Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spider-man 2099 set to return.

Well it's been rumored for a while and Dan Slott has hinted around to it, but now it's confirmed. In September Spider-man 2099 will be back. In an interview Dan Slott has revealed that in Superior Spider-man #17 he will be teaming up with Ock-Spidey. I've always had a soft spot for Spider-man 2099 and would love to see this lead into him getting an ongoing again. Also Slott confirmed it will be the Peter David version not the lamer version from that Timestorm mini from 2009. Also Slott hinted around that there could be some major time altering event on the horizon that sounds almost like a Marvel version of DC's Zero Hour.

"With Age of Ultron, with All-New X-Men, with other events going on in the Marvel Universe, something seems to be happening with time itself," the writer said. "Almost like there’s a grand design."

It will be interesting to see what the folks at Marvel might have in mind here. Let's just hope it's not a New 52 style reboot. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Bechtloff Movie Night: Time Changer (2002)

Ever wonder what H.G. Wells' The Time Machine would have been like if it had been written by a Christian author like C.S. Lewis? I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure it would have been better than this piece of shit.

This movie is about Dr. Russell Carlisle, a Bible Professor living in the year 1890. He has just published a manuscript entitled The Changing Times and is seeking the endorsement of the board of the seminary he teaches at. All of the board loves it but his colleague Dr. Anderson raises an objection. There is a part in the manuscript about how the moral teachings of Christ should be taught, even if one can not teach about Christ himself. Anderson contents that leading people to salvation should be the first priority of Christians and that morality without Christ is dead and will eventually decay into immorality. I actually agree with Dr. Anderson and it's something I wish would get through to today's more politically minded activist Evangelicals. If they spent more time and energy into actually ministering to, preaching to, and above all loving their neighbors rather than trying to use the strong arm of the government to get them to act in more moral ways maybe we would see some real revival in this country.

But I digress. Dr Anderson invites Carlisle over to his place to further discuss their disagreement and once there Dr. Anderson shows Carlisle his time machine. That's right he has a time machine. Apparently Anderson's father was an inventor and designed this right before he died and Anderson built it. Anderson sends Carlisle to the present day and Carlisle is shocked at the moral decay. Carlisle returns and agrees to change his manuscript.

OK, where do I begin here? First of all Carlisle is a retard. I mean he truly seems to be mentally deficient and shows, as a character, incredibly poor judgement and a complete inability to adapt or learn. If you found yourself transported over a century in the future would you A.) attempt to get information to understand this new environment you find yourself in or B.) run around like an idiot making yourself look like an asshole or a mental patient. If you answered A congratulations on being smarter than a fucking professor.

Right before Anderson sends Carlisle to the future he tells him of a librarian he has encountered there and that he should seek her out to help guide him and provide him with info. Does Carlisle do this? Well yes, but not before bumbling around this world he doesn't understand for a few days making a complete ass of himself. Almost every scene of Carlisle in the future is one of two things, either him blowing up about this or that improper or immoral thing with varying degrees of hysteria, or a fish out of water gag of him interacting with modern technology that is usually extremely unfunny. That's it. Over and over again. And you know what, it's not dramatic, it's not funny, it's just awkward. Really really awkward. It gets downright painful to watch at times. It's not even consistent with how he reacts with technology. At one point he goes for a ride in a van with some friends at a local church he made and looks at the van like it is some sort of sorcery. He even sticks his head out of the window as though he was looking for a horse to be pulling it. OK fine, except he had been in the future for days at this point and had already encountered cars several times. Hell, he was nearly hit by one while walking around like a moron shortly after arriving in our time. This is what I mean by the fact that he doesn't seem to pick anything up or actually fucking learn.

One scene really got me and I'll tell you why. There is a scene where Carlisle is in a park and discovers a drinking fountain. Right before he goes to drink a little black girl drinks first. And he says nothing about this. Now this is where I really have to call bullshit. One of two reactions was necessary here, either he has a problem with drinking after her due to the social norms of his time, or he comments on how he is pleased that negos and whites live together in peace. He doesn't just think nothing of that coming from 1890. See this movie wants us to think that everything was sunshine lollypops and rainbows everywhere in 1890. Bullshit. Sure there are plenty of ways our society as decayed but also plenty of ways it has improved. This movie really goes to show the ridiculous rose colored glasses that Evangelical culture sees the past with.

This movie could have been good. It could have taken a look at the ways Western civilization is declining and how that relates to the decline of Christianity in the West in an engaging and thoughtful way. But that would have required far more creativity and even intellectual honesty than the makers of this film apparently possessed. Instead what we got was an awkward uncomfortable mess. I wish I had a time machine so I could go back and stop myself from watching this raging dumpster fire of a movie.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

What's on the radio: Next to Me by Emeli Sande

This song is starting to make it's rounds on the radio and I just love it. Emeli Sande has been big in the UK for a while now but this is her first real hit here in the states. The lyrics are simple and even a little generic about her man and how faithful he is and how much she can rely on him, but the vocals are what really make this shine. Her voice reminds me of Beyonce, before Beyonce stopped trying that is. The actual music is rather simple and elegant, I especially love the piano riff that starts the song.

I hope we hear a lot more from Emeli, it would be a real shame if she went the way of other great UK pop stars like Lily Allen and Estelle who never really saw the sucess and recognition in the states they deserved. Sande is a very remarkable woman, she actually went to school for medicine and has a degree in neuroscience. She is also a gifted song writer and has written songs for everyone from Rihanna to Susan Boyle. I heard her preform live on the Elvis Duran morning show this morning and she's every bit as good unplugged. Hopefully we hear a lot more from Emeli.

Seriously DC?!

