Sunday, December 31, 2017

Random Thoughts #47 - "2017... Need I Say More?"

Wow, it looks like both franchises have another thing in common: ticking off longtime fans.

Well, it's the last post of the year. I could say "good riddance" to 2017, but that would be a lie. Yeah, it wasn't perfect, but there was good in this year. Right now, I'm on break from work. I've been catching on some things I haven't done yet, resting, contemplating life, and freezing. Yeah, the South is definitely getting hit with winter! So, join me in another edition of Random Thoughts.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Random Episode - Batman: The Animated Series - Christmas with the Joker"

Since it is Christmas and Santa hasn’t busted down the door yet, I thought I’d talk about an episode from Batman: The Animated Series. I didn’t watch too many episodes in my youth. Today’s episode, “Christmas with the Joker,” was one of the few I saw… sort of. The cassette skips to the end in the last act. All I knew for a while was that the day was saved. It’s the 38th episode of an already long season and we got Mark Hamill back as the Joker. It’s a good thing he’s getting work these days with the Last Jedi out in theaters. So, sit back as I try to, once again, rhyme this sucka!

Bruce: What's with you, Dick? First, it was "Poison Ivy's Pillow Party" and now this! I'm restricting your Comcast purchases!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Favorites - Favorite Soundtracks from Video Games

You know, there is one thing I haven’t talked about here in a while: music. I guess it got lost in the shuffle of comics, books, movies, and TV. Heck, I’m still not letting go of a couple of those things in the next couple of posts. I started to wonder about my favorite movie scores and started to run into blanks. I got them, but I really couldn’t call up many except for a few. Then, a lot of the ones I could think of are from the same dudes.

Then, I began to wonder about my favorite musical scores from video games. I shockingly had more luck there. Music is one thing that helps enhance gameplaying. It can help you get hyped up at the big moments and it can make you pretty annoyed at the low moments. I can’t count how many times I heard Saren’s theme when I died in the first Mass Effect. So, here are my ten favorite musical scores from video games. It’s not completely in order, but I do have the best up front.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Weird Star Trek Episodes - Sub Rosa aka "The Ghost and Doctor Crusher"

Uh... I think we need an adult! Also, fetch Father McFluggal at the local shire!

Since another Star Wars movie is out this weekend, I thought it was time to go somewhere else. I barely talked about any Star Trek this year, so this seems like a nice time to do it. Unfortunately, it's this episode. This is from Season 7 of TNG, a nice but kind of mixed season. It's not bad but compared to the other previous seasons, it's a litle subpar. I've been listening to Mission Log, a Star Trek podcast, and they're currently going through it. They touched this episode recently, so I decided to do a rewatch of my own.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Trade Tales! - Star Wars: Legacy Vol. 1 - Broken

I didn’t realize that I haven’t talked about Star Wars in a while. Since I’ve touched on the movies and most of the TV shows, I haven’t felt the need to. So, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is coming out this week. I’m “whelmed” for the most part since I know it could be good. I may be overwhelmed with joy when I see it. I’m not talking about that today, though. Tonight, I thought it was finally time to talk about another continuation of the Star Wars saga: Star Wars – Legacy.

Star Wars: Legacy was a new series published by Dark Horse and it started in 2006. It was a part of the now-defunct Expanded Universe, aka “Legends.” The idea was to basically pull a Next Generation move on the universe. The series takes place over 120 years after the end of Return of the Jedi. It also included all of the stuff that happened with the New Jedi Order and the Yuzhon Vong… whoever those guys are. Yeah, I’m not a big expert on many things from the former Expanded Universe, so check out Wookiepedia for more info.

The first volume was Broken and it contained the first six issues of the series. I picked this up a few years ago and did consider talking about it here. The story was done by John Ostrander and Jan Duursema. Ostrander was the main reason I even checked this out since I really liked his run on Suicide Squad. Duursema also handled the pencils for the issue. Dan Parsons did the inks while Brad Anderson did the colors. So, how is the Star Wars universe 100 years after Galactic Empire fell? It’s the same stuff, yo!

Star Wars: Legacy Volume 1 – Legacy
Story: John Ostrander and Jan Duursema
Pencils: Jan Durrsema
Inks: Dan Parsons
Colors: Brad Anderson
Letters: David Michael Thomas

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Movie Talk - Justice League

Well, it’s time. The movie that everyone has been wondering about has finally hit theaters. Like other movies, the reaction has been polarizing. I gotta say, I was even shocked. I mean, when I saw Denzel Washington cosplaying as Norbit, my hopes for Roman J. Israel Esq. were dashed, man! I… Hold up. Wasn’t there another recent movie that polarized the populace? Oh yeah… Justice League!

For those who have probably living under a rock, Justice League was released in theaters a couple of weeks ago. Since its release, it’s been… weird. With all of the rumors and behind-the-scenes news, I don’t even knew what we were expecting to get. I saw the movie the weekend it was released. I even made through the whole thing and I prepared for that. I can really use that “my body is ready” meme. I did consider seeing it a second time but I’ll hold off for now. Besides, I haven’t even seen Thor: Fraggle Rock yet! Maybe I could rope someone in to see it again with, but I bet she’ll want to see something else.

Justice League is pretty much about the formation of the team. After Superman’s death, Batman assembles an assortment of heroes to battle a world-ending threat. If you’ve seen my reviews for Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman, you may know the drill. I thought this was a good movie for the most part. All the members of the League rocked in my opinion. The action was nice, most of the effects were good, a lot of the humor worked, and the story was serviceable. It does have its glaring problems, but at the end, I can say I liked this one. So, if you want a more detailed look, scroll on down.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"It's a Video Game!" - Injustice 2

Who knew an alternate universe where Superman crosses the line and becomes a dictator would be an actual thing these days? Yeah, it’s shown up in comics before, but you rarely saw it in other media. In 2013, Netherrealm Studios decided to take the leap in ticking off Superman fans around the world with Injustice: Gods Among Us. It takes place in an alternate universe where the Joker killed Lois, their unborn child, and all of Metropolis by tricking Superman. Superman then killed Joker and decided to take a tougher approach against evil. He and other heroes formed the Regime and basically took over the world. It took that world’s heroes (led by Batman) and the regular universe’s heroes (including a good Superman) to stop the Superman’s Regime.

Since the game and the digital series were successes, a sequel was likely to come. While I’m not into fighting games like I used to be, this was one I knew I’d throw out some money for. Injustice 2 was released during May of 2017. It takes place a few years after the events of the last game. The world is still trying to get back to normal after Superman’s regime fell. Unfortunately, the peace is interrupted when Brainiac and Gorilla Grodd’s group, the Society, threaten the world. Batman and the heroes must do what they can to save the day. That may also include releasing Superman from his red sun prison and teaming up with former friends-turned-enemies.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Movie Talk - Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman

Before I get to Justice League, I wanted to make this important pit stop. Here are the other DCEU movies: Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman. I got to see both of these in theaters when they were released. I thought I’d hold off getting to them until now. Since I wanted to see these again, I was able to find them both for pretty decent prices. That definitely came in handy with Suicide Squad since… well, that would be spoiling, wouldn’t it?

