The Alpha Male Recommends Alphas

A column article, Busted Knuckles by: Beau Smith

When it comes to the current television landscape, we are no longer in the paradise of 24 and Lost. The pickings are a bit slim, and like current comics books, we all must really fine tune our hunting skills to find some good entertainment.

I always feel that I must do my part in trying to find good things to recommend for my regular Knuckleheads that read this column. It's the least I can do in return for your eyeball time and for buying my comic books. (I KNOW you buy them ALL.)

Recently I found a TV series that I wanted to make you aware of, it's on the SyFy Channel and it's called Alphas.

Alphas is everything that the now cancelled NBC series Heroes should've been, namely entertaining. There's not a lot of wasted time with angst and bad comic book writing on Alphas. It's like a choice piece of lean steak: it tastes great, is healthier for you and goes great with a beer.


David Stratharin: He has always been one of my favorite character actors, the man can make any role his own. Here he plays Dr. Lee Rosen, who for you comic book reader, is the Professor X of this well put together group of people with special abilities that the government has enlisted to fight very special and abnormal crimes that involve other Alphas. Stratharin anchors scene with textbook acting greatness. Every small move and mannerism he gives the character means something and pays off.

Malik Yoba: Plays Bill Harken, an FBI agent with field experience and know how, he also has super strength, speed a family and a stickler for procedure. His use of his "Flight or Fight" powers are good for short bursts and are followed by extreme exhaustion.

Azita Ghanizada: Plays Rachel Pirzad, a stunning young woman who can heighten her senses one at a time, making her other senses take the back seat while she does. She has troubles at home, but not the kind of stereotype family problems you usually see on TV. Her abilities are like Daredevil, if he could use his only one sense at a time.

Laura Mennell: Plays Nina Theroux. She can bend other people's will to her own. On the show that ability is called "pushing". I'll be honest with you: she could do that to me without having any special abilities. She's a classy knockout. I'm not sure if there is any downside to her power yet, as they have yet to expose that.

Ryan Cartwright: Plays Gary Bell. He's is one of my favorite characters on the show. Gary is autistic and can process and read all forms of digital/electronic information out of thin air. The SFX of him doing it , as with the rest of the cast's abilities, is well done and it's refreshing to have TV represent Gary's autistic role respectfully with smarts and wit.

Warren Christie: Plays Cameron Hicks. Hicks also has some very cool abilities where he can figure out motion, balance and perspective to an incredible degree if his emotions are in the right mood. He also has some military background and makes for some very entertaining action scenes.

Please know that Alphas has a true sense of "family" to it, much like the X-Men and the Fantastic Four did when they began,. This really adds to you, the viewer's liking and has you caring about these characters. It's a huge point because we have seen other TV shows where this is forced and it just ruins a series. On this show the family mood feels real and never forced.

In my opinion, Alphas is like the ABC series Lost in the fact that it has perfect casting. After watching three episodes I think you'll agree with me. The use of dialogue is really smart and used with subtle genius. The conversations are so everyday real, and the overlap of talk is like an old Popeye cartoon - where if you don't listen close to what is said or mentioned under their breath, you'll miss some magic moments. There's some really great screenwriting used here.

The villains can more than go toe to toe with the heroes here. The mystery and suspense is edge of your seat stuff, there is also a bigger story building behind the government and it's plans for all Alphas. The government handlers for the Alphas are just as interesting and compelling as the Alphas.

The show runs on Monday nights at 10 p.m. Make sure you catch it. Save me a spot on the couch.



Manly Recommendation of the Week: Daredevil #1
Marvel Comics
On Sale Now
Written by Mark Waid
Art by Paolo & Joe Rivera
Colors by Javier Rodriguez

For far too long Daredevil has been the Law and Order (TV series) of comic books. By that I mean it's been dark, depressing and ugly. Daredevil's sense of humor was crushed, his supporting characters doomed or dead, and his array of villains wasting away in a twisted landscape. This is one of those rare cases where a character I grew up with came back to being the character I loved. I've mentioned before here in Busted Knuckles that so many readers keep buying (not reading) a certain title because they think (wish) the character they once knew would come back. To my knowledge, they never have - until now.

Daredevil #1 marks the return of the bold, brash, fun Daredevil - the likeable Daredevil! Don't get me wrong, I appreciate and enjoy what Frank Miller did with Daredevil. What I didn't enjoy were the 20 years afterwards of everyone else trying to out-dark what Miller had done. Now we have Mark Waid writing the book. Waid truly "gets" what Daredevil is about and goes forth to make Matt Murdock/Daredevil a character that you know and care about again. Best of all, Waid makes you LIKE the character.

