Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hero Spotlight: Eradicator

It's easy to crap on the death and return of Superman story from the 90's. Sure the polybags and variant covers and other speculator bait was obnoxious. But the story itself was pretty decent, for the most part. And we got some interesting characters out of it. Eradicator is not one of them however.

Eradicator is one of four different characters who attempted to fill the vacuum after Superman's death. The other three would actually go on to matter and be interesting. Steel was a guy who, inspired by Superman, created an Iron Man type armor. His back story is pretty interesting, my favorite part is that Superman once saved him from falling to his death in a construction site. When he exclaimed "You saved my life!" Superman told him to "Make it count." And he did. Steel would even go on to be a pretty regular member of the JLA. Steel had his own series that went on for over 50 issues and even a movie staring Shaq, although the less said about that the better. Superboy was a teenage clone of Superman (more or less) and would go on to star in his own series, the first volume of which went on for 100 issues, and was members of Young Justice and Teen Titans. He was a fun character, particularly during his early days when he seemed more interested in chasing pussy than living up to the S on his chest. Currently in the New 52 Superboy is a whiny emo little bitch.
I swear was Dan Didio actually sitting around wondering what he could do to make DC suck a fat horse cock? This level of shittiness really seems like it would have to be intentional.

Anyways the other replacement was Cyborg Superman. An evil Cyborg pretending to be Superman, he would go on to be a major villain for Superman and even Green Lantern. He even joined the Sinestro Corps.

And then there was Eradicator. He would show up now and then, he was in the Outsiders, and I think the most recent appearance was he had a cameo in Infinite Crisis. He just never made an impact, and I think it's largely because nobody knew what the fuck his deal was. When he first showed up he had a cool look.
Like Cyborg Superman Eradicator claimed to be the real Superman. But now he was all bad ass and hardcore, killing criminals. But once his back story unfolded he made less and less sense. The other three I can sum up in a sentence. Superboy: Teenage clone of Superman. Steel: Guy in high tech armor. Cyborg Superman: Evil Cyborg. Is there more to their stories than that? Sure, but you get the meat of it there. But Eradicator is an artificial intelligence, but he's not a robot. He's like a genetic construct or something. And then a human had his mind put in Eradicator or something. It's like when all the writers and editors on Superman at the time were fleshing this saga out they had three good ideas for characters but needed a fourth. Half a day and three 2-liter bottles of Jolt Cola later they had this hodgepodge of bullshit. But hey, three outta four ain't too bad right?

Review(s) of the Week: Uncanny X-men Vol 3 #2 and Avenging Spider-man #17

If you haven't already, check out my review of issue one. Last issue the big reveal was that Magneto was selling out Scott Summers and his little renegade group of X-men out to SHIELD. This issue we see Scott and Emma discussing their strained and broken relationship, we see them talking to the kids they've rescued or kidnapped depending on your perspective about their powers and the mutant revolution and all that jazz. When one of them says they want to go tell her parents their OK they all teleport but Magneto stays behind. Once they're gone Magneto contacts SHIELD and gives away their perspective and Scott and his X-men are jumped by the Avengers. 

This issue was a little slow, but it's Bendis. Complaining that a Bendis book is slow is like complaining that a Batman book takes place at night. This issue was mostly dialogue between the characters but to be fair it was pretty good dialogue and did examine their characters a good deal. The artwork by Christ Bachalo is a little less hectic and nauseating than last issue, but that's mostly because there weren't any battle scenes to do.  All and all, crappy art aside, this is a solid read and is definitely worth checking out.
In this issue Ock-Spidey must babysit the brats of the Future Foundation. While he's doing that the Time Variance Authority, which is a cosmic bureaucracy that polices the space time continuum, sends some goons and Death's Head to attack the place. It turns out that evil little brat Bentley was designing a device that could destroy the universe. Ock, figuring Bentley is like him, whispers some threats in his ears which gets him to promise not to build it. Threat averted, the TVA goes on their way.

This issue was a lot of fun. This whole Superior Spider-man saga has been a blast and I've really liked seeing him interact with other heroes. The only real complaint I have is Ock repeatedly asserts that he "hates children" despite in Superior #3 showing a soft spot for preventing their abuse. I suppose you could say he just hates being around kids but it still seemed a little inconsistent. That minor nitpick aside this was a fun issue and you should definitely check it out.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hero Spotlight: Deathlok

A friend of mine likes to say that if you don't like comics, you probably just haven't read the right one. There is a little bit of everything in the super hero genre, a good example of that is Deathlok, the cyborg zombie from the future.

