Saturday, May 31, 2014

How I Geek Episode 13 - Triskaidekaphobia

This week we discuss a few news items, some of the cinematic anniversaries that's happened over the last five months and we have our first bribe for reviews giveaway.

Our week in geek (Captain America, Iron Man 3, Fallout 3, A-Team)
Stargate is getting the re-boot
Is Marvel cancelling the Fantastic Four
A Walk Amongst the Tombstones
Charlie Cox is Daredevil
Is Josh Brolin cast for Thanos
The Warriors
Mad Max
This Is Spinal Tap
Children of the Corn
Police Academy
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Romancing the Stone
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
The Burbs
Pet Sematary
Road House
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Ace Ventura Pet Detective
The Crow
Friday the 13th: the Final Chapter
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
Geektrocities and more!

We have a digital copy of the Avengers: Endless Wartime original graphic novel. For a chance to win send us some feedback or questions to AND leave a review on itunes by no later than 8AM CST Friday, June 6th. Winner will be drawn randomly. Digital copy only usable on the Marvel Comics app and Comixology.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Original Sin #2 (Spoilers)

The second issue of Original Sin didn't do much for me compared to the first issue. The Avengers take down another mindless one and are able to trace it's energy signature to a penthouse downtown. This is where we find the two shadowed figures from the first issue.

The Avengers call in everybody they can to take down the villains and a number of more mindless ones. The first villain revealed is Exterminatrix the daughter of Doctor Midas. By the time the Avengers manage to take her down, two other villains make their presence known, The Orb and a weakened or ill Doctor Midas.

The Orb reveals he does in fact hold one the eyes of the Watcher, but that he is not the one responsible for murdering him. The Orb explains that eye is a bomb, a bomb of secrets that once detonates will reveal all the secrets it holds, everything the Watcher has seen. Of course it starts to go off right at the end of the story.

This went by too fast for me. Granted we do not yet know who the Watcher's killer is, we already figure out who holds one of the eyes. Just seemed to happen too soon for me.

We find Black Panther, Emma Frost and Ant-Man are in subterra where they find a large number of monstrous creatures that have been dead for a long time or have just recently been killed, as if they were being hunted for sport or practice Punisher and Doctor Strange are in another dimension and find a similar scene. Both teams find evidence, one piece being an intact glowing green bullet. linking these kills to that of the Watcher. We do not see the team in space consisting of Gamora, Moon Knight and Winter Soldier and we get no further clues to whom put these three teams together and sent them out.

I was hoping for something that pushed the mystery side of this a bit more but it was enjoyable nonetheless. We still have a lot of mystery and story coming. Who killed the Watcher, who has the second eye, who put these three teams together and what happens when all of those secrets become known.

The two things I'm most interested in is how Captain America and Bruce Banner will deal with the Illuminati. I would zero problems with the two of them pulverizing Tony Stark into a unidentifiable bloody pulp, never seeing or hearing of him ever again.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Rat Queens

Next up in my series focusing on fantasy comic books is a new series that is a combination of the Hangover, Dungeon & Dragons, Bridesmaids, Pineapple Express and Lord of the Rings mixed together in a martini shaker and mixed into a fine concoction of brutal in your face action, adventure, booze drinking, drug toking, humor and violence.
Written by Kurtis Wiebe, drawn by Roc Upchurch and published by Image, the series just had it's sixth issue released a few weeks ago so there isn't a lot to catch up on. You can can get the first trade paperback for $9.99, that is a bargain for you my friend and something you should jump on.
Rat Queens centers on a all female adventuring group of the same name. Led by the elf mage Hannah, Violet a dwarf warrior, Dee an atheist cleric and Betty the halfling thief. Each of them have are powerful personalities and play second fiddle to none and it is impossible not to fall in love with Betty. They set up base in the town of Palisade where they're known as trouble makers and have heated rivalries with some of the other adventuring groups.
I can't express how much fun this comic is. Like Skullkickers its reminds so much of my own days of playing Dungeons & Dragons. In fact I'm pretty sure my friends and I have through similar adventures and mishaps. Wiebe and Upchurch have nailed all my needs and wants for a fantasy comic and is right up there with the best fantasy comics of all time. It's that fun and just solid in every way imaginable. Go read it!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

How I Geek Episode 12 - Guardians of the RPG

The gang is all here to discuss news of the geek week.

