Sunday, June 30, 2013

Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell

I love this song. It's so much damn fun. I had never heard of Robin Thicke before this song but apparently he has been around for a little while and is also oddly enough the son of Growing Pains star Alan Thicke.

The song has a bit of an early 90's feel to it with it's sound and rhymes. The video is decent enough but seems like an add for some sort of high end liquor to me but the female dancers in it are sexy without being too trashy so that's nice. Overall the video takes a very minimalist approach which helps give it a bit of class. One of my favorite parts of the lyrics is  
You wanna hug me
Hey, hey, hey
What rhymes with hug me?

Like I said it feels like an early 90's R&B song with it's upbeat sound and overall sense of fun and sexiness. This is probably my favorite song to come out in the last few months and is already easily in the top 5 for the year. You should definitely check both the song and the video out if you get a chance.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Retro Review: New Avengers Military - AAFES #4

Comics have always had pretty strong ties to our troops. Back in World War II comics like Superman and Captain America were an extremely popular distraction for the troops in their down time and Will Eisner even created a comic book style M-16 maintenance manual during the Vietnam war for out troops.  So in 2005 Marvel continued that tradition by creating a series of Avengers one shots specifically to be given out to the troops in military bases and at USO shows.

Now while the first three had guest stars like the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, this one manages to almost not be an Avengers book at all as Captain America is teaming up with non-Avengers Ghost Rider, Silver Surfer, and Punisher. You gotta look pretty hard these days to find Marvel characters that haven't been in the Avengers and this book manages to find arguably the biggest three.

The story is that HYDRA has taken control of a military satellite that has a big death ray on it. The satellite also is a low level communications satellite, it has a bunch of troops emails to their loved ones. Because the Avengers are all on Christmas break Cap calls up Silver Surfer to help. The Surfer agrees to go and disarm the satellite's death ray. Cap says he needs someone to head to the base that controls the satellite and Surfer suggests Ghost Rider. And finally Cap goes to the HYDRA base and kicks some ass with the help of the Punisher who has shown up because he wants to help the troops. As Silver Surfer is battling a HYDRA robot in space we get the narration of a letter he has written to his lost love on his home world, Ghost Rider's section gets a letter to his girl Roxanne, and the last section has a letter Punisher has written to his dead wife.

The story is a little lose with continuity, but is a pretty strong character study and the "Letters home" theme is pretty emotionally strong and would definitely strike a cord with the book's target audience. I thought it was odd that the Surfer suggested Ghost Rider as I can not think of one single moment where the characters have so much as met. Kinda odd that there are no Ghost Rider/Silver Surfer team up stories as they both share the common enemy of Mephisto.

This was an amusing enough story, although it can be a pricey book. Due to the limited release these AAFES New Avengers issues tend to go for about $10 a piece, so unless you're a collector it's really not worth the price.

Bechtloff's Book of Genesis: X-Men

This was easily one of the best super hero games of the cartridge era of games. You could play as Wolverine, Cyclops, Gambit, and Nightcrawler, and at times you could summon Storm, Iceman, Archangel, and Rouge to special attacks. You fought through various levels in a combination platformer/beat em up style of game play.

The graphics were damn good for a 16 bit game and the soundtrack was also fun and upbeat. The game is at times rather hard, but it's fun enough to keep you motivated to plow through the hard parts. If you have a Sega or even an emulator and are an X-men or even a Marvel fan you would be remiss not to play this game. I give it four optic blasts out of five.

Friday, June 28, 2013

What's on the radio: Radioactive by Imagine Dragons.

When I first heard the song "It's Time" by Imagine Dragons I was less than impressed. And multiple listens only cemented my low opinion of it. It just sounded like yet another one of these adult alternative whiny butt rock songs that are so prolific. I was pretty much ready to write this band off. Then I heard Radioactive.

Radioactive is an amazing song both in sound and lyrics. The actual music has a bit of house and electronica in it, and I really like the way the opening vocals chanting "whoaaaa" set a great tone and atmosphere for this song. The lyrics are rather cryptic but very interesting. While on the surface about an apocalypse and or a revolution it seems more to me to be about the sorrow of things collapsing and ending but also the hope of what can be built on the ashes. It could easily be applied both to any time of transition in a persons life and sadly at some point in my lifetime probably to this country.

