Fisk Is Kingpin and Karen’s Past: DAREDEVIL Episode Breakdowns: 9/10

Fisk Is Kingpin and Karen’s Past: DAREDEVIL Episode Breakdowns: 9/10

DAREDEVIL Season 3 is currently streaming on Netflix! Here’s out DAREDEVIL episode breakdowns for episodes 9-10. What is Fisk’s master plan? Why did Karen move to New York?

DAREDEVIL Episode Breakdowns: Episode 9

Episode 9 starts with Matt confronting Father Lantom about his mother. He’s angry about him keeping the truth for his whole life. He let Matt believe that he was alone. He chose to hide the one thing that would’ve changed everything for him. Lantom says that Maggie is flawed and tortured. She’s worked her whole life to make amends.

We get a flashback of young Maggie going to a boxing match and meeting Jack. They fall in love and have Matt. In the aftermath, Maggie sits, unmoving and paralyzed, not helping her crying baby. Eventually, Maggie goes back to the church leaving Jack and Matt. Matt says he’s stupid as the truth was right in front of him. They’ve talked his whole life about truth. His truth and God’s truth. All their conversations were a lie in Matt’s eyes. Shame on you, he tells Lantom.

DAREDEVIL Episode Breakdowns
Image from Netflix/Marvel

Nadeem goes to Hattley’s house with Special Agent Winn. Winn starts a recording and Nadeem reports all that he knows about Dex attacking the Bulletin, and the conspiracy of Fisk making the FBI his unwitting accomplice. He shows them his wound from Dex as further proof. Nadeem wants a full investigation and wants it to be known that it was all on his watch, taking full responsibility.

Suddenly, Hattley shoots Winn in the head, screams for Nadeem to put the gun down, and then stops the tape. Felix arrives and tells Nadeem that they have his prints, his gun, and the recording. The perfect blackmail. Hattley asks him if he understands what that means. He tells his boss yes. She says that she’s not his boss anymore. It’s Fisk.

DAREDEVIL Episode Breakdowns: Karen on the Run

Foggy tells Karen that she should go public to make herself a more difficult target for Fisk like he has. She tells him it won’t work and goes on the run. Lantom tells Maggie that Matt now knows about her. She runs to the basement and finds the cross necklace she gave him. He’s gone. Matt goes to Fogwell’s gym. His father is in his head. Matt tells him that the knowledge of his mother doesn’t change a thing.

Nadeem is at home when his wife tells him he has a visitor. It’s Dex. They go outside and Dex tells Nadeem that Fisk wants to know where Daredevil is. He tells Nadeem that they’re spending the day together. Foggy refuses to run like Karen. Marci shows him that a video of his confrontation with Tower has gone viral with several cops posting it to their social media pages. Foggy might actually win the campaign with his top priority being to bring Fisk down.

DAREDEVIL Episode Breakdowns: Matt Decides to Kill Fisk

Nadeem calls Matt that Fisk is up to something. He’s setting him up for a trap. Inner Jack tells Matt that the way he found out about Maggie was poor. Matt says that they both lied and left him. Inner Jack says he never left. After an intense argument with his father, Matt decides to abandon the principles he once had. He decides to kill Fisk.

Karen goes to Maggie, hoping to find Matt. Maggie tells Karen that Matt learned the truth about her. She tells Karen that she was a danger to Matt as a baby, as she had postpartum depression. She was convinced that she was betraying God and told herself that the truth would do more harm than good. In reality, she was just scared. The Lord is showing her what’s become of her sin. Matt knows who she is and won’t be coming back. She tells Karen that he’ll need a friend. Karen can’t stay but wanted to warn him about Fisk. Maggie offers to help her run and hide from Fisk.

DAREDEVIL Episode Breakdowns: The Kingpin

Foggy visits with his family. His brother tells he has to take all that he said to Tower back. He tells them about their suppliers leaving suddenly, then Red Lion offering a loan and helping to fudge numbers. Then the suppliers came back. Fisk got to Foggy’s family. If Foggy doesn’t walk back his words against Fisk, the bank pulls the loan and his brother and parents go to jail.

Nadeem goes into a conference room with Hattley, Dex, and several other agents, all of whom Fisk controls. Dex says they don’t call him Fisk here. They go by his codename: Kingpin. This marks the first time Fisk has gone by his moniker from the comics. Fisk has ordered several FBI raids on several criminals leaders, and Nadeem participates.

Nadeem goes with Hattley to the Hotel. As they take the elevator, he tries to convince her to help him take Fisk on. She tells him that Fisk has had Nadeem marked for a year, being the reason his sister lost her health coverage, making him desperate for a promotion and to subsequently give Fisk everything he wanted. Hattley says she lost a child trying to fight back. They meet Fisk in his secret room. They take off his monitor and the leave the hotel in a car, Dex at the wheel. Nadeem calls Matt and gives him an address for where Fisk is going to be. Fisk says he’ll know it’s a trap but will come anyway.

DAREDEVIL Episode Breakdowns: Kingpin Makes His Offer

Inner Jack asks him if it’s a trap. Matt says it doesn’t matter. He wraps Muay Thai ropes around his fists and arms to do more damage on Dex. Inner Jack says that Maggie left him too because they’re both cursed with the Devil inside. Inner Jack tells him to be honest. The mask makes him feel better about who he is. Inner Jack becomes Inner Fisk. The mask makes him believe he’s doing something good for God but it’s not the truth. A corrupt boxer enjoying the infliction of pain on himself and others, and the son trying to convince himself he’s more than that. Matt turns around and mentally kills Inner Fisk.

