Friday, August 22, 2014

Special Guest

Originally, Spud's opponent was going to be Sugar Ray Finhead, the creation of one of my former teachers, 
but I never got the go ahead from him in time so I went with the Masked Hippo, 
a character that has been kicking around since the very first issue of "The Masked Shrimp" sixteen years ago 
(but if you owned "Shrimpology" you would already know that).

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Not So New Comic Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (1991) #47

                It’s an all-out Beyonder vs. Protégé Battle Royale! (If you believe the cover art)

                We actually start out by checking in on the Galactic Guardians, who are trying to figure out where the Guardians have gone.  Instead of figuring this out, we get a history lesson of things we’ve seen happen in the recent past.  A recap is never a bad thing, when it doesn’t leave you with much, and feels like it was there to take up space it’s sad though. 

                When we do get to the Guardians themselves, they’re still chatting about Vance’s new suit.  As they are marveling at the wonders of Vance’s alien suit, an earthquake hits, knocking everyone off their feet and throwing Charlie into a pit.  Yellowjacket saves him by shrinking him with her Pym particles and everyone is safe and unharmed. 

                We check in on Starhawk and Aleta who are checking in on Yondu’s homeworld.  It is safe and ready to be destroyed at a later date.  I love happy endings. 

                Now it is time to look in on the Beyonder and the Protégé, to see what they’ve been up to.  Oh, just hanging out with all of the cosmic gods, that’s all, no biggie.  To show how cool they are, the Protégé and Beyonder grow as big as the Gods and try to destroy Eternity.  Considering the fact that Eternity is the Marvel embodiment of the universe, this is a pretty stupid idea.  Luckily It doesn’t work as eternity just reincorporates himself.  This causes a big argument because apparently the Protégé thinks he should be able to destroy the universe if he so chooses.  At this point I realized that Joffrey from Game of Thrones must be based on the Protégé, at least in terms of his temperament.  Think about it for a second.

                Back with the Guardians, Mephisto is tired of getting his ass kicked so he decides to turn into the giant dread-locked bird creature with the big gut and the long tongue.  You know, his formalwear.  As Talon is about to fight back, he is blasted in the back by Malevolence, to which he exclaims “unnngh! My Back!” while looking like nothing is wrong.  Come on, West, let’s see some acting.

                As the Guardians fight Mephisto, Hollywood is on the trail of Doom, which brings him to Overkill, who has the Realiteevee nasal implant that Sidestep provided to him last issue.  As Hollywood goes to recover the implant Overkill ambushes him and he goes flying.  Why Overkill wants to harm Hollywood so much beyond the fact that he wears a Guardian star I have no idea.  However that explains why no one wants to be part of the club.  It’s like walking through Philadelphia with a Dallas Cowboys jersey on.  Bad news. 

                Next issue: Hollywood vs. Overkill.  The matchup no one wanted.   

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ice Bucket

You can tell it's out of continuity because it's colored.  Back to "Fight Night" on Friday!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Late to the Party Video Game Review – Pikmin 3

                The WiiU is pretty sparse when it comes to titles in general, especially titles created specifically for that platform.  Pikmin 3 is one of the only non-Mario WiiU exclusives out there that has received any kind of acclaim.  Was it worth it, or was it just like any girl at the Kubert School…pretty by default.  Let’s see.

                First of all, even though the characters themselves are cartoony in nature, the backgrounds are completely realistically realized, and they are stunning.  In fact, the backgrounds look even more realistic because they are populated by cartoony monsters and characters.  The fruit that you need to collect is completely realistic as well and everything environmental effects abound.  When it rains, everything looks wet.  While that may sound like a “no shit, Sherlock” statement, the fact that no stone is left unturned in that respect is incredible.  The designers could have easily made it so that the ground looked wet, or there was some “water” on the screen so you got the impression of rain, but no.  I actually feel wet while playing it, it looks that real. 

                The story itself is a pretty basic one.  You are pretty much on one giant “fetch-quest”.  Something that would take up only a small part of a larger game like Skyrim or Dragon-Age is the entire game here.  That could be why the game itself is fairly short.  You mission is to find fruit for your home planet because (social commentary alert) your home planet mis-managed their resources.  A good amount of your days are spent finding and harvesting fruit, while you also look for the other two members of your party.   Once you have all of your party together, you turn your attention to finding Olimar (who I believe was the star of the first few Pikmin games, right? I never played them) as well as your cosmic drive key so that you can actually take the fruit back home.  All of this is done in fifteen minute “days”.  At the end of each day (literally from sunup to sundown in the game) you retreat back to your ship with the Pikmin you have amassed, only to pick back up where you left off the next day.  Each day, you drink one bottle of juice (regardless of whether you have one, two or three people in your party) so you need to make sure you have enough juice, and have thereby found enough fruit in your daily travels.  This makes a big part of your day revolve around resource management.  Do I advance the story?  Do I stock up on fruit and/or Pikmin?  You have to make that decision almost on a daily basis.  Completists may want to get all of the fruit, but you can’t always access the fruit locations until later in the game, and *spoiler alert* once you’ve beaten the game, you’re done.  The game is so tied in to the story that once you have beaten the final boss, rescued Olimar and gotten your key back, that’s it.  Game over.  If you thought (like I did) that you would do all that and then be able to go back through and collect the fruit you were unable to get before (because it was underwater and you didn’t have blue PIkmin, or it was behind an electrified fence and you didn’t have yellow Pikmin) you are sadly mistaken, that is unless you want to beat the final boss again (you don’t, he’s a pain in the ass). 

