Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

The Amazing Spider-Man Just Went From “Meh” To “Bleh.”

Pictured: The kind of shit I'd probably do if I had a Spider-Man costume.

*SPOILER ALERT!* If you prefer not to have the appearance of The Lizard from The Amazing-Spider-Man spoiled for you, stop reading NOW! *SPOILER ALERT!*

As goofy as the photos above may be, sadly, they aren’t responsible for my rapidly darkening mood in regards to the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man movie.

It’s funny actually, despite being a reboot of a major Marvel franchise, amid all the buzz surrounding The Avengers, Man of Steel, and The Dark Knight Rises, the production of The Amazing Spider-Man has been somewhat of an enigma as of late.

Unlike fuckin’ Turn Off the Dark

*Shiver* Spider-Man villains putting on a fashion show… The stuff of nightmares I tells yah’.

Truth be told, aside from the infamous “Mirrors Edge trailer,” and a quick article I did a few months back regarding the new costume design, The Amazing Spider-Man has been almost entirely off my radar.

Sure, I grit my teeth a little over the prospect of rebooting a barely 10 year old film series, however outside of that, I really could care less.

I lied. Officially, I care less about Ghost Rider. Don't tell anyone I said that though.

That being said, the one thing that could’ve got me excited about this movie, has just been ruined by a leaked image of a goddamn Pez dispenser.

Allow me to explain.

In my youth, animals were one of my greatest passions, in particular lizards and other reptiles.

At one point the Komodo Dragon was my favorite animal, prompting me to do a number of school projects based around them.

I used to flip through my (vast) collection of Zoobooks just about every fucking day, in particular the reptile and special edition dinosaur issues.

Godzilla was, and still is, one of my biggest heroes.

And when it came to comic book characters, in particular Spider-Man villains, you can sure as hell bet The Lizard was my favorite.

BAAAAADDDD-ASSSSSSSSSSS.

In truth, he was kind of a lame character, particularly in regards to his power set, but even so, I’ve always liked him regardless.

That being said, seeing Dylan Baker cast as Dr. Curt Connors (The Lizard, dumbass) in Spider-Man 2 and 3 was cute in the sense that it paid homage to the greater Marvel universe, (something that has since become widespread) however I’m not gonna’ lie, it sucked some serious balls being teased with the prospect of a Lizard story arc over 2 movies only to end up with the lame-ass, cluttered finale of Spider-Man 3.

Imagine my surprise when it was announced that The Lizard was going to be a/the(?) villain in The Amazing Spider-Man.

Being a Lizard fan, my initial reaction was that of:

“Fuck yeah!”

Despite boasting some decent acting credentials, I still think it’s funny that Welshman Rhys Ifans AKA the Welsh guy from Little Nicky and the Welsh kicker from The Replacements, is going to be playing Curt Connors.

By the way, did I mention he was Welsh?

Seriously though, I really don’t have much of a frame of reference as to whether he’d make a good Lizard, but oddly enough, it’s not him that has me less than thrilled about The Amazing Spider-Man.

Which brings us back to the aforementioned Pez dispenser:

Pictured: An unfortunate shaved monkey dipped in green paint.

While it may not be an official rendering of the character’s design for the upcoming film, or even a reflection of what the character’s final appearance, given the possibility that his transformation in the film may in fact be done progressively instead of all at once; the fact of the matter is:

This looks like fuckin’ garbage.

Seriously man, aside from the green skin, the features of the character don’t even look reptilian to me.

Last time I checked, reptiles, lizards in particular, are noted for their rigid facial structure and beady eyes.

This fuckin’ lizard has his eyes on the front of his face, and doesn’t even have so much as a goddamn snout.

I know they were probably trying to humanize him for dramatic purposes, or more likely, made him more human shaped to make animating his lip movements somewhat easier, but even so; this ain’t the fuckin’ Lizard.

Jesus fuck man, even if you were to put all of my “science-y” gripes aside, at the end of the day this design looks just plain fuckin’ boring.

Probably the worst part though, is the fact that this thing bears an uncanny resemblance to the Goombas from the Super Mario movie:

Cosmic...

And we all know how well that little venture worked out, right?

To whoever designed this Austrian dispenser of confectionery FAIL, congratulations, you have succeeded in making a superhuman lizard-man look boring.

My guess is they recruited the guy that did the Time Ninja cover to do the concept art for The Lizard:

Just in case you forgot...

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“I Don’t Like The Bad Guys Because They’re Bad.”

Of course they picked the ASIAN kid to pose with the robot....

A funny thing happened the other night.

I was helping out on a shoot for Hapstance Films while I was in Portland, and throughout most of the evening I found myself watching X-Men 2 with a little boy that was also involved in the production.

All night long he excitedly ran up to me to show me his robot collection, as well as to exhibit his best Spider-Man and Wolverine impressions.

Me being me, I took a moment to show him how to properly do the web shooting pose with his fingers.

Yup, this.

While I certainly didn’t mean to, I’m pretty sure I inadvertently fucked up his understanding of the Marvel universe.

From what I could tell, everything he knew of the X-Men and Marvel’s other characters was taken from the movies.

I’d imagine this is quite typical among the youth of today, as the comic industry has been dragging it’s shattered bones along from quarter to quarter, while Marvel Entertainment *cough!* DISNEY *cough!* has been whore-ing their products through Hollywood for over decade now.

