Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Thoughts On The Dark Knight Rises Trailer

It’s funny, when it comes to movies, I’m actually not that hard to impress.

While I consider myself well-versed in the world of film, at the end of the day all it really takes to peak my interest, is:

A): A decent cast.

B): A decent concept.

and C): The promise of people punching one another at some point in the movie.

In some cases that last one, if represented well enough, is the only excuse I need to see a movie, regardless of how dumb or crappy it is.

I rented the shit-fest that was Unknown purely in the hopes of seeing a handful of Liam Neeson related beat downs.

I saw Fast Five solely for the purpose of seeing Vin Diesel and The Rock (not Dwayne) bro-out and put each other through particle board walls.

Pictured: Either The Rock is about to get suplexed, or Vin Diesel's in the process of getting Speared. I honestly can't tell...

And when it comes to The Dark Knight Rises, as utterly incalculable as the build-up has, and will continue to be for the next 6 months or so, at the end of the day I will see it because it, unlike any other movie in film history; will deliver the long anticipated spectacle of Batman and Bane duking it out on the big screen.

That these 2 titans of comics are to be portrayed by capable actors such as Christian Bale and Tom Hardy respectively, is merely the icing on the cake.

I find this funny. Does that make me less of a man?

Christopher Nolan’s track record when it comes to cinematography and fight choreography suggests that the ensuing bout will be clumsy and edited through a meat grinder, but even so, I’ve been waiting to see this fight brought to life on the silver screen since I was 6 years old; and crappy or not, I will not be denied.

That being said, Batman and Bane grudge match aside, what did I think of the new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises?

Well, to answer your question, I felt it was quite good by most standards, but much too enigmatic and fractured in it’s presentation to pack the same visceral punch that the later trailers for The Dark Knight did.

Here’s a refresher in case you need it:

I’d prefer not to compare the 2, as it’s obvious the people cutting the trailers for these movies came at it from very different tonal and thematic standpoints; but I feel it needs to be said that, to me, The Dark Knight really did have some of the best trailers of all time.

Everything, from the shot selection, to the music cues, to the overall pacing of the trailers for The Dark Knight was absolutely spot on.

What’s more, thanks to the dialogue-heavy nature of the trailers, as well as his untimely death, an absurd amount of buzz was generated for Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker, (*Sigh* “Why So Serious?”) not to mention the overall plot of the film was made crystal clear.

Though it sounds silly in this cynical age of ours, in many ways I feel the catchphrases and buzzwords of The Dark Knight actually served to make it’s advertising campaign both effective and memorable on the whole.

The trailer for The Dark Knight Rises has a lot of neat shots in it, promising quite a few interesting set piece moments, however, perhaps due to the lack of dialogue, many of these shots are difficult to interpret from a purely visual standpoint.

Early on we see the reflection of a man with a cane approaching a shiny dinner platter while Alfred drones on about the Wayne dynasty:

Pictured: I have no fucking clue. Maybe a Ra's Al Ghul flashback?

At some point we see someone stumble onto the set of Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet:

Pictures: Ballrooms + Flower Petals = Hamelt. It's science.

Later, we see a bearded Bruce Wayne wandering around what appears to be the prison equivalent to Discovery Zone:

I know it's probably supposed to be a prison, but honestly, I kind of wanna' play on it...

There’s that French lady from Inception n’shit.

A FOOTBALL FIELD was just DESTROYED! WHY ARE YOU SMILING!?

There’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Pictured: Joseph Gordon "Still Not Sure Where To Put The Hyphen" Levitt.

There’s A SHIT TON of rappeling.

The Dark Knight Rises: A Story of Men On Ropes.

And then we have Anne Hathaway as a mean lady that may or may not be Catwoman.

Seriously, if you take into account the fact that maybe, just maybe, the people viewing this trailer haven’t been blogging about every step of the script writing process, or staring at leaked production photos for the past several months, (oddly enough, not me!) then this trailer basically offers no hint as to her role being that of Selina Kyle.

Oh wait excuse me, she’s wearing a mask at a masquerade ball that, if you look really hard, has cat ears:

Direct quote: "WHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!"

Sarcasm deployed, mystery solved.

Much like Aaron Eckhart’s Two-Face, unless you’ve been following the production or are familiar with the Batman universe, chances are you’d never know Anne Hathaway was supposed to be Catwoman in this trailer.

Indeed, I’m curious to know what this trailer meant to people who aren’t familiar with Batman outside of the movies.

In many ways, when I watch this trailer, I feel my perception is skewed by the fact that I already have an attachment to and understanding of many of the characters based on their comic book equivalent.

When I think “Bane,” I already have an image in mind of what I expect from him.

When I hear Tom Hardy speaking through his mask I say to myself:

"I can see how people could find that hard to understand, but goddamnit that sounds like Bane!"

When I see scenes from the trailer like the prison break, I think to myself:

"Nice. That looks straight out of Knightfall!"

To the average Batman virgin however, I’d imagine imagery such as this would be provocative, but purely in a “oh, so that’s gonna’ happen at some point” kind of way.

Hell, I’m willing to bet the average Bat Virgin doesn’t have the slightest clue as to who or what Bane even is.

What I think I’m trying to say, is that the style of editing and presentation of this trailer is enticing, as anything with a budget and pretty pictures can manage to be, but at the same time I feel frustrated by the numerous vagaries it throws in my lap.

As you can probably tell, I’m not a fan of the J.J. Abrams-style marketing.

It’s not that I prefer my trailers to spell their plots and structure out to me, I simply value coherence and context over sound cues and pretty pictures.

Much like all of Christopher Nolan’s blockbusters, The Dark Knight Rises appears to be an audio-visual powerhouse, though in some ways it appears a little less so at this point.

The set pieces looks suitably big, but the color palette appears more gray-ish and natural than The Dark Knight and Batman Begins, and curiously enough, despite it being an almost comical trademark of his, there’s not a single (gorgeous) overhead shot of a cityscape.

Instead he decided to pull a 180 and do an INVERTED overhead shot for the poster!

That last part troubles me, as I’m a big fan of Nolan’s wide open establishing shots, particularly in outdoor scenes, and though it may just be the editor’s doing; there are none to be found in this trailer.