The first Deathlok was Luther Manning. Manning was a soldier living in a dystopian future in which the government is wholly owned by corporations who after being fatally wounded was reanimated as the cyborg Deathlok. He was sent back in time by the Roxxon corporation, I think he was trying to kill Sarah Connor or something. Anyways he runs a fowl of modern day super heroes like Captain America and Spider-man in the process.

There have been several Deathloks in the present day Marvel Universe, most of which are copies of the Manning Deathlok technology. The most notable was Michael Collins who was all over the place during the 90's. He frequently teamed up with heroes like Spider-man and Ghost Rider, was right in the thick of things in Maximum Carnage, and even had his own ongoing series that lasted over 30 issues.

Currently there is a Deathlok who is from yet another alternate future who works as a faculty member for Wolverine at the Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters. He can be seen in the pages of Wolverine and the X-men and is one of the more interesting and funny characters in that book. He can scan alternate futures and can determine probabilities from that, telling students things like in 58% of futures you will become an Avenger. There is also a teenage female Deathlok called Deathlocket appearing in Avengers Arena. Don't really know anything about her but here's a pic.
This has become a concept that has been used a ton over the years and it's no wonder, there's a lot of cool aspects to it. I joke about it being kinda like the Terminator but it actually predates that movie by a few years. I've always thought Deathlok could be made into a damn good movie, although maybe the general public would stupidly assume it's a Terminator rip off. Still, if Guardians of the Galaxy can get a movie, why not Deathlok?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Follow your dreams people

A little while back I spotlighted some really amazing Sonic fan art I found on Deviant Art by a guy named Lamar Wells AKA Trunks24. Apparently I wasn't the only one who was impressed with his work as he is the cover artist for Sonic the Hedgehog #247. I said flat out that Archie should give this guy a job and sure enough they did which clearly spotlights my ever growing influence here on these interwebs. Don't worry people, I shall use my power first.

So follow your dreams people, you wanna do something go the hell out there and do it. Life is too damn short not to. And congrats on your first professional Sonic cover Mr. Wells. Hopefully we'll see a lot more of your art in the future.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Bechtloff's Book of Genesis: Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles

My all time favorite Sega game is actually two games put together. When Sonic and Knuckles came out it actually had a slot at the top of the cartridge that you could attach either Sonic 2 or 3 to it. If you hooked up Sonic 2 to it it let you play though Sonic 2 as Knuckles. But if you hooked it up to Sonic 3 you got a big ass Genesis era Sonic epic in which you could play as Sonic, Tails, or Knuckles, you played through all the levels of both games and there were 14 Chaos Emeralds you could collect instead of 7 and when you got all 14 Knuckles and Tails could go Super on you.

The game play for Knuckles was a lot different than Sonic or Tails, there were certain routs through certain levels Knuckles could go that Sonic and Tails couldn't and vise verse. Also Sonic and Tails had levels Knuckles didn't. Sonic even had a level Tails didn't. This was really 3 different Sonic games in one. The real shame is in most Sonic collections you see on current systems you will find Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles but not the combined game. And as with other Sonic games for the Genesis you didn't really beat it if you didn't have all the Emeralds. To be honest some of the final bosses are such ball busters I don't know how you even could without being able to go Super.

Oh, and in case you were wondering what happens if you try to hook Sonic and Knuckles up to Sonic 1, or Sonic Spinball, or any other Sega game for that matter, you get this message.

On Bible Studies and Alpha vs Beta Males.

As I mentioned before I have a Bible Study in my church every other Monday. We call it small group and it's meant to be both a Bible Study as well as a social kind of thing, building relationships with other church members and what not. And like I said before when I get bored or distracted in these Small Group sessions I start people watching, observing people and watching human nature unfold before me.

This past Monday was a rather interesting study, but it began to reach a point where we were going in circles in our discussions so my mind began to wander, as it's prone to do.

The core members of my small group consist of 4 young married couples. For the sake of this post let's call the men of these couples Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Now Matthew, Mark, and Luke are all some of the nicest guys you could hope to meet. Give you the shirt off their backs kinda guys. But our small group leader and teacher John on the other hand is an absolute pompous asshole. Now mind you this is Evangelical Culture, so John can't simply openly be an asshole, he's got to be a passive aggressive asshole. The kind that seem nice until you've spent enough time talking to them. Our three nice guys have decent looking wives, all average looking. John's wife however is a slamming hottie and one of the sweetest people you could meet. It's amazing how poorly he treats her. I can't tell you the number of times I've seen him say vicious (but of course passive aggressively sugar coated) things to her in public.

