When talking about the first arc of Boom! Studios’ “Firefly” comics, we have to address the elephant in the room: Despite being titled “The Unification War,” the arc comprising Issues 1-12 (2018-19) is not about the Unification War, the conflict six years before the events of the TV show that pitted the Alliance against the Independents on the Rim worlds. Thrown off by the title, some online guides place this story at the start of the timeline. But rather, it’s set amid the heart of the TV series’ events, with Unificators tracking down “war criminals” – a.k.a. Browncoat leaders.
With “No Time to Die” coming out in November, I’m looking back at the eight modern-era James Bond films from the perspective of a newcomer, from July 11-26. Next up is the 18th Eon-produced film and second starring Pierce Brosnan, “Tomorrow Never Dies” (1997):
Andy Samberg tones down his manchild shtick while retaining his Everyman charms, and he pairs wonderfully with Cristin Milioti in “Palm Springs,” a new Hulu release that gives us a pleasant option amid the shutdown of cinemas. It’s also unintentionally timely for this era when people don’t leave their homes as much: Samberg’s Nyles finds himself stuck at a destination wedding – he’s the boyfriend of bridesmaid Misty (Meredith Hagner) — repeating the day in a loop.
With “No Time to Die” coming out in November, I’m looking back at the eight modern-era James Bond films from the perspective of a newcomer, from July 11-26. First up is the 17th Eon-produced film and first starring Pierce Brosnan, “GoldenEye” (1995):
I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer” (2006) goes low-budget, low-talent and straight-to-video to wrap up the trilogy. Since it came out eight years after the second entry, I didn’t even notice this film’s existence at the time. When I noticed it years later, some curiosity percolated at the back of my mind about how the franchise continued after the first two films, both of which I liked.
Revenge of the Nerds” (1984) came out 15 years before “American Pie,” but if you watch the scene of a roomful of nerds ogling a closed-circuit hidden-camera feed of a sorority house, it plays like a parody of the accidental computer-camera scene in “American Pie.” Lewis (Robert Carradine) and his sex-obsessed buddies – including a kid genius who gets into the college – watch coeds in their bathrooms and bedrooms all night long. (In a slight nod to reality, some of the guys complain that watching girls brush their teeth is boring, and they eventually fall asleep.)
Galactic Pot-Healer” (written in 1968, published in 1969) could be seen as the start of Philip K. Dick’s heavy interest in God and religion that defined his 1970s work (although it is definitely found in prior works, too). The back half of the book – wherein an alien called Glimmung aims to raise a Cathedral from an ocean on Plowman’s Planet – is almost entirely a religious metaphor. That said, it’s quite readable despite its bizarre turn, as the titular Joe Fernwright holds our attention.
Firefly: The Sting” (November 2019) is an ambitious hardcover graphic novel centered on Saffron, from writer Delilah S. Dawson and a team of artists. But it’s a step down in characterization from the double-length one-shot “Bad Company” from earlier in the year, and it arguably contradicts Saffron’s moral growth. The more generous interpretation is that “The Sting” shows her manipulative side, the one we know from “Our Mrs. Reynolds” (1.6) and “Trash” (1.11).
Push” (2009) is a movie-length version of what TV’s “The Gifted” would later show: people with superpowers on the run from government agents. Director Paul McGuigan’s film makes a strong case that this material works better in a movie than in a drawn-out TV series. One thing is notably missing: character development. But there is no padding to the narrative, and no melodramatic ennui.
The King of Staten Island” is the most prominent of the few brave films that switched from theatrical release to video-on-demand amid the pandemic, and it’s also a good one. It had been long enough since I’d seen a good Judd Apatow movie – 2012’s “This Is 40,” the last film he both wrote and directed – that it’s a revelation to rediscover his sharp dialog and knack for showing that deeply flawed people are still worth rooting for.