Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review of the Week: Superior Spider-man #2

So in case you don't know whats up with Superior Spider-man Dock Ock has taken control of Spider-man's body with full access to his memories. Unbeknownst to Ock Peter is still alive in the back of his head. This issue focuses on Ock-Spidey trying to reignite Peter's relationship with MJ. By the end of it Ock-Spidey, who is now experiencing the same feelings for MJ Peter has tells her it would be in her best interest if they weren't together, for her safety.

I kinda feel like the whole "It's too dangerous" thing in a super hero's love life is a rather tired cliche. Also of interest in this issue, Peter's ex Carlie Cooper is staying with MJ. Carlie takes note of MJ saying Peter seems like a 'different person'. When Peter was running around in Ock's body he told Carlie of the mind switch, but she of course didn't believe him. Now it seems like she might be the thing that unravels this mess.

While this wasn't as good as issue one, this was a pretty damn good read. I'm enjoying the ride on this whole Superior saga and look forward to seeing where it's all going. The best part of this issue? Ock-Spidey has turned the Living Brain into his lab assistant.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Now they come for your football.

To paraphrase a famous poem, they came for the 1%, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't the 1%. Then they came for the guns, and I didn't speak up because I didn't own a gun. Then they came to ruin football, and there was no one left to speak up.

This Sunday is the Super Bowel. I personally don't give one rosy shit about football. It bores me to tears. But I have noticed in the last few years among the nanny staters more and more whining about how dangerous football is and how it makes their pussies hurt. Personally, if someone is making millions of dollars to play a game, I have a hard time feeling bad for them because they might bump their heads. For the amount of money they make they're lucky the ball doesn't have spikes coming out of it. That I might actually find entertaining. Catch it now, you overpaid ape.

But anyways while I don't enjoy football many people obviously do, and if there's one thing a nanny stater can't stand it's people having a good time. So over the last few years liberals have been getting louder and louder with their disapproval for America's favorite game. And now the Nanny Stater in Chief has voices his disapproval.

 “I’m a big football fan, but I have to tell you, if I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football,” President Barack Obama told The New Republic for its Feb. 11 edition. "And I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence,” Obama said. “In some cases, that may make it a little bit less exciting, but it will be a whole lot better for the players, and those of us who are fans maybe won’t have to examine our consciences quite as much.”

OK, first of all I won't be lectured on how I need to "examine my conscience" by a man who's drones kill kids halfway around the world pretty much everyday. Must be hard to keep cleaning all that blood off your Peace Prize Barry. Second of all nobody is forced to become a football player. These people know the risk and have decided, as many people would, that the shit ton of money to be made in the NFL out weighs those risks.

And lastly, and this is the point you must always remember, there is NOTHING that big government nanny staters won't try to ruin. These Nanny State assholes, both on the right and the left, would run every damn part of your life if you let them. Everything from what you do with your dick to how much if any soda you can drink. It is high past time we told these do gooder busy body douche bags to mind their own business.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bechtloff's Book of Genesis: Spider-man/X-men: Arcade's Revenge

It's kinda odd, but Spider-man and the X-men haven't had all that many team up stories, and of those few are all that great or memorable. Even in the 90's when they were Marvel's two biggest franchises. And Spidey is a total team-up slut. Hell, he's had monthly books where the whole premise was him teaming up with various heroes. Nevertheless here they are, together and ready to get it done on my Sega Genesis.
OK, Cyclops and Wolverines have different costumes than on the box art, that's kinda a pet peeve with me. And I'm really not digging Cyclops' in game costume, but that's OK, nobody is here for Cyclops anyways. The game starts out with Spider-man seeing the X-men getting kidnapped by Arcade's truck.