Forgive me, I love comic book movies as much as the next man, I just can’t help but feel a little tired of saying to myself “It was good, but the comics were better,” every single goddamn time a new one comes out.

Back to the topic at hand.

Perhaps out of boredom, or simply because he kept asking me, quite excitedly, to tell him about every character that appeared in the X-Men films, during the movie I started feeding him factoids about the X-Men ripped straight from the comics.

I told him that Nightcrawler was Mystique’s son.

I told him that “Fire Guy” was named Pyro.

I told him that “Girl Wolverine” was called Lady Deathstrike.

I told him that Wolverine’s real name was James Howlett or Logan, depending on who you ask.

I told him that Cyclops was a lot cooler than he thought, not just because he was badass, but because he wore glasses like me.

At some point though, I stopped playing Yoda/Comic Book Guy and asked the kid if he liked any villains, in the Marvel universe or otherwise.

I was curious because I happened to notice earlier in the evening that whenever he played with robots, the “good” one would always win the fight.

To my surprise, the kid responded by saying:

“No, I don’t like the bad guys.”

So I asked:

“Why not?”

To which he responded quite plainly:

“Because they’re bad!”

I know it shouldn’t have, but this surprised me.

As I type this article, I hold in my hand a recently purchased collected edition of the early 90’s miniseries Venom: Lethal Protector.

Pictured: The cover of the one issue my cousin let me read back in the day. Been wanting to finish the series ever since.

While Lethal Protector is kind a bad example, given that I was much older than the kid in question upon it’s original publication, this does not change the fact that, even in my extreme youth, I always had an appreciation for some of the “bad guys.”

Soundwave was one of my favorite Transformers.

Gigan was one of my favorite Godzilla characters.

It might have been a sign of the times, but in my mind, villains and anti-heroes were very much “in” back in the late-80’s and early-90’s.

While I’m some would disagree, I’ve always thought of the villains as traditionally the more flamboyant and “cooler” characters when compared to their heroic counterparts.

Something about the villain’s ability to bend the rules, especially in regards to superhero stories, just seems to lend them a flexibility of character that makes them feel more three dimensional.

I don’t know if it’s a generational difference or what, but I found it interesting that this kid had his good guys and bad guys so cleanly divided.

I mean think about that, if you were able to look upon things in such black and white terms, things like war movies and professional wrestling would be infinitely more entertaining!

Being able to point at something and know, in your heart, that it’s “bad,” that it’s the enemy; is a luxury of fiction (or in this case, childhood) that I think a lot of people wish would cross over into reality.

When a threat is universal and tangible, it becomes far easier to deal with than the shades of gray bullshit of real life.

Anyway, I don’t really know where I’m going with this, as I’ve got some pretty bad writer’s block and a headache to boot, but I really this interesting.

Sorry for rambling.

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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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Zack Snyder’s Superman Looks Like… Every Zack Snyder Movie Ever

At this point you’ve probably heard that CGI and slow motion enthusiast Zack Snyder will be directing the next Superman film.

If not, congratulation, you have a life and are not a hopeless comic book dork like myself.

As tends to be the case when films make as much money as The Dark Knight did, the folks over at Warner Bros decided to hop on the “let’s not feature the name of the title character in the title” bandwagon, and went ahead and called the film The Man of Steel.

Far be it from me to say that there’s anything wrong with a movie called The Man of Steel, but to me the logic behind that decision seems more than a little transparent.

*ANYWAY* The photo at the top of this post is the first promotional image to be released featuring Henry Cavil donning the iconic Superman costume.

Truth be told, I couldn’t tell you, nor give a fuck to learn, just who Henry Cavil is, or what he’s done; but oh well, I’m just here to talk about the costume.

Strangely enough, the first thing I noticed about this image, was the post-processing and color correction that went into manufacturing it.

Simply put, Zack Snyder’s films have a “look” to them.

In fact, with the exception of the Guardians of Ga’Who-Gives-A-Fuck, an animated children’s film; they all have the same damn “look” to them.

Even though it’s not at all achieved through the use of a filter, I like to call it the “Zack Snyder Filter”:

Zack Snyder: The Unreal Engine of Hollywood

Oh well, I suppose consistency like this is easy to achieve, and mostly forgiveable; when the man’s only made about 5 movies…

Anyway, in looking at the Superman image above, it’s pretty clear that The Man of Steel is going to embody the same aesthetic that Zack Snyder has utilized in virtually all of his films.

That is to say, everything will be grainy and metallic/bronzed, and there will be much slow motion fighting for the sake of… Well, slow motion fighting.

Replace Goku and Frieza with Superman and General Zod and you have Zack Snyder's Superman.

Moving on to the actual costume, in all honesty; I don’t hate it.

Superman’s costume is iconic to the point of being one of, if not the best superhero designs of all time.

To attempt any sort of radical change to the traditional costume is betray the fanbase, shit on the character, and ultimately throw away one of the most perfect distillations of the archetypal golden age caped superhero design.

In other words, when it comes to Superman, you just plain DON’T fuck with the costume.

Otherwise you end up with shit like the “blue” Superman of the 90’s:

May we never speak of this again...

Bearing more than a passing resemblance to the similarly muted Superman Returns costume, The Man of Steel costume seems to keep everything you’d expect in a Superman costume, while bringing very little new to the table.

Oddly enough, the one notable unique quality of the new costume, is the almost chain mail like texture to it.

