Comics, Movies, Video Games, and More

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

~Ephesians 5:16

Monday, January 30, 2012

Battlezone: Destoroyah vs. SpaceGodzilla


Comics, video games, what's missing? Giant monsters, namely from Godzilla. Nothing beats watching a Godzilla fight from one of the films. One thing I would have liked to see more of was other monsters battling each other. We have Mothra who battles King Ghidorah and Gigan, King Ceaser vs. Mechagodzilla, but it's usually Godzilla against someone. So here I'm doing a fan favorite match, two of the strongest characters of the Heisei era: DESTOROYAH and SPACEGODZILLA. This will be different than the rest, cause there is no dialogue. No more time for talking, let's get on with the latest addition of BATTLEZONE!

Destoroyah vs. SpaceGodzilla

THE PLACE: Monster Island. Let's head to the deeper part of the island, where two beasts are locked head-to-head, well, one of them anyway. One of, if not the most powerful monster ever, was breaking apart his latest kill, Kumonga. The over-sized spider had put up a decent fight, but Destoroyah hadn't needed to use even a bit of his strength. Suddenly, the ground shook. Destoroyah threw what was left of Kumonga futher into the island. He sensed some something, something powerful.Then out of the ground near him a giant crystal emerged. Then another one popped out. Destoroyah roared, he sensed a powerful presence approaching.

The ground shook once again. 

In the sky, Destoroyah could see a rather large figure coming. It was levitating slowly to the ground. As it got closer, Destoroyah looked almost shocked. It couldn't be! He sensed an identical DNA pattern of that from his previous foe, Godzilla. There was something different about this one though. It had two large crystals sticking out of his shoulders. On its head it had a strange looking yellow thing, it looked a bit like a crown. Destoroyah sensed great power in the creature, even more so than his old foe.

SpaceGodzilla had arrived.

The Godzilla clone stood a great distance from Destoroyah. SpaceGodzilla wasn't one for long, drawn out fights. He wanted to end this quickly. He lifted his right hand. Destoroyah looked down. He was being lifted off the ground. However, in mere seconds, he was back on the ground. SpaceGodzilla roared in defiance. How could any creature be strong enough to resist his telekinesis? Destoroyah saw that SpaceGodzilla was annoyed and did a roar that sounded like a cackle. SpaceGodzilla knew he wasn't going to win with his special power, so he did the thing a Heisei monster would do: shoot a beam. Destoroyah was caught off guard by how powerful it was. It was similar to the spiral beam Godzilla used against him. Destoroyah also had a pretty power beam, and used it. SpaceGodzilla has high durability, but Destoroyah's micro-oxygen destroyer ray hurt. It stunned SpaceGodzilla, and Destoroyah took this as an opportunity. Despite being a hulking figure, Destoroyah could fly, pretty fast I'd have to add.

He flew toward SpaceGodzilla.

The latter, however, was but stunned for a few moments. He shot a beam at the coming Destoroyah. The latter didn't bother attempting to dodge, he took the beam and collided into SpaceGodzilla. Like sumo wrestlers, they struck the ground slowly. SpaceGodzilla mustered some telekinesis strong enough to throw Destoroyah off. They both stood up, inches apart. They roared, then went at it. SpaceGodzilla hated close range combat, but he had calculated a few different ways taking of Destoroyah by surprise. The latter banged into him. He purposely fell a little aback to get some space between. Suddenly, a large crystal sprung out of the ground to the right of Destoroyah. The monster looked, and then suddenly another crystal sprung out to his left. Beams shot out, stunning a surprised Destoroyah. SpaceGodzilla then shot a spiral blast at the two crystals, creating an explosion. He then struck Destoroyah with a beam, making a huge explosion.

Out of the explosion crawled out three aggregate Destoroyahs. SpaceGodzilla at first didn't know what to make of these things, but then roared with pleasure. He lifted up his right hand. The Destoroyahs were lifted up in the air and suspended. They no longer had the weight of the adult Destoroyah. SpaceGodzilla roared with pleasure again. He had outsmarted his opponent, as he had expected. In his arrogance of roaring with triumph, a sinle aggregate Destoroyah managed to evade his sight from the explosion area. The little thing went to the back of SpaceGodzilla. Its second mouth appeared and dove into SpaceGodzilla's tail. Green blood appeared from the wound. SpaceGodzilla roared in surprise and turned around. The other Destoroyahs were let go and they walked toward Godzilla's clone. The one behind him had climbed up his back. Now the other aggregates were climbing him.

SpaceGodzilla was getting overwhelmed. However, he still had a few tricks.

The crystals sticking out of his shoulders shot beams. It struck the Destoroyahs. SpaceGodzilla then used his telekinesis to hold them in the air. He held them together close, so he could marvel at how pitiful they were to him. He roared, but soon realized his fatal mistake. The aggregates were close enough to merge back into the adult Destoroyah. He hit the ground, creating a small tremor. He then unleashed his deadly x-ray katana. The slashes penetrated SpaceGodzilla's skin. Green blood covered him. Destoroyah then shot a direct hit of his micro-oxygen destroyer ray at SpaceGodzilla's right crystal. It shattered. SpaceGodzilla roared in great annoyance. But then that was stopped when Destoroyah grabbed his jaw. He was attempitng to break it. SpaceGodzilla wasn't going to let that happened. A beam shot out. Destoroyah attempted to move his head, but the blast struck a bit of it. breaking off a few pieces. He had already done his job however. He had a shot a very small blast of micro-oxygen destroyer ray into SpaceGodzilla.

SpaceGodzilla could feel something inside him. He roared once again before blowing up. He turned into motes of energy that drifted up into space. He would reform eventually. But Destoroyah had won this day, and longed for more carnage and destruction.

WINNER: Destoroyah

Yes, I went with Destoroyah on this. These two monsters are very impressive, and rank among the strongest. Godzilla himself wasn't able to beat them without outside help. I think Destoroyah would win, cause I just don't see him going down. Without ice, it'd be pretty much impossible to stop him. It'd be a very close fight.

NEXT WEEK: The Man of Steel battles a Super Saiyan.              

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Retro Review: Batman: The Man Who Laughs


The Killing Joke is known as one of the greatest Batman stories ever told. Some even call it one of the greatest comics ever. Then there's the ever famous Year One, which served as an update for Batman's very first days of crime fighting. In 2005, a sequel to both Year One and The Killing Joke (well, at the same time it's a prequel to the latter) came about. This one would serve as an update for Batman's first ever encounter with the Clown Prince of Crime. The Man Who Laughs is the title of this graphic novel. It never reached the popularity of The Killing Joke, yet alone Year One. For that, some call it underrated. The Man Who Laughs I would definitely say is underrated, it doesn't get half as mentioned as its cousin The Killing Joke. Yes, I enjoyed this one more than the ladder.

Batman and Joker probably have the most interesting and greatest hero/villain relationship. Greater than Superman/Lex, Captain America/Red Skull, and maybe even Spider-Man/Venom.

"You can't kill me without becoming like me. I can't kill you without losing the only human being who can keep up from me. ISN'T IT IRONIC?!"