Perhaps the strangest thing though, at least to me, is the fact that they re-used the mood building drone AKA The Joker’s theme from The Dark Knight in this trailer.

I always thought of that particular piece of music as “belonging” to The Joker, which made it somewhat puzzling to hear played over a trailer for a film that, almost certainly; won’t feature him.

Despite everything I’ve said about this trailer, both good and bad, at the end of the day it’s a very good piece of advertising for a sequel that, unfortunately, benefitted from some of the best advertising and pre-release buzz in recent memory.

Not only that, it’s only the first trailer, for a huge movie that isn’t dropping until late in the summer.

As good as the advertising for The Dark Knight was from the get go, the 2nd trailers for it, Iron Man, and Inception were all MONUMENTALLY better than the first, which leads me to believe the same will likely be the case with The Dark Knight Rises.

In addition to this, one also has to consider the fact that virtually all of Christopher Nolan’s blockbusters up to this point, while heavily advertised, also did well to avoid showing a great deal of the major story beats and action set pieces.

I mean hell, neither the teaser nor the trailer saw any mention of Morgan Freeman’s Lucius Fox, nor any of stuff from the prologue sequence that made the rounds through theaters last week.

I don’t know about you, but up until it’s release I really thought the “truck flip” from The Dark Knight trailer was going to be the climax of the movie.

Instead, the entire skyscraper based finale of the movie ended up playing that role, while never once being hinted at in the trailers.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is that though I may seem overly critical, in truth I’m just a fanboy hoping for the best.

In the meantime though, as weird as it seems, I think I actually liked the almost universally panned teaser for The Dark Knight Rises somewhat better than the trailer.

True, most of the footage was borrowed from Batman Begins.

True, Commissioner Gordon’s dialogue was hard to understand.

True, virtually nothing Commissioner Gordon had to say was even worth hearing in the first place.

BUT, at the very end of the teaser, there is a single, barely 2 second shot that made it all worth it:

Pictured: All I needed to see.

Batman in the rain, taking a deep breath, while Bane slowly approaches from the foreground.

The whole thing was crap up until then, but that last shot instantly sold me.

The trailer, while bigger and much more coherent, didn’t have this shot or even a suitable equivalent.

True, it featured a few shots of Batman and Bane throwing down in the snow, however I felt the subtlety and dramatic implication of the teaser shot did more to appease the fanboy in me than the entirety of the full trailer.

That’s just me though.

Do I ever need a reason to post this? Didn't think so...

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The Avengers Trailer Looks Like They Need To Fix It In Post.

It’s funny, as the release date for The Avengers slowly draws nearer, I’m starting to realize more and more the fact that there’s very little chance of it being shitty.

I have a great deal of love for Marvel comics, so just getting a chance to see the characters of that universe being brought to life in 200 million dollar budgeted films is enough to make me happy.

It doesn’t matter so much if the acting is great, or the plot deeply layered, as long I get to see the spirit and energy of the characters brought to life, there’s very little chance I’ll walk away from an Avengers movie wanting my money back.

Then again, I would’ve said the same about Transformers, that is, until Michael Bay dumped ass all over my childhood and raped my wallet…

TWICE.

"I swear I will not kill anyone... But I WILL shit on all of your childhood heroes."

That being said, while it’s a bit difficult to determine exactly what the plot of the movie is based on the trailer, (as should be the case, given that it’s only the first theatrical trailer) in many ways I applaud the marketing folks over at Marvel/Disney for cramming in screen time for virtually all of the heavy hitters that have been confirmed to be appearing in the film.

Tom Hiddleston’s Loki appears to be the central villain of the film, though based on the uncertain events at the conclusion of Captain America, in my mind it’s entirely possible that Red Skull could have a hand in things as well.

My bet is, he does.

Given the Hulk’s unstable nature, as well as the plot of the first Avengers comic, I’m guessing he’s going to end up being manipulated by Loki at some point; resulting in a heel/face turn at some point in the film.

I don't think I'm alone in saying I'd like to see a bit of THIS somewhere in there though.

Speaking of the Hulk, his reveal at the end of the trailer was well utilized, as he’s the one confirmed Avenger we really haven’t seen up to this point.

Despite no shortage of explosions and FX shots though, I can’t help but feel that this first trailer was cut from footage of a yet unfinished product.

At least I hope that’s the case.

There are numerous shots that feel very “static,” lacking in energy and purpose to a degree that they feel almost amateurish.

Seriously man, count how many shots there are of single characters, standing in boring and vacant locations.

"DURRR!!! I'M THE BLACK WIDOW AND I JUST FARTED A BUS EXPLOSION! DURRR!!!"

Chances are you’ll run out of fingers and toes on that one.

At the same time, many of the FX shots, particularly some of the exploding cars, look to me as if they are meant to be templates for CGI compositing.

It’s rare to see explosions in Hollywood films these days where the detonation source and materials seem plainly visible, and as such; I wouldn’t be surprised if the aforementioned exploding car shots are awaiting some sort of energy beam effects to cover all that up.

It’s funny, as I write this nitpicky article, I can’t help but be reminded of the early trailers for Iron Man.

I remember seeing the early TV spots for Iron Man, and being largely unimpressed.

I don’t know if you recall, but the pacing of these commercials was very weak, and some of the effects shots were not quite finished, resulting in advertisements that didn’t at all reflect the awesomeness of the final product.

Compare this early TV spot:

To the later released full trailer here:

Not only is the composition better, the special effects, particularly in the “tank shot” sequence, are rendered with more detail and smoother animation.

When you’re dealing with effects heavy films like this, it’s entirely possible that the computer effects crew will end up working on the project up until the release date.

While I could be wrong, I’m really hoping this is the case with The Avengers, as while it looks totally acceptable at this point, it doesn’t look at all exceptional.

What else can I say about this?:

Captain America’s costume looks a little bit too stretchy and “pajama-y” for me to give it a thumbs up.

Am I wrong in thinking it looks kind of like the live-action Kick-Ass costume?

Hank Pym should get a nod or a cameo, as I’d love to see The Vision or Ultron show up in a movie someday.

Kudos to the marketing department for excluding any and all shots of the Avengers working together or “assembling,” as that’s one of those oh-so-important fanboy moments that’s probably best left for the theaters.

Here’s hoping Agent Coulson gets an action beat somewhere in there, ’cause he’s been consistently fun over the years.