Our week in geek (Iron Man 2, Fallout, baking, Days of Future Past, Warcraft PvP, Original Sin #2)
Hugh Jackman wants to be an Avenger
Reactions the newest Guardians of the Galaxy trailer
Reactions the first Big Hero 6 trailer
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Dark Dungeons
Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition
The Great D & D Rant of 2014
Warhammer 40K 7th Edition
David Goyer is a douche
58% of DC's New 52 titles have been cancelled
Geektrocities (Toy Tony, glitched video games, Killswitch)
And more!
Remember to always assume that there will spoilers and always listen through to the very end.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Dungeons & Dragons

On August 19th, 2014 Wizards of the Coast will bless us with the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons and I really do wish that would stop. We have only had Dungeons & Dragons games in name only since third edition was released, to say otherwise is would be a false statement.

I make zero effort to hide my dislike for Wizards, and that dislike is genuine and well deserved. What they have given us as Dungeons & Dragon are new games inspired by what came before. They are no more Dungeons & Dragons than I am Kevin Durant, and I'm not Kevin Durant.

I will agree that Dungeons & Dragons had some clunky rules prior to third edition, but the game was not broken and did not need to be tore down and completely rebuilt into something new. They only two things that needed to be tweaked were the armor class and thac0 systems. Instead we got games filled with so much meta gaming that they weren't fun to play by many dungeon masters and players. I honestly would have preferred to see TSR go out of business and Dungeons & Dragons die, than to see it continue with the stank of Wizards of the Coast all over it.

That's about all the venting I'm going to do for now as this new edition of "D & D" will be a hot topic on our next show.

The Outcast King

Valen the Outcast #1
For something a little more recent in the realm of fantasy comics, I present to you Valen the Outcast, created by Ross Richie, written by Michael Alan Nelson with pencils by Matteo Scalera. Telling the story of Valen Brand a strong and revered king, killed defending his people and raised by the necromancer Korrus Null. Valen and his companions Alexio and Zjanna hunt down the necromancer to put a stop to his conquests and reclaim Valen's soul.

The truly sad thing about this series is that it is only eight issues. If I remember right Valen was meant to be an ongoing, however around issue five or six, it was announced that the series would be ending at issue eight. I can only assume that it was due to poor sales and its a damn shame because it was building up to be a very good fantasy comics. I'm a fan of Matteo's art and it suited the story in every way possible way. Nelson's writing was fine, but towards the end you could see where the story was being rushed and I don't blame that on him one bit.

The cool or bad about this series, depending on your point of view, was the number of variant covers. Some issues had up to eight variant covers. Some were con exclusives or exclusives that you could only get through Boom Studios. I'm guilty of picking up some of these variants, only because I'm huge fan of fantasy art. In some cases I was offered some good deals on the variants and I may have lost track of which issues I had and double ordered some issues.

You may be able to find singles issues at Boom's online storefront, otherwise the story is available in two trade paperbacks and on Comixology. I do hope these character get another shot in the future, because Valen the Outcast was a solid idea for a fantasy story, the characters were likable and it was a good book, so go read it.

Valen the Outcast #8

Sunday, May 18, 2014

How I Geek Episode 11 - Alien Adultery?!

While Ami and Marv are on assignment, John, Dave and Greg discuss movie and television news from the past week, rant about Wizards of the Coast, battle Skype to the death and call for a manhunt on Transformers writer James Roberts.

