Thursday, December 11, 2014

Changes coming for 2015

Back in January in a short post I said this on this blog:

So this year I intend to focus on self improvement, both physical and spiritual, as well as ditch a few bad habits that had been holding me back. And along those lines some major changes will be coming to this blog, chief among them I'm looking to start doing podcasts and even videos.

And looking back this has been quite the year for me. I did indeed expand into doing a podcast and videos, I climbed a damn mountain, and even got a paid writing gig over at Reaxxion. I've left some bad habits in 2013 and picked up a few good ones. There will be more changes to come here. For starters, the Review of the Week, in which I review a new comic book ever week, is done, after over 2 years of not missing a week. Truth be told I often had very little to say in these last couple months. In the future comic book reviews will go under The Bechtloff's Longbox. Articles on here will be longer, but also not as regular, as I am juggling this, the Youtube, Reaxxion, and a life outside the interwebs. Also I intend to work on my editing skills so I can do video reviews this coming year.

I want to thank everyone who reads this blog and watches my Youtube channel. I hope to have even better stuff for you in 2015.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Bechtloff's Podcast: Episodes 27 and 28.

My latest podcast is up, and I just noticed I forgot to put a link to my last one on here. So in episode 27 I talk about my recent trip to RetroGameCon, #GamerGate and #shirtgate, some drama regarding my former church, and the insane SJW reaction to Reaxxion.com. Check it out here.

And in my latest podcast Davis Aurini stops by and we discus Churchianity, my conflict with the Harvest Bible crowd, as well as the nature of suicide, grace, and various other theological issues. Davis and I disagree on a lot of theological issues, but he thinks deeply on these things, and is a pleasure to chat with. Check it out here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Review of the Week: Superior Iron Man #2

If you haven't already, check out my review of issue 1. So last issue Tony Stark got most of San Fransisco addicted to Extremis and is charging them an arm and a leg to keep getting it. In this issue Daredevil tries to stop Tony, only get his ass handed to him and then infected with Extremis himself, which has restored his normal sight.

The conflict between Matt and Tony is pretty interesting. As I said last time these two don't have much of a history together, so it's a chance to blaze a new trail. I don't much care for Tony's new look, but I'm sure it won't last anyways, nothing ever does as far as his armor goes. All and all there isn't much to even say about this issue I didn't say about the first one, but it's pretty solid and is definitely worth checking out.

Sorry I don't have more here folks, but there just wasn't much out I had anything to say on.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Review of the Week: Mega Man #43

In this issue Mega Man continues to work his way through the Mega Man III robot masters, in this issue Gemini Man, Magnet Man and Needle Man, Dr. Wily gets caught sending unauthorized transmissions to his Robot Masters by Auto, who Dr. Wily then attacks and takes out Auto's memory chip, and jailed terrorist Xander Payne continues to prophesize about another Sonic/Mega Man crossover.

This was a solid issue, and it did explore the characters of these Robot Masters with surprising depth, but it still felt like filler. This book often suffers from being written with the trade paper backs in mind. Also, as I've said before, doing another Sonic crossover this soon is a mistake. All and all though this is a solid book and worth checking out, despite a few flaws.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The James MacDonald saga continues.

Several months ago I wrote a piece on this blog about the negative influence James MacDonald and his Harvest Bible network of churches had on my former church and how it was the reason I decided to resign my membership there. I tweeted the article out using MacDonald's Twitter handle rather than name because never say behind a man's back what you won't say to his face. He responded by blocking me. This month I wrote a follow up piece as new developments had happened between me and my former church, sadly none of which were pleasant. Kind of hoped I was done with the topic really. Then this morning who do I find following me, but James MacDonald's son Luke who is also a pastor in this web of churches.
That was a rather odd thing to wake up to to say the least. Why on Earth would he want to follow me? I had to know, so I politely sent him a DM saying "Not that I mind, but I'm rather curious why you would want to follow me." No answer. But some people don't get DM's so I figure I'll send a tweet asking the same thing. I wait all day and still no answer. Well, I figure maybe he just didn't see it, his mentions might be hectic after all, so I delete the tweet and then resend it. He then finally does respond.
That's weird right? It's not just me? You follow someone and then when they ask why ignore them? And then have a snarky response like that? Like I'm stalking you there Luke? You followed me. I didn't even know this man existed until this morning, remember it was his dad I criticized after all not him. Well Luke, if you don't want to talk that's fine, you just sit there and be a good little spy for your Borg collective, or whatever the hell it is you're up to.

Seriously, just when I think I'm done with this topic, things get weirder.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Review of the Week: Superior Iron Man #1

So as a result of the events of Axis, Tony Stark as turned evil, or at least more evil than he usually is. Seriously, after Civil War, am I really suppose to believe Tony needs a magic spell to turn him evil? Seems like he's hanging out in the grey area on his good days. Anyways Tony has given everyone in San Francisco the Extremis so they can be super hot superior versions of themselves. But you only get a taste for free, after that it will cost $99.99 a day. This douchebaggery has him running afoul of Pepper Potts and San Fran's newest super hero, Daredevil (with the help of an old Iron Man armor he got from Pepper).

This is a damn good start to this series. As I said, Tony has always been just a bit of a shit bag to begin with, so having him pushed in this direction somehow feels far more like a natural exaggeration of his darker aspects than some of the other heroes gone bad in this. And the confrontation with Daredevil should be interesting, those two don't have a lot of history together so it makes them interesting opponents. And having them in San Fran rather than New York means its more likely to be just the two of them facing off without interference from a dozen other super heroes. All and all this was a very intriguing start to this series and other than Axis: Carnage, this is my favorite tie in so far.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

James MacDonald Killed My Church Part 2: The sorrow of being proven right.

A few months ago I told the story on this blog of how the influence of James MacDonald and the Harvest Bible network of churches poisoned my church with a spirit of authoritarianism. Since then new developments have made a follow up post necessary.