That was a quote by the Joker from the infamous story The Clown at Midnight. It pretty much describes their relationship as worst enemies best. The Man Who Laughs is interesting, because prior to the story's timeline, Batman had never faced a person as insane as Joker. Throughout the the story, Joker has the upper hand, outsmarting Batman every time. Ed Brubaker, who would become best known for his Marvel work later, wrote this book. His Joker is fantastic, he appears to be 'insane,' but hasn't totally lost it. He appears to still have a human mind in his motives. Instead of just trying to get the attention of Batman, he doesn't care about him and just focuses on his 'revenge' on Gotham City. Brubaker's Batman is also very good. He seems sure of himself, but at the same time, clueless at the bigger picture surrounding the Joker.

As expected, the narrative is separated between Batman and Commissioner (in this book, Captain) Gordon. I find it amazing that no matter who the writer is, the ladder stays true to his character fully. (Can't say the same about Spider-Man.) And for the first time ever, Bruce Wayne realizes what it's like to be on the laughing end, to be like one of Joker's victims. It's classic fanfare as Joker announces who will die at midnight. Even though this book came in in 2005, the art by Doug Mahnke has an appropriately retro feel. Saying the art isn't dynamic is true, but it would be a crime to count it as a negative, because it captures the retro feel. And I gotta say, the cover is truly fantastic. I'd even go as far to say that it's the best Batman cover I've ever seen. (Isn't it nice to see the old fashioned DC logo?)

Overall, The Man Who Laughs is a definitive Joker story. Not only is it a story for when Batman first met his enemy, it's also about how the Dark Knight progresses as a crime fighter against the insanest of the insane. Never before had a menace such as the Joker threatened Gotham, so it was interesting to see how their relationship as worst enemies happened. Joker at this time didn't even know Batman existed, yet alone care about him at all. No, he just treated the Dark Knight like a nuisance. So it's interesting to look at modern Joker stories. You can see that now he's completely obsessed with Batman. He no longer cares about anything else, he just wants to mess with the Dark Knight. Their final battle in this book was really, really good. That would be their first major confrontation. (Aside from a brief skirmish in the middle of the book.) We even get to see how the Bat-Signal originated, that was a nice little ending. The Man Who Laughs may never be known as a classic as The Killing Joke, but that doesn't stop it from being a great read. I even liked it more than The Killing Joke, but that's just me. The Man Who Laughs is definitely one of the best standalone Batman/Joker stories out there.

10/10.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters #11 Review


Kingdom of Monsters is a very interesting series. Whereas the previous writer, Eric Powell, focused more on the human element surrounding the monsters, Jason Ciaramella focuses on the kaiju action. I think that's fine, the series had been due for some good fights. Of course, the problem here is that the issue ends with a 'to be concluded.' I'm sure you've heard that Kingdom of Monsters is ending with Issue 12. What could this mean you ask? I don't fully understand it myself, cause apparently the story 'concludes' next issue. Now that wouldn't be such a problem, except we have lots of plot holes open. First of all, what the heck happened to Kumonga? One panel appearance in the whole series. And it was never explained why every time a new kaiju appears, certain animals die out. And then there's this guy who found out 'where the monsters came from' who died, and that was never opened up again. Unless the 'sequel' takes place after Kingdom of Monsters, I shout "Foul!" Anyways, this issue appears to be the climax, while the next one looks to deal with what happens to humankind. Once again, Ciaramella gives us a very fun read kaiju fans will love, though as a 'final battle' for the series, it was underwhelming.

The story continues with the Twins attempting to control Godzilla. The ladder, however, seems to be too worn out from the previous fight. So, they tell Rodan and Battra to drop him into a nuclear power plant. Yeah, not the best idea. And they witness this first hand when the King of Monsters rises...

I really like the splash pages at and near the beginning, really has a good scope. Well, this issue seems to bring the Twins plot to a close. They've been kinda the main antagonists for the series, this issue really forces them out rather quickly. I have to question their intelligence if they think they could control Godzilla after juicing him up. The battle between Rodan, Batta, and Godzilla was fun and energetic. I can picture Godzilla's theme from Final Wars playing in it. Still, I have been rather annoyed that Rodan has been treated like a joke the whole time. Battra seems to be favored here, Rodan gets the shaft and is knocked out a lot faster. And did I miss something, cause the Twins were knocked over Battra, but didn't appear for the rest of the issue. It's not clear if they died or stood alive to terrorize another day.

Godzilla is looking rather impressive. I just love, love the panel of him about to fight, roaring the iconic "Skreeeonk!" Godzilla himself hasn't had much of a character throughout the series, he's been practically nothing more other than a walking event. At least here he displays some of the classic Godzilla fanfare of just looking epic. Battra gets the most hits in, displaying his strength pretty well. Rodan on the other hand doesn't land a single blow, it's quite disappointing at how weak he was portrayed.

I've gotten use to the art, it fits the series, but still isn't that great. Some shots of Godzilla look fantastic. Rodan still looks like a rough draft version of the character. Battra looks good enough, and the battle is fluid. After the dynamic Issue 10 cover, the cover to this issue really pales in comparison. The Twins looked way too stretched out, it looked like they were extended in Microsoft Paint. Godzilla looks decent when compared to some of his earlier cover appearances. The Matt Frank variant this time features Titanosaurus. Once again, a very awesome piece of artwork.

Overall, Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #11 is a very enjoyable issue. However, as the 'final battle' of this story, it was a bit underwhelming. The Twins plot is over, yet it is not clear what happened to them. It was great seeing Godzilla doing what he does, just owning. It also was nice to see Battra show his strength, though sadly Rodan gets the shaft. I've gotten use to the art, it's not great, but it's decent. Next issue is the conclusion to this story, so it should be interesting to see what happens.

8/10.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Justice League #5 Review


When there's a big villain reveal from the last issue, the anticipation for the next one is greater than ever. Especially with a blockbuster series like Justice League. In my past reviews, I've given high praise to the series. I consider it to be the definitive comic book series. A planet shattering story, good characters, and stellar art. Looking deeper into the series, I see that some of the character portrayals are more or less decent. Green Lantern has been nothing besides an idiotic fool, and Wonder Woman is just cardboard. Cyborg is definitely the most fleshed out of the group, since he's been having his own side-plot in the past four issues. Aquaman hasn't done much much, and Superman still hasn't lived up to his name. Batman seems to be the only one aware of the bigger picture. (As seen in this issue.) Besides all this, it has remained a very enjoyable series worth the $3.99 every time. Besides being a tad underwhelming, Issue 5 gives us what Issue 4 promised: A big confrontation.

The story continues with Flash and Superman trying evade Darkseid's Omega Beams. Green Lantern attempts to do some damage, but fails miserably from the power of Darkseid. All is not lost yet however. Naturally, Batman has a plan....

Now this is how the big villain should be done. I'll let you in on a little hint: they are no match for Darkseid, if this issue's any indication. It's good stuff. (Something bad happens to Hal in this issue, gotta say it was a guilty pleasure seeing what Darkseid did to him, pretty intense scene.) However, something was missing from this issue. Maybe it was cause three of the members did little to nothing. Or maybe it's the writing. Now it's getting a bit tiresome. It really isn't all that intelligent, and it makes most of members sound like amateurs. Or maybe it's cause somethings are forced and not fully fleshed out. (The Batman Green Lantern scene felt forced and rushed.)

Superman has some nice pieces of dialogue in this one. Of course he's knocked out pretty fast, it's like he'snot even one of the big guys of the group, let alone have the title 'Superman.' The Flash comes off as alright, just not special. Green Lantern once again is the most annoying character. His portrayal of being of an annoyance doesn't even make sense, it's like he wants to annoy everyone, including the reader. Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg are the three that do absolutely nothing. Though Wonder Woman's lines had me chuckling. Batman once again is the only real leader figure, showing that even though physically he's the weakest, he's strongest in spirit. Darkseid is pretty powerful, as he should be. Kudos for making him appear to be world-shattering. Though he barely got any lines, I want to see more dialogue with him in the nest issue.