Friday, November 24, 2017

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Justice League International #13 and Suicide Squad #13

So, what would you think a fight between the Justice League and the Suicide Squad would look like? If you thought it’d involve Harley Quinn trying to ram Wonder Woman with a motorcycle, you’d be correct. While that recent crossover was actually pretty good, that’s not the subject of today. The League and the Squad did square down before but it was less world-ending. In the late 1980’s, both teams were revamped after the crossover event, Legends. John Ostrander went gritty with the Suicide Squad while the team of Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire brought the laughs with Justice League International.

The two teams eventually had a little crossover with their books. They are Justice League International #13 and Suicide Squad #13. I first ran across this in the JLI Omnibus years ago before I eventually found the single issues. JLI was written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis. Instead of Maguire on the art, Giffen also did the pencils while Al Gordon did the inks. As for Suicide Squad, John Ostrander was the writer. Luke McDonnell handled the pencils while Bob Lewis handled the inks.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Random Thoughts On... DC's Identity Crisis

Next up for the month is a bit of a controversial one. If you’ve ever heard of this story, you’ll know why. It’s going to get a little serious since this story deals with something a little too dark for some. Just letting you know.

In 2004, DC Comics released Identity Crisis, a seven-issue event. Like most Crisis events, it changed a lot about the landscape of DC for years to come. Unlike events such as Zero Hour and Crisis on Infinite Earths, it didn’t go all-cosmic with it. It’s pretty much a murder mystery set in the DC Universe. It’s also a miniseries that scooped up a lot of controversy as it was released throughout 2004. It was written by Brad Meltzer, a novelist who started to enter into comics. He had previously wrote on Green Arrow and apparently did so good there someone wanted him to helm an event. Ralph “Rags” Morales, a guy who’s worked on many DC books, handled the pencils while Michael Blair handled the inks.

I first ran into this event right at the end. I made my first hike to the Outer Limits on Memorial Blvd. during November, I think. By the way, there’s no way I’d do it now since they’ve moved since then. I also remember I was going to a party later that night. Anyway, I picked up a few issues like New Avengers #1 and Identity Crisis #7. I ended up reading it sometime later. Then… I ended up throwing it away. If you think it was because of that ending, I don’t think it was that. I don’t know if it got ruined or ripped. With how this event was regarded, I bet I wasn’t the only one who threw it away.
 While his interior work was fine, the late Michael Turner turned in great covers.

A couple of years later, I perused through the trade at the Waldenbooks in Cool Springs. Since then, I’ve read some of the tie-ins as well as what spun out of it. A few weeks ago, I saw it at McKay’s and finally decided to check this story out. It's a story that folk either like or hate. I’ve seen folk like Linkara tear this story a new one. On the other end the spectrum, I’ve heard the father/daughter team on the Relatively Geeky Network give it a fair but positive review. So, now that I’ve read it in full, where do I stand? By the way, “there be spoilers here, arrrr!!!”

Yeah, I’m hyping myself up for the darkness that’s about to come.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - JLA #10-15: Rock of Ages

Ah, that three/four day break from work/Nashville worked wonders. Yes, I wasn’t laying on my butt the whole time (my folks live on a farm), but you usually do that when you get a crown put on your tooth. Anyway, it’s time to get back into the swing of things. Some little indie movie called Justice League is coming out soon and I thought I’d look at a few things that feature the team. It’s not completely a themed month, but it’ll be a little DC-centered.

First up for the month is a return to Grant Morrison’s run on JLA. It’s even somewhat topical since it involves a Fourth World element. It’s “Rock of Ages” and it took place through JLA #11-15. At this point, the team had a bit of a change-up. Wonder Woman’s dead (don’t ask me, man), Superman’s in his electric phase, and we got a couple of new recruits in the form of Connor Hawke (Oliver Queen’s son) and Aztek. Morrison’s writes, Howard Porter draws (mostly) and John Dell inks. Porter does get a little help on the last issue from artists Greg Land and Gary Frank.

JLA #10-15: “Rock of Ages”
Writer: Grant Morrison
Pencils: Howard Porter, Greg Land (#15), and Gary Frank (#15)
Inks: John Dell
Colors: Pat Garrahy 
Separations: Heroic Age
Letters: Ken Lopez
Editors: Peter Tomasi, L.A. Williams, and Dan Raspler

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Movie Talk - The Universal Studios' Mummy Movies

Since we’re in the month of Halloween, I thought it was time to return to the Universal Monsters once again. This time, it’s the Monster with a preference for limping: the Mummy. By the way, I’m going old-school, so there will be no mention of the 2017 trainwreck with Tom Cruise. I still haven’t seen the movie yet but if I get that bored, it might be a watch. Unlike movies such as Dracula and Frankenstein, The Mummy was a bit of an original idea. It was influenced by the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb being found in Egypt. The rumors about curses befalling those who opened those tombs also played into crafting the movie.

I saw The Mummy long ago when it was available at Movie Gallery. As for the other movies, I actually didn’t see those until somewhat recently. When my sister got me and my dad the whole Universal Monster Collection, I pretty much went through the Mummy movies. They were pretty short movies, so it was pretty easy to do. I might have seen one of them as part of a marathon beforehand, but I’m not sure. I did know about them through those Crestwood books I used to pick up at the library. I re-watched them all for this post. There was another movie along with that collection that has Abbott and Costello in it, but I’ll skip it for today.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Favorites - 16 Characters Who Were Recast in Movies/TV

TV and movies can be a bit weird especially when they are serialized. One thing that is definitely a head-turner is when an actor replaces another actor in the same role. The thing that got me on this path was thinking about Harriett Winslow from Family Matters. I vividly remember Judyann Elder replacing the role that Jo Marie Payton had played for almost a decade. That’s just one I've noticed and I thought it was weird. I also saw it a lot on other shows too. Movies even go through this.

The reasons for actors replacing other actors can vary.  Some die during the role. Others get fired or just decide to quit. It can happen at the beginning, during production, or well on into the lifespan of the series. So, here are 16 characters who were recast for a show or movie series. I’ll even throw a game in this too. Hopefully, I can fit all that into a nice title for this post. I’ll only be doing shows and movies I’ve seen, so I’m sorry if I’m leaving your favorite one out. It’s also not in any order as well.