Bearing more than a passing resemblance to the various Spider-Man movie costumes, as well as some of the redesigns for the Watchmen movie, I find this texture to be distracting and excessively gaudy.

Then again, Zack Snyder films have a tendency to be excessively gaudy as a whole, which would probably result in said extraneous details to be more consistent with the aesthetic of the film, rather than overly extravagant.

In case you couldn’t tell, Zack Snyder would not have been my first choice as director for a Superman film.

Then again, I haven’t really liked a Superman movie since the second one; so it’s hard to say if I’d have confidence in anyone to do justice to the Man of Steel.

Anyway, the costume is kind of “meh,” Henry Cavil has failed to generate enough interest for me to even take a peek at his Imdb page; and in general, I really see no reason to be excited about The Man of Steel at this point.

The Dark Knight Rises on the other hand, now that’s a movie to flip out about and irrationally anticipate despite it’s release date being WAY the fuck out there…

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Are We About To Enter The Age Of Board Game Movies?

Hollywood tends to move in trends.

Really, really, obvious and demeaning trends.

In a market where film studios routinely invest upwards of 100 million dollars on their high profile projects, it only makes sense that producers would display a preference to go with “whatever works.”

According to Michael Bay (and ONLY Michael Bay) this, is what "works."

This of course results in a lot of studios continually aping each other’s films from year to year in hopes of breaking even, or better yet; turning a profit.

In my lifetime alone, I can think of several trends in movies that have come and gone.

Naturally, I have compiled a brief list of said trends:

1. Old TV Show Adaptations

Pictured: One of my favorite films. Hands down.

The first genre trend I noticed, even as a child; was the slew of old TV show (and cartoon) adaptations of the 90’s.

The Brady Bunch, Dennis the Menace, McHale’s Navy, and The Flintstones movies all fell under this umbrella, among a handful of others.

It makes sense, given that Nick at Nite was in the process of becoming an established “thing” at the time; not to mention the fact that a number of the filmmakers of this era were likely of the age group that would’ve grown up watching a lot of the 60’s TV shows.

Y’know, shit like The Addam’s Family, George of the Jungle, The Fugitive, The Jackal, and Mission: Impossible.

While I can’t say who started actually this trend, or if it was even that profitable; it’s managed to stick around long enough to the point in which I doubt it will ever die.

TV shows will always be lovingly remembered by somebody, so as time goes by, it’s only natural that some poor deluded fool will pony up the money to make a movie of them in tribute.

Here’s hoping we don’t see a Seinfeld or Frasier movie 10 years from now.

2. Videogame Movies

Also known as, "Party of Five and Iron Chef Team-Up To Fight Terminator 2."

As with TV show adaptations, videogame movies were something that sprang up during the 90’s, smack dab in the middle of the Super NES era.

While it’s hard to call videogame movies a trend in the fullest sense of the word, it’s evident that they were intended to be one in the mid-90’s.

Following the release of the surprisingly decent Mortal Kombat, videogame movies were stuffed down throats our en masse.

Unfortunately, with releases like Super Mario Bros., Double Dragon, and Street Fighter stinking up the theaters; the trend never really caught on as strongly as I’m guessing it was intended to.

You can thank Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and Wing Commander for putting the nail in the coffin of 90’s videogame movies:

Despite this, videogame culture has apparently grown exponentially over the years, leading to videogame movie adaptations becoming increasingly regular.

The movies stick suck some serious balls for the most part, but the point is; they have yet to reach a point where they are no longer profitable, and thus they continue to exist.

Truth be told, this “trend” is actually more symbolic of the birth of a new film genre as opposed to a trend, but oh well; it’s my blog.

Fuck you.

3. Comic Book Movies

SPIDER-MAN LOVES 'MERIKUh! WHY DON'T YOU LOVE 'MERIKUh!?

Comic book movies are, as THE INTERNET seems to want me to say; kind of a big deal.

While they’ve existed in one form or another for quite some time, it wasn’t until the release of Tim Burton’s Batman in ’89 that we really saw them become en vogue.

Richard Donner’s Superman doesn’t really count, as at the time, it was entirely in a league of it’s own; only serving to spawn weak-ass imitators as opposed to profitable blockbusters.

Anyway, Batman served to open the floodgates and give way to the release of countless comic book films, many of which were of course; Batman sequels.

In response to the angsty, MTV culture of the day, as well as the popularity of “less-than-mainstream” comics, movies like The Crow, Barb Wire, Tank Girl, Judge Dredd, The Mask, and Spawn were all cranked out in short order.

While the success of these movies (except for The Mask) was largely scatter-shot, the success of Blade in ’98 ushered in the Marvel dominated era of the 2000’s.

I kinda' miss the days when Wesley Snipes was cool... And not poor.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade or so, you’ve probably come to realize that Marvel is the flamboyant and insatiable whore of the comic book movie world.

The arrogant bastard that likes to prance about and shove his cock in your face and demand you tell him how amazingly massive it is.

*Ahem!* Not like I’ve ever had that happen to me or anything…

Routinely whoring out it’s intellectual properties from year to year, Marvel rode the success of X-Men and Spider-Man (and a string of critical failures) to take the film world by storm, largely through sheer volume of production.

In the 13 years since the release of Blade, Marvel has released a total of 25 major motion pictures, averaging nearly 3 films a year.

