The Ghost of Critical Missives’ Future!! (Or, Critical Missives Presents: A Viewer’s Guide to Gotham: Season 1!!) (Or, The Tenth Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is part of the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas, an ongoing Critical Missives Clix celebration wherein we’re trying to publish new content for 12 straight days. If you’ve missed anything, you can check out Night 1, Night 2, Night 3, Night 4Night 5Night 6Night 7Night 8 or Night 9 just by clicking the preceding links!]

Hello! Welcome to Night 10 of The 12 Nights of Clix-Mas!!

Television

Today we’re going to preview what I hope will become a semi-regular feature here on Critical Missives:  Episode Guides for comic-book TV shows! We’ve been teasing these for awhile now, but the 12 Nights of Clix-mas has finally given us the chance we needed to make it a reality! First up will be a FOX Freshman series about a cop. Who lives in a very dangerous city. Today, we’re just publishing a recap of the Pilot, but the full article (which should come in early January, smack dab in the middle of the Heroclix Dead Zone) will have every episode that has run to that point! We’ll also make that page stick so that we can keep adding to it as the season continues.

After the Gotham project’s done, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be next, followed by Flash!

Having said all that, enjoy the preview!

 

"The name's Gordon!"

The name’s Gordon!”

We’ve seen the first half of the first season of GOTHAM, so buckle in–it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

 

Gotham Title

 

Series Overview:

Gotham tells the story of Commissioner James Gordon’s rise to prominence in Gotham City in the years before Batman’s arrival.

Season Overview:

The first season of Gotham is the story of the distinguished war veteran and perpetually serious-faced James Gordon, who comes back to his hometown of Gotham to take a job as a detective with the GPD. His private agenda is to fight the corruption eating at the city’s core by helping to solve as many crimes as he can while also exposing the misdeeds of those in power, but he is alternately impeded and aided by his partner, Harvey Bullock. He also quickly finds out very quickly that his new job has put his girlfriend, Barbara, in harm’s way.

Detective Gordon introduces himself.

Detective Gordon introduces himself.

Meanwhile, gangster Fish Mooney bides her time as a lieutenant in the Falcone crime empire as she waits for the perfect time to dispatch her boss, Carmine Falcone, and take over, but her plans take a detour when her confidence is betrayed by one of her own employees, a violent, passive-aggressive young man named Oswald Cobblepot…

Showrunner: Bruno Heller (Rome, The Mentalist)

Main Cast:

Ben McKenzie…………………………………………..(James Gordon)

Donal Logue……………………………………………..(Harvey Bullock)

Jada Pinkett Smith…………………………………..(Fish Mooney)

Robin Lord Taylor……………………………………(Oswald Cobblepot)

John Doman……………………………………………..(Carmine Falcone)

Erin Richards……………………………………………(Barbara Kean)

Zabryna Guevara……………………………………..(Sarah Essen)

Camren Bicondova……………………………………(Selina Kyle)

Cory Michael Smith………………………………….(Edward Nygma)

Sean Pertwee……………………………………………(Alfred Pennyworth)

David Mazouz…………………………………………..(Bruce Wayne)

 

Recurring Cast:

Victoria Cartagena……………………………………(Renee Montoya)

Andrew Stewar-Jones………………………………(Crispus Allen)

Drew Powell……………………………………………..(Butch Gilzean)

J.W. Cortes……………………………………………….(Detective Alvarez)

Richard Kind…………………………………………….(Mayor Aubrey James)

Makenzie Leigh………………………………………..(Lisa)

Claire Foley………………………………………………(Ivy Pepper)

David Zayas……………………………………………..(Sal Maroni)

Carol Kane……………………………………………….(Gertrude Kapelput)

Nicholas D’Agosto…………………………………….(Harvey Dent)

 

Episode 1.01: “Pilot

Gordon Wayne Pilot

Written By: Bruno Heller

Directed By: Danny Cannon

Tonight, on Gotham… : James Gordon, Gotham PD’s newest detective, is partnered with grizzled veteran cop Harvey Bullock by their Captain, Sarah Essen. The city is rife with violence and corruption, which sickens Gordon, who has come back to his hometown to do his best to clean it up. Bullock, for his part, seems to be every bit the sort of “dirty” cop that Gordon is crusading against. Before either can object to their pairing, however, they’re assigned to the investigation of the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne, two titans of the Gotham business, political and social landscapes.