DAREDEVIL Episode Breakdowns
Image from Netflix/Marvel

All of the criminal leaders the FBI raided have been gathered in a restaurant around a table. Fisk arrives and offers them the opportunity of protection from investigations, prosecutions, and the federal government. In exchange, he wants 20% of everything they bring in. One of them disagrees and scoffs. Dex instantly kills him with a baton to the head, stepping forward as Daredevil. Fisk says the price is now 25%. They agree.

Meanwhile, Matt is sneaking through, dispatching guards as he goes. He goes into a room and shuts off the lights.  However, he’s not at the restaurant. Fisk is angered that Matt didn’t show and they gather to go back to the Hotel. Matt is already there, now in Fisk’s secret room. Shelby tells him that he’ll be back in mere minutes. Then Matt hears on a monitor that Fisk’s men are onto Karen at the church. Shelby tells Matt that Fisk wants her dead.

DAREDEVIL Episode Breakdowns: Episode 9 Pros and Cons

A definite pro for this episode is the way in which Matt processes the knowledge that Maggie is his mother. His mind manifests his late father and their interaction is intense to watch.

Matt tells him he didn’t throw the fight as he should have. He chose his ego over a life with his son. Inner Jack says it’s about a man having a code, and that Matt does that same thing. He has a code too. Not anymore, says Matt. He doesn’t throw fights and he doesn’t let others suffer. Not anymore. When he gets to Fisk…he’s gonna kill him.

Matt’s decision to kill Fisk is now largely motivated by his anger towards his parents. He’s not going to hold back if it means other might be hurt, just like his parents held back the truth and hurt him. Another pro was undoubtedly Nadeem’s realization of how much power and control Fisk has, and learning that those under his influence refer to him as Kingpin. So epic and so awesome. I got chills.

I will say that a con for this episode is the fact that I would’ve liked to see more conflict in Foggy now that he has the knowledge that Fisk is going after his family. It’s almost as if his brother tells him what’s happening and Foggy just receives it, without pausing to consider what he should do. Perhaps that comes later, but it seems like odd that we don’t see that conflict at the moment.

DAREDEVIL Episode Breakdowns: Episode 10

Episode 10 of our DAREDEVIL episode breakdowns is primarily a flashback episode for Karen and her time in Vermont before she moved to New York.

Karen dances at a party then goes upstairs to sell drugs. When a customer tries to get rough, her boyfriend Todd shows up and beats him up. They go back to Todd’s trailer to count their money and she spends the night there. Karen wakes up to a call from Penny’s Place. She overslept and is late for work.

DAREDEVIL Episode Breakdowns
Image from Netflix/Marvel

We see that the small skiing town is called Fagan Corners. Penny’s Place is a diner. As Karen walks in we see that she’s a waitress there and she owns it with her father and brother, Kevin. Kevin says he covered for her being late to their dad. Later, Karen finds her dad signing for a brand new grill that they can’t afford. He didn’t talk to her about it. While serving some eggs, Karen gets a bloody nose due to her drug use. Kevin knows she’s not sober. He attempts to help her by filling out an application to get her back to school.

Karen goes to see Todd, and Todd thinks she should let the diner go under. He offers her full-time work selling drugs with him. Karen’s dad calls and she goes back to the diner. They made dinner to celebrate Karen going back to college. She says that if she leaves the diner goes under. After their mom, Penny, died she had to take care of everything. She says that Penny only stuck around because she loved their dad. Karen says their mom hated it in Fagan Corners and it was killing her long before she got cancer.

DAREDEVIL Episode Breakdowns: Death in the Family

Karen goes to a photo of their mom with a lottery ticket inside. She says the real reason she bought tickets was not out of hope. It was that if she ever won she would’ve taken them out of Fagan Corners. She scratches the ticket despite her father’s protests. Mom lost again, she says. They all lost.

Karen leaves with Todd. They take drugs and drink. When they go back to the trailer, it’s on fire. Kevin set the fire and Todd beats him with a tire iron. Karen shoots Todd in the arm. Karen leaves with Kevin in her car, but she flips the car, killing Kevin.

DAREDEVIL Episode Breakdowns
Image from Netflix/Marvel

Later, Penny’s is closed. Karen and her dad face each other. He tells Karen that he thanks god her mother wasn’t alive to witness what’s happening. He tells Karen that the public story will just be Kevin in the car. Not about her. He wants her to leave and doesn’t want her near him.

DAREDEVIL Episode Breakdowns: Matt’s Choice

Back to the present, Karen is hiding in the church, and Lantom invites her to mass. Everyone is fighting a battle that you can’t see, he says. However, sometimes you can. Karen asks him what you’re supposed to do when you realize that you’ve lost. He tells her about Matt confronting him about his mother. Lantom had a choice of evils, and Matt blames him for how his life has turned out. He can’t argue with him, he just has to live with it. Whatever you’ve done or haven’t done can still be redeemed. She’s not so sure she believes that.

Fisk is sitting in a car with Dex. Fisk tells him that one of the few people he let get close to him was James Wesley. Dex reminds Fisk of him. He tells him there’s one more thing they have to do tonight. Fisk tells Dex that he now knows that Karen killed Wesley. Fisk tells Dex to go and kill Karen. Dex tells him to consider it done.

Back to Matt in the secret room, he now has a choice: Wait to kill Fisk, or save Karen. Shelby warns that Fisk will triple security. Even so, Matt goes to save Karen.

DAREDEVIL Episode Breakdowns: Matt vs. Dex

Nadeem drives Dex to the church, dressed as Daredevil. In the church, Lantom thanks people for coming to mass despite their fears. Dex arrives and yells Karen’s name. She steps out to protect the people. Matt attacks Dex.