I’ve got my fingers crossed that the always solid Jeremy Renner won’t suck as Hawkeye… ‘Cause let’s face it: he’s Hawkeye.

"Who? Me?"

For once I’m actually hoping Joss Whedon decides to “George Lucas” his movie with distracting lights and colors in every shot.

Seriously man, this is the fuckin’ Avengers movie.

It’s only gonna’ premiere once, and you’ve been hyping it for like 4-5 years now.

Go balls out, or don’t waste my motherfuckin’ time.

No Avengers film, or any film for that matter, should have boring-ass shots of The Black Widow standing ever so casually in front of pitiful exploding buses, or for that matter; Nick Fury firing rocket launchers while standing in front of my dad’s garage.

BOH-RRRRRIIIIING.

Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got to say on this one, hopefully it turns out fun for everyone, ’cause at this point if any one film this coming year could hope make good on that promise, it’d have to be The Avengers.

If it does in fact start to suck when I’m in the theater though, I know exactly the phrase that’s going to come to mind:

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Marvel’s Movies Are About To Get Weird…

So, at this point pretty much everyone’s excited about The Avengers movie, right?

Well, good, ’cause once that’s come and gone, (roughly by the year 2014) there’s a good chance we’re all gonna’ be in for a shit ton of weird, and potentially awful Marvel films for the forseeable future.

After the dust has settled on all of Marvel’s A-list adaptations, the Spider-Mans and the Avengers related stuff; it’s inevitable that Marvel is going to be forced to branch out, and whore out some of their more obscure characters to the movie industry.

Maybe that means we'll finally see a Sleepwalker movie! Sarcasm: It's For Dinner.

Then again, DC and Warner Bros. Animation have been so weary of producing anything outside of Batman and Superman related projects, that it’s starting to seem kind of pathetic.

Now, it’s hard to deny that superhero movies are, at their core; inherently strange and mildly inaccessible to non-comic fan audiences, but there’s just some characters that work better than others.

For instance, something along the lines of Iron Man is far more likely to succeed, both critically and financially; than something totally fucked up and off-the-wall like….. Oh, I don’t know, MAN-THING.

He's kind of like Swamp Thing. Only y'know, more man and less swamp.

Thus is the reason we will likely end up with an Iron Man trilogy, a Thor trilogy, a Captain America trilogy; and only 1 shitty Elektra film.

While announcements for movies like sequels to the abysmal Ghost Rider, as well as reboots, and sequels to said yet-to-be-released reboots of Spider-Man are somewhat alarming/confusing, the really weird shit comes in the form of the recently announced Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy films.

Dr. Strange has never really been my cup of tea when it comes to comic characters, and as such I don’t know much about him or his history; but I can you this:

Dr. Stephen Strange is deus ex machina on 2 fucking legs.

In the world of Marvel comics, “magic” is one of those ongoing plot contrivances that just never really got hammered out to the point of being what one would call “fair.”

Magic does shit in Marvel, and really that’s about the extent of the restraints that have been placed on it’s capability.

Dr. Strange’s magic is like Kenshiro’s Hokuto Shinken, only without the head explosions.

In other words, much in the way Ken can cure cancer and explode body parts using the power of martial arts, Dr. Strange can do ANY FUCKING THING HE NEEDS TO so long as the plot demands he do so.

Special thanks to whoever saved me the time of making this for myself.

This works in the comics, because let’s face it, Dr. Strange is a comic book hero, and his stories are naturally kind of cheesy/stupid, but mostly acceptable given the standards of the medium.

Movies deserving of the same combination of adjectives, even when based on comics, are often easily dismissed by critics and audiences alike.

Best of luck to the screenwriter who has the honor of inevitably toning down Dr. Strange’s power set in favor of injecting drama into the story, only to end up creating a boring film that ends up being hated by all 5 of the the Doc’s hardcore fans for that very reason.

Moving on, as awesome as The Guardians of the Galaxy comic has been over the past 5 years or so, the idea of even trying to do the series justice on film, particularly in regards to it’s earliest storylines; just seems ludicrous.

I double-fucking-dare you to name even one of these guys.

The cosmic universe of Marvel has always been great, but rarely, if ever; accessible to any degree.

Hell, I’ve been reading Marvel comics my whole life and even I have to rely on the index and character biographies in between issues of Annihilation and War of Kings to keep me up to speed.

In short, Guardians of the Galaxy, a story about a ragtag group of warriors from nearly extinct alien races teaming up to save the universe from the monster-of-the-week just doesn’t strike me as something everyone’s gonna’ bite for.

Knowing Hollywood and their fascination with impossibly bankable, wisecracking animal mascots, the whole movie was probably green-lit solely on the marketability of Rocket Raccoon.

Haha! It's funny 'cause he's cute and little but talks like a bad-ass! Sarcasm: It's For Dessert.

I mean yeah, the story has color going for it in the sense that it offers filmmakers the chance to throw lots of flashy effects and unique characters at the audience, but reeling it all in and trying to find a way to do so in a fashion that could be interesting, let alone comprehensible to typical audiences, seems like a near insurmountable task.

Then again, I suppose there’s a reason some screenwriters and filmmakers get paid the big bucks to prove dumb ass bloggers like me wrong from year to year.

Make no mistake, I’m happy to see any comic book movies, good or bad; make it to the theaters, I’m merely venting my skepticism now, so I can eat my own words and blog about how awesome these movies look whenever the first trailers come out.

That being said, I’d just like to say that if Marvel is willing to take the massive risk of making a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, then why the fuck don’t they buckle down and make a Moon Knight one!?

I ask you: Who in their right mind WOULDN'T want to see THIS on the big screen!?

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Cowboys & Aliens Was… Alright

*Warning! Extraordinarily minor spoilers ahead! Read at your own risk!*

I had a good feeling coming into Cowboys & Aliens.

As detailed in some of my previous posts, I found both the premise and the surprisingly straight-laced advertising campaign of the film to be provocative to my tastes.

I like cowboy movies.

I like alien movies.

A movie that slams both of genres together, while maintaining some semblance of seriousness should be the stuff of dreams, right?

Well, as it turns out, Cowboys & Aliens didn’t really live up to the sum of it’s (considerable) parts.

