Friday, April 26, 2013

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #1

Spoilers

Following a six issue mini-series, DC has has launched a new ongoing Masters of the Universe series.

First things first, this series directly follows the aftermath of the six issue mini-series that preceded it and both are written with the idea that the reader already knows who these characters are and are familiar with previous continuities, but I'm not convinced that you absolutely needed to have been a collector of the toys or have watched any of the cartoons to enjoy it. I think a reader should at least read the six issue mini so that you get the full picture of whats going on, it just adds to the story and a new reader would not be caught completely unaware.

Here is what has happened prior to this issue:

Orko has betrayed He-Man and his allies, he's not in the book. (thank goodness). Skeletor somehow made He-Man and the Masters forget who they were, scattered them across Eternia, separated Prince Adam from the Power Sword and placed his minions where they could keep a watch on them. Skeletor also claimed Castle Greyskull, took Teela Na (the Sorceress) prisoner and began torturing her in hopes of unlocking the castle's power. As usual Skeletor's plan backfires as Adam starts to remember his former life. In the end, He-Man saves Eternia, the Sorceress dies and Skeletor escapes justice.

In this first issue of the new ongoing a memorial is being held in honor of the Sorceress. During the ceremony Teela discovers that the Sorceress is her mother and this continuity, Man-At-Arms is Teela's biological father, not adoptive father.

Elsewhere an invasion force belonging to Hordak makes its may from Etheria to Eternia. Led by a female commander, Despara. The invaders make their way to attack the capitol, Adam changes to He-Man, both Teela and Despara show up at his location and fighting ensues. The issue ends with Despara's helm being knocked off and she is revealed to be Adora, Adam's twin sister also known as She-Ra.

Not a bad first issue. This book is not necessarily written for people new to the Masters of the Universe. If you have no knowledge of the cartoons and older comics series, some of what you see here is going to be lost on you. I don't think that they would leave new readers in the dark to who is who though and we may get soome flashback history lessons.

I have not read a lot of Keith Giffen's work, but what I have read has been good and he has done a good job taking over the mini-series from James Robinson and going into this issue. Pop Mahn's art works well for this property although there were some panels that didn't quite make sense to me as to what was supposed to be happening. The coloring is fine, I enjoyed the part where Teela first appears, her hair having been blond in the mini-series is now red, as it establishes the relationship between her and Adam and also opens the book up for some good comedy.

Having been a fan of the toys and the cartoon and also being a big fan of fantasy in general, I'm slightly biased. There have been some really good fantasy comics of late, both licensed and non, I am hoping that this book becomes part of that batch and stays around for a long time.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Zubscribed: 2 Copper Pieces - Gotcha!


Used out a love and admiration for doppelganger shenanigans

Gotcha! is the second 2 Copper Pieces story from the pages Popgun published by Image, written by Jim Zub with art by Chris Stevens and can be found in the first volume of the Skullkickers trade paperback.

Like the first story, Gotcha! is a nice short and sweet story that takes place at a tavern with our heroes, Baldy and Shorty taking down tankards of ale while brainstorming how to deal with a doppelganger. This story is a perfect example of quick little side acts/scenes in gaming sessions.

Doppelgangers can be incredibly fun to throw at players. You don't even have to actually put a doppelganger in the game, just generate the possibility of doppelganger activity and good fun will follow. The players will either formulate a plan to weed out a doppelganger from the group before it's too late, if it happens at all. If not, watch the players turn on each other either on their own or by seeds of doubt and deception planted by the gamemaster. What's really fun is planting the doppelganger plot and allowing the players to forget about it over the next few sessions before doing anything with it.

With the group I played with, the session would probably turn into an every man for himself event or for no reason at all we would turn on one or two other players and keep them bound and gagged until any possible doppelganger jack assery was thoroughly put an end to.

Where we go from here is the big premier of Skullkickers #1, part one of 1000 Opas and a Dead Body.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

For Boston

Created and owned by Yale Stewart
My thoughts and prayers go out to the all of the victims of the Boston Marathon explosions.

Well wishes to all of you and your families.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Vinyl Love: Heart - Dreamboat Annie


Dreamboat Annie, February 1976
With the success of Magic Man as a single release 1975 on the Montreal radio airwaves, Heart moved from playing at clubs and bars to performing at shows with Rod Stewart, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Journey and Van Halen.

Side 1
1. Magic Man
2. Dreamboat Annie (Fantasy Child)
3. Crazy on You
4. Soul of the Sea
5. Dreamboat Annie

Side 2
6. White Lightning And Wine
7. (Love Me Like Music) I'll Be Your Song
8. Sing Child
9. How Deep It Goes
10: Dreamboat Annie (Reprise)

Dreamboat Annie was initially released for Canada only, selling 30,000 copies in just a few months as airplay increased on Canadian airwaves. The album was then released in America with a focus on Seattle and it quickly sold another 25,000 copies. Not having national distribution, a plan was in set motion to promote the album city by city.