I miss when DC published comics instead of raging dumpster fires. That is the cover to this week's issue of Flash, and that black and red disaster is the New 52 Reverse Flash. Seriously fuck you DC. It's bad enough you had to give everyone a stupidly over designed costumes by way of Jim Lee's shitty redesigns, or that you turned Harley Quinn into a Hot Topic cashier, or that you turned Solomon Grundy into a gay leather bar daddy, you turned Reverse Flash into that abortion.

I was always more of a Marvel fan than a DC one, but damn I miss DC. I miss the Pre-Flashpoint DC universe so much.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Review of the Week: Scarlet Spider #16

I never thought Spider-man's clone Kane would be the star of one of my favorite books but this has been a damn good book from the start. This issue wasn't bad, but it was also sorta just a filler issue. The story here is Kane is dragged to the Rodeo by his friends, fights the Armadillo from the Texas Super Team the Rangers who's having a nervous breakdown, and finally comes to terms with some of the darker aspects of his nature and takes the chance of entering a relationship with his love interest Annabelle.

And that's about it. What was really disappointing was, with the cover an homage to Superior Spider-man #1, I figured this might be at least leading up to him crossing paths with Ock-Spidey. That's something I'd love to see given the history between Ock and Kane.

That disappointment aside, this isn't a bad issue, but it wasn't that great of an issue either and I frankly expect a little more out of this series than just OK.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What's on the radio: Thrift Shop by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

The next time you here an idiotic Keynesian economist like Paul Krugman try to tell you how well our economic recovery is going just remember, a song about how cool shopping at the Good Will is is setting the charts on fire.

If you haven't heard Thrift Shop by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis then I can't imagine what rock you're living under. This song is everywhere right now, and I for one think its success is well deserved. In an age where 90% of rap has degenerated into talking about nothing but expensive clothes, liquor, cars, and the loose women those things attract, Thrift Shop is a breath of fresh air. With awesome lines like "Now walk into the club like 'What up?! I got a big cock'", "Damn, that's a cold ass honky!", and my personal favorite "They be like 'Oh that Gucci, that's so tight' I'm like 'Yo, that's fifty dollars for a t-shirt" it's hard not to love this song. The beat is incredibly catchy and well produced so that helps it's case a lot too. It definitely has it's flaws. It's a bit repetitive such as constantly mention his clothes were your grandfathers. Also, and I'm certainly not the first to point this out, the line about buying a used skeet blanket is, well, let's just say it's odd.

I listened to some of Macklemore's other songs and wasn't that impressed. They aren't bad, but they aren't nearly as memorable as Thrift Shop. One song, Same Love even gets up a liberal high horse lecturing the rap community for using words like faggot and gay. So in my mind Macklemore already loses some of the cool points Thrift Shop earned him for whining that rap isn't sensitive enough.

I think Thrift Shop is an instant classic. While I'm sure I'll probably be sick of it by the time it's run on the charts is over, I'm also sure it's one of those songs I'll be going back to a couple years after it's faded from memory and rediscover it all over again.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Retro Review: Spider-man 2099 meets Spider-man

I've talked about Marvel's 2099 line before, both in my Top 10 Marvel alternate realities list and a review of Ghost Rider 2099 #7 now let's take a look at the book that introduced me to Spider-man 2099.

The book starts off with Peter finding himself in the year 2099, in a scene reminiscent of Spider-man 2099's premiere in his issue 1. Peter swings around for a while, running a fowl of the Judge Dredd-like sky cops that patrol 2099 New York. Then we cut to Miguel O'Hara waking up in Peter's bed, much to his and MJ's shock. He heads out to find he's been flung to the past. Seeking answers he heads to the Daily Bugle where he runs into JJ. After JJ gives him some crap, not believing he is a Spider-man from the future, Miguel unmasks for JJ and tells him that 100 years from now Spider-man is a beloved chapter in history and nobody even remembers him or his rants. Once Miguel gets the info he needs, that Fujikawa, which becomes Stark-Fujikawa in Miguel's time, is conducting some sort of experiment on energy conservation or something, he realizes that is what will cause the cataclysm that ends the heroic age. Meanwhile, in the future, Peter beats the crap out of Vulture 2099 and meets Miguel's brother who takes him to Miguel's apartment once he realizes who Peter is. And back in the past Miguel talks more to MJ and they exchange info once he convinces her he is a Spider-man from the future. Peter heads to the Alchemax building to try and find a way back to his time when some sort of time/reality distortion starts happening there. Meanwhile on his way to Fujikawa Miguel runs a fowl of Venom before the distortion starts happening there, chasing Venom away. Next thing we see out two Spider-men together and they attacked by Hobgoblin from the year 2211.
After the Spider-men fight him (really a her, more on that later) for a bit Spider-man 2211 shows up to help.
At this point things blow up and the two Spider-men get flung to their respective times, with the great cataclysm apparently adverted. As they fade from each other they each compliment each other's costume.

This was, in a lot of ways, a great book. It's handled with such weight, these two meeting, you would swear this is an inter-company crossover several years in the making. It's even a prestigious format one shot. The interactions between Miguel and MJ as well as Miguel and Jameson were the real high points for me. More than a decade later we would learn more about the Spider-man and Hobgoblin on 2211 in the pages of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man. It turns out Hobgoblin was that Spider-man's daughter. That Spider-man is also some sort of time cop.

This one shot isn't perfect, as with many time travel stories there is a lot of logic problems. Also for a one shot with the word 'meets' in the title these guys sure don't interact much. Most of this story is spent with the two Spider-men interacting with the other's time period. All and all though this is a pretty solid read and I consider it the high point of the 2099 line. If you're at all interested in 2099 this would make a decent place to start.