1. Vivian Banks (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) 
This is probably one of the most known recasts. Janet Hubert played Vivian on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for three years. From what I heard and read, she and Will Smith didn’t get along. She supposedly violated her contract (she was pregnant at the time) and got ousted. After that, Daphne Reid was brought in to play Vivian for the rest of the show’s run. She was actually the first Vivian I remember seeing since I didn’t watch the show until the fourth season. She even got to play the part for three years, so it sounds a little equal, you think?

As for which version I liked better, I have to go with Hubert on this one. She seemed to have more of a bite to her. She also kind of got more to do than Reid did. The episode where she decides to go back into dancing is one of her coolest moments. Reid’s Vivian seemed to be more in the background at times. Even though she didn’t much to do, I did like her and she had some good moments. Still, the first Vivian did it for me.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Random Thoughts On... Dynamite's Highlander Series

Outside of the movies and TV series, there isn’t much Highlander tie-in material out there. There are a couple of novels, some comic books, and a couple of video games (mostly cancelled ones), but that’s it. The creators have a tight leash on that property, don’t they? I can’t blame them, though. After all, it hasn’t been all good for the Highlander franchise. There's Highlander 2: the Quickening and other things to consider.

Around 2006, Dynamite Entertainment got the license to produce some Highlander comics. It was the 20th anniversary of the first movie and there was another movie (Highlander: The Source) in production. Dynamite had a main series and a couple of mini-series but I’m just looking at the main series. I did hear about this comic series some time ago. I even saw the covers for some issues, but I wasn’t that interested in checking them out. It was Highlander Re-Watched that “reignited the Quickening “within me. There was also the fact that the trades were pretty cheap. You can barely turn away something that’s potentially interesting and cheap.

The series lasted 13 issues (#0-#12) and lasted from 2006 to 2007. Since we have another MacLeod showing up with Connor, this takes place in the universe of the TV series. Continuity can get a little confusing with this franchise. Writer Brandon Jerwa wrote it all and Michael Avon Oeming was along for the first arc. They worked closely with David Abramowitz, the creative consultant from the series and the movies. The artwork varied with each storyline.  “The Coldest War” was done by Lee Moder. “New Year’s Eve,” a single issue, was done by Kevin Sharpe. Fabio Laguna handled the third storyline,”Dark Quickening.” The final arc, “Armageddon,” had artwork done by Carlos Rafael.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Random Thoughts #46 - "Dearly Beloved, We're Gathered Here Today To Get Through This Thing Called Life"

The Flash probably has the best super-move in most fighting games.

It's been a while since I've done one of these. I might make this a regular thing again and include some different things. So, before I go to bed after re-sorting books and watching documentaries, I think it's time for some Random Thoughts.

Teeth, Stop Bothering Me!
So far, life's been nice. It's life, so you know you'll get the good and bad. Work's good. God's been good. The family and friends have been nice too especially a certain redhead. More on that some other time. Anyway, my mouth has been the place to go for the last couple of months. First, I got a couple of fillings. Then, I had to get a root canal since a back tooth got infected. I haven't gotten the crown yet, though. I also have a couple of other fillings scheduled for later too. I'm not much of a talker, so I guess this is someone's way of get me to open my mouth more. "Ha ha," I sarcastically say.

"Stuff's Gettin' Weird, Yo!"
It has been a weird year. We've had a lot of weird stuff happen especially in the last few months. It's either a tragedy, something weird, something stupid, or something that's all three. No, I'm going to get too political here, but you might know who I'm talking about. Is it going to get better? I'm not sure. I'll keep praying it does get better. That being said, I'll continue to hone my horrid martial arts skills.

I think I'm going to make this a more recurring thing. I won't go too in detail since I'll talk about some of these later, though.
  • Get Out - I finally saw this some time ago. It was actually a pretty interesting movie that melded psychological horror, comedy, and racial commentary. I liked the main lead and I hope the director, Jordan Peele, gets to do more over time.
  • Logan - This was sad but in a good way. It takes Logan and Professor Xavier for one more ride in the X-Universe. The story and acting are great. I also liked the inclusion of X-23. While it's not perfect, it was a nice, somber end to Wolverine. 
  • Power Rangers - This was a nice surprise. While it is your standard origin story, it was pretty good. I liked all the new Rangers and Rita was pretty scary in a good way. While it isn't perfect, I thought it was a nice revamp of the original MMPR. I'll touch on this more later, though. Can we get a sequel?
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - I'll touch on this later as well, but all I'll say here is that it was pretty entertaining. It took a lot of the comedy from the first and tried to add some nice heart to it. It also had a pretty good, surprising villain. 
  • Wonder Woman - I'll go into detail with this next month, but I can say that this was pretty good. While it's a standard origin story for Diana and it's not perfect, it's a pretty good one.
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming - Before I say anything, insert something about Black Panther here. Anyway, I saw this on a date since that was probably the only way I would have seen it. I'll probably remember that day more for other stuff  (good stuff, mind you) than this movie. That being said, I liked it. It's not perfect, but it's the best Spidey movie we've gotten since 2004. Yeah, I said it. It's another I'll touch on more next year.
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - Yes, I just saw this in 2017 and I wish I saw it much earlier. I wanted to wait before I saw the third one. If you wondered what a better version of Battle for Planet of the Apes would look like, see Dawn and be amazed. I'll say more later, but what I can say is that it's an almost perfect movie.
  • Marvel's Inhumans - So... this was released on ABC and I've saw the first three episodes Friday. It's not good. While the casting looks fine, everything else is a bit crap. That's the best thing I can say about it for now. Maybe it'll get better with the next five episodes (it's only eight eps.) but I'm not holding my breath. 
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - I had to end this list on a positive note, so here's this awesome anime. It had good characters, great action, and pretty interesting story. Check this out even if you're not a fan of anime. 

Well, I'm outta here. I got to get sleep. Peace, God Bless, and be careful out there. I know there's a lot of crap out there, but try to find the good in life just as long as it isn't illegal in a majority of countries. As I said before, life brings the good and the bad. So, I'll leave you with a hint for November.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Favorites - Ten Favorite Superman Villains

Well, it’s been a busy month. I think I’ll take a small break after this. Now that I’ve looked at 20-ish villains of Superman’s, you know a list of my favorite ones is next, right? As I said before, Superman has more than Lex Luthor and those two other dudes. Some of them are alien powerhouses.Others were ordinary folk who got transformed into something horrible. Then, you have the ordinary guys who are intelligent, rich, or pretty screwed up in the head. Sometimes, those ordinary guys are all three. I’ve already said a lot on them, so I’ll be quick about it.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

TradeTales! - Superman: Up, Up, and Away

Well, I’ve finally gotten to the end of this themed month… at the beginning of October. That happens when one needs a root canal. This time, I think it’s time for a free-for-all. Instead of one villain taking Superman on, have an A-lister and bunches of B/C-listers take him on. There have been a few stories that have done that. Heck, they just did that recently in Action Comics. The one most think of is “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” Since I’ve already did that one, I found another that’ll do the trick. You might even recognize aspects of it from another Superman property: Superman Returns.

