Marvel Character Highlight #37: Nova (Richard Rider)

Name: Richard Rider

Alias: Nova Prime, Kid Nova, Nova #11249-44396, the Human Rocket, Quasar

Affiliation: Nova Corps, Guardians of the Galaxy, United Front, New Warriors, Defenders, Champions of Xandar, Secret Avengers

Special abilities: Access to the Nova Force; energy projection and absorption; superhuman strength, speed, durability, agility, and reflexes; ability to exert influence over gravitational forces and open wormholes; regenerative healing factor; and, flight

Background: Richard Rider, a high schooler in New York, is selected as the successor to the last surviving member of the Nova Corps, Rhomann Dey. Rider then takes on the uniform of the Corps and travels the galaxy fighting villains of the Marvel universe and teaming with the Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor and Spider-Man. He later joins a few of his fellow villains and travels to Xandar to help the Xandarians against the Skrulls. When the Skrulls are defeated, he gives up his powers and returns to Earth. He later regains his powers and takes on Annihilus.

Relationships: Namorita, ex-girlfriend; Robert Rider, Nova, brother

First Versus appearance: Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Appearances in other media:

Video games: Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, Marvel: Future Fight, Marvel Puzzle Quest (Sam Alexander version)

Posted in Marvel character highlight | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Marvel Character Highlight #37: Nova (Richard Rider)

Property Review: Black Adam

Black Adam
Warner Bros. Pictures, 2022

The Rock rolls as antihero

There is nothing more impactful in comics than the “waking the sleeping giant and now you’ve made him mad” trope. Each company has something like this in its repertoire, and for DC, it came in the form of Black Adam.

Set in the present day, Black Adam tells the story of Teth-Adam, a man born in ancient times that loses his family and becomes the titular antihero. Adam rose among his people to stop injustice and cruelty with the same gods who empowered the superhero Shazam but soon found himself just as cruel and brutal as the tyrant he fought against in his grief. Imprisoned for humanity’s own good, Adam is awakened by descendants of revolutionaries seeking to liberate his now-modern home from oppression and tyranny.

The modern-day elements of the story are your average run-of-the-mill points. Adam, once awakened, destroys a lot of things and interacts with a young boy who knows the legend of the antihero. But where it shines is its cast. Say what you will about Dwayne Johnson’s meteoric rise in the film industry, but the man has passion. And that shows in Adam. Johnson’s physical strength and charm keep the character interesting and give a much-needed dose of empathy. You can understand and sympathize with why Adam might be just a tad bit angry upon awakening, and you can understand his grief at what his home has become in the modern day. It’s just something about how Johnson cuts an imposing but ultimately warm figure in the virtual god that makes you root for him despite the menagerie.

Of special note are the supporting heroes that oppose Adam’s roaring rampage of revenge. Aldis Hodge as Hawkman and Pierce Brosnan as Doctor Fate are fantastic. Hawkman’s by-the-book attitude makes things a little predictable, but you can’t knock the fact that Hawkman just wants to stop the foolishness while Adam seems to revel in it. Their multiple fights are something fun to behold, and Hodge more than shows up to do his part in making it fun. Brosnan’s elder statesman role is perfection. We’re already biased because it’s Brosnan and he’s great in just about everything he’s in, but he takes Doctor Fate to an incredible level and brings a nice touch of humanity to the role. Also, understanding just how powerful Doctor Fate is takes a delicate approach because you don’t want him to outshine the lead in Adam; Brosnan has the chops to do it and it works perfectly.

Rounding out the support roles, Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher and Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone are equally fantastic. Their humor and young naivete bring a lightness to things when there’s a lot of “Adam is mad and killing” to go around. Sarah Shahi, who we know from the original L Word on Showtime, is serviceable and does a good job of being a frantic mom who’s smart. She does the work and that’s what you expect from her character, nothing more. Marwan Kenzari is a good villain and provides a good bad guy for Adam to terrorize. Bodhi Sabongui is cute as Amon and makes the “modernizing the ancient guy” elements work when he’s in play.