Hero Spotlight: Captain Planet.

Happy Earth Day. To mark this hippie holiday I thought I would take a look at the environmental crusader and mullet enthusiast Captain Planet.

When the Earth Goddess Gaia had her underground resting chambers disturbed by an evil company that was drilling for unobtainium or something, she created 5 magic rings and gave them to 5 different teenagers dubbed the Planeteers. They each had the powers of earth, fire, water, air, and heart. If you're wondering what heart does I'm not really sure other than it apparently allows you to have a pet monkey.

When the five Planeteers combine their powers they summon Captain Planet. Cap has a lot of poorly define powers. He seems to have all sorts of elemental powers, but if you spill a little motor oil on him he becomes completely useless. Also, I never really got what the hell Captain Planet really was. Was he a person? Gaia's boyfriend? Where was he when he wasn't summoned?

This show absolutely sucked a fat hairy dick. I never liked it, and I didn't know any kid that did. But it lasted forever and was on like every channel. Far as I can tell it was just because Ted Turner was bound and determined to shove it down the throat of every kid in America.

In a way Captain Planet was like the liberal secular equivalent of Bible Man. It wasn't really a character or even a show so much as it was propaganda of the most transparent kind. Captain Planet didn't entertain you, he lectured you, and who wants to be lectured by a mullet sporting douche?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

What's on the radio: Titanium by David Guetta and Sia

I mentioned before that I don't much care for modern rock. That's despite the fact that, on the surface, I seem like the kind of guy who should listen to it almost exclusively. I love pop, and dance, and hip hop, and even gangsta rap (especially the early 90's West coast stuff). I've been told that my MP3 play list looks like it was selected by a ghetto black guy and a 12 year old white girl.

My love of dance is especially odd since I can not dance, like at all. But most dance music just puts me in a good mood with it's intense and upbeat sound. So one of my favorite songs making the rounds on the top 40 stations these days is Titanium by producer David Guetta with vocals by indie pop star Sia. The lyrics are your generic personal strength message that can be applied to virtually any bit of adversity one might face.

I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose
fire away, fire away
ricochet, take your aim
fire away, fire away
you shoot me down, but I won't fall
I am titanium
you shoot me down, but I won't fall
I am titanium

The vocals by Sia are great, the way her voice builds up on the "I am titanium" lines seems to really put a ton of emotion and even a sense of defiance into that one little line. The beat by Guetta is, well it's pretty basic, even by the standards of dance music, but it gets the job done. Guetta has always produced the most meat and potatoes brand of dance beats. I don't think he's an awful producer, just a rather uninteresting one and I find his high level of success baffling. But the strength of the lyrics and vocals are more than enough to make up for Guetta's generic beats.

I really like this song. It charges me up every time I hear it. Also I'm happy to have a dance song that isn't about dancing or being in the club or partying in general. If you haven't heard it search for it on youtube and give it a shot. Also It has a really interesting video of a kid developing super powers and accidentally blowing up his school.

Retro Review: Superman Vol 2 #180

So I was digging through a back issue bin yesterday when I found this little gem. Superman vs Dracula you say?
Apparently at this point General Zod was active on Earth and had pulled a Dr. Doom, becoming leader of a Eastern European country named Pokolistan. So Lois, Jimmy, and Clark are off to a castle in one of Pokolistan's neighboring countries to interview a leader there Count Rominoff. Little do the trio know this is actually count Dracula. They spend the night before conducting an interview in the morning. In the middle of the night Lois is called out using hypnosis to the middle of a field where she is attacked by werewolves. Also the artist is very generous with the Lois cleavage and side boob. In fact in one panel we see if must be rather cold out as I can't think of anything else than a rock hard nipple that could possibly be holding up that nightie.
Anyways this was all a ruse as Dracula knew that Superman seems to show up whenever Superman is in danger. So of course Superman does, since he was already there, and Dracula tries to turn Superman into a vampire servant to fight against Zod for him. Hmmm, you want to turn the guy who gets his powers from the sun into a vampire? You didn't think that through did you Dracula? This does indeed turn out badly for our undead friend as Superman's blood burns Dracula like sunlight and kills him. As the three reporters go home they wonder who will defend this country from Zod and we cut to a shot of the Creature Commandos ready to defend their creepy ass country.
 The redhead vampire we saw earlier, she was a servant of Dracula's and tried to seduce and bite Jimmy.

This was a damn good issue. There were a lot of good character moments, such as when Lois and Superman came out of their respective hypnotic states they each blurted out a secret frustration about the other which was interesting. The Creature Commandos that show up at the end seem pretty damn cool and I'd love to see more of their fighting Zod. Also there were some funny moments such as Dracula's basement being full of wine bottles of human blood. The art was solid, the writing was solid, this was all and all a great issue of Superman and you should check it out.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sheldon Cooper was right....

...Will Wheaton is a douche bag. Ensign Crusher had this little bit of thoughtful dialogue on the recent gun control bill shot down in the Senate on his twitter. I tell you, liberal logic never ceases to amuse me. They constantly rail against police brutality, and rightfully so, and yet they would also love to live in a country where only the cops have guns. Brilliant guys. But never let it be said that the Bechtloff is not a man of peace and reconciliation. So let me take this opportunity to extend an olive branch to Mr. Wheaton.

Will, if by chance you should read this, let me just say on behalf of all gun owners I'm sorry that my God given and constitutionally protected right to arm and defend myself makes your pussy hurt. So if you would like I would be happy to buy you a bottle of Midol to ease your suffering. Just let me know where to ship it to Mr. Wheaton.

Age of Ultron kinda sucks.

