Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

The Best MAN!!! #1

Let it be known, that the Azn Badger loves him some Mega Man.

If you need any indication of how deep my love for Mega Man runs, bear in mind that one of the first posts on this blog was about Mega Man X.

I’ll just wait here while you look that up…

While I don’t think I’m ready to do a protracted mega-post on the subject of the Blue Bomber, much like the one I did on Ultraman, I think it’s about time I made an attempt to scratch the surface a little.

That being said, today I’m kicking off a new post topic, specifically one that deals with the colorful roster of bosses in the Mega Man universe.

Basically, I’m gonna’ run through each of the Mega Man games in the linear series, (fuck that Gameboy and Genesis bullshit.  Wily Wars my ass…) naming the one boss, or MAN, that stands out as the coolest, most bad-ass, or otherwise, most interesting.

I call this new post topic, The Best MAN!

Pictured: The wedding of the Azn Badger.

With that, let’s get this party started with Mega Man 1.

Now that is some shitty cover art.

To be honest, Mega Man 1 isn’t really my favorite game in the series.

True, it was the first in the series.

True, it was an impressive technical feat for the time.

Unfortunately, as the first game in the series, it lacks some of the polish of later games in the series.

Kind of like this pile. Well, the NES version anyway.

It’s interesting to note that I never got a chance to play Mega Man 1 until much later in life.

My childhood was spent renting and playing Mega Man 2 and 3, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Well, maybe I'd change a FEW things...

In the original Mega Man, there were only 6 bosses instead of the now traditional 8,  a hokey score keeping system that never made it past the first game, and in general, the game just needed a little bit more of a push to be considered a true classic in my book.

Honestly, if you look up “greatest leap in quality from one game to the next,” most likely you’ll find a picture of Mega Man 2.

Anyway, that’s enough shitting on Mega Man 1, let’s get down to who’s The Best MAN!

For my money, The Best MAN of the original Mega Man would have to be Cut Man.

CUUUUUTTTTTTTTT MAAAAAAAAANNNNNNN!!!!

Cut Man’s design has a lot of character to it.

His color scheme is simple but iconic.

His head has a strange and distinctive shape and form to it, looking almost like a marionette or something.

Oh yeah, did I mention he’s got fuckin’ scissors comin’ out of his head?

On top of that, his level is very well designed for the time, with the background music being one of the best pieces of music in the game.

True he was a complete pussy by the time you actually got around to fighting him, but even so, the character has a very long and distinguished legacy.

Outside of his appearance in Mega Man 1, Cut Man was also featured, along with Guts Man, as a sort of “Bebop and Rocksteady” duo of dumbasses in the Mega Man cartoon.

Don’t ask me why, but Mega Man’s eyebrows and pecs really pissed me off in that show.

Oh yeah, I think Scott McNeil/Duo Maxwell did Dr. Wily’s voice, along with a few other character on the show.

Man, he really was in EVERYTHING in the 90’s
While I didn’t really watch the cartoon all that much, (fuckin’ goddamn Phantom 2040 kept popping up in it’s early-ass time slot whenever I’d try to tape it) I have to admit that seeing Cut Man, alive and well, in every episode, served to add bias to my positive opinion of him.

Pretty sure I still have this toy somewhere around the house...

Besides the cartoon though, Cut Man also made appearances in wide variety of other Mega Man spin-offs.

I loved cutting the goalie in half with his super-shot in Mega Man Soccer.

His redesign in Mega Man EXE was pretty good.

ARRGHH!!! Silly Japanese, makin' everything so cute... Oh well, better than putting tentacles on/inside it.

But more importantly, he was really fun to fight in Mega Man the Power Battle, and Power Fighters.

Pictured: A very fun videogame.

While you’d fight him, he’d jump around, throw blades at you, and then jump into the background and cut holes in the scenery to teleport around.

Most notable about his appearance in the arcade games, was that they gave him a voice in it.

Like Mega Man, he had a female voice actor, but unlike his voice in the cartoon, that had him sounding sort of like a cross between Frankenstein’s Igor and Ren Höek from Ren and Stimpy, it fit surprisingly well.