Arcade is really the perfect villain for a video game. He likes to kidnap heroes and put them in ridiculous life or death games they must fight their way out of, including robot duplicates of villains they normally fight. That gives this game the perfect excuse to stick as many Spidey and X-men villains in here as possible and you do fight some robot versions of villains like Carnage and Juggernaut. You fight through different levels playing as different characters. Other than the parts with Spidey, none of these levels are any kind of fun though and even the parts with Spidey were weak. In fact the Gambit level flat out pisses me off. It's one of those levels you often see in side scrollers where some killer thing is chasing you. I hate those kinda levels.
This game is just not nearly as good as it should be. It's like the game designers were hoping you would be so impressed with who's in it you wouldn't notice the game itself kinda sucked. The controls were poor, and the graphics sucked to the point where this looked more like an 8-bit game than a 16 bit at times. I rented this game as a kid and kinda hated it, played for like 20 minutes before I was ready to take it back to my local video store. A few years ago I bought another Sega Genesis at a used game store that had a huge retro game section, I bought this with it thinking I should give it another chance. I mean look at it, it looks like it should kick ass. I sold it back to the store for store credit like two weeks later. Recently I found it again for a dollar and couldn't help but get it. "Maybe I just didn't give it enough of a chance" I thought. It's weird, somehow this game turns me into an alzheimer's patient. Every time I see it I just can't believe it's as bad as I remember.

But it is. It's every bit as bad. You might see this on sale somewhere and think "Hey, it's Spider-man and the X-men, it's gotta be fun right?" But just remember, you've been warned.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Bechtloff's Book of Genesis: Animaniacs

I recently started watching Animaniacs on The Hub. I used to love that show as a kid and I'm amazed at how well it holds up still. So I thought it would be worth taking a look at the Animaniacs game for the Sega.

This was one of my favorite games for the Genesis and it's still a blast. In the game you play as Yakko Wakko and Dot. You can cycle through which one you're controlling at any given time and each one has individual skills you will need. Dot can blow kisses which can be used charm your enemies, basically stunning them, Wakko can hit things with his mallet, and Yakko can push or pull crates, as well as attack with a paddle ball, although that's barely used. Each obstacle can only be overcome by using a specific skill or combination of skills.
The Warner brothers (and the Warner sister) are on a mission to find some valuable movie props. The hat of Dirk Rugged in a jungle movie set level, the helmet of Dume Rayder from Space Wars, a sheriff badge from some cowboy movie, the mask of Janus from Bloodmask, and a Felix (Oscar) statue. After you go through the various sets and get the various props Pinky and the Brain steal them and you must battle them in their big robot to get them back.
This game was a blast. Unlike most platformers you don't directly attack most enemies, it's mostly solving puzzles or figuring out ways around enemies. The sprites are really well animated, the game makes tons of references to the show, and the jokes and parodies are all pretty funny. If you are or were a fan of the show you should check this game out, you won't regret it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review of the Week: Wolverine and the X-men #24

Wolverine and the X-men has been a damn good book since issue one and this issue was a good example of why. There isn't really all that much of a plot here except that Wolverine must watch the school for the night while the staff has a "teacher's night out"
Moments like this are what makes this such a great series. There isn't much too this issue, teacher's night out, Kitty and Bobby have a date, and, as the cover suggests, Wolverine hooks up with Storm. Also Storm goes back to her mohawk, which I think is kinda stupid. All and all there isn't much I can say about this issue without spoiling a lot of good moments. If you aren't reading this you should be and this issue is a great jumping on point.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Bechtloff Movie Night: The Devil's Rock (2011)

The Devil's Rock is the story of two Allied Commandos in World War II who are sent to destroy gun placements on an occupied island. On this island they discover a Nazi bunker and in it find dozens of brutally slaughtered Nazi soldiers as well as one surviving Nazi officer and a chained up demonic succubus.

When the Nazi encounters the first Allied Commando he kills him but captures the second one alive. He explains the situation and that he needs his help to send this demon back to hell. The surviving Commando, named Ben Grogan, doesn't believe him and, after escaping the Nazi, sees for himself. To him the succubus looks like his dead wife. The Nazi tells him that the succubus can't leave the island as she can't cross running water, but that she still must be returned to hell as she will kill them before help arrives and she will be a danger to anyone who comes on this island in the future. Finally believing the Nazi, he agrees to help him. They draw up a protective circle to preform the spell in, just in time too, as the succubus has broken free of her chains. The succubus tries desperately to seduce Grogan from outside the circle, promising that if he helps her she will be a replacement for his dead wife. Suddenly within the circle the Nazi turns on him, apparently wanting to sacrifice him as part of the ritual. Grogan manages to over power the Nazi, stab him, and toss him outside the circle. After the succubus kills him she walks across the trail of blood the Nazi left, giving her access to the circle. She tries to seduce Grogan into helping her further but he simply chains her. As she screams at him and threatens him he tells her not to worry, plenty more Nazis will be coming for her to eat.