The art is probably the best thing about the issue. Gorgeous, just gorgeous. It really makes the action feel cinematic. Definitely the best art I've ever seen in a comic. Everyone, everything, looks dynamic. It puts the current Avengers series to shame. The cover is pretty nice, showcasing everyone. (Minus Batman and Flash strangely.) Cyborg gets the center stage, holding the American Flag. He himself still doesn't fit well with the League, I think it's cause I'm so used to him being with the Teen Titans.

Overall, Justice League #5 was a bit underwhelming. The writing just isn't that great, when it could be much more smart. Some of the characters are there just to be there filling up the space. They better do something big in the next issue, cause it seems only Hal and Batman are getting fleshed out right now. However, it's still a blockbuster issue with some great action and stellar art.

8/10.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Battlezone: Mario vs. Sonic


Taking a break from the comic side of things to do a classic video game match. Mario and Sonic are the faces of video games. That is not arguable, it's true. If only MegaMan was back in his prime could he be counted. Anyways, Mario and Sonic has been the subject of fan debate for quite sometime. Spawning numerous videos and stuff like that. As everyone knows, they have a 'crossover' series over at the Olympic Games. Really, if Nintendo and Sega could unite for a sports-themed series, they could do a real crossover. I'll use this spare paragraoh to clarify the rules for Battlezone. I do not count power-ups, so you won't see Spidey breaking out the Symbiote suit or Mephiles transforming into Solaris. However, things like Goku's Super Saiyan counts, or if the super forms created by an item is used on on equal terms. (Which you'll see in this fight.) Back on target, I'm here to add my say of what would happen if these two mascots fought, so let's get started on the second addition of BATTLEZONE!

Mario vs. Sonic

THE PLACE: The Mushroom Kingdom. It was a bright sunny day like always. Even the clouds were smiling. And they had good reason to, cause on the ground a familiar figure was jumping down the ground toward the Mushroom Castle. The figure had a red cap with an 'M' on the front. He was known as Super Mario in those parts. 'Super,' because while he appears to just be a plumber, he battles monsters and has traveled into space. If you had to describe him with one term, it would be 'hero.' As he made his way through World 1-1, a blur of blue zoomed past him. He stopped jumping and turned around. The blue blur was returning. It stopped a few inches in front of Mario. This blue blur was a hedgehog known as Sonic. He was a legend from the planet he hailed from, Mobius. He always referred to himself as 'way past cool.' He was always upbeat and ready for a challenge.

"Hey, are you Mario?" He asked.

Mario nodded.

"Cool. I'm Sonic, Sonic the Hedgehog. I've heard a lot about you Mario, I gotta say it's truly an honor."

Mario got into his battle stance and said his trademark quote.

"Let's a go."

Sonic got ready.

"Heh, straight to business. I like that."

Sonic zoomed and hit Mario. Then he zoomed again and struck him from behind. Mario had known about Sonic's unbelievable speed, but was unprepared for this. Sonic kept running and striking Mario with his Spin Dash.

"Heh, this won't so hard, I have this in the bag." He thought.

However, Mario was but unprepared for a few moments. In all his years of fighting, he had noticed one thing all his opponents had: a certain predictably to their attacks. Sonic spun around for another strike. This time Mario was ready. He pulled back and unleashed a right uppercut. It struck a surprised Sonic. Sonic regained his stance then smirked.

"Heh, this might be a challenge after all."

Sonic ran in and threw a punch. While he was quick, Mario had always been more of a balanced fighter. He evaded the punch and landed one of his own. Then he did a double kick which sent Sonic to the ground. He got up quickly, then charged up for his signature Spin Dash. Mario shouted "Whoa!" as Sonic zoomed in. A fully charged Spin Dash cannot be stopped. He struck Mario full force. They went zooming across the Kingdom until they banged a castle wall. Sonic jumped to the ground while Mario fell on it. The ladder was stunned by the Spin Dash. He got up dazzlingly, Sonic took this moment and gave Mario a good knuckle sandwich. Sonic then sent him flying behind him with somersault kick. Mario went flying to the ground. Before he struck it, however, he had hit a block with a ? engraved. A Power Star popped out. It went to the ground near Mario. He had the head-start, but Sonic's speed might just beat him to the punch. They eyed each other and the Star.

Then they ran.

Something in the history of the Nintendo universe that had never occurred happened: both characters touched the Power Star at the same time. They both glowed with power, raw, unbelievable power. The ground shook beneath them as they unveiled there invincible forms.

"Alright!" Super Sonic shouted.

Then they went at it, a true clash of the titans. They punched, kicked, and slammed each other. They were evenly matched, the blows were not affecting each other in the slightest. Super Mario landed a good punch while Super Sonic landed a fine kick. Then it happened, they turned back to normal ten seconds after they had went super. All the blows they had landed were now taking effect. They were exhausted. However, none would be retreating. They were going to finish it. Sonic smirked, Mario glared. They pulled back their fists.

They punched each other square in the jaw.

Nothing happened for a few moments, then Sonic fell to the ground, unconscious. Mario jumped into his winning stance, then panted, for he was exhausted. He wasn't even sure that he could make it to the Castle. But of course he did, cause Mario is a hero who always does what needs to be done.

WINNER: Mario

Yes, I went with Mario on this. I will say that this fight is more debatable than Spider-Man vs. Batman. Sonic is the fastest thing alive of course, but Mario is more of a fighter. You can see it in his Brawl stance, he's a more balanced fighter. Sonic knows how to fight of course, but I can see Mario pulling through. All around beats speed.  

NEXT WEEK: The Most Devastating Monster of All Time battles The God of Destruction. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Retro Review: Web of Spider-Man #1


In comics, you'll find hidden meanings all over the place. Sometimes you might look too deep into a comic and come up with a meaning. But that's fine. Web of Spider-Man #1 is what I consider to be one of the most influential Spider-Man comics of all time. I say this because this is the issue the shows and movie looked to. This is the issue where Peter gets rid of the Symbiote using the church bells. This comic was adapted in the 90's animated series, the 2008 Spectacular Spider-Man animated series, and in the 2007 film. This is a major factor in future issues, this was before Venom was created and before Peter and Mary Jane were married. It is also one of the greatest Spider-Man comics I have ever read.

I find it interesting that the whole Symbiote story was finished in the first issue of a new series. Not a negative thing of course, but I'm surprised they didn't wrap it up over at the main title. Anyways, it's the dialogue and ending that make this issue. It doesn't take any time to get the ball rolling, the first page shows the Symbiote watching Peter. It's pretty amazing how it intelligent it was before Venom came along, it masqueraded as Spidey's red and blue suit. I love Spidey's reaction when he see the Symbiote spider logo. What follows is Spidey basically going to war with the Symbiote. He needs to go to the Baxter Building to use Reed Richards' Sonic Blaster. However, the Symbiote has plans of its own. The writing is just fantastic as Spidey talks against the Symbiote and how he uses the term 'puppet.' While this is as serious issue, it features some great moments that are serious yet humorous. Spidey trying to sling a web, but the Symbiote forces him to sling in the other direction was just great. I also laughed at the moment when Spidey and goes haywire with both the Symbiote and him trying to take control then he bangs a building saying "Ouch." These are the great Spidey moments I live for.