Pictured: Boo Berry, Igor, and Cut Man, all rolled into one.

Cut Man’s character is slight of stature, and, when animated and rendered properly as he was in arcade games, very “cute.”

I feel silly admitting it, but whenever I’d hear Cut Man start chopping up the scenery while yelling out “Choki! Choki! Choki!,” I couldn’t help but smile a little.

Tee Hee.

“Choki,” by the way, is the Japanese onomatopoeia for “Slice” or “Cut.”

Anyway, Cut Man is The Best MAN of Mega Man 1.

If you don’t agree, tough shit.

Just don’t try tellin’ me that Ice Man or Elec Man deserves the title, ’cause everybody knows those 2 are wimpy-ass pieces of fuck with shitty background music…

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Fire of Conscience: A Fiery Letdown…

Fire of Conscience was supposed to be the Chinese version of Michael Mann’s Heat.

It was supposed be a rollicking cop drama with hardcore shootouts and pyrotechnics in the busy streets of downtown Hong Kong.

It was supposed to be a movie I was willing to wait 3 months to see.

It opened with one of the most unique sequences seen in commercial film, (but not the medium itself, see here) which effectively drew me in and got me psyched for what was to come.

The plot was derivative of many Hong Kong cop dramas, I.E. bad cop and good cop slam into each other, discover brotherhood/parallels between one another, merry mishaps ensue.

That didn’t bother me though, I expected that.

What I didn’t expect was that Fire of Conscience would take my expectations for it and shit all over them.

My first impression came in the form of a trailer I stumbled across:

When I saw this trailer, I saw a movie that promised action, bullshit Chinese melodrama, and at least one instance of a man exploding.

In truth, Fire of Conscience does in fact contain all of these things, however the balance, the amount of screen time and care devoted to each of these elements; is all out of whack.

Well, except for the exploding man thing. I don’t think any movie should be expected to have any more than one of those, no matter how hardcore it is.

PWNED.

The action in Fire of Conscience is not really “action” per se.

In more dramatic films, “action” usually boils down to something more like straight up “violence” or “tension.”

In the case of Fire of Conscience, I came into it expecting ACTION. After all, the trailer proclaimed the film to be an “action powerhouse.”

There’s really only a pair of true ACTION sequences in the film, and while both are fairly impressive on a visceral level, both suffer from irritating use of the “shaky cam” effect we seem to see everywhere these days.

It’s not that the cinematography ruins these scenes, it’s simply that it feels forced, as if the filmmakers are using it as a cheap trick to fool us into buying the tension, into buying the gritty and grim situation the players find themselves in.

Personally, I prefer action that is staged well over action that is manufactured using simple tricks and nonsense.

I will say this though, the pyrotechnics and stunt work in Fire of Conscience were top-notch and certainly deserve praise.

I liked how subtle wire-work was incorporated into many of the explosions in the film, effectively simulating the concussive effect produced by such an event.

Also, it wouldn’t be a Hong Kong movie without people falling off buildings and being thrown through glass.

It's a common new year's custom in Hong Kong to jump through windows as a celebratory gesture.

In fact, I found myself smirking as Richie Jen got put through a windshield during a curiously low-key beat of a fight scene.

It was almost as if the filmmakers were so completely unimpressed by the prospect of putting someone through glass at that point in the film that they didn’t even bother to properly frame the stunt with a camera.

The drama aspect of Fire of Conscience is sufficient to move the story forward, but like the film’s implementation of the “shaky cam” effect, much of it feels inorganic and forced.

In fact in the earlier stages of the film, much of the plot progression is achieved in the form of dropping new characters into our lap.

This results in a film that gives the viewer a feeling of being perpetually missing something in the narrative until it’s later stages.

I found this to be as much provocative as it was confusing.

The film does a pretty good job with giving it’s characters a significant amount of depth, however I feel it often reaches too far, giving us details on 5-6 fairly important characters, when doing the same for 1-2 major ones would’ve been more appropriate.

Fortunately, the film does manage to deliver in terms of fleshing out it’s 2 main characters, although I will say that Richie Jen’s character was criminally underused for the most part.