While it’s hard to call them rivals these days, (times have changed) DC manages to release, at best; 1 film a year.

The only difference is, DC films have a tendency to win Oscar nominations.

Well, except for maybe Jonah Hex… And Catwoman.

Catwoman: Protecting the World from Modesty and Cosmetics Moguls.

Anyway, for better or worse, strip-mining the previously established characters and events from comic books is kind of the thing to do for Hollywood producers in this day and age; and based on the record-breaking revenue gained from said movies, I’d say it’s what the audience is into as well.

Which brings me to the eerie prospect of a 4th trend in films that I would prefer not see come to pass.

Has anybody seen the trailer for Battleship yet?

If not, here yah’ go:

Some way, some how, they managed to get Liam Neeson to get on board the Battleship bandwagon, (I’m guessing it involved a free trip to Hawaii…) and in all honesty; I’m just plain confused by it all, aliens notwithstanding.

To my knowledge, Clue is the only other board game movie in existence at this point; and while that has kind of a cult following in some (seriously demented) parts of the world, Battleship just never really seemed like movie material in my mind.

To me, Battleship was always that one game my friend and I could never play without cheating.

Seriously man, after 5 minutes of calling out “Miss” to each other, inevitably someone would peek over the game, find a ship, and basically win the game.

Even the name “Battleship” doesn’t seem all that marketable to me.

It’s non-descript, it gives virtually zero indication of what to expect in the film outside of maybe a battle or 2 involving ships.

Oh well, goofy military shit is en vogue at the moment, so I’m guessing therein lies to the logic to the production house’s gambit.

The really puzzling part in all of this, is the fact that I recall hearing rumblings of a Monopoly movie being in the works.

I heard about the Battleship movie awhile back, but it wasn’t until I saw the trailer the other day that I truly realized they were actually going to make it.

What I mean to say is, I really hope Battleship doesn’t start a board game movie trend, ’cause I’ll tell yah’, I’m not an analyst, or anywhere near an expert in these matters; but if this shit comes to pass, we’ll be in for some epic-ly shitty over the next several years.

 

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Rest In Peace Macho Man Randy Savage

Awhile back I posted on this blog about a nickname I received at work.

That nickname was of course, Bonesaw; Macho Man Randy Savage’s character from the 2002 Spider-Man movie:

Said nickname was given to me on account of my tendency to randomly spout off various Savage-isms with alarming regularity.

Yes, I have practiced my Randy Savage in the mirror, and yes; I am quite adept at mimicking the awesomeness of his majesty.

That being said, being as the Macho Man was taken from us earlier today; I feel it’s my duty to use this blog post to pay homage to his memory.

While I would consider myself a fan of wrestling, the majority of Randy Savage’s more famous moments actually came before my time.

Growing up, I caught the tail end of the classic era, and kept up with the WWF and WCW stuff all the way through the Monday Night Wars/Attitude era; essentially giving up on the “sport” around the time The Rock transformed from The Rock to his lesser equivalent, the appropriately named, Dwayne.

Through all of this, Randy Savage didn’t really have much of a presence for me in wrestling.

Where he did have my attention though, was on Saturday mornings where he would frequently interrupt my cartoons by blowing through walls n’shit to preach the word of the Slim Jim:

To date, I have yet to consume a Slim Jim, though I’d be lying if the Savage didn’t make me feel like I was missing out on something awesome.

While I don’t remember seeing the Macho Man actually wrestle all that often, I feel fortunate to have grown up watching his mic performances; as they were, and still are; some of the best of all time.

When I was a kid, the WWF was largely in transition; foolishly trying to outmode characters like the Macho Man, and replace them with unworthy “badasses” like Diesel, or the Ultimate Warrior.

This resulted in Randy Savage being cast off to the side, acting more like a manager than an actual wrestler.

This would carry on well into his tenure in the WCW, though not without good reason.

Simply put, the Macho Man was a wizard when it came to pageantry and mic skills.

Not long ago I posted a promo video of the Macho Man doing a promo for the new WWF All-Stars (no force on this Earth can make me say the “E”) videogame, and while he may have aged a great deal since we last saw him; holy fuck did he still have it:

Seriously man, if wrestlers these days could do half of what Randy Savage did on the mic, at any stage in his career; I’d still be watching today’s so-called wrestling.

That being said, while I wasn’t really around to see any of it; there was a time when Randy Savage was one of the best wrestlers in the business.

A long time ago I remember looking up the “best wrestling matches of all time,” and one match that kept popping up was of course Randy Savage’s energetic match with Ricky Steamboat at Wrestlemania III:

For it’s time, and by any standards really; this match was a testament to the power of in-ring storytelling.

Randy Savage was an exceptional wrestler, and an icon of my youth.

It saddens me to know that he’s gone, though I’m happy he decided to appear in the WWF All-Stars game.

The game might not be that great, but at least it’ll give the youth of today a little window into what wrestling was like with the Macho Man Randy Savage:

Colorful, exciting, and just plain BETTER.

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Thoughts On The New TV Wonder Woman Costume

WONDAH' WOH' MAAAAAAAHHNNN!!!!!

As outlined in my post yesterday, I’m not what you’d call a Wonder Woman fan.

Truth be told, I know close to nothing about the character outside of the very broadest of factoids.

In other words, I know what she does, I have an idea of what she stands for, and I guess Im kind of familiar with the A-listers in her rogues gallery.

