Tomb Raider #1

I always like origin stories. There’s always that point where the character needs to choose what they’re going to do with themselves. The same story could make you the villain, could make you vengeful distrustful, hard and cold; it could make you catatonic; or, it could make you something bigger, something better. 

This picks up where the videogame reboot did. When Lara Croft, driven in pursuit of adventure, for academic reasons and to solve a mystery, things go bad. Real bad. They try to find the island of Yamatai. But the ship sinks, people die. For 21 year old Lara Croft, that’s too much. When she’s called by another of the trip’s survivors, Jonah, he starts ranting that they have to break the circle and the stole gold before a tidal wave overtakes the desert and leaves her stranded. After all they went through, they haven’t really escaped.

I don’t really know exactly what I am doing with this series, I haven’t played Tomb Raider since Tomb Raider: Legend for GameCube.

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Also, all the promos I’ve seen for the new game reminds me of Katniss Everdeen. This comic book reminds me of Katniss Everdeen. Which is not a bad thing, per se. Also, I know I’m wrong and people are actually going to show up and tell me that I’m an asshat for comparing Tomb Raider with the Hunger Games, but I don’t even care. Bring it.

This picks up where the new game left off, so your enjoyment will increase with your appreciation of that game. I’ll give whatever Gail Simone is doing a fair shot, when I saw this issue was titled Survivor’s Guilt! I instantly thought of Annisia from Red Sonja, and how survivor’s guilt made her the bad guy. Who we become under duress isn’t a calculated choice, if this is to fill the gap in between the new reboot and a possible sequel, I wanna see how LC grows up.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy #12

Or: Trial of Jean Grey part 4 of 6

Honestly, this issue didn’t really get anywhere plot wise. Somehow Brian Michael Bendis makes that work.

In the last issue of All-New X-Men, Kitty Pryde and her team met up with Guardians of the Galaxy and they blasted off. She’s crushing on Quill, too, which is very cute. In their travels, they were attacked by a Shi’ar ship and then saved… my Starjammer leader …Christopher Summers. Scott hasn’t seen his father since his mother saved him from certain death my tossing him out of a plane. His father figured that both Scott and his brother died, by the time he got back to Earth, Scott was old and lived around it. For Young Scott, back from the past and in a spaceship with a talking tree and raccoon after his girlfriend got kidnapped by aliens for crimes she will commit in the future… It’s all too much.

Quill’s father, the King of Spartax, finds out that the Guardians have inserted themselves into the Jean Grey situation. Oracle tells the Shi’ar that they may as well have declared war on the X-Men. They kidnapped a founding member, the mutant population of Earth isn’t going to take this lying down. 

Just outside of the Shi’ar empire, Young Scott summers starts losing it. Everyone watches as he falls apart. he’s comforted by X-23. X-23 who is confused by hugging checks on him and lets him cry on her shoulder. I like them together. If they go ‘friends forever’, I’ll still like that too. But I’m thinking of all the interesting timeline disruptions that could happen if a less cocky version of Cyclops and Wolverine’s genetic clone fell in love.

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Look! a picture I took with my phone in my den with bad lighting! But I wanted you to see this part that made me have so many feelings.

 

And no one is there for Jean Grey, Oracle will be her council. But Jeannie can’t control her temper, The tribunal begins, and Jean Grey sees the final broadcast from a battle cruiser and she finally sees what she will do/has done. And she’s horrified. Will she sacrifice herself for the fate of the universe? Even if she could, would it do anything? She can’t go home but the timeline is intact.

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Pichelli’s art is magnificent. The facial expressions are just perfect, raw angst, concern, sadness, the body language just multiplies the emotion involved. It’s beautiful. 

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Army of Darkness vs Hack/Slash #6

This series was wrought with delays, employed immature tropes and the last issue annoyed me to no end. But this was the last issue and I’d pressed on this long. So after Cassie betrayed Ash and left him in ancient Greece, what would become of her?