Superman: Up, Up, and Away was a crossover between Superman (#650-653) and Action Comics (#837-840). It was a part of One Year Later, an imitative that moved the DCU ahead a year. The missing year was covered in the maxi-series, 52. During that year, Clark was powerless ever since his fight with Superboy-Prime in Infinite Crisis.  The story was written by both Kurt Busiek and Geoff Johns. Pete Woods handles a majority of the art duties with Renato Guedes doing a couple of issues. So, if you want to see Superman Returns done better, keep reading.

Superman: Up, Up , and Away!
Writers: Kurt Busiek and Geoff Johns
Artists: Pete Woods and Renato Guedes
Colorists: Brad Anderson and Renato Guedes
Letters: Jare K. Fletcher, Nick J. Napolitano, and Rob Leigh

Saturday, September 30, 2017

TV Talk: Justice League - "War World"

Next up for the month is the Thanos/Darkseid rip-off himself: Mongul. Well, I think he is a Thanos/Darkseid rip-off. He was created by Len Wein and Jim Starlin, so maybe he’s an homage? Anyway, Mongul first appeared in DC Comics Present #27 (1980).  He was a former ruler who was ousted form his planet. He eventually became the ruler of an artificial planet called War World. He’s gone up against Superman and the Green Lantern Corps. While he helped Hank Henshaw destroy Coast City in “Reign of the Supermen,” he’s probably best remembered for the Alan Moore story, “For the Man Who Has Everything.”

The character has been featured in stuff like Young Justice and Justice League. “For The Man Who Has Everything” was even adapted into an episode for Justice League Unlimited. Instead of another comic, I’m going to talk about Mongul’s first appearance on Justice League. “War World” was a two-parter (episodes 12 and 13) and it was loosely based off on Superman’s gladiator days during the storyline, “Exile.”

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Action Comics #775

Next up for the month is a pretty underused villain who was first an anti-hero: Manchester Black. The character first appeared in today’s comic, Action Comics #775 (2001). He has both telekinetic and telepathic powers. He was a part of a team called The Elite, a team that was basically a rip-off of Wildstorm’s The Authority. They were pretty much the “no holds barred” superhero team that killed their villains and caused lots of damage. While he has been underused a lot, that hasn’t stopped him from appearing in more recent stuff.

Today’s issue was written by Joe Kelly. The pencils were provided by Doug Mahnke and Lee Bermejo. Then, we get to the inks which were split between six inkers. I’ll list them down below. This issue is listed by some to be one of Superman’s best issues. It even got adapted into a direct-to-DVD movie in 2008. So, let’s see Superman tackle a team that doesn’t follow the “no-kill” rule.

Action Comics #775
Writer: Joe Kelly
Pencils: Douge Mahnke and Lee Bermejo
Inks: Tom Nguyen, Dexter Vines, Jim Royal, Jose Marzan, Wade Con Grawbadger, and Wayne Faucher
Colors: Rod Schwager
Letters: Comicraft
Editors: Eddie Berganza and Tom Palmer, Jr.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Tales From the $2.99 Bin! - Superman #1-6: "Son of Superman"

Next up for the month is a character who’s been an ally and villain to Superman: The Eradicator. The Eradicator has a long history and has been revamped a few times in the comics, so I’m going to keep it simple. It started out as a Kryptonian device and it was created to preserve Krypton’s culture by any means. When Superman found it, it tried to brainwash him. Later, it created its own body and tried to make Earth into Krypton. It wasn’t until “Reign of the Supermen” where it started to become a hero. Since then, it’s been back and forth between ally and villain.

The version I’m talking about today, though, is the New 52/Rebirth version. In this era, the Eradicator was an android created by General Zod to capture law breakers and capture their life force. It first showed up in Supergirl and how it’s in the first arc of the new Superman series. To make the story short, the New 52 Superman died, so this Superman (a Pre-Flashpoint version from another Earth) took his place. It’d be tough to explain it especially since most of what I said is now irrelevant after “Superman Reborn.” All you gotta know for now is that this Superman is married to another Lois Lane and they have a son named Jonathan. They’re also going by “Smith” instead of “Kent.” Confused yet?

The first six issues of Superman had its story handled by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason. These two aren’t strangers to superheroes with kids since they worked on Batman and Robin a few years back. Patrick Gleason also provided pencils for most of the issues. The other pencils were handled by Jorge Jimenez and Doug Mahnke.

Superman #1-6
Story: Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
Pencils: Patrick Gleason (1, 2, 4, 6), Jorge Jimenez (3), and Doug Mahnke (5)
Inks: Mick Gray (1, 2, 4, 6), Jorge Jimenez (3), and Jamie Mendoza (5)
Colors: John Kalisz (1,2,4,6), Alejandro Sanchez (3), and Wil Quintana (5)
Letters: Rob Leigh
Editors: Eddie Berganza and Andrew Marino

Monday, September 25, 2017

TV Talk - Supergirl: "Livewire"

Next up for the month is a somewhat recent villain: Livewire. She was actually created for Superman: The Animated Series. I guess someone wanted to give Superman a couple of more female villains since he really doesn’t have that many. She did make her way over to the regular DC universe in Action Comics #835 (2006). She was known as Leslie Willis, a radio shock jock who hates Superman. During a thunderstorm, she was shocked and that changed her skin and gave her abilities over electricity. Since Superman was trying to save her, she blamed him for it and took to a life of crime.

I was going to look at her first appearance on STAS, but I thought I’d switch bases a bit. Livewire did briefly appear on Smallville, but really debuted on the CW’s Supergirl. She appeared in the fifth episode of the first season and was actually been a recurring villain on that show. Her origin is pretty much the same but it’s Supergirl instead of Superman.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

TV Talk - Superman: The Animated Series - "Feeding Time"

Next up for the month is one of the biggest leachers in the DC universe: The Parasite. The character first debuted in Action Comics #340 and has actually been different people. The person he’s probably most known as is Rudy Jones. Through some sort of accident, the character gains powers and turns into a purple beast. He has the ability to leach life energy from others. Not only can he leach energy, but he can also leach the powers and memories of people. Since the energy only last for so long, he's always searching for more power. He's basically an energy vampire and quite literally the “Purple People Eater.”

At some point during the Post-Crisis, he was a Firestorm villain but that changed later on when he got back under Superman’s trail. The character has shown up in a few places outside the comics. Today’s post is actually going to look at his first appearance on Superman: The Animated Series. The episode is called “Feeding Time” and it was the sixth episode of the series.