This got me thinking about the social sexual theory known simple as Game. What is game? Well, we could talk at great length about it, but the crux of it is being an asshole Alpha male gets you girls. If you want to learn more about it you should check out Chateau Heartiste. Game works really well on the primitive hind brain parts of us. Because of that it will work best on the dumbest and least civilized among us. A smart well raised girl will be able to resist game a lot more than, say, Snookie. Again game works on our more primitive parts so someone like Snookie who's three ass hairs away from an ape will be totally at the mercy of someone with game. It's not to say the smart well raised girl won't feel a tingle from a douchey bad boy, we all have primitive instincts, some of us just know how to control them better.

So why then does game work so well in the church? Why is the biggest asshole in my church married to one of the hottest women in my church? And it's not just this case, I've noticed game works extremely well on church girls, as long as you stay within the realm of acceptable passive aggressive moral high horse type asshole and not into Kevin Federline type asshole territory. But why can't these particular well raised civilized girls resist game? In a word, naivety.

What my fellow Christians often fail to understand is that while man is not JUST an animal, man is an animal. Even if you were to take a strict creationist stand point (which I don't), God made us from the same dust he made the beasts and we are bound by the same natural laws and possess the same basic instincts. We have a greater intellectual and spiritual dimension than other creatures, and thus can control out instincts, but they're still there. But you can't hope to control you're instincts if you don't first understand them. And so good little church girls go for the asshole just as fast as sleazy Jersey Shore hobags.

Just a few observations from a guy who was bored towards the end of a Bible Study.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sonic/Mega Man crossover part 5 solicit (in case, like me, you missed it)

Right about now some of you might be saying "Are you still talking about this Bechtloff?" Damn right I am because Sonic and Mega Man together is freaking awesome. I posted the solicit for part six of the Sonic/Mega Man crossover recently, but I found part five today while I was surfing around, so I figured I'd share it.

The second act of the epic Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man crossover event BEGINS HERE! "When Worlds Collide" Part Five of Twelve: Sonic, Mega Man, Tails and Proto Man enter the strange world of the Skull Egg Zone. They don't receive a warm welcome, either, as the Genesis Unit and Copy Robot attack! Drs. Eggman and Wily wait in the wings with an even more sinister surprise waiting to be unleashed! You cannot miss this action-packed issue, featuring new cover art by Patrick "SPAZ" Spaziante, and choose YOUR favorite hero with the "Team Sonic" and "Team Mega Man" variant covers!
Script: Ian Flynn
Art: Tracy Yardley!, Terry Austin, Jack Morelli, and Thomas Mason
Cover: Patrick "SPAZ" Spaziante, Jack Morelli, and Matt Herms
Team Sonic Variant: Patrick "SPAZ" Spaziante, Tracy Yardley!, Matt Herms, and Thomas Mason
Team Mega Man Variant: Patrick "SPAZ" Spaziante, Ryan Jampole, and Thomas Mason
On Sale at Comic Specialty Shops: 5/15
32-page, full color comic
$2.99 US.

Also it seems like Archie is gonna beat the variant cover horse to death on this crossover, which I'm not all that happy about. Not a fan of variant covers in general, but either way here's a few that will be coming out.
I do like the 16-bit graphic backgrounds. Not sure what game the one behind Shadow and Bass is from but I'd recognize that Floating Island behind Knuckles and Proto Man anywhere, that's from Sonic and Knuckles. Both of these look much better than the 16 bit variants I showed in an earlier post.

The Bechtloff's Book of Genesis: Taz in Escape from Mars

As a kid my favorite Loony Tunes character other than Road Runner was Marvin the Martian so this game was pretty high on my Christmas list when it came out. The story here is that Marvin has captured Taz for his personal intergalactic zoo. So you promptly break out and fight your way through Mars, Moleworld, Planet X, then on Earth through Mexico and a Haunted Castle, then for some damn reason you go back to Mars just to fight Marvin. There were a lot of cool power ups, like you could eat a can of gasoline and shoot fire out of your mouth or eat a box of rocks and shoot rocks until they ran out. This game was a pretty fun platformer, with fun character designs, but one part was a total ball buster.
In the second stage in the Moleworld you're being chased by a giant death machine drill. Now I've mentioned before how I hate the levels in 2-D platformers where you have to outrun some sorta wall of death, but this one was a nightmare. The damn thing would actually be hard enough without the drill. Combine that with the fact that this game had no save game or password system and this level almost makes this game cease to be fun.

Unless you have a Game Genie or an emulator that allows you to skip levels I would pass on this because the Ass Raper 9000 drill of death there really ruins an otherwise good time with this game.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review(s) of the Week: Superior Spider-man #4 and Avengers Vol 5 #6

If you haven't already, check out my reviews for issues one, two, and three. In this issue the mass murderer Massacre escapes from Ravencroft. Massacre lost all capacity for empathy due to brain damage from a car bombing. Spider-man saved his life and by the end of this issue that's a "mistake" the Superior Spider-man intends to rectify. Also in this issue Oct-Peter creates a cybernetic device he intends to use to give Aunt May her ability to walk without a cane. Oct-Peter's boss Max objects that human trials so soon is irresponsible and in the argument it dawns on Oct-Peter that Peter never finished college, let alone got a Doctorate like Ock, so Ock-Peter enrolls in college again.