Despite a terrific cast, a solid premise, and one of the goofiest titles to a summer blockbuster this side of Snakes on a Plane, Cowboys & Aliens failed to be little more than “alright” in my eyes.

I won’t go into any details of the plot, but I will say this:

It’s predictable to the point in which a major character arc was spoiled for me IN THE TRAILERS, and there are more than a few moments towards the end that had me and my friend referencing Independence Day.

We also had a mutual flashback to Total Recall at one point, but that may have just been the 2 of us being weird… And dorky.

"Quaid... Quaid... Start the reactor... FREE MARS..."

The first half is decent enough, with a slow burn sort of pacing that would lead you to believe the second half is going to have some sort of pay-off; only for the climax to come lurching into the view and offer absolutely zero sense of satisfaction to the audience.

Put it this way, if you’re looking for good action, or even aliens doing cool shit with cool toys; Cowboys & Aliens is not the movie for you.

Truth be told, that was probably one of my biggest issues with the movie:

The damn aliens turned out to be one trick ponies!

When you think aliens of the technologically advanced variety, inevitably one’s mind pictures them using said technology to their advantage.

While it made me happy to see that the aliens featured in the movie weren’t complete feebs like some of the “green men” of old, I gotta’ say, and this is only a minor spoiler, after watching an alien do his spear/chokeslam combo to a horse for the 50th time inside of 20 minutes, I started to get kind of bored.

Remember, this is coming from someone who would tell you the best part of Inception was when Joseph Gordon-Levitt choked a dude out while hanging upside down.

ECW! ECW! ECW!

Don’t get me wrong, I likes me some chokeslamming aliens as much as the next guy, but when that’s all they ever fucking do; well, it gets old.

There’s a reason a chokeslam is a finisher, and that’s because it has a lot more impact when it’s used to finish people as opposed to all the fucking time.

Long story short, if you saw a trailer for Cowboys & Aliens, congratulations; you’ve seen every fuckin’ trick the aliens have up their sleeves with the exception of spears and chokeslams.

That being said, it needs to be said that the acting of the movie were actually pretty good.

Then again, with a cast that consists of the likes of Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, Clancy Brown, Olivia Wilde, Toad Face, and ADAM FUCKING BEACH; it’s kind of hard to fuck up in the acting department.

Craig didn’t really bring anything to the table in terms of emotional weight or investment, but I gotta’ say; the man has the perfect silhouette for a Western.

Even if all he did was stand in this movie, he still would've done better than half the cast.

Seriously man, I don’t know if he went to mime school or anything, but the way Daniel Craig hold’s his arms, the way he plants his feet just the right distance apart; he really just looks like a savage-ass cowboy hero.

Given the limitations of the script, it’s hard to say whether Craig could’ve done better in the role or not, but in all honesty; I think he did just fine looking the part if nothing else.

Moving on, Harrison Ford growled and scowled his way through the movie as kind of curmudgeonly old, post-war Indiana Jones.

He’s quite hammy throughout the film, though never pandering; but in his quieter moments, particularly with Toad Face and ADAM FUCKING BEACH, he manages to steal the show from time to time.

Outside of these 2, the rest of the cast was a little subdued, to the point of being kind of a let down.

Clancy Brown was more Mr. Krabs than The Kurgan, Olivia Wilde may as well have been window dressing, Toad Face was even uglier than he was in The Last Airbender, Sam Rockwell had a funny ad-lib here and there, but was unfortunately cast as a sniveling loser.

Despite this, ADAM FUCKING BEACH managed to have a few good moments, though many of them were squandered by him being cast (as tends to happen when you’re one of like 3 Natives in Hollywood) as the stereotypical “Spiritually Strong and Morally Pure Native Dude.”

ADAM. FUCKING. BEACH.

A cowboy movie with stereotypes?

Surely you jest…

That being said, Cowboys & Aliens was far from a let down, but nowhere near as good as I would’ve hoped.

In general, the movie felt like it was rolling down a hill in neutral.

While I tend to like Jon Favreau as a director, the Iron Man movies and now Cowboys & Aliens have me convinced that the man needs to work on his pacing when it comes to making popcorn movies.

The action scenes were plainly choreographed and devoid of drama, largely amounting to scattered shots of cowboys shooting AT POINT BLANK RANGE, and aliens tackling them shortly thereafter.

By the way, make sure to pay attention to the number of cowboys featured in the finale, as personally; I found that I saw more cowboys die than they actually started out with.

Anyway, the movie was “alright,” but nowhere near The Valley of Gwangi in terms of cowboy vs. the monster of the week novelty.

Captain America totally kicked this movies’ ass…

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Early Avengers Poster Makes Me Feel All Warm And Fuzzy Inside

Photo courtesy of Toplessrobot.com. Hope they don't mind...

It’s funny, even though this is nothing but a (official) photoshopped mock-up of what a real poster for The Avengers might look like; it actually looks kind of good to me.

These days I find myself actually consciously trying harder to be excited/positive about things; and it’s quality products like this one that make said task just a little bit easier to manage.

Probably the coolest part about the poster, at least to me; is that it serves as my first real look at what all the live-action versions of the Avengers look like next to one another.

While I have no idea whether the art design for all the Avengers tie-in films has been directed by the same crew/individual, I must say; the character designs gel together quite nicely.

With the exception of maybe Thor, the costumes all bear a weighty, leathery, almost utilitarian feel to them that gives them that always appealing combo of being “ornate, yet plausible.”

Much unlike anything seen in Final Fantasy, which tends to throw "plausible" out the window.

Hell even Hulk, with his more streamlined Incredible Hulk look; seems to fit in quite well.

Hawkeye’s digs seem perhaps a little too subdued for my tastes, however I can definitely understand why Marvel would want to turn down the guy’s purple quotient; as much like Jem, in the comics it is truly outrageous.

Truly, Truly, Truly Outrageous!

On a side note, Iron Man’s design appears to have been altered since Iron Man 2, as evidenced by the gray patches on his collar.

Though it may just be an artist’s flub, the shape of the glow on his chest emblem looks more round than triangular to me; leading me to assume that either:

A): Tony Stark decided to reshape his new element core into a circle for aesthetic purposes.

B):  Severely inebriated and desperate for a way show the world how fat his cock is, Tony Stark decided to outfit his newest armor with one of his old and HIGHLY TOXIC palladium cores.