After writing that post I had determined I would simply seek another Church. I thought I might still go to the small group Bible study I had been attending, as I had grown quite fond of the people there, got a lot out of it, and by all accounts contributed quite a bit back into it. Beyond that though I thought I would simply move on. But I was challenged by one of the members and someone who was practically family to me to keep going to see if I may have been wrong about things. I accepted if for no other reason than love and respect for the person making that request, and in the weeks that followed actually saw quite a few tremendously positive signs. Despite the problems it seemed God was indeed working in wondrous ways with some of the people there. Call it hopefulness or naivety, but I was actually beginning to think things had turned around, after all it was almost entirely new senior leadership. Perhaps, I thought, the problem had left with the old guard. Then I was given the news that I had been invited to one of the Church Elder meetings.

During that Elder meeting I was challenged with the verse from Matthew 18 about how to approach brother's in Christ with grievances. And I will say publicly right now, that while I did indeed go to the leadership with my concern before resigning my membership and posting about it here, I should have made more of an effort. It was a difficult situation, I tried to do things right, but I could have and should have done them better. I do however have no reason to assume the outcome would have been any different. It simply would have added a few weeks to the process. But that doesn't excuse me of my responsibility. I did not handle this as well as I should have and I am sorry.

That being said, it seemed to me that many of the elders were saying at that meeting that I needed to take down the blog post, recant and repent of ever daring to question the church leadership, or be simply no longer welcome there, despite the fact that I was indeed invited back by a member of good standing. I say "seemed" because there was very little said of much substance, frankly just a lot of beating around the bush. The next night I talked with the one elder I was close friends with and he assured me that despite my getting that impression, they were simply concerned for my spiritual well being and want us to all be in unity and work things out and no one was thinking of banishing me, that would be ridiculous. He was wrong. Just a couple of weekends the one elder called to indeed inform me I was banished until further notice and the matter would be discussed at the next Elder meeting. I had amazingly been thrown out of a church I already quit, after being invited back no less.

This meant I was no longer welcome at the church or the small group. I must admit, the small group part actually hurt a bit. I will miss that, although thankfully I am still friends with the people from it. So I suppose I should give credit where credit is due, they managed to get me back for my critical article. They managed to get, if not a whole pound, at least a few ounces of my flesh. And they managed to cloak it in a veil of religiosity no less. A thin veil, but still. That's kind of impressive actually. Touche.

They banned me from a church. I don't think I've ever heard of that. Because I dared to publicly voice a disagreement with the leadership, I may not come into the church. Despite, and again I think this needs to be remembered so let me whip out the bold font, being invited back by a member in good standing and the wife of an elder. I have never heard of such behavior outside of a Kool Aid drinking cult. I've heard of church discipline, I've heard of taking away someone's membership and treating them as an unbeliever as is lined out in scripture for church members who defiantly persist in sin. But even that doesn't excuse banning someone from a church. I mean, you do let unbelievers in the door after all, you want them to hear the Gospel don't you?

I talked to the leaders, I went to the initial meeting, and spoke on the phone with the one elder a couple of times trying to work this out. Over and over again, I was told this was all motivated by a desire to see me grow spiritually, but the actions did not reflect that. I was willing to listen to them, even acknowledge where I went wrong, as I have earlier in this article. No such meeting half way, agreeing to disagree, or compromise of any kind seemed to be coming from the other end. It seemed as though nothing short of their domination would satisfy them. Again, I say "seemed" because all attempts to get them to pin down what it was they actually wanted proved futile. It ultimately reached a point where I simply had to say this was getting us all nowhere and move on, wishing them the best.

In these last few weeks I spoke to quite a few former members, and it seems this pattern of petty authoritarianism was hardly unique to just the leadership's interaction with me. And here in lies the hardest part of this post. What do I say about these things I was told? What can I say? These are second hand accounts I can't absolutely verify, even if I have no reason to doubt them. Ultimately I've decided I will not share the particulars of these stories, because as I said, I cannot verify these things first hand. What I can say first hand is I am clearly not the only former member who feels the leadership of this church is, to put it mildly, a bit intoxicated with its power.

In my last article I said that this former church of mine was dead. I should clarify that a bit; I in no way am saying that every member of this church is dead, or that God cannot use this church, or its members for his purposes. God can use whatever he pleases after all. And indeed he has used members of this church in spectacular ways and continues to do so. But I believe that to be happening in spite of the leadership there. I was asked to return to see if I was right, and it is with great sorrow I must conclude that if anything I may have underestimated the problem. This church is still possessed by a spirit of authoritarianism. Those in charge there grasp at their power with far too eager and tight a grip, and as life has often taught me, those who desire power the hardest are almost always the most unfit to wield it. And with that said, it is my sincerest prayer that I need never revisit this topic again.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Review of the Week: Amazing Spider-man Vol 3 #9

So here we have Spider-verse officially starting. Even though there have already been a ton of Spider-verse comics, this is the start, those were just prequels, although why would it start here and no the main Spider-verse mini? Shouldn't this be a tie in story? This event is going to be confusing as hell. I don't even want to do a full plot synopsis of this, as I would be here all night. The main things that happen are the various spider-characters of the main universe (Earth 616) are brought to Earth 13 with all the other Spiders to figure out what to do. Why is Earth 13 safe? Because that Spider-man still has his Captain Universe powers and could kick the ass of Morlun should he show. Why doesn't he just go kick Morlun's ass then? Because his Captain Universe powers are tied to that universe and when he leaves it he's just another Spider-man. Also we see that 616 Peter is "The greatest of them all" because he defeated Morlun before.