This series continues to be a blast and this current little story line should prove very interesting. Massacre is not the first seemingly irredeemable villain Spidey has saved or not killed, guys like Carnage of course come to mind. So is that really the right thing or should someone like Massacre be put down like a mad beast? Also in the last panel we see the Green Goblin return.

This is the best Spider-man storyline in years and if you're not reading it you should be.

In the last few issues we've seen an unnamed female Captain Universe in the Avengers. Well, in this issue we get to know her a little bit. Apparently her name is Tamara Devoux. She was in a coma for ten years after a car accident and the Uni Power bonded with her and revived her. She has little to know memory and is barely aware of her surroundings. The Uni-Power seems to be in control most of the time. When asked why bond with Tamara, Cap Universe's response was "Because she is broken. Because she is dieing....just as I am."

Also in this issue there was a couple of great moments with Superior Spider-man interacting with his teammates and at the end a "White Event" that seems like the White Event in Marvel's old New Universe line of books. Although I don't know much about the New Universe so I could be wrong.

This issue was pretty good for the most part, but I'm not entirely happy with what's going on with Captain Universe. As I said before in my Captain Universe Hero Spotlight, I feel this character/concept works best as something that switches hosts. Also, remember when Avengers membership meant something? Don't get me wrong, I like the expanded membership of the last almost decade of the team. I think Spider-man is a good fit for the Avengers, and I like the idea of long time hold outs like Daredevil and Dr Strange on the team. Hell, I even think Wolverine has worked WAY better as an Avenger than I ever would have thought. But this issue reveals that Captain Universe was brought onto the team when they knew almost nothing about this new Captain Universe. You're the damn Avengers guys, have some standards.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Free Comic Book Day Sonic/Mega Man crossover prelude (and other FCBD news)

It looks like Archie will be taking advantage of Free Comic Book Day to pimp it's upcoming Sonic/Mega Man crossover with a flip book prelude FCBD issue. Diamond just released a preview of it, as well as some other FCBD books.

I was taking a look at this years crop of FCBD books and a few things struck me. First of all I see the NFL is trying it's hand at comic books again with something called NFL Rush Zone.
Granted I'm by no means a football fan, but what the fuck is that? You would think the NFL would have learned after it's last attempt at making comic books.

The other thing that struck me, and I noticed this the last couple of years, is how little effort Marvel and DC put into FCBD. Smaller companies put out tons but the big two barely anything. Marvel is doing a one shot called Infinity that will lead into a Thanos story and a comic book tie in to it's new Hulk:Agent of SMASH cartoon. DC is doing a Superman one shot, and a DC Nation Sampler. But that's it. I can understand not wanting to do too many original stories to just give away, but why not some reprints. Reprint some first issues of recent series then in the back put "To Be Continued in such and such trade", use this as a time to reel people in. The smaller companies really take better advantage of FCBD, there's no doubt about it.

The Bechtloff's Book of Genesis: Jurassic Park

When I was a kid I thought Jurassic Park had to be the best damn movie ever made. I must have seen that movie a dozen times in the theaters. Even as an adult if I had to make a 100 favorite movies list JP would easily be in the top 20. So it should be no surprise that Jurassic Park was and still is my favorite non Sonic game for the Genesis. This was sorta two games in one as you could play as either Alan Grant or a Raptor.
As Grant you fight your way through various dinos using tranquilizer darts, a stun gun, rockets, and gas and flash grenades. All you ever do is stun the various dinos so you have to keep a move on. You only ever saw the T-Rex's head, and you had to hit him with a weapon then run past him when he's roaring in pain/pissed off. The raptors are the biggest threat as they're the toughest and fastest ones you face. Playing as Grant was a little harder than the Raptor, but he did have two levels the Raptor didn't, plus you never saw the T-Rex in the Raptor mode and who doesn't love the T-Rex?

If Grant mode was the moist delicious cake, then Raptor mode was definitely the rich whipped frosting. The object of Raptor mode is to hunt down that delicious smelling Grant then sneak onto a ship and get your ass off the island. Along the way you fight some other dinos but mostly humans. It almost feels like Mario at times as the most effective attack against enemies is to jump on them, presumably hitting them with your claws in the process.

When you get to the end of the game in either mode you find yourself in the lobby of the visitor center where the display dino skeletons are. In Raptor mode Grant is on the top and in Grant mode there are two Raptors at the bottom. In either mode attacking your enemies directly is useless as they are all but invincible, you have to  make the skeletons collapse. I actually never could figure out how to do that as a kid and it wasn't until years later I finally figured it out.