C):  I’m wrong, and his chest emblem is in fact triangular.

or D):  The poster artist isn’t as OCD as the average comic fan and/or hasn’t seen Iron Man 2.

My vote would go to option A, though if you’re going by some of the comics, option B is equally plausible.

Option C is of course a statistical impossibility, and was only suggested in jest.

"I am so smart! S-M-R-T!"

Anyway, I know it’s cheesy, I know it’s childish; but for whatever reason, this poster pleases me.

It’s exceedingly well designed, the colors have been tweaked to vivid perfection, and seeing all of the characters posing together makes me believe the movie could work.

Now let’s just hope Captain America doesn’t drop the fuckin’ ball next month and kill my buzz…

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Lazy Badger In Olympia


In case you can’t tell, (and I know you can’t) the photo above is of a good buddy of mine wearing my Rey Mysterio Jr. mask that I wore on my trip to Portland awhile back.

Yeah, expect to see photos of that stupid mask every time I go on a vacation/trip.

Not that that’s gonna’ happen all too often or anything…

Anyway, I apologize for the utter craptacular-ness of the picture quality, it was taken on short notice, at night, in poor lighting, with a shitty cellphone camera.

As you can probably tell from the title of this post, I went down to Olympia today, the town I attended college in; to visit friends.

Being as it’s not all too often I get a chance to talk about it, I figure I should mention that the guy in the photo used to be my boss.

Don’t get the wrong idea, we’re good buddies, and likely always will be; but it was he who got me my first “real” job as his assistant at a (now defunct) graphic and web design company that he was a partner in.

Anyway, being as he’s my buddy, I think I’ll take this opportunity to plug his awesome new business/website:

KRAKEN DESIGN

Click the link or die.

That being said, I did my good deed for the day, and as such; I feel it’s only appropriate that I close things by posting another embarrassing photo of my buddy wearing a stupid mask.

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Demon’s Souls: Conquered

*Ahem!* I win...

*WARNING! SPOILER ALERT PERTAINING TO END GAME EVENTS.  NO SPECIFICS, BUT IF YOU REALLY WANT THE END-GAME TO BE A SURPRISE, TURN BACK NOW!*

Last night was easily one of the worst of my life.

Don’t expect this to happen on this blog all too often, but I’m sorry to say that my experience of being stuck in a snowy traffic jam in the Seattle area for 6 hours straight was horrible to the point in which I don’t think I want to share the details.

Seriously, it was that bad.

Anyway, as a result of getting home from work at around 11:30 PM, as well has having my body be a complete wreck as a result of the harsh cold and tight confines of my car, I decided that I simply could not allow myself to go to work today.

Despite this, Amazon saw fit to penalize me for doing so; even going so far as to call me in the morning to chastise me for my actions.

Though I love buying products the company, working for Amazon gives me an insight into the inner workings of their ground-level management that really leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Oh well, it’s a job, and that’s more than a lot of people have at the moment, so I’m thankful.

Moving on, as any self-respecting survivor of a 6 hour traffic jam would do, I decided to use my self-enforced day off from work to play Demon’s Souls.

No way was I gonna’ go outside today, even to pick up a copy of The Expendables.

I’ll do that tomorrow…

*Ahem!* Anyway, in short; I managed to beat Demon’s Souls today.

Much like the rest of the game’s limited story sequences, the end of the game was quite flat, and very much anti-climactic.

Truth be told, it had been so long since I had started the game (just over 20 hours of game time) that I honestly didn’t even remember who the last boss was, or why I was fighting him for that matter.

In either case, the last boss was pathetic.

Like, “he couldn’t hit me if he tried,” pathetic.

On one level, this was quite disappointing, as many of the earlier boss fights in the game were quite epic, and fairly inspired in how the actual battles were carried out.

At the same time though, as I recall bits and pieces of the supposed “story” of Demon’s Souls, (seriously, there’s not much to be found) I’m starting to understand that the final boss of the game was supposed to be a pitiful creature, to the point where it’s ironic that it serves as the game’s final challenge.

Demon’s Souls was an excellent game.

While it indeed has flaws, as pretty much any game does; it benefits from an indefinable element in it’s gameplay and presentation, a “hook” that serves to draw in a certain demographic of gamers.

As it turns out, I fit pretty well into that particular category of gamer, as I enjoyed my time with Demon’s Souls.

In regards to it’s vaunted, and supposedly impenetrable difficulty level, I have this to say:

The game is indeed quite difficult, but only if you’re bull-headed and refuse to adhere to the “rules” of the game.

The gameplay of Demon’s Souls is methodical and rigid, meaning the game is difficult; but everything has a rhythm and a weakness, so it’s up to you the player to determine these factors before charging headlong into things.

Hell, I game in practically reverse order, resulting in most of the enemies being far too powerful for me to handle most of the time, and yet in the end, I managed to get past them all through careful planning and observation.

As you play Demon’s Souls, just remind yourself:

The game is challenging, not unfair.

If you get pissed and break your controller when you die in a game, then I’m sorry, Demon’s Souls is probably not for you.

Seriously, controllers are what, $50?

You’d be bankrupt in a week.

If however, you take every death in the game as a sign of your own failings, an indication that you could’ve played better or smarter, then chances are you’ll have a lot of fun with Demon’s Souls.

Now that I’m done with my little advertisement for the game, I feel I should take a moment to talk about some of the random things that stuck out to me in my first playthrough of Demon’s Souls:

I was a little upset at the very limited selection of armors I ran across in the game.

While it’s probably my fault moreso than the game’s, I found that as a Knight, I only ended up changing my armor maybe twice throughout the entirety of the game.

Maybe it’s just because I selected a Knight, who just happens to start out with some the better starting equipment, but I felt myself getting bored of constantly finding new weapons and equipment, but never finding an armor that was good enough to switch over to.

Seriously man, I ended up beating the game wearing Mirdan armor, something the Temple Knight starts the game out with if I recall.

To me, that’s the equivalent of watching a version of the Iron Man movie where Tony Stark remains in the original Iron Man suit throughout the entire movie.

That’s that just plain sad.

Another quick thing, from a gameplay standpoint, those fuckin’ dragons were truly fucking pathetic.

Seriously man, they’re not enemies, or bosses for that matter, they’re fuckin’ scenery.

