Review: The X Files Annual 2014

 

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Publisher: IDW (2014)
Written by: Frank Spotnitz, Gabe Rotter, Shannon Eric Denton and Dave Sim.
Artwork by: Stuart Sayger and Andrew Currie.
Review: Kate

The X Files Annual has been highly anticipated by fans across the globe as it sees the return of series writer/producer Frank Spotnitz with an untold story from Mulder and Scully’s first time in the FBI.

The Priest written by Frank Spotnitz, Gabe Rotter and Shannon Eric Denton.

“When a man returns from the dead with a warning for his wife, the agents investigate and cross paths with a very peculiar priest.”

I loved this story, it was simple, engaging and everything you would expect from classic X Files. The story captures the spirit of the early seasons and is perfectly creepy in that way that fans of the show will love. Mulder and Scully were written true to character, which is no surprise with Spotnitz being one of the best writers from the television series. 

The biggest let down for me was the artwork. At times it drew me out of the story, as the expressions on the characters did not match what the dialogue was trying to convey. Mulder and Scully (especially Scully) were barely recognizable at times. Scully’s hair had been drawn so short, she reminded me of Det. Angela White from the S3 episode Syzygy.

One thing I did like about the artwork was the darker colouring of the comic which gave it that spooky X Files feel.

The second story, Talk To The Hand by Dave Sim finds Scully in the midst of a dream, having conversation with a grotesque hand covered in eyeballs. This is supposedly a dream she’s had many times before, with the monster-like hand claiming to be her high-school sweetheart Adam. “Adam” gives her a choice, when she wakes up she’ll continue working as an FBI Agent or have a perfect life with him.

I have to admit, its a strange story and I believe one I could wrap my head around better if I was more familiar with its creator. However I think the charm of the story lies in its quirkiness. You know the choice Scully is going to make but there is always that question of the life she could have had, if she just got out of the damn car.

Overall “The Priest” is a great addition to the X Files comics if it weren’t for the artwork. And “Talk To The Hand” was weird enough in way that I’m still thinking about it.

The X Files Annual is a must for any fans collection.

Review: The X-Files Vol. 1: The Agents, The Bureau and The Syndicate (Titan Comics)

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Publisher: Titan Comics
Release Date: January 12, 2016
Review: Kate
To celebrate the return of the hugely popular sci-fi TV series, Titan Comics shine a light on The X-Files once more in this essential new collection commemorating the iconic TV show. (Features content previously published in the official X-Files Magazine.)

The Official X-Files Magazine, published by Titan since 1996, was a much sought after item in my house back in the day. It was a tricky thing to get at my local newsagents and my collection ended up in dribs and drabs.

So I was excited to hear of Titans first new X-Files book, The Agents, The Bureau and The Syndicate. An amalgamation of interviews and articles from said magazines, it was enough to make my little X-Phile heart leap with joy.

This first volume features interviews with Chris Carter, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, William B. Davis and Nicholas Lea, just to name a few. Theres a profile for the character each the actor played and some articles on the impact the show had.

While its taken me some time to get through all the articles – and I’m still reading – its interesting to take a step back in time and read the attitudes and reactions of those on the show was when each interview was documented.

There’s also some fun stuff such as a guide to Mulder and Scully’s apartments – in case you ever want to go retro and copy their decorating tastes. Perhaps my favourite thing are the guides to being the next Mulder or Scully with great tips like have a close relationship with your partner – if you ask Chris Carter, its only platonic, right?

With some great quotes, gorgeous photos through out the book and more nostalgia than you can poke a stick at, it makes it a must-have for X-Philes old and new.

TV Review: Glitch on ABC

Glitch starring Patrick Brammall on ABC TV
Glitch starring Patrick Brammall on ABC TV

When the TV landscape has been so recently littered with shows about people coming back from the dead, its hard to imagine adding another to the mix and it being able to stand out from the crowd. However, giving an Aussie take on the paranormal drama, Glitch may well be that show.