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Superman: The Man of Steel #56

Next up is one of the weirdest villains from Superman’s gallery: Mr. Mxyzptlk. He is an imp from the 5th Dimension (not these guys). He has the ability to warp reality to his own means. Every 90 days or so, he comes to play tricks on Superman and Metropolis.  He’s definitely one of Superman’s sillier villains but that can work to his favor. With the powers he has, he’s basically a god, so Superman has to find ways to trick the trickster. He’s also been revamped a bit over the years. Sometimes, he’s been annoying but a bit harmless. There have been times where’s he’s been straight-up scary, though. Luckily, this is one of the “fun” times.

Today’s issue is Superman: The Man of Steel #56. At this point, Lois and Clark were going through… issues. Since Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman pretty much dictated when the comic versions could get married, it was decided to have Lois break-up with Clark for a while. Louise Simonson wrote the issue. Jon Bogdanove handled the pencils and Dennis Janke handled the inks. So, what happens when an imp from the 5th Dimension finds out his favorite couple is having problems? Find out below!

Superman: The Man of Steel #56
Writer: Louise Simonson
Pencils: Jon Bogdanove
Inks: Dennis Janke
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Digital Chameleon
Editors: K.C. Carlson and Mike McAvennie

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Action Comics #785

Next up for the month is one that is definitely cooler than the Prankster: Bizarro. While the character has been revamped over the years, the main attributes are still the same. Bizarro is a “mirror image” of Superman whether he’s created by science or magic. He’s kind of in a gray area since he’s not a full-on villain. He can’t speak normally nor comprehend certain things, so he can sometime get led astray. He first appeared in Superboy #68 and has had the weird, pasty, monstrous look from the beginning. He's appeared just about everywhere  and even in live-action.

While he was around for a bit in the Pre-Crisis, he barely appeared in the Post-Crisis. I was going to originally look at the storyline, “Bizarro World,” from 1994, but I thought I’d move ahead to the 2000’s. Today’s issue is Action Comics #785 from 2002. This takes place sometime after the major event, “Our Worlds At War.” I haven’t caught up to this yet in my read yet, so my knowledge on this era is slim. Joe Kelly is the writer of the book. Pencils are handled by Duncan Rouleau. Inks are done by Marlo Alquiza. So, let’ see Clark deal with his other half and a few surprises.

Action Comics #785
Writer: Joe Kelly
Pencils: Duncan Rouleau
Inks: Marlo Alquiza
Colors: Moose Baumann
Letters: Comiccraft
Editors: Eddie Berganza and Tom Palmer, Jr.

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Superman #36

Remember when I said that the next villain would probably not too cool? Well, your mileage will vary on this next pick. Next up is the Prankster, another C-lister. His name in the comics is Oswald Loomis and he uses pranks to commit crimes. It’s all in the name with this guy. He first appeared in Action Comics #51 (1942) and has been around since then. He’s also one villain that’s appeared in other media. He appeared on a couple of episodes the older Superman cartoons, an episode from the 80’s Superman cartoon, and on Lois and Clark: the New Adventures of Superman.

Today’s issue won’t look at his first modern appearance. I actually don’t have that issue yet. Instead, it’ll be Superman #36. The writer and penciller for this issue is Jerry Ordway. Beforehand, Ordway was penciling Adventures of Superman with Marv Wolfman writing. After Wolfman left the book, Ordway became the writer as well. Eventually, he moved over to the Superman book while Dan Jurgens took Adventures. Dennis Janke was the inker.

Superman #36
Writer/Penciller: Jerry Ordway
Inks: Dennis Janke
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: John Constanza
Editors: Jon Peterson (associate) and Mike Carlin

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey

Today’s story is a bit of a triple feature. See, I got three major villains for this one but only really pose a threat. They are Doomsday, Darkseid, and Cyborg Superman (or Hank Hensahw). I might as well start off with the one who’s not the villain of the story: Darkseid. Darkseid first appeared in Forever People #1 (1970) and is probably one of DC’s best villains. He’s a New God and the despot of the planet, Apokalips. While he’s more of a general DC villain, he’s been most associated with Superman since his inception. In fact, Superman faced off against him a few times in the Post-Crisis, but this isn’t one of those stories. Outside the comics, we’ve seen him in animation and kind of in live action.

Here are the main threats of the story. Doomsday first appeared in Superman: the Man of Steel #18 (1992). He was an unknown alien threat that woke up, caused destruction, and killed Superman. Doomsday also died in that battle but he was last seen floating in space… and laughing. The person who put him there was Hank Henshaw, aka The Cyborg Superman. He first appeared in Adventures of Superman #466 and was basically a Fantastic Four homage that went terribly wrong. He has the power to control technology and has a hatred for Superman. He tried to sully Superman’s name by pretending to be him during “Reign of the Supermen.” We all know how that turned out. He’s also one of the villains who succeeded in destroying Coast City, the home of Hal Jordan.

Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey was pretty much the sequel to the storyline. Instead of occuring the main series, it was made into a 3-part miniseries. I can’t tell where it takes place with the time-wise but it’s definitely before Zero Hour. Dan Jurgens handled the writing and layouts. Brett Breeding handled the finishes. So, let’s see Superman go "all-Last Action Hero" on some baddies.

Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey
Story and Layouts: Dan Jurgens
Finished Art: Brett Breeding
Letters: Bill Oakley
Color Guides: Greg Wright

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - The Adventures of Superman #544

Next up for the month is actually an organization this time: Intergang. The Metropolis-based gang was first introduced in Superman’s Pal: Jimmy Olsen #133 (1970). Yes, Jimmy Olsen had his own book and it lasted that long. This was during Jack Kirby’s run with the series and it heavily tied into his Fourth World work. The group was led by Bruno Manheim and they used advanced technology to do their thing. They’d usually get their tech from Apokalips itself. They were a major threat during the post-Crisis run but they did disappear for a time.

Instead of being stuck in the late 80’s/early 90’s, it’s time to go ahead a few years. Today’s issue is The Adventures of Superman #544. It’s right after the wedding and right before Superman gets electric. More on “Superman 2: Electric Boogaloo” later. The issue is written by Karl Kesel. The pencils were handled by Stuart Immonen and the inks were done by Jose Marzan Jr. So, let’s see what happens when you combine a plot from a TV show with the comics.

The Adventures of Superman #544
Writer: Karl Kesel
Pencils: Stuart Immonen
Inks: Jose Marzan Jr.
Colors: Glenn Whitemore
Letters: Albert De Guzman
Seperations: Digital Chameleon
Editors: Joey Cava Mike McAvennie

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Trade Tales! - Superman: Earth One Volume 3

Next up for the month is one of the big ones: General Zod. To make a long story short, he’s powerful, likes black, and loves long walks on the beach that he himself created with all the destruction he caused. 