A Nazi Succubus. In the wrong hand that concept could easily devolve into a mindless gorefest, a soft core porn, or both. But this was a pretty decent horror movie. As Grogan and the Nazi work together there is a real tension as you wonder, will the Nazi betray Grogan? Or will the succubus seduce Grogan? The design of the Succubus' true form is pretty unimaginative.
Red skin, horns, broken off wings of a fallen angel. Pretty standard really but I guess it gets the job done. I would have preferred something a little more creative but it didn't look too bad. I get the feeling this movie didn't have all that much of a budget to it, but it works well those limits. The acting from the three mains is solid all around, can't complain there.

My main critique on this movie is it's just kinda run of the mill and generic. It's a solid and enjoyable horror movie, but at the end of the day it's not that memorable of one. At the end of it I was kinda left wondering "That's it?". If you're a horror fan, its worth your time to check out on Netflix, but I wouldn't buy it or anything.

Bechtloff Movie Night: Courageous (2011)

I recently took a look at the Christian movie Fireproof, now I think it's worth taking a look at it's sorta sequel, Courageous.

Courageous follows four cops and an immigrant worker named Javier Martinez whom the group befriends, as they seek to become better fathers. After the one cop, Adam, loses his nine year old daughter in a car accident, he begins to feel guilty over the kind of father he was and pledges to do better with his teenage son. This leads to all the guys signing pledges in a fancy ceremony with their pastor to be better fathers. A bunch of other little plot threads go on too, but they all have such little bearing on the rather thin main plot that I really can't be bothered to go through explaining them all.

This movie is definitely better than Fireproof, but only in the way that catching herpes is better than catching AIDS. They're both pretty bad, one is simply far worse. This movie isn't as amateurish as Fireproof, and unlike Fireproof none of the main characters behave in a way that completely undermines the narrative, but it suffers from simply being incredibly boring. With only one exception, the funny scenes didn't get more than a smirk out of me, and with the exception of some of the scenes in which Adam is mourning his daughter, none of the so called touching moments really succeed either.
This movie is made by the same people who gave the world Fireproof, Sherwood Pictures. Sherwood is an amateur movie studio started by a church. Part of me really respects Sherwood for what they're attempting to do and that they have the ambition to even attempt it. In an age in which only a dozen companies own over 95% of the media you read, watch, or listen to, for a truly independent movie studio like this to see the success it's seen is nothing short of impressive. But that doesn't mean I can or should ignore that these are very bad story tellers. I get that these people want to use their new found position as entertainers to preach to people. As a Christian I find that commendable. But if you're an entertainer, your first job is to entertain. If you're not even doing your job you won't be able to use it as an effective platform to get a message across. And that's especially true in entertainment. No non Christian would want to sit through this boring drivel. I'm a Christian and I had a hard time getting through it. 

There are two real problems as I see it with the largely pathetic attempts as story telling modern Evangelical culture produces. First, while it's fine to have a message, you need to first be engaging and entertaining, and also it helps to be subtle and not hit people over the damn head with your message. When I was a kid Captain Planet was on TV all the time because Ted Turnner was bound and determined to shove it down the throats of every American child.
Protecting the environment is an important message. We need to be good stewards of our planet. It is, after all, the only one we have. But no kid was going to take any message coming from that mullet sporting douche and his shitty TV show seriously. And the 'preach first, entertain later, if at all' approach from Sherwood Pictures is not going to win many souls with it's laughable attempts at movie making.

The second problem is not every movie needs to be 'family friendly'. Some stories can't be told properly in a G or PG way. Half of what's in the Bible, if translated faithfully to film, would get a very hard R rating.

You know what I consider to be a great 'Christian movie'? Changing Lanes,with Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson. While it never makes the obvious 'altar call' of a Sherwood Pictures film, that film does a better job of exploring the very Christian themes of redemption and the evil in man's heart than Fireproof or Courageous. Far better.