Besides all of this, the other focus is on a bunch of Vulture wannabes. They aren't badly written, in fact, they're pretty well written. It takes a skilled writer like Louise Jones Simonson (I actually didn't know that a woman wrote the issue, pretty cool) to make a bunch of nobodies mildly interesting. I like it when Spidey says "...But the Vulture would never let me near enough to pull a stunt like this! " to one of the people in the Vulture suits. (I also like how he refers to the Symbiote as 'alien body snatcher.') The best part of this issue, however, is the ending. I'll get to that in a sec, I just want to talk about the lead up and art first. The church bells scene is such an iconic page. That's the part the shows and movie adapted. Spidey wanting to die than be absorbed by the Symbiote is truly something. Of course he goes with his usual Spidey manner, telling the Symbiote IT might as well go before he loses his sense of humor about this.

The cover is a fantastic piece of art by Charles Vess. Such an iconic look, Spidey in the black suit has never looked better. Not to mention the gargoyles next to it adds to the atmosphere. However, the ending is what made the issue. After the Symbiote is driven from Spidey because of the bells, it goes back and saves him. It takes him to the bottom of the church to safety. Then the haunting text "In very a short while, Peter Parker will awaken and wonder why did it save him? It is a question that will haunt him for the rest of his life!" It's such an iconic scene, definitely one of the best in my opinion. Did it save him because it felt an emotional attachment? Because it felt honorable of letting a worthy opponent live? It's just an amazing moment that makes you think. That exact scene needs to be adapted.

Overall, I really enjoyed this issue. It's interesting to look back at how big events happened. Who would have thought that this issue would be the catalyst for Spider-Man's most famous villain. The writing is top notch, Spidey's dialogue while the Symbiote attempts to re-bond with him is worth the price alone. It's the ending that really made the comic, one of the greatest scenes in all of Spider-Man. Web of Spider-Man #1 is one of the definitive Spider-Man comics. Good attempting to rid himself of evil, but not without the ladder going down without  a fight. It has a good deeper meaning to it, this comic is definitely something to track down and get.

10/10.

Mecha King Ghidorah


Well, this is a surprise. Not too long ago, (in fact, just about two weeks ago) I went all-out and bought myself a Destoroyah figure. I say 'all-out' because I really don't buy anything other than comics. I really never have extra money for other things like a figure, However, I've been selling some old video games, (you will not believe how much some of these oldies go for) which gave me some extra cash. I've been buying batches of comics over at MyComicShop.com, then it hit me. I am a Godzilla fan, yet I only had two figures. Now I know it's not what you have that defines if you're a fan or not, but I really wouldn't have minded some new figures for this room. So I found a Destoroyah one for a good price. Here's the picture with all my figures. (Minus the title one.)

However, while Destoroyah does look pretty amazing, Mecha King Ghidorah is by far the greatest figure I had ever seen. I saw it on Amazon for $70. Yeah, I wouldn't be getting it anytime soon. I knew one day I would sell enough games to get there, but it wouldn't be right now.....or at least I thought so. When I really want to get something, I go through everywhere to find a solution. Enter Ebay. Sometimes Ebay could be a wonderful place, this is where I found the Mecha King Ghidorah figure for $42. However, it was a bid. It was practically my only chance to get it at such a good price, so I placed a bid. I ended up getting it for $47. You can see the awesomeness below.

My gosh. Mecha King Ghidorah has always been a personal favorite of mine, needed another film appearance. I just love idea of Ghidorah getting revived as a mecha. I love this figure. It's detailed, and looks great with the others. Since buying this one, I'm going to get more in the future, then I will be a true collector. Not to mention how cool it is to walk into a room with a bunch of Godzilla monsters in it. Again, the Bandai 7 inch Mecha King Gidorah is a great figure, I just love it.

Like with Destoryah, I decided to celebrate me getting a Mecha King Ghidorah figure with a tribute. It's a video tribute to the 1991 Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.
video

Now, back to the reviews.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Super Mario 3D Land Review


Super Mario 3D Land is a special game. This is coming from someone who has played all the platformers, one who has been playing the Mario games for years. Super Mario Galaxy 2 came out a year before this game was released, you can see a lot of similarities between the two. Well, that's obvious of course since this game was developed by the same team that did the Galaxies. That's one reason alone to pick up this game. The first Super Mario Galaxy revolutionized Mario platforming, or heck, Wii platforming in general. It took the concept of Super Mario 64 and increased it ten-fold. You had the definitive Mario experience. Then three years later Nintendo unleashed the most unexpected sequel ever, Super Mario Galaxy 2. It took the greatness of the first one, and somehow made it even more enjoyable. I consider myself a pro at these games, I know the way they work. The first one I actually beat was Sunshine, way back when I got it in 2004. (A bit underrated if you ask me.) The point is, this game was the primary reason for me getting a 3DS. Yeah I expected a lot, as we all should. Since Galaxy 2, it had certain expectations to live up to. Once again, Nintendo has shattered those expectations and has delivered yet another modern classic.

I'm going to attempt to make the story sound more epic than it really is. "It begins when a terrible storm descends upon the Mushroom Kingdom. The next day it is reported that Princess Peach has been captured by Bowser. Mario is up the challenge, but the stakes are higher than ever as he journeys through dangerous lands for an epic battle royale against his mortal enemy." Yeah, the story sounds a lot more epic than it really is. The whole kidnap-Princess-Peach-thing won't be going away anytime soon apparently. By now I've accepted that. For a Mario platformer, you gotta think less of the story. The gameplay has always made up for a lack of plot. The first Galaxy had basically the same story, but managed be a space epic with actual emotion. 3D Land follows in those footsteps, but doesn't quite live up in that department. However, the gameplay, level design, soundtrack, and final boss makes this game one of the best small console games you will ever play.

I'm surprised at how fast and sudden the game throws you in. There's no tutorial stage, it just throws you into the first level, you're on your own. For pros like me, you will jump in with ease. For new players, it might be a bit tougher to get use to the controls. At first, the analog stick felt a bit strange, but after the first level, it feels a natural. It's Galaxy with a Super Mario 64 setting on a small console, it's the definitive 3DS experience. The gameplay is, in one word, fantastic. You can really have a blast controlling the red-hatted plumber. I remember sometimes how I was falling, but thanks to some insane wall-jumping and timing, I made it back onto the ledge. You can really pat yourself on the back at these moments.

Once again, you will play in some wonderfully designed stages. Some concepts are borrowed from Galaxy 2, such as the red and blue platforms, but remains its own thing for the most part. I noticed that some of the sound effects are the same ones from the Galaxies. It was awesome to see the Tanooki suit back in action, it is used wonderfully. Another new suit, boomerang, is pretty cool. I noticed that the game really decreased the amount of time Star power lasts. It was also a neat concept to have some of the enemies with the Tanooki suit. Mario shrinking down to size is back. I prefer the heath bar, but both work. Shrinking down does have a nostalgic feel.

The soundtrack is another amazing work of art. It really brings up the scope, like with Galaxies. While the soundtrack of this game doesn't compare to those, it's still stellar. I was surprised that Bowser Jr. didn't appear. The bosses in this game are really the only negative aspect. They are just two Koopaling wannabes, and just gell dull after the fourth time battling them. I would have liked to see some diversity in that department, should have brought in characters like Petey Piranha. Anyways, the part that made the game was the final battle between Mario and Bowser. This is by far their greatest battle yet. Thought the final battle in New Super Mario Bros. Wii was intense? Think again. The Star Coins make a proud return here. There are 290 to collect, so that adds to great replay value. Though I would have liked a better reward for getting all of them, the reward the game gives you is too simple.

