Azn Badger's Blog

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The Worst Comics I Own: Aliens – Earth War


Why I Bought It:

I’m a lifelong fan of the Alien universe and mythos.

For better or worse, I’ve found reasons to enjoy all of the Alien films, with the exception of the Aliens vs. Predator ones.

Those are just straight up hot garbage.

I like to think of the Alien extended universe as one of the more successful in pop culture history, as it’s produced some damn good videogames, as well as a handful of rather impressive comic books.

That being said, while I only owned 1 Alien collected edition prior to picking up Earth War, (later reprinted as “Female War”) that of course being Labyrinth AKA the best damn Alien comic I’ve ever read; I could recall reading numerous reviews of it.

Find it. Read it. Then Read It Again. You Won't Be Disappointed.

For the most part, Earth War was regarded as a below average contribution to the series.

Despite willfully avoiding it for most of my life, as fate would have it I stumbled across a copy of Earth War, along with 2 other vastly superior Alien comics, Rogue and Hive; during a trip I took down to Tucson, Arizona.

As it turned out, the comic shop had a special deal for old trades where if you bought 3 from the “crap pile,” the total cost would come to $10 flat.

Seeing that a good opportunity to pick up a handful of souvenirs for my trip, as well a solid deal to boot, I bought all 3, hoping that Earth War wasn’t nearly as crappy as I had heard.

To this day, I still wish I had grabbed that Mark Texeira Sabretooth comic instead…

Why It Sucks:

Earth War is an absolute mess.

Quite literally, from the art, to the layouts, to the soulless dialogue, everything about Earth War just oozes disorganization and messiness.

The funny part is, the actual art for the book, drawn by Sam Kieth of The Maxx fame; is quite stunning at times in a late 80’s-early 90’s sort of way.

Employing a rough and heavily detailed style, the book has a “texture” to it like what I’d imagine a Heavy Metal comic put through an “R. Crumb filter” would look like.

The R. Crumb references end there however, as the women in Earth War are rendered with ethereal beauty and perpetual soft-focus effects, the men are hairy and burly lumberjacks, and the Aliens are impressively designed, yet far less horrifying and more streamlined than that of the designs seen in the films.

Less insect-like and bony, more meaty and "friendly."

One odd note I feel I have to make mention of regarding the art is that, stepping in line with the Heavy Metal vibe I mentioned earlier; the gadgets and weaponry in Earth War have a decided low-tech look to them.

As well as it was all drawn, I found this to be particularly jarring given the more sleek and organized designs found in the films up that point (Earth War made between Aliens and Alien 3).

That being said,, while the art can be quite good at times, especially in close-ups, most of the renderings are extraordinarily inconsistent from panel to panel, suggesting a rushed or awkward production timetable.

More so than the art though, perhaps the biggest strike against Earth War comes from it’s infuriating layouts.

Layouts are, in my opinion, the one reason why it takes a special kind of talent to craft a really good comic.

You can suck the gas pipe at drawing.

You can be the shittiest writer on the whole goddamn block.

But if you have that special talent for putting panels in sequence to tell a story, cleanly and efficiently, then you sir; are 2 steps ahead of the curve when it comes to making comics.

Unfortunately, the guy that made this JLA comic was definitely lacking that special something.

That being said, Earth War makes use of some of the most frustrating layouts I’ve ever seen in a mainstream published comic.

Nearly every panel, at least when there are panels, is a close-up, and virtually all of the backgrounds are either implied through color splotches, or ignored altogether.

The combination of these 2 design flaws results in the book suffering from a lack of a distinct “path” for your eyes to follow, with many of the panels doing little to lend the book any sort of consistent spacial awareness from panel to panel.

That is to say:

Earth War is a book makes you work your ass off to read it, and if you couldn’t tell from the title of this post; it’s hardly worth the effort.

Which brings us to the actual story of this fucking book.

Penned by Mark Verheiden, who also wrote other Dark Horse comics, and subsequent movie adaptations such as Timecop and The Mask; Earth War actually has a fairly intriguing premise.

Pretty impressive for a guy that penned a scene involving Van Damme fighting some dudes in his boxer shorts in Timecop:

At this point in the Alien comic universe, the Alien’s have essentially conquered Earth, resulting in mankind evacuating the planet to regroup and/or find a way to cleanse the planet of the Xenomorphs.

The interesting part in all this, is the fact that, unlike reprinted versions of Earth War and other early Alien comics, the version I picked up retained the use of the characters of Hicks, Newt, and Ripley.

Apparently there was some sort of legal dispute regarding the use of the 20th Century Fox characters, resulting in the comic characters being renamed and redrawn for future printings.

With Earth War and it’s predecessors essentially serving as a direct follow-up to Aliens, one would think the story would be quite good, however this is hardly the case.