This game is a blast and if you have an old Sega or an emulator you would be remiss not to check it out.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bechtloff Movie Night: Flywheel (2003)

Flywheel was the first movie by Sherwood Pictures, the guys who gave us Fireproof and Courageous. Sherwood Baptist Church started with this little film on a budget of $20,000, and holy crap does it look cheap. This has the audio and visual quality of a local business TV commercial. This had a very limited theatrical release in 2003 and didn't see a DVD release until 2007 after Sherwood had it's big break with Facing the Giants.

The story of this film is about Jay Austin, a dirty used car salesman who cheats anyone and everyone he does business with and is also up to his neck in debt. The bank is about a month away from seizing his business. Oh and he's fighting with his wife and neglecting his son. He ends up deciding to give his life to Jesus so he resolves to be a better husband, a better father, and an honest business man. When he announces that prices would be cut to a more fair market level his two salesmen quit rather than take the resulting cut in their commissions. He ends up hiring a new young salesman who is actually an undercover reporter doing a story on crooked used car salesmen. When the story runs, spotlighting Jay as the only honest salesmen the reporters found he becomes a media darling and his business booms to the point where he can pay off his debts and he even decides to go back and refund the customers he's cheated. With all the media attention he gets one reporter does an interview with his former employee who tells all about the rat bastard Jay used to be. Just when you think that news story will ruin him all the people he's refunded come out of the woodwork to speak to reporters and show that Jay is indeed a changed man.

This movie was, amazingly, not that bad. Sure it suffers from obvious technical problems, according to Wikipedia, co-writer Stephen Kendrick said, "We produced Flywheel with one Canon XL1s camera, G4 Mac computers and some Final Cut Pro editing software.". So it's bound to be pretty poor from an audio and visual standpoint. But from a story and even an acting standpoint it was far better than the studio's two newer and bigger budget follow ups I watched, Fireproof and Courageous. Unlike Fireproof, this movie doesn't waste a ton of time on pointless and uninteresting subplots, plus it doesn't have a main character that completely undermines the narrative. And unlike Courageous this is a solid story rather than several related meandering mini plots that largely amount to a big nothing.Flywheel knows what it wants to say and manages to say it in a decently engaging way. It even handles the "God works in mysterious ways" in a believable but creative way.

Obviously this movie had it's flaws, like most Christian movies it's a little too sanitized. I don't know why Christians have to make EVERYTHING 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 hard R. Giving this a bit more of an edge probably would have reached more non Christians. Also it helps to be a little more subtle with your message rather than hit people over the head with it.

Having seen this studio's two latest movies, and now their first, I gotta wonder, at what point did they stop trying? This was a decently watchable movie, whereas, despite higher budgets, Fireproof was a mess and Courageous was just boring drivel.

Sherwood pictures has another film, a football movie called Facing the Giants. That was probably their most critically and I think commercially successful movie but I don't think I'll be reviewing it. Reason being, as I said before, I have zero interest in football. So I don't think I could be fair to it as I would probably dislike even a good football movie. So, at least until their next film I am done with Sherwood pictures, a fact of which I thank God for.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Bechtloff's Book of Genesis: Justice League: Task Force

A fighting game featuring the Justice League, what's not to love? A lot of things actually. The story of this game is Darkseid wants to take over the Earth or something. You play as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, or Green Arrow and you fight through stages against your various JL teammates and then Cheetah, Despero, and of course Darkseid. To it's credit this game does look really good for a 16 bit game.
The different stages look great, the characters look great, it just looks like it should be way more fun than it is. Sadly though the controls are pretty poor and there just isn't a lot to this. I can't imagine the poor suckers who paid full retain for this.
This game could have used a few more characters, especially some more villains. It just felt so behind the times, even for 1995. Hell, in advertisements and on the back of the box it even made a big deal about how you could play a character against themselves.
Oh wow that's so unheard of in a fighting game, oh, wait, no it's not. That's about as rare as a copy of Youngblood #1. Now again, I wanted to like this game. It had some stuff going for it, like I said the backgrounds and the characters all stretch as much as you can out of those 16 bits, and it's cool to see characters like Green Arrow in a game, but it just doesn't make up for the flaws. Much like the Spider-man/X-men game, this game is hoping you'll be so impressed with who's in it, you'll ignore how bad it is.
That's not to say that it's as bad as Spider-man/X-men, it's just not what it should have been. I found a used copy for like $2.99 and I would say it was worth at least that much. It's two player mode is decently amusing if you have a friend who's also a comic fan, mostly because of how it looks. Ultimately I guess I give this game 2 Superman mullets out of 5.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Orson Scott Card, Superman, and the "tolerance" of the left.