Despite this, the film embraces pop-star Leon Lai as it’s main character, and often manages to hit all the right notes when it comes time to explore his “detective with a troubled past” backstory, particularly during quieter and more contemplative scenes.

Lai’s acting however, consists of being vacant and gruff while never moving his face.  It’s not all that effective, and is downright creepy at times.

One thing that surprised me about Fire of Conscience, was the fact that it was directed by Dante Lam.

Lam’s career these days seems to be derived from his 1998 film, Beast Cops.

I name dropped this movie during my Epic Donnie Yen Post, and with good reason.  Beast Cops was a great movie that was filled with energy, drama, violence, and a host of colorful characters that we cared about.

In many ways, it is everything Fire of Conscience tries to be.

Dante Lam doesn’t have a perfect track record by any means, *cough!* Sniper and Twins Effect *cough!* however he usually has the chops to piece together entertaining movies with impressive set-pieces and high-points.

Fire of Conscience has no real high-point.

In fact, though it feels childish of me to say this, one of my biggest objections to the film lies in the fact that the scene from the trailer that I was anticipating most amounts to almost nothing.

Did you catch that brief moment when Leon Lai runs through the streets with a big-ass G3-SG1 in hand?

Hey, if it was a cool enough gun for Ice Man, it's cool enough for me.

That was supposed to be the climax of the film.

That was supposed to be the scene in which Dante Lam aped Michael Mann by staging a massive shootout in the streets of Hong Kong ala Heat.

That scene lasts maybe a minute, and only about 3 shots are fired, all semi-auto.

When that scene in the movie came and went, my heart sunk.

There was maybe 20 minutes left in the film, and I already knew there were no more surprises or set-pieces to look forward to.

In my mind I’d like to believe that that scene was cut-down as a result of filming costs in downtown Hong Kong, after all, I have yet to see another film that truly SHUTS DOWN A FUCKING CITY like Heat did, and Hong Kong budgets aren’t exactly up to standards with Hollywood’s.

Fire of Conscience was ruined by my own expectations for it.

It just goes to show you that, the movie on the screen is no match for the movie in your mind.

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Let’s Look at Comics: Avengers West Coast #99 – Time To Kill

It's never a good sign when one of the characters on the cover is colored incorrectly... The guy on the left is supposed to be green.

Hello all, and welcome to another exciting installment of Let’s Look at Comics!

Today we’ll be looking at Marvel’s, “Avengers West Coast #99 – Time to Kill.”

For those who are unaware, The Avengers are essentially Marvel’s answer to DC’s Justice League; a team of heroes comprised of their respective universes most powerful and highest profile characters.

If you don’t know what the Justice League is, then you can consider yourself a waste of flesh, and a waste of my motherfucking time.

Seriously, get the fuck out.

Anyway, The Avengers have always been a fucking deal over at Marvel due to the fact that it’s roster has often included “The Big Three,” AKA Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man.

The basic concept behind the formation of The Avengers was, and always will be: to give the writers an excuse to play Ocean’s 11 with the Marvel universe.

Don't be surprised if you see this in the theaters 2 years from now.

Nah, just kidding, The Avengers exist to combat threats that no single hero could combat on their own.

Truth be told, I’ve never really been an Avengers fan, largely due to the fact that  the opposition they are required to face in order for the battle to seem at all competitive, are the kind of villains that are outrageously overpowered to the point in which deus ex machina is often required to defeat them.

In all, I’m not really a “team” fan.

The Justice League is dull for the same reasons The Avengers are.

The X-Men are cool, but have the most impenetrable continuity in all of continuities.

The Fantastic 4, well… unless Sue Storm’s wearing her 90’s uniform, I really don’t care.

Oh, 90's character designs, how I miss thee.

Seriously though, I get more satisfaction out of taking a shit than I do reading their stuff.

Getting back on track, at some point during the 80’s Marvel had the bright idea to try their hand at expanding their readership by creating a spin-off series based on The Avengers called The Avengers West Coast.

As is always the case, breaking up the band proved to be a bad idea.