Despite the success to both the band and their record label Mushroom, the relationship fell apart and lead to Heart signing with Capitol. With Heart rising on the rock scene, Mushroom executives refused to rework the band's contract and the royalty rates. The dispute reached toxic levels, when without consulting the band, Mushroom bought a full page tabloid mock ad in Rolling Stone magazine which gave the insinuations that the band was at best a one hit wonder and that sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson were lesbian lovers. This would be the motivation for the hit song Barracuda.

Dreamboat Annie reach platinum before the end 1976 hit and broke out on sales charts in five countries. Crazy on You, Magic Man and Dreamboat Annie were the only singles from the album and had varying degrees of success.

When it comes to rock, it's hard not to include Heart in the conversation. Not only was Heart an icon amongst rock music of the late 70's and early 80's but was also a spark in a revolution of women in rock. Ann and Nancy also went on to play a part in the music scene of Seattle  by working with bands such as Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and R.E.M. through their Bad Animals recording studios.

Compared to their counterparts and contemporaries of the late 70's up through today, I would put Heart up against anybody. Individually speaking, Ann can belt out lyrics which easily rival that of Elizabeth Hale and Nancy's guitar work should never be dismissed. Nancy Wilson is ranked as one of the greatest female guitar players of all time and I argue that she can hold her own against any other guitarist you throw at her. The proof is the music.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tales of a Warcraft Medic - A Week's Worth of Updates

As of today, I am 12-16 in battlegrounds, close to that 50% win ratio that I need to stay at to keep me happy. The last half dozen games or so have been a mix a good teamwork driven wins and horrible, no fun at all losses. The wins and losses come and go, the degree of good wins and bad losses varies, just have to stick with it and hope that everything equals out.

Since my last post Merisiel has reached level 20, got her 500 honorable kills and stepped into Arathi Basin. I'm not a big fan of that map. It was on of those games were only two of the fifteen players on the team attempted any defense after capturing nodes and the Horde was zerging everything, they did fail their attempt on camping our graveyard. We started to make a comeback but the there was not enough time left to sneak in a win.

I started working on archeology with Morvahnna. I'm not going to spend the time grinding dig sites for the blue and purple items, there isn't any real need or motivation to do it. So, I've put most of the work up in one day, I'm only 20something skill points away from 600. Which reminded me that I also need to work on getting her fishing skill capped.

She is also just about capped on Justice and Valor points, but Morvahnna is lacking the rep needed to use them. That will quickly be taken care of as she is going to hit revered with a few different factions today or tomorrow and then I have to get working on the Kirin Tor Offensive. Beyond that, I've always liked the Earthfury gear some I'm working on that for a transmog set and working on putting together Sulfuras.

No work was done with Kusia this week. After I get this last bit of work done with Morvahnna I want to get some levels under Kusia's belt. I'm still having a hard time getting into the questing on the Horde side but I'm going to keep at it because I do want to see that side of the story.

More updates coming.



Friday, April 5, 2013

Art

Just wanted to share some artwork I've come across over the last few weeks or so.

Bruce Timm

Daniel Krall

Dean Trippe

Hanie Mohd

Hanie Mohd

Kyle Latino

Mike Maihack

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Guardians of the Galaxy and Thanos Rising

I've never been a big fan of cosmic/outer space comics, for some reason I have always had a hard time staying with any given series for long. That does not mean that I dislike cosmic characters by any means. The first "cosmic" characters that I knew of came from watching reruns of Space Ghost and Fantastic Four from the '60's and Green Lantern would soon follow.

March saw the launch of a new Guardians of the Galaxy series from Marvel, a team that originated in 1969 as a team of galactic heroes from the 31st century of an alternate timeline. Since then the team has had some changes in roster and a team forming in the mainstream Marvel timeline/continuity also known as the 616.

I was looking forward to getting into the cosmic side of Marvel when the news of this series was released, but when word came that Iron Man was going to be on this team I lost nearly all interest. With hopes that Tony Stark would only be around for the first arc and with the news of Angela appearing in #5 I decided to stick with it.

I missed out on issue #0.1 which was an origin story of Peter Quill aka Star-Lord and how he became the leader of this team of cosmic defenders. Issue #1 has Star-Lord being told by his father, the King of Spartex, that Earth has been declared off limits by the galactic super-powers, which leads an argument. We then find Iron Man checking out a ship in orbit and turns out to be a Badoon invasion. Enter Star-Lord and his team of Gamora, Drax, Groot and Rocket Raccoon.  It's a decent first issue with a good set up. Still hoping that Iron Man is gone after the first arc.