The interactions between the various Spider-men and women are fun, but this crossover is already getting a bit out of hand. Things are rapidly becoming confusing even for an old hat at this like me. Mind you, it's a fun story so far, but the way it's laid out doesn't help a premise that can easily become a mess to begin with. Why does the main story start here and not the main mini series coming out later this month. With any even the main mini needs to be the backbone of it and all others are (ideally optional) tie ins. Also I didn't care for the main universe Peter to be "The Chosen One", I would have preferred it if he was just another soldier in this war. Part of the brilliance behind Marvel numbering it's main universe 616 is that it's just another world, not Earth 1 like at DC. And really? In no other reality did a Spider-man defeat Morlun? In all the trillions upon trillions of universes of the multiverse?

I like this event so far, but Dan Slott needs to be careful here, this could quickly go off the rails, and if that happens the novelty of tons of different Spider-men as well as the nostalgia factor of revisiting eras and spin offs of the franchise won't be enough to keep this afloat.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Top 5 characters who should be in Super Smash Bros but aren't.

I love the Smash Bros series. Hard to believe this is only the 4th one. Premiering on the N64 back in 1999, I can never remember a time when people weren't playing or talking about this series, despite having so few games in that 15 year time. This is one of those series where the games have so much staying power, where each one only seems to be eclipsed by the next. So much of what's produced by AAA studios doesn't seem to have that. Seems like a game is played and talked about for a few months then forgotten in favor of the latest space marine shooter. Since this series has expanded to include non-Nintendo characters, I thought I would take a look at 5 icons of the cartridge/arcade era who should find there way into a future Smash brothers game.
5) Q*Bert: I can't say I was ever a huge fan of Q*Bert, but it's hard to deny the presence he had in arcades, and early consoles. I even had Q*Bert for the NES and I don't even remember asking for it. I just had it. Not sure how you could make combat work with a character with no arms, but I'm sure Nintendo could think of something.
4) Earthworm Jim: For a few years there in the mid 90's, this guy was huge. Even had his own cartoon show with Dan Castellaneta (the voice of Homer) doing Jim's voice. Earthworm Jim's games had an odd, surreal, and even gross art and humor style, kind of MTV's Liquid Television-ish, which makes him very much a product of his time. I highly doubt a remake or revival would work. But nostalgia is one of Smash's biggest themes isn't it. So this quintessential product of the 90's would fit right in. By the way, this art is by MegaRyan104 on DeviantArt, you should check out his stuff.
3) Vectorman: This "Orb-bot" was the star of two fantastic run and gun platformers on the Genesis late in the system's life span. I reviewed the first one a while back, and this character really deserves to be remembered more than he is. This is also some of MegaRyan104's art.
2) Sparkster: This little guy starred in the Rocket Knight game series, an anthropomorphic medieval steampunk sidescroller game series, of which I reviewed the first one, that, like Vectorman, deserves to be remembered far more than it is. There was a remake of it recently, but it was a digital only game and I hate not having a hard copy so I haven't played it. Still, with swordplay and a jet pack, this character would be a blast to fight as. And the world just needs more Sparkster.
1) Bomberman: I actually had to look up that this guy had not been in Smash already, because I can't believe Nintendo hasn't brought Hudson's flagship character into the fray already. They've worked in Hudson before in the past on the Wario vs Bomberman game Wario Blast. Come on Nintendo, if anything he should have been in there before Pac Man.

So there you have it, my top 5 non Nintendo character who should be in Smash. Don't agree? Well then, make your own damn list.



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review of the Week: Axis: Carnage #1 and Mega Man #42

So Carnage is a good guy now...sorta. During the events of the Axis event a spell was cast that altered the personalities of the heroes and villains there, turning the good guys bad and the bad guys good. And now Carnage wants to be a hero, the only problem, he really doesn't know how. Meanwhile there is a new Sin Eater running around who has supernatural, semi Ghost Rider-ish powers. This new Sin Eater kills a news anchor and we see his fellow news anchor, who he was romantically involved with, crying over this in the news cast. Carnage sees this on the news and figures she is a good person and would be able to help him be a hero. Turns out she's not though, she's actually a cold manipulative bitch who is barely even really sad over her lover/co worker's death. Carnage shows up in time to save her from the new Sin Eater and the issue ends with him asking her for guidance.

As a long time Carnage fan I actually enjoyed this issue, despite not liking the plot device that brought us here. In the Axis mini Magneto recruited Carnage among other villains to fight the Red Onslaught by telling Carnage that going hero would be the ultimate random act from him, and after the events of the recent Deadpool vs Carnage mini, Carnage would be desperate to regain that unpredictability. That alone would be a good enough reason for Carnage to go on this misguided attempt at redemption. It wouldn't even be him being actually good, as he would only be doing it out of a sense of spite for people's expectations. That would be considerably more interesting than Carnage forced to be good because of a magic spell. And besides, isn't a spell turning heroes evil and villains good so silver age-ish? Like cornball DC comics silver age no less? Still though this is an entertaining book, and it is interesting to see how messy the road to redemption can be. Definitely worth checking out.
We continue to have Mega Man work his way through the Mega Man III robot masters, this time Shadow Man and Gemini Man. And there really isn't that much more to the plot than that. We do get some interesting flashbacks into Shadow Man's history and his connection to the Stardroids, as well as some solid character development for him, but all and all this issue is filler. One of the faults of this series is it writes with the trade paper backs in mind, and as a result it's had it's share of filler issues over its run. Still, a decent read, but nothing really all that special.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Bechtloff's Podcast: Episode 26

My friend William Rome joined me on my latest podcast. We talk about #GamerGate, horror movies, and frankly a ton of other random topics. This podcast really went all over the place. It was pretty late when we recorded, and I may or may not have been having a little Captain Morgan. Frankly I can't decide if this is my best podcast or my worst. Check it out here and judge for yourself.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Review of the Week: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters #1

This is a crossover I've wanted to see since I was a kid, hell this is a crossover I made happen with my action figures as a kid many a time. The story here is pretty simply that the Turtles go to use a teleporter that Donatello made and end up in the Ghostbusters universe. Also an ancient mystical immortal being called Chi-You ended up there as well, and as the Turtles are fighting it the Ghostbusters arrive to deal with the spirit as well as the "Kung-fu Martians" as Venkman called the Turtles and our issue ends on a cliffhanger. Obviously there is more to it, but why spoil it, go read it yourself.

