Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rebooting the DC Universe...and it fucking blows.

It was announced today, to the surprise of relatively no one within the comic book world, that DC will be doing an industry-wide reboot of their universe and most of their respective characters. This is something that many fanboys (myself included) figured would happen sometime soon (it wasn’t that long ago that Wonder Woman got a quick redux with a new costume, identity, and overall backstory) and now here we are. But why though? Why must we go through yet another re-imagining of our favorite iconic characters?

To coincide with the release of the final issue of “Flashpoint” (the current summer mega-event that promises reality changing events in the DC universe), things are changing big time for Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and the rest of the costumed pricks that populate the DC world. Why you ask? That’s a good question…so let’s take a look back at some of the previous “universe shattering” events that DC was behind.

In 1985, DC Comics released the 12-issue maxi-series “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, which was pretty much the first true publisher-wide “reboot” in comic book history. “CoIE” merged all of the multiple universes and versions of characters into one universe in an effort to condense and streamline their many properties to draw in new readers without confusing the ever-loving shit out of them, and for the most part, it worked. Instead of there being multiple Superman’s and Batman’s populating different Earths with differing back stories and such, we now had one of each, and it made things so much better in the long run.

Fast forward to 2005/2006 with “Infinite Crisis”, another company-wide crossover event that DID NOT streamline anything in terms of continuity, but instead made it a little more confusing to outside readers by resurrecting old characters that bit the dust in “CoIE” as a sort of love letter to long time DC Comics readers. This worked for the most part as well, even though it reintroduced the ideas of alternate worlds and alternate takes on various characters.

Now, here we are in 2011, and I guess the brass at DC has decided that it’s time to say “fuck it” to everything again and try to start over fresh. I can understand the idea about trying to draw in new readers, but the fact of the matter is that DC is alienating their longtime readers in doing so. I myself have been much more a fan of DC’s stuff than Marvel’s for nearly a decade now, mostly due to the fact that Marvel has the habit of rebooting their characters every five years or so in an effort to keep them “hip” for new generation after new generation, ad-nauseum.

Yes, I will read “Flashpoint” when it comes out in trade form, only because I want to see how superhero writer extraordinaire Geoff Johns changes everything and attempts to wipe the slate clean. Personally, I only give it about another five years (at best) until the old continuity gets re-introduced and we start all over again. Maybe by that time I’ll be willing to give the DC superhero universe another shot…but until then I’ll be sticking with my indie and horror comics and give the douche bags in tights a long break.

See y’all in the funnybooks folks…maybe.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Breaking Down the Stanley Cup Finals

Ah yes, it’s that time of year again, the time of year when there are only two NHL teams left to duke it out for the greatest trophy in all of sports: the Stanley Cup. Our two teams left are the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins, one team has never won the cup, and the other hasn’t won it in eons. One team is notorious for playing dirty, the other is known for being the most skilled in the league this year. I’m going to try to break down everything you need to know going in to what should be a very entertaining Stanley Cup Finals showdown.

On the side of the Vancouver Canucks, this is a team that has never ever won a Stanley Cup in their entire history. The last time they were in the Finals was 1994 when they ran into the Mark Messier-led New York Rangers, and were heartbroken in seven games. This year’s Canucks team is probably the most impressive team that has ever been assembled in the history of the franchise: Henrik Sedin is the reigning MVP; while his twin brother Daniel Sedin led the league in scoring is up for the MVP this year. Ryan Kesler (remember when the Flyers signed him to an offer sheet?) has transformed into one of the absolute best two-way forwards in the league, and goaltender Roberto Luongo has appeared to finally get the monkey off his back in terms of playoff failures. Those players, plus the stingy defense led by Kevin Bieksa, owned the best regular season record in the NHL, yet nearly got knocked out in the first round by last year’s champs, the Chicago Blackhawks. Despite that though, the Canucks were put together to win it all before the season even started.

On the side of the Boston Bruins, we have some of the dirtiest and nastiest sons of bitches around. Team captain Zdeno Chara is a seven-foot tall monster who practically broke Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty’s neck as the regular season drew to a close. Oh, and he’s also one of the toughest and best all-around defensemen in the NHL today. Power forward Milan Lucic is a nasty bastard himself, and is practically the reincarnation of Hall of Famer and Bruin legend Cam Neely (who ironically enough, began his career as a Canuck, but I digress), and has the power to change the flow of a game thanks to his style of play. While the Bruins don’t have the same kind of talent that the Canucks possess, they make it up in toughness and leadership, thanks to veteran goalie and Vezina Trophy (goaltender of the year) shoe-in Tim Thomas, and the ageless Mark Recchi, who even at 42, still plays better than most 20-something’s in the league today.