Set in the fictional town of Yoorana (with a beautiful back drop of Australian landscape), Glitch tells the story of what happens when six residents return from the dead. While not zombies, they are actually in perfect health, except with no memory of who they are.

The shows main focus is on James (Patrick Brammall), Yoorana’s local cop. He is reuinted with his wife Kate, the most recent of the deceased. However, each of the former residents, all from different periods of time, have interesting stories to tell, once they start remembering.

Their present is obviously as much of a puzzle to anyone. Why are they back? How did they return? These questions are not easily solved, but it does make Glitch a thought provoking drama, with enough paranomal mystery to hold your attention.

Patrick Brammall is fantastic in this production and is joined by an equally great cast such as Rodger Corser and Andrew McFarlane. It was these names which initally drew me to the show, but I couldn’t have been happier to discover an all over strong cast, bringing their characters to life (pun not intented).

Glitch airs on ABC Thursdays at 8:30pm, but if you’re like me and can’t wait that long, the entire series can be viewed on ABC iview right now. Check it out here.

https://youtu.be/swBhgvAAOnA

Review: Doctor Who 9th Doctor #1 (Titan Comics)

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Publisher: Titan Comics
Writen by: Cavan Scott
Artwork by: Blair Shedd
Release Date: April 1, 2015
Review: Kate @ All That Geek

The Ninth Doctor is back with a brand-new miniseries: Weapons of Past Destruction!

Leaving World War II behind, The Ninth Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack discover that Time Lord technology, lost in the wake of the Time War, is being sold on the intergalactic black market!

Now the threat of a new temporal war brews on the horizon. Can the Doctor stop history repeating itself?

When Titan announced their new Doctor Who comics, I was hopeful for a 9th Doctor series. After all, he’s the one who got me into the series this time around and he is my favourite of the ‘new’ Doctors. I couldn’t have been more excited when it was announced we were getting a five part mini series, not only with the Doctor and Rose, but Captain Jack rounding off Team TARDIS. The comic fits in nicely with the series as its clear when Mickey meets up with the trio in Cardiff that they’ve had many adventures together. The possibilities are endless. Perhaps the most interesting thing for me, is that this comic series sees The Doctor traveling with a very human, very mortal, pre-Torchwood Captain Jack. Its something we have rarely seen outside of the 9th Doctor series and something I want to see more of.

Issue one of this five part series plays out like the opening of an episode. Well paced action and exchanges between the characters as you would have seen on the TV show. Writer Cavan Scott has captured the voices excellently.

The Doctor is taking Jack and Rose to the planet Excroth, only when the TARDIS lands, he discovers the world is nothing more than rubble. While the Doctor is trying to figure out what happened to the planet, the TARDIS gets pulled aboard a ship that appears in space. There they discover to warring factions which they try to escape from with potentially devastating consequences. My only complaint is lumping Rose in the ‘damsel in distress’ role, its not all a female companion is there for. That being said, its a minor thing, something has to move the story along, right?

The artwork by Blair Shedd is absolutely fantastic, the likeness of our three heroes is spot on, easily the best I’ve seen in all of Titan’s Doctor Who comics so far. The attention to detail in each panel is phenomenal, with wonderful colouring to set the tone.

If you’re a fan of the 9th Doctor, you wont be disappointed by this first installment. Check out Titan Comics for more information.

Review: Doctor Who 10th Doctor #6 (Titan Comics)

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Publisher: Titan Comics
Written by: Robbie Morrison
Artwork by: Daniel Indro
Release Date: January 14th 2015
Review: Kate @ All That Geek.

 

STONE HANDS STALK THROUGH THE CRATERS OF THE SOMME…

When Gabby and the Doctor arrive by accident in No Man’s Land in July, 1916, they’re met by Corporal Jamie Colqhoun – a soldier who knows from bitter experience that there are worse things than the Jerries out in the rat-strewn trenches.

Things that drift through the smoke of a thousand cannon shells, and move only when you look away. Shadows that flit over artillery-blasted field hospitals and throw their terrifying wings over the living. Statues that steal your life in an instant.

The Weeping Angels.