Having invested in the character and this film, we’re not sure where the criticism of the film came from. It’s a good superhero origin story with beautiful special effects and good acting. All involved provided a fun ride for a good character who is well-known in the comic world. It’s a shame that it came to a grinding halt with the changeover in DC’s management. Maybe one day there will be a return on the investment with Johnson in the titular role again. Black Adam — while not making it in the black at the box office — didn’t leave a black mark on the DCEU’s record despite critical reviews.

Like the comics: 8
Acting: 8
Story: 6

Total score: 22/30 or 7.3

We score the properties in three categories: Casting (or voice acting in cases of animated), plot and similarities to its source material. Each category receives points out of the maximum of 10 per category and 30 overall. The percentage is the final score.

Posted in Property review | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Property Review: Black Adam

Top 5 List: Ways DC fumbled the bag edition

1. Getting rid of Henry Cavill as Superman
We don’t know what James Gunn and Peter What’s His Name were thinking when they decided to get rid of the best actor in the role since the late vaunted Christopher Reeve, but this injustice was foolhardy and dumb. And whatever point they were trying to make was lost because Cavill was the catch you needed to keep folks interested. Goofy is as goofy does.

2. Ezra Miller debacle
While Marvel has Jonathan Majors’ foolishness to contend with, DC has its own weirdo in Ezra Miller. You can’t be mediocre in the day job and dumb in your play around time and think folks won’t notice or care. We’re not going to see a terrible Flash movie while knowing Miller is garbage, too. Absolutely not.

3. Snyder Cut precedent
We’ve harped on this before: Do not open the Pandora’s Box of releasing a Director’s Cut just because the original movie fell short. Everybody and their daddy are going to want to do that when their much-ballyhooed project doesn’t meet expectations. Oh, and it turns out that Snyder was faking some of the support for his still-not-great Justice League cut. Make it make sense.

4. James Gunn and Peter What’s His Name hired
Unfortunately, we know who James Gunn is, and we don’t care about Peter What’s His Name still. There hasn’t been one good decision to come out that brain trust yet, and we’re still not sure what exactly is the plan going forward. So far, all we’ve seen is Cavill fired, Miller allowed to finish up a movie despite his troubles, and The Rock not retained. Huh?

5. Black Adam done for now
So, apparently, people didn’t like Black Adam. OK, but we’ll take a movie with promise and potential with a passionate lead in The Rock over a soulless project any day. The rationale behind not using Black Adam is about as smart as firing Cavill, and Gunn and Peter What’s His Name’s brain trust managed to muck it up in one stone’s throw. We hope The Rock laughs all the way to the bank when their future endeavors fail and he’s still making cash off the likeness that they continue to use for the comics.

Posted in Top 5 list | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Top 5 List: Ways DC fumbled the bag edition

Anime Lounge: The Masterful Cat is … Ep. 1-6

Series: The Masterful Cat is Depressed Again Today

Episodes: 1-6 reviewed (of 13)

Premise: An office worker, Saku Fukuzawa, has rescued a black Maine Coon named Yukichi and taken him home to her absolutely filthy apartment. Slowly but surely, Saku changes her life for the better. Her apartment gets cleaner, and she starts eating better and living better. It turns out these changes are because Yukichi has grown abnormally large and taken over the chores of the household. What follows is the day to day of Yukichi and how Saku struggles with having an abnormally large almost human cat in her house and life.

Is it worth watching?: Yes. If you’re a cat lover, you’re going to love the fact that a large cat is running his human’s household. The humor that results from humans around Yukichi not believing he is a cat is absolutely hilarious.

Breakout character: Yukichi. The masterful cat absolutely steals every scene he is in simply because he’s a large, adorable cat.

Where it’s going?: It’s interesting to see how many people are going to figure out that Yukichi is a real cat. Also, Saku’s relationship with her boss may turn into something romantically viable.

Posted in anime lounge | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Anime Lounge: The Masterful Cat is … Ep. 1-6

Strip Talk #39: Kang Dynasty is over after Major MCU bag fumble

Kang the Conqueror wowed us. We were charmed. Foolishly, perhaps. But we were in. We saw the buildup and the follow through with Loki Season 1. We were primed for the Kang Dynasty. We gave Jonathan Majors his flowers and anticipated the greatness that would surely ensue because Majors ate and left no crumbs in the Loki Season 1 finale.
And then Majors fumbled the bag.