The story is told largely through the inner monologue of Newt and Ripley, both of whom are apparently at odds with one another due to Newt’s abandonment issues following her experiences on LV-426.

Personally, I maintain that no amount of writing wizardry could ever hope to make Newt a worthwhile character following her downright painful portrayal in Aliens, and if anything; Earth War proved me right in this regard.

Shoulda' left that bitch in the sewer... Jus' sayin'...

All through the book she is whiny, and largely irredeemable, making her segments some of the more annoying portions of the story.

Oddly enough though, it’s Ripley that serves as the both the protagonist and one of the more frustrating characters in the book.

Ripley was intriguing in the movies because she was tough, decisive, and relatable, but in the comic she is portrayed as being emotionally distant to the point of being robotic.

While one could argue that having an alien species utterly ruin your life likely could result in a person shutting down and devoting themselves entirely to destroying said species, personally I prefer Ripley as the more complete human being that was portrayed in the movies.

Most of the story surrounds Ripley and a squad of marines, who I might add are virtual carbon copies of some of the more developed characters from Aliens, working to capture a unique breed of Alien that could turn the tide of the war.

That “unique breed” of Alien serves as perhaps the one really big contribution that Earth War made to the Alien mythos.

Said species was the Queen Mother alien sub-species.

Not as impressive as you were expecting, right?

Essentially serving as a governor to the standard Queen’s mayor, the Queen Mother was clearly intended to serve as a plot convenience in terms of allowing the human’s to handle a planet-wide crisis of alien infestation.

Personally, I think the idea of the Queen Mother makes a fair amount of sense in terms of overall practicality, though I don’t see it as being an entirely necessary element to the Alien mythos.

Even in the comics, the Aliens have always been compared to ants or wasps, and as such, it makes sense for each hive to be at odds with one another, with each being governed by a singular Queen.

All the addition of a Queen Mother really does is makes it possible for the Aliens to be further demonized through giving them the ability to function as a unified and sentient species.

My personal fascination with the Alien stems largely from it’s status as a destructive, but otherwise animalistic creature, hence my great love for the Labyrinth story arc.

In my eyes, the inception of the Queen Mother stands as both a lame plot convenience for an equally lame story, but also as an annoying and unwarranted part of the canon that makes the Aliens seem like they’re “Out To Get Us” when it’s much more interesting to view them as destructive and industrious that can’t coexist with humanity largely due to the parallels they share in their tendency to effect their environment in profound and irreversible ways.

Obviously, I’ve had a minute or 2 to think about this.

That being said, Earth War sucks balls because it took advantage of, and did harm to the canon of the films and comics, but more importantly because it gave me a headache on my vacation with it’s shitty-ass layouts.

Is It Still Worth Reading Anyway?:

Unless you’re a supercalifragilistic fan of the Alien comic series, then there really is absolutely no reason to pick up a copy of Earth War.

Like I said, the thing is a chore to read, and it doesn’t really add to the series so much as mire and drag it down with extraneous elements.

You could do a lot worse of course, but with so many other quality pieces of Alien fiction floating around out there, I really don’t see why you’d waste your time with Earth War.

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Farewell To Pete Postlethwaite

Pete Postlethwaite, 02/07/1946 - 01/02/2011

It’s old news to all those who would care to know, but 2 days ago English actor and thespian Pete Postlethwaite passed away.

While not exactly a headlining star in the film industry, Postlethwaite spent the better part of 3 decades as a go-to supporting actor in a myriad of films and genres.

Possessed of an incredibly powerful, distinct, and versatile speaking voice; Postlethwaite was a deeply respected actor whose presence could serve to legitimize most any production, regardless of his lack of household name status in Hollywood.

The first time I remember seeing Mr. Postlethwaite was in the live-action/stop-motion animated film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach.\

Yeah, somebody was on the crack...

The movie was a huge deal at the time, as Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas had recently re-energized stop-motion for mainstream audiences; not to mention my elementary school class was right in the middle of a Roald Dahl reading binge around the time of it’s release.

Postlethwaite played a small, but pivotal role in the film; as the mysterious pixie-like man that gave James the glowing worms to free him from his evil aunts.

While I was a little bit too young to appreciate the art of acting at the time, I have to admit; the character of Postlethwaite’s face, and the way he used to it embody the spark of energy and cleverness of his character, made the 9 year old me believe he really could’ve been magical.

Since my first encounter with Postlethwaite, I’ve gone to run across him in films too numerous to count.

I laughed at him in Dragonheart.

 

Man, Postlethwaite spit some sick-ass rhymes in this movie...

I was startled to seem him so meek and pitiable in Alien 3.

 

He's about 2 seconds from getting his head ripped off...

I was saddened to see him make his exit so hastily in the god-awful Clash of the Titans remake.

 

T

*Sigh* If only Pete had been the main character instead of Sam Worthington...