But in a conflict where the life of young men is cheap, and thousands die every day – are the Angels actually offering salvation?

Trapped in the midst of a flock of starving Angels, the Doctor faces his most challenging and terrifying moral dilemma yet!

 

A new team comes on board for a lacklustre issue #6 of Titan’s 10th Doctor Comic series.

Perhaps I already had subconscously built a bias against a weeping angel storyline, as I find them one of the most uninspiring monsters of the Who franchise and ‘Blink’ is my least favourite episode of the 10th Doctor series.

However, I did put those notions aside and approached the comic with an open mind. I hoped that with the unlimited creative opportunities a comic provides, there could be something interesting written for these tedious monsters. Sadly, Robbie Morrison’s WWI setting failed to maintain my interest and he didn’t capture the 10th Doctor’s voice quite the same way previous writer Nick Abadzis did.

There is a lot of focus on the soldiers in the story and very little time on the Doctor which aided my disinterest for this issue.

While the artwork by Daniel Indro is wonderful, detailed, and the Doctor easily identifiable, perhaps there is such a thing as too much detail. The harsh lines on the Doctor’s face give him an angry expression in most of the panels and he appears to have much better muscle tone than David Tennant could ever hope for.

I’ll go into issue #7 again with an open mind in the hopes the storyline becomes more interesting, but at this stage, I don’t feel too hopeful.

I was unable to obtain a physical copy of this issue through any comic store as it was apparently placed on back order before it even came out, as much as I want to collect all in the series, I cant say I’m all that disappointed. Its a definite buy if you’d like to collect all the issues, but I don’t recommend you start your 10th Doctor comic journey here.

Check out the previews after the cut and then purchase your copy of the comic.

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Musical Review: Simon Burke & Todd McKenney shine in La Cage Aux Folles

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The Production Company presents: La Cage Aux Folles
Starring: Todd McKenney, Simon Burke, Rhonda Burchmore, Gary Sweet, Marg Downey.
Director: Dean Bryant
Choreographer: Andrew Hallsworth
Music & Lyrics by: Jerry Herman
Review: Kate @ All That Geek

The anticipation of seeing La Cage Aux Folles had been six months in the making for me. From booking my ticket in May to finally making the trip from Sydney down to Melbourne in November. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the show, I knew a little about the story but I was excited anyway. I knew that one of my favourite performers John Barrowman had been in the 2009 London production with Simon Burke and that he (Burke) was reprising his role of Georges.

It turned out La Cage Aux Folles was everything I could have hoped for and more. It was funny, silly, heart-warming and moving. With themes about family, individuality and acceptance that are just as relevant now as they were when the show debuted on Broadway in 1983.

Simon Burke stars as Georges, the charismatic St. Tropez nightclub owner and long time partner of Albin, played wonderfully by Todd McKenney. Albin is also the clubs headline act, the renowned drag lacage1queen Zaza. The story centres on Georges and Albin’s colourful world as it becomes unravelled when Georges’ son, Jean-Michael, announces he’s marrying the daughter of a right-wing politician and he’s bringing his future in-laws to meet the family.

This was my first introduction to Simon Burke as a singer; I’m ashamed to admit my knowledge of his career was limited to a handful of TV roles and growing up watching him on Playschool. It was a delight to discover his amazing, and vastly underrated vocal talent as Georges sang his way through the romantic Song On The Sand and the poignant Look Over There. Burke shines as the charming Georges, a man torn between keeping both his son and husband happy.

lacage2Todd McKenney is easily my favourite Australian performer and I was sure he would do something amazing with Albin/Zaza. He effortlessly brings comedy and heart to the role – Albin is dramatic and sensitive where Zaza is sassy and sexy.  There is no doubt that one of the highlights of the show is watching McKenney powering around on stage in platinum wigs, sparkly dresses, and heels singing the title song or interacting with the crowd.

Act I closes with Zaza singing an empowering rendition of I Am What I Am while Georges stands sadly off to the side. It’s the most famous song from the show and has become a gay anthem over the years. For me, it was great to finally see the song in the context of the show – when Albin discovers he’s being excluded from meeting his son’s future in-laws.