DAREDEVIL Episode Breakdowns
Image from Netflix/Marvel

They fight, Matt trying to keep it close quarters. However, Dex knocks him back and throws a baton at Karen. However, Father Lantom steps in front of her and gets hit instead.

Matt yells and beats Dex down. He hears Lantom’s dying breath: forgive us. Dex gets up and throws another baton at Karen while she tries to get the people out. It narrowly misses her thanks to Matt. Dex then starts to throw beads with deadly speed. Karen runs to the balcony with Dex close behind. Matt intercepts. Then Karen hits Dex off the balcony, falling to the floor below. Matt lies unconscious in Karen’s arms.

DAREDEVIL Episode Breakdowns
Image from Netflix/Marvel

DAREDEVIL Episode Breakdowns: Episode 10 Pros and Cons

Lastly for our DAREDEVIL episode breakdowns is our pros and cons for episode 10.

Episode 10’s focus on Karen’s past is a pretty good pro. I feel as though the timing was perfect for a Karen backstory episode. Any earlier and it would’ve seemed forced. The slow burn of audience curiosity ever since those references to her troubled past in Season 1 led to a very satisfying payout. Her past is tragic and dark, providing context for her choices and conflicts currently.

The tenth episode’s fight between Dex and Matt was very cool and entertaining, the personal stakes for Matt being raised even higher with Father Lantom’s death, let alone trying to protect Karen. Pitting them against each other is always entertaining as it’s one man who can’t see, relying on his other heightened sense, against another who relies on his heightened sight. It’s just awesome and epic.

Another pro is the reference to the comics when Bullseye kills Karen in a church. In the comics, Karen lies in Matt’s arms which mirrors the end of episode 10 which Matt lying in her arms.

DAREDEVIL Episode Breakdowns
Image from Marvel Entertainment

A con for this episode would be that I would’ve liked the entire episode to be about Karen’s past. Instead, about 2/3 of the episode is on her past before the rest is back in the present.  We could have seen more of the trouble she gets into with Todd, making the tragedy of her brother’s death even more hard to watch, as we would be able to greater empathize with Karen and her guilt.

What did you think of our DAREDEVIL episode breakdowns? Let us know in the comments below! Click here for episodes 7/8, here for 4/5/6 or here for 1/2/3.

DAREDEVIL is streaming on Netflix now.

This Week On Arrowverse 10/28: Witches, FBI, Family Feuds, and Agent Liberty

This Week On Arrowverse 10/28: Witches, FBI, Family Feuds, and Agent Liberty

The CW Arrowverse is back with all new seasons! ARROW, FLASH, SUPERGIRL, and LEGENDS OF TOMORROW all have new episodes, and ComicsVerse is here to keep you updated. This week on Arrowverse sees Felicity joining the FBI, The Legends saving a fairy godmother, a Flash family feud, and Supergirl putting a spotlight on the villain Agent Liberty. Read on the learn more!

This Week on Arrowverse: ARROW

“Crossing Lines” is the title of this week’s ARROW episode. Coming in as episode three of season seven, this episode looks like it’ll further several of the storylines set up in the first two episodes, most notably Oliver’s and Felicity’s. The synopsis promises “Still in prison, Oliver (Stephen Amell) faces his biggest challenge yet. Meanwhile, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) gets an intriguing offer, and Diggle (David Ramsey) asks Curtis (Echo Kellum) to go undercover for A.R.G.U.S..”

After watching Felicity take her life into her own hands in episode one and seeing her do her best to help A.R.G.U.S. in episode two, I’m looking forward to her getting a chance to use all of her talents and skills in a way that allows her to hopefully accomplish her goal of getting Diaz. Although the trailer for “Crossing Lines” doesn’t mention Felicity at all, judging by these set pictures and the way episode two ended, the F.B.I. looks like it’ll be the perfect place for Felicity.

This Week on Arrowverse
Image from the CW

Speaking of the trailer for this week’s episode, the 30-second trailer revolves completely around Oliver. We get almost dream-like sequences of flashbacks and voiceovers combined with Oliver fighting yet again in prison. Has Oliver taken on more than he can chew once again? I honestly wouldn’t be surprised.

What would surprise me though is if Curtis’ undercover mission for Diggle and A.R.G.U.S. actually goes according to plan? Curtis isn’t the best liar and now he’ll be under pressure? His job at A.R.G.U.S. so far has been relatively pressure-free, so I’ll be intrigued to see how he handles this high-pressure situation.

This Week on Arrowverse: LEGENDS OF TOMORROW

This is something else I love about LEGENDS: they always find great time periods for their catastrophes to happen in. It’s not clear if the Legends are going into Pilgrim times or the Salem Witch trials, but either period is perfect. An evil fairy godmother is perfect for a group of strict religious Puritans to freak out over. That said, the show needs to be careful about how they’re doing this season. Turning good magical beings evil is funny, but it can get overused. An actual witch or demon every so often could be a nice change.

This Week on Arrowverse
Image from the CW

Character-wise, it’s going to be interesting to see the Legends deal with the unfamiliar magical themes this season. The last episode was strange enough for them. I’m sure Constantine is saying ‘I told you so’ every few moments on the Waverider. I can only imagine what the technology-proficient Ray is going to think about this new field. However, I am enjoying imagining Mick’s reactions each week (SHUT UP!).

And if they are going to Salem, then Sara is probably going to deal with the repercussions of the last time she was there. That should be an interesting angle to explore as her relationship with Ava continues. Overall, this looks like another great episode. Still, I’m hoping it brings us closer to the return of Nora Dahrk. I mean it is about witches…

This Week on Arrowverse: THE FLASH

This Tuesday’s episode of THE FLASH is titled, “News Flash.” According to the episode synopsis, Barry and Iris are going to struggle with a big parenting challenge. Apparently, a new meta goes after Nora with a very specific purpose.