But for my money, the finest and most memorable role I remember seeing Pete Postlethwaite in; was as the great white hunter Roland Tembo in The Lost World.

Hell, I still have his fuckin’ action figure:

Truth be told, it's actually a stunning likeness.

If you read my Top 10 Overkills in Movies post on the Lost World, then chances are you recall my many (hopefully humorous) asides to Postlethwaite’s character in the film.

I did that, because Postlethwaite was THE SHIT in The Lost World, and that was my way of trying to drive that point home.

"When did you last see him?" "I don't know sir, I'm too busy shitting my pants over how fucking epic you are..."

Seriously, of all the quotable quotations in the Jurassic Park films, (well, the first 2 anyway…) Postlethwaite’s Tembo was one of the best.

Rest assured, if ever I’m asked if I found something/something, my response will always be:

“Just the parts they didn’t like…”

Anyway, rest in peace Pete Postlethwaite, your wild-eyed, strong-voiced, almost Obi-Wan-like wise old manliness will be sorely missed.

Here’s hoping you finally get a chance to bag that male/bull T-Rex in the afterlife, hopefully right alongside Bob Peck on his Raptor hunt.

Thanks for the memories guys. Goddamnit, Jeff Goldblum better not be next...

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Technical Difficulties

Remember that one post I did about the malware that wouldn’t die?

Well, as you may have guessed, it’s still not dead.

About a week ago, something hijacked my primary e-mail account and used it’s address book to send out some truly retarded, and wholly obvious spam messages.

I sincerely apologize if any of you reading this happen to have been affected by this unfortunate incident.

I’ve had that e-mail account since I was 13, and it felt truly fuckin’ creepy to have someone or something violate it in such a way.

I’m hoping it was the latter, as I most likely have sensitive materials in that account that could fuck my life up pretty good if they were tampered with.

I swear man, I’ve always felt that the internet was an evil and terrifying place full of the sort of assholes that would pour sugar in your gas tank just for the thrill of it, but this is really the first time I’ve ever felt directly attacked by one of “those” people.

Pictured: One of "those" people. Wearing power armor no less.

Stupid internet peoples… Fuckin’ with my shit…

Anyway, back to the malware!

It’s as it’s powers grow and adapt in direct response to my rage levels.

When I’m peeved, it’s kind of a bother.

When I’m fuming, “gonna’ ram my fist through the monitor” angry, it takes total control of my computer.

It should be noted, that this particular post is being manufactured on a different computer, as I found myself growing impatient in wrestling with my laptop to type every word.

Despite this, I had a minor breakthrough this evening, in the form of my discovery of some oddly titled and highly suspect hardware devices in my device manager.

I guess the big ass yellow exclamation points hovering over them should’ve tipped me off sooner, but oh well.

Give me a break, I’m not exactly the most technical of badgers.

Anyway, my hope is that my discovery will serve as the breadcrumbs to lead to this sleazy bitch’s doorstep.

Just like Ripley in Aliens, (well, except for the whole girl-on-horribly-grotesque-girl aspect of it…) I intend to storm that bitch’s hive and burn every last trace of her progeny.

Then I’ll watch my android buddy get torn in half, and later throw the bitch herself out the airlock and into stop-motion animated space.

Now if only I use a power loader to fight malware...

Fuck Newt though, she was a waste of my motherfuckin’ time…

Anyway, off I go to do battle with malware once again.

Wish me luck.

Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Yesterday’s Movie Quiz

Well, here are the answers to yesterday’s (retarded) movie quiz:

#1.  “The one where the bunny throws up and the hippo shoots everyone.”

Answer: Meet the Feebles.


I remember it was sometime when I was around 10 or 11 that I walked in on the ending sequence of Meet the Feebles.

You see, my brother and his friends had been going through their Quentin Tarantino/cult cinema phase of life for the past few years, so it was only natural that I’d walk in on them watching something fucked up at some point in time.

Anyway, the phrase I used to sum up the movie really is just about all I know of it, and will probably never forget for years to come.

#2.  “The one where the alien jumps out of the guy’s chest.”

Answer: Alien (duh).


Come on now, we all know this one, right?

To be honest, I actually saw Aliens before the original Alien, and to this day I still like it better.

The iconic scene in Alien, where John Hurt has a xenomorph bust through his ribcage, is something that is bigger, and better known than the movie as a whole.

Thanks to things like Animaniacs, and Spaceballs, which parodied this sequence, I knew of this key scene long before I ever saw the movie.

Man, what it would’ve been like to have seen Alien without knowing what was coming…

#3.  “The one where the alien’s chest opens up and he pulls out a ray gun and kills everyone.”

Answer: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.

To be fair, this one is pretty much impossible to get unless you read my post about E.T. awhile back.

In case you missed it, check it out HERE.

Anyway, this was how I knew E.T. until I was in my teens, ’cause up until then I never made it past the opening sequence to disprove my brother’s bullshit (yet oddly superior) description of the opening sequence.

