Monthly archives: September, 2019

Monday Night Raw 2019-2020 “Season Premiere” – Live Thoughts

I will refresh this blog throughout the night.

Full disclosure — I stopped watching Raw probably around the time of Blood Money II, so I couldn’t tell you if this intro was new or not. But the stage and set definitely look new, and I read enough clickbait news sites to know that the pyro is back!

And those are completely new announcers (or in Lawler’s case, old)! I’m very much looking forward to an episode of Raw that doesn’t include Michael Cole or Corey Graves.

I thought they said they were going to start with the Universal Title match, but Rey doesn’t look dressed to compete.

I like that they’re promoting matches to come later tonight. It’s so basic, but they’ve done so little in recent years to acknowledge the power of treating matches like they matter.

Poor Rey — they never e-e-e-ever let Rey Mysterio finish a promo without getting interrupted.

Totally misread Lesnar’s t-shirt as saying “Supper City.” Mmmm.


Non-Doomino Effect: The Immortal Hulk #18-23

Because of work trips and other general busyness, I fell behind on virtually every comics series I was buying, which then impeded my ability to get back on a weekly schedule. These Non-Doomino Effect entries will be an attempt to chip away at the stack so I can get back to the normal routine. Today, it’s The Immortal Hulk #18-23.

I don’t think I’ve been a regular Hulk reader since the Peter David / Dale Keown days in the early ’90s. I bought World War Hulk but that was a miniseries. I started picking up The Immortal Hulk when the hype became too much to ignore, and I probably had a slow week or something and decided it was time to try something new.

This series is really disturbing and unnerving, but it is fantastic. Also the art is really bad, which only adds to the sense that you’re reading something that is getting away with something. Sometimes I wonder if I would like it more if it had someone with a style like Mark Texeira or Bernie Wrightson illustrating it. But then on the other hand, I think the back-bencher art style somehow enhances the atmosphere of the book.

It feels dirty. It feels like some under-the-radar publisher is releasing a bootleg Hulk series that Marvel clearly must not know about. It’s so good. As the new issues have been coming out to the shop, I’ve been catching up on the old issues in this title on Marvel Unlimited (at the time of writing this, Marvel Unlimited is up to #10 while I started reading the hard copies at #18).

Sometimes you’ll feel sort of gross after reading an issue, but I highly recommend this series. One of my favorites.

Non-Doomino Effect: Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1-2 and The Batman Who Laughs #4-7

Because of work trips and other general busyness, I fell behind on virtually every comics series I was buying, which then impeded my ability to get back on a weekly schedule. These Non-Doomino Effect entries will be an attempt to chip away at the stack so I can get back to the normal routine. Today, it’s Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1-2 and The Batman Who Laughs #4-7.

Scott Snyder’s run on Batman from The New 52 was one of my favorite runs of all time. I loved the horror element he brought to the book, and both of these series have been fantastic.

Batman: Last Knight on Earth reunites him with Greg Capullo, who is great, but still — for whatever reason — seems content being a blatant Todd MacFarlane rip-off. This series is so far probably best described as a Batman take on Old Man Logan. Society has collapsed, the bad guys have won, there are all sorts of spectacles to express the extent of the damage (such as the hills they’re walking on being the cloak of the fallen Spectre) and it’s up to Batman to save the day.

As I mentioned with DCeased, I usually don’t care for Elseworlds / What If stories, but this is done well enough that I’m digging it and very much looking forward to the final issue (I think it’s just three issues, anyway). This would probably be perfect if not for the JRJr cover.

Speaking of people wounded by the cruel laughter of others, that leads me to The Batman Who Laughs #4-7. I was keeping up on this series before my summer derailed me, and I was totally digging it, but the story was dense and twisty enough — and Jock’s art is often ambiguous enough — that I frequently kept putting the later issues aside because I felt like I didn’t have the attention or patience to dedicate to them.

I’m glad I finally sat down and finished this series, though. I wasn’t a huge fan of Metal, even though I admired its attempts to tie together a lot of threads from throughout the years. So even though this was a Scott Snyder book, I didn’t have a lot of emotional buy-in to this, given that The Batman Who Laughs came from that event.

Ultimately that didn’t matter much, though, because this series really just boils down to being a Batman vs. The Joker story, with the added bonus of being a Batman vs. Batman story. Other than a few cameos from the weirdly immortal-or-whatever Joker (another thing I didn’t really care for from Snyder’s Batman run), this felt like an otherwise straightforward (in a good way) cat-and-mouse Batman story. Solid stuff.

BONUS FOOTNOTE: I had seen all the “Year of the Villain” stuff with the Batman Who Laughs all over it, and therefore thought “This series probably won’t have a satisfying ending if the Batman Who Laughs is still out and about” but I was wrong! I felt like this series ended just fine — it was just the pivot out of this series that was lame.

I picked up Batman/Superman #1 a few weeks ago, which spun out of this series and picked up the fight against The Batman Who Laughs; I figured that new series must include an intriguing story of how The Batman Who Laughs escapes and launches his new evil plot!


Even though (SPOILERS) The Batman Who Laughs #7 ends with The Batman Who Laughs captured and securely imprisoned, and then plugs that the story continues in Batman/Superman #1, he’s just out on the loose in that issue, with no mention of how that happened. Lame. I have no intention of continuing with that series.

AEW All Out – live thoughts

I’m catching this show a day late and have so far avoided almost all commentary of any kind and all substantive spoilers. Here’s a repeatedly updated post as I make my way through it.

  • The opening promo package was well-produced, but it’s discouraging to hear this screamy rage-rock soundtrack. It’s one of the elements that WWE seems to have permanently anchored to 1998, and an area where AEW could’ve immediately differentiated themselves.
  • First match is SCU vs Jurassic Express. I love Luchasaurus but I don’t like people (and promotions) having to pretend a guy is really a dinosaur. The camera shakes, SCU selling fright — that’s kind of lame. Why can’t he just be a real guy dressed as a dinosaur?
  • There’s something about the production of AEW’s hard camera that makes it look like there’s a light haze in the arena, which really reminds me of WCW.
  • I would go easy on the commentary saying SCU has a combined 64 years of experience. To me that falls on the wrong side of the “celebrating a career” vs “these guys are old” line.
  • Surprised they’re going to Omega-PAC so early in the show.
  • Another thing AEW needs to fix is the quality of their music going to the audio feed. It sounds like we’re just getting the audio from the arena sometimes, and not well-mic’ed at that. It makes the experience of watching on TV so much less immersive. WWE does a great job of mixing the entrance themes well so that you hear them in full quality.
  • Great match between PAC and Omega, even with some botched spots. They’re both big enough pros to cover for those mistakes. Kind of surprised by the finish; at some point they’re going to need to protect Omega, and hopefully that’s soon.
  • Darby Allin looks like he didn’t finish his makeup before the match.
  • This three-way garbage match is embarrassing. They’re spending all this time on this awful chair-tape-tacks scene and nothing is really going right. Allin and Janella both appear to have never used tape before. Havoc kept his thumbtack-filled mouth taped shut for like 10 minutes until he needed the opportunity to spit tacks.
  • Ok, so I wonder if maybe I’ve just never watched good garbage matches; I actually ended up finding myself enjoying that and getting into the finish. In spite of that, I would still rather never see another of these matches ever.
  • (more…)