Within one issue, Waid makes you like Daredevil; brings back old bad guy The Spot; makes The Spot a threat worthy of his powers; and makes conversations between Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson worth reading. If ever you wanted to jump on or back on a comic book series, then this is it. The art by Paolo & Joe Rivera suits the story perfectly. The storytelling is top notch and the colors of Javier Rodriguez enhances the art and doesn't muddy it up like so many others do in comics now. This book is a treat and well worth the $3.99 cover price - another rare thing these days. Buy this one and enjoy!




He Was the Influence Of Many—Milton Caniff!

Do you love comics? Do you love great storytelling and even greater art? If so, then you MUST check out CANIFF: A Visual Biography from he Library of American Comics/IDW Publishing .

It doesn't matter what age you are: Caniff's work such as Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon needs to be seen by your eyeballs. Caniff was the influence for so many of comic book's greatest artists such as John Romita, Sr., Don Heck, Jack Kirby and so many more. Caniff helped make so many artists become incredible storytellers and this book shows you why. I highly suggest you check out this book as well as Caniff's Terry and the Pirates from the Library of American Comics and IDW Publishing. Their books are beautiful books that will be part of your personal library for a lifetime.




Busted Knuckles Babe of the Week: Azita Ghanizada

Since I suggested the SyFy Channel's Alphas this week, I figured that I might as well make it a theme kinda thing and give you Azita Ghanizada as the Busted Knuckles Babe of the Week while I was at it, she certainly earns it for her talents and her great looks.

Azitia was born in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1979 and came here with her family when the Soviet Union made things a little rough in her native country. It didn't take long for Hollywood to find her and soon enough Azita was finding acting roles in TV and films such as NCIS Los Angeles, Castle, Entourage, How I Met Your Mother and Veronica Mars. She is currently starring in Alphas on SyFy and has helped make it one of my favorite TV shows. I figure that's good enough reason for you to check her out.




Busted Knuckles Manly Cover of the Week: Man's Life
Cover Painting by Will Hulsey

Okay, so this week's Manly Cover isn't a comic book cover… no big deal. Sometimes you've gotta pay tribute to the men that REALLY knew how to illustrate true testosterone. Painter Will Hulsey is one of those men.

Hulsey was most noted for doing men's pulp magazines in the '50s who loved the "animals attack" theme. This one with the snapping turtles was always one of my personal favorites. I hope you like it as well. Next time you're at a garage or estate sale, make sure you check out the box with old men's pulp magazines in them and find yourself some covers worth framing.




The Roundup

In an earlier installment of Busted Knuckles, I shared with you regular Knuckleheads the fact that since this spring, the Flying Fist Ranch had been under attack….by the original Angry Birds….female Cardinals. That's right: female cardinals, never the males. These birds were head-butting my office windows as well as my bedroom windows. It wasn't so bad at first – in fact it was almost entertaining - until they started doing it at 6 am every morning. I do a lot of my work late at night and don't usually get up until 7:30 a.m. or 8:00 - that's early enough for me - but these birds didn't care, they were out to ruin my BEAUty sleep.

You may ask why a man that owns the arsenal that I do, didn't just blast them. Well, here in West Virginia, the state bird is the cardinal, so being a true West Virginian, that wasn't gonna happen. I asked around to my friends and family to see if they had ever had this problem; none of them had the "pleasure". I was starting to figure it was a plot perpetrated by one of my many enemies jealous of the fact that I enjoyed the sleep of the innocent.

One evening I was at a local gun shop checking things out and in the course of the conversation with the gun dealer I told him of my plight. He smiled and said he had just the thing. I thought he was gonna show me a 10 gauge shotgun, but nope, he showed me these big, black, fake crows.

He said if I posted these crows on my property, the cardinals would soon find another place for their pissed off pecking. At this point, I was willing to try anything, so I bought a couple. Did they work?

Hell yeah!

The results came the very next morning, no cardinals, just peace and quiet. I posted one crow (Named "Crow Vader") on the fence outside our bedroom window and the other one ("Crow Magnon") outside on the fence of my office window. Since that day I haven't had one cardinal try and attack the Flying Fist Ranch. I've gotta say (and laugh) that the first time Beth pulled up the blinds of our bedroom window, she got quite the surprise when she saw this big, black crow starring her in the face. My dogs, Blue and Chubb, barked at the crows for about a week until they realized that these two birds were now a part of The Flying Fist Ranch security team. They liked having air support.

I thought I'd share this with you in case you ever had a problem with angry birds. It sure worked for me. Makes me wonder if they make fake condors. Wouldn't that look impressive on my fence?

Your feathered amigo,

Beau Smith
The Flying Fist Ranch

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