Powerpuff Girls #1

Look! Me and the PPGs go waaaaay back. way back. 

So when Radio Of Horror went to GraniteCon and I saw that one of the exclusives was Powerpuff Girls #1 (with cover artwork by guest Sara Richard) I had to give up the $$. I also technically bought this for my boyfriend, who also loves the PPGs (I also bought him The Star Wars comic which I intend on reading also). 

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The city of townsville is on fire! The Mayor calls in our girls and they show up to kick the butt of the culprit: Mojo Jojo! (Go figure)

Blossom: “Oh, come on, Mojo, A giant metal exoskeleton?”

Buttercup: “Again?!”

They laugh and yawn in the face of Mojo’s “danger” and turn Mojo’s superior firepower against him. Mojo monologues all the way to jail. With the villain in the clink, the girls head to Malt’s Shoppe.

At a charity golf tournament they are invited to, a swamp creature wreaks havoc from the water trap. The girls vanquish the foe and save a legendary golfer who disappeared in 1963. 

Mojo gets wind of this and has an internal crisis. Maybe he’s not cut out for supervillian life! “But what, am I just supposed to find a part time retail job and pretend I’m not infinitely superior to everyone around me? HAVE YOU EVER WORKED IN RETAIL? No, that is no life for Mojo Jojo. 

Soon we see he is not talking to himself… but to a visitor….

Everything I liked about the TV show is in this comic. The puns, the giggles, the girl power. 

It’s “girly” and “cutesy.” But so what? Look at the plot: A former NASA experiment monkey with superior intellect and 3 clones dosed with experiment X by a well meaning but clumsy scientist at odds with each other. An entire city dependent on the superpowered trio to protect them from monsters and maniacs. How different is that, really, than other mainstream sci-fi superhero plots?

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 The art is how you would expect if you have seen the show. I wasn’t planning on it, but I think I’m going to keep up on this one, see if it matures more than the show. But even if it doesn’t, that’s okay. I like a hero with pure intentions, all the girls want to do is protect the town and eat icecream… maybe get some statues of themselves put up in Townsville. Certainly a nice does of nostalgia. 

Battle of the Atom Chapter 5

Welcome to Chapter 5! AKA Wolverine and the X-Men #36

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Back at Utopia,

Emma Frost ant the Cuckoos are helping the young Jean in her battle against Xorn/Jean Grey (from the future). 

Cyclops (from the present) lets Cyclops (from the past know that under the Xorn mask. It’s Jean Grey. No doubt. 

Young Cyclops: “No way. That’s your Jean? the dead Jean?

Cyclops: No. That’s no Jean of mine. If I was to guess, I’d say that’s your Jean all grown up. Your young Jean never went back to her own time. She grew up in the future and now she’s…. OLD young Jean. I can’t believe I just said that. 

Young Jean seems to be losing.

Wolverine (and Psylocke, Old Deadpool, 2 Beasts, 2 Icemans, Storm, Molly and Xavier’s grandson) show up to confront Cyclopses and everybody. Wolverine points out the youngins on Cyclops’ squad and Cyclops brings up the fact that Wolverine and Henry McCoy brought back Cyclops as a kid- and almost got him wiped out of existence when Kitty Pryde took him to stop Animax. 

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Young Cyclops shows off his powers. 

Storm steps in to stop the melee (which after the conflicts of 2 chapters ago… makes little sense) and says “no more x-men fighting x-men.”

Meanwhile, the X-men still fighting X-men, the cuckoos are failing and Emma along with young Jean is holding strong against Xorn Jean. With a battle cry of: “I will gouge out your eyeballs with diamond fingers, you fiendishly overrated ginger! Why won’t you ever stay dead?!”

Xorn Jean in turn takes a cheap shot at Emma, “Scott will never be yours, so long as there’s a me around.”

The art in these panels for the psychic battle are particularly cool, might I add, light blasting out of everyone’s eyes, characters bleeding while phantom figures send bright blasts at each other.

Emma falls out of the battle and leaves Jeans fighting each other.

Meanwhile- 

Young Iceman and Young Beast are researching the future (Young Beast suggests that the future X-Men aren’t who they say they are.) They are also babysitting Shogo (who Jubes dumped on them. Where’s she at?). Magik takes the pair into the future. 