I really hate to say this but Age of Ultron is amazingly, downright bewilderingly bad. I'm not one of those guys you see on message boards who hates any and every event. I loved Civil War, World War Hulk, Infinite Crisis, Avengers vs X-men, and most of the big events of the past decade or so both from Marvel and DC despite their flaws. Even the ones that weren't all that good like House of M or Secret Invasion still kept me hooked with wanting to know where it was all going. Plus they both had solid tie ins. But this, this is a raging dumpster fire. Ultron's an awesome villain, how do you screw the pooch this badly on an Ultron centric event?

First of all this series is yet another example of Bendis not knowing, or not caring how time travel is usually portrayed in Marvel. You can not change the past you simply make a new timeline. Also, because apparently this was written years ago Spider-man is clearly still Peter rather than Ock in this and the Fantastic Four, or rather what's left of them just Invisible Woman is in this even though they should be absent from the Marvel Universe. The tie ins have tried to smooth over these errors with various degrees of success but it's still a big error and should have gotten a rewrite.

But here's the biggest flaw, it seems to be there is really only two ways for a time travel/reality altering story like this to end. Either things are back to normal which would make this story largely if not completely irrelevant, or, and please dear God in Heaven don't let this be the case, this is paving the way for a DC type reboot. The former means I shouldn't care and the latter, well....let's just hope it's not the latter. At least weaker events like House of M or Secret Invasion had lasting effects. So far the only lasting impact we know this will have is a shitty Image character will be crammed into the Marvel Universe, probably, I would even say hopefully, to be forgotten in a year or so.

I haven't seen something so disappointingly bad since that Prometheus movie.

Bill O'Reilly is still an idiot

In these troubled times it's comforting to see that some things never change. Bill O'Reilly is still an idiot. I really can't stand that guy. It's not merely that I disagree with him on various issues, I watch and listen to lots of conservative and liberal shows. Just because I'm a libertarian doesn't mean I only listen to libertarians.

But O'Reilly just grates on me for a number of reasons. Partly it's the arrogance, the way he acts like he's far smarter than he actually is, the way he bullies guests, the obvious anger issues. Politics aside he seems like a douche. Also, there's just a lot of lazy thinking in his arguments.

So Tuesday I was bouncing around the various news channels trying to get a little bit of info on the whole Boston Marathon tragedy and I watched a little bit of Bills show. One of his flunkies was out on the streets of Boston getting people's reactions. One gentleman said he was worried the government would manipulate this event to further trample our civil liberties. O'Reilly called this guy an "ideological zealot". Go fuck yourself Bill. If being concerned about individual liberty makes me a zealot than so be it. I'll be a free zealot and you and your halfwit audience can be enslaved moderates.

But the other thing that drove me nuts was he was mad Obama didn't call this a terrorist attack soon enough or enough times or whatever. Bill went on to say if it was a foreign national it was an act of war and if it was an American it was high treason. Here's the thing though Bill, this might not have been a terrorist attack. See, no one has taken credit, which terrorists tend to do as they are attempting to prove some sort of point with their violence. Now I could be wrong, but it seems to me this was the work of some maniac with more in common with Ted Bundy than Osama Bin Laden. So far, based on all we know, this is just a criminal case. This guy is guilty of murder, assault, attempted murder, and a laundry list of other offenses that come with blowing up a crowded event. But high treason? Bill, I know that you've never served in the military, despite being quite the hawk in your foreign policy, but an act of violence is not automatically an act of war. For all we know the guy who did this did it because his dog told him to, or he got off on it, or whatever. Again it seems to me like terrorists would have come forward. For someone who loves war so damn much Bill sure doesn't understand it. One lone individual committing violence is not necessarily an act of war.

So Bill O'Reilly is still an idiot. Good to know in these troubled times some things remain the same.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Review(s) of the Week: Superior Spider-Man #8, Sonic Universe #51, and Supergirl #19

If you haven't already check out my reviews for issues 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6AU, and 7. So last issue ended with the Avengers confronting Ock-Spidey demanding he submit to some medical tests to determine if he is really Spider-man. He refused and this issue they fight and ultimately subdue him and run the tests. They find nothing and actually apologize, although he's still on probation due to his odd behavior. One more murdered super villain and he'll be on double secret probation. Black Widow offers to talk to Ock-Spidey saying she knows what it's like to kill and have "red in your ledger". I guess because of the Avengers movie talking about ledgers is apparently something Black Widow does now. For good or for ill it's amazing how much the movies and TV shows based on comics end up affecting the comics they're based off of.

Anyways Ock-Spidey then tracks down Cardiac to recover the brain scanner thingie he stole from one of Ock's old warehouses. When Ock-Spidey sees he's using it to help a sick kid he assists then asks to borrow the scanner saying he will return it to Cardiac who is doing good work with it. It seems Ock-Spidey is onto the fact that Peter is still alive in him, he can even hear him now and he's going to use the device to preform a "Parker-ectomy".

This continues to be a great series, but I'm a little disappointed with how the Avengers thing resolved itself. The Avengers and Cap in particular came across as kinda stupid in this. That aside I am still enjoying Superior and still contend this is the best Spidey we've had since that coat hanger abortion One More Day ran the franchise into the dirt.
The comic book crossover event of 2013 continues. If you haven't already, check out my review for part one. In the last part Dr Eggman and Dr. Wily got together and had an epic bromance, set off the Genesis Wave slightly altering both Sonic and Mega Man's worlds, and roboticized Tails, Amy, Shadow, and Knuckles into "Roboticized Masters" The Roboticized Masters were then confronted by Proto Man and in this issue Mega Man shows up to help Proto. Mega Man follows them through a warp ring into Sonic's world where he is hit from behind by Metal Sonic. Meanwhile Sonic, looking for his friends runs into Copy Man, and evil duplicate of Mega Man who is kidnapping more of Sonic's friends to turn into Roboticized Masters. Eventually Sonic and Mega Man encounter each other, at which point Sonic thinks Mega Man is Copy Man, and Mega Man thinks Sonic is Metal Sonic, since Mega Man never got a good look at Metal Sonic.