This was a good start to the crossover. It caught me up to speed as to the current status quo going on in the two respective IDW books for these franchises, and had more than a few nods to long time fans as well as the spirit the Ghostbusters are busting early in the book.
I totally had that toy with the eye that popped out. Also I love how the Paranormal and supernatural is just accepted in this world, people almost having a "Ho-hum, another ghost? Call the Ghostbusters" attitude. The bride at the wedding with Chi-You shows up seems no more annoyed or afraid than if she had found ants in her kitchen. All and all this was a good start to this crossover, but it is a little slow and obviously written for a trade. I miss the days of just 90 page prestigious format crossovers rather than 6 or 12 issue minis. But that's just the nature of comics these days. Still this is a great read and a fans of either franchise should check it out.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hiding behind a dead man's memory.

As GamerGate continues to march on, the anti-gamergate crowd continues to reveal time and time again what types of people they truly are. Apparently Todd in the Shadows saw a Gamergate supporter say "something cruel" to him on Twitter. This person apparently had the JewWario hat in his avi, to commemorate Justin "JewWario" Carmical who took his life earlier this year. Todd then responded with this Tweet:
Yes. He did this. And it's not like the person tweeting at Todd brought it up, he just had the hat symbol on his avi, and Todd decided that was a good enough excuse to use the memory of his dead friend to defend the political beliefs he likely only has because otherwise his feminist girlfriend won't give him any. Because these people have no actual points, because they are on the side of censorship and corruption, and because calling attempts at holding journalists accountable "harassment" are not working, we now have a prominent GamerGate opponent hiding behind the corpse of a dead friend. To be fair, Todd did issue a half assed apology, which I guess is better than claiming his account was hacked like Brianna Wu did after tweeting that Camera Lady was a"gross fucking aspie", so Todd is at least sorta taking responsibility for his actions. Sorta.

Time and time again we see Gamergate opponents act in immature and vile ways, and yet we're all suppose to believe that it is the Gamergate crowd that is the bad guys. Where are the major Gamergate faces and proponents that are behaving this way? There are none. But it really shouldn't be surprising that the side that is fighting for corruption isn't on the moral high ground.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Review of the Week: Spider-man 2099 Vol 2 # 5

For those of you who didn't know, Spider-man 2099 has been stranded in the present day for sometime now. But it seems the main universe isn't the only universe where a Spider-man 2099 is in the present day. We see one where Miguel is in the present day and an Avenger...for some reason. Also we catch up with the Spider-man 2099 who had been a member of the multiverse policing Exiles, only to settle down in one of the universes they saved and apparently start a relationship with that universe's MJ. Needless to say Morlun makes short work of the Avenger Spider-man 2099, which for some reason our Spider-man 2099 somehow kinda felt psychically, and the Exiles version had been monitoring it with Exiles tech, and attempts to warn the version in the main universe only to be killed by Morul right in front of our Spider-man 2099.

Holy balls, this issue was a mess. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but I this has got to be confusing as hell for a lot of people. The Spider-man 2099 that was an Avenger, what the hell is his deal? Had we seen this before? The Exiles one I knew about, since I was a huge Exiles fan, but that would be confusing to anyone who hadn't read Exiles. It seems like some simple narration boxes giving some exposition would have been extremely appropriate here. I'm an old hat at this, as juggling multiple versions and continuities, I've been reading comics for a long time and love mutliverse and alternate universe stories. But even I was a bit lost at times. As I said, it was an enjoyable enough chapter in the Spider-verse saga, but it sure as hell wasn't the remedial class that's for sure. You better brush up on some Marvel Handbooks before you crack this issue open buddy, because it has no time to hold your hand while you figure things out. I don't even know how to score this book or whether or not to recommend it. I guess if you're a Spider-man 2099 expert, or simply don't feel the need to know anything about the Spider-men you're seeing die, then you'll enjoy this book. If not, I think you might just be lost.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Bechtloff's Podcast: Episode 25

In this episode I talk about the supposed hard time girls face in geekdom, why the New 52 is a disaster, and Pacman games. Check it out here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Review of the Week: Amazing Spider-man Vol 3 #7

In this issue Spider-man teams up with that new Muslim teen Ms. Marvel, and I can't even pretend to care. Seriously, I have zero interest in that character. I only read the first few issues of her book, but they felt like they were designed entirely to appeal to the SJW tumblr crowd who complain endlessly about "representation". And frankly the only thing that really caught my attention in this book was the Spider-man UK back up story. In it we meet Billy Baddock, who is, for whatever reason, both the Spider-man and the Captain Britain of his universe and a member of the Captain Britain Corps (which is an organization of Captain Britains from various universes who protect the multiverse). We saw Billy observing the Gwen Stacy Spider-woman back in Edge of Spider-verse #2. Here we see him discovering the threat of Morlun and his clan as he sees them ripping through Spider-men in a few different universes, including the worlds of the Spider-man and his Amazing Friends and the Spider-man Unlimited cartoons. There isn't much more to this little back up story than that, but it does introduce us to Spider-Britain and the nods to those two cartoons were decent fan service.

