Comics, Movies, Video Games, and More

"Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

~Ephesians 5:16

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fear Itself: The Most Powerful Moment in All of Comics

Ah, Fear Itself. Any average comic fan should know that this is the current status quo of the Marvel universe. The big changer, they even dare say it to be "Almost as big as Civil War, maybe even bigger." While it does not live up to that event, it has been a fun ride. However, I'm not here to give a review on it.

I'm here to say what I think is the most powerful moment in all of comics.

For the people that have no clue what's it about: The Red Skull's daughter Sin unleashes the God of Fear: the Serpent, who Odin banished many years ago. Now the Serpent wants to take over the world and create a new Asgard. Can the heroes combat this threat, or will they succumb to their greatest fears?

It goes deeper than that, but you get the point.

Battling gods is nothing new for the Avengers, or really any of the Marvel heroes. But.....this was different. Bucky Barnes was eliminated, (no, that is not the moment I'm talking about) but really, we all saw that coming. How else was Steve going to become Cap again? The point is, though it doesn't do the best job of showing it, the Serpent and his army of heroes/villains turned evil Asgardians "the Worthy" are the strongest threat the Marvel universe has faced. Why? Well, I can finally get on to my point.

That scene was from the latest issue. After that, Spidey told Cap that he was leaving the battlefield. That was something else, but the scene right after that is the one I'm talking about.

The dialogue as follows,

Hawkeye: "Cap? Where's Spider-Man going?"

Cap: "I told him he could stand down."

Hawkeye: "Stand down?! Cap, how could--why?"

Cap: "Look around you, Hawkeye...we're going to lose."

Wow, I literally froze at that moment. Here was the great Captain America, the one ALL heroes look up to, the one who would face Thanos head-to-head, but for the first time ever, he says "We're going to lose." That's the biggest morale dropper right there. If Captain America says we're going to lose, then really, no other threat has come to earth such as the Serpent.

Though a lot of you may not agree with me on this, I think that exact moment, that panel, packs such a punch no other comic I've read has. The most brave hero that ever lived that has faced cosmic level threats saying that "We're going to lose" is truly something else.

And that is what I consider to be the most powerful moment in all of comics. Not a fight, not a death, just a single sentence.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irene, a Tale from a Sideliner

On August 23rd, 2011, a small tremor struck Virginia.

It's impact was felt as far as New Jersey. It lasted no longer than twenty seconds, and we all were joking about it afterward. We thought it was over.

We were wrong.

Four days later on August 27th, the Eastern coast of America was struck by a hurricane dubbed "Irene." North Carolina was evacuated, and all of New Jersey and New York were affected. Floods and strong winds attacked until the morning of August 28th.

Now that I'm done with the Cloverfield-esque intro, I can begin this story.

It's been a strange summer, hasn't it? The rainiest I've ever seen. I never thought it would actually mean something of this magnitude.

I never really paid attention to the news when I was younger. Stuff like this, it kinda forces you to pay attention. It's was and still is all over the main networks. I've never experienced a hurricane, so this was completely new for me. My parents came home stocking with  two 24 pack waters, non-refrigerated food, and other things.

At that moment, I knew this would be something else.

Hearing on the news that this is record breaker for New Jersey was something, but the evacuations got to me.  I was not part of the evac zones, so I can't comment how that felt. As the air got darker and darker August 28th, it felt like an impending doom waiting to attack.

I even tweeted News12 personally and asked how bad this will affect my area, Old Bridge. They gave me a general answer, "All of the state will affected, make preps now!" (Not exactly what I was looking for, but I'll take it.")

Though you might not see it, you could just feel the panic in the air. In the afternoon of August 27th, I saw how fast the cars were zooming toward the about-to-be-closed bridges. In the Wal-Mart parking lot, our car almost collided with another that zoomed past us. When we went inside Lowes, I could see the tension and fear in the air.

My dad originally was going to work on Saturday, from 2 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday. He tried to get someone to cover for him, but no one was available naturally. So, I was tasked with being "man of the house" during this event. (Talk about responsibility.)

I've been a big crisis before. I was in the core of the infamous blackout of 2003. (I think that was the year.) That effected all of New York and its boroughs. I was on the train, and I was pretty young, so that was an interesting thing for me. When the train stopped abruptly and went dark, I did not feel fear, more like "What's going to happen now?" It was a burning summer day, can you imagine walking on the Brooklyn Bridge with over a hundred annoyed people?! That was the hard part.