I can't stress enough, this is, at least so far, a blast. The art is great, the writing is solid, and it is every bit as fun as something like this should be. If you're not reading this you're wrong. Go read this comic. By the way, every time I look at that cover I hear this.
I really shouldn't be supporting DC at all right now, what with the hot mess they've made of things with this New 52 garbage. Sure there's a few decent books, but overall things are a mess. But given my love for both Power Girl and the idea of the multiverse I'm a sucker for anytime Power Girl and Supergirl are fighting or teaming up so I had to give this a shot.

I'm not sure exactly what went on in earlier issues but apparently Supergirl and Power Girl had both been poisoned by Kryptonite, although Supergirl got it worse. Supergirl is being carried off by some soldiers or mercenaries when Power Girl shows up to help her. As soon as the two touch they instantly see each other's memories and Supergirl starts feeling a little better. They fight the purple dude you see on the cover then Supergirl collapses again, her second wind from the interdimensional mind meld apparently gone. Power Girl takes her to Supergirl's little base or whatever at the bottom of the ocean and the computer tells Power Girl to put Supergirl on the table and the little robot arms in Supergirl's mini Fortress of Solitude start healing her and then get Power Girl a new costume to replace her ripped up one. Her new one is the more classic look which both her and I strongly approve of with Power Girl exclaiming "I think this will work just fine!"
It sure will. Suddenly however it dawns on the computer there are two Kara's in there and it goes ape shit, attacking both because it assumes they're clones. And that's where we end.

This wasn't too bad. In fact, other than Action Comics V2 #9 I think this was the first Super book in the New 52 I read that I actually liked. It wasn't great but I enjoyed seeing the two Karas interact. I think I might pick up issue 20.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Retro Review: What if Vol 2 # 31

This what if branches off when Spider-man had briefly become Captain Universe. Rather than leave Spider-man once his mission was done the Uni-Power decided to stay in him due to his high sense of responsibility. So Peter stays Captain Universe, with the only visible side effect being his eyes are constantly whited out and he needs to wear sunglasses to protect his identity. He teams up with the Avengers against Nebula, just as he did in Avengers #314-318, only in this world he proceeds to basically take her down by himself. At one point the Hobgoblin makes the mistake of attacking him and Peter, still getting the hang of his new powers, accidentally burns most of his face off. He tries to use his powers to restore his face and accidentally remakes his face to be identical to his own. He later fights Venom, whom he makes short work of. Venom ends up taking Spider-man's place as New York's street level hero, becoming arch foes of the Hobgoblin who now has the face of the man he hates. Peter slowly gets consumed by the power, losing touch with his humanity and become a cold hearted asshole. Even MJ leaves him, feeling he has become some sort of god now. Realizing he can't handle the power he relinquishes it, which gives all of humanity a brief moment of bliss and contentment and turns Peter into a normal human. Later we see him back with MJ, she has given birth to a baby girl who has whited out eyes.

This wasn't nearly as good as it should have been. I mean it's a basic story of too much power being corrupting, hell at one point Captain America even quotes the famous Lord Acton quote, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely", you know, in cased you missed the subtle theme. Also the whole think with Hobgoblin now having Peter's face, how does that not cause all sorts of massive trouble for Peter Parker? This issue had a lot of moments like that. The ending didn't make sense. Why did the Uni Power disperse into happy thoughts like that? Why didn't it just go back to switching hosts? This issue had it's moments, and it's worth checking out for Spidey fans, but it was still rather disappointing and I would say make sure you don't pay more than two or three bucks for it. It was a great idea, but the execution was pretty weak.

What's with all the Nickelback hatin'?

Man, people sure do fucking hate Nickelback. It's unreal the backlash this band gets. I don't even think the likes of Justin Bieber get that kind of backlash. Hell, I'm not even sure Chris Brown gets that kind of hatred and he's not only a mediocre musician but also a violent sociopath.

Now, I'm by no means a Nickelback fan. I don't own any of their albums, I can't even imagine myself attending a Nickelback concert, and the closest thing to a Nickelback song I have on my MP3 is that Hero song Chad Kroeger did for the Spider-man movie, and that has a lot more to do with my love for the web slinger than Mr. Kroeger. There are a couple of Nickelback songs I like, I don't love them, I just like them. Someday and How You Remind Me. When they come on the radio I enjoy them. Also in the interest of full disclosure and knowing where I'm coming from I should say that I don't really like modern rock in general. I'm more of a pop, r&b, and even rap guy. With only a handful of exceptions most rock to me sounds like...well, it sounds like Nickelback. Until you get into the really hard stuff, at which point it just sounds like noise to me.

The single biggest objection I hear to Nickelback from my rock loving friends is "They don't even write their own songs!" to which I always find myself saying "And?" I honestly do not understand what the fuck that has to do with anything. Either you like the music or you don't, what the hell does it matter that they didn't write it. Chad Kroeger is a singer. That's his job. You can certainly debate how good he is at his chosen profession, but still I fail to see how song writing is automatically in his job description. I never hear this in other forms of art and entertainment. No one calls directors hacks just because they didn't write the screen play. No one calls comic book pencilers hacks because they didn't also write and ink the book.