Bruce-Wayne-in-the-Gotham-TV-show

The case soon takes them through the Gotham City underworld where they encounter Fish Mooney, a ruthless lieutenant in the Falcone crime family. Eventually Mooney’s information leads Gordon and Bullock to corner their lead suspect, Mario Pepper, but Bullock is forced to kill him before Pepper can assault Gordon.

Back at the station, Gordon and Bullock are applauded as the heroes who solved the Wayne murders, although something isn’t sitting right with Gordon. Against Harvey’s objection, Gordon journeys to Wayne Manor to speak with Bruce Wayne–Thomas and Martha’s young son who is now in the care of the family butler, Alfred–so that he can tell Bruce that he screwed up; Mario Pepper wasn’t the guy who killed their parents.

Eventually, a witness to the killings comes forward. Street urchin Selina Kyle was there when the Waynes were murdered, and she may know who did it.

Meanwhile, Fish Mooney finds out that Gordon is still investigating what should be a closed case, and she dispatches a team to kill Gordon and Bullock. Before the hit goes down, however, Carmine Falcone finally makes an appearance and gives Gordon and Bullock a reprieve–provided that Gordon “plays ball.”

Previously, Fish had determined that none other than her little errand boy, Oswald Cobblepot, was the one who tipped Gordon off in the first place about Pepper not being the real killer, so Carmine orders Bullock to have Gordon execute Cobblepot. Gordon, realizing he has no choice, walks Cobblepot down to the edge of a pier with a gun to Cobblepot’s head. Cobblepot begs for his life and says that there’s a war coming to Gotham. He’s seen it coming for awhile now, and he can help avert it.

Gordon Cobblepot

When they arrive at the end of the pier, Gordon can only whisper one sentence to Cobblepot before he aims his gun: “Don’t come back to Gotham.”

Gordon pulls the trigger and fires–right NEXT to Cobblepot’s head. Cobblepot falls into the water and Bullock is now satisfied that Gordon’s “gotten his hands dirty” by murdering Cobblepot. Gordon can keep his life–and his job–for now.

In the very last scene, a startled fisherman could have sworn he just saw something move in the water. He looks to investigate, but finds nothing. Then he turns around and finds Cobblepot standing there with the fisherman’s own fillet knife. Before the fisherman can run, Cobblepot brutally slices his neck open.

Oswald

Reaction: There was a lot going on in the Pilot–arguably too much. Gordon is really kind of one-note so far, and Bullock is painfully over the top, to the point that Logue really looks uneasy in the role. That will change (mostly because Logue gets more comfortable as the writing gets better), but Bullock is tough to take seriously in these first few episodes.

Fish Mooney is the one major character (so far) that the writers have cooked up exclusively for the show (meaning she isn’t based on a comics counterpart), and the verdict is still out. I like the concept of her (although the name is awful–it would be more at home in a Dick Tracy comic than a Batman story); the fact that Jada Pinkett Smith (who I normally love) seems to be trying to channel Eartha Kitt with each of her line readings is really distracting. The writers clearly love her, because they put her in almost every scene. Still, the whole momentum of the show seems to grind to a halt.

The actors playing Alfred and Bruce are good, but it already seems like it’s going to be tough to shoehorn them into the story every week. Leaving the Waynes’ murder unsolved will give Gordon a reason to check in with them every now and then, but so far Pertwee seems almost wasted as Alfred. An episode or two detailing his backstory (which is quite adventurous, at least in the comics) and why he’s so devoted to the Wayne family would go a long way.