On one level I acknowledge the fan wankery of this story. Just constant nods to the past of the Spider-man franchise. But this also has the potential introduce a lot of interesting alternate worlds. I really enjoyed the Edge of Spider-verse mini for that very reason. And while this story might be, at least in part fan wankery, as someone who loves both Spider-man and multiverse stories, it's exactly the kind of wankery I'm a sucker for. So despite a few flaws I'm really digging Spider-verse. The main story of this book however held little interest for me. I guess I give the book in total two and a half inter-dimensional murders out of five.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sonic/Mega Man: Worlds Unite announced for 2015

I kinda figured this would happen after it was hinted around back in Mega Man #40, but Archie is going to do a second crossover between these two franchises. And even though I love Sonic, love Mega Man, and love crossovers, I think it's a bad idea. I did a little video explaining why, check it out here.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Bechtloff's Podcast: Episode 24

In this episode I talk about Gamergate, feminists, conspiracy theories, Meghan Trainor, the theological depth of the Hellraiser movies, and more. Check it out here. Also of note, I did a toy review of a Mega Man action figure. Check it out here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Review of the Week: Mega Man #41

This issue begins the story arch where Mega Man fights through the Mega Man III Robot Masters. In this issue he heads up to a space station to fight Top Man and Snake Man, all the while Dr. Wily is still pretending to be reformed and claiming these robots have gone rouge from him and are following the instructions of the now destroyed Ra Moon. This issue actually did a lot to showcase the characters of Snake Man and Top Man and really give them a ton of personality. I was especially surprised how interesting Top Man was, with his flair for the dramatic as he carefully set up his traps for Mega Man. I'm not gonna lie, I always hated Top Man. In fact I listed him as my number one worst Robot Master ever before, but this issue really made me warm up to him a bit. His power still sucks though.

Also this is issue 41 and we're still in Mega Man III territory. We really need to get a move on. I would like to at least get Proto Man past his Break Man time. But maybe this series will start focusing on world building and less on crossovers now. Either was fantastic issue to a fantastic series. I give it five Top Spins out of five.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Bechtloff's Podcast: Episode 23

In this episode I talk about the stagnation of the gaming industry, gamergate and comicgate, some thoughts on game franchises like Bubble Bobble, Bomberman, and Tomb Raider, and why I love Taylor Swift. Check it out here. Also of note, I recently did a toy review for a Mario action figure I got. Check that out here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Review of the Week: Edge of Spider-verse #3

This issue introduces us to Dr. Aaron Aikman, a brilliant chemist and medical doctor who used his genius to give himself an experimental treatment to give himself spider powers. We get some back story on him followed by a look at some of his villains, and just as he is about to save the city from certain doom, Morlun shows up to eat him. I don't want to share more about the story because you really should check it out for yourself. One of the things I loved about this was seeing Aaron's world and backstory unfold. They even showed us some of his villains by having panels done in the style of old 90's Marvel trading cards, which was an entertaining way to give us quick back story.

Frankly my only two real complains are they never really say why he gave himself that treatment, I assume he was trying to cure something but unless I missed it they didn't say. And having Morlun show up at the end and seal Aaron's doom was a huge downer. I got rather invested in him, and it's a waste to kill him off so soon. Perhaps he gets saved by some alternate reality Spider-men and we just didn't see that, it does end right as Morlun shows up after all. I for one really hope to see more of Aaron Aikman, the Spider-man. I give this issue 4 webs out of 5.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Review of the Week: Edge of Spider-verse #2

So this series continues to pop around the multiverse introducing or reintroducing us to some of the key players of Spider-verse. This issue we see the much hyped Gwen Stacy Spider-woman. Not necessarily hyped by Marvel, more of a grass roots hype of this character really. Anyways the story has Gwen being bitten by the spider instead of Peter, and Peter, tired of being picked on, tries to give himself powers and turns himself into the Lizard. Gwen has to stop him which unfortunately results in Peter's death, which Jameson uses as an excuse to launch an anti-Spider-woman crusade, resulting in the police, including Gwen's father, after Spider-woman. Ultimately in this issue Gwen reveals herself to her dad, and ends up with his reluctant blessing. Also a UK version Spider-man is seen observing Spider-woman, saying she will do nicely. Apparently he is recruiting her for the spider-verse mess. Although if he is connected to the alternate Ock-Spidey's squad currently appearing in Superior Spider-man remains to be seen. 

For whatever reason, people really seemed to love the idea of this character. As soon as this Gwen Stacy as Spider-woman concept showed up in the solicits people went nuts. Tons of fan art were made. I don't know if it's the costume or what but people loved it. So it would be a damn shame if once we finally see the character it didn't live up to the hype. Well, thankfully, at least in my humble opinion it did. I don't know what Spider-verse will hold for this character, but I for one wouldn't mind seeing her get her own series at the end of this. This issue sets this Gwen up as a really interesting character living in a really interesting alternate world, and the dynamic with her father set up at the end could really use more exploring. And I would love to see how things might go with her and that world's version of Norman Osborn. So far, even though it's barely started I think this event has been pretty damn good, and this is the best issue yet from it. Definitely worth checking out, and is stand alone enough to be enjoyable without even digging into the Spider-verse event as a whole.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Bechtloff's Podcast: Episode 22

Davis Aurini joins me on the podcast this week to talk about GamerGate, SJW's, and the upcoming documentary he's doing with Jordan Owen. Check it out here.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mega Man vs Vectorman

I found an artist on DeviantArt recently, MegaRyan, who's work I absolutely love. I talked about his stuff a bit before as an example of one the the very creative people out there in geek culture that makes geekdom so wonderful. Anyways I had commissioned him to do this for me and I just love how it turned out. Mega Man and Vectorman have quite a bit in common and seeing the two meet would be a lot of fun. You should get on this Archie. Talk to Sega, I'm sure it wouldn't cost you much to use Vectorman, it's not like Sega is doing anything with him. Anyways, like I said, I thought I would share it here. Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Review of the Week: Death of Wolverine #2

If you haven't already, check out my review of part one. Last issue Wolverine finds out that Madam Viper is the one who put the contract on his head, so this issue he decides to pay her a visit. When he finally confronts her she sicks her newest pet Sabertooth on him. Before Sabertooth can make short work of the de-powered Logan, Lady Deathstrike shows up to help him. Sabertooth and Viper both flee but Deathstrike informs Logan that someone has put prices on the heads of her, Logan, Sabertooth, and others "like us". When she seems Logan no longer has his healing she decides to take collect the bounty on his head in order to undo the one one hers, only to be stopped by Kitty Pryde.

