Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Thoughts On Zack Snyder’s Superman

I’ve always felt that Superman was one of the more difficult superheroes to make good stories for.

I like the old-timey nature of the character, and I appreciate the values he represents, but for the most part; Kal-El of Krypton is just too damn powerful for his own good.

Seriously man, you could probably count all of Superman’s known weaknesses/vulnerabilities on 1 hand,

Taking that into account, it’s hard to deny the difficulty writers face when trying to create drama for the man of steel.

Inevitably, most Superman stories end up being centered around a villain scheming to do destroy the Earth/Metropolis/Jimmy the Cub Reporter; thereby testing the heroes’ mettle in an indirect fashion.

Oh Silver Age comics, how I love thee.

While said storytelling device is indeed effective for the most part, honestly; it gets kind of old after awhile.

Watching Superman race to save Lois, or pick up a mountain to save a busload of school kids is fun, but prefer my superheroes’ biggest threats to be of the more direct sort.

In short, I prefer it when my heroes are in just as much peril as the people they are trying to save.

I suppose it should be no surprise that, of all the Superman trades I own; The Death of Superman is easily my favorite.

FUCK YES.

Which brings me to Zack Snyder’s upcoming film, The Man of Steel.

Very little has been publicized in regards to the film’s plot or cast, other than the fact that it’s a *gasp* REBOOT, but given that Snyder is the director; I think we all know what to expect.

Over-the-top imagery and color correction, an overbearing soundtrack, absurd levels of graphic violence, and more than a handful of gratuitous slow-motion fight sequences.

Bingo.

While all of the above do in fact add up to a pretty extravagant audio/visual experience, the sad fact of the matter is that Zach Snyder’s shtick just doesn’t do it for me.

The man definitely has an eye for angles and gorgeous visuals, but of the films of his that I’ve seen, I felt the pacing was meandering at best, and there was a distinct lack of “heart” to the presentation of the story.

That being said, while I have an idea of what to expect from a Zack Snyder Superman, in truth it’s very hard for me to comprehend why he was selected to do it.

Superman fuckin’ is heart.

That's right Mati, show 'em what heart's all about!

Richard Donner’s first 2 Superman films with Christopher Reeve did an incredible job in capturing this aspect of the character, that to this day many people, myself included; still think of Reeve as the finest representation of Superman in any medium.

That's a pretty goofy smirk, but even so; he's still Superman in my book.

In that sense, the new Superman, Henry Cavill; as well as Snyder himself have their work cut out for them.

Hmm, I seem to have gone off on a tangent.

The reason I started this post tonight came as a result of reading that Michael Shannon will be playing General Zod in The Man of Steel.

While I have no doubt that Shannon will do well in the role, as I was very impressed with his performance in Revolutionary Road; it bothers me to know that General Zod is being re-used for the film.

It’s as if the producers/writers are afraid to stray away from the success of Richard Donner’s films.

Superman has a pretty solid gallery of rogues to pick from, and truth be told; aside from Terrence Stamp’s brilliant portrayal of the character in Superman II, General Zod has never really been one of my favorites.

*Sigh* I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of that.

Knowing Zack Snyder, and his penchant for going over-the-top with things; I’m guessing there’s going to be several villains in the film, if not an entire army or some shit.

I’m sorry, but I just can’t picture a Zack Snyder film without a SLOW-MOTION 100-on-1 fight sequence.

In that sense, I’d bet that the movie will reference the recent Last Son and New Krypton storylines; thereby giving Mr. Snyder an excuse to have hundreds of Kryptonians flying around chucking cars at each other.

Pictured: Promotional art for Zack Snyder's Superman.

While that could be fun I guess, honestly I’d at least prefer to see a different villain take center stage.

How about fuckin’ Brainiac?

He’s pretty much at the top tier of Superman’s list of baddies and his back story has been ret-conned to have ties to Kal-El’s origins, what more could you want!?

 

Holy shit, he looks like fuckin' Kojak...

Better yet, since Christopher Nolan’s been kind enough to put Bane in his upcoming The Dark Knight Rises, why not throw everyone a bone and put Doomsday in the new Superman movie?

Sure, he’s not interesting enough to carry a whole movie, but goddamnit; Superman’s at his best when he’s punching things, and Doomsday’s one of the only baddies he’s got that he can really slug it out with.

While I’m the topic of punching things, why not give us some Metallo action!?

 

Who the fuck wouldn't want THIS in their movie!?

Oh yeah, ’cause Metallo’s boring and nobody likes him…

But c’mon man, he looked like James Coburn in the cartoon, surely that has to count for something:

 

"You know what time it is? Time me for to kick your ass..."

I apologize, I’m rambling.

My point is:

Superman Returns made the mistake of playing it way too safe, and in the process brought nothing new to the table; least of all villains or characters.

While Zack Snyder’s excessive style can be obnoxious at times, he has an opportunity to really try something different with his take on Superman; and I’d hate to see that hindered by a story that recycles villains used in films made almost 40 years ago.

That being said, here’s hoping that for fuckin’ once we get to see a Superman movie with some different villains; hopefully not including Nuclear Man.

Wow, you mean there actually exists a photo of Nuclear Man where he isn't screaming or shooting lightning bolts!?

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I Just Bought My First Rare Comic

Pictured: Hopefully this won't be me in the near future...