But this hurricane was different, it was destructive.

The day of arrival, I was just thinking how hard it will hit. It kept raining off and on, almost as if the hurricane was taunting us. At around four, I told everyone we should watch a movie to kill the time. Watched Ghidorah, (my review here: and after, the winds were a heck lot stronger. We have this huge tree in the back, and it was shaking. Soon after, the rain came down HARD. When I'm on the laptop, I'm near the window, so I could feel the hail-like rain striking the ground and window. It felt like doom outside, like something was waiting to swallow you up.

At around 11, watched some TV, and it wasn't raining as hard. After it was done, we put the news back on. Their first exact words were, "The weather is deteriorating , it will get worst."

Well, that was encouraging.

I heard that instead of category 2, it became a 1, which was a relief to the people. However, the news did warn us that expect to be disastrous anyway.

They said starting at midnight it will slowly get worst.

Not to mention there was a tornado watch for my county. When the wind bashes against the doors, you could hear these strange creaks, almost as if the wind was trying to get in. (Okay, enough with the paranoia.)

Well, that's one thing to know while your trying to sleep. When you wake up, will you see a tree in your window? Alas, I pretty much slept through the whole thing. When I awoke at around 10:30, I looked out my window.

Across the street laid an uprooted tree.

Besides that, not too much damage around here. The backyard was basically a mud puddle, my mom said that the worst part of the storm was over.

So it wasn't as bad as predicted. I know a lot of areas where flooded, so the aftermath of dealing with it will be tough. I know a lot of New Jersey lost power, even people I know lost power. Surprisingly, all I got was a taunting flicker, but I never lost it. Currently it's raining lightly and the winds have subsided., though I could hear some sirens out there.

Hurricanes and tornadoes are dangerous because you can't really fight them. You don't just shoot a missile and call it a day, it's uncontrollable and it becomes a battle for survival. Irene was like a monster, destruction followed in its path and when it was done, it "decided" to move away from the states it was attacking. Overall, this event felt like Cloverfield mixed with a bad weather film, a monstrous impending doom. Glad it wasn't as bad as predicted, props to the news for giving around the clock updates.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Interlude: Legion

Two years ago I came across the trailer for supernatural horror film LEGION. It looked interesting, I thought it was about demon possessed people with some angels thrown in for good measure. (I was wrong on all accounts.) I didn't really follow the film, it came, and it went. (It kinda bombed in the box office.) Fast forward a year later and I see this short clip from the film with two angels fighting, and I decide I will one day put this on Netflix. That day was yesterday, and......well, read on.

The plot as follows.

Apparently God doesn't like us anymore, so He's going to destroy all of humanity again. The archangel Micheal however sees hope for us, so he leaves Heaven. Meanwhile, there's this woman carrying this child that is said to be "humanity's last hope."

Yeah, it's as confusing as it sounds.

Archangel Micheal states that "God once sent a flood because He lost faith in humanity. Now he's doing it again with angels." Alright, true with the Flood but Genesis 8:21 clearly states that "Never again will I destroy all living creatures." So basically the whole premise of this film is inaccurate. I also don't get why Micheal and Gabriel show their forms while the other angels possess people. Speaking of that....

It would have made a heck lot more sense if those were demons instead of angels. Like, a lot them taunt the characters, I don't think angels from Heaven would taunt the humans. And what's with this baby?!

According to the Netflix description, the woman is carrying "the Messiah." I don't buy that, it was never said in the film. Even if it was, what on earth is that supposed to mean? Does this film take place after the End Times and that's supposed to represent the Second Coming? That doesn't make sense either, Revelation clearly states how He will come, and it's not like that.

I don't know if the script writers were making this without reading some of the Scripture for accuracy. There's a lot of references if you look deep. The guy that is the father of the baby is technically not really the father, but steps up to the plate anyway. (Reference: Joseph.) The part with the senior citizen lady saying that "All of them will burn." (Reference: King Herod.) So this film has a lot of those things, but it still doesn't make any sense. O_O

This film is interesting because we get to see the archangels painted in a new light. They each have character, and it was fascinating. Micheal is the general, but is really attached to the humans. Some great backstory he gives about being the first one other than the big G to witness the humans come about. Gabriel is the loyal one, eager to prove himself. It's quite interesting with these dynamics, I've never seen something where the angels have roles such as this.