Ralph will also be dealing with some issues of his own until an unlikely source helps him get his confidence back.

The episode promo reveals quite a bit more. It looks as though we may get a reveal as to why Nora has been giving Iris the cold shoulder. Whatever it is, Iris asks Barry how she could ever do it to Nora. We get shots of both Nora and Iris in tears. Furthermore, we see Nora and Flash racing to a sports stadium. The title cards that a quick temper runs in the family. Nora glares at Barry, his voice telling her to snap out of it sounding distant and muffled.

This Week on Arrowverse
Image from the CW

Nora says that what she needs to do is kill Barry, then chases him through the stadium. It looks as though someone could be messing with Nora’s head. Perhaps this new meta? We’ll have to tune in Tuesday to find out.

This Week on Arrowverse: SUPERGIRL

Lastly, this Week on Arrowverse has a lot in store for Supergirl fans.

Supergirl is out of commission, and it looks like this week’s episode title, “Man of Steel” will primarily focus on new season villain, Agent Liberty. Played by Sam Witwer, this episode will show the origins of professor Ben Lockwood. The synopsis tells us the Lockwood didn’t always hate aliens, but after some incidents and input from his anti-alien father, Ben Lockwood becomes Agent Liberty, a villain determined to eradicate alien life.

This Week on Arrowverse
Image from the CW

The episode’s promo doesn’t reveal much, but it does show some pretty cool shots of Liberty and his steel mask. The rest of the short promo shows us that Supergirl is not doing well at all. She appears to be on life support, and from what Alex and the other DEO agents are saying, they’re fearing that they might lose her. When Alex asks what kind of person is capable of doing this, we get a shot of Agent Liberty, indicating that he’s that said person.

A woman, supposedly talking to Lockwood, says that they could make this country a better place, their idea of better most likely involving terminating all alien life on the planet, no matter the cost of collateral.

Are you excited about this week on Arrowverse? Let us know which show has you most excited in the comments below! All of them? That’s our answer too.

The Arrowverse shows are airing now on the CW.

What We Want From the HARRY POTTER RPG

What We Want From the HARRY POTTER RPG

A couple of weeks ago, we revealed leaked footage of a HARRY POTTER RPG. Ever since then, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. My mind is racing with theories, hopes, and potential features.

I’m not going to lie: I’ve been waiting for this game since I was a little kid. I’ve been waiting years to explore Hogwarts, to create my own character, and to forge my own destiny in the Wizarding World of HARRY POTTER.

So the rest of the world might have moved on, but I’m still excited for the HARRY POTTER RPG. But let’s face it, guys: it’s probably going to suck. Now, I don’t say that to be a cynical contrarian. I want this game to be good. But this is Warner Brothers we’re talking about, and their recent history with the franchise has been spotty at best.

Time and again they bury the potential of their games beneath mountains of AAA price-gouging nonsense. Whoever they get to develop the game, they still own the HARRY POTTER license.

But let’s say Warner Brothers decides to make this a good game. Let’s say they pour all of their passion and creativity into this project.  What would it look like?

So, what do we want to see in a HARRY POTTER RPG? How should the gameplay? What should its focus be? Well, let’s take a look!

The Core Focus Of A HARRY POTTER RPG

There are a lot of RPG archetypes to choose from for this game. Should there be a pre-set story with pre-made characters like a FINAL FANTASY game? Should it have the flexibility and branching choices of a Bioware title?

I want an open-world, open-ended sandbox RPG that emphasizes choice, immersion, and emergent storytelling. In short, imagine if Bethesda made a decent game.

HARRY POTTER RPG
Hard to imagine, I know. Image courtesy of Buzzfeed.

The top priority should be immersion, not just another pre-made story. I want a game that truly makes you feel like a wizard at Hogwarts. Everything in the game should reinforce this.

There should be some simulation aspects to the gameplay. What if you actually went to classes? What if classes were dynamic, with mini-games and activities, and tied into the progression system? Imagine getting experience or learning new skills by performing well in class.

Imagine a system where you can form friendships and rivalries with other students. What if these students had randomly generated personalities and abilities? Sort of like the Nemesis system from SHADOW OF MORDOR. I’d love to take my friends with me on adventures, or make enemies and try to thwart them. That’s the sort of emergent storytelling I expect from this game.

The core gameplay loop would go something like this: You go to class to improve your skills use those skills to explore Hogwarts, solve magical puzzles, and fight monsters. In between all this, you interact with other students, each with their own skills and traits. All the while, an overarching story unfolds involving the mysteries of the castle.

I don’t want a linear RPG with a HARRY POTTER skin. We deserve more than that. Warner Brothers have the opportunity to create something special here, to fulfill our dream of going to Hogwarts.

Player Choice

So, we’ve established the core gameplay, but how do we build on these themes? Well, if we’re focusing on immersion and role-play, then player choice should be at the heart of the experience.

First, we need to be able to make our own character. We saw some brief clips of character creation in the leak, but we still don’t know how deep it goes.

At the very least, we should be able to pick our own house, and this should have a significant effect on the gameplay. Each house needs its own common room, and its own favored skills and traits.

HARRY POTTER RPG
If I choose Slytherin, the game should respond to my decision. Image courtesy of Harry Potter Wiki.

The house you pick should also affect certain quests. It should be much easier to interact with members of your own house, and this should open up unique story branches.

But let’s go deeper than that. As I said, you should be able to form relationships in this game for good or ill. So, your house, background, dialogue choices, and reputation should affect how people respond to you.

