Marvel: Avengers Academy – Young Avengers Mini-Event

What a load of crumbs.

For most of this two-week-long event it seemed that players were entirely dependent on luck to determine whether or not they’d get Wiccan. (Or, you know, they could just buy him, but I like to actually play games.)

The main problem was that there was no way to skill up your heroes, so the Boss fights became absurd – I eventually found myself at a point where it was impossible to beat the Boss within the timeframe he would appear in before getting back to full health.

Right near the end I found a trick that would guarantee it, but it was far too late – and it required complex maths to discover. There was nothing that happened or was said in the game proper to direct people towards it.

Absolute nonsense.

This is why I stopped giving TinyCo money. Hell, I bet if I’d bought Wiccan and Stinger they’d now never even appear in missions, like the heroes I did buy early on.

TinyCo writes a great story and dialogue, but their event mechanics are really awful most of the time.

Trinity

Writer: Matt Wagner
Penciler: Matt Wagner

Eaglemoss DC Comics Graphic Novel Collection #22

This was okay. I guess.

I think that maybe, to really get into this, you need to have some basic awareness of who Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are, and care about how they first met. I don’t, and as a result this was a tough slog.

Even as someone quite ignorant of the characters, I didn’t feel that this added much to my understanding of these heroes or the world they inhabit. I doubt it really answered any burning questions for folks who do know the characters.

It was just a bunch of stuff that happened. I assume the Artemis stuff paid off somewhere else, but I really don’t know. And I am very confused about when this was actually set – some cars looked like they were from the 1940s or 1950s, but most things seemed to be from the 2000s.

What was a good read was the “classic” issue included in this volume: World’s Finest #71, the first of a long-running team-up between Superman and Batman in that title. It was a really fun and interesting read, even though it was quite silly, and clearly relied on Lois Lane being a naive, easily-overwhelmed female for the plot to make even a lick of sense.

I won’t be rushing out to find more work by Matt Wagner, and this hardly sold me on any of the characters or the DCU, but I don’t regret reading it.

Uchuu Sentai Kyuuranger Space 2

That was… interesting.

And a huge improvement from the first episode!

I loved the creative use of the henshin special effects – first to shield the team from the incoming blaster fire from the Jark Matter grunts, but then as an offensive weapon against another grunt. And I really like some of the little touches, that must have taken a lot of CGI effort – such as when Lucky leaves Orion-gou and whacks into the figurehead, which gets annoyed.

I am growing to love Raptor, although I still can’t believe the actress who played Luka Milfy is doing her voice.

Balance was quite cool, even if he is a bit of an arse. I saw his “betrayal” coming a mile off and was not at all surprised by how it ultimately played out, but I’m not sure we’ve seen the last of his confused loyalty.

I found Naaga’s storyline to be a bit rushed, sadly. The way this series appears to be structured, it could easily sustain arcs of 4-5 episodes on each planet – and as we learned there are 88 such planets, that could be 440 episodes! Unfortunately, it is limited to the standard Super Sentai episode count, so some things need to be rushed, and Naaga’s storyline suffered as a result.

That said, I was blown away by Naaga’s hidden power at the end, and if his inappropriate emotions remain as funny as they were at the end of this episode, he’ll be fun to watch.

The series does now have one big problem, though: Balance’s roll call. He calls himself “Trick Star”; there is a character by that name in Guardian Force Roboman! Now I suppose I need to call a character “Balance”.

I think my concerns about episode one can be chalked up to growing pains; first episodes are often a bit clumsy. This was a massive improvement, and I have a feeling we’ll see similar growth in the next couple of episodes, and then reach the regular standard. This series might just be a good one!

(And OushiBlack is still my favourite!)

Downtime

You may (or may not, I guess) have noticed that for the last few days this website has been pointing to ads. This was an issue with the registrar and has now been resolved.

Unfortunately, it also meant I had very limited access to my own content, so things have become quite delayed. But there’ll be new content soon, I promise!

Uchuu Sentai Kyuuranger Space 1

I really, truly don’t know how to feel about this.