Huh, now that I think of it; even without reading any of her stories, I guess I know a little more about Wonder Woman than the average 20-something male.

One thing I cannot claim to know a whole lot about, or even anything; when it comes to Wonder Woman, is the evolution of her costume.

Oh, well I guess that fixed that issue.

In previous posts on this blog, I’ve voiced my opinions regarding the evolutions of numerous comic book characters, including the likes of Captain America, Spider-Man, Batman, and Venom, and while I’d love to do that for this post, unfortunately I feel unqualified to do so.

That being said, today there will be no history lesson; rather I’ll just be looking at the new TV Wonder Woman costume, and giving my honest opinion, not as a comic book reader, but as a dude with the bare minimum of fashion sense and eye for design.

Introductions aside, let’s get to an image of the costume in question:

Jesus FUCK, that looks like ass.

Seriously man, it not only looks cheap, but the design of it is dangerously uninspired to the point that I’m tempted to say it looks worse than you’re average Halloween costume.

Wow, I guess I can really be an asshole when I set my mind to it.

Anyway, I suppose explain where I’m coming from with all this:

The golden pieces on the costume look plasticky and cheap.

The seams on the bustier are obnoxiously front-and-center in their size and placement, creating distracting lines that hurt the cohesiveness of the outfit as a whole.

Not only that, said seams also make the top seem very restrictive and corset-like; a garment that seems a little strange for a character so representative of powerful femininity.

On that note, this costume reeks of being a bitch to move around in, suggesting whatever action scenes it’s used in will likely suck meerkat-anus.

Moving downward, the element of this costume that catches my eye first; and in deed grinds my gears the most, is the pants.

Maybe it’s just me, but the Wonder Woman in my head doesn’t wear pants.

No, I don’t fantasize about Wonder Woman; what I mean to say, is that I’ve always pictured Wonder Woman wearing star covered spanks, y’know; those pantie lookin’ things cheerleaders wear.

That being said, I really fuckin’ hate the pants on this Wonder Woman costume.

It’s clear the producers likely threw them in there for the sake of decency in our sexually repressed culture, but unfortunately; said pants have absolutely no character to them, making for a boring design element that feels pointless at best.

Seriously, if anything on this costume looks straight off-the-rack, it’d have to be the pants.

Probably the worst part of this costume though, is definitely the boots.

Seriously, who in the holy blue fuck thought it would be a good idea to have Wonder Woman’s boots be the same color as her boring-ass pants?

Nevermind that, who the fuck figured it’d be wise to give her high fuckin’ heels?

I’m not a woman.

I don’t know what it’s like to wear high heels.

What I do know though, is that when it comes to doing action sequences; high heels are a big hurdle to leap.

I have no idea how tall the actress playing Wonder Woman is, so I’m hoping the heels were a design choice meant to allow her achieve a stature appropriate of an Amazonian princess.

More than likely though, the heels, and indeed the boob-highlighting bustier; were likely thrown in there because some genius figured:

“She’s a girl!  Let’s make her all girly n’shit!”

Well, I think I hated virtually every element of the costume imaginable, to the point in which I’m pretty sure there’s not a single ornament or seam on it that I like about it.

In all, it’s an atrocious design that will probably do wonders to shit all over Wonder Woman’s reputation for years to come.

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Shadowland Review

Maximum Carnage.

That oft derided blood soaked comic book story arc of the early 90’s was what ultimately came to mind as I was reading through Marvel’s Shadowland.

Fortunately, I happen to be of the rare breed that, despite it’s flawed storytelling and absurd length; actually kind of liked Maximum Carnage.

Make no mistake though, Shadowland is by no means a well-liked crossover by most comic fan standards.

At least it's not universally hated like Onslaught... Onslaught sucked balls.

Written by Daredevil author Andy Diggle, and pencilled by former X-23 artist Billy Tan; Shadowland takes us into the dark territory it’s title suggest in the form of casting prolific crime-fighter and man without fear, Daredevil; as it’s central villain.

While this controversial storytelling decision has perturbed many a Daredevil fan since it’s publication, thankfully there is indeed a logical, though somewhat hokey explanation as to why Matt Murdock would suddenly turn heel overnight.

 

I don't know about you, but bad chili always puts me in a foul mood...

Leading up to the events of Shadowland, one of the Daredevil’s arch-nemeses, Bullseye; blew up a city block in Hell’s Kitchen, effectively creating a gigantic smoldering symbol of the hero’s personal failings smack dab in the middle of his backyard.

Having recently been offered the position as head of The Hand, a Japanese cult of ninjas and longtime opponent of Daredevil and Elektra; Daredevil ends up accepting the offer, in hopes of wielding the forces of The Hand to better protect the citizens of New York.

This leads to the purchase of the plot of land that was destroyed by Bullseye, and the erection of a huge Japanese fortress in it’s place; a territory that Daredevil dubs “Shadowland.”

Unfortunately, poor Matt Murdock didn’t count on being possessed by The Beast, a demon under the control of a splinter group within The Hand known as Snakeroot.

Said possession causes Daredevil to lose control of himself and his army, resulting in The Beast using him as a vessel to infect the citizens of New York with feelings of hatred and violence.

While many of the heroes of the Marvel universe tolerate Murdock’s actions, grudgingly; it isn’t until he does the unthinkable, and kills Bullseye; that his close friends begin to suspect that the devil of Hell’s Kitchen might be losing his marbles.