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Cassie takes on Britt Cilentro and heads back to the Ig’nant Mime Squad concert where overweight and underwashed teens had their sodas spiked and turned into Black Paladin stab happy dombies (that’s a demon-zombie, kids). This issue really tugged at my heart strings, Cassie is willing to cross time and space, fight deadites, cult leaders, suped up GI Joe wannabes and more to save Vlad from his fate. So she goes back to where Vlad died. But Ash, in a moment of maturity tells Cassie that he’s been down this road. But some other awful thing always happens. If she saves Vlad; what if she doesn’t marry Margaret and adopt Sandra? What if she has a whole different life that no one else remembers? 

And Cassie listens, and she doesn’t save Vlad. And she goes home with her wife and Ash babysits while they see the new Denzel movie. 

So I give Tim Seeley credit. Because he’d really lost me with #5. I was PISSED. Here’s the thing, though; it didn’t feel totally authentic until Ash asked Cassie to call him if she and Margaret ever wanted to make a reverse Oreo. 

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That’s Tim Seeley’s cover. None of that happened. But metaphorically it makes perfect sense.

Legends of Red Sonja #3 + Red Sonja #7

Red Sonja double review special:

With Legends of Red Sonja #3, we jump right in to “The Palace of the Necromancer” which was written by Leah Moore. Writing comic books is in Leah Moore’s DNA, Alan Moore is her father, and she has written for the Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes comic book series; proving that she’s no stranger to writing strong lead characters. In this tale a traveler has joined up with the Grey Riders to hunt Sonja because long ago Sonja offered to destroy Zaul. Zaul is a necromancer caught in stasis, draining the life from nearby crops, who is guarding a vast treasure. The man breaks the spell and a hoarde of zombies rises. He blames it on Sonja, of course. Not on the fact that he’s a greedy hog who couldn’t resist the treasure. Nicola Scott’s Gertrelle’s Lament finds a witch women who scapegoats Sonja as well. The old woman was piecing together an old and powerful ritual, only to have the sacrifice made into Sonja’s supper. This story was my fave in the issue, the art by Doug Holgate was quirky and cartoony and fit well with the attitude of that particular ‘legend’. In “Gerd’s Story: What lies beneath” written by Rhianna Pratchett, art by Naniiebim, Sonja is in her alternate costume: full sleeve chainmail and red hotpants. This was long ago, when Sonja was new to being a warrior. Gerd made Sonja her chainmail bikini: diversion tactic. Anyway, Red Sonja infiltrates the Grey Riders while they are deciding whether or not to keep hunting her, and she kills the leader with an arrow through the eye she didn’t take.

Red Sonja #7, Gail Simone and Walter Geovani triumphantly return with a new story arc and new mission for Sonja. She’s sent to recruit to world’s 6 greatest artisans for a shindig for a dying ruler, Samala. The utilitarian Sonja doesn’t care for such festivities, but Samala says that if she is successful, he will set over 1000 slaves free. So she goes to a swamped area inhabited by cannibal foodies in search of the world’s greatest chef. They have him captive. Red Sonja gets followed by the bogmen who criticize her dinner of rabbit on a stick, which she kills one with, and through a series of events she gets captured and put on the menu. She meets the cook, Gribaldi, and finds that the cook has been deceiving the bogmen and feeding them infant reptiles and setting the captured free. All hell breaks loose when the giant gator people get wind of their cooked young. “There’s the problem with exotic cuisine, sometimes, it simply refuses to be eaten.” Sonja keeps herself and the cook on the top of the food chain!

Almost Human- Episode 12

Episode recap + review! + bonus Science and Tech side notes and links!

In the first scenes we see a wealthy chrome in his natural habitat: Virtual Reality golfing in his large house, when a badly disfigured man jumps up behind him. He administers a syringe that gives the man a seizure and then he sucks fluid out of the man’s body with another syringe.

