Monday, December 24, 2012

Comicbook Christmas Specials

I'm a fan of Christmas issues in comicbooks. A lot of titles have them, like Batman, Spider-Man, or even Judge Dredd. One that I like is actually one of Batman's Halloween specials, but it's a retelling of Dickens' A Christmas Carrol, so I'm counting it. It has Bruce Wayne as Scrooge, since he's focusing too much on the Batman and not doing enough as Bruce Wayne, Poison Ivy as Christmas Past, the Joker as Christmas Present, and a brief pointless appearance by the Penguin. But Batman isn't the only one making Dickens references, Dredd does it too. In one of his Christmas issues, there's a starving family with a disabled kid, and a really mean guy who won't help them. He eventually changes his mind and tries to help. He goes out, shoots a bird, but it looks completely pathetic by the time he reaches their home, plus he apparently broke some law at some point, so Judge Dredd shows up and shoots him. But it's a happy ending since they cook his body and eat him. Ok, so maybe it's not that happy, but you gotta love the dark sense of humor in Judge Dredd's stories. One with an actual happy ending is an issue of Marvel Team-Up with Spider-Man and the Human Torch. They're chasing down the Sandman, coincidentally one of my favorite Spider-Man villains, and also stopping small crimes on the way. When they finally catch him, he explains that he's visiting his mother, which he makes sure to do every Christmas. Spider-Man even gives him a gift that he had intended for his girlfriend, but didn't want Sandman to show up empty handed. He visits his mother and escapes down a drain, but all is well in the Marvel universe, and it ends with Human Torch putting a giant flaming "Happy Holidays!" or something like that in the sky. That one has the most Christmas spirit, but I do like stories that are dark and just a little messed up, so it's hard to say which one is my favorite. But anyway, happy holidays, everyone!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Undead-teen Romances

You know what I hate more than undead-teen romances? Me neither! Especially Twilight! It makes me want to puke! Where do I even begin with the things I hate about it? How about the writing and general quality? All I have to say about that is that the terrible fan fictions written by people who can barely spell are probably no worse. Then there's the complete lack of accuracy to what those creatures are supposed to be? Vampires do not sparkle. Let me say that again. VAMPIRES DO NOT SPARKLE. When they are exposed to sunlight, they scream in pain as their flesh burns away, until all that's left is a pile of ash. Also, they prey on humans. They don't spare them based on just their feelings. Sure, there have been instances when a vampire and a human become allies, or even lovers, but it always begins with the vampire having a good reason not to kill the human, then things just kind of work out for the two of them. For example, in Underworld, Seline meets Michael because the Lycans were targeting him because as she later finds out, he's a descendant of the father of the original vampire and the original werewolf. But anyway, there are several valid types of vampire. I'll name a few. My favorite is the one I call the predator vampire. They look fairly human, but with longer slightly limbs, plus razor sharp teeth and claws and very dark eyes. Their standard M.O. is to savagely rip people apart. Probably the oldest type is the elegant vampire. These are usually European, wear long cloaks, and are very elegant. They have powers like shapeshifting, or turning into smoke, and usually sneak behind their victims before biting into their necks. Also, there's the modern vampire. Modern vampires look almost identical to humans unless you look closely at their teeth and sometimes their eyes. They use guns, swords, or pretty much any weapon available to them in battle, but usually just drink the blood from their victims' necks. These three types are the most common, but some franchises have their own slightly different take on vampires, most of which are valid. Sparkling vampires are not. My main objection is to the depiction of vampires, but don't think that the werewolves are off the hook. In my experience with movies, video games, comic books, etc. there are two main types of werewolf. The lunar werewolf most likely sees lycanthropy as a curse, and changes involuntarily when there's a full moon and only when there's a full moon. There's also the type that sees lycanthropy as a gift and only changes at will. The ones in Twilight are pretty similar to the second category, so I can't get too mad at them for that. What I can get mad at is similar to what makes me angry about the false vampires, which is the implication that werewolves see humans as anything other than food. The worst part of a chick flick with vampires and werewolves in it is that it proves we live in a world where that can exist. The second worst things is that it's giving young impressionable minds false ideas about what vampires and werewolves are. Every time I hear someone utter the phrase "team Jacob" or "team Edward," I want to punch them in the face. I don't, mostly because our civilization is dominated by rules, most of which are based on a philosophy that advises against doing that kind of thing, but I want to. And just when I thought I could be happy that Twilight is over, I saw a trailer for a new movie. Only the concept for this one is even more idiotic. Want to guess? I'll give you a hint: what sort of undead creature do you think is least likely to be in a romantic situation? A zombie, right? So guess what the plot of the movie Warm Bodies is? A freakin' zombie falls in love with a teenage girl. The zombie is about her age, so it's not creepy in that sense, but the whole point of a zombie is that the person is dead, but their body is still moving. There's nothing left in the brain except motor functions and very basic instincts. But at least we have an awesome TV show about zombies, so I'm not bothered too much by the existence of this movie. But as far as vampires go, there needs to be at the very least one really good vampire movie that comes out in the near future to atone for the abomination that isTwilight. Werewolves too, but vampires got the most abuse from that series, so their need is more urgent. That is all.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Being the Hulk