Overall, as stated in the very first sentence in this review, Super Mario 3D Land is a special game. It's Mario platforming on the go, what more can one want? The 3D is nothing more than a gimmick, but it's a fun gimmick, it really brings the levels out. While the game isn't that challenging for pros like me, (not including the Special Worlds, the latter ones are really challenging) it's still a fun play. It's the definitive 3DS experience, and that is why it's going to get a perfect score. There are no major glitches to speak of, it's perfect platforming. Maybe if this was a launch title, the 3DS wouldn't have had such a slow start. Pick up Super Mario 3D Land, pro or newcomer, it is the most fun you'll have on a small console.

10/10.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon Review


The Dragon Ball Z films have their ups and downs. In the end, even sometimes with virtually no plot, (take a look at Bojack Unbound) they still manage to deliver some of the most epic fights to grace a television screen. Wrath of the Dragon is the final DBZ film, I have been very interested in it for awhile. First of all, it's the final film in the franchise, so I wanted to see how much closure it would have, to see how everything that took place before would have a hand in it. Indeed, this film brought a lot of the good elements from the series, it's definitely one of the better ones, right up there with Cooler's Revenge and the Legendary Super Saiyan.

The story begins with a boy carrying a sword attempting to stop a large beast. He fails, and is killed by being stomped on. Back on earth, after a stopping mugging Gohan saves a supposed old man holding a music box from committing suicide. He explains to Gohan that they have to open it by summoning the Eternal Dragon, Shenron. Gohan, Goku, Trunks, and Goten eventually find the seven Dragon Balls. Shenron is summoned, and the box is opened. A figure, a guy with the sword similar to the boy from earlier appears from within the box. The old man is revealed to be an alien from another planet, and releasing the guy with the sword, Tapion, has brought back an ancient evil, a giant monster named Hirudegarn. Even the Z fighters may not be able to stop this one from destroying the universe.....

As the final film in this series, you would expect more of the same. But nope, this film was different, and I mean different. There's a lot of 'earthly' scenes. What I mean is that it feels more down-to-earth than the rest of them. Thankfully, there is no silliness that plagues some of the other films, (Super Android 13, Bojack Unbound) it remains a serious entry. While it does take a bit for the real action to get going, the story remains engaging throughout. That's thanks to the characters, both the old and new ones. Tapion was a great addition, definitely the best written character in the film, or of the majority of the films for that matter. He presents a likable manner, similar to that of Future Trunks. Definitely the best part of the film. (The DBZ version of Link, he even has an Ocarina!) Hoi wasn't bad. Yeah, he's a lame villain and a Babidi wannabe, but his backstory was interesting. His death is pretty pathetic and anti-climatic though, which brings up the main threat in this film.

Hirudegarn is the big (literally) 'final boss.' I don't know about you, but I welcomed a giant 'powerful' monster. His backstory was great, and had a very imposing appearance. I think he could have used a bit more character, he just appeared to be a walking event. His destruction scenes were fantastic, it would make a Godzilla film proud. He has some unique powers, even a strange form of teleportation. Definitely a great 'final boss.' And it's different, since we pretty much never see the Z fighters take on  a 'big' menace such as Hirudegarn. As for the other characters, both Goku and Gohan are as great as ever. I was disappointed at how little Vegeta appeared, only coming in for about two minutes more or less. I was also shocked that Piccolo didn't show up. Since this was the final DBZ film, you'd think they would bring everyone in.

The soundtrack is also different from the rest. It has an 'epic' feel to it. Some really great themes, perfect for a final showdown, or a final movie. One of my favorite things about this film  is how it links to a part in the series. Tapion giving Trunks his sword was just great, I love how they use the films to explain different backstories, good stuff. It was also nice seeing Gotenks from the manga again. However, the best scene is when Goku went Super Saiyan 3 and unleashed what's probably the coolest attack in all of Dragon Ball Z at Hirudegarn. It's good stuff, it's what Dragon Ball Z is all about.

Overall, Wrath of the Dragon is a great final entry in the Dragon Ball Z film series. Virtually no comic relief, a great new hero and villain, good fight in the city, and an 'epic' soundtrack makes this film rank with the greats such as Cooler's Revenge and The Legendary Super Saiyan.

7/10.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Battlezone: Spider-Man vs. Batman


A blog is a special place, it's your own site. You can do whatever you want with it, even turn it into a journal. I thought it was time to start playing with it, start adding some new categories. The retro review was a great start, but now it was time to start something else. So I devised something other sites and blogs have already done: fights. Battlezone will be pitting two characters against each in a fan fic written by your's truly, followed by a short editorial on why I picked who to win. And I take requests for who to fight. So without further ado, onto the first fight in BATTLEZONE! I'll kick it off with a classic comic book fight, pitting a Marvel hero against a DC hero.

Spider-Man vs. Batman

THE PLACE: Gotham City. It was night, then again, stories usually take place at night there. An unfamiliar figure is slinging his way through the city. Spider-Man surveyed the area, he thought it looked similar to New York, except 'darker.' He had already stopped a mugging, he knew that this city was even worse than New York in terms of crime rate. He swung until he saw it in the sky.

The Bat-signal.

Ahead he could see a car unlike no other coming his way. Spider-Man jumped to the ground. The vehicle parked a few feet to the of him. The right door opened. The Dark Knight detective, Batman, stepped out. Spidey had heard legends of the Dark Knight, but they were too modest, he was truly an imposing figure. Batman walked toward Spider-Man until they were standing face to face. Spidey had his arms crossed while Batman stood as still as a statue. Spidey was the first to speak.

"Wow Bats, the stories I've heard of you don't even begin to flatter. Is that a genuine cape?"

"Spider-Man. Let's get this over with."

Batman laid a punch. Spidey's great reflexes managed him to evade. He jumped on top of a flagpole and shot a strand of web. It struck Batman. He cut it with a batarang and threw it at Spidey. He jumped from the flagpole as the batarang struck the building behind it. The explosion sent Spidey off course and then smacked against the ground. He regained his senses quickly, but by then Batman had come. He kicked Spidey then got him into a headlock. Prior to this meeting, Batman had studied Spidey extensively at the Batcave. He knew all his tricks. Spidey of course was twice as strong as a regular human. He broke free and threw Batman. He banged a flag pole. Spidey shot web. It tied Batman to said flag pole. Spidey approached and did his signature crouching pose.

"Well Bats, I think I win by default. You won't be going anywhere for at least an hour. Since I'm visiting, I just wanted to say that this place could really use more street lamps, almost got lost a few times slinging."

What Spidey had not realized was that while he was talking, Batman was slowly cutting the webs. Spidey looked up at the Bat-Signal.

"They really need to make me one of those."

With his attention to the sky, Batman broke free of the webs. Spidey quickly looked to see a Batarang about to strike his mask.

"Reminds me of the Goblin's toys." He thought as he ducked.

It exploded when it struck the building behind him. Batman stood, awaiting Spidey 's next move. Spidey spoke.

"Wow, the stories are not even close to being fully descriptive, I didn't think you'd break my webbing so fast. Now there's a Batman."