Again, I'm by no means on Team Nickelback here. If you say Nickelback sucks because you hate their music I certainly understand that, although I'm still not sure how it's much different than 90% of what you hear on rock stations, but if you want to hate Nickelback for high and mighty reasons of them not meeting an arbitrary standard of artistic purity I don't get it. Being mad because Chad Kroeger is just a singer and nothing more seems silly to me. You might as well yell at your pizza delivery guy for not being the guy who cooked it for you.

Mega Man goes super in Sonic/Mega Man crossover part 12

The solicit for part 12 of the Sonic/Mega Man crossover is out now and it looks like Mega Man is gonna go super on us. Sounds like it should be a fitting end to this awesome sauce. Check out all the solicits here. I still contend that this is by far the best comic event of 2013. Age of Ultron is a confusing mess, while it sounds interesting I don't think the Thanos centric Infinity will beat it, and I'm all but certain DC won't do anything nearly this cool all year (mostly because Nu DC has an uncanny ability to make me not care about their books).. Hell, I think I'd have to go back to Blackest Night to find a crossover event I enjoyed this much.

Archie Comics is publishing the best comics right now. Strange times we live in.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Retro Review: Iron Lantern #1

A while back I looked at some Amalgam comics, among them Spider-boy, Super Soldier, Amazon, and Dark Claw. Today let's talk about the Iron Man+Green Lantern Amalgam Iron Lantern.

Our story opens with Iron Lantern out in space taking H.E.C.T.O.R. the Highly Evolved Creature Totally Oriented on Revenge (Hector Hammond and M.O.D.O.K.) to Oa the Living Planet (Oa and Ego the Living planet) to be a prisoner. After we cut to pilot Pepper Ferris and Stewart Rhodes at Stark Aircraft Plant we then get a flashback to Iron Lantern's origin. Hal Stark was sitting in a flight simulator when it was mysteriously drawn towards an alien space craft's wreck. Just as he was getting there the energy that was bringing him was cut off and he crashed, badly injured. He managed to create an armor that would keep him alive from the mysterious alien power battery, thus becoming the Iron Lantern. After that we get some story of Pepper Ferris turning into Madame Sapphire (Star Sapphire and Madam Masque) and an attack by the Great White (Shark and Ultimo) I actually had to look up what the Marvel half was on Great White.

This was a great issue, it's definitely one of the best Amalgams. I was impressed with how even handedly it took from both Iron Man and Green Lantern. Hal Stark as a character really felt like equal parts Hal Jordan and Tony Stark. The art is solid and the writing by Kurt Busiek is great, as Busiek pretty much always is. This issue is a must for any Green Lantern or Iron Man fan. And if, like me, you're a fan of both, you'll really love it.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Bechtloff Movie Night: Compliance (2012)

On April 9, 2004 a McDonald's manager Donna Summers received a phone call from someone claiming to be the police who told that manager to detain and strip search a young female employee who was accused of stealing. Amazingly, that manager complied. The caller told Donna to hold her there so she called her fiance to come in and watch her so she could get back to work. Her fiance then, at the behest of the fake cop, sexually assaulted the young lady. It turned out to all be a prank by some asshole who actually did it several other placesas well with similar results, minus the rapey fiance. That actually happened, and is what this movie is loosely based off of.

In this movie we see a manger of a fast food joint called ChickWich named Sandra who is called by someone calling himself Officer Daniels who tells her one of her employees stole from a customer. Giving her a vague description she brings Becky to the back. At the prompting of Daniels she searches her pockets, purse, and strip searches her. Becky is kept naked for several hours until Sandra, needing to get back to work, calls in her fiance. He has had a couple of beers before this and is very uneasy. Daniels talks him into spanking her for her disobedience and forcing her to preform oral sex on him. He immediately leaves ashamed of himself and Sandra, unaware of the spanking and oral sex, has the custodian take her fiance's place guarding her. As soon as he starts talking to Daniels he immediately is outraged and refuses to participate. This leads to the real police being called. Sandra is fired, the caller is arrested and Becky sues the company. The last scene is Sandra being interviewed on TV defending her stupidity, and the screen fades to black with a message that similar events happened over 70 times in 30 different states.

This was a damn good movie. The acting, the writing, the pacing were all superb. It's not an easy movie to watch, it is at times downright disturbing, but I would still say you should check it out. Because not only is it a damn good movie, but I would say it's an important one. We are far too willing to go along with things we know damn well to be wrong simply because an authority figure tells us so. Never mind that they never questioned whether or not he was really a cop, even if he was a member of the badge gang, the people involved should have said no. Freedom always begins with a 'No'.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Review of the Week: Mega Man #24

It's here, it's finally here. The event I've been waiting for, that I've been talking about on here over and over and over again. Sonic/Mega Man: World's Collide.

Our issue starts with Sonic and Mega Man fighting each other while Dr Wily and Dr. Robotnik secretly watch. Then we flashback to weeks ago, Dr Wily is in his layer and one of his robots has discovered a mysterious gem that is giving off strange power. Unbeknownst to Wily this is the Chaos Emerald Robotnik lost during the Genesis storyline. While studying the emerald Wily ends up contacting Robotnik and the two become fast friends. They use the emerald's power to create a pocket dimension between their universes the call "The Skull Egg Zone" and begin pooling their resources. Using a combination of Wily's Robot Masters designs and Robotnik's robotization they turn Tails, Amy, Shadow, and Knuckles in Roboticized Masters. Our issue ends with Proto Man confronting the Roboticized Masters Rose Woman, Tails Man, Knuckles Man, and Shadow Man.
This was a great start to this crossover. The bromance between Wily and Robotnik is fantastic and I can already tell will be the strongest part of this crossover. If I had to be a cynical old nerd and nitpick I wish Sonic and Mega Man got a little bit more time with their fight, but since we're now in flashback I'm sure we'll get back to it. Really though this was a damn fun book for both the young and young at heart and if you don't check it out you're really missing out.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Bechtloff Movie Night: The Host (2013)

When I first saw commercials for this movie, I actually thought it looked like it would be pretty damn good. But when I found out it was based off of a book by Stephanie Meyer, the woman who gave us Twilight my hopes died down dramatically. But the commercials and trailers still looked really good, so how bad could it really be?