I don’t consider myself a “collector” of comic books.

None of the comics I own are of any value, nor do I operate from the belief that any of them will accrue any value at any future date.

Comic’s worth are typically derived from their rarity, their condition, and ultimately how limited their production run was, all factors that the current age of mass produced collected editions has done well to eliminate.

Regarding my own comic buying habits, I’m a trade-only buyer of comics; meaning I don’t purchase loose comics off the newstands.

That right there is often viewed as borderline blasphemous behavior on the part of anyone that could consider themselves a comic collector.

Thank you Collected Editions for standing up for us trade-only guys…  Oh yeah, and for publishing my guest review awhile back.

When you factor in my trade-only habits with the fact that I buy comics solely for the purpose of reading and enjoying them, you have the makings of a man that is more of a casual comic enthusiast/reader than anything else.

That being said, today I received a package in the mail that represents my first purchase of what some would consider a fairly rare or valuable comic.

The comic in question, is the trade paperback collection of the 1996 Batman crossover, Batman: Legacy.

Mmmm, rare....

The story itself is not regarded as being within the top 25 of Batman’s best, however in my case; it was the premise moreso than the quality of the writing or art that drew me to Legacy.

Supposedly acting as a follow-up to the 1993 Knightfall storyarc, an epic and sprawling story that served as one of the most important of my youth.

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, the early 90’s were a tumultuous and ugly period in comic history; one punctuated by the creation of outlandish and violent characters, as well as the implementation of more than a few shocking publicity stunts on the part of Marvel and DC in an attempt to sustain their dwindling sales numbers.

Needless to say, “shock” was the order of the day for 90’s comic books.

I grew up watching Doomsday kill Superman.

EPIC.

I grew up watching Bane break Batman’s back.

EVEN MORE EPIC.

I grew up watching Carnage cut a swath through the Marvel universe with reckless abandon.

Fun, but nowhere near epic...

These sort of “MTV Generation” characters, and their respective homicidal antics; served as my introduction into the world of comics, and as such; I bear a great deal of nostalgia for them.

As much as comic fans tend to deride some of these characters, I for one will never get tired of them.

Except maybe Carnage, he’s kinda’ overstayed his welcome…

*Sigh* Sadly, no one stays dead in comic books...

That being said, the major factor that drew me to Batman: Legacy, despite it’s fairly substantial (for me anyway) price tag; was the fact that it features the only legitimate rematch between Batman and Bane.

The 2 have encountered one another several times since Bane’s first appearance in Knightfall, though Legacy represents the only time they actually battle one another.

Ever since I heard of Batman: Legacy several years ago, I told myself:

“That’s something I have to see.”

Like I said, the story of Legacy isn’t supposed to be anything to write home about, but the prospect of a rematch between one of my favorite DC villains and my favorite DC hero was something I just couldn’t shy away from seeing.

Not from Legacy, but a fun image nonetheless.

In the comics, it was always speculated that Batman was physically on par with Bane, with the notable exception being a disparity in their physical strength levels when Bane was on Venom.

At the time Legacy takes place, Bane has long since renounced the use of Venom, which; combined with the fact that Batman is likely in much better physical condition than he was during Knightfall, (he was severely fatigued when he first fought Bane) adds up to a contest of equals that, in my mind; has all the makings of a terrific read.

Haha, listen to me ramble on about a comic book match up like it’s some sort of real-life boxing match or some shit…

Anyway, I’ve been waiting to buy a copy of Legacy for years now, with the price being the sole prohibitive factor in me doing so up until now.

I’ve seen Legacy listed for anywhere from $80-180.

I’m sorry, but as much as I love comics, I simply can’t justify that sort of expenditure for a book.

Then again, I am known to be Azn, and therefore CHEAP:

Too expensive. I'll wait till it's on sale... And a pretty lady is selling it...

Luckily, I happened upon a listing last week for $45, which while much more expensive than any of the other comics on my shelf, even the heft hardcover ones; was a price I was more than willing to pay for something I’d waited so long to get my hands on.

Hah, I hope this isn’t becoming a trend, otherwise I might just find myself happy and surrounded by comic books.

Oh yeah, and POOR.

Anyway, as of writing this, I have yet to so much as crack this bad boy open.

Hopefully Batman: Legacy proves to be worth all of it’s $45 price tag!

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Anybody Remember Zen The Intergalatic Ninja?

Anybody remember Zen the Intergalactic Ninja?

Yeah, neither do I.

Well okay, that’s not entirely true, I do in fact remember Zen, I wouldn’t be typing this article if I didn’t; but all of my memories of the character are foggy at best.

I was exposed to Zen via the Archie/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics of the early 90’s.

Pictured: The only Archie Comic I'd touch with a 10 foot pole.

My brother used to get Ninja Turtle comics every so often via some sort of subscription service, though he’d usually end up throwing away the Archie or Jughead comics.

To this day, I fail to see the beauty of Jughead’s soul.

 

Is it just me, or is Jughead the original stoner/hipster doofus?

Anyway, being as I am indeed my father’s son, and never throw away anything, even if it never even belonged to me in the first place, I still have a few of the Ninja Turtle comics somewhere, namely the one’s that introduced Wingnut and Chameleon:

Yup, got both of these... In absolutely horrid condition...