Despite this, DC was kind enough to follow-suit and rip them off a few years later with the launch of their own Justice League spin-off, Justice League International.

Besides Batman, Blue Beetle, and Fate, everybody pictured here can suck a dick. Yeah that's right, fuck you Captain Marvel.

Oh yeah, did I mention that it sucked too?

The problem with Avengers West Coast, and most spin-offs in general, was the fact that the entire premise was based around constructing stories and conflicts using the spare parts of a stronger, pre-established property.

In example, let’s take a look at some members of the West Coast roster:

Hawkeye is alright, seeing as he was a former Avenger and he founded the West Coast team.

Basically, he has no super powers, but he’s a good archer, and oh yeah, he’s a dick, so he gets Ice Man points.

Mockingbird is Hawkeyes’ equally powerless woman.

They fucked, she died, end of story.

War Machine = Iron Man if he shopped at Ross.  Nuff’ said.

U.S. Agent = Captain America if he was in the UFC.

And Spider-Woman, well she’s definitely no Spider-Man, and more importantly, she’s not the sexy Spider-Woman.

Azn Badger likes him some Sexy Spider-Woman…

No caption needed.

With all of that out of the way, I think you can understand when I say that Avengers West Coast was a mediocre team that was involved in mediocre storylines, fighting mediocre villains I.E. The Grim Reaper.

And guess what?

Today we’re gonna’ be taking a look at an issue from one of those crappy stories, so fasten your seat belts boys and girls, it’s gonna’ be a hot time in the old town tonight!

The issue opens with a full page spread of U.S. Agent walking in on a Renaissance fair as he looks for the nearest Honey Bucket.

"Excuse me folks, I was just lookin' fer' the crapper HOLY SHIT!"

Turns out, these Ren fair patrons are in fact the real deal, and as it so happens one of them is choking on some poisoned wine, like you do; served to him by the deadly and beautiful…

… Okay, thanks comic, now I feel kind of dumb for not knowing who that is.

According to my 30 seconds of Google research,

was the daughter of a Valencian noble, who would often marry her off to men, only to have those men meet grisly ends.

That’s the historical version, in this comic she’s just a bitch with a funny hat.

Anyway, after witnessing the wine poisoning, U.S. Agent storms in, bein’ all like, “The white woman done it!  I seen it!”

This of course, leads to Agent having to put the hurt on some Carnies.

Punching people and getting stabbed, that's U.S. Agent in a nutshell.

Or at least trying to.

After a few more panels of Agent beat-down,

saunters up and force feeds him some of her patented poison wine.

NOOOOOOO!!!! DON'T FALL OFF THE WAGON!!!

Cue full-page acid trip:

America: On the dope since.... well, forever.

After that artistically confusing unpleasantness, U.S. Agent awakens in a hospital, delusional and in a state of shock.

I’m sure waking up to this had nothing to do with that:

GOOD GOD RHODEY! Way to give somebody a heart attack!

As is typical of her, un-sexy Spider-Woman has some incredibly deep and thoughtful insights to provide

Yeah, yah' think? Jesus Christ you are un-sexy...

As U.S. Agent gets his bearings, the rest of the Avengers West Coast proceed to spew exposition back and forth amongst one another.

From these exchanges we learn that U.S. Agent got his ass pwned in the previous issue by a nefarious team of villains called the “Lethal Legion.”

Of course, U.S. Agent, being the meathead that he is, decides to throw a hissy fit and begins to argue with Hawkeye.

It's terrible when they fight. Really, they should think of the children.

The Hangman that Agent mentioned above is the ringleader of the Lethal Legion, a third-rate villain that serves as a virtually unbeatable antagonist to our team of super goobers.

After a solid 2 pages of bitching and moaning, and a Cap’n Crunch ad, our story finally picks up again.

But not before serving us with another ad:

I always thought this looked like shit. Anybody seen it?

Following this, our heroes decide to split-up in their search for the Hangman.

Un-sexy Spider-Woman and War Machine set out to investigate a Stella Houston’s beach house, presumably so un-sexy Spider-Woman can find a way to sexify herself.