Is your character more of a jock or a bookworm? Are they rebellious or a teacher’s pet? Honest or manipulative? Each of these traits will determine who you get along with.

Player choice is essential to any role-playing experience, and a HARRY POTTER RPG is no exception. These games are at their best when they allow you to express yourself and when the world responds in kind.

Exploration

I’m honestly at a loss for why so many HARRY POTTER games have been so bad. This series should translate easily into a video game. Not because of its riveting action, but because of its world, its atmosphere, and its themes.

For me, a HARRY POTTER game should be about mystery, intrigue, and, above all, exploration. Haven’t you ever wanted to explore the Wizarding World? To see Hogsmeade or the Forbidden Forest with your own eyes?

Hogwarts, especially, should feel like its own character. While the hub areas should be easy to navigate, things should get stranger as you go off the beaten path. Just like in the books, things should shift and move, revealing new corridors and secret areas. It should be up to the player to figure out the patterns that trigger these events.

HARRY POTTER RPG
I want to explore this world. Image courtesy of Warner Brothers.

The deeper you go, the more dangerous the school becomes. The most forbidden areas should be hidden behind enchantments, puzzles, and monsters. As you learn new spells, you’ll find new ways to bypass these safeguards. As you play the game, you’ll slowly push further into the dark reaches of the school.

These chambers should be full of treasure, secret quests, and even boss fights with powerful monsters. By the end of the game, you should feel like you’ve mastered Hogwarts itself.

The Point

People have been waiting decades for a game like this. If Warner Brothers are going to make a HARRY POTTER RPG, they need to go all the way. They have the budget and the talent to do everything I’ve listed above and more. The last thing I want is a carbon copy of DRAGON AGE or THE WITCHER, even though I love both of those games.

HARRY POTTER needs a different approach, something that caters to its unique themes. If Warner Brothers can pull this off, then this could be the start of a new series. This could be their flagship RPG franchise, based on an already popular IP.

But these are just my ideas. What are yours? What would your ideal HARRY POTTER RPG look like? Let us know!

Fisk Is Kingpin and Karen’s Past: DAREDEVIL Episode Breakdowns: 9/10

The Unseen Horror: HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH

Well, we’ve reached the end of our dark road of blobs, laughs, and commentary. Halloween is here, and that means it’s time to close the lid on THE UNSEEN HORROR. Before we do that though, let’s take a look a special Halloween film. Fans of its title series consider it an anomaly.  And it was always intended to be. Today, we examine HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH.

The Plot

HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH focuses not on the series’ signature slasher Michael Myers, but on a novelty company. The Silver Shamrock Company is producing a trio of Halloween masks for the season, but one of their models turns up in a suicide. Dr. Dan Challis and the victim’s daughter Ellie investigate the company, which is the lifeblood of the town of Santa Mira.

Challis and Ellie find the masks have odd microchips in them and eventually discover the plan of SSC’s founder Conal Cochran. Cochran plans to use the masks to return to the original witchcraft of Halloween. The masks’ microchips contain a stone piece from Stonehenge. This chip contains mystic energy that will murder children on Halloween night when they hear a special commercial. Challis and Ellie must stop Cochran, but the stakes are higher then they know.

A Break From Tradition

HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH was the last film involving series creators/producers John Carpenter and Debra Hill. Both had expressed reluctance on doing a third HALLOWEEN. They agreed only if Michael Myers was removed. They produced the film, and Nigel Kneale wrote the screenplay. Kneale intending to use the film as a setup to an anthology series of films, dealing with different aspects of Halloween.

HALLOWEEN III
Image courtesy of belfastfilmfestival.org

The film garnered $14,000,000 at the box office but was the poorest grossing HALLOWEEN in the series. Critics ravaged it, with Roger Ebert calling it ‘a low-rent thriller’. Fans expressed confusion over Myers’ absence. The film was labeled a disappointment. HALLOWEEN 4 brought back Myers years later. However, years later, how does the third film stand up on its own merits?

A Return To The Roots

The idea of a Halloween anthology series was a sound one in principle, and HALLOWEEN III does work in that regard. The Halloween masks are a staple of the season and give the movie an iconic look. However, Cochran provides a look at the very core of the holiday itself.

HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH
Image courtesy of riversofgrue.com

Halloween was born of the Celtic holiday Samhaim, which happened at the end of the harvest. The Celts believed that it was a time of thinness between the lands of the living and the dead when spirits could walk the Earth. This led to some rituals still seen in Halloween (wearing masks, giving out food, and playing pranks), but also had darker implications. People performed animal sacrifices at times. Evil spirits could emerge as well as good ones.

Halloween takes some of those influences, but the sinister nature of the holiday has been abandoned for a more commercial, child-friendly day. Cochran’s role takes on new significance because of this. He acts as the ‘witch’ of the title. Cochran practices the Celtic rituals. He shows anger by how they’ve been corrupted by modern times. As a result, he plans to bring them back by using the images of the modern holiday. The movie takes a shot at the commercialization of a holiday (which is usually reserved for Christmas). That’s certainly a more unique premise then Michael Myers waving a knife again.

Telling A Story

The premise of HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH may be solid, but it falls flat without good story and acting. Thankfully, the film generally delivers that. There’s a great air of mystery about the masks that builds over time. The film establishes their popularity and the catchy jingle that will awaken their evil properties. This lets the film draw viewers in, making them wonder and question as the film carefully reveals answers. And when they do, it’s quite effective.