The story here is that these little alien symbiotes/parasites have taken over the world. They get inside humans and live there, leaving their bodies intact and have pretty much made a utopia out of our world. In most worlds they co-exist with their hosts but because humans are apparently the assholes of the galaxy they have to fully take over with us. What makes us assholes? We have war and pollution and stuff. Apparently other sentient life forms never had those problems. In most cases the host is erased, in some cases, such as our leading lady they remain alive, trapped in the back of their head.

So an alien named Wanderer, later shortened to Wanda has taken over Melanie. But Melanie is still alive in there and Wanda can hear her. After hashing it out Wanda starts to pity humans and makes her way to a hidden camp of remaining humans that Melanie was from. The initial reaction from most is to kill her but the leader of the camp stops them. Eventually Wanda befriends the humans and shows them how to remove the aliens from people to free the ones who are still alive and Wanda takes on a body of someone who never woke up after the operation because they were apparently erased by the alien. Oh and there's some forced love triangles because Stephanie loves that shit.

You know it's easy to hate Stephanie Meyer for being a complete and total hack, because she is, but at this point I find her more adorable than anything else. It's like she made a crayon drawing of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Wow Stephanie, did you do that all by your self? Well this is going right on the refrigerator. There was so much about this story that was incredibly interesting and creative, but all those elements were shunted to the background in favor of love triangles, the power of love, and characters who never seem to have clear motivations. I have no idea why anyone is doing half the shit they're doing. When Wanda/Melanie first get back to the camp Melanie keeps telling Wanda not to tell everyone she's still in there. Why? I have no fucking idea. Our two in one lead is lucky she didn't get killed by them and that was information that could get her in everyone's good graces. Thankfully the people in the camp warm up to her anyway, because...again I have no damn clue. And then she just tells them anyways. So not only did it make no sense, it was abandoned for no real reason. Oh and once Wanda decides she's going to leave Melanie's body she tells the doctor he should kill her rather than send her to another planet like the other aliens. Why? Because...ummmm....martyr? Meyer is very fond of martyr characters, but she doesn't seem to understand what being a martyr actually is. It's not a noble sacrifice if nobody else gains anything from your death, it's just suicide. This becomes yet another nonsense plot thread that is abandoned because they just put her in a shell body anyways.

I found myself so fascinated by some of the things in this world. I wanted to know more of how the alien's utopia functioned. When we would see glimpses of how the humans were surviving in the caves, some of it was ingenious. The leader of the human resistance was an awesome character, we didn't spend nearly enough time with him. There is so much about this that could have been great, but instead our focus is on characters who do some of the most nonsensical things for the flimsiest of reasons.

In an odd way however this film is very much worth seeing, if just for the case study of wasted potential. I wouldn't recommend paying to see it in the theater, but if you see it on TV years from now, or even in a Redbox, it's worth checking out. It's a failure of a film, but it's a fascinating failure.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Bechtloff Movie Night: Evil Dead (2013)

Over the last few years we've had a lot of horror remakes. Some are awful wastes of film that completely miss the point of the source material. Some, like the Nightmare on Elm Street remake, aren't bad, but aren't as good as the original and seem at best unnecessary. But every once in a while you get one that truly lives up to the original and arguable surpasses it. This is one of those remakes.

The first Evil Dead is a damn good, although arguably a bit overrated horror movie despite it's incredibly limited budget. The second Evil Dead is a sequel that's arguably more of a remake of part one that lives in that amorphous zone between horror and comedy that one might find Beetlejuice or Gremlins in. And of course Army of Darkness pretty much abandons horror altogether in favor of comedy, action and fantasy. This Evil Dead however is straight horror and it's damn scary.

The story here is that five friends gather in a a cabin in the woods they used to spend summers in to help the one friend, Mia, quit her drug habit. They vow to spend the night and not let her leave. The one friend finds the Necronomicon and stupidly reads aloud from it and you can pretty much guess where things go from there.

This movie was incredibly gory and stomach turning at times, but unlike some Elie Roth piece of torture porn, you never grow bored with it or tired of it. It also maintains a strong atmosphere of suspense and tension throughout it. The characters are fleshed out pretty well, so I actually care when one of them bites it, again in contrast with a lot of modern horror movies. And the last few minutes had enough plot twists and turns that I didn't know exactly where it was going with things for a little while there. Another thing I like is despite being a remake these were completely different characters from the original Evil Dead. Taking different characters and putting them in this situation allowed the movie to do it's own thing while staying true to the core of the original. Any fan of the original and indeed any horror fan needs to see this movie. I give it five tree rape scenes out of five.

Hero Spotlight: Lady Rawhide

Back in the 90's the trading card company Topps branched out into comics and had a surprising amount of success with their Zorro comic, often getting into the top ten, at a time where that required selling a lot of books. Spinning out of that Zorro series was an original character named Lady Rawhide, a sort of Catwoman to Zorro's Batman.

She first became Lady Rawhide to seek revenge both on Zorro and the Commandante of Los Angele for the death of her brother. The corrupt Commandante killed him when he believed he was Zorro. Eventually she would grow to respect and even fall for Zorro, abandoning her vow of revenge against him.