Because obviously the solution is MORE TIME TRAVEL.

about this time, Young Jean reads the mind of her future self and decides that it’s time to stop fighting and go home.

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(Deadpool hints that the future isn’t what they are saying) and this issue concludes with Magik and co in the future… meeting MORE X-Men.

Agents of SHIELD- Episode One

The pilot, written by Joss Whedon (who is also the executive producer), starts off with a man. A caring father, out of work and low on cash. He sees an apartment building burst into flames and jumps into action!

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Or climbs rather. Yeah, climbs… up a brick wall. Saves the damsel, jumps from 5 stories and lands on his feet. Unbothered.

Skye, a hacker expert, sees what he did and follows him. She says SHIELD is going to find him, that they are bad men in black suits. She knows about what happened in New York (the Avengers movie) she knows about “project pegasus” (Thor’s movie). She says that they’ll stop at nothing to cover up the existence of superheroes… which is what she thinks Mike Peterson is. Skye wants to bring his story out in the open, before SHIELD gets their hands on him. She says being a superhero can get him a better life with more opportunities.

Meanwhile, Cobie Smulders is reprising her role as Maria Hill:

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And she drags in a hotshot loner type named Grant Ward and commissions him to bag Skye, the marvelous hacker. There’s so witty exchange in which he is “Welcomed to level 7” by none other than Agent Coulson (played by Clark Gregg).

Wait Agent Coulson? Didn’t he die at the hands of Loki in the Avengers? What?

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He spouts a story about his death being faked and an extended vacation in Tahiti (but I think he’s a clone).

Ward and co. go out to grab Skye. Coulson busts out the weirdest interrogation technique ever by locking Ward and Skye in a room together and giving truth serum… to Agent Ward. Hmmm…. 

He earns Skye’s trust and she helps SHIELD find Peterson. Who has a freaky metal centipede on his arm and is approaching his boiling point. Literally. He beats up his former employer and starts rampaging. SHIELD goes after him to try to get a handle on it.

Along the way they find that the creator’s of “centipede” mixed “supersoldier juice from the 40s,” Gamma radiation and basically any known superpower causer. 

They confront Peterson in a heated (literally) exchange where Peterson declares, “It used to be enough, just to be a man.” What he continues with is that now there are gods and giants… it’s also an analogy. Peterson is out of work, out of cash, out of hope. Out of the American dream. And it used to be enough… just to be a man.

They gloss everything over, make it look nice for the cameras… and cover up what they don’t think the public is ready for. But for those involved there is a happily ever after. I seems to me to me to be propaganda, like I should take away that we only THINK the government is the bad guy, but we don’t truly understand. Yeahhh… seemed to be some “Yeah, America” brainwashing happening. Which is also what I thought was happening in episode 1 of Sleepy Hollow, so, maybe it’s just me….

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At the end of the episode they still hadn’t “cut the head off of centipede” so I’m sure there will be some vaguely foreign vigilate types experimenting on down on their luck people in the coming weeks.

Sleepy Hollow- Episode 2

Abbie is talking to Irving about the Headless Horseman, the other 2 officers who saw him recanted their statements. Irving is still skeptical that Ichabod is a “time traveller.” (He believes that Ichabod believes he decapitated a Hessian in the Revolutionary War and that his wife is a witch). And He  thinks that Andy nearly decapitated HIMSELF by running to a mirror. Abbie says “no” …flat out… “no”

And then.. at the morgue… Andy wakes up… with his head still bent back and he talks to his demon friend in the mirror. The demon sets his head right. Cool, I could use more John Cho.

Ichabod is still waxing Sherlockian, talking about how his wife, Katrina, hid her witchiness from Ichabod to save the fate of the American Revolution -and complaining about the tax on donuts.

Andy resurrects a burned witch. Obviously sporting a sore neck pulls someone over, the witch jumps on his car envelopes it in flames.

Abbie, even with her strange past is struggling to believe the hub bub about witches. She complains that she was headed to Quantico to be a criminal profiler …and now she’s profiling witches.