So while Courageous is a better movie than Fireproof, it's still pretty bad I would say steer clear of it. You're better off picking up a C.S. Lewis book or renting The Passion than wasting time on this poorly produced, tedious waste of 129 minutes.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hero Spotlight: Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes)

I've talked before about how much I love Ted Kord, so I figured it would be worth taking a look at his successor Jaime Reyes. Jaime is a Mexican-American teenager living in El Paso Texas who became bonded with the Scarab that gave the original Blue Beetle Dan Garret his powers. This was shortly after Ted Kord, who was never able to get the Scarab to work for him, was killed by Max Lord.

Being such a fan of the previous two Blue Beetles, I want to like Jaime, but I just can't get into him for a number of reasons. First of all during Jaime's run as the Blue Beetle the nature of the Scarab was retconned. Instead of being an ancient magical artifact tied to Egyptian gods, it became a piece of alien technology that had simply been lost on earth for a few millennia.

Then there's the fact that I'm rather sick of the "Spider-man archetype" of the teenage super hero. I don't even think that was all that interesting a schtick for Spider-man, and all the heroes to attempt to mimic the old Lee and Ditko Spider-man have left me cold. I just don't feel high school is that interesting a time in a person's life. I didn't even feel that way when I was in high school. What is so interesting about it? You're sitting in a damn government school, shuffling from one beige colored room to another doing algebra and pretending like J.D. Salinger's books are anything more then pompous drivel. A teenage super hero would be able to operate for like a month tops before either lack of sleep or the truancy officers catch up with him. I know I'm in the minority, but I just don't care for the teenage super hero. In the case of sidekicks it makes some sense since you have a legal guardian covering for you, but otherwise you'd get found out in a heartbeat.

And the last major reason I just can't get into Blue Beetle is the Spanglish. I have no problem with a Hispanic super hero, But I don't want a book where a third of it is Spanish. You see I don't speak Spanish so I have to pull out a Spanish English dictionary just to read it. Also a pet peeve of mine is I don't want to have to press one for English. And don't give me any of that "that's racist" bullshit. There is nothing racist about expecting someone to speak the language of the country they chose to live in.

And there is a shitload of Spanish in this book. Check out issue one of the recent New 52 BB series. Characters talk about going to Brenda's Quinceanera (15th Birthday). Her "Tia" is throwing it for her. This is Brenda.
Again, this is Brenda. She is having a Quinceanera thrown by her Tia. Her words. Someone wanna explain to me why even the little white girl is speaking Spanish? The green eyed and freckled little redhead girl is fucking speaking Spanish. It's like this comic just flipped me off. And again, if you're one of those leftards who thinks I'm being racist right now, you can feel free to kiss my dick. We speak English in this country. Or at least we should.

Again, I wanna like Jaime, I really do. His character design is bad ass, and I'm a fan of his two predecessors, but between turning the Scarab into something made by Lord Xenu, some boring and cliched CW style high school drama, and a heaping helping of fucking Spanglish, you get a book and a character I just can't get into.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Review of the Week: Daredevil Vol 3 #22

So by now you've heard that Doc Ock has taken over Spider-man's body. One of the things that's going to be interesting in this new status quo is seeing how this new Superior Spider-man is going to interact with his fellow super heroes. And here he is going toe to toe with Daredevil.

In the last issue of Daredevil, DD's girlfriend, who happens to be an assistant district attorney, was led to believe DD had become unbalanced and was a menace, so she asked Spider-man to go after him. The two fight, all the while Daredevil doesn't know what to make of Spidey's change in personality, and then the fight is cut short to deal with Stilt Man. After that DD explains the misunderstanding to Ock Spidey and that his girlfriend's suspicions are unfounded.

Mark Waid's current run on Daredevil has been a joy for a long time DD fan like myself. Daredevil is one of those characters people have a tendency to write too dark. Everyone wants to recapture the magic of Frank Miller's run so writers tend to make Daredevil's book nothing but one horrible thing after another happening to him. While Waid has had life kick DD in the nuts a few times in this run, he also restores some balance of a little good old fashion, at times even lighthearted, super hero fun to DD. If you haven't been reading this then you should hop over to amazon and order the first trade of this run now.

As for the interactions with the "Superior" Spider-man, they were a blast as well. I love the over the top villainy way Ock Spidey talks and the confusion it causes in Spidey's friends and fellow heroes. All and all this was a great read and you should definitely check it out.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

We only want to save the cute animals.