On a head-to-head matchup scale, the Canucks definitely outmatch the Bruins. The Canucks win on the talent scale alone, but the Bruins are definitely the more physical and punishing team. As long as the Canucks don’t let the Bruins style of play throw them off their finesse game, the Cup is as good as theirs. I for one would love to see the Canucks win it all here, but that’s mostly because I hate the Bruins with a passion, and always will.

On a side note here, if you want to try something fun, try and find how many ex-Flyers/Flyers properties are in the Final between both teams (I do this every year and am always shocked at the number I come up with). By my count, I’ve got Mark Recchi, Dennis Seidenberg, Ryan Kesler (signed to an offer sheet), Dan Hamhuis (Flyers owned his rights), and Andrew Alberts by my count.

This is going to be an entertaining series regardless though…all we need to make it sweeter is have a dramatic return of Marc Savard only to get another concussion, and see Tomas Kaberle get his head shoved up his ass by Alex Burrows.

One can only hope anyway…

Friday, May 27, 2011

Some New Thoughts on "The Avengers" Movie

First and foremost, all I have to say is SPOILER WARNING!!!

If you haven’t seen “Thor” yet, don’t read any further, because I’ll be talking about the film here in a little bit of detail in regards to next year’s “The Avengers”, which finds Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, and more besides all in the same flick (screeching nerdgasm in 5…4…3…2…1…). All that being said, proceed at your own risk…

After finally getting around to seeing “Thor”, the end-credits Easter-egg confirms that Thor’s wicked brother Loki will be the main antagonist of “The Avengers”…or will he? Eagle-eyed viewers of “Thor” no doubt caught the quick glimpse of the Infinity Gauntlet in Odin’s chamber towards the beginning of the film (it looks like a big glove with shiny jewels on it), and comic geeks know that this is a reference to the universe-shattering titan known as Thanos. Thanos turned the Marvel universe on its ear in the 80s and 90s as he sought control over the Infinity Gauntlet and the Infinity Gems, and it now appears that the appearance of the Gauntlet wasn’t just a wink at comic geeks. Apparently, Thanos will also be a major villain in “The Avengers” in addition to Loki, and apparently, the shape-shifting alien Skrulls will also serve as antagonists for the super-team.

So, that’s Loki, Thanos, and now the Skrulls…anyone else think this all sounds like overkill a bit?

From my own understanding, when Marvel Studios first announced that all their films would be linked together to lead up to “The Avengers”, it was mainly perceived that it would revolve around the group hunting down the renegade Hulk. Now that that seems to be pretty much tossed out the window (maybe) we’re left with what sounds like a battle royale featuring a team of Marvel’s greatest heroes against a trinity of evil, cosmic super beings. Maybe it’s all misdirection on Marvel’s part and that of Joss Whedon, but maybe it isn’t either.

Either way though, there are plenty of questions left unanswered so far, such as:

Loki’s plans for the Cosmic Cube, which will be heavily featured in the “Captain America” film coming out this July, plus, if Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet are indeed in the film, what the fuck does anyone want the goddamn Cosmic Cube for?!?!

Now that we’ve seen Hawkeye in “Thor”, will we see other classic Avengers characters like Ant-Man and/or Wasp?

If they use all these villains in the first film, who the hell are they going to have left for possible future “Avengers” films? I can’t really see Ultron holding much of a candle in comparison to Loki, Thanos, and the fucking Skrulls!

Anyway, the fanboy in me is excited; I can’t deny it…even if I do have one or two misgivings, though in all fairness they are relatively small. “Thor” itself wasn’t a bad film, but it still kind of felt like it was really nothing more than a set-up for “The Avengers”; almost exactly like “Iron Man 2” felt for me as well. Hopefully “Captain America” won’t come off feeling like the same thing, but all I can say for sure for now, is that I haven’t looked forward to a comic book movie like “The Avengers” since “The Dark Knight” in 2008…and we all know how that worked out. Let’s hope we get something along the same result.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Macho Man...he died so we could live!

So…the world didn’t end.


