Thursday, April 27, 2017

Vacation Recovery

Nothing too geeky to post this week. We're still recovering from the vacation (or, more to the point, readjusting to reality), so I haven't had time to think of a topic. In the mean time, enjoy the picture of our family with everyone's favorite wookiee.

What I have had time to do is drop down the "top tier" pledge on the Patreon site, so now you can get bonus podcast episodes for only a $5 a month pledge!

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

What If ... Attack of the Clones

One of the biggest disappointments of Attack of the Clones, for me anyway, was the ending. For most of the movie we're under the impression that Count Dooku and the Separatists are convinced that the Republic has become corrupt and they legitimately want to split off. Dooku even lays all of that out for Kenobi, asking the latter to join them.

Then it turns out that Dooku is really Darth Tyranus and working for Palpatine. Ugh.

Here's my idea for what could have been. Dooku was really leading what he thought was the right side in the war. Yes, he might have been manipulated behind the scenes, but he knew that he was on the side of the just. The offer he makes to Obi-Wan is genuine, and not the last on he will make to a Jedi. The fact that he's giving Palpatine exactly what he wants then become a tragedy.

Even more of a tragedy is the fact that the Jedi, those lovers of peace and protectors of the rights of all beings, are on the wrong side and DON'T KNOW IT! The Jedi bring about, unknowingly, the destruction of the one group that could have overthrown the soon-to-be Emperor, or at least give a safe haven for all of those that eventually became oppressed under his rule.

Making both sides of the war under the control of one man just ended up with a much more boring story in the long run. Entirely in my opinion, of course.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Space Battleship Yamato 2199

I recently got my hands on the entire Space Battleship Yamato 2199 series for fairly cheap and, having been injured recently and not really wanting do do housework, I have watched the whole thing. Here are my thoughts on it.

I'm not one for remakes or re-imaginings, especially of properties that I love. Star Blazers is one of those that I never wanted anyone to touch but the people that did this version obviously love the original as much as I do. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about it. That's right, nothing.

The story line is, essentially, the exact same one from The Quest for Iscandar, which Dr. Bill and I covered on Anime Freaks. However, there are changes, and every single one of them is for the better. First of all, there are more female characters on the ship. Yuki Mori (aka Nova) is still there, but now she's just the Operations Officer. The role of Nurse is taken by Makoto Harada, a capable if slightly ditzy assistant to Dr. Sado (aka Dr. Sane). Then we have Assistant Warrant Officer Yuria Misaki, who acts as the morale officer, even starting a ship's radio station for entertainment.

Probably the biggest female lead after Mori is Ensign Akira Yamamoto (the white haired woman above) who is a fighter pilot and seems to have taken much of Kodai's (Wildstar's) hatred of Garmillas (aka Gamelons). She also seems to be developing a connection with Kodai, making for a love triangle that we didn't see in the original.

The next addition that I like is that there are a lot, and I mean A LOT, of subplots going on. Both on the Yamato and within the Garmillas Empire. None of these slow down the show, but instead give us some really good moments and plot points. At least one of these was scrapped in the original, but it worked in very well here.

If I give you anything else, I'm pretty sure that I'll be spoiling something, and I really don't think you'll want that. I would highly recommend that any fan of Star Blazers pick this up.

I now leave you with the opening (which doesn't show up until Episode 3) in all of it's awesomeness.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017


As you all know, I'm a Thor guy. I came onto the character with Walt Simonson, but I stayed for quite awhile. One of the periods that I was there for was the Tom DeFalco/Ron Frenz run, which introduced the character of Eric Masterson.

Masterson was to become the new "Donald Blake" in that he was an alter ego for Thor, but his time it was due to Thor and Masterson being merged in order to save Masterson's life. This led to some really great stories, and eventually Masterson took over the role of Thor when the original was banished.

Once Thor came back, and the two were separated again, Odin gave Masterson a cane of his own. This transformed into the enchanted mace named Thunderstrike, and gave Masterson some measure of Thor's power. That was something I was all about. This wasn't someone else usurping Thor's place, but an ally that could be called upon to help out the Thunder God, or the occasional Protector of the Universe.

It was also, quite frankly, wish fulfillment. No one could be Don Blake, since that was a creation of Odin. Someone could, however, prove themselves worthy of an enchanted weapon of their own. Much like Billy Batson saying "Shazam!" and being changed into Captain Marvel, Thunderstrike showed that anyone could obtain fabulous power, if they showed that they could wield it.

In addition to the solid writing, by Mr. DeFalco, was the great art by Mr. Frenz. Again, as you all know, I like comic art that is clean and doesn't go all wonky with the anatomy. Ron Frenz has that in spades. He, like John Romita, Sr., John & Sal Buscema, John Byrne, George Pérez, and José Luis García-López (pbhn), has a great sense of figure and storytelling. Plus, his characters all look like they're in the middle of doing something rather than standing around posing. Not to mention his wonderful facial expressions, which give you a glimpse of what the character is thinking. It's just great stuff.

At one point I had the entire run of Thunderstrike but, sadly, that went as part of the Great College Comics Purge. Unfortunately it looks like the series hasn't been collected, so I might just have to hunt down some issues.

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