I hope we hear more from Imagine Dragons, but more like this song and a lot less like "It's Time".

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review of the Week: Batman/Superman #1

Bad as this New 52 train wreck has been, it never ceases to surprise me with the depths it can sink to. Now we have a book featuring Superman and Batman meeting for the first time. Except that we already saw that in Justice League #1 and #2. So we can't keep two fucking years of continuity straight. And sure, the New 52 has had a shit ton of continuity errors, but nothing this big. This isn't contradicting something that happened in Dial H #3 or something. Justice League #1 was the first New 52 book. It doesn't get more major than that.

Well, I should say that maybe it doesn't contradict Justice League #1 because, even though I read this book twice, I'm still not sure what the fuck was going on in it. There is some opening stuff with Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne meeting then we eventually get to their alter egos meeting for the "first time", then there is a time skip or something. And Superman's dead Earthly father shows up. If anyone wants to explain what the hell was going on in the comments please do because I didn't get it.

The art is decent enough, Jae Lee has a very unique and dark style. Beyond the confusing story the writing was OK but nothing special. It's the same crap of contrasting Superman's light tone with Batman's dark tone that you've seen a million other times, usually done much better.

All and all you're much better off just reading Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness' Superman/Batman #1 from ten years ago.

Monday, June 24, 2013

So I guess you'll be giving back your paycheck then Jim?

As you might know Jim Carrey is in Kick Ass 2. Well, Sunday he decided to get on his twitter and drop these little nuggets of wisdom.

This is yet another example of Carrey's dimwitted anti-gun tantrums. As though it isn't idiotic enough to imagine that disarming law abiding citizens will lessen violent crime, now we're back on the "violent media" crap. This is one of the odd issues where big government liberals and pro family conservatives seem to agree. Remember just as many Democrat lawmakers went after things like gansta rap and video games back in the 90's as Republicans. I kind of hope the studio takes him to task for this. Odds are he has in his contract that he has to promote this movie. Also if he's so outraged by it I wonder if he gave back his paycheck. Somehow I doubt that. And I wonder if he has armed body guards, as most high profile celebrities do.

Nothing like moral posturing from Emma Stone's creepy stalker, who is best known for literally talking out of his ass.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Bechtloff's Book of Genesis: Superman

Ever been reading a Superman comic and thought "This would be way better if Superman just walked around on roof tops getting his ass kicked by robots that looked like toasters." Well then this is the game for you.
Doesn't that just fill you with excitement. Superman's going for a walk. Now we know where J Michael Straczynski got the idea. To accuse this game of sucking balls would be to owe an apology to games that suck balls. The graphics are poor, looking more like 8-bit than 16 bit half the time. The controls are stiff, the game is insanely difficult and not even remotely fun.

Most of the early superhero games are pretty poor, the tech just wasn't there to simulate being one of these characters until the early 2000's. Also our favorite Kryptonian has had a pretty rough history with video games, but this might be his one of his worst, certainly the worst one I ever played (and no, I haven't played Superman 64). Unless you're a hardcore Superman fan who just has to try this for yourself do not buy this game. I payed $2.00 for it and still feel cheated, like I paid $2.00 to get punched in the nads.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Review of the Week: Sonic Universe #53

If you haven't already, check out my reviews for parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. So this issue starts with Eggman and Wily starting to sweat over the progress our heroes are making. Each thinks to themselves that they will betray the other when things go too far South. Meanwhile Mega Man, Sonic, Tails, and Rush are ambushed by the Roboticized Knuckles and Amy. While they manage to give our two blue heroes more trouble than the previous Roboticized Masters they are still de-roboticized by Mega Man and he absorbs their powers. Proto Man and the Chaotix manage to find the Wily Egg. On the Wily Egg Rouge the Bat is captured by Bass and Metal Sonic but not before she released the Chaos Devil, which is some sort of blob monster. Eggman and Wily manage to cage the Chaos Devil again and take Rouge to be roboticized. We then cut to Roll on Mega Man's world in Dr. Light's lab. Duo shows up wanting to help. I don't really know anything about him but I guess I'll learn in upcoming issues.