Our week in geek
Reactions to the Flash trailers
New Transformers trailer
Family Guy & Simpsons crossover
Reactions to Affleck's batsuit
Guardians of the Galaxy
Blade Runner sequel
Expendables 3
Raging Heroes' Toughest Girls of the Galaxy
Wizards lawsuit against Cryptozoic
Warhammer 40K 7th Edition
More Than Meets the Eye #29 (SPOILERS!)
Geektrosities, The Horus Heresy, John's Greatest Hits and more!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Original Sin #1 (SPOILERS)

Who shot the Watcher? That is the question being asked in Original Sin, Marvel's first big event of 2014 and the answer will be given to us by writer Jason Aaron, with art by Mike Deadato and colored by Frank Martin. When the series was announced I had planned on passing on it but decided otherwise based on the work Jason has done on Thor and Amazing X-Men, I owed it to him to check this out and I'm glad that I did.

I'm normally a fan of Mike Deadato's art but there is something here that's annoying me. I'm not sure if it's the inks or how Mike's pencils are being colored, I can't quite put my finger on it and I'm just not getting the same amount of joy out of it that I usually do. It's not bad by any means.

Getting into the story, the Watcher knows who killed him. He knew it was coming before it happened and he did nothing to stop it. I'm wondering though if he may have left some clues as to who the murderer is.

Thor discovers the Watchers body and calls it in to Captain America who convinces Nick Fury to go with them to check the crime scene. Once there, they find the Watcher had been shot in the head and has had both of his eyes removed. Cap then asks Nick to head up the investigation, because honestly, who in the Marvel Universe is better at solving mysteries and dealing with secrets more than Nick Fury? The Avengers also discover that many of the devices and artifacts that the Watcher was keeping have disappeared.

We then begin to see some things that don't quite add up.

The first is the cut to T'Challa, the Black Panther looking over several monitors and talking to somebody about the Watcher's murder. The person talking to T'Challa is never identified by name, but you get a shadowed panel of who it is but again, you can't identify him. What's even more interesting is what the person is holding.

The unidentified person tells T'Challa that the Avenger's can't handle this case and that he needs to be the one to ask the right questions and get the answers. T'Challa is told he'llbe working with a team to help him and immediately following that it cuts to Ant-Man meeting up with Emma Frost. Ant-Man makes the comment that their "boss" must have something her in order to have gotten to agree to help out.

At first I thought it was Nick Fury that T'Challa was talking to. The above would suggest the same as Nick seems to have something on everybody, but I'm not so sure. The above panel, made me think it could be Bruce Banner given the green glowy thing, but what would he have on Emma to get her to help. Also, the conversation with the stranger and T'Challa happened not too long after Captain America put out the alert.

Cut to a warehouse in Los Angeles where Frank Castle is torturing some criminal when Dr. Strange appears. This is the next team revealed. I can see both Strange and Punisher helping Nick out, but again, when we get to the last couple of pages we see Black Panther, Emma and Ant-Man travelling to the center of the Earth and we see Punisher and Dr. Strange travelling interdimensionally. Remember, the Watcher was killed on the moon.

A third team is revealed in space consisting of Bucky, Moon Knight and Gamora. This is the one team that I could really see Fury putting together over the others but again, amongst all three of these teams, none of them mention Fury, Cap or Tony. Sure, it's safe to assume that any and all of these teams were put together by any one of them, right? I thought the same thing until Black Widow found glowy green bullet fragments.

What does that matter? Well, the panel of the the shadowed stranger holding the green glowy thing that looks like a bullet, takes place before Nick is shown the glowy green bullet fragments found by Natasha.

We again cut to Earth where Thing and Spider-Man are taking on a mindless one,  which are magical based creatures from the Dark Dimension that have minimal intelligence and no free will. Except that this one is thinking for itself, communicating telepathically and it's also holding the Ultimate Nullifier which is one of the items that the Watcher was keeping safe. The mindless one can't deal with having complex thoughts and emotions and kills itself using the Nullifier, but we see an explosion similar to what was seen when the Watcher was killed.

We cut to an unknown location where we see several mindless ones running around unable to cope with their improved cognitive functions. We see two figures discussing how they and the mindless ones are evolving because of what they stole. The figures are shadowed but one has a white hood or mask and holding one of the Watcher's eyes.