At some point during this era, presumably around ’93-94, (I remember Maximum Carnage was big news at the time, as was Superman and Batman’s unfortunate run-ins with Doomsday and Bane respectively) one of my neighborhood buddies was kind enough to share a new comic he had just bought.

It was called Zen, the Intergalactic Ninja:

AWESOME! But what's up with Oscar the Grouch over there on the right?

That comic, or rather it’s cover; pushed just about all the right buttons in my young, action figure obssessesd mind.

Yes, they are in fact action figures, not dolls.

"New Shia LaBeouf action figure! With easy access "open mouth" action for inserting of donkey balls! Donkey balls sold separately..."

Get it right power-fag, lest my kung fu grip find your larynx.

*Ahem!* I seem to remember the plot mirroring Bucky O’Hare, as well as just about every other 90’s Saturday morning cartoon; in the sense that it surrounded a strange group of colorful and easily action figure-ized characters coming to Earth and seeking the aid of a young boy to whom the audience could easily relate to.

(Insert picture of any mid-80’s to early 90’s cartoon here)

Y’know, standard genre fare.

The few elements of Zen that really stuck with me after all these years were, of course; the name of the main character, his unique and kid-friendly bo weapon, (no sharp weapons or blood-letting for the kiddies, that would be inappropriate!) and the fact that the plot was at least somewhat eco-friendly…

Make that, “eco-obsessed.”

Um, gender = What?

That last part was kind of a deal breaker for me, a robot and violence obsessed little boy.

I honestly liked Zen’s character designs, in fact I remember drawing him at school a few times on my test papers; however the whole “save the environment” thing just didn’t appeal to me all that much.

I remember they pushed it just a little bit too far with Zen, to the point in which most of, if not all of the principle hero characters represented some element of recycling.

Put it this way, I’m pretty sure I remember the yellow dude being named “Pulp.”

Hey, it's Pulp! And Compost Man! And Recycled Aluminum Man! And Plastic Bottle Man, etc...

That’s just fuckin’ sad, being named for mashed up paper byproduct.

Let it be known, saving the Earth is only cool when Captain Planet tells you to do it:

Honestly man, a catchy theme song and green giga-mullet go a long way towards capturing the hearts and minds of children.

Jumping back to my initial dealing with Zen, I honestly don’t really remember much about the comic, (which consequently would be the only Zen comic I’d ever read, let alone see) other than the fact that the art and character designs had a definite Captain Bucky O’Hare vibe to them, and the comic was packed to the brim with advertisements… For itself.

Seriously, if memory serves, there were advertisements for the Zen comic itself, the upcoming Zen NES game, and a line of Zen action figures; all in one comic!

Lord CONTAMINOUS!? "Take out the garbage!?" Good God, it really is a tree-hugger comic/game/action figure line!

That, my friends; is what I like to call “super-liminal marketing:”

Despite all the effort on the part of the publishers though, clearly it didn’t pay off; as almost none of my friends have ever heard of Zen.

Even so, I’ll always remember Zen as being a particularly inspired example of those 20,000 or so highly marketable characters that were thrown at us in the wake of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle phenomenon, only to slip through the cracks like so many others…

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Superman/Batman Apocalypse Review

Not long ago, I was planning on doing a review for the DC Animated Universe feature film, Batman: Under the Red Hood.

RED HOOD MAKES BATMAN MAKE MEAN FACE!

My plans fell through on pounding out that article for the oddest of reasons:

After sitting through the movie, I found I had close to nothing to say about it.

To this day I can barely remember that movie, other than the fact that the climactic battle between Batman and the Red Hood was brutally well choreographed to an extent few animated films can measure up to.

Other than that, the movie was totally flat.

Yeah, like that kinda' flat...

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse on the other hand, is a film that I find I can very easily form an opinion of.

In short, I didn’t like Apocalypse.

Meant to serve as a direct follow-up to the (in my eyes) superior Superman/Batman: Public Enemies of last year, Apocalypse is an action-packed, but ultimately light weight exercise in tedium.

I know what you’re thinking:

“But Azn Badger, couldn’t Public Enemies be described in exactly the same fashion?  How can you like one better than the other?”

*Gasp!* That's like saying: "I like peanuts, but not peanut butter."

While I’ll admit this is true, Public Enemies was essentially a film comprised entirely of Michael Bay-esque lights and sound married with ungodly amounts of fan-service, the key difference between Public Enemies and Apocalypse lies within their execution of these 2 factors.

Public Enemies went balls out with it’s over-the-top-ness, pitting it’s 2 heroes against a legion of big name characters from the DC Universe, all while progressively stepping up the urgency and scale of it’s various crises until things, quite literally; reach astronomical levels.

Yes, Batman does in fact drive a giant Superman/Batman robot. Retarded: Yes. Entertaining: Kinda'...

It was stupid, it was fun, and the script was put together in such a way as to “play along” with that mindset.

Throw in some great voicework from the original “Timm-verse” voice cast of Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy, and the always impeccable Clancy Brown, and you’ve got a recipe for a good time.

Clancy Brown = PIMP. Even though he DID kill Sean Connery...

Apocalypse on the other hand, sort of went about things half-cocked.

There’s a great deal of action, with the animation and art design being quite good for the most part, (much better than in Under the Red Hood) but the overall feel of the movie is just plain wrong.