Thus sets the stage for a series of pitched battles between Daredevil and those that care most about him.

I assure it doesn't turn out like this, however it would be kinda' cool if it did...

A “mini-event” staged in the wake of Marvel’s most recent event comic proper, Siege; Shadowland represents the rather rare crossover event wherein the core players consist almost exclusively of  “street level” superheroes.

That is to say, despite a suitably epic storyline involving demonic possession and a mass riot across the Hell’s Kitchen section of Manhattan, the majority of the superheroes involved consist of low-powered, or in many cases; unpowered, individuals such as Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Spider-Man, and The Punisher.

Unlike many event comics, that raise the stakes to cosmic levels and beyond, a strong part of the appeal of Shadowland; at least for me anyway, is the fact that the story remains grounded in Daredevil’s niche in the Marvel universe, that of New York city.

While many of the heroes, such as Cage and Iron Fist; are personal friends of Daredevil, ultimately the one thing tying everyone together in the story is that they all share New York as their field of operations.

Early on in Shadowland we’re shown an overhead splash of the city, with several embedded panels serving to show us many of the New York-based Marvel superheroes as they all glare at Daredevil’s newly erected eyesore of a fortress and ponder on what to do of it.

Pictured: The splash in question.

It’s moments like this that serve to unify the cast of Shadowland in a much more satisfying manner than many other event comics.

With the exception of Ghost Rider and Moon Knight, (and a truly random Wolverine) both of whom have close to nothing to do within the context of the 5 core Shadowland issues, the vast majority of the cast feel appropriately cast.

That being said, what of the actual story?

Well, to be perfectly honest, Shadowland is one of those crossovers that seems to demand an unreasonable level of commitment from it’s readers, such that it feels like many important story beats are found only in tie-in issues.

That being said, questions arise every now and again when one is reading Shadowland, usually pertaining to where certain characters went, or how they knew some of the things they did.

 

...Or in the case of Elektra: "How are you still alive?"

In that sense, the storytelling and plot progression of Shadowland can feel fractured and abbreviated, however in my opinion this does not hurt it’s overall enjoyability.

Put it this way:

Shadowland is not a suspenseful story.

From it’s first pages, the “mystery” of Daredevil’s bloodthirsty nature are laid out for us crystal clear.

While the (surprisingly good) ending serves to shake things up a bit, there’s close to zero character development in Shadowland.

From the moment Bullseye gets shanked, we know exactly who our villains are, making for a story that does most what little “telling” it needs to as fists are flying and blood is spilt.

The real meat of Shadowland is in establishing Daredevil as a character poised to take a fall, and then watching as his closest friends band together to set him straight, not through superpowered might, or even magical exorcism; but through heart… and a shit ton of kung fu.

Martial arts have a way of making any story just that much better.

While it sounds corny, Shadowland is essentially the comic book equivalent of an intervention.

Hal Jordan fell prey to Parallax, Jean Grey turned into Dark Phoenix, every now and again one our most beloved superheroes finds themselves under the control of some malevolent force, ultimately resulting in their friends banding together (unsuccessfully) to stop them, only for them to choose redemption through the only means most superheroes seem to know:

Altruisticly Superpowered Suicide, better known as A.S.S.

Sorry, couldn’t resist…

Despite the frequently used storytelling formula listed above, one should note that I never said that’s how Shadowland ends.

I’m not a fan of spoilers, so I’ll let you read the story yourself to find out just what happens.

*Spoiler Alert!* The Death Star blows up at the end!

Anyway, it’s a safe bet to say that Shadowland represents a story that has been recycled in the world of comics more than a few times already, however the new coat of paint it throws into the mix, in the form of it’s cast and setting, make for a fun experience for those who, like myself; are somewhat invested in things from the get go.

In other words, Shadowland is hardly a jumping on point for those who don’t read any of the characters involved in the core storyline, but for those that frequently read tales from the streets of Marvel New York; it’s hard not to have fun with Shadowland.

...I mentioned there was fighting, right?

Coming into Shadowland, I honestly didn’t know what to expect from artist Billy Tan.

Normally, I am keen on looking up the work of artists for comics I’m about purchase, largely because I put a great deal of stock in an artist’s abilities when it comes to gauging my overall enjoyment of a book.

Most reviews I read of Shadowland prior to purchasing it were mostly negative, however nearly all of them made mention of the art being “typically outstanding” in reference to Tan’s body of work.

Don’t ask me why, but for some reason I came into Shadowland wanting to be surprised by something, given that most of the story can be spoiled by reading even the most vague of reviews.

Anyway, I was indeed surprised by Billy Tan’s art in Shadowland, but more importantly; I was impressed.

Impressive... Most impressive...

Like many of my favorite comic artists, Tan excels at drawing his characters with somewhat more realistically proportioned bodies.

Many of his figures appear lithe and flexible, which is a very important factor to consider when dealing with a cast of characters consisting largely of martial artists and acrobats.

Speaking of which, while his face work can seem a little off at times, Tan displays a penchant for illustrating figures in motion.

There are moments in Shadowland, particularly in the battle with Bullseye; where the action of the panels felt more like viewing an animation than reading a comic.

For your viewing pleasure, a full page of awesome.

Needless to say, Billy Tan’s artwork and easily deciphered layouts in Shadowland meet my approval, and quite handily at that.