Ichabod: “Superstition gives way to reason and logic, until General Washington brought me into a war with secret forces…” Abbie offers a giant eyeroll. She then tells Ichabod about how Sherriff Corbin saved her from a life of prison (he picked her up while she was robbing a pharmacy and offered her a chance to change).

Ichabod says he saw this before… in battle. More about General Washington and an evil coven. Abbie says Corbin believed there were 2 groups of witches (one good and one evil, go figure).

Ichabod and Abbie head to some secret underground tunnels used to transport munitions during “the war”

Along the way they find out that the magistrate that sentenced the witch to be burned was cursed by the witch and that Jeremy Firth (the man in the car who got burned) is related to the magistrate. Andy has also put a curse on another descendant, a young boy, Kyle.

Kyle is grabbed by the witch (who is on fire) and then Abbie rushes in. Kyle is the last remaining Remington… or is he? Nope. Kyle is adopted, she steals Kyle’s father’s ashes.

The burned witch is conducting a ritual. It’s the blood moon and this is her only chance! She rises in her restored beauty!

Ichabod shoots at her and she catches her bullet.

In a brief but exciting scene they explode the witch.

At the station, Abbie sees Corbin and tells him, “If you’re going to haunt me.. be helpful, okay?” Corbin tells her to stop running and stop letting fear dominate her life.

Then we flash to Abbie’s sister Jenny in the institution. We see the demon appear behind her as the episode ends.

Movie Review #14- World War Z

Family man gets called out of retirement to beat zombies over the head with a crowbar… and oh, yeah, save the damn world.

Former UN weapons inspector, Brad Pitt, real life vegan is playing i-Spy taking his kids to school comments: “Do people keep it in pens all it’s life and harvest it for meat?” when helicopters start flying overhead, traffic stops and police order everyone in their vehicles. 

Panicked but trying to calm his children (who are confused and just want their blankets and to hide in a corner), they steal an RV and his daughter starts having an asthma attack, his UN buddies call him in an offer an extraction for him and his family. Fighting off looters for albuterol and road flares proves to be worse than fighting off zombies.

Even roaring, croaking, convulsing, running zombies.

“Be ninja quiet, just a walk in the park”

Off the coast of NY on the USS Argus, Gerry meets up with his former UN cohorts, “Is this worldwide? Is anyone doing better than we are?” top politicians are dead, the biggest cities are the worst off, airline delivery system. Smart guys argue about how ridiculous it is that people are considering the infected “zombies”

Really? You saw this sort of thing:

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And think it’s NOT POSSIBLE THAT IT IS ZOMBIES

The government blackmails Gerry into working for them. Help us or you and your family are back to NJ. So he, a 23 year old Harvard virologist and a team of Navy SEALS jet set in search of evidence and a cure.

The doctor is amused and excited about the research ahead. He is considerably less amused when they get on the ground.

They go to where they think is the “source” an email from a colonel about zombies (that everyone thought was stupid and irrational). A CIA operative, imprisoned at this location, locked up for selling guns to North Korea, says they are surviving there because they pulled out the teeth of every citizen. He says Jerusalem saw it coming.

“The problem with most people is that they don’t believe something can happen til it already has.”

A Mossad leader decided to get on the right side of this thing for once and builds a wall. He thinks patient zero is in India. Turns out he should have built a dome.

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There’s a lot of Brad Pitt staring at the chaos in horror as quicker witted people pull him along. After all the running, Gerry does find a place to hide. And a way to hide.

After a particularly silly plan involving stacking luggage to keep out zombies…. BP causes a plane crash. This and the following scene were particularly nerve wracking. 

Gerry’s UN pals think he’s dead and ship out his family (in a perfect analogy of what the powers that be do with their soldiers when they have served their use). Segen and Gerry make it to the WHO facility where everyone finally gets a clue.

Anxiety inducing, interesting, and full of survival tips.