The actors involved do help the story as well. Horror movie vet Tom Atkins delivers his usual solid work as Dr. Challis, and Irish actor Dan O’Herlihy is clearly enjoying the role of Cochran. They are gripping enough to help the film’s weaker points (like Cochran’s android soldiers) and help the viewer stay invested. The final scene of Challis screaming at TV stations to remove the commercial is a particular nail-biter, largely due to Atkins’ performance.

And while some have argued that the purpose of the masks is a flaw, it’s worth remembering that Cochran just intended a dark prank, and that he does turn a symbol of his corrupted holiday to his desires.

HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH Is A Season All Its Own

HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH suffered by not being a Michael Myers vehicle. However, it’s arguably the most creative HALLOWEEN film, given how formulaic the series became. It moves back to the roots of the holiday while taking a stab at its commercialization. So forget Michael Myers, and judge this film as its own entity. Personally, I even think of it as just SEASON OF THE WITCH.

And with that, we end another year of the Unseen Horror. Don’t worry though, there’s plenty of unknown classics to explore on your own until next time. Happy Halloween, and keep watching!

Now to sleep… damn, this coffin stinks…

The Titans Of MCU Villainy: Kingpin and Thanos

The Titans Of MCU Villainy: Kingpin and Thanos

Let’s face it, Marvel has an exaggeratedly long list of super villains. It’s up to us readers and viewers to parse between the A-listers and the garbage. The Marvel Cinematic Universe benefits from having a significantly smaller list of villains to deal with than the counterpart comic book universe. And in terms of the MCU bad guys, Kingpin and Thanos might just be the best. If you’ve watched DAREDEVIL season 3, then you know just how disgustingly evil the Kingpin truly is. Season 1 was a strong indicator that this character had the potential to be one of the best baddies of the MCU, but season 3 affirmed Wilson Fisks’ spot at the height of the MCU villains list.

I was screaming out loud because I was so pissed off with how evil he was. If you want to know how to properly create a character you’re meant to hate, look no further than the MCU’s Kingpin. There’s really only one other guy who can contend with Fisk for that spot, and that’s the star of AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, Thanos. Thanks to the Russo brothers’ masterful directing, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s powerful script, and of course, Josh Brolin’s immaculate performance, the Mad Titan made a stellar debut on the big screen.

They made Thanos more than just a character, they made him into a truly believable person. I mean, he was absolutely tyrannical, but I can’t help but almost root for the guy, you know? I can’t imagine what kind of evil would come to life if these two ever got together. But, for the sake of having fun, I suppose I could try. Let’s take a look at what makes Kingpin and Thanos the greatest MCU villains.

Why They Call Him ‘The Kingpin Of Crime’

Kingpin and Thanos
The Kingpin of Crime. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Wilson Fisk — portrayed masterfully by Vincent D’Onofrio — has had nothing short of the perfect kind of character progression. He started out as a self-proclaimed savior in DAREDEVIL season 1, as he imagined himself being the one to save Hell’s Kitchen from its own darkness. Of course, we all knew better, but it wasn’t until the very last episode of the season that Fisk realized his true potential for evil. I like to think that scene where he’s talking with those two guards about that story from the bible was the moment he officially turned from his “righteous” path.

Season 2 featured very little of Fisk, but we got just enough to see where his character was going, in terms of becoming the true Kingpin. Not to mention, we got that incredibly tense scene between him and Matt Murdock, which almost stole the entire season for me. I mean, you can’t beat Punisher’s monologue in episode 4, but this scene was a close second. Season 3 brought everything full circle in the best way possible. I’m so used to reading DAREDEVIL comics and seeing Fisk as the great manipulator of the world, and the untouchable tormentor of Matt Murdock’s life.

That’s exactly what we got in DAREDEVIL season 3. We finally got the one true Kingpin. Was anyone else insanely cheering when they officially tagged him as such? Kingpin has obviously had more time than Thanos to develop as a character, but that’s just a straight benefit of having three seasons to grow. Fisk systematically grew from season to season, changing from cruel “savior” to nigh unbeatable crime boss.

Evil At Its Sharpest

Kingpin and Thanos
You can’t say Fisk doesn’t know how to look the part. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

DAREDEVIL season 1 excelled in building up Fisk in the role of a dark savior. He was kind of like Batman; he wasn’t the hero the city wanted or deserved, but in his eyes, he was the one it needed. Of course, the deeper and deeper we dug into his story, the eviler we learned he was. I mean, there’s really no getting over the fact he bludgeoned his father to death. Season 3 finally let the Kingpin shine for who he truly is.

Like I mentioned earlier, I was literally screaming at one point because he was just too damn evil. He just kept finding new ways to ruin everything for the protagonists, and there was seemingly no way to beat him. It’s some of the smartest writing I’ve ever seen in a show, in terms of both specific character development and overall plot progression. Season 3 paints Fisk similar to a god. He always had the best hand of any of the players, and that glossy white suit of his act acts as his unbreakable suit of armor.

There weren’t so much as the slightest chinks in his protection. Up until the final moments of the season, I really had no clue if Daredevil and the crew were going to be able to beat him. Kingpin excels in season 3 because he no longer tries to play the part of the savior. He’s just the Kingpin. He just wants the power and the control and the ability to do whatever he wants. At least, that’s how it seems on the surface. Any good villain should have something to pull them back to reality, but again, we’ll talk more on that later.

Why They Call Him ‘The Mad Titan’

Kingpin and Thanos
The Mad Titan. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Now Thanos, on the other hand, is an extraordinarily different beast. This is the Mad Titan we’re talking about, the dude who literally snapped half of all life out of existence. I mean, really, if it came down to a fight between Kingpin and Thanos, who are you going to pick?