If you're like me you've probably seen the "Save the Tigers" commercial on TV. I think it's from the World Wildlife Fund, although it might be some other bunch of hippies. Don't get me wrong, I wanna save tigers, tigers are pretty damn cool after all. Personally, I think if you legalized tiger hunting and simply regulated it it would boost tiger numbers. Then people would raise tigers just to be hunted, and animals people are raising don't go extinct. You never see a save the chicken commercial after all.

But it's always save the whales, or the dolphins, or the tigers. Today it was announced that another animal is finding it's numbers drastically reduced and I don't think we'll be seeing a campaign to save it anytime soon. The pubic lice, more commonly known as crabs.
Where is the pubic lice's commercial with celebrities begging you to consider this poor creature's plight, maybe with some sad Sarah McLachlan music playing in the background? You see, much like one of the problems facing the tiger, the pubic lice is being wiped out by "deforestation" in the form of the bikini wax. Given that large numbers of women and even many men are trimming if not completely shaving their pubic hair, the pubic lice is finding it's habitat vanishing before it tiny eyes.

Now as I said, tigers are really cool, but if the tiger vanished tomorrow, would the environmental effects really be all that great? It's at the top of the food chain, nothing eats it, nothing depends on it. Now consider the fact that bees are finding their number declining. That's a major problem, but you don't see "Save the Bee" commercials, because people hate bees, they aren't cute and they fucking sting you.

I don't know what the extinction of the pubic lice would really mean to the environment, I suspect not much, but neither really would the tiger. But in general bugs are the more important animals in the ecosystem. If the elephant went extinct tomorrow, the world would be less cool, but it would get along fine, but if the dung beetle vanished we'd be in deep shit. Literally.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hero Spotlight: Darkwing Duck

He is the terror that flaps in the night, he is the piece of popcorn that gets stuck in your teeth, he is Darkwing Duck. I used to love me some DW, this was one of my earlier exposures to the super hero genre and despite it's short three season run I consider it one of the best animated series of all time. Easily in the top 20.

Darkwing Duck spun off of the classic Disney show Duck Tales. Launchpad McQuack, a character inherited from Duck Tales, acts as DW's sidekick and pilot, a sorta Kato to his Green Hornet. DW himself is a parody of old pulp era super heroes like Batman, the Shadow, and of course Green Hornet.

The show was a loving parody of super hero, golden age pulp, and even super spy stories. However one need not be familiar with those genres to enjoy this show, if anything for kids unfamiliar with them it acted as something of an introduction to them.

The character of DW himself is rather interesting really, he's equal parts stand up guy and selfish douche. He is an egotistical glory hound who's head is often two feet up his own feathered ass, but also a loving father to his adoptive daughter Gosalyn. He cares very deeply for the safety of his city, obviously putting himself in harm's way to defend it, but frequently refuses the help of other heroes, even when it is obviously needed, for fear of them stealing his thunder.

One wouldn't expect a cartoon about an anthropomorphic duck super hero to have the depth of character and downright heart that Darkwing Duck did. But sure enough this was a funny, exciting, smart, and charming show and deserves to be remembered more than it is. It's a damn shame this isn't shown more in reruns. Darkwing Duck is truly a hero who deserves the spotlight, even if he craves it a bit too much for his own good.

Also, that pic is by a guy named Chad Fuller, if you get a chance you should check out his DeviantArt page.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hero Spotlight: Adam-X the X-Treme

Time for a confession here people. I don't really like the X-men. In fact the X-men are probably my least favorite major Marvel franchise. I don't really hate them, I just don't like them that much. I feel like they don't really fit in with the larger Marvel universe. Why are the Fantastic Four beloved by the general public but mutants are hated? I kinda like where the X-men have gone in recent years though. I feel like it's gotten a lot more nuanced with it's portrayal of bigotry and identity politics. Now rather than just the simple black and white portrayal of people hating mutants, often for no good reason, you have more of just the real life, more understandable complications of different groups of people trying to live together and interact. Some outright hatred but mostly just fear and misunderstanding on one end and some acceptance and support on the other.

But there's another reason I'm not much of an X-men fan. In the 90's when I was first getting into comics, the X-men generally licked a hairy nutsack. And I think no character more personifies what was wrong with 90's X-men comics more than Adam-X, the X-Treme.

