tough, take no nonsense kinda guy ala Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly) is brought into join a specialized team to help track down the Rising Tide, lead by Agent Coulson.

 

But Coulson died in the Avengers I hear you say? Nope, he's back and fitter than ever - it is explained how he survived, but I'll spare you the details. Also joining Ward is Melinda May (a somewhat famous S.H.I.E.L.D. agent) and geeky double act Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons. Their first mission is to track down a computer hacker named Sky, who has recently discovered a man with superpowers - Mike Peterson. Peterson possesses inhuman strength and demonstrates this when he saves a woman from a burning building. Being that S.H.I.E.L.D. wants to keep a closer look on the superhumans after the events of the Avengers, they go after Peterson.

 

A simple set up and one you've probably seen a hundred times before - but Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has everything you'd expect from a Joss Whedon written show - strong characters, sharp, snappy dialogue tons of humour and a thrilling pace. Even though a lot of the characters are kinda thrown upon you, you instantly like them because they have a lot of personality. It's great to see Coulson back again as I actually did like his character in the Marvel films. He is a man that knows what he has to do, but will always try and do the right thing as opposed to what NEEDS to be done. He also knows how to keep his team in line - as obvious when one of them tells him they can't do something - only for him to tell them "never tell me you can't do something."

 

The other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents also spring out of the screen. Ward I guess will turn up being the typical tough guy with heart role. May is just an ass-kicking female super agent (well, it's Joss Whedon, the guy that did Buffy the Vampire Slayer - go figure) and Fitz and Simmons are a pretty entertaining double act, although I hope that they don't end up becoming too annoying. Each of them have their own personality that makes them stand out and they all play their role in the story. Sky is also a pretty feisty character and I get the feeling she may become the “fan favourite” of a lot of the watchers.

 

For me though, I really enjoyed the character of Peterson - he was a pretty tragic character, but you did sympathize with him. His back-story was that he lost his job due to an injury, and then undertook an experiment to gain superstrength (named Project Centipede – which actually links to Iron Man 3 in some ways if you’ve seen that film). He desperately wanted to create a new life for his son, but frustrations end up getting the better of him - and he ended up using his superpowers to do bad things. Not because he WANTS to, but because he is forced into it. It's a standard story about "power and responsibility", but I really felt sorry for Peterson and found myself hoping he wouldn't get harmed in the end.

 

Story wise, the episode was a joy to watch. The pace was spot on and kept you entertained the whole way throughout, with sci-fi technology, mad experiments gone wrong and a lot of the usual stuff that you’ve come to expect in Sci-Fi shows. It’s over the top and a little silly in places, but what do you expect in a show like this? All you do is just sit back and enjoy the ride! It also has the typical wit and humour that Joss Whedon is known for. I think my favourite bit is when Ward is being interviewed and is asked what does S.H.I.E.L.D. stand for - then what it means to him. He replies "I think someone really wanted our initials to spell out S.H.I.E.L.D.". Other moments of comedy include Coulson and his refusal to let anyone touch his car Lola. This humour helps balance out the drama of the piece, meaning that you know when to take it seriously and when to just have fun with it.

 

The only problem that this show has, at present, is that it DOES require you to have seen the other Marvel films before this one. Any who don’t will be left confused and scratching their heads – as I found out when I had to fill in the gaps to my parents afterwards (as they hadn’t seen the previous films). Also, when Peterson used Sky to delete his identity, I think they really missed a trick by him not renaming himself “Luke Cage” (in honour of the superhero). Maybe they thought that Peterson’s backstory was too dissimilar from the character.

 

However, there is ONE possible story I’m intrigued about. When Coulson talks about his rehabilitation, where was one scene where two characters looked at each other knowingly and said “He doesn’t know, does he?” This got my Spider-Sense tingling. Could it be that Coulson may NOT be the same Coulson? Anyone who knows S.H.I.E.L.D. in the comics will know that they occasionally employ LMD’s (Life Model Decoys), android replicas of real people – see HERE for more details. Could it be that Coulson actually DID die at the hands of Loki in Avengers and this is just a copy? I’m gonna go on record and say yes!

 

Overall, I have to say that, after one episode, I already love this show! Like Avengers it has everything I expect from a comic book series and more - and the way they link perfectly with the previous Marvel films is just brilliant. With Joss Whedon in control, I really think this show could become a smash hit! I just really hope it doesn’t get cancelled before it has a chance to take off, like so many other Whedon projects. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for this one!

 

I give this show a very high recommendation if you’re a fan of the Marvel Universe!

 

 

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PANDRAGON

 

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Avengers and all related characters belong to Marvel and Disney. I claim no ownership of any of these characters and use them only for reviewing purposes.

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