Like Public Enemies, Apocalypse is once again based on Jeph Loeb’s work on the Superman/Batman comic series, with the source material being taken from the second story arc entitled “The Supergirl from Krypton.”

Perhaps it’s the Transformers and Power Ranger loving “boy” in me, but I’ve never found it within me to appreciate the beauty of Kara Zor-El AKA Supergirl’s soul.

Pictured: What happens when the Japanese get their hands on American comic book characters.

She was kind of cool during the 90’s when she was working for the red-haired Lex Luthor and busting heads in the Superman animated series, but other than that, I’ve never paid much attention to her.

Anyway, the story of Apocalypse kicks off very shortly after the conclusion of Public Enemies wherein Batman destroyed a massive Kryptonite meteor on a collision course with earth.

As the last remnant of said meteor make their way past Earth’s orbit, a hefty chunk manages to fall through the atmosphere and crash land in Gotham Harbor.

Goddamn women drivers!

After investigating a bit, Batman (Kevin Conroy) discovers a space pod among the debris, which of course housed our future Supergirl (Summer Glau) who goes through the requisite culture shock of dealing with Earth people for the first time, (in the nude no less) and discovering her vast array of powers granted to her by Earth’s yellow sun.

Yeah, not sure how you "accidentally" shoot lasers out of your eyes, but whatever...

Merry mishaps ensue, much property damage is caused, (it’s okay if it’s on accident!) and Superman (Tim Daly) eventually shows up to lift something heavy and take Kara off to show her his Fortress of Solitude.

The "Fortress of Solitude." Oh wait, they're cousins... THAT'S NASTY!!!

From that point on, the first 20 minutes of the movie see us following Kara as she explores life on Earth with her cousin Kal, (Superman, you big dummy) all while Batman constantly broods about the potentiality of her being a bad omen/villain/secret weapon/fish person.

Cut to the planet Apocalypse, where Granny Goodness (voiced with unbelievable zest by Ed Asner) oversees the training of a potential leader of Darkseid’s honor guard/stable of fucked up bitches, The Female Furies.

As you can see, they're a happy, well-adjusted bunch of females... That just happen to be FURIOUS.

What follows is a lucid and well-choregraphed 4-on-1 cat fight.

The drama is convincing, largely due to the effective pacing, which sees our 1 against the 4 holding their own in the few minute or so of combat, only to eventually be overwhelmed.

Like all of the fighting in Apocalypse, this scene served as a brief highlight among a sea of blemishes.

Cut back to Metropolis, where we are treated to the requisite “teenaged shopping spree” scene, albeit with oddly boring and low-key music.

Haha, it's funny 'cause he's a dude.

With that, night eventually falls and Wonder Woman (Susan Eisenberg) decides to show up to piss off Superman by trying to hog-tie Kara.

I like where this is going. Proceed...

Y’know, like yah’ do.

As it turns out, the Amazons of Themyscira’s (Wonder Woman’s ‘hood) resident prophet, Harbinger (Rachel Quaintance), has been having visions of Kara’s eventual death on a beach somewhere, resulting in Wonder Woman making the decision to take Kara back to the island in hopes of maintaining her safety.

Another good argument for Wonder Woman’s logic is the fact that Kara, for perhaps the 3rd time in the movie, recklessly unleashes her powers on Metropolis during her attempted kidnapping.

WOULD YOU STOP DOING THAT!!

Eventually, Superman grudgingly decides to give in to Wonder Woman’s pleas.

With that, we flash 2 months later and Kara’s been living on Themyscira with the Amazons.

Despite all that time, Superman is still feeling butt-hurt about the whole deal, while Batman and Wonder Woman just kind of look to each other from time to time and wonder just why Superman is such a douche…

Anyway, Kara imparts to us, through the language of teenage angst, that she is feeling cramped by everyone ordering her around the time, and she now wishes to live her own life, by her own terms.

Thankfully, after all of this boring “stranger-in-a-strange-land” meets Jem bullshit, the Darkseid angle of the story hinted not so subtly by, I don’t know, the title of the movie, finally comes to light proper.

A boom tube opens up in Themyscira, teleporting in, not one, but a literal army of Doomsday clones.

Um... You know just 1 was enough to kill Superman, right?

With an army of Amazons at their backs, Batman, (armed with a magical axe) Superman, and Wonder Woman take on the Doomsday army 300 style.

What follows is a pretty decent, if not chaotic battle sequence highlighted by a goofy and melodramatic homage to the muted war sequences made popular by Saving Private Ryan.

"Mike..."

I haven’t read the comic that this movie is based on, but my guess is that the Doomsday’s present in this story were meant to be vastly inferior to the original, as we all know that just one Doomsday probably should’ve been enough to take on all of Themyscira.

Either way, things wrap up as Superman opens up with a Kamehame-I mean, heat-vision blast that levels the entire army at once.

Now I ask you, why the fuck didn't he do that from the start!?

With that, our heroes run off to the beach of Harbinger’s visions, only to discover that Kara is gone, and Harbinger lay dead in her place.

"*Whew!* It's okay folks, it's only that one chick that nobody liked."

Now that we’re about halfway through the movie, the stakes have been clearly laid out for us, leaving the plot with nowhere to go but Apocalypse, right?

Well, not quite.