DC is planning to release a new Adventures of Superman #1 here, it's going to be an anthology title and judging by the cover at least some of the stories won't be set in the train wreck that is the New 52.

Issue one will feature a story by legendary sci-fi writer Orson Scott Card. Card is the author of the Ender's Game series, a Mormon, and a staunch opponent of same sex marriage. Now, while I have moral objections to homosexuality, I'm also a libertarian and I believe in individual liberty. I will fight for the death for individuals to have the right to peacefully live their lives as they see fit, even if the way they seem fit is something I believe to be morally wrong or objectionable. So I'm fine with the government letting gays marry. Card obviously disagrees and feels if gays marry the sky will fall or whatever. Personally I think Card's political views in that regard are at best silly and at worst hateful. And I also find the vehement opposition to same sex marriage rather funny coming from Mormons. One would think given their fondness for polygamy they of all people wouldn't want the government telling people who they can and can't marry. But simply because I don't agree with an author's political views doesn't mean I feel he should be blacklisted or boycotted.

Already there is a petition at All Out for DC to fire Card. Also some comic book stores are refusing to sell this issue. I wonder if these same stores refuse to sell books like Punk Rock Jesus because they don't want to offend Christians. I somehow doubt it. We see that despite preaching "tolerance" till they're blue in the face, liberals don't tolerate dissent well. To DC's credit they are refusing to cave to the rainbow mafia, releasing this statement.

“As content creators we steadfastly support freedom of expression, however the personal views of individuals associated with DC Comics are just that — personal views — and not those of the company itself.”

Good. Don't be bullied by the P.C. police DC. I swear the rainbow mafia is never fucking satisfied. DC has tons of gay characters at this point. Hell, they even recently took one of their oldest characters, Alan Scott, and fucking slapped gay on him. And if that wasn't enough they made Solomon Grundy look like a gay leather bar daddy. What more do you homos want from them?

Simply put, and I say this as someone who disagrees with Card on the issue in question, if you're not willing to read something by a talented author, and if you actively try to silence said author, just because you disagree on a political issue, you are a close minded douchebag.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Retro Review: Spectacular Spider-man #241

Happy Beheaded Catholic Saint's Day to all! This year to celebrate this day of love I took a look at a sorta romance themed issue of Amazing Spider-man and a BDSM themed romance movie. So let's finish this Valentine's Day how we started it, by taking another look at my favorite comic book couple, Spider-man and Mary Jane.

The story of this issue, well is pretty much Peter and MJ are sad about their baby being still born so Spider-man goes web swinging and takes Mary Jane with him. That's about it. Sure there's some sub plots moved forward a bit, involving characters like Chameleon and Jack O Lantern, but that's about it.

That's not to say this was a bad issue, quite the opposite. Nor was it a dull issue. The clone saga had just wrapped up, Peter had returned to his role of Spider-man, and they had just lost their baby as well as Peter's clone Ben who was like a brother to him. This issue was a needed epilogue for all that both for the reader and the characters.

And the artist Luke Ross did an amazing job. There are two whole pages of Spidey swinging around with MJ. Even with no dialogue Ross manages to convey so much emotion through it. It was actually genuinely touching. Luke Ross was one of my favorite Spidey artists ever, he's doing the art for Secret Avengers right now, although its a little darker than I've generally seen his stuff and honestly I don't care for it that much.

If you're a Spidey fan, or if you're just a comic fan than this is the perfect comic to read on this day or love.

Bechtloff Movie Night: Secretary (2002)

This being a day for love and all I figured it was worth taking a looking at a romance movie. And what could possibly be more romantic than a movie about Maggie Gyllenhaal getting spanked?

For those of you who don't know, in this movie Maggie plays Lee, a girl who recently got out of the nuthouse after being treated for being a cutter. She gets released to live with her parents and ends up getting a job as James Spader's Secretary. Their professional relationship evolves into a BDSM office romance until he breaks it off and fires her because he's ashamed of his unique sexual proclivities. She goes back to her sorta boyfriend and even agrees to marry him despite how bored she is with him. Seriously check out the scene where they're having sex.
This is pretty common in romance stories, the second love interest. He's usually a typical boring nice guy but the girl just can't shake her feelings for Mr. Dark Bad Boy. Normally I would feel sorry for that guy in these movies, but look at that douche.
This guy is such a tool that even when Lee very callously breaks him heart I can't feel any sympathy for him. Finally she confronts her former boss at his office, telling her she loves him. He orders her to sit at the desk until he returns leaving her there for a couple of days. He finally return and they end up together in a BDSM themed marriage. 