These sorts of problems are actually common for a pilot, as everyone–including the writers–is still sort of feeling their way around. But the biggest find in terms of the cast is Robin Lord Taylor. He’s the one actor on this show who had a clear idea of what he wanted to do with his character from the get go, and he really pops in every scene he’s in, whether it’s well written or not. The writers will grow to lean heavily on Cobblepot as the series goes on, and this is in no small part due to Taylor’s performance.

The one thing the show really has going for it is the cinematography. This show looks gorgeous. They got the feel and atmosphere just about dead on. If I lived in Gotham, this is what I’d expect to see when I looked around. I know some folks aren’t sold–they still have the hyper-realized production design from the Tim Burton movies fresh in their mind. But for my money, this aspect of the production was a home run.

Overall, Gotham’s first episode has a shaky foundation, but there are definitely some intriguing elements to build on.

Verdict: C-

 

And there ya go! Look for the full Episode Guide in January!

And now that you’ve seen the Ghost of Critical Missives’ Future, come back Christmas Eve night for a special Ninwashui-penned “Christmas Carol”-style look at Heroclix…

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How To Clinch The Central!! (Or, The Mid-Weekly Roundup for 09/28/2014!!)

Roundup

Howdy! It’s time for another edition of our patented Roundups! Why publish an update now, in the middle of the week? Well, a lot has happened in the last two weeks!

In the world of Michigan sports alone:

–Baseball’s regular season has finally ended, and the Tigers finished in first place in the AL Central. Finally! Here’s what the scene looked like in and around Comerica Park:

Noted baseball fans Barry Allen and Wally West run by the stadium wearing Tigers colors! (Not gonna lie, they were hard to capture on film!)

Noted baseball fans Barry Allen and Wally West run by the stadium wearing Tigers colors! (Barry was in the home whites; Wally was wearing the navy gear. And yes, that’s Ford Field–where the Lions play–right behind them. For any non-southeastern Michigan readers, the Lions and Tigers play right next to each other!)

 

Fans exiting the stadium. That's the Ren Cen in the skyline there.

Fans exiting the stadium. That’s the Ren Cen in the skyline there.

 

Folks ready to celebrate in downtown Detroit.

Folks ready to celebrate in downtown Detroit.

Now, here’s where it gets weird. After the Tigers beat Minnesota to clinch the division, two cops on horseback came out onto the grass near the fence in left-center field (by the bullpens.) There, they milled about for just two minutes or so, and then left. And that’s when I noticed something strange on the warning track:

photo (19)

Hmmm…” I thought, “That’s strange. Lemme see if I can zoom in a bit. That can’t be what I think it is... ”

"Oh yeah. That's what I thought it was."

Oh yeah. That’s what I thought it was.

Yep. An explosion of horsecrap right on the outfield dirt. Now our Warning Track needs a Warning Track.

–I bet the Twins felt crappy about losing.

–That horse was a real party pooper. (Okay, I’m done with the dookie puns now. Well… probably.)

–The Tigers will start their playoff run today in Baltimore at 5:37!

–Meanwhile, across the street, the Lions played Green Bay a couple weeks ago. They won the game, in large part because of their stellar defense. Lions middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch was so excited to get a sack in the first half that he just had to express himself:

"Somehow, this is still more manly than the Martin Grammatica celebratory knee explosion. At least Tulloch actually did something worth celebrating...

Yup! These are my Lions!

–Still, after a 3-1 start, I have to be optimistic, right? I mean, it’s not like this team has a long, tortured and RECENT history of collapsing during the latter half of the season, right?

Bah. Best not to think of such things. In fact, I think it’s high time we turned our attention to:

 

THE MID-WEEKLY UPDATE!!

 

Microphone

PODCASTS:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix is always new every week! Their latest episode included some spoilers for upcoming OP kits as well as a discussion of the second series of Yu-Gi-Oh! figures!

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

–The Quarry has released Episode 27, which covers the end of the ROC’s first season!!

Push to Regen

–In somewhat sad news, Push to Regen has announced on Reddit that they have released their final episode. Their Facebook page is still up, and still posting the occasional news item, but the show has reached its final destination.

