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Previews & Reviews that are Z's Views

Norm Macdonald Takes Behind the Scenes for the SNL 40th Anniversary

Like millions of other viewers I enjoyed the recent Saturday Night Live anniversary special.  Like any series that spans 40 years, SNL has had its ups and downs.

Truth be told, I haven’t watched SNL regularly for years… more like decades.  But I sure tuned in to see the special.

My favorite parts were the scenes from the first years with the original cast and Celebrity Jeopardy, but even the stuff that wasn’t great was enjoyable.

Norm Macdonald sent out a series of tweets about preparations in the week leading up to the SNL 40th Special and they’re entertaining and informative.  Thankfully the Gothamist pulled them all together for an easy read.

Z-View: The Martian by Andy Weir

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir

 The Martian by Andy Weir is one of the most unique and enjoyable novels that I’ve read in years. Weir’s stranded [on Mars!] astronaut, Mark Watney, is intelligent, witty, and just enough of a wise guy.

I loved how real science was used. I loved how Weir widened the scope of the story to include not only the people on Earth [who’ve learned of Watney’s plight] but also the only astronauts in a position to attempt a rescue.

Remembering Leonard Nimoy – RIP

Leonard Nimoy died today at the age of 83 from the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Although best known for his role as Spock [which spanned the Star Trek  tv and movie series], Leonard Nimoy was not only an actor, but also a director, author, and photographer.

Had Mr. Nimoy only been known for his role as Spock, that would have been enough to merit a post in my blog. Spock as played by Leonard Nimoy was one of my first and longest-lasting heroes. I wasn’t alone in that thinking. I was able to convince my mom to let me have a Spock haircut, but thankfully, she drew the line when I asked for my ears to be made pointed.

After the original Star Trek  series went off the air I continued to be a Leonard Nimoy fan enjoying his performances on new television shows and movies, and discovering his past performances in both media as well.

It’s cliché but true for many baby-boomers when we lost Leonard Nimoy, we also lost a big piece of our childhood.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Leonard Nimoy’s family, friends and fans.

Z-View: Bravo by Greg Rucka

BravoBravo by Greg Rucka

I’m a huge fan of Greg Rucka. I really enjoyed Alpha and was hoping that Bravo would be as good or better. Alpha was an action-packed page turner and I was expecting more of the same.

Rucka shifted gears and created more of a psychological thriller with Bravo. It was slow-going for me. I kept waiting for the action.

Hate to rate Rucka’s work so low because he’s always been an author that greatly entertained… but Bravo just didn’t work for me. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Z-View – Red: Eyes Only by Cully Hamner

Red: Eyes Only is part of a one-shot published by Wildstorm Comics.

Writer: Cully Hamner
Artist: Cully Hamner
Colorist: Val Staples
Cover Artist: Cully Hamner


Cully Hamner writes and draws the prequel to the Red mini-series that he co-created with Warren Ellis.

*** Beware – spoilers may be found below ***

The Good:

  • Cully Hamner on the art and writing!
  • Nice misdirection on page 2.
  • Wanting to get out of “the business.”
  • Silent but deadly page… when Paul Moses comes calling.
  • The final line of the comic has a great payoff.

The Bad:

  • Disowned by family because “You’re a murderer.”
  • Finding out that getting out isn’t easy.
  • “You’ll be assassinated, sir.  Today.”
  • “I have information!”
  • “What…what… my God… What did I just do?”

The Ugly:

  • Trapped in a moving elevator with an assassin.
  • Thinking you always had a choice but finding out you were wrong.

Red: Eyes Only

Rating: 4 out of 5

Z-View – Criminal Macabre / The 30 Days of Night: Final Night #4 by Niles and Mitten

Criminal Macabre / The 30 Days of Night: Final Night #4 is part of a four issue mini-series published by Dark Horse Comics / IDW Publishing.

Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Christopher Mitten
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Cover Artist: Justin Erickson


With Alice Blood in Eben’s hands, Cal will do anything—including using voodoo—to help fight the vampires. But that might not be enough as the ghouls and the vampires clash in an all-out brawl to the death—with Cal and Eben smack dab in the center.

Will it be Cal or Eben who survives?