But seriously though, we knew there wouldn’t be a “rapture” (although I’m starting to really love that word), that no one would be left behind, and that the world as a whole wouldn’t come screeching to an end either.

So who do we have to thank for still being alive? Could it be Macho Man Randy Savage? Fuck to the yes I think it could!!!

The legendary WWF pro wrestler passed away Friday after suffering a heart attack while driving, and thus headed to the big ring in the sky. Could it be that as the above picture so beautifully describes he elbow dropped Jesus in the dome to stop him from bringing an end to all creation? Why the fuck not? There was no one that didn’t love the Macho Man, just like there was virtually no one who believed that the fucking world would come to an end today.

And yes, for the record, I love the aforementioned picture; I think that it’s equally hilarious and brilliant. I know everything I just typed above is absolutely ludicrous as well…and truth be told, it’s about as ludicrous as some assholes pinpointing the exact end of all time. We’re all still alive and breathing, and we all still have to go to work in the morning, take care of ourselves, and above all else, are responsible for our own actions and all that other happy horseshit.

Happy non-rapture day everybody, turns out it’ll be a bit more time until we’re all burning in hell with red hot pokers shoved up our asses and forced to watch Michael Bay films non-stop (and that’s the real torture), so until then, have a blast.

Randy Savage, R.I.P.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Last Day on Earth...Maybe

It’s the end of the world.

Oceans will turn into blood.

The dead will rise from the grave.

Dogs and cats will be living together.

Yes sir, it’s the end of the world as we know it, and yes, I feel fine.

For the past few months, I’ve noticed a few of the billboards here in Philadelphia proclaiming that May 21st 2011 is the end of the world. No wait, May 21st is the Rapture, the world dies in October. No wait, this crew that was in Philly today says that the world will end at 6PM beginning with a massive earthquake that will travel all throughout the planet and eventually destroy it completely, obliterating anything and everything that’s “left behind” (sorry, couldn’t help it).

Oh, and the CDC is giving tips on how to survive a zombie apocalypse.

So which take on the end of the world works best for you?

Personally, I’m down with the whole zombies rising and ravaging throughout the planet, or more so with the whole let the prudes lose their clothes and ascend to Heaven while the rest of us sinners are left behind to rot (orgy at my place by the way). Now, anyone who knows me remotely well knows that I’m an atheist and not afraid to admit it either. That being said, I’m also usually not one to lambast anyone’s religious beliefs either, even when said beliefs include a specific date for the end of the world. The crew here in Philly I mentioned earlier? They also said the world would end in 1994, 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2006. So…here we are now I guess.

Where was I on September 9, 1999 (9/9/99) when the world was supposed to end? I skipped school and was in line to buy a Sega Dreamcast.

Where was I on June 6, 2006 (6/6/06, get it?) when the world was supposed to end? I was at the opening night for the shitty remake of “The Omen”. I wish the world would have ended that night so I didn’t have to see that piece of dogshit, but I digress.

So how am I going to be spending tomorrow, this new day that the world is supposed to end? Will I be masturbating with a crucifix up my ass while covered in my own feces? Will I be in church begging forgiveness for living a life of Godless heathenry? No…I don’t think so.

You’ll probably find me playing the new Mortal Kombat online…

…and Jesus hates me.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The clusterfuck that is PSN

It’s been a rough past couple weeks for Playstation 3 owners. First Playstation Network goes down mysteriously, with Sony eventually coming clean and admitting that they had fallen victims to a hacking group. A little while later, Sony would go on to admit that PSN account information had been “compromised”; meaning that everything from personal info (address, phone number, e-mail address, etc.) to possible credit card numbers had now fallen into the hands of the hackers.


That word was pretty much my knee-jerk reaction at this whole thing, which besides cancelling my debit card, I found myself pretty powerless in terms of this whole PSN outage. Not that I play video games online a lot, it’s just the other things I tend to use my PS3 for. More often than not, I use PSN for renting movies and streaming stuff from Netflix (which thank the technological gods still functions even with PSN out), but I’d be hard pressed to not admit that playing a game without PSN functioning just isn’t the same.

While Sony was slowly admitting what exactly happened (i.e., how much they fucked up in the first place with designing the whole PSN infrastructure), the conspiracy theorist in me started acting up a bit. Namely, what if the whole thing was a crock of shit? What if this was the means to an end with Sony starting to charge PS3 owners monthly fees for using PSN? Oh shit, now I’ve done it…strap yourselves in folks.