Batman threw two more batarangs. Spider-Man dodged every single one and tackled Batman to the ground. They were wrestling until Batman managed to throw Spidey. He banged against the Batmobile. Batman was getting tired of this, it was being dragged out too long he thought.

He took out a batarang and threw it to the ground. Smoke appeared, covering the area in which they were fighting. Batman preferred to fight like this, in the shadows. He owned the night. What he had forgotten, however, was Spidey's Spider-Sense. He could see Spidey searching for him in the smoke. He then ran in for the knockout. Spider-Man sensed it, turned around, grabbed the punch, then gave the finishing blow. Batman went flying out of the smoke. Spider-Man jumped out. Batman lay on the floor, unconscious. Spidey had won, but was exhausted. He looked up the Bat-Signal once more, then slang away.

WINNER: Spider-Man.

Yes, I went with Spidey on this. I love this match-up becuase I'm surprised at how diverse who people think could win. Like, at youth group a few weeks ago, I asked two people this, "Alright guys, poll question. Spider-Man or Batman?" That got them thinking, then I said "Not who's cooler, who would win." Then they were like "ohhhh" and went with Batman. I don't fully understand why so many people consider Batman to be so powerful. Let's look at this match realistically. Spider-Man is twice as strong, twice as fast, and twice as agile. He handles people like Venom on a regular basis while Batman handles people like Two Face. So I give this match to Spidey. And no, I am not an anti-Batman fan. On the contrary, he is my favorite DC character, I just like things to be accurate.

NEXT WEEK: A certain red-hatted plumber battles a certain blue hedgehog.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Retro Review: Captain America #300


In comics, there's always the big 'final battle' issue for a solo character against his worst enemy. It usually results in either the villain's death or a new status quo for their relationship as worst enemies. Spider-Man had his 'final confrontation' with Venom in Amazing Spider-Man #375, Iron Man had his final battle with Iron Monger in Iron Man #200, Thor had his final battle with Loki in The Mighty Thor #432, etc. I'll get to all those eventually, but this time I'm talking about Captain America's battle 'to the death' with his worst enemy, the Red Skull.

One of the things the Captain America film failed to do was develop the relationship between Cap and Skull. In the comics, the Red Skull had always considered Cap to be his equal. In the film, he treats him more like a nuisance. This comic was the perfect way to end "a war that begun 40 years ago." Blows are felt, it's good stuff. The writing is just fantastic, some of the best writing I've ever read in a comic. I especially like when Skull says, "Two gods locked in raging battle, for all eternity!" Then Cap replies, "We are not two gods! Just two tired old men!" This issue deserves an animated adaption, it's comic book drama at its best. I like how Red Skull doesn't care about dying, he just wants to see Cap lowered to his level. Reminds me of the Batman/Joker dynamic.

Characters on the verge of killing their most hated enemy is something we've all seen a thousand times, but here it feels more fluid and dramatic. Cap saying how he hates the Red Skull for his evil and then the panels with him about to land the killing blow is just dramatic. What follows is a fantastic scene of Skull getting angry cause he wanted Cap to kill him. These characters were just written great. The actual fight is in essence, a fight to the death. There are no beams or capes, it's just two men punching each other out of commission, all the while with great dialogue. The death of the Skull is climatic, and the perfect closure to there 40 year feud.

Overall, Captain America #300 is the definition of 'battle to the death.' The writing by Micheal Ellis is some of the best I've ever read in a comic. The art by Paul Neary holds up pretty well, considering this comic came out way back in 1984. (The year of Big Brother, whoever gets this reference gets a thumbs up from me.) Cap and Skull would have more battles later on, but none would compare to the battle in this comic. It's definitely the greatest Captain America comic I've ever read.

10/10.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Destoroyah!


Greetings all. Normally I don't write about what's up with me, the last time I did was my Irene post last year. After all, the title of this blog is 'Destroyer's Editorials and Reviews.' But I'll take a short break to talk about my latest addition to my collections: a Destoroyah figure. Normally I wouldn't talk about me getting something new as a blog post, but I thought this would be a fun little entry, plus it's Godzilla related.

I was maybe seven when I walked into the now deceased KB Toys at the Staten Island Mall. I was into action figures, plastic swords, and all that good stuff at that age. I believe it was my mom who called me over to the back section of the small store. When I got there I was face to face with a bunch of Godzilla Bandai figures, $9.99 each. I had always liked Godzilla, but I never owned any figures. I saw the Godzilla 54 one, and I grabbed it. I believe my mom said something like how I should get someone more unique looking and found a Gigan one. I don't remember if I was a big fan of Gigan as I am now, but I ended up getting both. I don't remember if they had Ghidorah or Rodan, but I know they had Rainbow Mothra. After that, I never got another one. For some reason, I was more interested in getting plastic swords and lightsabers than those figures, probably because they weren't meant to play around with that much, and I wanted them to move around. Of course, this was back when I didn't appreciate the term 'collection.'

Fast forward many years later, and I begin to see the error of my ways. Today, good luck trying to find any Godzilla figure in stores. Today, they have become something of a collector's item. If I could rewind time, I would have bought more of those instead of a lightsaber which broke down two years later. It's pretty much impossible to find any for $9.99. Over the past two years I've gained a better appreciation for the franchise, even more so than when I first started watching the films. As a fan, I wanted to get more figures, but the prices were against me. (The Mecha King Ghidorah I've been dying to get is $65.) I put it to the side, but the thought of getting a new Godzilla figure was always on the back of my mind. Recently I've been selling some of my old video games to buy batches of comics over at MyComicShop.com, it  occurred to me what else I've been wanting could I get with the extra money from the sold games? So it hit me I could get a Godzilla figure to add to my collection of two so it could make three. Obviously I couldn't afford the Mecha King Ghidorah one, so what next? I thought about getting the Final Wars Gigan one, but I already had a Gigan, I needed something new. What to get that would look really nice next to my other two figures.....how about my second favorite kaiju?

Destoroyah.

On Amazon, I found the Bandai Destoroyah one for $30. That was disappointing. However, one rule of the internet is to always check the other place if Amazon fails, Ebay. After some searching, I found the same one from Amazon for, get this, $20. In pretty awesome condition. I placed the order Sunday night, and I got it today. It truly felt good to hold the high quality figure, then placing it next to my Godzilla and Gigan was gold. So after about eight years or more, I had finally gotten a new Godzilla figure. The Bandai 7 inch Destoroyah figure is truly awesome, it feels good to own it.


Yes, that's my nice little collection.

I don't buy action figures anymore, just the Godzilla statue figurines. Usually I don't go spending on stuff besides the weekly comics, but I made an exception for the Destoroyah figure. Isn't it a wonderful looking thing? Godzilla figures today are hard to find for a good price, and I probably won't buy another anytime soon, but I'm content with the stuff in that picture. I will get that Mecha King Ghidorah one, someday.

Since getting the Destoroyah figure, I decided that a celebration was in order. What better way than to make a video tribute to his debut film? Here we go.
video

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Retro Event Review: The Infinity Gauntlet


Comic book events are an interesting bunch. Back then, it would be like, "My gosh, they're all there. I need this, it's going to be so awesome." Today it's like, "Oh great, hopefully it'll be better than the last one." What happened here? You would think as the years went by, Marvel would get better with their events. But that's not case, with recent follies such as Secret Invasion and Fear Itself, it seems that the company just doesn't know how to do a good event these days. The Infinity Gauntlet is the second major Marvel event, the first being Secret Wars. It's about how an evil titan gains unlimited power and seeks to win the affection of Mistress Death. Twenty-one years later, it still holds up amazingly.