I understand that Bruce Banner lives a very tortured life, but I think sometimes, it would be pretty fun to hulk out. Of course, there would be risks like destroying my own house or the local comic book or video game store, but in the middle of nowhere, it would be fun to turn into a giant indestructible green guy that has huge muscles and can destroy anything. It would just be awesome to do stuff jump to the top of a building, smash some stuff, jump to another building, punch a helicopter out of the air, then just leap down to the ground. But that would require unnecessary endangerment of innocent lives, which I'm not sure I'm willing to do. So maybe just reducing a mountain to rubble would be more appropriate. That would probably be just as fun and relieve an equal amount of stress, which is arguably what turning into the Hulk is all about. As a child, Bruce Banner never really expressed his anger and had a lot of rage built up inside of him until he was caught in the blast of a gamma bomb and developed the ability to hulk out as a way to release his anger. Plus, as extra personalities go, the Hulk is a pretty good one to have around since almost any time Bruce would normally die, he just turns into the Hulk instead, and if his life is being actively threatened by someone, proceeds to beat that person to a pulp. It would be cool to be the smart Hulk, but everyone knows that the Hulk being smart is temporary at best (excluding the Future Imperfect saga where the radiation from nuclear war makes his body a stronger and bearded version of the Hulk, with a mind somewhere between Banner and the Hulk, but insane and evil). He was created for the purpose of being an unstoppable rage monster, and that's what he always must be. I think if I was offered the chance to switch places with Bruce, I would say I'm good and walk away, but a small piece of me would regret it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Some Video Game News

First up is Skyrim, which is getting even more DLC! Available now is the Dragonborn DLC, which takes you back to the island of Solstheim, which you'll recognize if you played Morrowind. You also battle the first dragonborn, get some new powers and weapons and stuff, and I'm fairly certain the ability to ride a dragon. I know a lot of people have been waiting a long time for that. And unfortunately for PC and PS3 gamers, they'll have to wait even longer since 360 gets it first. Most people who don't have a 360 and want this DLC have my sympathy, but the annoyingly arrogant PC gamers who think they're better than everyone else deserve this and more. And now a rap by me:
 If you're havin' game problems I feel bad for you, son.
I got 99 problems, but Skyrim ain't one.
.... I promise I won't do that again. That just popped into my head and my brain to keyboard filter isn't working very well.... Do me a favor and forget about that. In other news (see how smoothly I transition?), Deathstroke is a confirmed playable character in Nether Realm's Injustice: Gods Among Us, and he looks awesome. They released a gameplay trailer showing him in action, so if I wasn't completely sold on the game before (we all know I was, but for the sake of the discussion, let's say I wasn't), I am now. Deathstroke is one of the characters that I was hoping would be in Injustice, since I want to play as him, and I heard such bad things about Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe, I never played it. It makes sense too, since when you think about it, he's a perfect character for this genre of game. He relies heavily on unarmed brawling, he has mele weapons, and he uses long range attacks too. But guess what? I have even more news. This time about Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2. As promised, I'm updating this post after finding a gameplay video. At Spike's 10th annual Video Game Awards, a new trailer with gameplay was released. We've already seen a trailer showing Gabriel as a superpowered vampire kicking the collective a** of a whole army, but we hadn't seen any gameplay before. Mind you, this trailer reallly doesn't have that much gameplay in it, but it's still nice to see some. I just remembered that in interviews, the developers have commented on the first trailer and mentioned that the new healing system is based on drinking blood instead of using light magic, so we already had evidence that you still play as Gabriel, but now there can be no doubt. That makes me very happy because his awesome (awesome is a noun now) has increased exponentially, and if he wasn't the protagonist, I wouldn't want to buy the game. In the first trailer, we saw him teleporting, turning into a smoke bat thing, and killing people with a long red energy whip, but now we see him killing guys with what looks like some sort of glowing longsword, so I'm curious which is the primary weapon, and how many other weapons and powers Gabriel has now. Or should I say... Dracul? And now here are some trailers:

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Comicbook Easter Eggs

Something that just makes me smile when I read comicbooks is when I find a little easter egg. If you don't know what I mean by that, the term easter egg refers to a little hidden secret that serves no purpose except to entertain the people who find it and understand it. These are often references to another franchise that's completely unrelated to what you find the easter egg in. I'll give some examples. In Marvel's Annihilation, there's a scene with a fleet of ships full of refugees, and one of them is a Battlestar. They don't say anything about it and you only see it in the background of one panel, but it looks identical to the Galactica. In Annihilation Conquest, the series that takes place right after, there's a part where Nova Corps centurions are fighting Phalanx drones, and one of the centurions is a blue version of Pikachu. Some of you may hate me for this, but I'm not a fan of Pokemon. But I still found the easter egg amusing at the very least. Another thing like this is in a Judge Dredd story, the Three Amigos. Dredd and his two "amigos" are fighting an army with a very unopressive dress code, and some of them are wearing Star Trek TNG uniforms. Not only that, but they're recognizeable as Ryker, Georti, Troi, Worf, and maybe Picard. I don't quite remember. The artist put all that effort into drawing Star Trek characters into one panel, and I appreciate that. Probably the most obscure one I've seen is one that I'm not 100% sure was intended, but I'm 90% sure. In Green Lantern: the Sinestro Corps War, an anonymous member of the Sinestro Corps looks exactly like a Baltan, which is an alien race from the Japanese TV show Ultraman. Good show by the way. The Sinestro's skin was blue instead of brown, but his proportions and his distinctive head and hands were the same. Also, in DC's series 52, they made at least one reference to the show Moonlighting. I've never seen this show, so I didn't get any of their references, but in the trade paperbacks, there's a section of text after each issue where either one of the writers or the artists discusses his thoughts on that issue and the series, so the reference was pointed out but not explained. But anyway, I love finding easter eggs in comic books.


Today, I'm doing something I don't often do. I'm writing a post about something sci-fi I don't want. That's right. I don't really want a levitating skateboard. Assuming that antigravity technology becomes a reality, the physics of it just wouldn't work. I don't see any problems with a hoverchair or antigravity elevators, but I just don't think the idea of a hoverboard makes sense. It could probably work if they moved really slowly, but then what's the point? There isn't one. And if it goes fast, I feel like it would just fly out from under the person. Maybe if as a species we become extremely bottom heavy, with the majority of out body weight being stored near the feet, it could work, but that's not going to happen. Now some of you are probably thinking that it would work if you just put foot straps on it, but I'm sad to tell you that it wouldn't. The same effect of flying out from under your feet would happen, but instead of just falling off the same way you fall off anything else, there's a good chance you would get flipped upside down. But let's ignore all that for a second and assume it's scientifically feasible. It would still be incredibly hard to balance. On a skateboard, there's a bit of balancing required, but not much since the way the wheels are attached to it prevent it from tilting more than a few degrees. A hoverboard is just a levitating platform, so when it tilts, there's nothing stopping it from going all the way over. And because of this, how would you steer it? With that said, I'm not trying to burst anyone's bubble. I think in the future, antigravity technology could be entirely possible. We just haven't figured it out yet. But once we do, I don't think we'll be applying it to skateboards. Cars and motorcycles are what will probably evolve using this technology. However, since transportation will no longer be limited to wheels, I don't think levitation harnesses, or even jetpacks are out of the question.

Valve Guns

Two of the fictional guns I want most are both found in games from Valve. If you're a fan of that studio, you probably already know what games and what guns I'm talking about. If not, I'll give you a hint: GLaDOS and Gordon. Still not enough? Ok, I'll just tell you. The gravity gun from Half-Life and the portal gun from Portal. They both take a lot of skill to use, but once you master them, they're awesome. If you're unfamiliar with these two guns, I'll describe them for you. The portal gun fires an orange portal and a blue portal, and whatever goes in one of them comes out the other with the exact same velocity. The gravity gun gives the wielder a sort of telekinesis. It can attract certain objects from a distance and suspend them in midair, then fire a bolt of kinetic energy that launches almost anything it hits. It only works on a relatively small scale, but it can throw things with enough force to kill an armored soldier. So now that everyone is all caught up, just imagine what it would be like to dual wield these two guns! Especially in an area with a lot of sharp objects around like Ravenholm in Half-Life. You could set up two portals, then launch a saw blade and decapitate any enemies, but when the projectile would otherwise hit a wall, it goes through a portal and flies in another direction. Or the portals could be used to enhance the gravity gun's limited range to do things like disarm people or grab supplies from a distance. And in the game each gun comes from, the other one would solve a ton of the protagonist's problems. Gordon Freeman needs to get from point A to point B without touching the ground? Done. An Aperture test subject wants to grab a companion cube or disable a turret from far away? No problem! See what I mean? There really are a lot of uses for these two things.