After Topps comics closed shop this character found herself at Image briefly before fading into the back of the quarter bin. She was quite popular in her brief hay day, getting her own series that outsold the book it spun off of. This seems like the perfect character for the folks at Dynamite Comics to pick up. Dynamite has made quite the name for itself in recent years reviving long forgotten properties like Green Hornet, Red Sonja, and even Zorro into top sellers. Seems like they could do a lot of great things with this character, I hope they get their hands on her.

By the way the image above comes from Adrian AKA ajg6989 on Deviant Art. The below image comes from Randy Kintz AKA rantz on Deviant Art.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Retro Review: Superman Vol 2 #170

Back in the early 2000's or so DC decided to reintroduce Krypto the super dog back into the Superman books. Krypto was one of those moronic aspects of silver age DC that was erased during Crisis on Infinite Earths. Why anyone would want to bring him back is beyond me. I know some of you might be fans of Krypto, but I just can't hang with this. It's a fucking dog with Superman powers. It's one step above that super horse that would turn into a guy and bang Supergirl. To me Krypto embodies all of the stupid gimmicky nonsense that all but defined DC's silver age, especially the Superman books at the time. So that's why this issue surprised the hell out of me, because it did what I thought was impossible. It made me care about Krypto.

The story here is pretty simple. Mongul and his sister Mongal attack Metropolis, because they tend to do that sort of thing. And in the course of the fight Mongul is threatening Lois and Krypto goes straight for Mongul's throat.
The wound to Mongul wasn't fatal, but Superman realizes what should have been obvious, you can't have a dog running around with that kinda power. He's just a dog, of course this sorta thing is going to happen. So Superman decides to keep Krypto in the fortress from now on. He gets one of his robots to care for and entertain the mutt, and to release a scent periodically that smells like Superman.

This issue was amazing, it might be one of the best Superman issues I've ever read. There are little story book style narrations with a more cartoonish Krypto like you see in the corner of that panel that run throughout this comic. They talk about Krypto, how he loves Superman and Superman loves him. And how hard it was for Superman to have to put Krypto away, but that Krypto is somewhere safe now and Superman still loves him very much. This issue deals with the obvious problem a character like Krypto presents and it does it in a smart and very touching way. I defy any dog owner to not get a little emotional reading this issue. If you haven't read it pick it up, it's not pricey at all in the back issue market.

Review of the Week: Superior Spider-man #7

If you haven't already, check out my reviews for issues 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 6AU. So after last weeks entertaining but rather pointless tie in to the Age of Ultron event, this series is back on track. Issue five teased 'A vs SM', the Avengers finally confronting Ock-Spidey on his, shall we say odd behavior. And this issue gives up....umm...Cardiac.

Most of this issue is a fight between Ock-Spidey and the anti-hero/villain Cardiac. Mind you, I don't dislike Cardiac, but this really isn't what we were promised is it. The fight with Cardiac basically just serves to show how far back down the violent asshole hill Ock has slid since taking over Peter's body. He is about ready to kill Cardiac, a guy who's barely a villain.

Finally towards the end we get the Avengers confronting Ock-Spidey, demanding he submit to a physical to prove he really is Spider-man. Ock-Spidey tells them where they can stick that idea and pimp slaps Captain America, calling him a "flag waving fool". And in the last page the Avengers are about ready to curb stomp Ock-Spidey.

This issue felt mostly like filler. We see that Peter is gaining little bits of control back, and we see how Ock is falling back into his old ways, but we don't yet get the confrontation the cover promised. All and all though this is still a great series and this was a decent issue. Can't wait for issue #8.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bechtloff's Book of Genesis: Desert Demolition

As with most red blooded American children, I watched the Looney Tunes growing up. Hell, back in my day they still showed the "racist" ones like Bosko.
I miss ya Bosko. I imagine it's gonna be a long time before anybody has the balls to put your cartoons on TV again. But my personal favorite Looney Tunes were always the Road Runner and Coyote. So I should think this game is awesome right? Well, remember when I said Taz in Escape from Mars was a bit of a ball buster to the point where it stops being fun? This game had the opposite problem. It was insanely, I would say downright insultingly easy, even on the hardest difficulty setting.

In this sidescrolling game you play as either the Road Runner or the Coyote. As the Road Runner you have to make it to the end of the various levels and avoid the Coyote. If he catches you it's no big deal, you both disappear then you reappear a second later. All it does to you is you lose a little health. So your nemesis amounts to little more than a minor nuisance. As the Coyote you make your way through the levels along the way trying to catch the Road Runner. When you do manage to catch him he just reappears somewhere else in the level, and you you get for your troubles are some extra power ups. So catching the Road Runner, which is the Coyote's sacred quest, the very thing that gets him out of bed in the morning, is a relatively meaningless side quest that you could pretty much just never bother to do.

The game has a lot going for it. It's really cool you can play as either character, the graphics and animations all look great for 16 bit, and the sound effects will be a real treat for any Looney Tunes fan. They do a pretty good job of making each level look unique, which isn't all that easy to do when you remember that they're all desert levels. A lot of side scrollers can do things like ice levels, or water levels, or whatever. This had to stick with desert throughout, but it adds things like a train level and an abandoned mine to keep things interesting. 

It's just so unbelievably easy though. I literally beat a level holding one single button. As the Road Runner I ran through a level blowing right through obstacles. Sure I took damage, but still made it to the end without dieing. Now to be fair, the Coyote levels are a little more involved than the Road Runner ones, but even they are pretty damn easy. The lack of any challenge really ruins what should have been a very fun game. If you're a Looney Tunes fan, and you see this cheap it might be worth getting, you'll get 30 minutes to an hour out of it before it starts to bore you.