The cover is rather misleading as our heroes don't actually fight the Chaos Devil nor do we even really learn much about it. It feels like the story is finally getting somewhere after a few issues of being stuck in the "Fight Roboticized Master, rinse repeat" pattern it had fallen in. Despite its flaws this is still one of the most enjoyable comic book events in a couple of years and if you're not reading it you should be.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bechtloff Movie Night: This is the End (2013)

In this end of the world comedy Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, James Franco and many more all play themselves as the rapture happens during a party at Franco's house. Most of the guests are killed leaving the remaining actors to try to deal with the consequences of the apocalypse, including earthquakes, fires, rampaging demons, hordes of hungry cannibals, and an angry ax wielding Emma Watson.

This is a pretty damn funny movie but it certainly had it's flaws. Obviously this is sort of a vanity piece for the actors involved, but it's a damn good one. There were parts though that seemed to drag on a bit. This was apparently based on a short film Seth Rogen had done and it probably should have been left that way. Also there were parts where the comedic actors seemed to not to be playing off of each other so much as constantly trying to one up each other. And I didn't care for Jonah Hill in this. He was trying to be fake nice to Jay Baruchel even though he didn't like him and it was just largely annoying. It isn't until Hill becomes demon possessed after a demon rapes him that he starts to get any solid laughs out of me.

This was a pretty good movie thought. Most of the jokes worked well, the special effects were solid, even the designs on the demons were pretty cool. There's really not much else I can say without giving away a lot of the jokes. If you're a fan of any of these actors or their movies you'll probably really enjoy this one.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Bechtloff Movie Night: The Man of Steel (2013)

A year ago on this blog I predicted this movie would suck. Well, never let it be said I'm not able to admit when I'm wrong. This movie was pretty damn good. In fact I like it far better than any of the other Superman movies. Now just a heads up, there will be spoilers. As with Iron Man 3 I won't go into a full synopsis as to not give everything away, but I will be spoiling some things. Also if you go see this don't bother sitting through the credits, there is no post credits scene.

There was a lot of things that worked really well in this movie. I thought Zod was well fleshed out as a character and even a touch sympathetic in his motivations. Contrast that with Superman II where he's just an asshole for no apparent reason other than he can be. Also I really liked how the various military characters reacted to Superman. It wasn't blind trust but it wasn't blind xenophobic fear either. They were simply scared of this powerful being because he was so powerful. The casting was great, no complaints there. Also I loved the action sequences. There was a real sense of all this violence having a cost. People clearly died in this movie. The final fight between Superman and Zod was especially powerful. Supes had Zod in a headlock and Zod was about to incinerate some innocent people with his heat vision. You could see Superman's reluctance, he was practically begging Zod not to make him do it, then finally he snapped Zod's neck. Superman then fell to his knees and screamed out, you could really see the toll having to take a life like that took on him. I thought that was a very powerful scene and really one of the best in the movie.

It wasn't perfect and certainly had it's flaws though. The biggest problem with this movie, is it's too damn long. It seems like the opening scenes in Krypton go on forever and at points it feels like I'm watching one of the Star Wars prequels rather than Superman. Also the stuff of Clark wandering around finding his way in the world as a young man go on way too long as well. But really that's my only major complaint, the excessive padding and long run time. If you would have left about 30 minutes of the filler on the cutting room floor you would have taken this from a good movie to a great movie. As it stands I say go see it, if you're a Superman fan or even just a comic book fan I think you'll like this movie.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Getting Gibbed Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

So here's the second episode of the podcast I'm doing with my friends Nick and Chace. I was a little worried this episode would suck, it really felt like it was coming off the rails when we were recording, but thanks to the magic of editing it turned out pretty damn good. The topics include our thoughts on the Feminist Frequency videos and various video game movies and cartoons. Check it out here.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Review(s) of the Week: Superman Unchained #1 and Mega Man #26