This movie had a lot going for it. Both Spader and Gyllenhaal give solid performances and it actually delves into the complexities of the fetishes it portrayed in a smart and engaging way. Unfortunately it suffers from the same problem a lot of romances or romantic comedies have, the third act. 

A well made romance, to me at least has a very interesting first and second act. You get to know the characters and then watch the romance blossom. Then comes the third act and you get the break up. Usually they break up because one or both parties is being an idiot. And then there's a lot of mopping around and its just unpleasant to watch. You know they'll get back together, so there's no suspense, but now the movie has suddenly stopped being fun. 

So why do romance and romantic comedies do this, when it sucks so much. And they ALL do it. Because the simple fact of the matter is romance and romantic comedies really shouldn't exist as a movie genre. Mind you, I've enjoyed many a romantic comedy over the years, but the third act break up always sucks. But without it, you're hard pressed to get a romance to work in a 3 act story structure. Which to me is why romance works best as a subplot. Far better to simply enjoy watching love blossom as the main story progresses, that way there is no obnoxious and unnecessary third act moping around bull shit. 

All that being said, if you're looking for a romance movie this Valentine's Day, especially an off beat one, then this is certainly worth your time.

Retro Review: Amazing Spider-man Vol 2 #50

On February 14th, 270 A.D. Saint Valentine was beheaded by order of the Emperor of Rome and because of that you have to buy your woman chocolates today. Yeah, I don't really get the connection either. Oh well, for whatever reason today is the day to celebrate love so let's take a look at an issue that spotlights Spider-man and Mary Jane's relationship.

This issue starts with Peter meeting MJ at the airport. They had been going through a separation due to some marriage problems and were attempting to work them out. As they are chatting, wouldn't ya know it, Dr Doom shows up. He's being escorted by a couple of security guards as he is apparently flying in on some sort of diplomatic mission. Doom is attacked by some "Free Latveria" terrorists. Spider-man intervenes, actually saving Doom's life and we come to find out one of the security guards was actually Captain America in disguise. Cap tells Spidey he knew about the possible threats and that's why he was there and the two of them take down the terrorists. Doom thanks Spidey for help and tells him he owes him a favor. Spidey then proceeds to tell Doom where he can stick his favor and Doom basically considers overlooking that insult the favor. Spidey, still in costume sits down in the wreckage to talk to MJ. 
She raises some interesting points about the stress his double life puts on her, and jokingly tells him "You never introduce me to your friends." to which Spider-man actually introduces her to Captain America. This was sorta a big deal, this was before New Avengers when almost every super hero knew Spidey's ID. MJ tells Peter she feels like he can do all these amazing things, and thus doesn't really need her. He gives her a rather touching speech about how it's only because of her that he can keep it together to do such things. At the end the couple is back together, as they SHOULD be (I'm looking at you Quesada)

This was a great issue, full of fun, touching, and humorous moments. The artwork by Romita Jr was solid, and the writing was Straczynski at his best on Spidey. If you're in a Valentines kinda mood today you should give this issue a read.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Review(s) of the Week: Uncanny X-men Vol 3 #1 and Mega Man #22

I really like where the X-men have gone in recent years. This book follows the fugitive X-men team as they attempt to rescue and mentor some of the new mutants who have sprung up in the aftermath of Avengers vs X-men.

The book starts with someone coming to see SHIELD director Maria Hill. He is clearly dangerous although it's not revealed who he is. He's here to give some intel on Cyclops and some possible ways he can be taken down. He tells her his powers are going haywire, that he shouldn't be killed as that would make him a martyr, that instead he needs to be exposed. That the world must see he is a broken man, physically, mentally, and spiritually. We also see this stranger bring video of Cyclops and his crew of Emma, Magneto, Magik, and the rest saving a mutant and taking of some Sentinels. At the end of the issue we see this man is Magneto and he is working against Cyclops.

This was a extremely well written issue. I'm really enjoy where the X-men in general have been going. The art, however, sucked a fat hairy nut sack. I'm sorry but I never could stomach Chris Bachalo's ugly hectic art style. It's like Huberto Ramos minus the heart and charm. Bad as it was I'd still take Greg Land's porn face art over Chris Bachalo any day. Terrible art aside this was a damn good issue and is definitely worth checking out.

Also, and I've mentioned this before, enough with the multiple volumes. People always complain that continuity scares away and confuses new readers, I think a damn good case could be made that multiple number ones and title changes confuse the hell outta new readers. Could you imagine if you were just getting into Captain America for instance trying to make heads or tails of the title changes and multiple volumes he's had? Seriously Marvel enough with the multiple volumes.

