Friday, October 17, 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Not So New Comic Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (1991) Annual #4

            This annual (the final one of the series) centers around the mutants.  We open with the mutants running rampant through Loki’s Moon mine, killing Inhumans left and right.  We get the stunning revelation that underneath Mindscan’s hair is a creepy-looking head, kind of like The Leader, or a Conehead with tumors.  Somehow, removing her hair-piece allows her the ability to synch up with equipment (though that’s not explained at all) which triggers a recording from Loki.  Rancor brings in the highest ranking Inhuman in order to kill him and send him back out as a message to the others in the tunnels.  Pretty shitty and a waste of time if you ask me, but Rancor has never been the brightest. 

            As Sidestep enters the Guardians’ ship, a video of Martinex shows up basically telling her that she is an intruder and to get off the ship.  Mindscan shuts it up and allows Sidestep to do her thing…which will be revealed later.  We get a quick history lesson from Ulig, the Last Watcher before the Guardians return to their ship (this all happens after the events of #50).  Sidestep has apparently altered the ship’s security system to not only recognize the Guardians as intruders and gas them, knocking them out, but also to fly to a world of Rancor’s choosing.

            The next chapter opens with Talon strapped down while Rancor regales him with her grand plan of pitting one of her mutants against one of the Guardians in a death match.  Talon tries to escape but Rancor thoroughly kicks his ass (he hurt his back after all) before turning to her video monitor to watch the melee unfold. 

            Chapter three consists of the fight between Yellowjacket and Blockade.  Yellowjacket gets the upper hand early by using her Pym particles (do these things ever run out?) to shrink blockade down.  Unfortunately, Blockade’s power is to change his size, so he counteracts that by growing.  Yellowjacket decides the best way to fight him is to just grow larger than him and continue trying to kick his ass.  She does this, but it comes at a price as she has grown too big too quickly and is suffering from a heart attack out in the middle of nowhere.

            We leave Yellowjacket to her fate and focus on the next chapter which shows us Batwing vs. Vance Astro.  We get a brief history lesson of what happened while the Guardians were asleep and en route to the planet they wound up on (apparently all of the Inhumans were moved to this new planet where they were tasked with building a new civilization).  There are only a few Inhumans that are not under Mindscan’s control and they are trying to get Vance to work for them and lead a rebellion.  He defeats Batwing quickly, but then, inexplicably, the Inhumans turn on him.

            Our next chapter focuses in on Yondu as he battles Mindscan.  However this battle is not on the physical plane but on the mental one as Mindscan shows Yondu that his “God” Anthos is nothing more than the despotic tyrant Thanos in disguise.  Because religion and spirituality are at the core of Yondu’s being, it shatters him completely, harming him more than any kind of physical attack (especially from the relatively weak Mindscan) could do.

            The next chapter involves Talon and Rancor, and the basic premise, and apparently the basic premise of this entire story is that Rancor is feeling motherly and wants to have a child.  She would never have one with a human, and the mutants available all suck, or are female, so that’s a non-starter.  She has settled on Talon.  Yes, all of this is an excuse to get Talon in the sack.  When Talon resists her advances, apparently homicidal maniacs are not really his type, she straight up rapes him.  How she is guaranteed that he’ll impregnate her I have no idea, but I guess we’ll just chalk it up to “she’s a mutant” and let it go. 

            It’s hard to keep going once one of your main characters has been raped but Gallagher pushes along, setting up the next battle between Sidestep and Aleta.  Aleta is underpowered but still formidable.  When Sidestep goes to transport her into the dimension of Nightmare (the old Dr. Strange villain) Aleta takes Sidestep with her.  They work together to defeat Nightmare and get out of the dimension, where Aleta straight-up blasts Sidestep right in her stupid half-shaved head. 

            Following that chapter, we see Charlie being confronted by the same police officers we saw in the regular Guardians book, the ones looking for Ripjak.  Charlie resists arrest and looks like he has the upper hand until the officers flying the spaceship gas him (and their own men at the same time). 

            Thankfully we’re almost done as Nikki takes on Shaddo.  They fight, with Shaddo getting the early upper hand until Nikki sets her on fire.  This was about to be the end of Shaddo until Vance shows up, extinguishes her and then bitches Nikki out for trying to survive (good lord I hate Vance as a character).  They blink out of existence and are instantly transported onto their ship, along with the rest of the Guardians, by Talon.  Vance gets all butt-hurt that someone else is doing something productive and Talon straight up slaps him before teleporting the entire ship far away.  The fact that he did all this without a direct order is what really sticks with Vance, proving that he may just be the worst leader in the history of comics. 