Overall, Legion is interesting and has some pretty cool scenes. (One scene I'll never forget is the one with the ice cream man.) But the film itself doesn't make much sense and will have you scratching your head for the accuracy of it all. The film is trying to say something, but the only thing I got out of it was that don't lose hope, no matter how bleak the situation looks. Maybe this whole thing was just a test of faith for the characters?

With a little more backstory and explaining, LEGION could have been a really good biblical action horror film. It has a lot of hidden references, but whatever it's trying to tell you, it gets lost in the mess. Go watch Priest instead.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Book 1: Noah and the Flood

Here we are, one of the most well-known stories. By this time, the land was populated by lots of people. Of course......sadly, there was more evil than good, as God had seen. "Every inclination of the thoughts of man's heart was only evil all the time." That's pretty sad, and you could imagine how God felt. His once "very good" creation had turned....not so good. So, what was to be done? Start from scratch of course.

Send a flood that will wipe man and all living things from the earth.

That's one pretty darn epic solution if you ask me. However, there lived one soul that followed God. This soul was Noah. He was "blameless among the people of his time." So, God was going to let this guy and his family live. But how were they going to do that? Build a boat that would make even the Titanic proud of course!

I like in the verse how God is descriptive in how to make the boat. (Better known as the Ark.) Not only that, he commanded Noah to bring two of every living creature on board the vessel. (Saves the work of creating new animals later.)

I'm guessing while building the Ark Noah tried to convince the people of the upcoming storm and to repent. To these people, Noah seemed like some crazy old guy who was building a large boat. For what? Rain? HA! It's never rained before, why would it now? That was probably their response.

According to the verse, Noah was 600 years old when the Flood came. Wow, I'm going to have to say that people must have aged differently back then. 600 back then might have looked like 100 now. I believe this was the first time the earth experienced rain. Springs from the beneath ground burst, and the floodgates of the heavens opened. (I'm going to say the heavens refer to the sky.) So for forty days and forty nights the water covered the earth. I wonder what Noah and his family did in the Ark for that period of time. Fed the animals of course, and I'm guessing they played an early version of chess. How high were the waters? Look at Mt. Everest, the water covered more than twenty feet above that! Everything was wiped out, every single living thing. Except Noah and his family. (Can't forget the animals also.)

God didn't forget about them naturally, so when it was time, He sent a wind that receded the waters. Noah kept sending out a dove to see when it was safe to get out, imagine the great feeling of seeing it carry a freshly plucked olive leaf. When they had all gotten out, Noah made an altar to God. God then said that He will never again destroy all living creatures. Never again will there be such a large flood that can destroy the earth. (So that movie 2012? Nope.)

I'm no geologist, but the Flood did a lot to the climate. Before there was was no rain, and the inner earth was affected. Now for the dinosaurs question. I believe the Flood was the thing that wiped out the dinos. Then of course you're reading this and saying "Wouldn't have Noah brought some dinosaurs with him?" Now, due to the changed conditions of the earth due to the Flood, perhaps the dinosaurs couldn't live in the environment. How's that for an answer?!

The nice looking rainbow is a remembrance of God's covenant with Noah. Another fun fact is that God said that "My spirit will not contend with man forever, for man is mortal, (yeah, another term used a lot in later media) and his days will be a hundred and twenty years." Yup, so no one gets above that number. So make life count within those one hundred and twenty years!

In closing, the story of Noah and the Flood is still an interesting story to this day. How God got angry over his creation is fascinating, and the whole Flood concept is truly something else. The Ark still stands as the largest boat ever.

By the way, we just had a short earthquake hit Virginia, and it was felt all the way here in New Jersey. Wow, writing about the Flood and then feeling an earthquake.....uncanny stuff.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Interlude: Priest

"To go against the Church is to go against God."

That is the quote I remember from this year's movie Priest. For those of you that don't know what it is:

There has always been a war between the humans and the vampire menace. The church gathers seven elite people, calling them "Priests" to protect the land from the vampire menace. When one of the Priests is corrupted by the vampires, he kidnaps the daughter of one of the Priests. Despite the Catholic Church ordering him not to go and that he will be excommunicated if he does, the Priest leaves the church and goes on a rescue mission after his daughter,

Now, you're probably thinking why on earth I'm mentioning this. Well, the film conveyed a message I thought was worth talking (or in this case, blogging) about. When the main character is talking with one of his acquaintances about rescuing his daughter despite the Catholic church telling him not to, the acquaintance says that quote, "To go against the church is to go against God." But then the main character answers, "I'm not going against God." I found that quite interesting, the movie depicts the Catholic church as corrupted, it lost its way. The people were worshiping the church, it was placed with a very high importance. Because of that, prayer to God, the most important thing, was lost. (Not saying that's how it is with everywhere, just saying what the film's message was.)