Destructible scenery that can, and will; wreck your shit 20 times before you figure out how to get past them.

I found one of those dragons on a list of 2009’s worst boss fights, and I can honestly say, whoever wrote that list is certainly justified in doing so.

Don’t ask me how I found the patience to actually kill those motherfuckers, but I did; and that’s largely the reason why I’m writing this “I beat Demon’s Souls, quick everyone, suck my golden cock!” article today instead of a week ago.

Seriously man, that traffic jam last night might’ve taken 6 hours of my life, but I’ll be damned if those dragons didn’t take at least an hour between the 2 of them.

Other than that, I think that’s about all I’ve got to say about Demon’s Souls for now.

Now that I’m done with the game, I think I’m gonna’ move on to something radically different.

With Metal Gear Solid 4 as my first PS3 game, followed by Demon’s Souls, I think it’s time I played something besides a 3rd person action game.

My gut is telling me to try Valkyria Chronicles, but I’m also leaning towards something a little more mindless like UFC: Undisputed 2010 (*Gasp!* but Azn Badger, I thought you hated the UFC!?).

At the same time though, who knows; maybe I’ll surprise even myself and hop back on the Final Fantasy wagon, of which I’ve been off ever since VIII.

There’s a lot of great games out there for the PS3, old and new; so feel free to let me know what I should look into.

Anyway, happy snow day to me; hopefully everyone drove safe this evening!

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“What Do You Know, Blu-Ray Really Is Better…”

When it comes to home video mediums, I’m not a fan of changing formats.

For the first half of my life, VHS was the end all be all home video format.

If you wanted to buy a movie, you did so in the form of purchasing a fuzzy, artifact ridden VHS cassette.

Well, that is unless you were one of those hipster-douchebags that had a Beta player, or worse yet; a fuckin’ Laserdisc…

Anyway, the point is; for most of my life, there was one way to watch a movie.

All of that changed around the time I was just getting into high school, with the advent of DVD.

While DVD had been already been around for some time, from my perspective, it really hadn’t “caught on” with the general public until the early 2000’s.

Kind of like how CD’s have been around forever, but it wasn’t until sometime in the early 90’s that it truly became mainstream.

Being as I was a very young badger of 13, with no income of my own; DVD failed to capture my interest in any way.

Everyone knew the image quality was superior.

Everyone knew the sound quality was clearer.

Everyone knew that DVD was, on paper; better than VHS.

Only thing was, no one I knew, myself included, ever actually watched a movie on DVD.

While many of my friend’s families would go on to hop on the bandwagon and purchase DVD players, my household would remain without digital video for little longer than most.

That all changed in 2001, when my mother surprised my brother and I with a Playstation 2 that Christmas, despite preemptively outright telling us that we weren’t going to get one.

Mothers:  You can grow up all you want, but they still fuckin’ own your ass…

I’ll never forget that Christmas, as it was a particular emotional time for our household, and I suppose the PS2 helped a little too.

Anyway, as you probably know, one of the pluses of owning a Playstation product, is the fact that it doubles as a media player.

The original Playstation served as my CD player, (not that I had any CD’s…) and the Playstation 2 would go on to serve as my first DVD player.

True, it was a shitty DVD player with some of the muddiest and darkest fuckin’ image quality imaginable, but it was a DVD player nonetheless.

Despite having never really given much thought to the idea of owning a DVD player, my Playstation 2 took my thoughts and considerations on the matter and basically shouted in my ear:

LET ME TELL YAH’ SOMETHIN’ BROTHER!  YOU’VE GOT A DVD PLAYER WHETHER YAH’ LIKE OR NOT NOW, BROTHER!  SO GET OUT THERE AND BUY SOME DVD’S DUDE!  SHOW ‘EM WHAT HULKAMANIA’S ALL ABOUT, BROTHER!”

Okay, so maybe my PS2 wasn’t possessed by the wayward spirit of the still-living Hulk Hogan, but you get my meaning.

With the tools to explore the medium now at my command, I set out into the world to grab a DVD, and finally see what the big fuckin’ deal was.

I’ll give you one guess as to what my very first DVD purchase was.

If you guess Rocky, Godzilla, or some form of kung fu movie, *BUZZ!* you’d be wrong!

The Azn Badger’s very first DVD, was in fact:

Transformers: The Movie.

Haha!  I know, awesome, right?

Watching Transformers The Movie on DVD for the first time was like seeing it for the first time.

For one thing, my original VHS copy of the movie was in fact just that, a ratty-ass copy recorded from an original rented from Blockbuster.

The difference in image and sound quality was like night and day.

Despite the perks of the enhanced audio and video, by far my favorite innovation that DVD brought to home video, was the chapter select function.

Being able to skip to your favorite parts, without fear of stretching and ruining the tape, was a godsend.

Seriously, do you know how many movies I have in my DVD library that are good for only 1 or 2 scenes?

Let me put it this way:

Without chapter select, I probably wouldn’t own half the movies I do.

Anyway, the point of this post, is to point out that, for maybe the 3rd time in a row, a Sony Playstation has served as my “ambassador” to a new medium of digital entertainment.

I’m of course referring to the new standard HD video disc medium: Blu-Ray.

As was the case with DVD, I wasn’t all that thrilled at the prospect of switching to Blu-Ray.

I loved my big-ass DVD collection, and the idea of turning my back on the medium I had grown so comfortable with, just felt wrong.

Then something inside me changed.

As I sat watching my very first Blu-Ray, Iron Man 2; on my Playstation 3, I came to realize that my reservations were unfounded.

Just as was the case with DVD, I was blown away by a format that, on paper; was regarded as “better.”

From a visual standpoint, Blu-Ray really was something to behold.

Like with VHS and DVD, it really was; night and day.

While Blu-Ray has yet to bring a major innovation like chapter select to the table, it still needs to be said; the visual one-up is downright spellbinding.

Now, don’t write me off as some videophile fanboy for Blu-Ray, as that’s hardly the truth.

As of now, I’ve only seen 1 Blu-Ray movie, and it was a brand new and intensely visual film, perfect to test the strengths of the medium with.

I’m sure Blu-Rays of older, less visual films are far less impressive.