So here it is, the book DC is telling us we were waiting for. Our story starts, interestingly enough, in Japan during World War II. We see a plane dropping the nuke, but it wasn't a nuke, it was a glowy dude who caused the nuclear explosion. Then we cut to the present day, Superman is in space trying to get some astronauts out of a space station that is falling to Earth. And it's here we have an obnoxious ass pull out that you have to carefully peel off the adhesive if you don't want to rip or damage the comic you just spent $5 on. The art work in this pull out is good, as is the whole issue, but it didn't deserve this special treatment and it further confirms my opinion that this whole mini is, at least in part, a Jim Lee vanity project. But then to some extent so is the whole New 52. Anyways Superman is trying to figure out what is causing satellites and space stations to drop out of orbit. Then we reveal that Lois' father General Lane has our mysterious nuclear man from WWII in a cell on stand by. "The REAL Superman works for the government" He says.

There's obviously more to this issue than that, but I just find it rather hard to care. I fail to see how this is the comic event it's made out to be. Also I counted at least 10 different "rare" variants covers at my local comic shop. It's like DC actually wants to repeat every mistake of the 90s.
If you haven't already, check out my reviews for parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. So this issue Sonic, Mega Man, Tails, and Rush continue to fight their way through the Skull Egg Zone, all the while bantering back and forth with each other. The encounter Shadow Man and the roboticized Shadow, also now called Shadow Man. Mega Man managed to de-roboticize Shadow and take his power and in a fit of rage he attacks the other Shadow Man. Sonic asks Shadow if he will help and he says no then uses his Chaos Control to teleport away, because Shadow is kind of a dick like that. Our heroes then fight and de-roboticize Blaze Woman and Silver Man, both of whom say their too tired to help. We cut to Dr Light in his cell. Suddenly Rouge the Bat shows up and tells him she's planning to undermine Dr Eggman's plans. She shows him a schematics of the station and asks if he can help her find weak points. She also tells him she's not busting him out yet as that would alert Eggman and Wily and that Light is safest where he is. We then cut to Proto Man and the Chaotix, Charmy, Vector, and Espio. They're being tracked by Knuckles Man and Rose Woman but the Doctors tell them to abandon that pursuit and go after Sonic and Mega Man, authorizing them to use self destruct if needed.

This crossover remains a blast. Last issue I complained that the pace seemed to be getting a little slow, this issue seems to have picked up a bit in that department. The dialogue between the various characters is great and really the strongest part of this issue. I do still wish more characters played bigger roles, it's a shame they work most of the Roboticized Masters out of the picture once they're dealt with. And I could do with seeing more Mega Man villains in this Skull Egg Zone. And also more classic Sonic villains since the Zone is an homage to old Mega Man and Sonic games. Other than that this is still a great read and if you're not reading it you should be.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hero Spotlight: Edward Snowden

They say us Millennials are spoiled, selfish, shallow, and weak. They say we lack conviction and character. Of course the "they" that say that are Baby Boomers, the worst generation. The generation that bankrupted this country. The generation that has spent the last decade sending their sons, and worse yet their daughters, to bleed out in Mid-East sand. But that's a whole different topic. My point is one of us Millennials recently rose to the occasion in a big way and should be celebrated by anyone with a soul as a true hero, Edward Snowden.

This is the first time I've done a Hero Spotlight that wasn't on a fictional character and for good reason. This is the guy who, just in case you don't watch much news, exposed the NSA for the evil all seeing eye of Sauron that it is. This man gave up a well paying job to expose government wrong doing. He fled to Hong Kong to avoid the treason charges our corrupt government would love to levy on him. He has had to leave behind his girlfriend, friends, family, his whole damn life because he did the right thing. I pray to God should I ever find myself in his position I would have the courage to do what he did. And if you still don't appreciate what he sacrificed take a look at his girlfriend.
He left THAT behind to defend your 4th Amendment rights. And I am not kidding when I said he faces serious charges should uncle Sam get his filthy hands on him. On his twitter Senator Lindsey Graham called him a felon and said this.
By "we" of course Mr. Graham meant the troops he loves to send into harm's way for no good reason. Personally I hope for the day when corrupt shit bag Boss Hog politicians like Graham are brought to justice. Any American who values his or her freedom should be praising and thanking this young man for what he did. Thank you Mr. Snowden, I pray the Lord will protect you from the fury of the wicked men you've exposed.

