Friday, February 27, 2015

They Ride the Short Bus to Games

Some weeks, things just don't work out, even with the "superstars" on your roster.  If I had to take one lesson away from this season of Fantasy Football, it would be that, that and you can make a joke out of pretty much anything.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Not so New Comic Review: Earth X #2

                When last we saw our heroes, Cap had just retrieved a piece of fabric with a Red Skull on it (re-cue ominous music).  Before we pick that storyline back up, we need to have our customary flashback/superhero origin retelling.  This issue showcases the Fantastic Four.  After a quick retelling of the origin of Marvel’s First Family, we get back to the action.  Of course the “action” in this instance is a brownstone in New York City, which happens to be the home to Ben Grimm and his wife Alicia Masters (you know her, the same blind girl that was in love with the Thing forever).  Honestly, with all of the bleakness that makes up this series, it’s nice to see somewhat of a happy ending for someone.

                It’s here that the Inhumans find themselves.  And if you thought the Inhuman royal family knocking on Ben Grimm’s door like they were coming over for dinner sounds’re right.  You know what else is weird?  The fact that Thing and Alicia have two kids, named Buzz and Chuck, that look just like Ben.  I don’t know if I really understand that just yet, but okay, I’m willing to suspend disbelief for the moment, this is a comic book after all. 

                The main reason that the inhumans have come back to Earth, and specifically, New York City is because it is time for the royal wedding. Luna, daughter of Inhuman Crystal and Mutant Douchebag Quicksilver is to marry Medusa and Black Bolt’s son.  A little more info comes out that apparently, something happened that gave everyone powers.  The power that Alicia got was apparently to give life to the clay sculptures she created. 

                While we’re on the topic of origin stories and history, Ben goes into the story of the dissolution of the Fantastic Four.  Apparently a fight with Doctor Doom and Namor turned deadly as The Human Torch attacked Namor, who was once again pissed about how humanity treated the oceans (seriously, that guy was a prius away from being a hipster douchebag), and Namor retaliated by murdering the shit out of him right in front of Franklin Richards (who was a kid!)  Franklin was not just a kid, but a kid with reality-warping powers.  He used these powers to set half of Namor on fire, which forced Namor back into the ocean.  Even though it was a different Human Torch, it was interesting that what looks to be the beginning of the end for the current Marvel Universe revolved around a fight between Namor and the Human Torch, just like the beginning of the Marvel Universe revolved around a similar throwdown decades ago.  Sue Storm then does her best Bucky impression, jumping on Doom’s helicopter as it pulls away, only to blow up with it.

                Well, that’s three of the four, you say, what happened to Mr. Fantastic himself?  Well, he became super emo and moved to Latveria, donning Dr. Doom’s armor and moping around his castle.  He then gets a video call from Tony Stark, who looks a lot like Reed, but with a bald patch on his head.  All old smart guys look like Santa Claus I guess? 

                We quickly look in on Cap and Redwing as they are searching through the SHIELD Helicarrier.  Leon does a great job of using the light from the screens in the downed Helicarrier (it landed on its side) light up Cap and Redwing from below (the art is really well done in this, that’ll become a theme).  Cap reveals that he has the keys to Nick Fury’s car and then they fly off in a vehicle that looks like something out of a Lego playset.  They are heading to the west coast to track down the Red Skull, who at this point is just an insignia.

                Now, either back in New York or in Los Angeles, I’m not sure which, we meet Daredevil.  He is not the Daredevil we know and love though.  He apparently cannot die so he uses that power to bring entertainment to the unwashed masses.  This happens in a carnival like atmosphere which is quickly broken up by members of the Skull’s gang.  One of them is named Iron Maiden, but is unfortunately not Bruce Dickinson, while the others are, old Sandman, what looks like Sunspot, maybe, some guy that I cannot pinpoint and fat Domino.

                We leave with some exposition about Reed Richards; Mole Man (who is now normal because the mutation of Earth’s population fucked everyone up, oh the irony) and the Skrulls, who are mostly dead.

Next Issue: More Emo Richards?  Do Thelma and Louise, I mean Cap and Redwing make it across the country?  Are there more characters named after 80’s metal bands?  Anthrax? Motorhead? Stryper?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dynamic Duo

This happened many, many times last season, until the last month of the season, that is.   

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New Music Review: Nonpoint – The Return

                It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly two years since I reviewed Nonpoint’s self-titled album, but the time has passed and Nonpoint has delivered yet again.  If you enjoyed their self-titled album (and if you didn’t, what’s wrong with you?) then you will find that The Return is more of the same without being derivative.