So, how many people Earth side know about the Watcher, have the means to take him out and to summon and control mindless ones? It can't be a very big list. Can the shadowed people be magical, cosmic or extra-dimensional beings?  Possibly. Question after question popped into my head, the sign of a good mystery. Am I overthinking here are do we some legitimate questions being asked here? can't wait for issue two.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Vinyl Love: Jackson Browne - Running on Empty

Released in 1977, Running on Empty is Jackson Browne's fifth album that's famous for it's title track and follow up single The Load-Out/Stay. It's a live album that does not sound like a live album. All of the tracks were recorded either live, in a hotel room, on the tour bus or backstage and the sound is impeccable. Also, none of the songs presented here never appeared on any of Browne's previous albums.

The album was huge success amongst music critics and fans, going platinum in 1978 and went multi-platinum in 1997 and again in 2001. To date it remains Browne's best selling album having been nominated for two Grammy Awards; Album of the Year and Best Pop Male Vocalist. The album spent 65 weeks on the American charts peaking at #3. Both Running on Empty and The Load-Out/Stay peaked at #11 on the singles charts. Rolling Stone magazine ranked Running on Empty at 496 in its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Running on Empty is one of those albums that you can listen to over and over again and each time, you find something in the music, the lyrics the emotion, the humanity that you didn't notice before. It's one of the most beautiful albums ever composed and showcases just how much of an artist and craftsman Jackson Browne is.

Side One
1. Running on Empty
2. The Road
3. Rosie
4. You Love the Thunder
5. Cocaine

Side Two
1. Shaky Town
2. Love Needs a Heart
3. Nothing But Time
4. the Load-Out
5. Stay

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Masters of the Universe

Next up in this series of fantasy comics is the The Masters of the Universe series which started out as mini-comics that came with the action figures from 1981-1983 that were made by Mattel. I only had one He-Man toy that I can remember so I don't recall reading many of them.

I remember seeing the 1982 three issue mini-series from DC, I remember looking through the issues when they were on the racks but I never read them. Marvel began its line of He-Man comics in 1986 through its Star imprint. the series only lasted thirteen issue but two stories were not what you would expect from a licensed comic for kids.

DC's MotU #1 1982
The first story is from issue eleven where He-Man and Hordak suffer from memory loss, end working together and start becoming friends. When their memory is restored they also remember becoming comrades and are left deal with the aftermath of they went they had gone through and discovering that they were in fact enemies.

The final two issues featured He-Man going through a George Bailey like what if adventure. The Power Sword is sent ten years into the future after Prince Adam considers if He-Man is needed. Adam goes after the sword to find a future where Skeletor rules Eternia and Castle Grayskull has been destroyed. There was some deep writing going on for a kid's comic.

Master's of the Universe #11
After the Marvel run there would other attempts at a Masters of the Universe series over the years but none of them really took off. In 2012 DC took another run at it with an eight issue series in 2012 and a six issue mini-series in 2013 that led into a new ongoing series that also had a crossover mini-series with the New 52 Justice League. Yes, He-Man and his allies come to the New 52 Earth and team up with the Justice League to find and stop Skeletor. I haven't read it, but it's one of those things that you want to see regardless of how awful it may be.

As far as the current ongoing series at DC, written by Keith Giffen, I stopped reading it around issue four or five, I can't exactly remember. The writing was fine except for one nagging thing, when Keith had He-Man use modern day Earth slang. That's all it takes to ruin an otherwise good book. Giffen is a good writer with years of experience, that dialog never should have happened.

It's a shame that's the reason why I dropped the book because the art is freaking gorgeous! Pop Mahn's pencils are amazing and I hope to see more of work outside of Masters of the Universe. I feel the need to track him down and get a sketch or a full commission.

DC's current ongoing series

Sunday, May 11, 2014

How I Geek Episode 10 - Much Ado About Nuttin'

This weekend the Ami and the guys get into some general geek talk and some of the news from this past week and this very special Mother's Day episode.