Somehow, some way Jonathan Majors — who left absolutely no piece of the scenery unchewed in his portrayal of the major villain Kang — managed to mess up Marvel money. Y’all, he was going to get Marvel MARVEL money, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the days of RDJ. He was supposed to be on the threat level of Thanos and make him look like Ronan the Accuser by comparison. How did he fumble this hefty bag? Well, by now, we all know that he was found guilty on a few counts of assault. That’s just it. He assaulted someone he used to date, and it didn’t fall in his favor.

The condemnation from Marvel was swift and merciless. Majors, my guy, you were out of the picture before your court case even finished, as evidenced by the throwaway line at the end of Loki Season 2, which you starred in. Read this again: They had you starring in a series that they wrote you out of in the coda with a throwaway line. Marvel already knew they were done with you before you knew they were done with you. The audience knew Marvel was done with you before you knew Marvel was done with you. An ignominious way to go, I’d wager.

I have so many questions: How do you fumble Marvel money, guy? You were literally about to be the face of a billion-dollar franchise. Your performance was hailed as powerful and a taste of things to come, highly anticipated and impossible to duplicate. All eyes were on you and what you would do next. And then you get into a he said, she said near brawl with your now-ex-girlfriend. You have now cost yourself millions, and your reputation is in tatters.

But back to the money for a second. The Marvel bag — as we so lovingly call it around these GI parts — was an assured pay day and come up. You were already lauded for Lovecraft Country. Marvel money is known for being life changing. Did you not understand that you could do whatever you wanted after this? Young, black, gifted, talented actor who caught folks’ eye just on your name alone, do you not realize how much you fumbled the bag and messed up? No, I don’t think you do because you’re still out here not taking accountability for your actions and still doing too much.

Marvel is never coming back and they’re right not to do so. You’ve done too much negative, and you’ve not been smart about things. You always, always, ALWAYS, take the money, shut up and keep your head down until the checks clear. You never mess up the truckload of money that Marvel intends to back up to your door. Just ask RDJ or his compatriot Terrence Howard. Whatever you do, don’t mess up the money with foolishness. You will not get a second chance. You will be replaced, the role cast with someone who doesn’t look anything like you and that will be that. You will watch that bag hopelessly slip through your fingers, and you’ll wonder what could have been as another young, black, gifted, talented actor steps into your role of a lifetime and secures the bag where you failed. And, yes, we know you’re sorry, champ. Or are you?

Lyndsey Beatty is editor-in-chief of Gaming Insurrection. She can be reached by email at

Posted in Strip Talk | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Strip Talk #39: Kang Dynasty is over after Major MCU bag fumble

Otaku Corner: Ruroni foolishness

Fellow otaku, let’s try to avoid ‘Nobunasty’ label

Trigger warning: This story contains elements of child pornography. The subject of this article was charged in November 2017 and found guilty in February 2018 of violating Japan’s Anti-Child Prostitution and Pornography ordinance.

The year was 2003. As a soon-to-be minted college graduate, my reignited passion for anime and manga was emboldened by Cartoon Network’s announcement of a new anime series coming to its Toonami block. This series was set in Meiji era Japan’s final days during which a legendary swordsman who is a former assassin began to atone for his actions by taking up his sword to fight for the innocent. His name was Kenshin Himura, and his story was called Rurouni Kenshin.

Nobuhiro Nishiwaki

When I saw Rurouni Kenshin, I was hooked. I’m an aficionado of things samurai and action, and I was excited to watch every episode and read the manga series created by Nobuhiro Nishiwaki. The manga adaptation was perfect in the areas of storytelling and art just as the anime. Kenshin and company’s adventures made Nishwaki (under the pen name of Nobuhiro Watsuki) an overnight manga star with more than 70 million copies of Rurouni Kenshin sold globally and adapted into several anime movies, a live action trilogy and a 2023 reboot of the anime. However, with news of the 2023 reboot, Nishwaki reignited years of controversy that brought shadows of division among Kenshin fans and spotlighted a dark problem festering in the anime industry in Japan and the West.

