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Friday, October 16, 2020

Comic Cuts - 16 October 2020

I managed to upload some more comics to eBay over the weekend, which  went live on Sunday evening. Sales have been going pretty well, and I'm hopeful that there will be a couple of fans of the old Dracula Lives who want to bid on my broken run of, I think, fifty-four issues out of eighty-seven issues. I managed to misplace a couple of issues, including the first issue, which I've now tracked down, so that will probably go up this weekend.

I haven't included much news on the magazine of late for the simple reason that there hasn't been much. I'm still working on articles, but I think I made a reasonably big breakthrough this week, and I may have the final main article in place (actually replacing something that I thought I might have to run this time, but which I'll now hold over to issue two so that I have more time to work on it).

Next step will be rewrites of my own material, a bit more subbing on other folks' contributions, and start doing some layouts so that I have some idea of how many pages have been filled and what I still need to do. There are a couple of short filler pieces that I may have to write, but most of the longer pieces are done. I still need to get some of the artwork sorted out, but even that's starting to come together.

Although I haven't set myself a strict timescale to get things done, I'd have to say that the magazine is reasonably on schedule. I knew there would be bumps in the road — I had to stop dead in my tracks last Friday to sort out my accounts, for instance — but I'm happy with the way it's coming together.

As always, our review this week has spoilers, so if that kind of thing annoys you, jump to the end.

After a couple of disappointing shows watched over the past few weeks, I'm pleased to say that I've hit a seam of good TV. First up was Hanna, the second season of the spin-off from the 2011 movie. I went into the first season as a fan of the film and nervous that it wouldn't be able to live up to my expectations. Thankfully, the series didn't simply mirror the film, but expanded upon it by developing the background and taking it off into a new direction;  having David Farr, one of the film's screenwriters so heavily involved in the TV series has meant it has stayed true to the tone of the movie without being trapped within its confines.

Season one explored the basics: Hanna has been raised by Erik Heller (Joel Kinnaman), who took her as a baby from a facility where young girls were trained as assassins. Trained in isolation in a forest, Hanna (Esme Creed-Miles) tries to learn more about the world beyond her immediate environment; unfortunately, this attracts the attention of CIA operative Marissa Wiegler (Mireille Enos). Separated from her (adoptive) father, Hanna learns that Erik isn't her father; reunited after he has been captured and tortured, Erik reveals that she was part of a programme run by UTRAX. Making their way to the Rumanian facility, they try to rescue the trainees but Erik is killed.

That's where season two picks up. Hanna manages to rescue one of the trainees, Clara, and they are hiding out in the forest. Meanwhile, the other trainees are removed to a new facility in Scotland where they are assigned new identities and backgrounds. Clara, meanwhile, is fooled into thinking she has contacted her mother it is actually Marissa and is recaptured in Bucharest. Hanna, following Clara, is reunited with Marissa and they escape to Paris.

Hanna is determined to track down and save Clara, which she eventually does. Clara, now believing her mother dead, has succumbed somewhat to her new surroundings and freedoms of the Meadows, and Hanna is captured. She, too, appears to accept her role as an assassin for UTRAX.

It's a season where both Marissa (now on the side of the angels) and Hanna are attempting to rescue someone (Hanna and Clara respectively) who doesn't feel the need to be saved. It means that their trust is betrayed more than once but the plot requires they try, try, try again. Without taking away from the actors cast as Hanna, Clara or the UTRAX students, the season belongs to Mireille Enos as beaten and bloodied Marissa, coolly and dangerously trying to rescue Hanna and right wrongs that she, in her shady past, has been partly responsible for.

Thankfully, the battle will continue into a third season. A bit like the Jason Bourne movies, there is bound to be another layer of deceit that needs to be uncovered surrounding the UTRAX programme. It's a series that could run and run, and I'll be happy to see it do so.

The second show I've only just started, so you'll have to wait until next week to find out if it kept up the promise of the opening episodes.

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