I have to complain a little, and I will, about Karrin. While competent and smart she was almost raped by looters (because, Under the Dome style, everyone goes batshit in the first ten minutes. Really? Zombies are eating everyone and life without food is in your future and you’re stopping to rape someone? effing sickos. Why did the plot need this? Oh wait, didn’t.) and then the simple act of missing her husband and calling him on the satellite phone gets a bunch of people killed. Really? That rubbed me wrong, it could have been anything that made noise and attracted zombies… but instead it was his wife because she missed him. Argh

Segen earns plenty of badass credits, she saves Gerry’s life, he saves hers, rinse and repeat. But in the end we never know much about her background or what she would want to become of herself. Just another human weapon action chick.

And I’ve said it before, the apocalypse is no place for children, unless you are going to raise them like Erin in You’re Next.

None the less… I give it a 3.75/5 above average, action packed, but nothing too surprising.

Is Academia Driving You Insane?

School has been back in session for a little bit now, too early yet to feel the crushing pressure of midterms…. seems the perfect time to ponder the legacy of students pushed too far in the horror/fantasy genre.

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(photo cred)

Last night before Radio of Horror, Dr. Chris and I were watching the Masters of Horror: Stuart Gordon episode, Dreams in the Witch House, in which Miskatonic University grad student Walter Gilman (played by Ezra Godden- who was also in the HP Lovecraft based Stuart Gordon directed film Dagon) fears he is going insane after he rents a room in an old boarding house which was the residence of a 17th Century witch. He balances helping out a fellow resident, Frances Elwood (played by Chelah Horsdale, recently featured in Cabin in the Woods, the Killing and Arrow- and Supernatural as Bobby’s momma) and her young son, school work… and uh, nightmares about witches and the possibility of an alternate dimension inside his walls.

In another HP Lovecraft/Stuart Gordon film, featuring another Miskatonic student, Re-animator, med students Herbert West and Dan Cain reanimate corpses and fight against the administration that tries to take credit for their “research.”

In the most recent incarnation of Poison Ivy’s origin story, college student Pamela Isley researches and creates her thesis around manipulating emotions with pheromones, she then gets an internship at Wayne Enterprises and Bruce thinks she’s out of her damn mind. She freaks and steals her research, accidentally dosing herself with the pheromones and giving herself the ability to control plant life.

Sliders, the late nineties sci-fi show, starring Jerry O’Connell, follows Quinn Mallory, Professor Arturo and friends as they slide through alternate dimensions after Physics student Quinn’s basement science project opens a portal to other dimensions. Poorly researched, the friends end up lost, screwing up their world and becoming embroiled in an interdimensional war.

What’s your favorite scifi/horror plot involving students driven astray or pushed to the brink of stability by their ambition?

Game Review #1- Naval War (card game)

My housemates and I had an impromptu game night last night featuring NAVAL WAR:

In the 1983 CLASSIC Avalon Hill card game, Players control a task force of historic WWII Ships. Your objective is to sink 100 points worth of the other player’s ships. The game comes with 2 decks of cards: The Ship Deck contains 54 cards and the Play Deck contains 108 cards. In the Play Deck you draw (mostly) different sized salvo ammo, which must match one of your ships’ gun sizes in order to deal damage. You chip away at the other player’s ships (Car Wars style), the player who deals the deathblow gets to keep the points (So if player A has a 9 point ship and player B deals it 7 damage, but player C deals the last 2 points, all 9 go to play C). Other cards in the Play Deck are: smoke screen, repair cards, additional damage, sub attack, minefield, minesweeper additional ship cards and the dreaded destroyer squadron card. Some of these cards are printed in red ink -these must be used IMMEDIATELY, so that thing you thought you were going to do? Nope. The Destroyer Squadron decided many of the games we played (if no one can deal the Destroyer Squadron 4 points in one loop around the table, the player rolls a dice and then takes that number of ships. Players each start with 5, so late game this takes someone out no problem. So many points!

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Positives: Relatively quick game, easy to learn, enjoyable strategizing. Mostly strategy involved, but some luck and surprises (such as drawing a “red card”) keeps the game from being too predictable.

Negatives: We played with 3 players (it’s 3-9 Players) and it was a bit too quick, would have been better with more players. Not all the info is printed on the cards, we had to refer to instructions to see how some cards interacted with each other.

This game is out of print! As such it’s on the harder side to find complete, but keep your eyes peeled, you won’t be disappointed.