In all seriousness, Zod has been a go-to villain ever since his introduction in Adventure Comics #283. Whatever version of his story you follow, he’s always been a rogue general who rebelled on Krypton. For his punishment, he and his followers were sent to the Phantom Zone. There have been other Kryptonians locked in the Zone, but Zod is the mainstay for the franchise. The guy’s especially been an important role in the movies since he's one that can go toe-to-toe with Superman.

Today’s story is the 3rd volume to the Superman: Earth One series. I’ve covered the previous two volumes, so it’s time to finish it out. While the J. Michael Strazcynski-written series hasn’t been great, it has been an interesting re-telling of the Superman mythos. JMS is back at it with the story. Sandra Hope also returned to do the inking. This time, Shane Davis isn’t on the ride for the pencils. The penciling was being handled by Ardian Syaf, an artist who recently got himself into some trouble. That’s all I’ll say on that. So, what trouble has this version of Superman gotten himself into this time?

Superman: Earth One Volume 3
Writer: J. Michael Strazcynski
Pencils: Ardian Syaf
Inks: Sandra Hope
Colors: Barbara Ciardo
Letters: Rob Leigh

Friday, September 15, 2017

TV Talk - Superman: The Animated Series - "Fun and Games"

Next up for the month is Winslow Schott, aka Toyman. The character first appeared in comics in Action Comics #64 and has been a mainstay ever since. He’s also been revamped a number of times in the comics and even in other media. He even hasn’t been Schott. He’s usually been a disgruntled toy maker who wants revenge for losing his job or other things. Heck, Sherman Hemsley played a version of him on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Sueprman, so this character has been places. There’s even a heroic version of Toyman out there.

One thing that’s been interesting is that people have tried to darken the character over the years. One of the biggest changes was to make him into a straight-up nutjob when he killed Cat Grant’s son, Adam. I’ve heard that folk weren’t a fan of that change in the mid-90’s. I haven’t gotten to those issues yet in my re-read, so I can’t say what I think about it. I did think about looking at those issues, but I’m going somewhere else with the character. The character was revamped on Superman: The Animated Series, so that’s where I’m going with this one. Today’s post looks at “Fun and Games,” the fourth episode of the series.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Action Comics #647-649

Next up for the month is actually a double feature! I have two villains for this post and they are pretty well-known: Brainiac and Metallo. Since Metallo is less complex, I’ll talk about him first. Metallo was first introduced in Action Comics #252 as John Corben, a criminal. After a fatal accident, Professor Vale was able to save Corben's brain and put it into a robotic body with a heart of Kryptonite. After John died, his brother ended up taking the role until the reboot in 1986. Then, John Byrne brought the original idea back and gave it a more Terminator edge in Superman #1. At this point, Metallo was deactivated and under Lex Luthor’s possession.

Then, there’s Brainiac. Where do I even start? Ever since his first appearance in Action Comics #242, he's been revamped and retconned in just about everything. Let’s just go with the Coluan background here. There’s no need to mention the fact that he’s been a Kryptonian A.I. too. In this iteration, He was a scientist from Colu who was executed via teleportation. His consciousness ended up on Earth and found Milton Fine, a circus performer who had psychic powers. He took control of Fine and fought Superman a number of times until he ended up becoming catatonic. He also ended up being under the care of Lex Luthor.

Today’s story is “The Brainiac Trilogy” from Action Comics #647-649. At this point, Action Comics was back to being a main Superman book. Beforehand, it was weekly and being shared by multiple heroes. We haven’t gotten to the point where the Superman books were tying right into each other yet. Roger Stern was the writer. The artwork was done by George Perez, Kerry Gammill, and Brett Breeding. So, sit back and see how Brainiac got his groove back!

Action Comics #647-649
Writer: Roger Stern
Artwork: George Perez, Kerry Gammill, and Brett Breeding
Colors: Bill Oakley
Letters: Glenn Whitmore
Editors: Jon Peterson (associate) and Mike Carlin

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Tales From the $4.99 (eh) Bin! - Action Comics Annual #1

Next up for the month is a villain who is in the D-list: the Kryptonite Man Even though the Kryptonite Man is a mostly unused villain, he still has something that can knock Superman down to his knees. To give you a hint, it’s all in his name. The name has been passed around to different folk, but the effect is still the same: they are embowed with green kryptonite radiation.  The Kryptonite Man first appeared in Superboy #83 (1960) and has sparsely appeared since then. I think there were 3 versions in the Post-Crisis era and one of them was a weird clone of Superman. Since I’ll be spending some time in that era this month, I think it’s time for something more recent.

The Kryptonite Man made a return during Grant Morrison’s run on Action Comics. This time, he was Clay Ramsey, the infamous wifebeater that Superman threw around in his early days. Ramsey was a part of Vyndtyvx’s (Lord Vinnie) for Morrison’s run. Today’s issue is the annual from that run that featured the villain. Sholly Fisch, the backup writer on Action Comics, wrote the whole issue. Cully Hamner handled the artwork. There is a backup “written” by Max Landis with artwork by Ryan Sook at the back about the Atomic Skull. I’m not talking about the backup here but I can say is that it was alright if a bit brief.

Action Comics Annual #1
Writer: Sholly  Fisch
Artist: Cully Hamner
Colors: Val Staples
Letters: Steve Wands
Editors: Wil Moss and Matt Idelson

Monday, September 4, 2017

Tales From the $3.99 Bin! - Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds

Next up for the month is a more recent villain who was once a hero: Superboy-Prime. I’ve called this character by the name of “PRIME” here mostly because he ain’t worthy of the Superboy title and it gets tiring typing “Superboy-Prime” a lot. Plus, he’s actually pretty easy to make fun of. “I’ll Kill you to Death” was one phrase that was uttered from the poor, poor boy. The character first appeared in DC Comic Presents # 87 in 1985. He was from Earth-Prime which was supposed to be the “real” world of the DCU. He was a fanboy named Clark Kent who one day gained powers.

Afterwards, he went right into the action with Crisis on Infinite Earths where he, Alexander Luthor (Earth-3 version), and Superman (Earth-2 version) defeated the Anti-Monitor. He then went into limbo for 20 years only to be brought back as one of the villains for Infinite Crisis. After that, he appeared in the Sinestro Corps War as Superman-Prime since the name “Superboy” was being fought for in court. Finally, he appeared in Countdown to Final Crisis and the less said about that, the better. To make a long story short, it apparently sucked.

Today’s story is Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds. It sort of ties into Final Crisis. If you wondered where Superman was while the forces of Apokalips reigned on Earth, here you go. This story was also the continuation of re-introducing the original Legion of Superheroes into current continuity. It even served as a way to acknowledge the other rebooted Legion teams. Now that is one, long story that I won’t get into here. I also remember this mini being especially late when it was released. Geoff Johns, the pusher of that storyline, is the writer. Legendary artist George Perez is on the pencils and Scott Kolbish handles the inks.