Upon entering the residence of the Hangman’s former flame, our heroes are greeted by this crazy bitch:

Lose the axe and we'll talk.

Axe of Violence.

Seriously, that’s her name.

Anyway, uh, Ms. Violence tears into our heroes like they were, well, like they were a bunch of mediocre superheroes.

"It'll be okay kids! Just let me stick my finger in there and ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!"

As it turns out, Axe of Violence’s axe is laced with magic which, based on War Machine’s cry of “ARRRRRRRRRR”, seems to be bad news for the Avengers West Coast.

With War Machine proving to be less than helpful, and Axe of Violence proving to be an expert in pun crafting and axe fighting, un-sexy Spider-Woman decides join in the fight by literally hurling herself into the fray.

Un-sexy Spider-Woman used Un-sexy pounce!...

...It's not very effective...

During the confusion that follows, Ms. Violence makes mention of someone named Satannish, a demon who is apparently the true force behind the Hangman and the Lethal Legion.

As War Machine and un-sexy Spider-Woman back Axe of Violence into a corner, she suddenly turns tail and runs off, leaving them a parting gift in the process:

...and shooting NEXT TO HER is supposed to stop her how?

Thankfully, our exceedingly powerful and skillful Avengers West Coast manage to…

Oh, come on!

Jesus fuck, The Avengers West Coast suck-ass…

You see, that’s the fuckin’ problem with these guys!

Someone throws A FUCKING AXE and you don’t even so much as TRY to get out of the way!?

ARRRRRRGH!!! They should call these pansies the fuckin’ Avengers Triple-A…

Why thank you Patrick Stewart, for so perfectly articulating my feelings.

ANYWAY, mental giant that she is, un-sexy Spider-Woman proceeds to diagnose her MAGICAL AXE WOUND as being “not deep” and therefore, not a cause for concern.

With Axe of Violence gone, War Machine and un-sexy Spider-Woman proceed to discuss the Lizzie Borden nursery rhyme and it’s connection to their recently departed opponent.

You know, superhero stuff.

With that, we head on over to the Hangman’s former residence, where Hawkeye and the Scarlet Witch are poking around for clues.

Unfortunately, that crazy bitch,

decides to show up and make things difficult for our heroes.

Although I must say, she must’ve spent the past couple of days gettin’ Smurf STDs, ’cause she’s lookin’ a little, well, blue.

Goddamn Smurfette, why you gotta' be all violent n'shit?

Fortunately, she made the mistake of trying to ambush the Scarlet Witch AKA THE MOST BROKEN-ASS CHARACTER IN THE MARVEL UNIVERSE.

You see, the Scarlet Witch’s powers involve probability manipulation, which in comic book terms, translates to BEING ABLE TO DO ANY FUCKING THING SHE WANTS.

In this case however, the writer was kind enough to tone down her powers so as to make her opponent seem to be a credible threat.

Smurfs fear but two things in this world: Doors, and Capitalism.

Trust me, you don’t wanna’ see what kind of stupid shit happens when the writers go nuts with the Scarlet Witch’s powers *cough!* House of M *cough!*

With Hawkeye’s help, (Haha! Yeah, sure…) the Scarlet Witch manages to subdue the Smurfette, however, before they can question her, the Hangman decides to crash the party by snagging Hawkeye with his noose.

Thank God somebody shut him up.

Not only that, but he takes the time to show the Scarlet Witch who wears the motherfuckin’ daddy pants.

Replace that "witch" with something a little more colorful, and we'll be in business.

With that, Hangman makes his way out the nearby window, an action that Hawkeye’s neck definitely would not appreciate.

*Ahem!* Cue Scarlet Witch and her broken-ass powers, as well as an insane amount of thought bubble text:

Come on lady, you can restructure reality itself, I think you can snap a fucking rope.

Scarlet Witch does indeed manage to literally save Hawkeye’s neck just before it’s snapped in half, whereupon our heroes proceed to ponder over

and her connection to the crazy Smurfette.

I wonder, do these guys ever get tired of being boring and inept?