Monday, June 10, 2013

My own personal Hell, two and a half days without my phone.

I'm not allowed to have my cell phone on me at work due to security reasons (I work for a security printing company and thus I can't have any cameras or recording devices on me, which my phone of course has), so I have to keep it in my locker in the break room. And Friday I forgot to get it on my way out the door. By the time I realized this it was too late to go back for it, there is no evening or weekend shift there, the place is shut down by 6. I could have called my boss' cell and he probably would have met me there to let me get it, he's pretty cool like that, but I stupidly didn't have a hard copy of his number, I only had it saved in my phone. There was nothing I could do, I had no way to get my phone back until Monday morning. But hey, it's just a couple of days I thought, how bad could it be?

It was a nightmare. I went online to message a few of my closer friends to let them know what happened and I wasn't ignoring them and tried to take my mind off of it. Over and over again I found myself reaching for it in my back pocket. I felt wrong not having it, not checking it. I have a thing with some of my friends where we like to text each other random funny movie or TV quotes and I kept finding myself wanting to do that. Then came bed time, I would need to get up for my comic book stand at Saturday's Market. But I don't have an alarm clock, I use my phone for that. Hell, I don't even own a watch anymore, so all weekend long I was asking everybody what time it was. Luckily I found an old alarm clock in my closet, otherwise I would have been boned.

Then came Saturday. There I am at my stand with my best friend in the world and two other friends there and all I could feel was disconnected. Indeed that's what I felt all weekend, like I was just floating out in the ether. I felt like Zod in the Phantom Zone. Sunday was pretty much more of the same. When Monday morning came I couldn't wait to check my phone. I showed up 15 minutes earlier than normal just to have extra time to check it and charge it before work.

How did I become to dependent on this little thing. I'm old enough to remember when a cell phone seemed like a luxury, and kind of a silly one at that. And things like texting would have seemed completely ridiculous to me then. I'm certainly glad to have her back, but this weekend has shown me that I really need to take a long look at how I'm using it and how I've gotten too dependent on it. Also I really gotta back up these numbers into an address book.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Bechtloff Movie Night: The Return of Captain Invincible (1983)

The idea of a golden age super hero being the victim of 50's era McCarthyism is nothing new in comics, but I had never heard of a super hero movie tackling that until I heard about this movie. Captain Invincible was the world's greatest super hero during World War II, but ended up labeled a communist sympathizer and disappeared from the public eye in disgust. He spent decades hiding in Australia as a drunken bum but was coaxed into returning to take on his old enemy Mr. Midnight. Sounding interesting so far right? But then everyone starts singing and this movie goes off the rails in a big way.

The synopsis says "It's a's a's a's an action adventure." What it is is a movie that's tone is so inconsistent it borders on schizophrenic. The first time this movie breaks out into song the President is meeting with advisers and starts singing the word "bullshit" over and over again. Just that one word. This is pretty far into the movie and had I not known it was sorta a musical I would have thought I was having a stroke it was such a jarring shift in tone. But even if you took out the musical numbers that are beyond out of place you would still have a movie that didn't know what it wanted to be. It's primarily a comedy, but it can't decide what type. There are times it let's the humor flow naturally from the absurdities of the super hero and super villain cliches and there are times the humor is complete random silliness that would be more at home in a movie like Airplane or Naked Gun.

And it's a damn shame because there are some really great parts about this movie. The first 10 minutes or so where we see Captain Invincible in action during WW2 and then the red scare witch hunt was great. I love when Cap's lawyer is reading off some of the charges against him. Impersonating a military officer (because he calls himself Captain), flying without a pilots license, and wearing his underwear outside his clothes. This could have been a fantastic movie, but it gets pulled in so many directions at once that it really comes apart and is hard to get through by the end of it all.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

More on Spider-man 2099's return.