With a human mother and an alien father, X-Treme is half mutant, half Shi'ar, and 100% stupid as hell. X-Treme has cybernetic retractable blades because knives are super bad ass and kewl. Also his mutant power is Haemopyrokinesis. What the hell does that mean you ask. It means he can set people's blood on fire. I feel like those little X things on his faggoty pony tails should actually be Ys and he should be a Youngblood member. Believe it or not this idiot still pops up now and then. He showed up during the Uncanny X-men Fear Itself tie in issues. Also of note the character was originally intended to be a lost brother to Cyclops and Havok, although that idea was scrapped, probably after an editor got a good look at this loser. Also I hear there was talk of Vanilla Ice playing Adam-X in one of the X-men movies. OK that I made up, but couldn't you just see it though?

Adam-X the X-Treme, no character, other than maybe Cable, more personifies why 90's X-men sucked.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Still more Rob Liefeld madness

So I recently pulled Youngblood: Bloodsport #1 by Rob Liefeld out of a dollar bin just out of curiosity. It's written by Mark Millar and it's just him being as offensive and obnoxious with the writing as possible. Not in anyway that comes across as clever or funny, more like what a 12 year old would think is being edgy. I usually like Mark Millar but this kinda shows he works better when an editor or higher up is keeping him on a leash. Anyways this issue had some little gems of insanity by our pal Liefeld. Let's take a look.
Here we have a character doing cocaine. Despite the fact that he is in the middle of doing a line the straw is not up his nose. Also looks like his girlfriend has a serious humpback.
Out of context what does this panel look like? I don't know about you, but it looks to me like Shaft here is buttfucking the reanimated corpse of Martin Luther King Jr. And yes that is indeed the reanimated corpse of MLK that part I'm not making up.
OK, two things, first of all Pigtails McBoobs there has a neck that way too close to her left shoulder. She should probably see a doctor about that. And this guy's chair has invisible armrests, you don't often see that in a chair.
Seriously how in the hell has Rob not been sued? That is the Thing. He took the Thing, added gloves and make it a Youngblood character. How does Rob pull this sort of bullshit over and over again and still have a career. He can't keep a schedule, his artwork looks like a 12 year old's, he is a pain in the ass to work with and yet he still keeps coming back to Marvel and DC. Top creators still want to work with him. Even when he burns bridges it still never bites him in the ass. The man sold his soul to Satan. There's really no other explanation for his continued gainful employment within the world of comics at this point.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Review of the week: Superior Spider-man #1

So it's finally here, Superior Spider-man #1. And it was pretty damn good. As we all know by now Doc Ock switched minds with Peter Parker and Peter seemingly died in Doc Ock's body. So now Ock is Spider-man and he is determined to be a better Spider-man then Peter and in a lot of ways he is. He uses his head more then Peter, has come up with better gadgets, and even fights a little bit more efficiently then Peter used to.

This issue revolves around Ock-Spidey fighting the new Sinister Six which is comprised of Boomerang, Shocker, Overdrive who is driving Big Wheel, a new Beetle, and the Living Brain. During the initial fight Ock-Spidey captures and disables the Living Brain and asks to the cop to have it delivered to Horizon Labs where his associate Peter Parker can examine it. And check out what Ock-Peter wears while working.
Loving the mad scientist look there. So after a date with MJ, Ock-Spidey manages to set a trap for the new Sinister Six. At the end of the fight Ock-Spidey is about to kill Boomerang when something stops him. And that something is, just like I called it in my Amazing Spider-man #700 review, Peter Parker still alive in the back of Ock-Spidey's mind.
I'm really enjoying where things are going here. The little moments were also great, when Ock-Spidey first encounters the new Sinister Six he says "Well, I guess they're letting ANYONE call themselves the Sinister Six these days." All and all I gotta say, this is a series that lives up to the hype. I totally recommend it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Lego Marvel video game announced.

Looks like I've got something else to look forward to in 2013. Over at Game Informer it was just announced there will be a Lego Marvel Super Heroes video game out in the fall. I love Lego Batman 2. It's in my list of my 10 favorite super hero video games. Just the promo pic has me amped, just look at Deadpool running off with all the Lego coins. I'm a littler surprised TT Games is doing this though, TT is owned by Warner Bros which of course owns DC so I thought a Lego Marvel game was out of the question. I've never been happier to be wrong and I'll be buying this the day it comes out.