First, our heroes have to go visit former Female Fury leader, Big Barda; in order to borrow her equipment to boom tube their asses over there.

I always found Big Barda's costume to be, uh, a little bit gaudy for my tastes. Eithert that or, y'know, STUPID.

Barda resists at first, but then opts instead to join our heroes in their crusade, seemingly just for the sake of getting a chance to throw mud in Darkseid’s eyes.

From there, the rest of the movie is action/fighting.

I won’t spoil anything for you, but I will say this:

The second half of Apocalypse, while well animated and filled with fight sequences, is hardly notable among DC Animated Universe productions.

Among the trio of climaxes, (one for each major player) Wonder Woman and Big Barda get the best of the bunch in the form of a brawl with the Female Furies.

Seriously, the choreography in this scene is excellent, nearly as good as the Wonder Woman feature from a few years ago.

For those who are keeping score at home, that’s really fuckin’ good.

Batman and Superman though, sadly have little to offer in terms of awesomeness.

Although I suppose if giant dogs are your thing, then Batman's stuff might be kinda' cool for you...

Once again, I’m not going to spoil anything for you, but the movie has a long and drawn out ending sequence that, while entertaining on purely visceral level, was overblown and utterly pointless.

Like Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King “I have 5 endings!” pointless.

Oh well, at least it gives us a chance to see Superman access his inner Fist of the North Star and bust out blatantly anime-inspired moves like this:

Yeah, that just happened…

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse rests very low on the totem pole for me as far as DC Animated Universe films go.

Wonder Woman, of all things, is at or near the top, with Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths ranking just below it, followed by Green Lantern: First Flight, with Public Enemies rounding out the lower-tier of the “good” movies.

In other words:

Apocalypse ain’t so hot.

The story was petty and unfocused, with the characters not so much relating to each other as covering each other’s asses in battle.

ASS.

Call me crazy, but I prefer my superhero team-ups to y’know, have the characters talk to each other every now and again.

The action, while impressive to behold, felt surprisingly limited in scale given the stakes at hand.

Remember in the Superman cartoon when Darkseid invaded Metropolis with an army and wrecked Superman’s shit with said army.

Remember when he killed Dan Turpin? Yeah, that sucked balls...

Well, in Apocalypse, on Darkseid’s home turf, which by the way was seemingly populated by about 10 people, Darkseid manages to send, I don’t know; 5 guys and some dogs after our invading heroes.

That’s just silly.

A gripe about Darkseid:

Andrea Romano’s work as a voice casting director for Warner Bros. animation has always been regarded as some of the most consistent and praise worthy stuff in the industry, but what in the holy-fuck made her think ANYONE but MICHAEL FUCKING IRONSIDE could play Darkseid!?

Here, just take a look at this:

It pains me to know that this clip, from the script, to the voice-acting, to the music, to even the quality of the animation, however economical, is better than any of the DC Animated Features.

Andre Braugher has a wonderful voice.

Hell, if it’s any consolation I liked him in Glory

But the simple fact of the matter is, he was horribly miscast.

For one thing, he speaks far too fast, but moreover; his voice simply lacks the timbre and menace of Ironside’s.

I suppose it doesn’t hurt either that the script for this movie couldn’t hold a candle to anything from the DC animated series’…

Though it may seem minor to some, for me, I found it utterly impossible to take Darkseid seriously in this movie.

You know it's bad when you can't take THIS GUY seriously...

Another gripe.

Apocalypse contains a great deal of useless “asides.”

That is to say, the movie mimics the time tested anime trope of cutting away to pointless shots of everyday life/nature as a means of transition.

In anime, this works.

It’s an undeniably Japanese approach to story pacing, and when used in a long-form series consistently, it just plain works.

Here it’s a just goddamn waste of time, something that a slim; hour and a half long production should be conscious of.

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse is not a Japanese production, nor is it a long-ass series where wasted shots can be used to pad out episodes.

I don’t know what the fuck is going on with American animation these days, but the power and influence that anime has had over it’s character designs, animation techniques, and now even storytelling techniques, is just plain fucking grotesque.

I understand that anime and manga are currently the bees knees among the younger crowd, but c’mon folks, stick to what you’re best at.

The Batman and Superman cartoons were animation classics.

Now we’ve got shit like Teen Titans, shit that truly feels like pale imitations of something that is, culturally; quite foreign.

YOU SEE!!? THIS is why we have weeaboos and Narutards!

Anyway, I’ve said far more than I ever intended to about this movie, so I think I’ll cut things here.

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse – A movie that doesn’t try hard enough at being dumb and loud, but ultimately leaves it’s viewers with no entertainment value other than those 2 elements.

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“The One Where Goose Dies…”

Ever notice how sometimes we think we know something when all we’re really working from is just one fraction of the whole picture?

Though I think it’s kind of funny now, I realize that most of my knowledge of movies as a kid was derived from this kind of thinking.

In my youth, I didn’t actually watch all that many movies.

Yesterday I posted a list of my 5 favorite film villains from my childhood, and I couldn’t help but notice that nearly every movie on that list (except The Blob. FUCK The Blob…) was a movie I watched “almost every day.”

 

EVERY FUCKING DAY.

You see, I watched movies all the time, however the variety of films I would watch was extremely limited.

My parents and my brother however, watched all sorts of stuff, mostly R and PG-13 movies that I would have to leave the room for.