My take here is that worshiping with the church is great, but if the church becomes the main focus, the main reason: God, is lost. In the film, the main focus was the Church, and the people were blindly following it, unaware of what was happening around them. In their view, if the Church says it's true, it's true. The Church is here to teach us, help us spread the Good News, make friends with fellow believers, and to minister to the community. But not to make us focus on it. Not trying to sound judgmental or anything, just thought this message was worth writing about. :)

By the way, Priest is a pretty cool fast-paced film, check it out. (Ignore that 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Book 1: Cain and Abel

You know, a lot of today's movie and story cliches come from the Bible. Case in point with this story. A jealous brother who wants the same fame and fortune as his brother. (Well, not fortune in this case.) This story follows Cain and Abel, the first sons of man. Let's get on with the review.

Cain is the older one, and worked the soil. Abel is the younger one, (obviously) and kept the flocks. So this is what life was like 6,000 years ago, simple. (Not too different than the Pilgrim's way of life.) They both gave their offerings, Cain gave some of the fruits of the soil while Abel gave huge portions of the firstborn of his flock. God looked at Abel with great favor. Of course, this made Cain angry. Can't say I blame him, I would be too. (But I wouldn't have done what he did to his brother. O_O)

I like how God sees this and speaks directly to Cain. (This was back when He spoke directly to people, you don't see that happening much these days.) "If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." That quote is probably what sums up the whole book for me, probably the most important quote for every day living.

Despite this, Cain got Abel to go into the field and eliminated him. (The first murder act.) It is never said, but I'm going to assume they were in their late teenage years at that point. They probably didn't have the best relationship growing up, I bet Cain secretly had planned that moment for years. Though I wonder what Adam and Eve were doing at that moment. (I wonder if they built some sort of house.) I like this next part. Kind of similar to what happened in the last story.

Instead of bluntly saying what Cain had done, God simply asked "Where is your brother Abel?" (Character right there to anyone who says He is just an overlord who looks down upon us.) Cain wasn't exactly the nicest of guys, and his response was as expected. "I don't know. Am I my brother's keeper?" That's one heck of an answer if you ask me. I like how God kind of exploded on this guy, saying "You will be a restless wanderer on the earth." Of course, Cain pretty much mellows down saying "Whoever finds me will kill me." But check this out. God's response to that was "Not so, if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over." Just think about that for a sec, this guy had just committed murder, yet God still cared for the guy, not letting anyone kill him! (He even placed a mark on Cain so no one who found him would kill him.) So Cain left God's presence, got a wife, and had a son named Enoch. (What follows is a very complicated thing of sons after sons after sons.) Later, Eve had another son called Seth, who then had a son named Enosh. (Where do these names come from?!)

In closing, the story of Cain and Abel demonstrates that evil personas in us humans existed way back then with the first murder act, and also demonstrates that God is the merciful God He says He is. Another interesting story.

Next up: Noah and the Flood.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Book 1: Creation/Adam and Eve

"In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth."

That is how everything all began folks. Before that, nothing. Picture that for a second, what is nothing? Before everything was created, was it all black empty space? No, because even that's something. We cannot comprehend what nothing is. With that said, the big guy is beyond the word genius, he made water, land, day, and night. I like the wording "He looked at what he had created and called it good." Simply put, and to the point, it was good.

"Let the land produce living creatures according to their kind: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind."

I've always read these dinosaur books, where it says "60,000 million years ago, so and so roamed the earth." Of course, we know that the earth is 6,000 years old. I'm going to say that at that moment, animals like lions, tigers, and bears were roaming alongside our favorite dinos. (I'll cover how they got extinct in my article on Noah.) Basically, this is when all animals lived in harmony, when no one tried to eat each other. O_O

"And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that he had done."

And that is why Sunday is the main day we go to church. I have a feeling you already knew that though, so I won't waste anymore time on that.

Now that that's done, we can get on to what I think to be the most interesting part.