My cold dead hands.

This is the .45 handgun and holster I got for Christmas. As they say in the military there are many like it but this one is mine. I intend to target practice with it a lot and get as good as I possibly can. I also intend to buy other guns as my personal budget permits. If you do not own a gun I suggest you get one now while you still can.

Now this next part is very important so everyone please listen up because I want to make sure I say this very definitively and publicly. It is my God given and constitutionally protected right to own this weapon and to use it in legitimate self defense and I absolutely will not register it, I will not surrender it, and any government thug who wishes to take it from me will not do so without a fight.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Bechtloff's Book of Genesis: Cool Spot

Some of my younger readers might be wondering who Cool Spot is. Cool Spot was the 7-Up mascot. There was a whole series of commercials that showed the red dots on 7-Up cans coming to life when people aren't looking, They would have misadventures in the commercials before going back onto the can or bottle they came from. You gotta hand it to whatever genius ad agency came up with these things. It's not easy to make the soda you drink when you have a stomach ache seem hip and cool but damned if they didn't do it. Come to think of it 7-Up's always had some pretty cool commercials. Who could forget the awesome sauce that was "Make 7 Up Yours"?
Anyways back to little Cool Spot. The story of this game is that a bunch of the Cool Spots have been trapped in cages and you need to fight your way through various levels to free them. I'm not sure who is putting out Cool Spot traps. Probably some guy who saw them one time and is trying to prove to everyone he's not crazy. You have to fight enemies such as crabs, frogs, mice, and killer toy robots and you fight them by shooting what I assume is supposed to be soda fizz.
Along the way you have to collect 7-Up logos, bottles of 7-Up, and tons of these red spots.
I'm not really sure why some red spots are alive and some just float in the air waiting to be gathered up, but then perhaps I'm over thinking this. Anyways once you've gathered the necessary amount you can free the cool spot at the end of the level.
 This was a pretty damn good 16 bit platformer. It's certainly better then any game starring a soft drink mascot had any right to be. The soundtrack is upbeat and fun, the enemies and the stages are very creative, and the graphics really take full advantage of all 16 bits. If you still have a Genesis, or even just an emulator, you should get this game for it. You won't be disappointed. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a sudden craving for the refreshing taste of 7-Up.

The Bechtloff's Book of Genesis: Sonic Spinball

If you read this blog regularly you know I am super amped about the upcoming Sonic/Mega Man crossover comic coming out in a few months. I've talked about it over and over here. So I figured it would be worth taking a look at some of the Blue Blur's games over the next couple of months. Let's start with Sonic Spinball.
When it came to pretty much any of the other Genesis Sonic games I was a master. I could at least beat them all if not beat them with all the emeralds. But this, ugh, this was the 16 bit bane of my existence. This game was the most butt fuckingly frustrating Genesis game I ever owned. The story of the game is Dr Robotnik has a new lair in in a crazy looking volcano and Sonic is gonna bust in and wreck Robotnik's shit up. Hmmm, now that I think about it, the game doesn't say that Robotnik was really doing anything wrong, just sorta chilling in his new volcano crib. Kinda seems like Sonic is the dick in this game. Anyways every level is like a pinball machine, hence the spinball name. The first level is a sorta sewer/swamp level and it's not too bad. You gotta get three emeralds and then you can face the boss.
The first boss is a robot scorpion with a Robotnik face. It's a pretty cool design and is incredibly easy to beat. All you gotta do is get between his tail and body and you will bounce around hitting him constantly. Once the tail is gone you only need to hit him a couple more times.

The first level isn't too bad. It's a little tedious at times, as you may have to try multiple times to get to the targets you're trying to hit but, again, it's not really hard. But then there was level two, which was frustrating but still beatable, and the third level, that level is pretty much an exercise in futility. By this point I have used up most of my lives and this is the level where I might as well be trying to use the controller with my feet for all it matters.

You know the annoying ass parts of Casino Night Zone in Sonic 2 where you're bouncing off the bumpers and for a brief moment you're completely out of control. Well, they took that and made a whole damn Sonic game like that. For about 20% of level one I'm completely out of control, by level three it's like 70% of the time I might as well just put the damn controller down. I never got further than that and I don't know anyone who ever did so I have no idea what's beyond level three, it could be an FMV of Topanga from Boy Meets World doing a naked backwards crab walk for all the fuck I know.