There is no doubt that the musical numbers drive the show, but its Georges and Albin’s relationship which is the heart of the musical. From the reprise of Song On The Sand to With You On My Arm, the love between the two characters is real and the affection is deep. Their relationship is layered with nostalgia and bickering like any old married couple. Burke and McKenney have easy on-stage chemistry which only aids in the realism of the partnership. I’m not sure I could imagine any other performers in the roles.

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Masculinity is another number which was a highlight for me. Georges devises a plan to present Albin as Jean-Michael’s ‘Uncle Al’ and tries to teach him to be more butch. The comedy and improvised banter between Burke and McKenney is a credit to their talents. And I must add that I will never look at a croissant quite the same way again.

The supporting acts are also fabulous, with Les Cagelles, the chorus of gorgeous, glamorous drag queens commanding attention from the audience with their skimpy outfits and thought provoking musical numbers. Rhonda Burchmore plays restaurant owner Jacqueline who we simply don’t see enough of and Aljin Abella gives a stand-out performance as Jacob, Albin and Georges’ maid/butler who steals every scene he’s in. Gary Sweet plays the homophobic politician with Marg Downey as his wife. While both are favourites of mine and are great in their dual roles (also playing the cafe owners) I would have to say they are the weakest additions to the cast.

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La Cage Aux Folles is a touching story with wonderful performances and fabulous cast. It’s on stage until December 7th at The Playhouse at Melbourne’s Art Centre and is not to be missed.

Book your tickets online through The Arts Centre Melbourne but hurry, they’re selling fast!

On a more personal note, after the show I hung around the stage door in the hopes of catching the stars. I was lucky enough to see Todd McKenney who is always a pleasure to chat to and every time I’ve met him happily takes the time to talk and sign programs. So thank you Todd!

Music Review: Matthew Garwood – The Tattooed Tenor

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Artist: Matthew Garwood
Album: The Tattooed Tenor
Record label: Decca Records

So often do we see talented performers appear on reality singing contests who wow us with their amazing voices and then disappear into obscurity. I am thankful this has not happened to Matthew Garwood. His is a voice that needs to be heard.

With a background that started in school choirs and heavy metal bands, Matthew Garwood has also been classically trained and is no stranger to musical theatre. He has had notable roles in such shows as Phantom of the Opera and Legally Blonde.

His debut album is a collection of classic ballads such as Hallelujah and Smile to more modern hits like All By Myself and I Will Always Love You. There are also musical theatre favourites such as Stars and the song that he performed to earn a place on Ricky Martins ‘The Voice’ team; All I ask Of You from Phantom of the Opera, sung with New Zealand soprano Toni Gibson.

Putting his own style and amazing voice to songs we’re familar with, there were some great surprises for me on the album.

Perhaps one of the most covered songs by ‘Easy Listening’ artists is You Raise Me Up, but for me, Garwood’s is the best version I’ve heard since the song was popularised by Josh Groban.

Another stand out is This Is The Moment from the musical Jekyll & Hyde. Its a song I loathe to hear artists interpret because none of them have been able to replicate the vocal acting of Anthony Warlow from the concept cast recording. However, now I have a new favourite version. Garwood’s powerful voice really captures the emotions of the song where other artists have fallen flat.

Hallelujah and Amazing Grace are two songs that have always had little appeal to me, but perhaps the biggest compliment I can give is that I haven’t skipped listening to either of them after my first run through of the album (and I’ve had it on repeat since I purchased it yesterday).

The albums rounds off with two ‘bonus’ Christmas tracks which makes it a perfect gift for music lovers this Christmas.

Inside the case, the CD itself features the elaborate and colourful tattoos that cover Garwood’s chest and arm. Its unique and fits his motto of dont judge a book by its cover.

Where ever Matthew Garwoods career is headed, I’m sure this is not the only CD release we’ll see from this fantastic artist. With a beautiful voice that’s clearly made for musical theatre, I also hope there will be more leading-man roles will be in his future.