God had planted a garden in Eden and put the man (we'll refer to him as Adam now) there. Seemed like a pretty good garden, you got the great fruits, (and you didn't even have to worry about washing them!) nice scenery, complete with four headwaters. Of course, we all know this garden because of the two infamous trees. We have the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life. (Yes, Norse myth stole that name.) "But you must not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, for when you eat of it, you will surely die." Of course, we all know He didn't mean "die" literally in that sense. In a sense, they die inside and lose their "innocence," as we'll see later.

So Adam hung out in the garden, naming the animals around him. (Who knows where he got the name ostridge from.) Of course, it can get pretty lonely being the only kind of your species. God, being the caring God that He is, saw this and decided to make a companion for our Adam. This is when the interesting begins. The big G grabbed one of Adam's ribs and made the woman. Being the intelligent guy that he is, Adam named the woman "Eve." (Actually, he named her that after the Fall, but we'll refer to her as Eve for the rest of this editorial/review.) Now we can get into the most vital part of this story: The Fall.

Thus begins why we're all crazy. The Serpent, (you know, I've actually read that some people think the Serpent was NOT the Devil, but just a crafty snake. Of course, all you have to do is read Revelation 12:9, which clearly states that he was that "ancient serpent") was the one we can all thank for our misery. (Technically anyway.) I will go ahead and say how I think it happened. After the Devil lost the battle in Heaven, he was hurled to earth. Of course, it's tough to say when exactly that happened. If he was hurled to earth, then it must have been soon after Adam was created. Of course, he must have been pretty angry for having lost the battle. We all know he can go into things and control them. Once he realized what wonders God had created, his first mission was to corrupt them. So he entered the snake, or serpent, to tempt good ol' Eve. It was a smart plan. I love the dialogue between the two, the Serpent explaining that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil will make you be like God, knowing good and evil. (More proof that was the Devil.) Now this was the part where everyone yelled "What the heck are you doing Eve???!!!!!" But Eve is not to blame....okay, she is to blame. But you have to understand something, before she ate from the tree, she didn't know right from wrong. I'm sure God gave her a thinking brain, but it was probably super primitive, simple. Adam and Eve were like newborns, they didn't know right from wrong. So they were easily tempted.....but God was still their father and should have listened. Once Eve ate the fruit, she quickly passed it on to Adam.......who wasn't with her during all that strangely. (If he was, he didn't say anything, so he couldn't have been standing next to her.) When Eve gave it to him, he didn't say anything, he just ate it. No questions, just ate it. Did Eve explain that it was the fruit of the forbidden tree? Nope, and I guess Adam didn't bother asking. So when both ate it, "their eyes were opened." Now they are like us, they know good and evil, no longer "very good," their minds were then corrupted, for they had committed the first sin. The first thing they had realized was that they needed some cloths, for they were ashamed.

I really like the next part, when God himself was heard walking in the "cool of the day." Of course, now that they could comprehend more, Adam and Eve fled from Him among the trees. I love the dialogue here, where God is pretending not to know where they are. (That proves that He has a slight sense of humor.) When God asks the tough question, instead of taking the blame for your wife, Adam points figures at Eve. So Eve then explains that the Serpent "deceived" her. I like this part too, where God commands the Serpent to crawl on his belly. An interesting thing worth mentioning is that when God said for the Serpent to crawl on its belly for the rest of its life, that means that the snakes we know today are different than the ones from old. Serpents back then were  probably much larger, had legs, and walked like a bipedal. Then God commanded that all snakes lose that ability. Fascinating stuff.

Thus begins why we feel pain today. God cursed Eve that giving birth to a child will be painful, while Adam was now forced to work to get food. His years were now limited, and he will turn back to dust. (I'm guessing God's original plan was for Adam and Eve to live in harmony in the garden forever.) Of course, despite all of this, God still cared for them, for he made cloths for them.

"He must not be allowed to to reach out his hand and take also from the Tree of Life and eat, and live forever." So this tree grants everlasting life. That's what all those explorers  searching for everlasting life are looking for. Too bad they'll never find it. God banned the two humans from the garden, and no one ever returned there.

In closing, this story is one of my favorites. It is the beginning of everything, and the Serpent's dialogue with Eve is one of the most interesting scenes in all of the Bible. Of course, you have to wonder why God placed those trees in in the first place. Maybe the garden was meant to be a slice of Heaven? We don't know, for our minds are too inferior to understand.