As you all know, that mad titan is Thanos. Thanos is one interesting villain. He seems to be truly evil, but only wanting Mistress Death's affection. Issue One is proof of this, he eradicates half of the universe's population for her in a single snap of the fingers. No, this isn't Dragon Ball Z. And if you think that's insane, later in the event, some of two Celestials hurl whole planets at Thanos as an attack. Wow. They really went all-out for this event. (Seriously, whole planets are hurled, you will have to read it to believe it.) The first issue of this event did a perfect job of captivating the scope. The writing in this issue is just great, Mephisto explaining to Thanos about how great the titan is, among other things. Mistress Death has a pretty quiet role in this event, until the surprising turn of events when she turns on Thanos. That was a great moment, and just one of the many great moments in this event.

Fear Itself wanted to be bound in reality, to be realistic, from the public's point of view. It failed. It failed miserably in that aspect. So here we have The Infinity Gauntlet, an event where whole planets are hurled as weapons, that does a better job of being grounded in reality than Fear Itself. A great example would be the scene where Black Widow attempts to save a woman, fails, and falls to the ground, defeated. Then some bystanders pick her up saying "You did all you could." Good stuff. Then the whole earth moving out of orbit moving into a new ice age was felt. As the issues went on, the scope got bigger, and bigger, I don't think any Marvel event has reached the level of scope this event did. I'll explain why in the coming paragraphs.

I don't think I've ever read a comic where the situation looked so bleak for the Marvel heroes. As they go into space to confront Thanos, you can tell that they all feel an impending doom. As they're getting beaten up, it's just hard to imagine how they could win, cause they literally can't. Thanos literally destroys a bunch of heroes. (Cyclops, Nova, Thor.) Their deaths don't feel thrown in for shock value. It's shocking, but surprising, genuine shock. Thanos controls everything, and actually wins, but made a mistake, which I'll address soon. There are some great moments in the line of battle. Wolverine face to face with Thanos was great, and the scene with Spidey webbing the titan's face had me laughing out loud. The greatest scene, however, is when Captain America walks up to Thanos. A great quote is "As long as one man stands against you, Thanos, you'll never be able to claim victory." Then they have a short, dramatic fight. Cap, a man, against a being with a god's power. As you might expect, Thanos breaks Cap's shield. I like the scene soon after when Cap lets Thanos have it with a punch to the jaw, then Thanos slaps him to the side. Another wow. There are so many great scenes in this event.

One must wonder how the Silver Surfer failed in Issue Four. C'mon, the words were that he 'misses his mark.' You're going to tell me that a being as smart as the Silver Surfer will miss with all that's at stake? This event is also famous for bringing back Adam Warlock. He has his fans, but I found him incredibly dull throughout the whole event. The emotionless type, which is fine, but he just comes off as rather dull. The scene where Thanos becomes the new Eternity was both awe-inspiring and probably the most scary moment for the Marvel universe. He didn't realize his one fatal mistake: Leaving his mortal body with the Gauntlet on with a supposed unconscious Nebula, his granddaughter. Nebula then seizes the Gauntlet for what might be the biggest turn of events in all of comics. What follows is Nebula becoming an all-powerful being, the only problem is that she isn't too smart. Though what follows happens a bit too fast. Thanos gets warped back as Nebula makes everything as it was twenty-four hours ago. I'm surprised at how fast it goes that the heroes ally themselves with Thanos, it all happens a bit too fast.

It was great seeing Odin bring some of the other gods to the Asgard table. (Yup, he has some dialogue with Zeus in this one.) It was great, but the sad part is that they don't contribute to the fight against Thanos at all. They get stuck in Asgard, it almost feels like the whole scene with them was a waste. However, the thing that brings up the scope like no other event has done is the inclusion of, well, the universal beings. Galactus. Kronos, Love, Hate, Order, Chaos, two Celestials, they're all there. Their battle with Thanos defines "epic." (Remember the hurling planets? This is where it happens.) One of the early and most dramatic scenes was when Eternity tells the Living Tribunal about the unbalance Thanos is causing, then the ladders says, "The strong replace the weak. It is as it should be. No cosmic crime is being committed. The Living Tribunal shall not become involved in this manner." Then he just leaves, it's amazing stuff. Thanos has apparently surpassed Eternity and will reign supreme, and that's how the balance works, according to the Living Tribunal's logic. Then after the great battle, Eternal reveals himself, saying that he's here to reclaim control of that reality. After some great dialogue, they go at it, and then an explosion. Thanos winning didn't come as a surprise, but the fact that he was the new Eternity and that he left his mortal body was just incredible.

Did I mention that Dr. Doom is the only villain to join the heroes? It's quite interesting, but I find it rather odd that after getting blasted from the Gauntlet, his first thought is "I will not be denied those gems!." The pacing is great, with Issue One, Two, and Three building up for the confrontation in Issue Four. "The Cosmic Battle on the Edge of the Universe" was a satisfying issue, that's how you do big event fights. I still don't get why Hulk didn't want to help the Avengers, I mean, if it was a smaller threat, it's passable, but c'mon. This is a world-changer. Really, the two characters that made this event was Cap, for bravery, and Thanos, for being a perfect villain for this event.

Overall, The Infinity Gauntlet is truly an "event." It feels like "the end of the world" and that the heroes have no shot at winning. You have a greatly developed villain who has character, and the scope is huge. The fights were great, and the writing by Jim Starlin is great. This is how the wring should be be done. The art is crisp and clear by George Perez and Ron Lim, whose art easily beats what we're getting in the current Avengers series. The point is, this event is twenty-one years old, and some of Marvel's modern events pale, and I mean PALE in comparison. This event had the scope, the villain. the battles, everything. While it may have some questionable characters, (Drax and Pip being nothing but duds) it's an event filled with amazing character moments. The Infinity Gauntlet is a highly recommended read, it has everything a Marvel event is supposed to have. Did I mention that it has planets being hurled as weapons?

10/10.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Godzilla: Legends #3 Review


The Godzilla Legends concept is pretty much a fan service. When I say that, I mean that only the Godzilla fans such as myself can really appreciate it. In the first blockbuster issue, we had Anguirus tackle Destoroyah. Not only was it unique, it was plain fun. Then Legends #2 came along, and well, you know the story. It relied heavily on the human characters, which wouldn't be a terrible thing if done right. But alas, it was done wrong, very wrong. Unlikable characters would be an understatement. So picking up Legends #3, I was skeptical. Titanosaurus is one of favorite kaiju, so I was still looking forward to it, but my expectations weren't that high. I am happy to say that this issue delivered everything #2 meant to do.

The story follows Miki, (Godzilla fans knows who she is) who brings a boy named Tristan to an institution for physics. Like Miki, Tristan has telekinesis, so she wants to help him with his powers. One night, however, he has a link with the monster Titanosaurus, who goes on a rampage through the city looking for him.....

Judging from the first issue, Legends looked to be a fun monster romp, a popcorn style mini-series. However, Issue Two introduced human focus. Whereas in Issue One, the plot was the monsters and the humans were the backdrop, it became the opposite with Issue 2. The human plot there, however, was awful. I think I was too generous in giving it a 6/10. So once again, in this issue, the humans are the focus with the monster as the backdrop. However, this time it's actually interesting and enjoyable.