*** Beware – spoilers may be found below ***

The Good:

  • Steve Niles and Christopher Mitten are worth the price of admission.
  • “So he needs… What, brains?”  “What good would that do, Officer?”  “I don’t know I’m just trying to keep up here.”
  • The body language of the detective willing to give some of his blood to [hopefully] save Cal.
  • “Never felt better.”
  • “What are you doing? Let me stop him.”  “No… we stay.”

The Bad:

  • “Blargh!”
  • “Not enough.”
  • “Enough talk!  ATTAAAACK!”
  • “They’ll be back.”

The Ugly:

  • The Ugly starts on page one: “I’m right Fl–ere…”
  • The Ghoul, er, bloodbath.
  • Vampire attacking the fine folks on Sunset Blvd.
  • SHRIP on page 18.

Criminal Macabre / The 30 Days of Night: Final Night #4

Rating: 4 out of 5

The “John Wick” Kill Counter

One of my favorite movies last year [and one of the best action movies in years] was John Wick.  Until I checked out The John Wick Kill Counter video below, I didn’t realize how many people he killed.  Ouch.

WARNING: This video contains major spoilers for the film John Wick and is rated R for  language and “crazy gun fu violence.”

Z-View – Criminal Macabre / The 30 Days of Night: Final Night #3 by Niles and Mitten

Criminal Macabre / The 30 Days of Night: Final Night #3 is part of a four issue mini-series published by Dark Horse Comics / IDW Publishing.

Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Christopher Mitten
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Cover Artist: Justin Erickson


Eben Olemaun is on the hunt and he’ll rip both human and vampire limb from limb to get to the person who took everything from him—Federal Agent Alice Blood. Can Cal fight off the hordes of new vampires in time to save her?

*** Beware – spoilers may be found below ***

The Good:

  • Steve Niles and Christopher Mitten are worth the price of admission.
  • Cal’s bravado at having to fight vampires… “Yeah, well I’ve yet to meet a vampire that wasn’t a whiny little – ”  BOOM!
  • “It can’t end like this.”
  • “You’re all going to die.”

The Bad:

  • Page 2: “Sweet Christ” indeed.
  • The “Blarrgh!” continues.
  • “The future of the ghouls is very bleak indeed.”
  • “You should have done more research, vampire…Fire can kill us… but it is not very fast.”
  • “I think turning you would be much better than death.”
  • “Where’s Cal?”

The Ugly:

  • What happens when you don’t tell Eben what he wants to know.
  • What Eben does to Cal three times on page 18.
  • Page 21.
  • Mo’ Lock losing it on the vampires.

Criminal Macabre / The 30 Days of Night: Final Night #3

Rating: 4 out of 5

“Pitch Black” and the Unexpected Genius of Vin Diesel

One of my all-time favorite movie characters is Riddick played by Vin Diesel in Pitch Black The Chronicles of Riddick  and Riddick.

It was in Pitch Black  that Diesel [along with writer/director David Twohy] laid the foundation for what Adam Bellotto summarizes as Pitch Black and the Unexpected Genius of Vin Diesel for Film School Rejects.

Well done, Mr. Bellotto.  Well done.

Z-View – Criminal Macabre / The 30 Days of Night: Final Night #2 by Niles and Mitten

Criminal Macabre / The 30 Days of Night: Final Night #2 is part of a four issue mini-series published by Dark Horse Comics / IDW Publishing.

Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Christopher Mitten
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Cover Artist: Justin Erickson


Cal has always wanted the Feds to focus on vampires, and now they are, one in particular—Eben Olemaun, now on a quest to bring mankind to its knees. But the FBI is up to more than tracking down Eben. Will Cal and Alice figure it out before it kills them both?

*** Beware – spoilers may be found below ***

The Good:

  • Steve Niles and Christopher Mitten are worth the price of admission.
  • “Bad time?”  “Always.”
  • “What are you smiling about?”  “Stuff.”

The Bad:

  • The “Blaarggh!” continues.
  • What happens when you tell Eben “There is no coming back.”
  • SCRAATCH SCRATCH “Something on the roof.”

The Ugly:

  • What happens to Unit 14 on page 2.
  • The effect Mo’ Lock has on people.  “Gah!”
  • The last page of the issue.

Criminal Macabre / The 30 Days of Night: Final Night #2

Rating: 4 out of 5