And the tragedy is that in many ways this was a cool game. The level designs and sprites are great. And this is the only Sonic game to feature Princess Sally, Boomer, and Bunnie Rabbot from the Archie series/SATAM Show. You rescue them from pods during a bonus game.
That's awesome. But at the end of the day it doesn't matter how good this game looked, the game play wasn't fun, in fact it was nightmarishly frustrating. Far as I'm concerned this was the first bad Sonic game. Sadly though, it certainly wouldn't be the last.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bechtloff Movie Night: Spawn (1997)

Of all the early Image comics character, I think Spawn was easily the best. Of course that's sort of like being the smartest kid on the short bus. Still, while it's easy to dismiss Spawn, this is a character who got a theatrical movie released a mere 5 years after he first appeared in comics. Granted that's a record that would later be beat by Kick Ass, but this was at a time well before the flood of comic book movies we've seen over the last decade or so. This was 1997, Batman and Superman were pretty much the only superheroes to see the big screen at this point. For better or worse that's an accomplishment that you have to admire. But putting aside Spawn's place in the history of comic book movies, how does it hold up? Let's take a look.

Now before I even get into this at all I should say two things up front. First I am not a Spawn fan. My knowledge of Spawn comics is rather superficial. In fact all I really read was the first 10 or so issues and the first Spawn/Batman crossover. Also, I did not the see the PG-13 version that was released in the theaters, all I saw was the R version so that's what I'll be talking about.

Our story follows assassin/operative Al Simmons. During a mission in North Korea he is betrayed by his boss, played by Martin Sheen, and killed. Once in hell he makes a deal with a ridiculous looking CGI demon called Malebolgia.
OK I gotta stop the plot synopsis right here. That looks like shit. I know it was 1997 and CGI was still relatively new, but even by 1997 standards that is a raging dumpster fire. And you wanna know the worst part? It barely moves and doesn't even open and close it's mouth when it talks. So if you had no intention of getting any sort of complex movements out of it why not go the practical effects way and make a puppet? This is just lazy and insulting. Although I suppose being lazy and insulting is kinda appropriate for an adaptation of an early 90's Image comic.

Anyways the 64 bit demonic lord offers Al a deal. He can go back to earth if he becomes the new hell spawn to lead hell's army. He accepts and when he gets back to earth he meets two characters. One named Cogliostro, who used to be a hell spawn but freed his soul and now fights for heaven.  I really don't feel like typing his name over and over so I'm just gonna call him Reverend.

The other is the demonic Clown/Violator played by ever annoying John Leguizamo seen here farting out green smoke.
How very charming John. Reverend and Clown sort of act as the little angel and demon you see on people's shoulders in cartoons each trying to push Spawn in their direction. Spawn's former boss has a deal with Clown to release a deadly bio weapon only he has the cure for in exchange for....ummmm...I'm not really sure. I mean the government agency already had this weapon, it's not like the demon's gave it too them. They also had the cure. I really don't get why they were working with hell. Anyways Clown talks Martin Sheen into surgically implanting a device in his chest that will release the virus if Sheen is killed. Then Clown tries to get Spawn to kill Sheen. If this all sounds needlessly complicated and kinda stupid it's because it is. But at the end Spawn rejects vengeance in favor of justice and simply removes the device, destroys it, and hands Sheen over to the authorities with proof of his evil plan.

So how does this hold up? Not very well. I mean it's certainly not Batman and Robin bad, but it is Batman Forever bad. Leguizamo's Clown, while occasionally a little funny, is for the most part about as annoying as you could possibly imagine, the plot is convoluted and stupid, and many of the effects are laughably bad. In fact I think my dad summed it up nicely. He told me a few weeks ago that he caught this on a movie channel one night. Now keep in mind my dad's knowledge of comics comes pretty much entirely from comic book movies, but I asked him what he thought of it.

"It was like Ghost Rider, if it was written by a 12 year old" He told me.

Well said dad. So this may be an interesting chapter in the history of comic book movies, but it is still a pretty bad movie. But given that it was Spawn, could you really expect anything more? I mean aside from improving the effects what more could you really do with a Spawn movie? It is just Spawn after all.