I won’t be reading X-23 anytime soon, out of my general disdain for the character; but nevertheless, I look forward to more Tan projects in the near future.

Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got to say about Shadowland.

As mentioned earlier, it seems like Marvel expects us to read a lot of the tie-ins in order to get the whole story, but I myself can’t justify such an investment.

I will however be picking up the Moon Knight tie-in, as it genuinely looked pretty good to me, and besides; Moon Knight’s my boy.

Other than that though, I’m mostly happy with what I got from Shadowland on it’s own.

Hope this was helpful to some of you, thanks for reading!

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Moon Knight’s Shot At The Big Time

Awhile back, I wrote a loving tribute to the delightfully insane D-list Marvel comics hero, Moon Knight.

As a minor member of Marvel’s “street level” crimefighting fraternity, Moon Knight spent most of his career viewed as a Batman rip-off with tonal discrepancies in his various incarnations, as well as some palpable identity issues.

It probably doesn’t help that the character of Moon Knight has often been written as possessing multiple personality disorder.

The point is, Moon Knight has never really been a major player in the Marvel universe.

 

Not like Puck. Puck's a fuckin' baller...

As a New York based crimefighter, he shares turf with Spider-Man, Daredevil, Iron Fist, The Punisher, and a host of other, more powerful and better known characters.

Sadly, team-ups involving Moon Knight having his book “invaded” by the aforementioned A-listers, have been kind of the norm in the world of Moon Knight, a plot device that, in my opinion; basically means that Marvel has never had enough confidence in the character to allow him to succeed on his own.

That being said, Moon Knight has not been without his moments, particularly within the past decade.

I know I used it before, but this was just so fuckin' awesome...

About 5-6 years ago, author Charlie Huston and artist David Finch managed to breath new life into the Moon Knight character by boosting the R-rated content of his story arcs, and playing on the character’s innumerable inner conflicts by having him struggle with his subconscious in a fashion aping the brilliance of John Landis’ An American Werewolf in London.

It represented a major high-point for the character, (or low, if you’re going by the actual content of the storyline) and one that would serve as my formal jumping on point to the Moon Knight bandwagon.

Following Huston’s departure though, Moon Knight would once again fade into relative obscurity, sitting out of most of the major event comics for several years to come; and playing host to storylines that were good, but nowhere near the level of quality that Huston established with his first few stories.

Once the Moon Knight series of the early 2000’s came to a close though, with the “death” of one of Moon Knight’s multiple personalities; things picked up again for another high.

 

Towards the close of the Dark Reign era of Marvel comics, Moon Knight was thrown back onto the shelves with a brand new, more PG-13 image, and a new series entitled Vengeance of the Moon Knight.

 

Motorcycles make anyone look cool...

Said “Vengeance” referred to Moon Knight supposedly seeking to avenge his previous “death” as ordered by Norman Osborn.

Being as Norman Osborn was and always will be a top-tier supervillain, with God knows how many nemeses; the chances of Moon Knight successfully taking him out were approximately 3,720 to 1, however that didn’t stop me from reading the story and loving it.

Featuring a host of some of the better villains in Moon Knight’s rogues gallery, including a newly resurrected Bushman AKA Moonies’ arch nemesis; the story was exceptionally well written by Gregg Hurwitz, as well as brilliantly illustrated by the uber talented Jerome Opena.

 

Not the most relevant of pics, but hey; I don't need a reason to showcase an instance of scarecrow punching.

As seems to be the norm for the ‘ole white knight though, the second arc in the series could barely hold a candle to the first.

Hurwitz remained on board as writer, but Opena jumped ship; and with good reason.

The initial outburst of energy brought on by the new direction of the series faded away, replaced by tedium and, you guessed it; guest appearances from characters like Deadpool.

 

That's right, get your own comic! No wait, he's already got like 6...

While I like Deadpool as much as the next 20-something year old comic fan, (provided he’s got a good writer backing him) his appearance in other character’s books is often a good indication of them having lost their way.

While that series petered out and was cancelled, most likely for the best; Marvel would end up giving Moonie another chance in the form of a spot on the newly formed Secret Avengers team as headed by Steve Rogers AKA Captain America.

From what I’ve heard, that series has been going strong since it’s inception last year, however both Moon Knight and Nova (another hero that doesn’t get enough spotlight) have reportedly served as little more than window dressing.

While Moon Knight has served time on Avengers teams before, this marks the first official team-up I can recall the character engaging in within my lifetime.

It’s bold moves like this that remind me Marvel has yet to lose faith in their crazy white knight.

Given that Mike Deodato is illustrating Secret Avengers, you can bet I’ll be picking it up as soon as it comes out in trade form.

I suppose it’s worth mentioning that Moon Knight also played minor role in the street level superhero crossover, Shadowland; however I’ve heard nothing but bad about that series, so I’m just going to plead ignorance and gloss over that particularly nasty bit of history…

 

Aw... Sleepy kitty!

Now that the history lesson’s over, we can finally get to the new business of Moon Knight.

Just a few days ago, it was announced that famed comic writer Brian Michael Bendis, as well as the terrific penciller Alex Maleev; would be taking the reigns on a new Moon Knight series beginning this May.

While his writing style can often be immature, and his stories don’t always come together all that cleanly, few can argue that Bendis is one of the best dialogue writers in the business, with an ability to capture character’s voices that is nigh unmatched.