At present, I’m thinking of maintaining my purchases of DVDs for films that aren’t deserving of the extra graphical fidelity I.E. dramas or comedies, while reserving Blu-Ray purchases for “louder” shit like Avatar or Iron Man.

While I’m not ready to go all-in on Blu-Ray as of yet, my reasoning behind this post, is that I want to point out that this is a road I’ve been down before.

I switched from cassettes to CDs.

I switched fromVHS to DVD, and willingly at that.

While I’m not sure I’ll be switching from DVD to Blu-Ray wholeheartedly any time soon, the point is; I’m no longer afraid to.

Change is not always a bad thing.

It may be uncomfortable, or worse yet; inconvenient, but the point is, we’ve all done it before and the world kept turning regardless.

Filed under: Comics, Games, Kung Fu, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Let’s Look at Comics: Dark Reign – The List: Punisher #1

Hey everybody!  Once again, it’s time to look at comics!  Today we’re going to be looking at the Marvel one-shot, Dark Reign – The ListPunisher #1.


A word to the uninitiated, Dark Reign is not a character or book series in the Marvel universe, but rather a company wide story arc.

Specifically, Dark Reign is the period of time in which Norman Osborn AKA the Green Goblin and former dead guy, has control of U.S. national security, an era that is just now coming to an end with the coming Heroic Age.

How did this happen?  Well, the Skrulls (shapeshifting alien douchebags with wrinkly chins) showed up a few years back, and during an event called Secret Invasion, raped our nation’s defense network.

IT'S A FUCKING DONKEY! I MEAN, SKRULL!!!!!

Said defense systems just happened to be manufactured and regulated by Tony Stark AKA Iron Man, who also happens to be the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. following his victory during Civil War, which took place just prior to the Invasion.

Long story short, Norman Osborn lands the killing blow against the Skrull Queen, and is somehow promoted to hero status in the public eye, which he then parlays into usurping Tony Stark’s control of S.H.I.E.L.D.

*Whew!* Now that we’ve gotten all that nonsense out of the way, we can finally get to opening the damn book!

...but not before we get past the Nissan ad.

Right off the bat, our first page is… explanation detailing what happened earlier in the Punisher comics during Dark Reign.

Okay, fine your majesty, I shall summarize:

The Punisher wasn’t too happy about a total nutjob like Norman Osborn taking control of S.H.I.E.L.D., (now changed to the more AMERICAN sounding, H.A.M.M.E.R.) so he did what any concerned citizen would do, and tried to put a couple of bullets in Osborn’s head.

I think it goes without saying that the Punisher missed, no thanks to that golden-haired son-of-a-fuck, The Sentry.

Sentry = This, with a golden costume and oh yeah, RETARDED.

Naturally, Osborn wasn’t too happy about the whole attempted murder thing, and thusly decided to use our tax dollars to send a fleet of space ships and a few hundred soldiers after old man Frank.

I like how this story is a one-shot, usually requiring no prior knowledge of previous storylines to be enjoyed.

One-shot my ass…

Anyway, our story opens with a quote from James Thurber:

Pretty deep for a comic that opens with a Nissan ad.

In case you’re wondering, James Thurber was cartoonist and writer for the New Yorker back in the 20’s.

You can thank Wikipedia for that last bit.

We are then treated to a page of some kid leaving a message on the Punisher’s voicemail while zipping off walls and over peoples’ heads on his hoverboard.

Fortunately he knows better than to take it over water.  Everyone knows you can’t do that; unless you’ve got power.

So sayeth Jason Scott Lee...

Anyway, this kid, named Henry by the way, is apparently trying to get a hold of Frank because he’s been “trolling”  H.A.M.M.E.R.’s networks, and apparently he caught word that Osborn is just about to launch his big push against the Punisher.

I don’t see how posting photos of penises on H.A.M.M.E.R.’s forums would be at all helpful to the Punisher, but oh well, I’m not about to pretend that I give two shits about Henry and what he does with his intersnatch.

Meanwhile, Osborn is floating above New York in his pimp-ass helicarrier, when one of his goons walks over to him to ask for permission to implement operation “Nuke-the-shit-out-of-the Punisher.”

"Sir, may I lick your cock?" "No, you can SUCK my cock."

Our next page opens with the Punisher hanging out in his “Punisher Van,” heating up some cocoa and ignoring Henry’s phone calls like a dude.

This page also serves as our introduction to “Punisher Speak.”

Punisher Speak consists solely of a combination of sentence fragments, gallows humor, and man-isms.

If the text box isn’t black, or the text doesn’t have an ellipses in it, it’s not Punisher Speak.

Interior decorator, he is not.

Despite missing Henry’s call, the “Punisher Van’s” perimeter alarm goes off, tipping our hero off to Osborn’s approach.

Subtle man that he is, Osborn begins his assault by doing this:

The land of the free, and the home of the THWAADOOOOOOMMM!!!!

Despite the fireworks, H.A.M.M.E.R. determines that the Punisher managed to avoid the blast.

Osborns’s first reaction is to sick a shadowy figure named Daken, after the Punisher.

Oh yeah, then he sends EVERY FUCKING MAN HE’S GOT.

... and yet I'm not worried. Maybe it has something to do with their goofy get-ups.

With Osborn’s goons on the way, the Punisher reveals to us just how he managed to survive the explosion that his pimpin’ van could not.

In between a full page ad for Halo: ODST, of course.

...Okay, so his face grew into his crotch, what else is new?

Pym Particles are, in the Marvel universe, a special form of radiation created by Dr. Henry Pym AKA Ant Man/Giant Man/Yellow Jacket/Goliath/The Wasp/Scientist Supreme, that allow one to manipulate the size of objects and living things.

Evidently, the Punisher used them here to shrink himself to an atomic size so as avoid the THWAADOOOOOOMMM!!!!

*Ahem!* SCIENCE.

With this, the Punisher takes off down an alleyway, whereupon he happens upon Henry, still crusin’ around on his hoverboard.

The Punisher greets him as only he can do.

A conversationalist, he is not.

With Henry safely tucked away in a dumpster, the Punisher finds himself set upon by Osborn’s glider troops.

In response, the Punisher, principled man that he is, elects to handle them using non-lethal measures involving, I shit you not:  a bullwhip.

What kind of Indiana Jones bullshit is that!?