#4.  “The one where Godzilla bleeds (for the first time).”

Answer: Godzilla vs. Gigan.

Well now, this is one that is common knowledge to me, but might be a little bit obscure to others.

The early 70’s was a bloody time for Godzilla movies, as it seemed like the Big G was squirting body fluids like a pedo in a pre-school playground.

*Ahem!* Anyway, in case you didn’t know, (YOU SHOULD) Godzilla got his head cracked open as a result of multiple blows to the head from one of Gigan’s bladed hook arms.

"AND IT'S ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL OVERRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!"

It was a traumatic experience for me a child, almost as bad as when Angilas got his jaw torn open by Mechagodzilla in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla.

Let’s hope those American film producers don’t fuck Godzilla up again in 2011, like they did back in 1998

#5.  “The one where the guy gets his head stepped on.”

Answer: Bloodsport.

Gotcha!

Let me guess, you probably thought this one was American History X, am I right?

Well, fuck you, YOU’RE WRONG.

Bloodsport and Kickboxer were the elusive holy grail of R-rated movies for me when I was a little kid.

My brother and his friends talked them up all the time like they were the coolest, and most violent movies ever made.

Well, having seen both Van Damme movies about a billion times, I can honestly say that, while hardly violent by modern standards, both are in fact just as awesome as my brother thought they were way back when.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Anyway, there is a scene in Bloodsport, where the big dude that played Ogre in Revenge of the Nerds get’s his head stomped on by the villain, Chong Li.

Chong Li, post head stomp.

I remember overhearing my brother talk about this scene once or twice, and for some reason, that’s what I chose to know Bloodsport by for the first 11 or 12 years of my life.

Then I actually saw the movie, and now I simply know it as “The Greatest Thing in All of Existence.”

#6.  “The one where Batman says, “Eat floor.””

Answer: Batman Returns.

Aw, come on!

Seriously, am I only motherfucker on the planet that remembers this!?

Just like every Batman movie, Batman Returns was hyped to shit, even going so far as to spawn the creation of the oh-so-wonderful Batman: The Animated Series.

Oh yeah, and Happy Meal toys, lots and lots of Happy Meal toys…

I had the 2 on the left...

Anyway, don’t ask me how, but I remember someone telling me that Batman was fighting Catwoman in the movie at one point, and he told her to “Eat floor.”

To this day, I still think that’s fucking awesome.

Only Keaton Batman could get away with saying something so juvenile and bland, and yet still be Batman in my eyes.

Definitely check this one out, ’cause he really says it, and it’s a fucking awesome movie regardless.

#7. “The one with the black rock.”

Answer: 2oo1: A Space Odyssey.

Yeah, I know, this one is just a little bit too vague to be considered a fair quiz question.

You remember the big black monolith that was one of the key elements of 2001?

Well, that’s the “black rock” that I was referring to.

All I knew of 2001 as a kid, was that there was a big, black rectangular “rock” somewhere in there, and that the movie was really fucking long.

To this day, I really don’t care much for 2001.

I guess you have to one of the cool kids to appreciate Kubrick.

#8. “The one with the train that goes too fast.”

Answer: Speed.

Obviously, I labeled this one as a “trick” question because I knew no one would get it.

When I saw the commercials for Speed in the theater and on TV, for whatever fucking reason, all of the snippets taken from the train sequence at the end stuck out to me.

Take a look at this commericial:

The train sequence is like the last 15 minutes of the movie, but it’s featured in quite a bit of the trailer.

Regardless, I know that I was a retarded kid with a limited attention span, so I better not get any nasty comments over this…

Even though I remember Dennis Hopper talking about a bomb on a bus or some shit, my young mind latched onto those images of the train, and filed them away as the key components of the film in Azn Badger land.

I remember the day I actually got to sit down and watch the VHS of Speed, my dad asked me if I wanted to see it, and I said to him:

“Oh, the one on the train right?”

I remember him giving me one of those, “maybe I shouldn’t have fed him paint chips as a baby” looks, and then promptly corrected me.

Pretty much...

Sadly, the amazingly awesome version of Speed that I crafted in my imagination, the one that took place on a train, was smashed that evening, only to be replaced by the amazingly awesome version that is the real Speed.

Anyway, hope you had fun with this, I sure as hell.

So many retarded childhood memories…

Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Unknown Planet, A Story by Trevor Hart

Apologies to the creators of the Alien movie franchise, for my “it’s not even funny how much of a rip-off that is” treatment of their famous monster.

Also, apologies to the Japanese, for use of the bullshit name “Chiroshia.”

Yeah, ’cause that’s a real fucking word.

Fuckin’ retarded-ass 8 year old Trevor…

I Googled “Chiroshia,” and the first suggested search was the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

How very odd…

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