In November 2017, Anime News Network reporter Rafael Pineda broke the story that Nishiwaki was charged with possession of child pornography. Acting on an anonymous tip regarding a different investigation, Tokyo Metropolitan Police raided Nishiwaki’s office and home resulting in the discovery of numerous DVDs containing footage of nude young women in their early teens. Pineda noted Nishiwaki’s deposition where he stated that he “liked girls in late elementary school to the second year of middle school.” As a result, Nishwaki was convicted of child pornography possession under Japan’s Anti Child Prostitution and Pornography ordinance in 2018 and he was fined 200,000 yen (U.S. $1,900).

This action led manga publishers Shueisha and Viz Media to suspend publication of Kenshin’s Hokkaido arc (Viz Media ultimately decided to cancel future issues) and brought a chorus of international condemnation upon Nishiwaki. Despite the anger and calls for cancelation of Rurouni Kenshin by otaku worldwide, Nishiwaki returned to the manga and anime scene with a 2021 exhibition project that was supported by mangakas Takeshi Obata (Death Note), Masashi Kishimoto (Naruto), Eiichiro Oda (One Piece), and Hiroyuki Takei (Shaman King). These creators also caught displeasure from their readers for having contact with Nishiwaki. In July 2023, Aniplex of America premiered the reboot at Anime Expo in Los Angeles.

Although the premiere did include some of the Japanese voice cast and an Aniplex producer, Nishiwaki did not attend because of possible violations of U.S. and California sex offender laws. When news of the English dub was released, I and other otaku were understandably upset, believing that Nishiwaki should not profit from this project. However,’s Renee Senzatimore reported that actors Howard Wang, Bill Butts and Yong Yea who voice Kenshin, Saito, and Jin-e Udo stated that they condemn Nishiwaki’s actions and have donated their profits from the remake to Child Rescue Coalition, a organization that assists law enforcement by tracking down child predators through technological support.

As an otaku, I understand that Kenshin and Co. are NOT the criminals here, Nishiwaki or “Nobunasty” as I refer to him, is. Nobunasty, you should be ashamed of yourself and be denied royalties from any future Kenshin projects. I know that is a far stretch in legal terms, but he should learn from Kenshin and use the rest of his life to fight against this most evil of crimes. I also hold Shueisha and Aniplex responsible as well, since having knowledge that Nobunasty was found guilty in a court of law that he had possession of child pornography, they brought unjust work upon those who worked on various Kenshin projects to clean up his image. This foolishness forced anime licensors, dubbing companies and actors in Japan and outside of it to say that anime and manga do not condone such behavior of artists such as Nobunasty and should donate profits to organizations that fight crimes such as child pornography.

Finally, to Viz Media, Mr. Butts, Mr. Wang, and Mr. Yea; I have the utmost respect for your separate actions to hold Nobunasty accountable. Canceling future releases and donating profits may not stop him from profiting off Kenshin but it sends a clear message that sexualizing children is NOT COOL. I will state this for GI readers new and old: GI will keep to our bread and butter of reviewing the latest and greatest in gaming and geek culture, but when real world issues step into these topics, we will speak up and inform our readers. Why? Because Kenshin Himura said so that he did. It’s also the right thing to do. Don’t be an ignorant otaku.

Brandon Beatty is editor-at-large of Gaming Insurrection. He can be reached by email at

Posted in Otaku Corner | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Otaku Corner: Ruroni foolishness

Otaku Corner: Gundam Thunderbolt Vol. 2

Gundam Thunderbolt Vol. 2 tackles war, death

Editor’s note: Contains descriptions of drug use, suicide, use of children as war combatants and abuse involving medical treatment.

I previously reviewed Mobile Suit Gundam: Thunderbolt, a Gundam story that takes place at the same time of the original series but has two new characters taking part in battles between Earth and Zeon forces for the “Thunderbolt sector” during the One Year War. Volume 2 shows war and its nearly irreparable effect where no one is untouched. The advisory warning given may not be enough, so I would like to apologize to readers that may become triggered.