It looks like this story is going to try and include as many important Wolverine related characters as it can, which is only fitting if it intends to be a major Wolverine epic. As with last issue, it's a little slow pace wise, but the fantastic art and solid characterization make up for it. Also like I said it is good to finally see the lose of Wolverine's healing treated like the major crippling thing it is, even if he is still probably too much of a bad ass given the circumstances. All and all this is a solid story so far and I'm looking forward to part three.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Should Movie Bob be fired?

A lot of people think the Escapist should outright fire Movie Bob Chipman over his disgusting behavior during #Gamergate. I see where they're coming, I really do, but I don't think that's what should be done here. I made a little video on the subject, check it out here.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Bechtloff's Podcast: Episode 21

In this week's podcast I of course talk more about GamerGate, why I can't stand the Amish, some games I've recently played, and more. Check it out here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Review of the Week: Death of Wolverine #1

So for those of you who haven't heard, Wolverine has lost his healing factor. Not had it scaled back, but lost it completely. This has, oddly enough, been going on for a while in the books and now we get to the inevitable outcome of Wolverine with no healing factor, his death. Not much happens in this book, we just wee Reed Richards vowing he will find a way to fix this for Logan, then pretty much him making a sort of final stand up in a remote island in the Canadian north against the various enemies who would come for him, including the Daredevil villain Nuke, who we find out was merely hired by Madam Viper.

And that's about it really plot wise. I have to admit, when Wolverine lost his healing factor a few months ago I thought it was one of the dumbest things I've read in comics in a long time. I mean, I get that it's super hero comics, and I gotta suspend my disbelief, but you gotta meet me half way on that. A Wolverine with no healing factor should be dead in a week. Hell, just popping the claws would leave him needing stitches. And he was still an active Avenger and X-man after losing his healing? Bullshit. Just plain old bullshit. But this issue no longer just glosses over it and deals with what a dead man Logan is without his healing. The art and writing are both solid, and I really liked the very stoic way Logan is accepting his death sentence. I can't say I care for the speculator-bait feel to this story line, especially since we know he'll be back somehow in like 3 months time tops, but it was still a decent read and worth checking out.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Bechtloff's Podcast: Episode 20

In this episode I talk about why working at a movie store was terrible, more on Quinngate/Gamergate, out of control prices in the retro game market, and more. Check it out here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Review of the Week: Mega Man #40

If you haven't already, check out my reviews for parts one, two, and three. Really not a lot happens in this issue. Mega Man and his crew fight the Wily Walker in his time, and X and his friends (some of whom are soon to be enemies) fight it in their time. That's it. Aside from anti-robot terrorist Xander Payne bouncing through the time stream ending up in X's time and then back to his own time just in time to get arrested, there was no actual crossover to this crossover. One interesting thing did happen though, in part 2 when Xander was bouncing around the timeline he witnessed some of the events of the Sonic/Mega Man crossover, making him the only one in the Mega Man universe to have any knowledge that it ever happened due to the fact that all evidence of it was erased by the Genesis Wave at the end of it. The last page of this issue we see Xander drawing this on his cell wall.
Guess we're hinting around to another crossover. I guess that's cool, not like the first one actually mattered to the Mega Man world though, it isn't even remembered by anyone but this guy. This story arch was good, don't get me wrong, and it will make a decent lead in to the Mega Man X title I'm sure they're planning to do. They haven't announced that yet, but this was clearly testing the waters for it. But this failed as a crossover because there was no actual crossover to it. In some ways though this book needs to stop with these sorts of stunts and just get into fleshing out Mega Man's world more before we start doing crossovers out the ass. We're still in Mega Man III territory and this is issue 40. Proto Man is still Break Man.  I love this book, but they need to focus on first things first, and that's introducing more characters from the game and building this world up. All that being said, this is still a damn fun read and easily the best all ages family title on the shelves. So check it out if you haven't.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Bechtloff's Podcast: Episode 19

My latest podcast is up where I talk more about the Zoe Quinn debacle and what it might mean for the future of geek culture, the new project by Davis Aurini and Jordan Owen, and my favorite Sonic game of all time. Check it out here.

Also of note, I did a brief summary of the Zoe Quinn saga as a guest poster on Captain Capitalism's blog. Check it out here.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Spider-woman and feminist puritanism.

So the alternate cover for the new Spider-woman #1 has her with her ass up. Most sensible people wouldn't think twice about it. Feminist, however, are having a fit over it. So I had a little video response to their totally not ridiculous complaints. Check it out here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Review of the Week: Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #1

I picked this up on a whim because the cover caught my eye, not only did it have Wonder Woman fighting Batman villains but Harley Quinn is in her classic pre-New 52 costume. The first story in this anthology book involves Batman taken down by his villains in a Pre-New 52 type world and Oracle calls in Wonder Woman to clean up Gotham which has now been taken over by the villains. The second story is about a boy who loves Wonder Woman and his friends tease him for liking "girl stuff". I'm not even going to dignify that feminist claptrap of a story with any further analysis.

The first story however is good but also really flawed. At the beginning the Batmobile is destroyed and Batman seemingly killed but at the end he is fine with no explanation given. Also Catwoman and Harley Quinn show up just to watch midway through the fight until WW recruits them. The story had an odd feel, everything being so slightly off in characterization I expected it to be a dream at the end. And yet there were a handful of moments that showed a strong understanding of the characters, like at the beginning when they talk about how with Batman villains that "One plus one never equals two" meaning that the fact that they can't cooperate is what keeps them from winning, and this time they have finally managed to overcome that. This story had a lot of strong points, and is worth checking out, but it also at times felt like sloppy story telling, almost fan fiction like in that regard. The second story is preachy crap.