The CD is a must have for anyone’s collection.

Like: Matthew Garwood Official
Follow: @GarwoodMatthew
Website: MatthewGarwood.com.au
Buy: iTunes or GetMusic

Review: Doctor Who Tenth Doctor #4 (Titan Comics)

The Tenth Doctor #4 Cover A (Verity Glass)

Publisher: Titan Comics
Written by: Nick Abadzis
Artwork by: Elana Casagrande
Review: Kate @ All That Geek.

In exchange for the invaluable assistance she offered defending New York – and to say sorry for dropping into her life like a tornado! – the Doctor has promised Gabby one trip – just one trip! – in the TARDIS.

With the whole universe laid before her, all of time and space, where will Gabriella Gonzalez choose to go? What will they find when they get there… and can one trip in the TARDIS ever be enough?

More importantly, the Tenth Doctor has been hurt by the fate of his companions before – and recently! With Donna still fresh in his mind, can Gabby convince him that he shouldn’t travel alone, for just a little while longer?

 

Nick Abadzis embarks on a different kind of storytelling for issue #4 of Titans new adventures with the Tenth Doctor. Much of the issue is told through a letter from Gabby to her friend. The normal comic panels are integrated with wonderful sketches (from her sketchbook) and Gabby’s thoughts along side them. Its a fun, creative way to tell the story and I really loved the style.

The story itself is very entertaining and I would go as far as saying I enjoyed it more than the previous arc. The Doctor takes Gabby to an alien art gallery, with some amazing pieces to see. Of course, being a Doctor Who adventure, its not without its mystery and monsters. The story moves along at a good pace and is quite interesting.

I didn’t expect I would like a comic companion as much as the TV counterparts, but Gabby is wonderful. Abadzis has written her with the same bravery and humanity as any of the on-screen favourites. He also continues to capture the 10th Doctor’s voice perfectly.

The artwork continues to be fantastic, with special mention to the wonderful drawings from Gabby’s sketch book. I hope the style of art and storytelling continues throughout the arc otherwise it may feel a little strange going back to a ‘regular’ comic on the next issue.

Be sure to check out the preview below, including the wonderful cover variations and then purchase The Tenth Doctor #4 From Titan Comics or at your local comic book store.

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Review: Sally of the Wasteland #4 (Titan Comics)

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Publisher: Titan Comics
Written by: Victor Gischler
Artwork by: Tazio Bettin
Review: Kate @ All That Geek.

Victor Gischler (X-Men, Angel & Faith, Noir) and Tazio Bettin’s trigger-happy heroine reaches the climax of her post-apocalyptic pursuit in this epic penultimate issue.

New Orleans ain’t what it used to be… Long gone are the jazz bands, boutiques and Mardi Gras mayhem, leaving only rubble and mutants in their wake. With their goal in sight, Sally and her crew are gonna need a little more than luck if they’re hoping to navigate the city in one piece. Better get those guns loaded, ladies!

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Review: Sally Of The Wasteland #3 (Titan Comics)

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Publisher: Titan Comics
Written by: Victor Gischler
Artwork by: Tazio Bettin
Review: Kate @ All That Geek.

Southern Louisiana, 82 years after the Fall. The apocalypse has come and gone, leaving behind a withered, ravaged landscape of wreckage and mutant crawfish. Still, you gotta laugh, and Sally does, often using her beloved shotgun, Bertha, as the punchline!

Inspired more by lust than common sense, and by a teenage desire to protect Tommy, the object of her desires, Sally leaves her bar job and joins the deranged crew of the Mississippi Duchess on a mission into the remains of New Orleans.

Saving the remains of civilisation plays second best to keeping her sweetheart safe as our smart and sexy princess of the wild frontier runs a gauntlet of gigantic genetic freaks and roving gangs of blood-hungry barbarians!

I expected Sally of the Wasteland to be far from my tastes of reading material – given that the style of the comic which was not overly appealing to me. With gratuitous nudity and scantily-clad women drawn in unrealistic proportions, I wasn’t expecting a lot, but this comic surprised me.

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