Miki being a central focus was great. She's one of the few recurring characters in the films. (Heisei era.) A fan favorite and definitely one of, if not the best human character in the franchise. It was cool to see her in the issue, her portrayal was accurate enough. As for the main focus, it's about this boy called Tristan. He's alright, nothing we haven't seen before in fiction, but he's a heck lot better than the kid from Legends #2. This being story based, the actual story is interesting. Just wait until the plot twist, you'll understand it if you're a Godzilla fan. And I really like how the leader of the institution, Mugal,  referenced Miki's connection with Godzilla, and then an image showcases Godzilla, Rodan, King Ghidorah, and Mothra. All from the Heisei era, I love how they fit this into continuity like with Issue One.

The only disappointing factor is the lack of monster scenes. Titanosaurus doesn't showcase that much character sadly, he's just a backdrop, not a focus at all. Thanks to the art, he does look pretty awesome with some amazing splash pages. The covers once again are pretty spectacular. The main one showcases a powerful looking Titanosaurus, the only slightly annoying thing is hat you could see a bit of Rodan and Anguirus. (Since all the main covers connect.) The second one is much more artistic. Titanosaurus looks great and Godzilla looks awesome in the background. The whole painted feel is great, probably the best cover so far in the Legends mini series.

Overall, Legends #3 surprised me. The human story was greatly developed and well-paced. It engages from the start. My main problem is the ending, cause it ends on a cliffhanger, leaving the reader unsatisfied with the outcome. It needs a part two. There aren't much scenes with the title monster sadly, which was a disappointment for me. Thankfully, the human story was interesting enough to keep me invested. I wouldn't mind an issue like Legends #1 where it's mainly a fight however now, cause two human-focused stories back-to-back with little monster appearances could get a bit tiresome.

8/10.

Detective Comics #5 Review


The first story arc of Tony S. Daniel's Detective Comics run did a good job of bringing a good, quality story for new readers to jump in. Intriguing, dark, and it's Batman. Doll Maker could have used a little work, and really the only thing we care about is what's up with ol' Joker, but it gave us a solid tale of mystery and suspense. The new arc begins with this issue, with a classic foe as the villain. While not as impressive as the debut issue of the first arc, it's still a pretty solid start.

It begins with a bunch of Joker protesters chanting for Batman's death. Meanwhile, Batman runs into a 'Joker' who manages to evade him. The plot deepens when Bruce's girlfriend seems to have a secret agenda. This is being watched by the crime lord known as Penguin....

I've always considered Penguin to be a lame villain. Batman's version of Spider-Man's Vulture. Recently Vulture got a major revamp, updating from 'lame' to actually 'cool.' I had a strange feeling that same would happen here, and it did. The Penguin looks to be a meancing force here. He's only appeared in one page so far, and he already looks to be more of a threat and more fun to read than Doll Maker. Oh, and is it me, or is this Penguin thing similar to what happened with Vulture three issues ago in Amazing Spider-Man? Penguin has some flunkies similar to that of Vulture's, and their personalities seem to match. Not saying anything's copied, it's just interesting.

Batman still carries the book with those thought boxes. The whole Joker protest was interesting and really makes you think how corrupt Gotham is, or as Batman put it, "Hellhole." Interesting predicament is with Bruce's girlfriend. It looks like she's going to have a generic plot twist that we've all seen in past Batman stories. (He can never truly win with the ladies, can he?) Then there's this mysterious Joker supporter who shows up, kills some guys, then manages to evade Batman. Impressive, so I look forward to seeing what's up with that. A crime to this issue however, is how short it is. We get a pretty long Catwoman backup story, it's not clear if the ending pertains to that series or this series, probably this series. I don't mind backup stories, but the main story was too short, while the backup was too long.

Once again, the art is great. I say this every time, so I don't think it's necessary to keep mentioning it every time. But, as a longtime reviewer, gotta keep mentioning it every issue. Pretty good cover, showcasing Batman and Penguin. The Penguin has never looked more menacing. (I'd like to see this guy have a chat with Vulture over at Amazing Spider-Man, it would be priceless.)

Overall, a solid start to the new arc. Not as great as the previous debut issue, but a solid one. Penguin is back, and has never looked more cool. Detective Comics is a series you'll want to be reading if you like Batman and mystery.

8/10.

Cowboys and Aliens Review


Wow, it's been awhile since this film came out. Cowboys and Aliens is rather unique film. Rather than have the usual alien invaders come to New York or Los Angeles, they come to the Wild West. That's right cowboy, you'll be seeing guys on horses with guns and Indians with spears against these invaders. This type of concept is risky, apparently too risky, since it didn't do too hot at the box office. I think a problem keeping people from watching it was the title. Early last year I was having a conversation with some people about upcoming films. I brought up this film, and the response was "That film looks cheesy. What kind of a title is Cowboys and Aliens?" So some people thought this was going to be like a SyFy original movie. It's sad, cause the film delivers some good stuff. It's by no means a great film, but a good watch.

The film begins with a man waking up in Arizona. He has no clue how he got there, who he is, or this strange metal band on his wrist. When some men on horses come in attempting to rob him, he beats all of them and steals one of their horses. He rides into town, which soon becomes a victim of alien assault....

You know me, I love alien invasion films, so I was here for the creatures. What surprised me, however, was that the film was better BEFORE the aliens came along. The first twenty minutes was very intriguing. Here we have a guy who we know nothing about, and neither does he. What we do learn is that he's one guy you do not want to mess with. The alien attack on the town was very good, must have been crazy in the IMAX. After that is when the film starts to falter. Now, it's still solid, but lost the intriguing aspect. It became more of the usual alien invasion, just with cowboys and Indians. What does make the film enjoyable throughout is the lead character.

Daniel Craig as Jake Lonergan was some great casting. He brings, what I call, the definition of 'cool.' By far the most enjoyable aspect of the film. (And this is coming from someone who ALWAYS prefers the creatures over the human characters.) Harrison Ford has a pretty solid role as a colonel. It was cool to see the two together, I'd like to them together in more films. Surprisingly, Olivia Wilde (who I thought would do an awful job in this film) was pretty good with her role as Ella Swenson. Granted, she could have done better in some scenes, but she was okay. The concept of her plot twist was unexpected and good, but should have been fleshed out more. The other characters are alright, some good, some alright. The preacher being the best of the side characters. Now, for the aliens.

The aliens in this film had a pretty cool design. The CGI was fantastic. The aliens themselves could have used a bit more depth. They're here for gold, but that's only touched upon once in the film, that part needed to be fleshed out. Also, more actual character would have been nice. It's there, one of my favorite scenes was when an alien (Speaking of which, why weren't they given a title? Come on.) captured the main character then grabbed a weapon that Jake used to injure it way earlier in a flashback. I like how it wanted to get revenge. Besides that, they don't show much depth. The scenes with them attacking the cowboys and Indians were great, some intense stuff there. Soundtrack wise, some good tunes that fit the atmosphere. Could have better, but not a bad soundtrack. The Alien ships were pretty cool, and I really liked the scene where an alien slapped aside Ella.

Overall, Cowboys and Aliens was a fun film. A bit disappointing however, the first twenty minutes was very intriguing and a great start, but the film becomes slightly generic as it goes on. After the initial attack, the second act becomes a bit boring. It picks up and becomes and entertaining ride, but nothing more. Daniel Craig does a  superb job and the aliens were cool. Some call it a 'popcorn film' and that's true, but it's much better than all three Transformers films combined. It meshed the concepts of western and science fiction well.

7/10.