"We're a Thing again!"

We’re a Thing again!”

–And, in tribute to Elton John and the Circle of Life (never thought I’d make an Elton John reference on this blog; I was, apparently, wrong), just as Push to Regen goes quietly into that dark night, ClixCast rises from the ashes after six months and publishes two new episodes! Welcome back, gentlemen.

 

Welcome... to the ROC!

–You can find the latest ROC tourney announcements right here!

 

Preview

–Keep your GotG Nebula, Rocket Raccoon Movie Chase, Star-Lord Movie Starter piece, Movie Rare Groot, Movie Rare Yondu and Batroc handy–we have another Pirate to add to your force! It’s Pirate Deathstroke, and he’s… weird. But in a good way. His mid-dial “Take Their Vessel” Special Movement power has to be the weirdest justification EVER for granting the use of Mind Control, but he also has a great top dial Damage Special called “Steal More Than Your Gold” that allows him to basically steal a standard power from an opposing figure within 6 squares. The best part is, you’re preventing that character from “using” that power, not countering that power, so it gets around Power Cosmic or Quintessence or any powers that “can’t be countered.” I’d like a little more Range than 6, but for 112 Points, he’s certainly unique.

–Want to know what to expect when OP Rogue is up for grabs at your local venue? Click here to find out!

 

Wizkids

–In case you missed it last time, we got some announcements about some upcoming sets!! We are getting an Avengers Assemble set with 25 never-before-Clix’d characters along with next year’s OP set: Age of Ultron!! Oh, and we’re getting an Age of Ultron Movie Set as well. In addition, it appears that BOTH sets will use Avengers ID cards (randomly inserted in boosters?) that will work with the Avengers Roundtable Resource. How this will all play out, I don’t know. But what I do know is that somewhere along the way (probably but not definitely as the main prize from Age of Ultron) we will finally get… a Quinjet! Yep, Marvel’s finally getting a vehicle (at least one that didn’t start as a figure like Warlock)!

Avengers Assemble should hit around May, and will be a normal 5-figure Booster set. Age of Ultron will come in two different waves of 5-Figure boosters. Wheeee!

You can find a link to the Alliance pictures HERE!!

 

Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

No Army of the Week this week, as we’re devoting a little extra time to debuting another new feature–Upcoming Local Games–at the bottom of this very article. Army of the Week will return next time, though!

 

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

–Gotham and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have premiered! After two episodes apiece, they appear to be  heading in opposite directions. This week, I’ll talk about Gotham. Next week, we’ll take a look at Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.!

Gotham Title

–Okay, I know this is a comic-book-based show, but the premiere and ESPECIALLY the second episode were really over the top. Not a great start. Ben McKenzie is fine as Jim Gordon, and I like his military backstory. But Donal Logue seems uncomfortable so far as Harvey Bullock (color me surprised–I would’ve thought he’d be brilliant), partially because every other scene has him spouting cartoonish exposition about how corrupt Gotham is and how Jim needs to get with the program. I think that’s what I dislike the most–Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock seem like characters from two different shows. And the abysmally named Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith). the other character with the most screen time through episode 2, seems bizarrely misconceived.

Why does Fish Mooney  have a character banner like audience's already know who she is? Whaaa... ?! And really, a tough as nails female gangster has no problem with folks calling her Fish? Really?!

Why does Fish Mooney have a character banner like audiences already know who she is? And really, a tough as nails female gangster has no problem with folks calling her Fish?!

The only other standout so far is the guy playing the Penguin as a young thug. He’s good, but since he’s rail-thin and dressed to the nines all the time, every time someone talks about how much he looks or walks like a penguin (which supposedly sets him off on a violent rage every time he hears it), you just wonder what the hell they’re talking about.