At the station, Kennex receives a call from a woman he’s seeing, Samantha. He had a bad date, she kept taking phone calls and ignoring him. Dorian answers the phone and says, “Kennex can’t talk right now. He’s waving his arms and mouthing ‘no’.” Then Dorian tells Kennex that he’s boring. Stahl comes up and says that she’s been tipped about a possible homicide. EMTs said it was a heart attack, but he was a Chrome and Chrome’s don’t have congenital defects. Curiously, the body is still at the scene even though there are no crime scene techs and Stahl was tipped off by another Chrome, which means someone should have been there or the body should have been removed from the scene before it started to decay and stink up the place. Anyway, Dorian finds the injection point. The wound was contaminated by DNA of 7 different people. Who all died of the same “natural causes.”

Stahl runs down leads and pays a visit to a Chrome Club looking to obtain surveillance footage. She faces off with a snarky blonde and a handsome man asks her about her decision to be a cop. Which apparently is a long story. Anyway, he gives her the footage. She brings it back to the station and she and Maldonado look it over while talking about Stahl’s recent experience with Chromes. Stahl, usually resentful of her upbringing tries to avoid Chromes and she says that she forgot that they’re people, too. Maldonado says it’s important to be around people who are like you and understand you. To which point, Stahl says, “Is that why you keep John around.” Maldonado: “Nah, lost a bet.”

Stahl sends footage to John

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Facial recognition is reading him as 2 of the 8 victims. They also look up his Bitcoin exchange- Almost Human loves Bitcoin, however, virtual currency hit snags this week as Mt. Gox, an exchange site for Bitcoin, got hacked and lost possibly 6% of the total money invested in Bitcoin. This was due to the malleability of transaction numbers and history. Back to the plot; Rudy figures out that he’s stealing parts of people’s faces, he’s using nanobot plastic surgery. Face lifts at an atomic level. A doctor involved in the trials is questioned. The trials didn’t go well. Donors experienced arrhythmia and died, recipients were horribly disfigured. There seemed to be a lot of them. Why did they keep doing this? Kennex and Dorian find out that the person performing the surgery will need “an actuator.”

Back with the killer, he’s blackmailing his doctor into continuing the procedures. Turns out he volunteered for the original trials. He gets some new eyes at the expense of a barista.

Dorian is antagonizing John again, “They more flaws you have the more human you are. You’re very human, John.”  They’re on their way to meet an informant, “Di Carlo” (who turns out to be a little person- Bad Santa actor Tony Cox, in an exo-suit of an overweight woman). They’re at some kind of trash burning, Mad Max, punk rock Fight Club. Anyway, Di Carlo gives up the location of the actuator. They find out the man wants 10 procedures and there have been only 9 victims. They extrapolate who the next victim will be. Stahl and some others keep an eye on him, the murderer knows he’s been discovered and heads out to search for another victim.

After some leaps in logic, Kennex figures out that the killer is a DMV employee, Eric Latham. Stahl surmises that he has Body Dysmorphic Disorder and that’s why he is consumed by this need for perfection. She says he’s inundated with images of perfection and unable to cope. Which for this world means not just media but being designed from birth to look beautiful. He’s trying to speed up the procedures so that he can meet a woman, Judy, who he met online and is scheduled to meet face to face. With irony that hits like a brick, she’s blind. He meets her briefly,before the police arrive. Eric kills himself in front of John.

Kennex is thinking about Eric Latham and he decides to take a chance and ask Stahl to go have a drink. But she’s already heading out with the man from the Chrome Club, and we’re treated to a “brooding and staring off at happy people in the night while 80s music plays in the background” closing sequence. I don’t mind 30 seconds of angst.