At the end of the first volume, the first encounter between Io Fleming and Daryl Lorenz ended with Io gaining the win through use of a prototype Gundam known as “Full Armor.” The Moore Brotherhood fleet uses the momentum to launch an ambush on the Zeon fleet. The ambush resulted in major blows dealt to the Zeon fleet, losing crew and Zakus, but Captain Claudia Peer was disappointed that the attack failed to eliminate the Zeon fleet guarding the Thunderbolt sector. As both sides regrouped from the battle, Daryl is subjected to another medical procedure; this time his hands are amputated by Zeon medical staff to continue research on the experimental Zaku known as “Psycho Zaku.” During the procedure, Daryl reminisces about himself and his dad Christmas shopping, and he sees the radio that he now uses in battle to listen to music. After the operation, Daryl is promoted to ensign with orders to pilot the Psycho Zaku in the next battle against the Moore Brotherhood fleet.

Elsewhere, the fleet is readying for the next battle by receiving new supplies, new mobile suits and new pilots that range from ages 10 to 17 who are pulled from Federation refugee camps. As the preparations continue, Io has a flashback in which he and the staff of his family’s home finds his father, the mayor of the Moore space colony, dead from shooting himself in the head. As Io drifts further into the flashback, his friend Cornelius Kaka tells him that he is instructed to lead the next assault on the Thunderbolt sector with the new recruits. Not pleased with this mission, Io goes to confront Claudia in her quarters and finds her in a drug overdose in which he awakens her asking why she was using drugs, which affects her ability to lead the fleet. Claudia responds sharply that Io’s father is responsible for the deaths of Moore’s citizens and calls him a selfish coward with no feelings.

Meanwhile, Daryl speaks with Zeon scientist Kara Mitchum, who helps him with his space suit and confesses that she cut off his right hand and apologizes to him. Daryl forgives her and continues his readiness for the battle ahead. When both forces meet in the Thunderbolt sector, a fierce battle begins with most of the new recruits dying instantly, including one that attempted to warn the Moore fleet, but Daryl kills him and immediately trails the Brotherhood fleet. Once the fleet appears, Daryl using the Psycho Zaku, destroys the entire fleet. As Claudia gives evacuation orders, her second in command Graham shoots her, believing that she was too weak to fight Zeon. The remnants of the Moore fleet were able to capture the Zeon vessel, Dried Fish. With this second battle ending in a draw, Io and Daryl remain dedicated to destroying the other as thunder and death cheer from the sidelines.

Volume 2 accomplished its mission in separating from the campy side of Gundam that it’s known for. Ohtagaki-san’s writing and art indisputably does the Gundam legacy justice. Reading each chapter, I felt the waves of anguish from Io and Daryl but am glad that their need for survival did not override their ability to show compassion to others. As the manga continues, each character had a back story making me question who is providing mental health counseling during this war. While I won’t say that Zeon forces are angels, I was incensed that the Earth Federation sunk to a horrible low using children (CHILDREN!) as pilots to fight because they had early new type abilities. I was also taken aback that a character in a Gundam story resorted to use drugs to deal with pressure of being a high-ranking official in a military environment where she can rarely afford the luxury of emotion.

Seeing Graham’s disgusting betrayal toward a fellow comrade also incensed me, especially since Claudia was doing her responsibility of saving her crew. I also found a profile in cowardice in Zeon scientist JJ Sexton, who claims he was saving the Psycho Zaku data but pushed injured people out of an escape pod, saving his pitiful hide. Despite the sadness in Volume 2, Viz Media’s Joe Yamazaki and STAN! were brilliant with translation and English adaptation work, making this volume worth re-reading.

Mobile Suit Gundam: Thunderbolt Volume 2 continues its brutal, yet unflinching view of war between Earth and space. With a stage of destiny set, Io Fleming and Daryl Lorenz vow to remove each other from that stage. I’m excited for future installments of this great Gundam manga.

Brandon Beatty is editor-at-large of Gaming Insurrection. He can be reached by email at

Posted in Otaku Corner | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Otaku Corner: Gundam Thunderbolt Vol. 2

Top 5 List: DC characters edition

1. Atrocitus: First of all, the guy and his cat look cool. Finding them on the character select screen of Injustice 2 is like Christmas coming early because I’m already intrigued at what they possibly can do. Add in his back story as the leader of the Red Lantern Corps and you have one of the best DC villains.