The acting was really bad in episode 2, which featured indie movie vets Lili Taylor and Frank Whaley as a couple of creepy kidnappers. The roles were so poorly executed that neither actor ever seemed comfortable, and the whole thing devolved into a giant mess by the end. The show is also already having trouble connecting Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth to the weekly stories. This episode, Alfred caught Bruce burning his own hand with a candle flame, so of course he did the natural thing and went to see Jim Gordon, that detective Alfred has only met twice and who admittedly botched up the Wayne’s murder investigation. Well, of course that’s the guy he would turn to for parenting help.

This is only Episode 2, so the fact that the creative team is already having these sorts of structural problems with the premise of the show doesn’t bode well for the future. Look, I love Batman and Catwoman, but it seems like things would go a lot smoother if Bruce, Alfred, Selina Kyle and the young girl from the pilot who may or may not turn into Poison Ivy were recurring characters who only showed up a few times a season, at most. Because, despite what the marketing campaign would have you believe, the show’s not actually about them!

Based on what we saw in the pilot, Gotham is about a young detective named Jim Gordon, who happens to be the one honest cop in the city of Gotham, and his rise to prominence in the world’s most corrupt city. That’s it–that’s the logline of the show. Paring down the main cast to Jim Gordon, Harvey Bullock, their boss (I’m sorry, I can’t even remember her name), Jim’s fiance Barbara and whatever mobsters/villains you want them going after during the arc of the first season would free up a lot of constraints that are currently weighing down the show.

"I take it back--the marketing clearly showed the four completely different stories that the show would be telling this season."

“I take it back–the marketing clearly showed the five completely different stories that the show would be telling this season.”

Now, on the bright side, they did find a way to include Selina Kyle a little more directly (although, God help me, if she tells one more adult to call her “Cat,” I might throw something at my TV. She’s gonna be Catwoman in another decadeWE F–KING GET IT!!), not just for this episode but for at least the next few.

I haven’t watched much of Arrow, but from what I understand that enterprise started a little shaky too; now it’s become CAN’T-MISS TV!! for a lot of folks. Perhaps Gotham will get there; for now, it remains a flawed undertaking.

 

Local Tournament Report

Upcoming Local Events:

Hello! Welcome to the latest feature for the Weekly Update–Upcoming Local Events!

This is the spot where we’ll post a few notices about upcoming games at venues in and around Southeastern Michigan, where Critical Missives is based. If any venue would like us to announce an upcoming event anywhere in the country, you can hit us up on Twitter or let us know via feedback to this very post!

–Today @ 6pm, Big Ben’s Comix Oasis in Allen Park, MI will host some Free-For-All battles, 400 Points Modern Age–only single-based figures will be allowed. “Shock the Turtle” Battlefield conditions will be in effect.

–Comic City in Pontiac, MI also has a Zombie Team Base going to the winner of tonight’s game! Looks like the Build is a massive 1550?! Wow–gonna be some carnage tonight!

–Thursday night Clix is also happening at Comic City’s Canton location tonight! 300 Points, Modern Age.

–Fun 4 All Comics & Games in Ypsilanti (tonight!), The Amazing Book Store in Flint (Saturday the 4th), Warriors 3 Comics & Games in Wayne (Saturday the 4th), Comic Relief in Flint (Saturday the 4th) and Eternal Games in Warren (Sunday the 5th) are ALL running WoL Month 5 Events this week!

More updates to come next week!

And don’t forget that my local venue also has something cooking in a couple weeks:

–On Wednesday, October 15th @6:15pm, Comics & More in Madison Heights, MI will have some Zombie Team Bases from the GOTG OP kit up for grabs! The Build is 300 Points, and Colossals, Team Bases, Entities, Relics & Resources will ALL be allowed!

 

Wait--it's already listing this post!! Huh?! Whaa?! Must be magic!!

Critical Missives:

–Our Top Ten Set Reviews for Guardians of the Galaxy have dropped! To read HypeFox’s take, click here! To check out Ninwashui’s rebuttal, go here!

And that’s all for now! Whew! Long one this week. Keep an eye out for us this week! We’ll have a Local Tourney Report for WOL Month 4 coming soon, as well as an article devoted to Copycat and some of the issues she’s created!

Until then, stay safe, and watch where you draw those lines of fire!