Marv & Ami tell us about their cruise
Our week in geek (Original Sin, Godzilla, '70's TV, Django Unchained)
Nintendo 64 talk
Will Ferrell's working on a Flintstones movie
More Power Rangers movies
Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter
Kirby vs Marvel
Transformers 4
Amazing Spider-Man 2 falls hard
Warhammer 40K 7th Edition rumors
Penny Dreadful
Geektrosities and more!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Less Than Meets the Eye

Thirty years ago this month the first issue of Marvel's run of the Transformers hit the racks. I had no clue that there even was a Transformers comic until after issue four or five came out. I don't remember seeing any ads for it and I was still very much in a Star Wars state of mind back then until I saw the Transformers cartoon for the first time.

I had a very hard time liking this series of Transformers comic books. It was hard to find; where I was growing up, there were only two places to buy comics and there just were not enough copies to go around. At best I was getting every other issue and sometimes I wouldn't be be able to find a new issue for two to three months. When I was able to get my hands on a new issue, the Autobots were always on the losing side. I know the good guys can't win all of the time but it was ridiculous just how often the Decepticons had the upper hand, it wasn't fun to read.

I also was not a fan of the art. I had seen some robot and mech art out of Japan and this shouldn't even be compared to that. I always felt that could and should have been better.

I know that I'm spouting a great deal of negativity here, but I did appreciate the fact there was Transformers comic. It came down to being a bigger fan of the cartoon over the comic, and I may have let my expectations to get too big.

Transformers #1, May 1984

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Battle Chasers

In early 1998 I began seeing promos for a new comic called Battle Chasers. I didn't give it much thought, as the promos made the book look like just another bad girl T & A comic book. I stepped away from the from the hobby not long after the first issue came out and it would be a number of years before I actually read the series which only lasted nine issues.

Battle Chasers is the brain child of Joe "Mad" Madureira. Although Joe is a hell of an artist he has been heavily criticized as being a slow artist. Over the four years that Battle Chasers was being published only nine issues ever hit the racks and their was sixteen month wait between issues six and seven. Joe left the comics industry putting issue ten on indefinite hold to pursue a career in video game. Darksiders ring a bell to anybody?

Battle Chaser #1
Battle Chasers is an absolutely gorgeous run of comics. The setting is somewhat like the iron kingdoms a perfect blend of fantasy with some aspects steampunk as there are airships and war golems which are similar to warjacks.

The story focuses on the characters of Gully, Garrison, Knolan, Calibretto and Red Monika. Gully is young girl who's father mysteriously disappears and is in possession of a set of powerful magical gauntlets that her father left behind. Garrison was a former royal guard and one of the greatest swordsmen ever known. He enters the story as a despair drunk fighting the loss of his wife. Knolan is a old wizard who keeps company with the outlawed wargolem Calibretto. Last is Red Monika a bounty hunter and the reason why I initially passed on the book.

Red Monika
The story is only nine issues, I'm not going to spoil any of it here. The single issues can be found as well as a few collected editions but be prepared to open the wallet wide. The collected edition is available at comiXology if you don't mind reading it digitally. Battle Chasers is a great fantasy book and despite the slow output of issues it was one more popular titles of the late '90's. Although issue ten was never released it made to #14 on Diamond's top 300 for the month it was due out with over 60,000 pre-orders.

After Darksiders 2, Joe Mad left video game design and stepped back into the world of comics teasing that Battle Chasers would be making a comeback. I want to be optimistic of seeing Battle Chasers in print again, but like many other comics fans as much as I enjoy Joe's work, I'm not holding my breath for it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Death Becomes Her

The 1990's or Chromium Age of comics is known for many things. The speculation bubble reached an all time high and crashed. Publishers attempted to dictate to their fans what they were going to read and how much they were going to pay for it. The quantity of new first issues was at an all time high. Eventually it all crashed and some companies, including Marvel nearly went out of existence. Among the Chromium Age was the Bad Girl Era of comics. If you thought women were misrepresented and sexualized in comics in the decades beforehand, the Bad Girl Era was all that magnified a thousand times over. One of the characters at the center of it was a young girl named Hope better known as Lady Death.

I first discovered Lady Death somewhere around 1995/96 while hitting up a local tattoo parlor that also sold comics, fantasy art,  trading cards, t-shirts and a small amount of gaming stuff. The shop catered to those that were into fantasy, horror,, goth and the supernatural. This is were I found a lot of indy comic books that I never would have found elsewhere as many of them came from the UK.