 

That didn't stop me from walking in on this one at Auntie's house though...

Despite my not having actually seen any of these movies in my youth, I would often overhear, or be told factoids about them by my parents or my older brother.

This lead to me developing a habit of becoming content with what little I knew, and often writing off the film as unnecessary viewing because of it.

It’s a strange way of thinking that seems to fall in line with that whole “astronauts and astronomers” speech that Sam Neill gave in Jurassic Park III.

In case you forgot, (don’t be ashamed, Jurassic Park III sucked balls) basically it goes like this:

Whatever man, you know you'd go gay for him.

 

“I believe that in this world there are 2 kinds of boys: ones that want to be astronauts, and ones that want to be astronomers.” ~ Dr. Alan Grant

The analogy is that some people thrive on hands-on experience in their passions, while others tend to explore them at arms reach.

In case you are already lost, what I’m trying to say is that; as a child, I feel I developed some tendencies akin to that of an “astronomer.”

In many ways I feel I am still marching down that path.

Anyway, that’s enough of that sappy introspective bullshit, the real reason I’m typing this article is because I found myself laughing over some of the ways I would pretend to “know” movies as a kid.

In general, the way I would “know” movies as a kid was by discovering one key moment in the drama of the film.

This lead to me knowing Top Gun for years exclusively by it’s soundtrack, (which my mother listened to, WAY too often) and that it was “the one where Goose dies.”

 

"So, I forget, what the fuck am I supposed to do now that I'm inside him?"

I didn’t know who Goose was.

I didn’t even know how or why he died.

Hell, at some point I even recall pondering whether he was even human, what with his name being Goose an’ all.

GOOSE.

Other examples of my “extensive film knowledge” as a kid included Rocky IV, which was “the one where Apollo dies,” either that, or “the one with the big Russian guy.”

Apologies for whatever spoilers I may have divulged just now, but come on man, if you don’t know Rocky IV and Top Gun, you sir, deserve to be hit with a tack hammer.

In the brain.

Not in the face, the brain.

In the case of Rocky IV, I had actually seen the first 2 films in the series, and had somewhat of a connection to the character.

Know what’s hella’ funny though?

You know what my brother told me when I asked how Apollo died?

He told me: “What do you think?  Some guy walked up to him and punched him in the head.”

Samuel Peter doing his best Rocky IV Apollo Creed impression.

While that’s actually completely true, Apollo did get punched to death, I just love how straight and to the point my brother was with me.

Bear in mind, we were both very young at the time.

Now that I think about it, that’s actually the exact same description he gave me as to how Superman died when Doomsday killed him the comics.

And wouldn’t you know it, my brother wasn’t lying.

Pictured: The Punch.

The list of movies I used to “know without knowing” (kind of like “fighting without fighting,” but, y’know, lame) goes on and on.

I know some of them are exceedingly vague, but see if you can recognize any of them:

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

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

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

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

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

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

7.  “The one with the black rock.”

And the trick question for the evening:

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

I’ll post the answers for those care to read them sometime tomorrow.

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Let’s Look at Comics: What If… Death’s Head I Had Lived?

Today we’re going to do something different.  Today we’re going to look at comics!  More specifically, Marvel’s What If…? #54:  What If Death’s Head I Had Lived?

Just your average, everyday 90's comic.

Marvel’s What If…? series was a line of comics they created back in the day to allow their authors a venue to explore alternative realities and outcomes to various events in the primary Marvel continuity.  These stories ranged in topic from interesting and clever subjects like:

What If…? Kraven the Hunter had killed Spider-Man? and What If…? The Punisher’s family hadn’t been killed?

While every once in awhile, a random story would come along like, What If…?  Wolverine was the lord of the vampires?

As if I didn't have enough reasons to dislike the X-Men.

In any case, I was not much of a comic fan as a child, much less a fan of the What If…? series.  Despite the fact that I didn’t read many comics, for some reason I was always in the know in regards to whatever the big story of the moment was.  I can’t really explain how it worked out, but by the time I finally got full on into comics as an adult, I was surprised to discover that I really hadn’t missed much.

Anyway, let’s flip open this bad boy and see what’s bad-ass adventures are in store for us…

Power mullet, snake skin boots, denim... everything... This guy's gotta' be the pimpest man alive.

Okay, how about we skip that page, ‘k?

Our story opens in a rainy alley in Manhattan, 2020.  A woman in a trench coat is walking along, when suddenly she looks over her shoulder and…

Typical greeting gesture in New York 2020.

The man she’s pointing the gun at is, as he states, Spratt, Death’s Head’s assistant and partner.  Not that kind of partner, perv.  Following this, Spratt struggles to find the right words to convince the woman that he truly is affiliated with Death’s Head.

Fortunately, Death’s Head shows up to do that for him:

Death's Head: Boy Scout Representative since 1988

Following this, Death’s Head reveals to us that the woman is Dr. Necker, and they apparently have history with one another.  Dr. Necker designed a cyborg for an organization named A.I.M., (Advanced Idea Mechanics) and it just so happens that this particular cyborg went ape-shit one day and decided to take it out on ol’ Death’s Head…

MY GOD! MY GOD! SOMEBODY STOP THE DAMN MATCH! AS GOD AS MY WITNESS, HE IS BROKEN IN HALF!