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: George Perez
Inks: Scott Kolbish
Colors: Hi-Fi Design
Letters: Nick J. Napolitano
Editors: Eddie Berganza and Adam Schlagman

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Adventures of Superman #526

Next up for the month is another C-lister: Bloodsport. Before you say anything, they’re not connected to that awesome Jean-Claude Van Damme movie. See, there have actually been multiple versions of this character. The first version appeared in Superman #4 as Robert DuBois, a crazed veteran who went on a killing spree. The next one who appeared the most was Alex Trent, a white supremacist. He appeared around 1994. There was another one from around 2007 but we never learned anything about him.

Since someone wanted it, the first two versions had a meet-up. By the way, DuBois was black, so you know you’ll get some “special” talk from Trent. Adventures of Superman #526 was released in 1995. Karl Kesel was the writer. Instead of Stuart Immonen, we get treated with a guest penciller in Rodolfo DiMaggio. Klaus Janson also was a guest as the inker. So, what happens when two inmates go at it?

Adventures of Superman #526
Writer: Karl Kesel
Pencils: Rodolfo Dimagio
Inks: Klaus Janson

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Action Comics #595

Next up for the month is one of Superman’s lesser known villains: Silver Banshee. Superman only has a few female villains and she’s one of them. Banshee, aka Sibhohan McDougal, was part of an old Gaelic clan. When she had once delved into the world of dark magic, her soul was dragged to the Underworld. When she was sent back, she caused a lot of damage and some of that was in today’s issue. She’s only made a few appearances in the comics since then, though. She did make it to other DC properties like Justice League Unlimited and Smallville. The place where she’s probably remembered best is on Supergirl where she and Livewire took on both Supergirl and the Flash.

She was actually one of John Byrne’s creations, first appearing in today’s book, Action Comics #595. At this time, Action Comics had pretty much became “Superman Team-Up” since a hero would guest star in the book. Today’s hero is my favorite dude, “Name Withheld.” The issue was written and drawn by John Byrne who was also working on the main Superman book at this time. Inks were done by Keith Williams.

Action Comics #595
Writer/Pencils: John Byrne
Inks: Keith Williams
Colors: Tom Ziuko
Letters: John Constanza
Editor: Mike Carlin

Friday, September 1, 2017

Random Smallville Episode - Onyx

Don't lose your hand, Lex! Especially that one!

First up for the month is the criminal mastermind of our time: Lex Luthor. If there’s one villain you know will show up in one form or another, it’s Lex. The guy’s shown up in comics, TV, movies, and video games. Ever since his first appearance in Action Comics #23 (1940), he’s been the thorn in Superman’s boot. He’s been a mad genius, a powerful businessman, a self-proclaimed savior of the human race, and everything in between. He’s even been the good guy in some stories.

Today, I’ll take a turn at Albuquerque and look at an episode of Smallville. While Smallville wasn’t perfect, it had more pros than cons. One of them was Michael Rosenbaum’s Lex Luthor. While it didn’t completely work with his descent into evil, seeing him go bad was pretty interesting. Today’s episode will be “Onyx” from Season 4 or what Trentus Magnus calls “The Dreaded Fourth Season.” Season 4 was where it got a bit weird for the show and I’m not talking about Sam Winchester either. It wasn’t a horrible season, though. Still, it must be asked: is “Onyx” one of the bad ones?

Superman Month - Bring on the Villains

So, what have I done to myself this time? I was trying to come up with a certain theme for Superman Month. I’ve looked at origins, random stories, weird stories, and homages/rip-offs, so it’s time to look at the most important aspect of a Superman story: the villains. This month, I’ll be looking at stories that feature a villain from Superman’s rogues’ gallery. If you think it’s just Lex Luthor and couple of other blokes, you haven’t been reading much, have you? I'll try to include a lot.

The plan is to look at a story from the franchise.  I won’t just be sticking to the comics either. You’ll see that with my next post. I’ll also give some information and my thoughts on said villain. So, come on by during the month. You might find something interesting. I’ll even have Peach Tea that’s provided by Lex Luthor’s Tea division at Lexcorp. It might have a bitter taste, but you’ll feel it kick in with a boom!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Random Thoughts On... The Highlander Franchise

“From the dawn of time we came…moving silently down through the centuries. Living many secret lives, struggling to reach the time of the Gathering, when the few who remain will battle to the last. No one has ever known we were among you…..until now.”

This monologue from Sean Connery started off a franchise that was popular in its time: Highlander. Whether it was a good franchise is a matter of debate, though. A few months ago, I started to wonder if there was a podcast about the Highlander series out there. By the way, thank From Crisis To Crisis: A Superman Podcast for that. Every April Fool’s Day, they do a parody review of something else instead of a Superman comic book. This year, it was an episode from the Highlander TV show. It took some searching, but I found one by the name of Highlander Re-Watched. Since then, I’ve been catching up on all of their episodes about the series and movies.

For those who probably don’t know, Highlander was a 1986 movie about Connor MacLeod, a 16th century Scotsman born in the Highlands. He belongs to a race of Immortals who battle each other throughout time. When the battle is over, the loser gets beheaded and the winner gains their strength and essence through the Quickening. When the last Immortal on Earth is left, he or she will earn “The Prize,” something that is kind of vague.

The movie was pretty much a standalone, done-in-one thing since Connor wins the prize. Then, four movie sequels, two live-action TV shows, an animated TV show, an anime,  a few comic series, and a few (some cancelled) video games came. Since I’ve been a sword-faring mood (Renaissance Festival and Witcher 3 play), I thought I’d finally share my thoughts on the franchise as a whole.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Favorites - 11 Villainous Characters Gone Good

“Everyone loves a good redemption story.”

I don’t know who said the quote, but it's a true one. While we sometimes like seeing folk be bad, we also like seeing them go good. You can look everywhere for this common trope as well. This list was actually what started the whole thing. I didn’t have to think hard about which heroic figures have gone evil, though. I did have to put a little more thought into this one. While some names popped into my head easily, others took a minute. These aren't necessarily my favorite characters and it’s not in any order, so let’s start off with someone really random.

1. Sami Brady (Days of Our Lives)
I know you’re looking at me weird, so let me explain. When I was younger, my grandmother was an avid watcher of Days of Our Lives. Guess what we more or less had to watch at about 2pm? We didn’t have another TV, so I had to do something with that time! If you’re wondering, no, I’m not a DOOL fan. I haven’t watched the show in years. I do glance at it at the YMCA if it's showing, though. Even though I’m not a fan, I can say I got fond memories of it. Sami wasn’t necessarily one of them.