Maleev is not slouch either, with a sharp, moody, and wholly dynamic art style, as well as a host of credits on various Avengers comics and an extended run on Bendis’ critically acclaimed Daredevil series.

 

Yeah, I'd say Mr. Maleev knows what he's doing...

From what I’ve read, the premise that the team is working from, is one that once again plays off of Moon Knight’s multiple personality disorder.

Taking into account Moon Knight’s current status as a Secret Avengers member, Bendis plans on having the character’s personality issues manifest in the form of taking on the behavior and personalities of his teammates.

In essence, the idea is that Moon Knight’s inherent insanity and unpredictably will be turned up to 11 in this series, with him assuming the characteristics of heroes like Wolverine, Spider-Man, and presumably Captain America based on the promotional image at the beginning of this article.

While this sounds a little tongue-in-cheek for my tastes, I can’t deny that the idea of a man running around thinking he’s indestructible, or thinking that he comes from the mythical kingdom of Asgard; will probably make for a fun read.

Assigning Bendis to write a Moon Knight series will grant the character unparalleled exposure and presence among casual comic book fans, a luxury that few D-list heroes ever get to experience, regardless of the breadth of publishing history they may possess.

Given the character’s questionable track record thus far, I don’t doubt that the series could indeed flop; however with such big names attached, I’m nothing if not hopeful for it’s success.

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New Superhero Story Idea

Every now and again I come up with ideas for stories I’d like to write.

More often than not, said stories are best suited for a visual medium like comic books or film.

I rarely, if ever; get around to actually completing these stories, but rest assured, all of them remain safely tucked away in the “vault” of my memory.

Oh yeah, and on countless barely coherent notepad docs stored on my computer…

Anyway, today I came up with a pretty decent premise for a story.

Wait, you mean someone already did a story about an island full of dinosaurs? Damn...

Being as this is a tale coming from the mind of the comic obsessed Azn Badger, the story involves a world where superheroes are pretty commonplace.

The protagonist is a superpowered young man that wishes to be a live the dream of being superhero, though his ability to do so is severely hampered by the nature of his powers.

In short, the man’s superpowers grant him the strength of “almost” one and a half men.

In other words:

He’s not very “super.”

Coincidentally, I imagined him looking kind of like Union Jack, (without the Union Jack, of course) a not-so-super superhero.

Though a formidable street level crime fighter, with excellent fighting skills and a keen mind for strategy and planning; his reputation as a superhero never really grows beyond that of a local urban legend.

In an attempt to spread his influence and make a name for himself, our hero attends a local “superhero mixer.”

By the way, the “mixer” takes place at a superhero’s dumpy apartment.

Hey, just ’cause a guy’s a superhero doesn’t mean he gets a Fortress of Solitude, just for being “super.”

Needless to say, much like Captain Amazing in Mystery Men, sponsorships, either corporate or government based, are a much sought after source of income for most big-name superheroes in this story.

Behold: An awesome actor, in an awesome role, from a shitty movie!

At the “mixer,” our hero gets a chance to rub elbows with some of the more famous (and powerful) heroes in the region, only to find that many of them write him off as a novelty and a disgrace to the “profession” of superhero-ing.

Insulted, humiliated, and more than a little down on himself after the experience, our hero turns his back of the superhero community, and decides to do something more practical (and lucrative) with his abilities:

He becomes a mercenary/hitman dealing exclusively in superhero related contracts.

While most of the details are unclear to me at this point, one of the key scenes I have in mind for the story, is one where our hero takes on the world’s most powerful superhero team; and defeats them (through non-lethal means) single-handedly in a wily Punisher/Bullseye/Spider-Man sort of way.

Another idea I had for the story, was that the strongest member of said team, a young woman; is actually too powerful for him defeat, thusly resulting in him hitting on her out of desperation.

Against all odds, she finds him charming, and the 2 become an unlikely couple.

..... Lesbians(?)

Now, one thing that needs to be said about this story idea, is that the central character is not meant to be sympathetic, nor heroic in any way.

In short, he’s an asshole, and one with a very nasty chip on his shoulder.

His strength as a hero/mercenary, lies within his cunning and intelligence, and besting other, far more powerful superpowered beings in this manner is his way of looking down his nose at them.

Some characters that resemble the protagonist in some way, are Marvel’s Deadpool, Taskmaster, and Bullseye.

All 3 are relatively low-powered, or in the case of the latter 2; unpowered; super-beings, with their resourcefulness and skill usually serving to make up for their meager attributes.

I wouldn’t expect my character to break the fourth wall like Deadpool, however his snarky, loudmouth attitude is something I’ll likely borrow.

Pictured: Why we keep Deadpool around.

For some reason, I’ve always found the idea of a relatively “weak” character somehow conquering a superior opponent, to be downright enthralling.

It worked for me when Cyclops took on the entire X-Men team by himself in the aftermath of the Dark Phoenix Saga.

It worked for me when The Punisher wasted the entire Marvel Universe in Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe.

Hell, it even worked for me when Spider-Man hilariously bested Firelord.

BWAHAHA! Unlikely PWNAGE!

Okay, maybe that last one was fuckin’ stupid, but the others were classics, I swear!

Anyway, I have no idea where I’m going with this story, but it’s something I think I’d like to keep working on for awhile.

Feel free to post ideas or comments!

 

 

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