I talked about this on here before when it was announced and now over at of all places they released the covers for Superior Spider-man #17 and 18 featuring Ock-Spidey in his Ben Reilly looking costume he's soon to be getting fighting Spider-man 2099. I'm looking forward to this a lot, always had a soft spot for old Miguel O'Hara. Both of these covers look great, I'm really digging that futuristic bird gargoyle on the first cover. I hope this leads into Spider-man 2099 getting another shot at an ongoing title. But let's please leave the likes of Hulk 2099 and Ghost Rider 2099 in the dollar bins where they belong.

Review of the Week: Superior Spider-man #11

If you haven't already check out my reviews for issues 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6AU, 7, 8, 9, and 10. The story to this issue is pretty simple. Alistair Smythe the Spider-Slayer is being executed and Mayor Jameson wants Ock-Spidey there in case anything goes wrong. It of course does as Smythe has an army of mini robots show up to form an exoskeleton armor on him. Turns out though has he tries many different ways to escape Ock-Spidey're little Spider-bots have counter measures. So Smythe's robots attach themselves to Vulture, Scorpion, and Boomerang, all of whom had been seriously injured by Ock-Spidey to get them back on their feet and ready to help Smythe escape.

This issue was pretty good and I think this series is starting to pick back up after issue 9 left a bad taste in my mouth and issue 10 did little to wash it out for me. The characterization of Jameson was dead on and very nuanced and interesting, and even Smythe, a villain I never much cared for was pretty bad ass. Definitely worth getting.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

What's on the radio: I Need Your Love by Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding

I really like Ellie Goulding, she has a very unique and beautiful voice, but her two big hits so far, Lights and Anything Could Happen have lyrics that are little more than rambling nonsense. So this song is a welcome change of pace from the insanity of her other lyrical content.

Calvin Harris produces the dance beat on this track and for some reason gets top billing over Goulding. This is a rather recent thing of the producers getting top billing and I find it a little irritating. Harris' beats are pretty solid, certainly better than the generic ones of David Guetta, but it is still Goulding's vocals that make this song.

This is so far my favorite Ellie Goulding song to hit the charts and I hope we get more like this from her and less like Lights. Because it would be a shame to waste such a wonderful voice on incoherent madness.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Retro Review: Marvel Team-Up Vol 3 #14

I mentioned on here before that I just can't get into Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead, either the show or the comic. I've read the first few volume trades of the comic and watched some of the show and it just leaves me cold. It's not bad but it's just not for me and I feel like it's massively overrated. I do however really love Kirkman's super hero book Invincible, and this is the issue that got me into Invincible, well kinda.

I was a big fan of Kirkman's Marvel Team-Up run since issue one and when I read online that an upcoming issue would feature his character Invincible I decided I would give that book a shot and picked up the first trade. I loved it so much I went back to the comic store the next day and got the other 3 volumes. So when this issue came out I was so excited, my all time favorite super hero meeting my new favorite. And when I finally sat down to read it I was more than a little underwhelmed.

The story to the issue is Invincible ends flying through a dimensional portal right into the middle of a Doc Ock and Spidey fight. Ock uses this confusion to get away. Invincible tells Spidey he was fighting a villain who can created dimensional portals and was he bouncing Invincible around the multiverse in an effort to wear him down. Invincible then proceeds to tell Spidey his life story. No really, we basically get a whole page of Invincible explaining damn near everything that had gone on in his comic up until that point. Then Spidey takes Invincible to Avengers tower where he meets the rest of the Avengers. Also while there Spider-man introduces him to Aunt May and MJ and even unmasks and tells Invincible his name. And then they go find Doc Ock, Invincible makes short work of him, and then a portal reopens and Invincible flies off.

This comic sucked. When I first heard about this team up I really expected more than 22 pages of "Hey, go buy Invincible". Invincible makes constant comments about how lame Spider-man, the Avengers, and Doc Ock are, and Spider-man trusts this guy he's never seen before so much that he introduces him to his family, unmasks, and tells him his civilian name. I don't even know what to say about that so I'm gonna have to go with an Internet classic.
You said it Jean Luc. I know this was the New Avengers era where Spidey was getting a lot more open with his fellow heroes, but there is no way he unmasks in front of a stranger like that. Add to that the fact that this comic is really nothing more than Kirkman sucking his own dick and I say it's one you should probably pass on.