Sadly though, this is still probably better than 90% of what DC puts out these days.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Will the Zoe Quinn debacle get us to finally clean house in geekdom?

By now I have to assume you heard about Zoe Quinn and the 5 Guys saga. The reaction to it has me cautiously optimistic that maybe this will be the beginning of the end for the SJW's stranglehold on geek culture. I made a video talking about it, check it out here.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Bechtloff's Podcast: Episode 18

My latest podcast is up. I talk about Bomberman games, cops vs puppies, Eric Holder vs physical fitness, and the whole Zoe Quinn scandal. Check it out here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Review of the Week: Thanos: The Infinity Revelation

This actually came out last week but I didn't get my hands on it until this week, and there was really nothing out this week I had anything to say on. The story here starts with Eternity, Infinity, and the Living Tribunal discussing a cosmic change that is about to happen. Then we cut to Thanos in his ship in a half dead state that he put himself in so his soul could roam around as he wishes to investigate the feeling that something is wrong he has been having. He visits the Guardians of the Galaxy to talk to his old nemesis Drax, who from panel to panel keeps shifting from his modern look to his more classic look, although Thanos doesn't seem to notice. Later he goes into Mistress Death's realm to look for answers. He gets a clue from the Infinity Well as well as the soul of Adam Warlock tagging along back to the realm of the living. Warlock makes himself a new body, which keeps shifting from panel to panel from two different looks without anyone noticing. The two further investigate the feeling that something is wrong that they both have and eventually they step outside the universe to some ancient power source/cosmic relic, MacGuffin and they see alternate universe versions of themselves. Each of the pairs has one of the different Warlocks, meaning what we've been seeing this whole time are identical events in two almost identical universes. When both sets return to their universes, they go about fixing the damage to the fabric of reality they were sensing using the power from the MacGuffin. In one reality the universe is remade into a twisted reflection of Warlock's subconscious, in the other, Thanos' subconscious. Eventually they undo the damage by apparently merging the two almost identical universes, with the Thanos from one and the Warlock from another. History has also been altered, at this new version of Warlock only ever had this one costume, which is all anyone but Thanos remembers. Also, notice how Thanos basically calls Warlock a fag here.
Warlock was a "dandy", I love it. Anyways Warlock leaves to go do Warlock stuff and Mistress Death shows up and is all over Thanos suddenly.

Jim Starlin on Thanos is always a treat. Slarlin's various Infinity stories have all been amazing, except for Crusade, which was just him bitching about how he dislikes religious. One of my biggest problems with Infinity Gauntlet was that if failed as a "Secret Wars" type crossover, since despite how many guest stars it had, it was the Thanos and Warlock show. This embraces that and focuses almost entirely on those two and their odd friendship/rivalry/hatred/bromance. I also loved how Starlin took stabs at some recent Thanos stories by other writers. As Thanos thinks about what is off about the fabric of reality and how it has effected him he comments that even he doesn't understand some of his recent behavior.

Really I have very few complaints about this hardcover, aside from the fact that it is a hardcover. Why not just a trade Marvel? Do you really need to screw me out of that extra $5 or so? Still, this was worth it, so if you're a Thanos fan, and who isn't these days, check this out.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Too many honkies in Guardians of the Galaxy?

Managing Editor of Comic Book Resources Albert Ching really loved Guardians of the Galaxy, he just wished it wasn't starring a white guy. And somehow people got upset with him for that. I did a short video on the subject, check it out here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Review of the Week: Superior Spider-man #32

Spider-verse kicks off by bringing back Superior Spider-man for another issue. This story features an alternate universe version of Superior Spider-man who gets trapped in the year 2099 during that the events of Superior Spider-man 19. Eventually Ock-Spidey builds himself a time machine but when he goes back he finds himself in another alternate timeline looking at a dead Spider-man. He does this several times, until we eventually see him in the timeline of Spider-man:India in time to save him from Morlune, who has been killing Spider-men across the multiverse. He recruits Spider-man: India to his growing league of Spider-men.

This was an absolutely fantastic start to this arch. The various alternate timelines we see are interesting nods to past stories, and even Ock-Spidey's time in 2099 is cool as we see him fight a couple of 2099 villains. I am really looking forward to seeing where things go with this story, and it was nice to see Spider-man: India used again. I give this story 5 alternate web slingers out of 5.

Gambling is not a sin.

Over and over again I hear Chruchianity leaders talk about how gambling is a sin. I have even heard it from my former pastor at the pulpit. But the simple fact of the matter is, while Evangelical culture may teach that gambling is a sin, the Bible however does not. So I talked about this more in a little video. Check it out here.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

How to solve the welfare problem.

I did a quick little video on how to solve the welfare problem. It's a humble little proposal that would phase it out in a couple of generations. It would have a couple of odd coalitions on both sides of the debate were it actually proposed in congress. Check out the full video here.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The futility of modern mission trips.

I did a little video on modern mission trips and how pointless they are. What does sending a bunch of teenage girls to the third world actually accomplish? Check it out here.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Bechtloff's Podcast: Episode 17

Indie game developer Jennifer D'aww stopped by once again to chat about the video game industry and Geeks for CONsent. Check it out here

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review of the Week: Red Sonja #0

I was a big fan of Dynamite's last Red Sonja series. I finally fell out of it after the Death and Rebirth archs, mostly because I was reading so much at the time and I feel like the series was starting to lose some of its magic around that time. But I figured I would give this newest volume a shot, and I was less than impressed.

This issue starts out at Red Sonja's funeral, in which we see a large oafish, and dimwitted man named Red Malak as he laments that Sonja's death has left her "defenseless husband behind". In his grief he racks up quite the debt drinking and sleeping around. Sonja wasn't dead and was only out at sea and returns to find out that a man claiming to be her husband has racked up all this debt. Sonja is attacked by the loan sharks and manages to kill one. Eventually she catches up with Malak, who she actually barely knows and only met once. He tells her her some delusional nonsense as to why he lied and when the two are ambushed by the loan sharks, he dies defending her.