We then find ourselves back at the hospital, where Hawkeye’s wife, Mockingbird, is checking in on U.S. Agent.

She tries to tell Agent that she’s going to quit the Avengers West Coast in favor of starting a family.

Unfortunately he’s busy downing a protein shake, getting an outlandish tattoo, and hating his father, so her words fail to reach his ‘roided out ears.

Oh yeah, that and some robot fucker named Coldsteel decides to show up.

List Prime Directives: 1. Kick Ass. 2. Chew Bubblegum. 3. Run Out Of Bubblegum.

Well, U.S. Agent and Coldsteel proceed to throw down while Mockingbird hangs back and pretends to be useful.

Yeah, she’s just as worthless as her husband.

During the battle, U.S. Agent comes to the conclusion that Coldsteel and the Lethal Legion are hunting the Avengers West Coast as some sort of competition.

As if to put an exclamation point on his theory, another member of the the Lethal Legion, Zyklon, shows up and proceeds to interfere with Coldsteel’s assault.

Alright, who would you rather fight? The giant-fucking robot, or the flatulent wonder?

During the ensuing chaos, Mockingbird has hallucinations similar to the ones U.S. Agent had earlier, more specifically the ones dealing with Nazi gas victims.

Likewise, Agent appears to have drunk the bong water, again, ’cause he’s seeing things again as well:

Okay........ Josef Stalin everyone!

So, if we are to believe U.S. Agent’s cracked out visions, Coldsteel is Josef Stalin.

Right, then naturally, that would mean that Zyklon is:

Gasp! Heinrich Himmler!

That’s right folks, Mockingbird has a vision of Zyklon actually being Heinrich Himmler.

Before things can get awkward though, Zyklon/Himmler takes Mockingbird hostage, apparently just to piss off Coldsteel/Stalin.

Fortunately, Coldsteel still has U.S. Agent to beat on, so he does just that.

Before things can get out of hand though, War Machine decides to show up and… well, you’ll see.

Damn, and here I thought War Machine was starting to seem kind of worthless...

...Oh wait, he is.

After the dust has settled, the rest of the Avengers West Coast meet up at the hospital.

A shit ton of bitching and arguing follows soon after, with Hawkeye being all pissy on account of his wife getting snatched, and U.S. Agent being all down on himself ’cause he’s finally coming down from his caffeine high.

Eventually, the team get their shit together, and the Scarlet Witch offers to use a tome of deus ex machina to open up a portal to Satannish’s realm.

The fact that the double-size, issue #100 was just on the horizon as this comic was being written, seems to serve as the only explanation as to why the deus ex machina book didn’t come into play earlier in the story.

Anyway, the Scarlet With reads from the book, and un-sexy Spider-Woman once again has some brilliant commentary to offer:

She deserves an award for how dumb and un-sexy she is.

Despite un-sexy Spider-Woman’s doubts as to the deus ex machina book’s capabilities, Satannish is kind enough to promptly show himself, thusly rendering her objections pointless, and yes, un-sexy.

Satannish: As ugly as he is uninspired.

Satannish proceeds to gloat from his twin mouths, calling the Avengers West Coast mean things like “weak”, “dumb”, and “un-sexy.”

When confronted on his motives for kidnapping Mockingbird, Satannish responds with something the lines of :

“‘Cause I’m all ’bout dah’ bitches!”

Anyway, the issue draws to an end as our heroes stand around with their thumbs up their butts, only to have the great lord of the underworld himself, Mephisto, show up and offer his aid in battling Satannish.

Mephisto: Lord of Darkness, and stealer of marriages.

Well, that was Avengers West Coast #99.

Now you finally understand why I don’t read team books. (well, outside of Secret Six and The Thunderbolts, they’re fuckin’ awesome)

They’re muddled, confusing, and more often than not their plots center around watching the heroes get their asses kicked until God himself descends from the heavens and grants them a sudden, and often, unwarranted, victory.

Goodnight ladies and gentleman, I am officially off writing until…. sometime tomorrow morning.

Let’s have one more picture of Sexy Spider-Woman before we say goodnight, shall we?

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

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