2. The Joker: The eternal archnemesis of Batman is beloved at GI for many reasons, but generally his history of chaos is the driving reason. No matter who portrays him – Jack Nicholson is our favorite version – the character still makes us laugh until we can’t.

3. Batman: Of course, if the Joker is on this list, you know Batman is as well. Batman – Bruce Wayne only – is our favorite DC hero for a long list of reasons, and be rest assured that they don’t involve how much prep time he has. Batman doesn’t need prep time. He’s just that dangerous with a little money in his pocket.

4. Darkseid: The Apokolips villain appears on a few lists here at GI when it comes to favorite DC characters, mostly because he’s a bad dude. Anyone who employs a person named Granny Goodness is entitled to a bad dude label. Also, the Omega Sanction is one of the coolest named and actual moves ever created in comic books.

5. Black Adam: The supervillain is one of a kind, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s now being drawn to look like The Rock. Strong enough to take on Superman and cocky enough to hold his own also, Black Adam has enough swagger to take down the Justice League and mean it.

Posted in Top 5 list | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Top 5 List: DC characters edition

Strip Talk #38: We’d prefer MK lost its focus on guest characters

I, like most decent, red-blooded Americans, love video games and comic books. I mean, that should be obvious by now. Also, what should be obvious is that I love Mortal Kombat. The vehicle you’re reading this sentence in has been the subject of many MK musings and will definitively be in about two issues. Everything MK.

What’s a little less obvious, however, is how much I love The Boys. I promise you, long before it was fashionable, I was trying to get my hands on Garth Ennis’ masterful satire take on the superhero genre. So, color me not surprised when the live-action version of the graphic novel became a bonafide hit. Also color me not surprised when Homelander – the over-the-top murderous Superman analogue – started showing up everywhere.

Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE Antony Starr as Homelander. You’re really tuning in to see what he’s going to say and do in every season. He is the star and the draw of the show, after all. But let’s get back to Mortal Kombat for a second. You know what’s the draw and star of the franchise? The ridiculous, over-the-top ways you can kill fictional characters. Murderous Superman analogue and murderous game franchise combining to let you play as murderous Superman analogue? What could go wrong?(TM) Let’s explore that.

First of all, it’s been made plainly clear many times that Homelander is functionally immortal and impervious to a lot of things. There isn’t even kryptonite to slow him down, because he’s not a native of a planet that exploded because of it; he just plays one on TV. So, how exactly are we going to kill Homelander? Second, how does Homelander (and by extension Omni-Man and Peacemaker) exist in this universe? They are fictional characters doing a guest spot in a universe that doesn’t acknowledge most other fictional universe elements around it with the exception of random guest characters. Third, why hasn’t Mortal Kombat as a franchise learned its lesson about guest characters yet? They keep shoehorning these extra characters in when there are so many more neglected MK characters to revive and fan favorites that other folks want playable (Editor’s note: I’m shouting out Sareena for my habibi Yiannis). No, I don’t want Jason from Friday the 13th. No, I don’t want Freddy from A Nightmare on Elm Street. No, I don’t want Omni-Man or Homelander. I want Sareena or Jade. Hell, I’ll even take Khameleon/Chameleon because at least I know them. What I don’t want is some rando from a franchise that has nothing to do with Mortal Kombat. Mortal Kombat world building has always been about the tournament, the realms, fighting for life and death. It is not about the latest and greatest random character that happens to be awesome in pop culture.

These additional characters just randomly showing up as fighters in the Kombat Packs is the very definition of doing too much. Instead of wasting time on characters that shouldn’t be there, maybe flesh out some of the older ones that the NetherRealm crew seems to act like don’t exist. There are 77 total characters created. Surely, one or a few can be chosen to flesh out the packs if they don’t make the main roster. This need to jump to guest characters is annoying as an MK elder. Get that pop culture off my MK lawn, whippersnappers.