Like I said, I loved the first Red Sonja series Dynamite did, and not just because I'm partial to redheads. Sonja was a strong and bad ass, but also noble and kind character. I also loved how many red pill elements were in it such as how Sonja would lose her strength given to her by the Goddess Mitra if she ever had sex with a man who couldn't best her in battle. Hypergamy as a divine mandate my friends. And like I said, Sonja, while she certainly had her hard edges, was also full of much nobility and even compassion. Gail Simone's Red Sonja however is just Conan with tits. This Sonja is crude, selfish, and borderline infantile. Just like Conan. Now with Conan, it's fun to watch a likable but slightly amoral brute stumble his way into being a hero either by being hired to do so or just running afoul of various villains, but transferred onto Sonja, it loses some of its charm to say the least.

Gail Simone has written a lot of stuff I liked before, but in recent years she seems to have really fallen down the feminist rabbit hole. With this issue she has Sonja acting like one of those women who get drunk and make an ass of themselves to prove they're "one of the boys", and all the men in this issue are either filled with murderous greed, or just a retarded man child. Needless to say, I don't think I'll be getting the next issue.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Quick little video on Geeks for CONsent.

Once again feminists attempt to suck all fun out of geek culture. This time we're going after guys at comic cons for the crime of taking pictures of sexy cosplayers. Because after all, just because a woman is dressed provocatively as a fictional character in a room full of people who are likely fans of that character, doesn't mean she wants you to look at her. A lot of people have brought this to my attention in the past couple days, so I did a little rant of it on my YouTube, check it out here.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Bechtloff's Podcast" Episode 16

My latest podcast is up, where I talk about the feminist outrage over 50 Shades of Grey, why America has no business constantly defending Israel, why I have no interest in going to San Diego Comic Con, and I recommend some comics you should read. Check it out here.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

50 Shades of Feminist Puritanism.

So the trailer for the 50 Shades of Grey movie is out. I actually read the book a while back. I wouldn't call it a good book, but I don't necessarily think it deserves quite the hatred it got from a lot of people. It had it's moments, and frankly succeeded in being exactly what it was supposed to be, a romance novel. I thought the Domination and submission elements in the book were explored in a rather competent and thoughtful way, and for full disclosure I have dabbled in the BDSM black arts more than a few times myself in the past, but the narrative was rather thin to say the least so I can't say I really liked the book.

What I found most interesting about the trailer wasn't anything in the trailer itself but rather the backlash from feminists, leftists, and other r-types. Kevin Fallon at The Daily Beast found the trailer "alarming" and at one point watching the trailer said to himself “Oh my god is he going to KILL HER!?”. That hipster feminist pseudo-geek Lindsay Ellis thought the male lead was creepy and that the trailer seemed like a horror movie to her. Seems like guys like Anonymous Conservative are right, these liberals really do have damaged amygdalas. I watched that trailer, and indeed like I said read the book it was based on, and I can tell you they're both rather tame really, no where near deserving this kind of "alarm". When did liberals become such prudes? I mean, for people who fight for the "right" of free birth control, they sure do seem to be easily freaked out by a little rough sex.

Two things really strike me about this reaction from leftist critics. First of all the blatant hypocrisy. Here we have a BDSM themed love story, and they call it "icky" and "creepy" because they can't fit such sexuality into their insane worldview, but if a homosexual themed romance movie hit, these same people would call anyone who was disgusted by that a bigot. The second thing that strikes me is just how much these feminists are sounding more and more like Churchianity religious right moral faggots. Be it on the issue of pornography or just entertainment in general these moralizing leftists bear a rather striking resemblance to their religious right counter parts. And I love to point this out, because I know both those groups loath the other. So it amuses me to no end to point out that they are really no different from each other. A moralizing busybody is a moralizing busybody, no matter how they spend their Sunday mornings.

I don't have any interest in seeing 50 Shades of Grey, but I suspect it will do well. And now that I know it will piss off feminists I flat out hope it does well, because I do so love drinking the sweet milk of their tears.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Review of the Week: Daredevil Vol 4 #6

During the Original Sin mini series a villain called the Orb hit several heroes with a psychic "secrets bomb" which revealed to each of the affected heroes a hidden secret from their past. And in Daredevil's case it was that his father wasn't the stand up guy we all were lead to believe, but rather that he used to beat the hell out of his wife. This revelation leads Matt to look up his mother, who had long ago become a nun, only to find his mother caught up as an innocent by standard in a conspiracy involving the African nation of Wakanda.

All and all the plot involving his mother and the mess she gets caught up in is actually pretty interesting and I suggest checking it out. I really don't want to ruin anything for you so I won't go into detail about it, especially since it really isn't what I feel like talking about in this issue. I want to talk about Matt's father.

I don't want to overreact or have go knee jerk on this, Lord knows there is enough of that lately involving the new female Thor story coming up, but this really doesn't sit well with me. First of all the idea that Daredevil's mom had, for lack of a better term, a mid life crisis which lead her to leave her family and eventually become a nun, is a pretty important part of Daredevil's character. It is the ultimate source behind his complicated relationship both to his faith and the women in his life. Once you reveal that his mom only left because his dad beat the shit out her, it not only smears Daredevil's father, but also undermines a very interesting aspect of the character that has been a major part of his background since the Frank Miller days on the book. Suddenly her actions in leaving her family become so much more justified and it can't help but shift the anger in Matt's heart away from his mother and to his father. I don't want to throw around any hyperbole and say this "ruins the character" but I definitely fear it may take away one of his more interesting aspects.

All that being said, this was a decent enough story, and were it not for the initial revelation that lead Daredevil to this unfolding mystery I would wholeheartedly say check this book out. As it stands I still liked it, but I think this revelation was a pretty big mistake.