Of course, that’s what happened in the primary Marvel continuity.  In the What If…?  universe, Death’s Head teleports to safety just in time to avoid being decapitated.

In traditional What If…? fashion, the story cuts away for a couple of pages to allow Uatu the Watcher and his epic forehead to tell us what happened as a result of Death’s Heads, well… death.

Hate to say it, but I think I'm gonna' have to give this one to J-Gar...

You see, Minion, the cyborg that skull-fucked Death’s Head in primary continuity, has a special ability that allows him to assimilate the abilities and minds of anyone he kills.

In the primary continuity, Death’s Head was able to use his final moments to take control of Minion’s mind and become the hero Death’s Head II.

Unfortunately, since this never happened in the What If…? universe, Minion, having been robbed of his 105th target for assimilation, decided to skip Death’s Head for the time being and move on to #106:  Reed Richards.

Yeah, that's the douche.

Minion pwns Mr. Fantastic within 4 panels.  How ironic.

Pwn Count: 1

Yeah, I hate Mr. Fantastic too, but he’s actually kind of important to the story.  Just keep that in the back of your mind for now.

With that, we are treated to a bizarre sequence in which Minion is possessed by the magical essence of a character named Baron Strucker V.  Baron Strucker V apparently has some sort of hatred for A.I.M., and later goes on to become the spiritual conduit for a demon named Charnal, however a search for him on the Marvel wikia reveals… absolutely nothing.  My only guess is that he was a throwaway character who was either too dull to keep around, or… no, I’m pretty sure I’m right on that one.

Anyway, Minion/Strucker goes ape-shit like most possessed super cyborgs do, and decides to bum rush A.I.M. headquarters New York at…

And in a school zone at that! Bastard!

Minion/Strucker cleans house, culminating with him declaring all A.I.M. installations shit out of luck.  Oh yeah, then he squishes Mr. Twenty-Six Miles Per Hour up there’s head.

Meanwhile, back in Manhattan 2020, (Minion is rampaging in the present, er, I mean 1992) Death’s Head is kicking back, shooting the shit with Dr. Necker while Spratt counts up the money she has brought to convince them to help her kill Minion.

You see, Death’s Head is a bounty hunter.  In his original 1988 appearance he was nothing more than a one-shot villain for the Marvel Transformers comic.  Following that however, the writers wisely set about creating a back story for him as an amoral bounty hunter robot, kind of like Star Wars’ IG-88.

After poking fun at Necker for her MASSIVE fuck up in creating Minion to destroy the very evil he has recently started down the road to become, (Charnal) Death’s Head agrees to take on the job… in the pimpest way possible.

No caption necessary.

With that, Death’s Head zips back in time to recruit allies to aid him in battle against Minion.  Allies that are as random as they are SUPER.

I appreciate War Machine's honesty in this panel.

I understand Luke Cage being on board, he was a mercenary like Death’s Head at one point in time.   The Fantastic Four, excuse me, Three, make sense on account of Mr. Fantastic being offed.  Captain America is the ultimate boy scout, use the word “noble cause” around him and he’ll do anything (so sayeth Death’s Head).

Namor and War Machine however, don’t really make a whole lot of sense to me.  I know that Namor was an opponent of the Fantastic Four early on in his career, and that he has since reformed and become a hero of sorts, but I don’t really know of any reason why he would want to avenge Reed Richards’ death.  I always thought he didn’t give a shit unless the oceans were in danger.

And War Machine, well… I guess he’s just in it ’cause Captain America’s got him by his nuts.

'DESE NUTS!

After a bit of superhero banter amongst themselves, the super crew sets out to take on Minion.  Our first glimpse of the epic battle that ensues is, well, an epic one.

And now a word from our sponsors...

Naw, just kidding.  Here we are

Is it me, or did The Thing's hand just turn into strawberry jam?

The battle rages, on, with panels sizes routinely reaching ludicrous proportions.  At one point The Thing is bitch-slapped like through a building, yelling “GNNN!” in the process.  All the while Captain America barks out obvious orders to the team like:

“Keep at him!  Don’t give him a moment!”

“Back off!”

“Take him!”

While I don’t disagree that these are useful commands to use in battle, I can’t help but feel that Cap is playing out his strategy like he’s playing an old school RTS or something.  You’ve got 6 guys Cap, ain’t no way you’re gonna’ be able to pull off a Zerg rush with that.  Don’t even bother with a mass Carrier attack either, that’s just straight up noob.

Like lambs to the mother fucking slaughter Cap...

Somewhere amid all this chaos, Namor makes his only contribution to the battle.

What football looks like in the Marvel universe.

That’s right, a goddamn shoulder tackle.  The Atlantean king, a man blessed with superhuman strength, the ability to breath under water, and fly at will, can manage nothing more than a shoulder tackle?

Oh well, moving on.

War Machine gets bitch-slapped next, only this time Minion takes the time to convert his arm into a crazy T-1000 blade just before doing it.  In response, the Human Torch sets Minion on fire, whereupon Luke Cage steps up to put the big lug in an arm lock.

At this point, Cage calls out to Sue Storm, saying:  “He’s all yours!”

He’s all yours?  What the fuck is the Invisible Woman going to do to someone that just bitch slapped a third of the super team into the stratosphere?