I was really happy with this episode, there was a good balance between all the characters. Stahl, Kennex and Dorian all got to show their particular talents. Stahl got to show her investigative skills instead of somehow landing on tips and watching TV. And it addressed privilege and class. Stahl is a Chrome and having this privilege doesn’t make her a bad person, it also doesn’t make her a better person, either. Right now there is debate about using DNA of 3 people (male female and an extra donor woman) to replace mutated mitochondrial DNA and prevent birth defects. But there’s a question of “where does it stop?” and opening the floodgates for “designer babies”.  And on the surface you might say, “who wouldn’t want this? I don’t want my children to have degenerating vision/predisposition to kidney disease/go bald when they’re 17.” But what we end up with is what you saw in this episode, technology used to further divide a class line as well as race lines (all white people, dark haired males, mostly light haired females. Episode before last followed the same pattern, with the exception of one family), engineered to look perfect, have no physical failings and be geniuses. They look down on Stahl for being too blue collar, they’re meant for industry. They are meant for preserving a superior way of life for themselves. Well, that’s terrifying.

But on a smaller scale, aren’t we doing that already? People partner with someone “like them” in some capacity, if they choose to breed the child will be a product of the coupling with whatever benefits and negatives that comes with. And what’s seen by negative to some is not always the case, such as the instance of Deaf couples selecting embryos that are more likely to be Deaf. Sitcoms joke about superior cells used to make babies, such as Caroline Channing donating her “Ivy League eggs” on CBS’s Two Broke Girls while Max’s low rent genes are a dime a dozen. How far is the next step, really? The Chinese are already trying to crack the genetic code for genius by analyzing samples from individuals with IQs over 160. And if you can get it, will you be considered a bad parent if you don’t?

Anyway, a 45 minute sci-fi drama just made me think about the implications of designer genetics. I wish they would officially renew it, because it’s really good. Well, most of the time. And Kennex and Stahl are still dancing around each other, we still don’t know what’s going on “over the wall” and we don’t know where Anna is. Next week is the finale and I can’t imagine this will all be wrapped up neatly. I would miss Rudy and Dorian the most.

Nerd News-day Tuesday

I would like to introduce you to my nerd-news round up lazy blogger process. 

Step one: Haunt Gail Simone’s twitter. Remember that Tomb Raider  #1 come out tomorrow. Find an indiegogo for a She Walks in Shadows, an all female HP Lovecraft inspired anthology. If you throwdown $500 you get (among other things) a ukulele fit for an Elder God. Bitchin’.  

Step two: Check on Brian Wood. Find some sneak peeks of next issue (which I’m super excited for even though I chewed the last one a bit).. it’s one of Mann’s pages (the people involved don’t make sense to me in continuity with the last one. Whatever. I’m letting it go)

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Step 3: Wish that Amanda Conner used her twitter more.

Step 4: See what’s going on on flipboard. Find an article about men using chivalry to emasculate each other, 4b; realize you “don’t understand men,” 4c; realize you flipped the big tire at crossfit to show off to another woman. 4d; remember that gender roles are bullshit.

HOLY SHIT A CAR THAT RUNS ON AIR (mostly)

RunDisney announces an Avengers themed Half-Marathon. So dust off your kicks, your GPS watch, your purple sweats and your green body paint and get ready to SMASH the finish line! Registration opens March 25th!

Hollywood lost writer and actor Harold Ramis, Ghostbusters 3 is still on. Well, probably. 

In the TV world: Almost Human and Agents of SHIELD still not officially renewed or cancelled. No official news about Dracula. Almost Human and Dracula need another season. I’m not fully on board with Agents of SHIELD, I keep watching, but they’re lucky Ziva left NCIS or I wouldn’t have. CW is where you want to be if you’re a supe, Supernatural, Arrow, Vampire Diaries and the Originals AND (probably) Beauty and the Beast are renewed.

Under the Dome will be back June 30th, new teasers came out already, hinting at “an unexpected romance” and the death of two favorites in the season premiere. I hope it’s Junior. 

And for no reason, a pic of Jessica Alba looking like Drew Barrymore in Scream:

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Ooooh, and a really rad article about a Siberian mummy and her 2500 year old tattoos. Who says tattoos will look ugly when you’re older? 