            We finish the story by focusing in on the mutants once again and see that Rancor is very much pregnant with her rape-baby.  This can’t be good.

            The third and final part of Future History follows and basically fills with everything we already know but weren’t told in the first two installments.  It was teased that we would finally get to hear about Spiderman’s fate as well…which basically amounted to he died but the body wasn’t recovered.  Talk about anti-climactic. 

Next Issue: Back to the regular series and more douchey Vance Astro than you can shake Talon’s stick at….too soon?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Album Review: AC/DC – Let There be Rock (1977)

The third album from AC/DC was a step back.  Mostly filler with a few standout tracks, Let There be Rock was a minor bump in the road as the band would get back to crafting hits with 1978’s Powerage.

Tracks you may know: 

Problem Child – And that’s primarily because it was also on Dirty Deeds…

Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be – A pretty standard AC/DC track. 

Tracks you should know:
Whole Lotta Rosie – It’s just a fun song with a good guitar lick.  It’s not the best AC/DC song, but it’s the best one on this album.

My personal favorite:
Whole Lotta Rosie – Ditto what I said above.

Album rating: 
This was a slight step down for the band, but not the beginning of a prolonged slump by any means.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Not So New Comic Review: Galactic Guardians (1994) #4

            It’s time to wrap up the Galactic Guardians miniseries, the first (and only) spin-off for the Marvel 3000 line.

            This issue starts with a proclamation from Mainframe that the main villain that was revealed to us at the end of last issue, Ubiquitor, has appeared on every world simultaneously.  This obviously raises the stakes for the Guardians in that if they fail to defeat her and her footsoldiers, the rest of the galaxy will fall.  Hollywood gets the action started by attacking Silverback. 

            After a quick aside where we learn that Hollywood and Vision regained their consciousness and memories (Vision used a separate body to go wake Hollywood up and replace his memories, which were absorbed and transferred into his mind from the memories scattered on the ground) we see Mainframe attack Savant and overload his mind, knocking him out of the fight.

            Hold the phone…it’s origin time!  This time we learn that Ubiquitor is a member of a race known as the absolutes, one of the last of her kind, that thrives on the creation and destruction of universes (which is where her team of baddies comes from, former universes that she destroyed).  While it’s an interesting origin, part Galactus, part Phoenix, it’s still pretty boilerplate stuff and shows why Ubiquitor hasn’t made some kind of comeback.

            Speaking of Phoenix, Ubiquitor sees the potential power in him and whisks him away to a separate plane of reality.  While they are gone, a little teamwork by Replica and Martinex takes care of Hazmat, while Ghost Rider disposes of Ganglia by sending it to Hell.  Out in space, Hollywood and Silverback are still going at it when Mainframe teleports them both to the edge of a black hole.  Even though Hollywood isn’t being sucked into the black hole, Silverback sure is.  Hollywood tries to hold on to him and not let him die, which is very Avenger-y, but he cannot and Silverback is gone.  Hollywood then flies back to the ship, pissy that he couldn’t save the bad guy.

            We finally check in on Ubiquitor and Phoenix as she makes a pitch to him to join forces with her.  He rebuffs her advances though, as we all assumed he would, and really that is the best idea, look what happened to all of her other minions.  They fight back and forth, neither combatant gaining an upper hand, that is until Woden shows up and offers his hammer’s power to be combined with that of Phoenix.  Together they dispatch of Ubiiquitor pretty handily.  In the grand Guardians of the Galaxy tradition, Woden is offered membership in the Galactic Guardians to which he declines.  As he flies back to Asgard, Phoenix returns to the ship.  As we close the series we see that the only individual happy that everyone is still alive and working as a team is Martinex.  No one else is remotely satisfied with this outcome, just like no one else should be satisfied with this limited series.  The artwork was generally better than that of its parent title (having Kevin West pencil the whole thing instead of providing breakdowns alone helped immensely) but the story was still pretty silly and unimaginative.
            Next Issue: Back to the Guardians of the Galaxy!  Before we get to the regular series though we have one more stop to make in the fourth and final annual, and this one’s a doozy.