The Thanos Rising mini-series is a story set in Thanos' childhood, a glimpse into what makes the Mad-Titan into the death loving tyrant and cosmic conqueror that he is today. I understand that because of the scene at the end of the Avengers movie and due to the upcoming Infinity event and future movies, there needs to be some Thanos love on the racks. After having read it, I don't want or need to know any details of Thanos' early life. Just let this living embodiment of Death be who he is, villains don't always need an explanation especially when they are of a threat level of this magnitude. The writing and art are fine, there is nothing wrong with this book at all. If you need to have more insight into Thanos, then by all means get on this series.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tales of a Warcraft Medic - Loss and Frustration

Merisiel
I've been working on my main toon Morvahnna over the last week, worked a bit my hunter Kusia on the Horde side but did manage to get nine to twelve PvP matches in with Merisiel. Out of all of the those, if I remember right, only three or four of those were wins. None of the losses were fun in any competitive sense so I decided to take a break from the frustration.

Morvahnna

I finally went into LFR for the first time ever with my guild master who gave me some coaching on the fights. It was pretty fun, easy mechanics but as always I was nervous as hell. I stopped raiding during Icecrown Citadel because of my hands, with all of the physical damage they've taken over the years I just don't have the reflexes and strength for keying and mouse clicking making some mechanics much harder for me to react to to and do properly without hurting the rest of the team. That first run through Mogu'shan Vaults was not easy for me, as we got to the trolls my hand right hand was already cramped up, hurting bad and couldn't find the strength to click on the mouse. I got through it and got and Morvahnna left out of there with a some gear and I'm looking forward to Terrace of Endless Spring.

I didn't do a whole lot with Kusia, ran a few battlegrounds and random dungeons. I've tried for long time to level a character on the Horde side of the game, I've never been able to do it. I've tried nearly every combination of class/race combinations and just couldn't get a toon past level forty. I think a lot of it had to with the guilds or servers I chose. I finally decided to join the fine people of the AIE community which I should have done in the first place. With the little amount of time I have available to play, its going to take a while to get her leveled up.

I'll be getting back to the PvP later this week, for the next few days though I want continue working on Kusia and Morvahnna.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Vinyl Love: Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac July 1975
The story of Fleetwood starts with the explosion of the British blues boom of the late 1960's, the legend however, starts in Van Nuys, California in 1974. Drummer and band co-founder Mick Fleetwood was scouting studios and while checking out Sound City, Mick took a listen to an album that was recently recorded there by a duo by the name of Buckingham Nicks. Not long afterwards, Fleetwood Mac's guitarist Bob Welch left the band leaving a hole that needed to be filled. Mick returned to Sound City and asked about the guitarist he heard on the album that he listened to. Mick was told that the guitarist Lindsey Buckingham was a package deal, meaning if you take him, you take his girl as well. Mick agreed and so Lindsey and his girlfriend, Stevie Nicks joined this little known British blues band called Fleetwood Mac and brought on rock history.

Side One
1. Monday Morning
2. Warm Ways
3. Blue Letter
4. Rhiannon
5. Over My Head
6. Crystal

Side Two
7. Say You Love Me
8. Landslide
9. World Turning
10. Sugar Daddy
11. I'm So Afraid

Fleetwood Mac's self titled album is actually the band's tenth album and is often referred to as the "white album" to avoid any confusion with the band's first album of the same name. Prior to the new line up of 1975, none of Fleetwood Mac's prior albums broke 400,000 copies sold in the united states. Not only did this album break five million copies sold by 1976 but it also launched the band into rock stardom, putting the band in charts for both rock and adult contemporary charts. However, what was a huge success here in America was mostly ignored in the UK until the release of 1977's Rumors.

Rhiannon, Over My Head and Say You Love Me were the only singles originally lifted from the album, all three scored high on the singles charts, but songs such as Landslide and Monday Morning would have success years later as singles and tracks from the entire album continue to get regular air play thirty-eight years later.

Tales of Warcraft Medic - Days 5, 6 and 7

Over the last few days I got in only four more matches, I've working on my main toon. I got two good wins and two really bad sucktastic losses and reached level 15 in the process.

The two losses were just horrible, definitely two of the worst losses I've ever seen. It was total domination by the Horde. Both of my my teams were inexperienced and under geared. In one match our graveyard was getting camped within the first five minutes and the Horde players stopped going after the Alliance flag and kept the graveyard surrounded. I feel bad for players that are new to the game's PvP when this kind of stuff happens. it's not very encouraging. I was able to convince some players to move away from the spirit healer so that we couldn't be resurrected and thus stop feeding honor to the enemy players or drop from the battleground. I don't like having to do that, but there is no point, especialy when some of the Alliance players were getting two shot upon resurrecting.

Getting a win after matches like that are a godsend. The two wins were the type of matches I really enjoy. There was some good competition from the Horde players, but we had some great teamwork flowing here. It was also nice having teammates that would get enemy attackers of the healers so that we could do our jobs, I still got ganged up on, but not nearly as bad as I have been.

After leveling I turned off my experience gains and hit the starting dungeons to farm for gear. Haven't gotten anything that I can use yet and this was my first time doing any PvE healing. Even though it was low level, I was a bit nervous due to my hands being in such bad physical condition from years of injuries but it went easy, fun and me eager to try healing on the higher level instances.