Lady Death was created by Brian Pulido and Steven Hughes and she first appeared in the pages of Evil Ernie in 1991. She appeared to Ernie as a hallucination convincing him to swear loyalty to her and to kill every living thing on the face of the planet. But my first foray with Lady Death was with her first mini-series, The Reckoning from 1994.

Lady Death: The Reckoning #1
The story of Lady Death, to me is a classic fantasy tale. It starts in medieval Sweden with a not so normal mortal girl by the name of Hope. Hope is the daughter of Matthias, a tyrant nobleman who turned out to be a descendant of fallen angels that waged war against God and he unnamed mother came from a bloodline that was believed to be linked to Heaven.

Matthias was fighting a war at the same time a plague that was ravaging the land. Matthias began conscripting peasants to fight against his enemies which led to a revolt against him. Matthias escaped by summoning a demon to his aid. The people then captured Hope who accused her of witchcraft. Remembering the incantation her father used, Hope summons a demon to aid her escape, in exchange she must vow to serve the forces of Hell. Over the course of the various Lady Death stories, the character moves from the role of the villainess to an anti-hero and eventually that of a heroine.

One of the stigmas that tend to plague the character is the bad girl image she had from the '90's. Lady Death was and still is drawn as sexy, voluptuous and scantily clad, the book was seen as nothing but a dark fantasy tits and ass book and understandably so. Just take a look below and I think you'll agree.

Underneath all of the gratuitous cleavage and heiney shots though, there was actually a pretty good dark fantasy story being told and that was the reason for grabbing new mini-series as they came out.

Chaos Comics eventually collapsed but that would not keep Lady Death down. Avatar Press acquired the right to publish new Lady Death stories but only had the rights to Lady Death and none of the other characters previously associated with her in the Chaos days. The character was given an updated origin story and sometimes had a little more clothing to wear along the way.

I've had a chance to meet Brian Pulido, Steven Hughes and many of the other people from Chaos a few times back in '90's and what a great group of people. They were incredibly appreciative of their fans. I have a few Lady Death books that are signed by almost the entire Chaos crew, even those that had nothing to do with the books, it was part of the fun of being able to meet them. I was greatly saddened by the news that Steven had passed away, losing his battle with cancer. I've also had the chance to meet Mike Wolfer, the writer/artist that headed the current Lady Death ongoing series with Brian Pulido at Avatar.

Lady Death #1 2010
In 2004 ADV Films released an animated Lady Death film. I allowed my expectations to get a little high for the film. The animation was okay at best and the story seemed to dragged. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to have seen a Lady Death movie get made, but it could have been better.

2004 Lady Death Movie
Lady Death has appeared in 80 series, most being her own mini-series and one-shots, a few crossovers and elsewhere. The character has proved that she has staying power especially when handled well by creative teams. Not all T & A comics are created equally, Lady Death does provide solid dark fantasy stories that do not need to rely on the over sexualization of the character to do well.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

How I Geek Episode 9 - Drats! Spoiled Again!

While Marv and Ami are sailing the seven seas in search of booty the guys get into a not so in depth talk on our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and some of the news of the week complete with spoilers.

Free Comic Book Day
Knights of Badassdom
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Netflix Marvel series will be tied into the cinematic universe
Star Wars VII Cast
Horus Heresy
Wild West Exodus
Spider-Man in the comics
Spider-Man on television
Spider-Man on the silver screen
Amazining Spider-Man 2 SPOILERS!!!
Geektrosities and more!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

How I Geek Fitness Challenge Back On Track

The leg is all better which means getting the fitness challenge going again.

Learning from my mistake, I've decided to hold off for a bit on the daily workouts and start with a couple of Neila's thirty day challenges and add a daily work out about a week into doing those.

I decided to start with the cardio and ab challenges.


I have to get a healthier diet into place, not that I'm eating horribly now anyways but it can be improved. Over the course of the last two and half weeks, I've only had four or five sodas, the rest has been all water except a cup of coffee in the morning, and I'm actually craving water over soda now.