I was very worried about how the Russo brothers were going to handle Thanos in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. The thought of getting a repeat of Ultron was ever-present as I sat in the theater that first time, waiting for the film to begin. But, within the first few minutes, that thought completely went out the window. This was no poultry villain. Thanos was not some farce on a higher, more sinister power. He was the real deal. Dare I say, he was the most real-deal of them all.

I found myself immediately floored by the mere presence of this villain. The hype of this character had been building since the first Avengers, and Marvel absolutely delivered with INFINITY WAR. Thanos naturally inspires fear as you watch him. This is the kind of character who can do whatever he wants and easily get away with it. And I’m sure that would be true even without the Infinity Stones. But, you know, since he has the most powerful objects in the whole universe, he might as well use them, right?

Power Unmatched

Kingpin and Thanos
Still one of the coolest scenes of INFINITY WAR. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY had to give us some idea of Thanos’ power. Though Thanos didn’t do much, the other characters found different ways to make sure we understood just how bad he was. Ronin could be seen flinching at the Mad Titan, and Korath (the robo-face dude) can be quoted saying,

“Thanos is the most powerful being in the universe.”

These slight hints really couldn’t have prepared us, though, for the sheer power of Thanos. In his first moments on screen in INFINITY WAR, he threatens Thor with death, absolutely devastates Hulk, and kills Heimdall and Loki. All that was within the first five or six minutes of the film. And things only got worse as the film progressed. Thanos continued to prove exactly why he’s the best of the best. He doesn’t just gather the stones, he also uses them ingeniously. He gets creative with them, and even has a little fun when he dismantles the Guardians on Knowhere.

The greatest dedication to Thanos’ power, though, comes from his fight with Doctor Strange. I sorely wish there was more to that fight (it was actually supposed to be about 30 seconds longer) because it was so! Fucking! Good! It perfectly captured just how powerful the two combatants were, and why Thanos is just a bit better.

Kingpin and Thanos
None of Strange’s tricks held a candle to Thanos. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

I mean, it certainly helped that he had the Stones, but still, the two really were at the same power level.

Bottom line: Thanos is not to be trifled with. Like, at all. Logic tells us the good guys will win in AVENGERS 4, but I’m still genuinely scared to see everything play out.

Kingpin & Thanos: Finding Similarities Where None Should Really Exist

It’s almost odd to compare Kingpin and Thanos. One is a crime boss, and the other is a universal executioner. And yet, Kingpin and Thanos surprisingly have a lot in common, in terms of how they view themselves and the deeds they carry out. Of course, both Kingpin and Thanos view themselves as higher beings, though certainly to different degrees. Kingpin thinks he should have the power to do whatever he wants. He wants to control everything he can, and he wants someone to share that power with (that person, of course, being Vanessa).

Thanos is much the same. He wants power, but not to control. He wants to save the universe, because, like Fisk, Thanos views himself as this great savior, though on a much grander scale. Thanos is seemingly haunted by his failures in the past, so he pushes himself not to fail again. Thus, he must gather the Stones and tackle the harsh reality he has established for himself.

Kingpin & Thanos Make The Heroes Work To Save The Day

Both Kingpin and Thanos also know how to push the heroes to their absolute limits.

I can think of no better scenes to hype up Thanos as a powerhouse player than his one-on-one fights with Doctor Strange and Iron Man. Though each bout lasts for no more than a single minute, they both completely encompass the threat Thanos presents. The Doctor Strange fight is one of the most satisfying ones in the entire MCU, and the Iron Man fight is crippling and painful to watch.

And while Thanos might have the power, Kingpin is just scary to watch. I think it comes from the fact that Fisk is a more realistic and believable fighter. Like, fighting with him is something that could happen in real life. That terrifies me. Getting close to a guy like Fisk is essentially a death sentence. He’s beaten so many people to a pulp with his bare hands. He gives Daredevil, one of the most skilled fighters in the whole MCU, a significant run for his money.

Kingpin and Thanos
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

I mean, still, if it was a one-on-one fight between Kingpin and Thanos, the obvious choice is still Thanos, but Fisk could probably hold his own for a little bit. Maybe. If anything, it’d be great to see Thanos horrendously kick Fisk’s ass. Nothing is more satisfying, though, than to see the villains express their full might. And if there are two villains who know how to do that, it’s Kingpin and Thanos.

Humanizing The Monsters

A good villain is more than just sheer power, however. A good villain has something that helps to ground them. Both Kingpin and Thanos have something to humanize them and separate them from their vicious goals. They’re more than monsters grabbing at whatever power they can.

In DAREDEVIL season 1, Kingpin’s drive is, for the most part, his urge to change the city, for better or worse. Again, he thought of himself as this great savior. He wanted to prove to the world and to himself that he wasn’t like his father, that he wasn’t a monster. That changes when he meets Vanessa. From the moment the two of them are officially together, everything becomes about her.

That is especially true in DAREDEVIL season 3. On the surface, it seems like Fisk is just doing everything for himself. But that’s far from the truth. Really, Vanessa is his driving factor. She’s the reason he does everything he does in season 3. It’s all so he can be with her again, and so he can have her completely in his life.

They Are More Than Evil

Kingpin and Thanos
Try as Thanos might, Gamora was having none of his shit. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Thanos is seemingly driven by guilt and a dark sense of passion. His guilt comes from, as he puts it, ignoring his destiny in the past. He doesn’t want to repeat that mistake. And though he is able to fulfill his goal, Gamora now seemingly haunts him. Thus, he essentially traded one form of guilt for another.