                That is the one drawback to Pikmin 3.  I loved the graphics, the gameplay worked pretty well, I could have done without the gibberish that  they speak, but that’s just me, and even the length of the game was adequate, short but adequate (though if I had actually paid full price for the game I would have been a little pissed – luckily this was the Mario Kart 8 add-on).  Being handcuffed to the story and completely sabotaging the replayability of the game because of it left a sour taste in my mouth though.  I liked everything else about it so much that I looked forward to going back through and collecting the fruit I had neglected during the initial playthrough.  Now, not so much.  Will I pick the game up again at some point?  Maybe.  But a good game, with good replayability wouldn’t even leave me that choice.  I would be drawn to play the game again after beating it, like Pikmin 3 was on the way to doing until the twist ending came along. 


                The final verdict for Pikmin 3 is, like many Nintendo games unfortunately: It’s good but not something I would willingly pay full price for.  Pikmin 3 is a fun game, one that may not be suitable for kids based solely on the game mechanics, but is fun to play nonetheless.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Spud

Nothing looks fancier on boxers than the shiny shorts with the big waistband.

Friday, August 15, 2014

High Roller 2

How Sluggy can see any bulge as she's walking away I have no idea.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Not So New Comic Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (1991) #46

                A visit from the Hawk God begins this issue of Guardians of the Galaxy.  Why, pray tell is this omniscient being poking his head around the plane of mortals?  Because his two “children” are acting like…well…children.  At the end of last issue, Aleta and Starhawk were fused together at the hand because of their constant bickering and fighting.  This is a punishment usually reserved for children on time-out, make them sit next to eachother and hold hands, but I guess a cosmic time-out isn’t the worst idea in the world, especially when the individual doing the disciplining is an all powerful demi-god.

                Starhawk tries to be the voice of reason in the partnership with Aleta but she acts like a petulant child and flies off, with Starhawk in tow of course, their stuck together after all.  Starhawk tries to calm Aleta down to no avail (she hasn’t shown the ability to trust him in forty-six issues) but, something flips in her head and she all of a sudden is fine with him, like nothing happened.  She realizes she needs to work together with him in order to get out of their current plight.  While I detest how Aleta is written in terms of her general attitude, having her flip-flop back and forth is just silly.  She is easily the least-likable character on the team (and this is a team with Talon!).  Anyway…Starhawk and Aleta blip out of existence to go back to the past and fix time, so Yondu’s homeworld can be destroyed later than planned (yup, that’s the reason for going back in time, not to save Yondu’s homeworld, just to prevent it from being destroyed so soon).

                The rest of the Guardians are then teleported by the Beyonder so that they can destroy Malevolence and her dear old daddy Mephisto as well as deal with the Protégé (whether that means kill the kid or not I’m not 100% sure).  Mephisto strikes first by removing the preservation spell around Vance Astro, the one that keeps him from aging at an accelerated rate.  This causes him to turn into an old guy and fall to the floor, as most old guys tend to do.  

                We quickly turn back to Aleta and Starhawk and two pages later, the timeline is restored.  Seriously, for having two uber-powerful characters on their team, the Guardians sure do get themselves in a heap of trouble every month. 

                After another quick interlude, in which Sidestep brokers a deal with Overkill (remember him?  Of course you do) we travel back to the Guardians and old man Astro.  Vance is writhing around on the floor, probably dying when all of a sudden the black on his costume springs to life.  Those with even the weakest comics knowledge probably know of Spiderman’s black costume that was actually an alien.  Spidey received that costume during the 80’s crossover Secret Wars from…you guessed it, the Beyonder!.  It seems like Vance got his own version of Spidey’s black costume from the Beyonder and it’s cocooning him so that the atmosphere no longer causes him to age.  Now, it never says that it de-ages him, so I assume that he is just hanging out in there as an old man, which would explain why he is such a miserable asshole all the time.  The suit amplifies his powers though, which causes him to take care of Malevolence and Mephisto fairly easily.  The Beyonder then shows up to reveal his backstage machinations and the Protégé (remember him?  He’s still here) wants to fight him.  Just as those two characters are ready to duke it out they are transported by the Living Tribunal to stand trial in front of a Celestial (Marvel’s giant god-like robots). 
 
                You’d think they’d try and keep this story going, seeing as how it may actually be interesting, but no.  This story is to be continued so that we can make room for the dumbest back up story in comics.  Apparently Marvel ran some kind of contest where readers could create a new hairstyle for Talon, and they ran the six “best” (and that’s a relative term) as a backup story here.   Oh Marvel, what are we going to do with you.


Next issue: Talon does a little man-scaping.