He’s got Pym Particles and a fucking “Punisher Van” and he resorts to using a fucking whip?

C’mon now Frank, you can do better than that…

You see, there are two kinds of Punishers in the Marvel universe, the “suit” Punisher, and the “Max” Punisher, from the main Marvel continuity and the Max universe respectively.

The “suit” Punisher is the one with the skin-tight body suit that used all sorts of hokie sci-fi guns designed to make his arsenal seem more “friendly” and more accessible to the kiddies.

The “Max” Punisher walks around in a trench coat and a wife-beater and gets the job done by gutting people and feeding them to animals n’shit.

Just remember, “Max” Punisher’s been to ‘Nam, “suit” Punisher shops at The Sharper Image.

In either case, both drive a fucking awesome van.

Personally, I prefer Max Punisher, but that's just me.

‘Ole Frank manages to evade the glider troops pretty well, walking away with only a single laser wound to his leg, oddly enough, just as he’s reaching for some sort of “Punisher Shield” thingy.

Just a scratch really, no big deal.

Eventually he manages to escape to the sewers, where he proceeds to internally monologue to himself about things… mainly the hole in his leg and how the shit seeping into the wound builds character.

Gallows humor, check. Black text boxes, check. Where's the damn ellipses?

Remember that shadowy guy I mentioned earlier?  Daken?

Well, he decides to use this opportunity to make his big entrance.

Well now, that's just plain impolite, not even saying "hello."

Now you’re probably asking yourself: “Isn’t that Wolverine?”

Well, you’d be close, but you’d also be wrong, dumbass.

Look at the guy’s claws, he’s got two where the ‘Ole Canuckle Head has three.

I know, I'm retarded.

Okay, fine.  Daken does in fact have three claws, the third is housed on the inside of his wrist.

Dork-isms aside, Daken is actually Wolverine’s son from a previous relationship involving a Japanese woman named Itsu.

Long story short, Itsu got killed, Daken had a shitty childhood, and now he hates Wolverine… ’cause I guess he has nothing better to do.

Daken has all of Wolverine’s powers, except his claws are lined with the metal of a cursed sword (don’t ask) called the Muramasa, and he can manipulate his pheromones to the point of granting him limited control over others.

Basically he’s Wolverine, but EEEVVIIIIIILLLLLLL…

Cut to bad-ass fight scene.

"Frank Castle was sadly SHWUNKK'ed today. His last words were "RHGGAA!"

As evil and as vicious as Daken can be however, remember, this is ‘Ole Frank he’s tangling with here.

Surely he’s gonna’ have some sort of crazy bazooka or wicked-ass gadget he can whip out to save the day…

"YEERGGAAHGHH!! I said "No" Frank, not on the first date!"

…but I guess biting works too.

…and shooting.

…yup, shooting still works.

Despite all that GLAZZAT-ing, Daken’s broken-ass healing factor keeps him good and healthy.

In fact the only real damage he seems to have incurred is a side-ache with a little bit of a cough.

Okay, so the whole "swimming in dookie" thing didn't bother you, but the GLAZZAT-ing did? What kind of bullshit is that?

Taking Daken’s fat-kid side-ache as a window of opportunity, Frank hops out of the sewer and up to the surface.

But not without leaving Daken a parting gift, of course.

Uh oh Daken, I think your Tamagotchi's having suicidal thoughts...

Trust me when I tell you, there is an explosion on the next panel.

We then cut back to Frank as he stares down about a hundred or so of Osborn’s glider troops.

Frank’s mind immediately jumps to poop jokes.

A comedian, he is not.

Before the glider troops can have their way with Frank however, Daken suddenly appears behind him.

Daken talks some shit, but before he can get too out of hand, Punisher shuts him up and is all like, “Come’n git’ it son.”

What follows is probably the most violent fight I have ever read in the standard Marvel continuity.

But first…

BUTT.

Yup, they interrupted the most bad-ass fight ever, with butt.

ANYWAY, where were we?

Oh yeah:

BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDD

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

Unfortunately, that last hit to the throat seems to slow Frank down a little bit, (that other shit though, that wasn’t nothin’) and Daken starts his shit talkin’ again.

Although unlike some shit talkers, Daken seems to be able to back up his bravado pretty well.

Case in point:

"Don't worry kids, I'm sure Uncle Frank has a way outta' this..."

"...Yup kids, all part of the plan..."

"...All part of the, aw hell, he's fuckin'dead kids."

No wait, just one more:

Just breaks your heart, doesn't it?

It’s funny, I don’t even think the Punisher and Daken had met up to this point in the comics.

You see boys and girls, this is what happens when a “new” writer (Rick Remender) takes charge of a character (The Punisher), while at the same time receiving orders from the higher-ups in the company to “push” a brand new character (Daken).

At least, that’s how they do things in pro-wrestling anyway.

Remember that one time when the WWF tried to “push” Kevin Nash AKA Diesel into replacing Shawn Michaels as the top dog in the industry?

Yeah, that didn’t go so hot.

Kevin Nash, you were fun to play as in WCW vs. NWO, but other than that, you can suck a dick.

I’ve never been a reader of “suit” Punisher stories.

I always found the idea of a PG-13 Punisher a little bit strange given the fact that he generally shoots people to shit every chance he gets.

“Max” Punisher however, is something I read religiously until Garth Ennis left the series.

I bought this comic because, well, IGN gave it a high rating.  That, and I genuinely cared to see how they went about killing off the Punisher, even if it was just the “suit” Punisher.

I can’t say I was impressed by the storytelling in this comic, but I will say this, John Romita Jr. knows how to draw violence.

I’ve always felt that Romita Jr.’s finest moments came almost 20 years ago, (his blocky characters seem a little raggedy nowadays, too much so) but the sheer violence and spectacle of this, a one-shot with a relatively small budget and production timetable, is pretty damn impressive by anyone’s standards.

Anyway, it’s been fun, hopefully it was as good for you as it was for me.

With that, I leave you with this preview image for the first cover to Rick Remender’s follow-up story for the Punisher:  FrankenCastle.

Guess it’s true:

In comics, “No one stays dead except Bucky, Jason Todd and Uncle Ben.

Oh wait, out of those three, only Uncle Ben has actually stayed dead.

Oh well, comics are convoluted bullshit, but I love ’em anyway.

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