Robo love is in the air, which I have to imagine probably has a nasty burnt metal smell like when your car is breaking down. In this issue Mega Man and Roll head to the Arctic to assist Quake Woman and Ice Man with an Arctic Research problem. Quake Woman only recently got her emotions back and is having a difficult time processing them. Roll attempts to set Mega Man and Quake Woman up, but neither are all that interested, meanwhile Ice Man, who's got a giant crush on Roll is desperately trying to impress her to no avail. While all this goes on we cut to Dr Light and Dr Lalinde end up having dinner with Agents Krantz and Stern and have a rather interesting back and forth on the ethics of making artificial intelligence so close to human.

This series has been a great all ages read from the start. It's fun, it's fast paced, and it even manages to ask a few questions. It manages to be accessible to kids without talking down to them, so even a cynical old nerd like myself can enjoy them. If you're not reading this you should be, and this issue is a pretty decent jumping on point.

And while we're on the subject of Mega Man I found this awesome variant cover for Mega Man #25, which is the start of the Sonic/Mega Man crossover.
Dr Wily and Dr Robotnik riding a tandem bike. How can you not love that?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Arrow gets renewed for season 2.

I've talked about this show before, if you're not watching it you should be. Well, it was just announced it will indeed get a second season. This show is absolutely amazing. The acting, the writing, the special effects are all top notch, especially for a network TV show. It has it's flaws, as with many CW shows its cast a little too young. Dinah "Laurel" Lance looks way too young to be a lawyer. Also, while I suppose it's a minor grip, he's never referred to as Green Arrow, but rather the Hood or the Vigilante. 

I'm really looking forward to where this show is going, apparently there are already plans to introduce Roy Harper into the show. This is one of those rare shows where I don't wait to catch it in rerun or Ondemand, this is appointment television for me. I actually loved the last episode so much I called a friend I know watches it to talk about it. He told me he hadn't seen it and would watch it later Ondemand. I was actually kinda pissed, I wanted to talk about it now. That's how much I love this damn show.

So thank you CW for renewing this, but please start calling him Green Arrow. The Hood is fucking lame.

Sonic/Mega Man crossover 16-bit variant covers

I know, I know, I've been talking about this over and over and over again on here. And I know some of you don't give a shit. But I'm sure some of you, like me, are super amped for this awesomeness. I really don't feel like the comic sites like Newsarama or CBR are giving this the coverage is deserves, I tend to have to really search for my news on this. Anyways I caught a reveal of some of the 16-bit variant covers over at IGN and thought I'd share them here.

I'm not a big fan of variant covers in general, simply because of how over used they are. If it were up to me they would be saved just for second printings or convention exclusives. As for these specific variants, while the idea of a variant cover for this done in a 16-bit style is really cool, the execution kinda sucks. These covers seem like jumbled images thrown together in an almost collage manner. It feels more like fan art than a real variant. But hey, if my biggest complaint turns out to be some poorly executed gimmicky variant covers I'll be one happy nerd. Until then I will continue to pass along any news on this as I find it.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Rob Liefeld madness, the Onslaught trading card edition.

While we're on the subject of Onslaught, let's take a look at some of Rob Liefeld's fine work in the Onslaught trading card series. I used to love Marvel trading cards when I was first getting into comics, it was a great way to learn about different characters. The Onslaught set was pretty interesting, it was divided into 4 different types. The first type had various Marvel characters with a bio on the back written by Onslaught talking about the character and what he thinks of them. There were cards featuring X-men with a message from Professor X on how they need to take him down if he goes evil, there were cards that told the story of the Onslaught saga, and there were cards that featured art work by Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld from the then upcoming Heroes Reborn stuff.
Since a trading card exists for the sole purposes of showcasing characters and artwork most artists would probably really bring their A game to it. Rob however handed in a couple of rough sketches. Putting aside how terrible these costume designs are, Rob basically just handed in an unfinished concept sketch and had some poor inker try to clean it up for him.
How did Captain America end up with Ben Grimm's left hand? Look at that he has three big fingers on his left hand. Also, what the fuck is happening to his neck?
I understand that the human body is not perfectly symmetrical. It's not uncommon for one hand or foot to be slightly bigger than the other, usually the one on the dominant side, but should Wanda's boobs really be that lopsided? Also is that supposed to be a cape behind her, because it looks like she bought some red pterodactyl wings at the costume store but accidentally got two left ones.

It's pretty impressive for Swordsman to be so good at sword fighting given that he apparently was born without eyes. Also look at how absolutely fucked up the swords are. And how is he holding them. Damn it Rob.
Holy shit, where do you even begin here? The bow, his arm, the insanely large torso. The man has made millions of dollars doing things like this. Sometimes I wonder if the guy was just playing an Andy Kaufman type joke on the comic book industry. I mean shit.

See any more mistakes, feel free to mention them in the comments.