Loki: Agent of Asgard #1

AKA Trust Me #1

Loki. There’s a lot to say about Loki. Tragic trickster, Thor’s foster brother, black sheep of the family, God of Evil, hilarious, powerful, spiteful. Made all the more popular because of the Marvel cinematic universe portrayl by the stunning Tom Hiddleston.

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Anyway, Loki died, was reborn into a new, youthful body, obtained the sword of Asgard’s earliest hero and is now a secret agent for the All-Mother, the ruling trio of Goddesses. 

So.. page one, when we see Loki stabbing Thor in the back with the narration, “TRUST ME. I know what I’m doing.”

We must wonder… does he?

Earlier: Loki is soaping up when the All-Mother (Gaea, Freyja and Idunn) show up to give him a mission. This leads him to Avengers tower. Thor is Drinking, Cap and Iron Man are sparring, Hawkeye and Black Widow are lounging, Bruce Banner is working, Loki is laughing. Sounds right. 

Loki climbs the building, takes an extra peek at Thor, who is drinking mead and ordering around the help. Thor gets irrationally mad when he catches a whiff of Loki and tosses his hammer out the window at him.

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He falls past Hawkeye and Black Widow’s room (she’s reading a book while he plays video games) and Hawkeye shoots out a grappling hook arrow, which Loki grabs. 

Meanwhile, we get some backstory on Loki and his particular brand of magic. And why he wants to be the good guy. 

Loki, now inside, is asked to answer why he has come. Loki babbles that he is the All-Mother’s Undercover Agent. And then he tells Thor that Stark still has Thor’s DNA from Civil War when they cloned him to make a monster(retconned but not gone!).

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Thor, predictably, challenges Iron Man…and Loki runs off. AND then he tricks Hawkeye into thinking Bruce Banner is him, and so he shoots Banner who Hulks out. Nothing more distracting than that. 

Soonish;

Loki reaches the Avenger’s Database. What he’s looking for… is himself. The files they have on him. The God of Mischeif that became the God of Evil. The Villain. The Loki that burned. He purges the files. People like patterns, they expect him to become that. He’s trying to reboot his story. 

They catch him. Thor orders them to kill Loki. captain America, goody two shoes, says, “Avenger’s don’t do that,” so Thor says he’ll do it himself. But the Hammer is too heavy (dishonorable behavior) so he goes at Loki with his bare fists. And that’s when Loki stabs him in the back. “TRUST ME. I know what I’m doing.”

Earlier: 

Thor yells at the All-Mother that women belong in kitchens, not on thrones.

Before That: 

in a bar fight, hassling a wench.

And then we get a glimpse at the whole mission. Corruption has entered Thor’s heart. The All-Mother sent Loki to cast it out, but he needed a sword to make Thor see the truth. To suffer the blade is to suffer all the truths you deny yourself. Thor sees and casts out the corrupt entity which Loki captures in a jar.

So:

Loki and Thor get their brotherly moment. There’s a Slashfic joke and they share a drink. And Loki escapes shortly after. Back with the All-Mother we find out his reward. For each successful mission, one crime purged from the memory of all of Asgard. He leaves them in the jar.

What’s inside is truly bewildering and terrifying. What will it mean for our would be hero?

I love all of this. We have this anti-hero character, reborn and trying to make amends. He’s not granted instant redemption and he knows he has to work with that. He’s not surprised that no one trusts him. But he wants to be good. No one is the villain in their own story, everyone thinks that what they are doing serves a purpose, everyone wants to be the hero. I really like the idea of Loki overcoming himself in his quest to change his fate instead of overcoming, tricking or otherwise convincing others. Al Ewing did a great job on this story -I’m not a huge fan of jumping back and forth, but it was well done. Lee Garbett’s art was expressive and playful and perfect for this story.

Will Loki redeem himself? Or will he be his own worst enemy? Dun dun dun