His passion comes from his sense of righteousness; he genuinely believes he’s doing the right thing, as most villains typically do. But Thanos was written so superbly that you almost can’t help but see eye-to-eye with him. It’s not that what he’s doing is right, because it obviously isn’t. It’s that he fights for it so staunchly that you almost can’t help but root for him. You believe in his cause because he so strongly believes in it himself.

Though Kingpin and Thanos have drastically different goals, they’re both driven by something greater than themselves. Whether that’s a loved one or a deeper sense of pride, they both have something to fight for. And that’s the greatest part of both of these villains.

The Pitfalls Of Power

Of course, Kingpin and Thanos are hardly perfect. How could they be? After all, no character ever is, especially a villain. And I’m talking about more than just “they kill people, of course, they’re not perfect.” Another crucial part of grounding these larger-than-life bad guys is giving them an inescapable flaw.

For Kingpin, I find his untamed anger and how readily he clings to Vanessa to be his biggest problems. DAREDEVIL season 3 made it clear that you do not push Fisk’s buttons. Karen did a great job of that when she told him she killed Wesley way back when. And although his love for Vanessa helps him succeed, it might also be his biggest downfall. Anyone else notice how he’s sort of just doing whatever she says now?

Kingpin and Thanos
Is Vanessa trying to take over? Hmm… Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Thanos can easily be considered a nonsensically violent despot. And he’s dangerously arrogant. He so strongly believes that he’s right that he won’t listen to anyone else’s argument. Because he weighs his own failure to save his people so heavily on himself, he sees no other way to save the universe than to wipe out half of it. Gamora and Thanos have a fairly heated argument, and Doctor Strange even sort of tries to turn Thanos away from his path.

But, the Mad Titan is far too staunch in his beliefs to let this fight go. I guess sometimes the things that humanize and ground a character can also be their biggest flaws. As keenly developed and believable as Kingpin and Thanos are, they are also undeniably flawed. This, however, gives us more to keep us interested in them.

Kingpin & Thanos: Best Of The Best

You ever notice how when a villain is done justice, they can often turn out to be one of, if not the best part of a story? I find that is absolutely the case with Kingpin and Thanos. These bad guys personify what it means to be the pinnacle of villainy. Really, these two are more than just villains. They’re forces of nature.

Through all three seasons of DAREDEVIL, Wilson Fisk has grown to be more than the bad guy of the show. He has a presence that demands your undivided attention. When the Kingpin of Crime is on the scene, you know shit is about to go down, big time. He’s commanding, driven, powerful, and, most importantly, human. Fisk is a scarred individual, and he is fearful. Bring all of this together, and you have one of the most genuine villains in the whole MCU, one who easily stands at the top over the rest.

Standing tall with Fisk at the top is Thanos, the Mad Titan. The guy who single-handedly dismantled all of the Avengers and wiped out half of all life in the universe. But Thanos is more than a cosmic killer. He, like Fisk, has a deeper presence behind his heinous acts. He’s more than a collection of vile deeds and unmatched power. Thanos is a being with emotion and guilt, someone who fights for something bigger than himself. And though he may be evil, that doesn’t mean we have to hate him implicitly.

One thing is for certain: the next time we see Kingpin and Thanos in action, untamed evil will undoubtedly follow close behind. I, for one, am eagerly awaiting to see what villainy these two titans have to offer us next.

Exclusive Preview: Everything’s Fine In THE WILD STORM #18

Exclusive Preview: Everything’s Fine In THE WILD STORM #18

So we’re only seven issues away from the sure-to-be-epic finale of THE WILD STORM series! Ever since the Wildstorm Universe was reimagined into a more grounded, gritty one back in 2017, this title has only continued to push the boundaries of what was once thought possible for these iconic characters. So, in THE WILD STORM #18, the war between IO and Skywatch is reaching a tipping point and things aren’t looking good for Miles Craven!

Meanwhile, John Lynch continues his search for the renegade subjects of Project Thunderbook. As a result, if the variant cover is any indication, it seems like he’s about to have a dangerous confrontation with one Marc Slayton! So it’s all going down in THE WILD STORM #18!

THE WILD STORM #18

Talent

  • Art by: Jon Davis-Hunt
  • Cover by: Jon Davis-Hunt
  • Variant cover by: Daniel Warren Johnson
  • Written by: Warren Ellis

Specs

  • Series: THE WILD STORM 2017
  • U.S. Price: $3.99
  • On Sale Date: Oct 31, 2018
  • Volume/Issue #: 18
  • Color/B&W: Color
  • Trim Size: Comic
  • Page Count: 32

Harder, Better, Faster, Deadlier

So the first few pages of THE WILD STORM #18 demonstrate why Jon Davis-Hunt has remained the primary artist for this series. His style is immediately pleasing to the eye; capturing very realistic visuals without appearing muddy or uncanny. His character designs are also very expressive, displaying complex shifts between emotions from panel to panel. When the scene shifts to take place in space, it manages to somehow perfectly capture the majesty of a life in the stars and the grimy interior of a room inhabited by a mad scientist.

Warren Ellis is a critically-acclaimed writer, and it’s obvious why here. Even in these first few pages, it’s easy to grasp who these characters are and what it is they’re dealing with. So Ellis’ dialogue manages to strike that excellent point between being informative and defining personalities. Combined with the expressive art, and you have an amazing combination of visual and literal storytelling.

So, as everything falls to pieces, who will win out in the war between IO and Skywatch? Or are these two shadowy organizations facing mutually assured destruction? The only way to find out is to keep reading! Before THE WILD STORM #18 proper arrives on October 31st, whet your appetite with this exclusive first look at THE WILD STORM #18 below!

THE WILD STORM #18 Preview Gallery

THE WILD STORM #18
All images are the property of DC Entertainment.

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