To put it nicely, she was one… witch. She was usually scheming to get some dude. I think one of them was named Austin. Even when she got the dude, she’d screw it up somehow. She was pretty much the jealous sister of the show. After some time, I do remember her becoming less of a witch and turning into a somewhat nice person. I guess the writers or actress got tired of that constant role of villainess. I don’t know if she stayed that way since soap operas are a lot like comic books. I can say that Alison Sweeney did a good job with that role. The fact that I remember her says something. 

2. Vegeta (Dragonball Z)
I think it’s time to swerve away from the odd and look at “The Prince of all Saiyans!” When Vegeta came onto the scene, he was a straight-up bad guy. No one can doubt that. I don’t think anyone can forget what happened to poor Nappa, aka “Mr. Clean with a ‘Stache.” Even after his time on Namek where he allied with the heroes, he wasn’t a good dude. Vegeta was obsessed with being better than Goku and he even did some really stupid things because of his Sayian pride. When you let the evil android get stronger instead of taking him out earlier, you’re not exactly good, are you?

Even when Goku returned for the World Tournament years later, he was still a douche. He let himself be taken over by Babadi (some green thing?) and went on a rampage. It wasn’t until his own son was in danger that he actually began to look heroic. He sacrificed himself to take out Majin Buu and even though that Pepto Bismal-looking thing didn’t die, it was a noble sacrifice. Like all characters in the DBZ universe, he did come back but he came back different. He even put an end to his rivalry with Goku.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Favorites - 10 Heroic Characters Gone Bad

“All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That's how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day.”

This quote from Batman: The Killing Joke says a lot about heroes or good people who go down a dark path. Sometimes, an event will happen in their lives that will irrevocably change them. Mostly, they can find the way to keep their wits and continue to fight the good fight. Heck, how has someone like Spider-Man not gone totally dark after what’s happened to him? Other times, they fall so far off the wagon, you wonder if they were even on the wagon to begin with. You’ll see this trope everywhere in movies, TV, books, and video games. So, here are some good characters that turned dark. They’re not necessarily in order either.

1. Anakin Skywalker (Star Wars)
That’s right, folks. One of the best villains in movie history was once one of the good guys. It always has to start like that, don’t it? Even though the prequels weren’t perfect, they and Star Wars: Clone Wars showed how a “mostly good” Jedi would go evil. Because of Palpatine’s influence and Anakin’s own fears, he became Darth Vader and helped tighten the Empire’s grip for years. I’ll touch on his ultimate end next time, though.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

"It's a Video Game!" - Mass Effect: Andromeda

“Space: the final frontier. This is the voyage of the Survey Ship Tempest. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no Ryder has gone before… and no, I ain’t just talking about dating a hot asari either!”

Well, it has come to this. When I heard that another Mass Effect game was on the way, I was stoked. The Mass Effect trilogy is one of my favorite video game series. I think every ME fan was throwing that “my body is ready” meme around or something. Then, as we started to see more of it through trailers and gameplay, the excitement started to die down. Also add reports of things going on behind the scenes. Then, the game was actually released. The reception was pretty mixed overall. Some liked it while others thought it was really flawed for what Bioware is known for.

Mass Effect: Andromeda was released during March this year. The reports and videos about the game did leave me worried, so I thought I’d wait until those game patches got released. Besides, I’m an adult with bills to pay, so it had to wait. I did rent it through Redbox first to see how the game actually was. Later, I finally bought the game along with the latest Witcher game. I’m playing that now and… well, I’ll keep my opinion on whether it’s better than MEA. After over 70 hours of gameplay, what did I think of this spinoff?
The Many Faces of Ryell Ryder. I played around with some looks and they worked for the most part. I did have that weird gaze that everyone has, though.

Mass Effect: Andromeda takes place roughly 600 years after the original trilogy. In 2185 (between Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3), the major races came together and formed the Andromeda Initiative. The plan was to make a one-way trip in four giant ships (arks) and the Nexus (their version of the Citadel) to the Andromeda galaxy and explore new planets. 20,000 citizens from each race (human, krogan, turian, and asari) volunteered for this undertaking and they were all put to cryogenic sleep for the long, 600-year trip.  One of the leaders of the Initiative was Alec Ryder, a former Alliance soldier and one of the Pathfinders for this undertaking.
Daddy Ryder!

You’ll either play as Sara or Scott Ryder, Alec’s children. When the Hyperion (humanity’s ark) makes it to the galaxy, they run into trouble. Hey, it’s the Mass Effect universe, so you know things will go bad. It turns out that the planets that the races are supposed colonize aren’t perfect. Add new threats, new races, and infighting with your people into the mix.  Top all of that off with something happening to Alec and you are made humanity’s Pathfinder, the one who’s supposed to lead the colonization of these planets. With a new ship and new crew, you’ll have to brave space and make the Heleaus Cluster a viable place to settle.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Random Thoughts On... Scott Snyder's and Greg Capullo's Batman Run

For a while now, I’ve been going through most of my comics’ collection. I’ve mostly been doing it to weed out anything I don’t want anymore. So far, it’s only been a couple of things but not anything too big.  I’ve mostly been reading my not-so-complete collection of Post-Crisis Superman. I’ve collected stuff from the late 80’s to the late 90’s. When I get past 1999, that’s when it’ll get pretty spotty. Still, Post-Crisis Superman will make the cut. I’ve ran across some subpar issues, but it’s pretty good so far.

Anyway, one run I wanted to revisit was Scott Snyder’s and Greg Capullo’s run on Batman. At the time this series was coming out, folk were claiming it was the best series on shelves. The word of mouth got me on this one. While I was already a Batman fan, I only read a little involving the character. Most of my fandom came from the movies and animated series. Since the New 52 was starting up and I was starting to get comics regularly, I jumped in and stayed to the bitter end. Since Scott Snyder (not related to Zack Snyder) is revving up for a Batman-centered event called Dark Days: Metal, I thought it was finally time to read and talk about this run.

As I said above, Snyder’s and Capullo’s run was part of the DC’s New 52 initiative. Snyder already had some experience with Batman (the Dick Grayson variety)  since he was writing Detective Comics before this run. I didn’t know who Capullo was, though. All I knew was that he worked on Spawn and X-Force. Their run on Batman would last about 52 issues, the whole entirety of New 52 and “DC You”. There would also be a few special issues in there but I’m pretty much focusing on the main book.

Snyder was pretty much on the whole time with some writers coming in and helping out with back-ups and annuals. James Tynion IV, Gerry Dugan, Brian Azzerello, and a couple of others would help out at times. While Capullo had a couple of breaks here and there, he did a lot of his own work on the book. Other artists included folk like Andy Kubert, Jock, and, Jason Fabok, and Alex Maleev. The backups would also be handled by Rafael Albuquerque and others. Inkers would also vary here and there. Capullo’s main inkers were Johnathan Glapion and Danny Miki.