She’s going to do perhaps the coolest thing you’ll see in this comic, that’s what.

Yeeouch! Hot chili!

Holy fucking shit!  I don’t know what the hell just happened, but it was pretty fucking cool!

Being as this is a comic book, Sue is kind enough to provide us with the exposition necessary understand what the fuck she just did.

Turns out she used her invisibility powers to expand an invisible force bubble inside Minion, essentially causing him to “pop like a cork.”

I have no love for the Fantastic Four, but I think Sue Storm just got some brownie points in my book.

Despite this, Minion is pretty much as far from defeat as one can get.  In fact, The Thing follows up the “pop like a cork” incident with his own “bringing down the house” incident.

Haha, Captain America has puns.

In case you’ve been wondering what Death’s Head has been up to during all of this, the answer is:  standing on top of a building well out of harm’s way.

Don’t worry, he’s got a plan, I swear!

Anyway, this marks the turning point of the battle.  Remember how I said Minion had the ability to assimilate abilities by killing people?  Well, he can also kind of do the same thing with whatever you hit him with.

Big, raging, heavy metal-ish, stupidly over-powered super-villains were a mainstay of early 90’s comics, and Minion is no exception.  If you need another example, just look at DC’s Doomsday. (that one guy that killed Superman, coincidentally within the same year that this comic was written)

Anyway, the first beat in Minion’s big comeback comes in the form of removing Namor’s head from his shoulders, with a little help from Captain America…

TK! Team Kill! Haxxorz! Oh yeah, Pwn Count: 2

Followed by using his powers to cause the Human Torch to self-pwn by turning his own flame against him…

Man package conveniently blocked by flames. Pwn Count: 3

Then, within the same page he does this to War Machine…

That's what you get for putting eye holes in your billion dollar power armor, asshole. Pwn Count: 4

Finally, we’re treated to a whole page in which no one is pwned.

Turns out Cage and The Thing didn’t appreciate Minion’s mass pwning of their friends and family, so they go Thunderdome on his ass and smack him around for a bit, then team-up to hold him in place so Sue can have another go at popping him like a cork.

Unfortunately, Minion’s powers are broken as fuck, so there’s no way he’s gonna’ let that happen.

BITCH, HAVEN'T YOU SEEN MY MOVIES!? Pwn Count: 6

With that, Sue wusses out and gets all emotional instead of POPPING HIM LIKE A CORK right then and there.

With that, Minion talks shit to her about pwning her husband, and then proceeds to pwn her, OFF PANEL.

Uh... Pwn Count: 7?

*Sigh* I guess we can’t witness every instance of pwnage.

Following this, Minion squares of with Captain America, referring to him as his “old enemy,” implying they have some sort of history together.

… At this point I honestly don’t care.

Anyway, Minion defeats Captain America OFF PANEL, (urrgh!) just as Dr. Necker is getting ready to jump Death’s Head’s bones over how ruthless he is, letting the super team get pwned just so he can face a somewhat winded Minion.

And wouldn’t you know it, Death’s Head’s opening move against Minion provides us with a panel of Captain America’s post mortem pwnage.

It's okay, just pretend he was alive BEFORE the missile hit. Pwn Count: 8

Being as Minion is a “Cheap-As-Fuck” type Pokémon, the missile attack is not very effective…

An epic, one-on-one battle of sorts plays out, with Death’s Head employing a varied arsenal of tech-heavy weaponry to counter Minion’s infinite super combo gauge.

Okay, well maybe not ALL of it is "tech-heavy."

At this point in the fight however, as one would expect when tangling with a tick-throw pro like Minion, Death’s Head starts to fall behind a bit.

Despite this, he keeps his wits about him and proceeds to taunt Minion, accusing him of corner-trapping and such.

Seriously though, Death’s Head mocks Minion for his using his broken-ass powers as a crutch in battle, claiming that he is an idiot for not employing the use of any of the 105 intellects he has assimilated.

Minion responds to this in pretty much the most childish and idiotic way possible.

...And you're 100% sure that isn't exactly what he wants?

With this, Minion starts “Zzzat”-ing Death’s Head using some sort of telekinesis.

I don’t know, it’s not really explained…

Anyway, SOMETHING happens, and Death’s Head lops off Minion’s head!

You see? THIS is what happens when you turn Final Smash Balls on in Final Destination!

What the fuck just happened!?

Death’s Head exposits to us that, when Minion accessed Reed Richards’ mental powers, (I told you to keep him in mind!) Richards somehow momentarily took control of Minion FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE.

My only guess is that Minion’s powers work kind of like Goku’s in Dragonball.  His powers are a manifestation of focus and will, so if he is caught completely off-guard, his powers do nothing to soften the blow.

Don’t believe me?  Go look up that one episode of Dragonball Z where Krillin chucks a rock at Goku when he’s asleep.  Yeah, that’s right, fuck you.

Anyway, the issue ends with Death’s Head being tempted by the prospect of dropping his “Freelance Peacekeeping Agent” title in favor of the more honorable “superhero.”

Uatu plays us out, asking us to decide which reality had the more beneficial result. (Protip: Not the one this comic takes place in)

With that I leave you of this image of Nightcrawler getting ready to put his sausage in Meggan and Shadowcat’s mouths.

Haha, gotcha!

Filed under: Comics, Games, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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