During the promos, I suspected that the biggest hurdle for me would be having a female Green. That just makes no sense. Female? And Green? Together? In one character? What’s next – a Kamen Rider-themed sentai? (Yes, that is actually coming in this year’s Kamen Rider x Super Sentai Kamen Sentai GoRider!)

Surprisingly, ChamaelonGreen (yes, that is spelled correctly – that’s the name of the constellation, not the animal) is a perfectly fine Green. Every character represents their colour appropriately, I think, but Red happens to be the most annoying type of Red. The only Reds that have really managed to get away with that kind of personality for me are DekaRed (well-acted and well-written) and Go-OnRed (because he’s absurdly attractive). This one has no charm and no acting chops, so can’t pull it off well for me. But he is well-written.

Back to Green, though, she feels much more like a female best-friend sidekick for a Kamen Rider. I guess it was always going to take some getting used to. (A girl Green… nine core members… too many changes for one series!)

I quite like OushiBlack. He may well be my favourite character so far. I don’t know what it is about him – he’s so nice, but so blunt at the same time. When he pointed out to Lucky that he was being mocked, I half-expected him to say “Hey, I’m not mocking you. I like you. I’m just saying – she’s mocking you, you tool.” He looks like he would totally call you out if you were being a dick, but literally have your back at the same time.

I love the henshin sequence, particularly the first time Yellow, Green and Black do it, and the time those three do it in the opening credits.

I find it impossible to believe that the same woman who played Luka Milfy in Kaizoku Sentai Goukaiger is the voice of Raptor. I can’t see the voice coming out of her mouth, and it would take a great voice actor to do that voice anyway. She’s one multi-talented lady!

The “monster” suits are a mixed bag, too. I love OushiBlack when he is out-of-costume, in his normal bull-alien form. It’s a really well-done suit. But Garou, in his normal wolf-alien form… isn’t really up to Toei’s usual standards. Nor are the cannon fodder/putties/combatmen in this series.

But the biggest question of all: how the heck did Lucky know how to pilot the ShishiVoyager and set up the SeizaDocking? I can only assume it was all luck.

I’m really excited for the next episode, even if my feelings about this one still haven’t sorted themselves out yet.

Rings (2017)

Screenplay by: David Loucka & Jacob Estes
Directed by: F. Javier Gutierrez

Oh, if only what the poster says was true.

This film was so horrendously awful that I actually turned to the person I was watching it with and said “You know what would be great? If I suddenly remembered that I saw… Samara’s… video seven days ago and got a phone call saying ‘seven days’ and suddenly died right now.”

Because seriously, sticking razor blades inside your foreskin would be more enjoyable.

I haven’t seen The Ring or The Ring Two (or even the earlier Rings) – nor have I seen the Japanese series (except for Ring 0). I have, however, read the novel on which the franchise is based, so have some familiarity with the premise.

Clearly, the American and Japanese franchises are very different at fundamental levels. Had I known the American series was such stupid garbage, I wouldn’t have bothered seeing this.

But even for the latest film in a series of crap, this was awful. The acting was horrendous. The basic plot was about as engaging as a story by a six-year-old where they forget halfway through the second sentence what they were talking about.

The only good thing about the film was Alex Roe’s three shirtless scenes, and considering that his naked torso was integral to the plot, there should have been more.

A huge waste of my time and energy, and now I won’t even bother trying the earlier films.

Monster(s)-of-the-Week

I’ve been busily working on Stellar Guardian Southern Cross (debuting 13 March – put it in your calendars!) and I’ve spent the past week focusing on the monster(s)-of-the-week, in particular.

Some of them are quite fun, but to my great surprise one led me down an unexpected path. I’ve developed a whole subplot around it and actually altered something quite significant that happens in the main plot!

Sometimes starting a new project can be a major chore (and will usually just become more of a chore as it goes on, until you get close to the end, where it becomes fun seeing it all finally come together) but this is just getting more and more fun every day. Chapters 19-21 are a heck of a lot of fun to write!