One of the things that attracted me to the PS3 over the Xbox 360 is the fact that its online functions are free. Playing multiplayer games and all the other things it does can be done without a monthly or yearly charge (and let’s be honest 360 owners, it’s a service that should be free in the first fucking place) are what really set me on purchasing it (as well as the built-in Blu-ray player, but I digress). However, it was only a few months ago that Sony introduced a feature called “Playstation Plus”, which charges a similar fee that Xbox Live does per year.

What Playstation Plus offers are early demos, occasionally free content (games, movie rentals, add-ons, etc.) and some other goodies, but it really isn’t anything special, and it’s completely optional to have…for the time being that is. And that right there is the problem for Sony: no one is a Playstation Plus subscriber. There aren’t that many subscribers, which has been admitted by Sony in surveys done among PS3 owners, which in the end, finds them not making as much of a profit as Microsoft makes with Xbox Live. So what’s the solution to not having nearly as many Playstation Plus subscribers as there are PS3 owners? Make it look like PSN got hacked, and then eventually tell PS3 owners that if they want true security from hack attempts, they have to subscribe to Playstation Plus?

Am I jumping to conclusions? Maybe and in all honesty, probably. However, this isn’t the first time something shady has happened with the PS3. A little over a year ago, there was a mysterious bug going around that was only affecting old PS3 consoles, wiping away the system’s HDD and profile information with it. During this time, Sony ended up selling more PS3 Slims than they had when that console model had first been released. It’s no secret that the PS3 hasn’t enjoyed the same kind of success that the Xbox 360 has had, but in essence, that crisis ended up selling more PS3’s than Sony had done before.

Coincidence? I don’t know, maybe I should put the video game conspiracy theories to rest, and just hope that PSN gets up and running again. I’m not holding my breath however (even though Sony keeps promising “soon”), and I’m hoping that Sony will give me and my fellow PS3 gamers some kind of severance for all the mishaps and security breaches. After all, I think that we deserve some free shit from the mega-conglomerate instead of consistently getting Sony’s dick put to us on a regular basis.

Still, no matter what, I’d take my PS3 over the 360 and Wii any day of the fucking week.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Superman renounces his citizenship, hilarity ensues

“Truth, justice, and the American way”

For decades, that was the tagline that accompanied Superman, arguably the most recognizable and iconic comic book character in the history of ever. From the first days of “Action Comics” to the days of the Max Fleischer cartoons and the George Reeves-starring TV serial, Superman isn’t only a comic book icon, but an American icon as well. He may be nothing more than “the big blue boy scout” and interest in him usually wanes by the time you turn 7, but you can’t deny that Superman is represents so much on so many different levels, and maybe he always will.

At least, as long as he remains an American citizen.

Flash forward to today and here we have a little bit of comic book history in the making. Issue number 900 of “Action Comics” isn’t just historic because it’s the longest running comic book ever, but because it finds Superman renouncing his American citizenship. Now personally, I haven’t read a Superman comic in ages, so I can’t comment on what role this development plays in an ongoing storyarc, or how much of it plays into drawing new readership (because let’s be honest, who really reads “Superman” in the first place these days), but what I can say is that the surprising amount of media hoopla and commentary from fans is nothing short of hilarious.

I’m Facebook friends with artist Ethan Van Sciver, who has drawn best-selling titles for DC Comics such as “Green Lantern: Rebirth”, “The Sinestro Corps War”, and “Flash: Rebirth” as well. Ethan is one of the best artists in the business today, as well as being a die-hard conservative as well. He’s in the camp of Superman staying an American icon only, while others have been a little more open-minded about the while storyarc. You know, like the fact that Superman is a fucking alien in the first goddamn place!

Superman may have crash-landed in the middle of Bible-belt, small town America and called it home ever since, but does that truly make him an American citizen? (Fanboy correcting me by telling me a story where Supes gets his citizenship coming in 3…2…1…) The real problem that some people, most of them of the older, more conservative crowd, seem to have with Superman renouncing his citizenship is that they are so used to seeing him as part of American propaganda that the idea of Superman not waving an American flag constantly is actually upsetting. Like I said before, the guy’s an alien. Even if he grew up in America, he’s a protector and citizen of the universe first and foremost, get the fuck over it.

For the next America-breaking comic book icon-shaking event, Batman takes a shit and wipes his ass with the Constitution. You heard it here first folks.

See y’all in the funny-books.