                The album opens with the fast and vicious “Pins and Needles”, a song that would easily fit in on any other Nonpoint album.  It’s sonically and thematically similar to everything else you’ve heard from the band since 1997, but it doesn’t feel stale at all.  They aren’t really breaking new ground, but they sure as shit are making sure the ground their walking has their boot-print in it.  The band doesn’t really let up throughout most of the album either, it is just an unrelenting crash of music, assaulting the senses and refusing to let up.  Unlike many of their contemporaries, Nonpoint is able to weave a melody and a certain listenability throughout their music that many of today’s metal bands are just unable to do (they are a lot like Sevendust in this respect).  The majority of this has to do with lead vocalist Elias Soriano and his ability to sing, rap and be intelligible while doing so.  You may not think this is a big deal, but in this day and age (adjusts old man overalls) it is hard to find vocalists that can really sing, especially in the metal genre.

                The album is not without flaws, as one song (“Widowmaker”) is whiny fluff that the band has done before, but better (“Past it All” from 2004’s Recoil), while another song (“F**ked”) while the message is accurate (we really do live in a fucked up world) it just feels like a song that is there to give Soriano an excuse to say fuck twenty-five times in a three minute song.  Obviously, I’m not someone that has a problem with any curse words, but I can tell when something is egregious and feels silly. 

                Despite the two missteps outlined above, this is a great album that continues Nonpoint’s return to the heavy music that was a hallmark of their early albums.  Nothing can beat seeing them live though, so if you ever get a chance, go and stand back (the mosh pits can get a little crazy). 

Monday, February 23, 2015

First Place Blues

Week Five-


Assorted Freaks:

The Masked Shrimp
The Slugomatic
The Wormy Guy
The Masked Shrimpette
Mr. Happee

The Masked Shrimp v. Mr. Happee
The Slugomatic v. Fred

The Wormy Guy v. The Masked Shrimpette

It's a good problem to have, I suppose.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Trade Bait 5

Has Wormy learned his lesson?
I hope so, I'm out of trade bait jokes...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Not so New Comic Review: Earth X #1

                Okay, now that we got the introductions out of the way, it’s time to start the meat and potatoes of the story.  If you do pick up the individual issues (I’m not sure if they replicate it in the trades) you will find that the graphic part of the story is bookended with blocks of text.  They both generally involve Uatu and Machine Man, known here by his serial number X-51 because Uatu is a douche, discussing the events of the current comic and recapping a lot of what has gone on to make the world this way (remember, this was initially going to be a future timeline until Marvel decided it was an alternate reality).  While this is a smart way to convey a lot of information without extending the limited series ad infinitum, it does get a little heavy in terms of reading blocks of text that are not broken up by John Paul Leon’s stunning art (as is the case in the rest of the book).

                One of the cool things that Earth X does is recap the origins of Marvel’s greatest heroes and then follow them into the “present day” and see how the change that the Earth went through affected them.  The first one to go under the microscope so to speak was Captain America (naturally).  We get a quick recap of Cap’s origin – scrawny kid drinks super soldier serum and becomes a symbol for patriotism and the American way. 

                The America that Cap loved and defended for years is no longer the America that he lives in.  A quick interlude as the Inhumans, who have been in deep space for years, are returning to Earth in time to see that it is quite the dump.  Not only is it a dump, but Hydra Is now a hive-minded organism instead of just a cult.  Octopus-like creatures attach themselves to an individual and as long as that individual relents, they will be possessed.  They then become part of the “hive” and fight for the Hydra queen, who just so happens to be the She-Hulk.  Unfortunately, one thing that Cap is still really good at is losing partners as Falcon has already fallen victim to Hydra, while Wyatt Wingfoot is fighting a losing battle with the Hydra. 

                A quick look around the rest of the area in New York shows us that Cyclops is still alive and kicking, blasting bad guys and being slightly less douchey than his counterpart in the X-Men Cartoon from the 90’s.  Peter Parker has given up his mantle of Spiderman, despite Luke Cage basically ordering him to not be such a pussy.  Oh Luke Cage, you know Petey has always been kind of a wuss.  There is a Spider-Something lurking, but we’ll have to wait to see what that is. 

                Back to Cap and the Hydra.  Cap is about to give up when he gets his good ole American spirit back.  This causes him to fight the Hydra and free Wyatt and himself.  They then escape to an alley as Tony Stark’s Iron Avenger show up and blast the Hydra that are on the street (this is apparently a pretty regular thing, collateral damage be damned).  The Iron Avengers are just what you think they are: if you took Iron Man’s armor and patterned it after the Avengers, there you have it.  Of course, these Iron Avengers were made in homage to the real Avengers who died, somehow…I’m sure we’ll get back to that.
                As the dust clears, Cap walks out to see a piece of fabric on the ground, a piece of fabric that contains a red skull.

                Cue ominous music.

                We wrap up with blocks of text explaining what happened to characters such as Black Panther, Nick Fury and Falcon as well as explain the fact that Norman Osborn is the big cheese (something that would be played up in later years in the regular Marvel Universe.

Next Issue:  Cap found a picture of a red skull…is it the red skull, or is the punisher just changing his color scheme?  Find out next time.