Lyndsey Beatty is editor-in-chief of Gaming Insurrection. She can be reached by email at

Posted in Strip Talk | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Strip Talk #38: We’d prefer MK lost its focus on guest characters

Property Review: Loki Season 2

Loki Season 2
Marvel Studios, 2023

Loki Season 2 worth the wait

What a ride. Loki has consistently proven himself to be the showstopper we all knew him to be after the first Thor film. Whether it’s stealing the Tesseract (and scenes) in Avengers or stealing hearts in Thor: Ragnarök, we all knew that Loki had a ton of mischief to get up to and quality to uphold when his solo show was announced. And, boy, was that done well.
We’ve discussed at length in the Strip about the first season of the show, how glorious it was (Editor’s note: See Issue 40), and how we were eagerly anticipating the second season. In the two years between airings, we dissected everything about the show and the implications for the future of the MCU. We lauded Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of the mainstay villain and his redemption arc turning him into the antihero we always knew him to be. But, we had questions about where it was going to go and how it would look once we got here. And now we’re here. And it is glorious.

Season 2 picks up where we last left off with Loki tumbling back into the TVA and realizing he’s somewhere … different. One of the questions we had in the Season 1 finale was, where or when is Loki? It was a big twist that we felt had huge implications with its answer. We were correct, because given that it’s a show about time, immediately answering that it’s when that’s important here sets the tone for the entirety of Season 2. You’re going to go on a fantastic journey through space and time, mostly focused on the branching of time and weaving of time. Most importantly, we get origin stories for our now-beloved characters and a more coherent understanding of the multiverse and variants.

The best part of all of this is Hiddleston and the surrounding cast. We’re always impressed with the way Hiddleston gives us glimpses into Loki’s being and then blows us away with a quiet moment that no one sees coming. His depth and skill at playing this character after 12 years is outstanding and further cements the fact that he is the best part of it all, even now. His surrounding cast is also impressive.

Owen Wilson – who has quietly and consistently crept into the conversation of meaty range and depth over the years – absolutely shines here as Mobius. His performance makes it feel as if he’s always been part of the crew of Marvel, and we hope there is more Mobius to go around in the future.

Sophia Di Martino is another standout, and we need to go on record for a minute to talk about her chemistry with Hiddleston. She knocks it out of the park in every scene – with special mention for episode 5’s record store scene – and they are phenomenal together in every scene this season. The growth that both actors put into who could be one-dimensional characters is obvious and we love to see it.

Jonathan Majors continues to be fantastic in his portrayal of Kang and his variants, with us noting that he effortlessly showed us different versions of the same man in a million different ways. He is to be lauded and we await the outcome of his off-screen troubles because it has major implications for where Kang will go and become.

Wunmi Mosaku as B-15 continues to be fantastic as well. We have learned to look to her measured portrayal as the voice of reason in an otherwise chaotic show and she does it with a ton of aplomb and stoic reason. We’re looking for Mosaku in a lot of other things from now on.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw continues to delight as Ravonna Renslayer. Learning her motivations this season and watching her unravel in her quest to understand what the TVA was and is has been a joy. We don’t know where she’s going from here, but Mbatha-Raw is fun to watch.

And last but not least, series newcomer Ke Huy Quan has been absolutely fun to watch. He shows up in the first episode and makes an immediately favorable first impression, knocking our socks off with his quick-witted delivery and enthusiasm. He’s quickly become one of our favorite characters, and we hope OB hangs around to keep the TVA solid. He’s crucial and we’re glad to see him join our ragtag band of time jumpers.
Support characters Casey and Brad/X-5 are also fun additions, and we’re glad to see they were fleshed out just as much as the rest of the crew. And the call back from Casey’s not knowing what a fish was in the first episode of Season 1 versus his origin story mention in Season 2 was an especially nice touch.

Now that we know where Loki is going with its Season 2 finale – and how it ties into the future of the MCU, we’re sad and anxious because it means no more Loki. The story has been told and Loki has gained his glorious purpose, but he’s around. Will he be around for more story? It’s hard to tell, but what a ride it has been to get here with this review. Our MCU savior is apparently here. And glorious.

Acting: 10
Like the comics: 10
Production: 10

Total score: 30/30 or 10

We score the properties in three categories: Casting (or voice acting in cases of animated), plot and similarities to its source material. Each category receives points out of the maximum of 10 per category and 30 overall. The percentage is the final score.

Posted in Property review | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Property Review: Loki Season 2