Sunday, August 16, 2015

New Blog

Hello anyone that happens to stumble upon this little blog. I have a new one up, which focuses on something a little more important to me than politics and video games (I know, right?!).

That is my faith. 

Check it out, but continue to read some of these older posts if they suit your interests. I've grown a lot since my last postings, and I'm sure my new blog will reflect that.

Hey, you might actually see some politics or video games on my new blog, too ;) 

Here's the blog link. Right here. Below. The link.

http://christiansgreatadventure.blogspot.com/2015/08/my-first-liturgy.html

Check it out, my friends.

God bless. Your wayfarer,

Christian

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Sorry

I don't see myself posting on here in the foreseeable future. I've been neglecting my blog and it will probably continue, as I'm really busy in everything.

God bless my friends,

Christian

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What I'm Currently Collecting (And You Should, Too!)

You don't have to say it.

I know I'm really awful about posting on this blog, okay? I know that you that read this blog for my politicking could (mostly) care less about what I have to say regarding video games or comic books. But it's the summer, mkay? This is my vacation time. I want to spend it vacationing. Not ranting to you all about how our government is continuing to screw up. Don't worry, I don't spend all of my time nerding out. I pay attention to the news very closely. For instance, the House today refusing to drop the NSA spying… Disappointing me a bit there, GOP.

Anyway, what I want to talk about today is a brief (very long) overview of the comics that I subscribe to (and am planning to in the future). I probably did this before, but all of these comics are incredibly awesome. You really should pick these up. So we'll start off alphabetically.

Astro City
Heard of this series before? If you haven't, I'm surprised. Kurt Busiek is a comic book genius among geniuses. I might be a little biased because he expertly brought Iron Man back from the grave in Volume 3. But everything he writes seems to turn to gold. Astro City is no exception. So, basic premise. Superheroes are real. They live all over the world. But quite a few are centered around Astro City, named after one of the world's first superheroes. Great, another superhero comic… so why should you read it? Well, it literally turns the genre on its head. You see, Astro City has some superhero stories, sure. But most of the stories are told from the point-of-view of the average man on the street. And that's what makes this series special. Not only that, but in a world of superheroes, Busiek makes me want to know what John Q. Public has to say about the world he lives in. Even better for you, this series is almost "anthology-based." Each issue can mostly stand on its own. Sure, there are a few issues that follow a story arc every now and then, but overall, Astro City is one of the most accessible comics I have read in a long time. Besides the current volume, I've managed to collect the older Astro City: Local Heroes miniseries. Check out the current series and find the older ones in the back issue bins. And thanks for visiting Astro City. Come again soon.

Batman '66
Um… what? I know what you're thinking. "Christian, why would I ever want to collect a comic based off of that God-awful (incredible) campy, Batman show?" Well, my minions, glad you asked. Because this comic just came out, but let me tell you this: It. Is. Amazing. You probably think I say that about everything. Not necessarily true. I just have good taste, methinks. But I have never laughed harder at a comic or enjoyed one so much as I have with the first issue of Batman '66. Just like the old show, this comic has camp, great dialogue, and great POW!s. Cesar Romero's Joker even has his mustache. Frank Gorshin's Riddler is just as corny. Let me be honest with you. This is the first Batman comic I have ever collected. I know that might be a shock, but I've never been a fan of the Caped Crusader's comics over the years. This is one I could easily collect for years. Even better, if you want to follow the adventures of Bruce Wayne and his youthful ward, Dick Grayson, this comic is part of DC's excellent "Digital-First" initiative. Each week, you can buy a part of the comic for $1. Once the parts are complete, you can buy it in paper for $3.99. You save a buck reading it digitally, but if you're like me, why not spend the coin and keep the thing for life. Anticipating the Shark Repellent Bat-Spray, this comic is a must in my pull list. Holy Batman '66, old chum! This should be in your hands!

Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time
If you haven't heard of Doctor Who, do yourself a favor and watch "Blink," the episode everyone seems to refer to when grading the show. If you're still not a fan, shoot yourself in the foot. Just kidding, but seriously. Do it. The show is incredible, and no, I'm not a hipster Whovian. I've watched as many classic-era episodes as I could get my grubby Gallifreyan hands on (which is quite a lot). I own a Tenth Doctor cosplay, a sonic screwdriver, a mug, magnets, and my girlfriend even got me a TARDIS bathrobe. So there, now that I'm done establishing my Who cred, can I tell y'all about this comic miniseries? In case you haven't heard, this year is the 50th anniversary of the long-running sci-fi show. To celebrate, IDW is in the process of releasing a 12-issue miniseries chronicling the adventures of our wayward Time Lord, The Doctor. Each issue revolves around its respective Doctor. For instance, as you can see, issue #4 is centered on Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor. While I can't say that this series is phenomenal, I can tell you that it is a hoot. And even better, it's great to see some classic Doctors (so far) mix up with modern enemies (and vice-versa). While the plots early on were weak, they have definitely thickened to the point that I'm really looking forward to the inevitable battle royale amongst the Doctors. Though, I doubt they'll be as good as the 50th Anniversary Special, hmmm? Anyway, if you're a Whovian and comic reader, pick up this series. If you're not, ditch it. You probably won't enjoy it as much and there are truthfully better comics out there to read. BUT I LOVE IT! :D

Forever Evil
You're probably like… what, this hasn't even come out yet? Truth. But I did tell you that this list is what I subscribed to. And I'm subscribed to this comic. Which means I will receive it in my nifty little box when it comes out. So there. I can tell you a little about Forever Evil, though. DC always does their September month with something special. Last year was the #0 issues for each comic. This year is Villains Month. Whilst my favorite DC comic, Nightwing, isn't getting a Villains tie-in, he IS going to be the main hero of Forever Evil, the miniseries of Villains Month. I say "hero," because the stars are the villains. Basically, this series involves everyone else dead (apparently), so I guess Dick Grayson puts together a resistance or something of the sort. Anyway, scary rumors have been going around that he will be killed in this series. Whilst I'm sure he'll be affect immensely, if they kill off another Bat character so soon after Damien, I might blow a gasket. I'm collecting this miniseries solely for Nightwing appearances. Heck, it might even be good, too? Let's hope so.



Guardians of the Galaxy
You might've heard of this title recently? Have you? Maybe because Marvel is headlining a movie called Guardians of the Galaxy starring FBI AGENT BURT MACKLIN, AKA CHRIS PRATT, AS STAR LORD. Wooh. Glad I got that out. Anywho, this is currently my favorite Marvel series being released right now. And for good reason. It's a sci-fi space opera with just enough action to rock. Oh, and there's a talking raccoon. And a tree. And Star Lord just rocks. And Drax. And Gamora. Oh, and Iron Man's even an honorary member! Enough fangirling, sorry. This comic is up to issue #4 now, and issue #5 introduces Neil Gaiman's Angela to the Marvel Universe. Excited for that. But for real, if you want a comic series that is fun, quirky, and just a lot cosmic, Guardians of the Galaxy is where you'll find your thrills. Blam! Murdered you. 

Now buy it already.





Infinity
Here's another series that hasn't been released yet. Mostly. Besides the Free Comic Book Day preview, Marvel's event of the year (Age of Ultron DOESN'T count), Infinity, is sure to bring a lot of thrills. This Marvel crossover event is going to be cosmic in nature, and revolve around Thanos, the Guardians, the Avengers, and the Inhumans (who are sure to play a big part). I can tell you next to nothing about this event, as Marvel is holding most of their cards close to their chests. But if you want a preview, pick up the FCBD issue (probs have to pay for it now), or collect Avengers and New Avengers, as the current issues are preludes to Infinity. In fact, New Avengers #8, released today, basically saw the arrival of Thanos' peeps on Earth. Cannot wait for this miniseries. Here's hoping it's on par with Operation Galactic Storm. It was a good miniseries, okay?!?! Sheesh.






Infinity Heist
This series isn't out either. And if you can't tell by the name, it's a miniseries tie in to the Infinity miniseries. So why am I reading a heist book by Marvel comics? Welp, because it stars Iron Man's rogues gallery. More specifically, Spymaster, my favorite Marvel villain. Oh yeah, Blizzard, Whiplash, Titanium Man, and UNICORN, among others, will be present, too. Yes, UNICORN. Last we saw of him, he was walking into the ocean. So seriously, I'm glad there's a miniseries taking place during Infinity starring my favorite hero's rogues gallery. He's sure to be present, too. He's defending Earth during the Infinity event, whilst the rest of the Avengers are off galavanting around the galaxy. So yeah. Infinity Heist. Pick it up if you want to see more Spymaster. 

And Unicorn.






Iron Man
Who didn't see this one coming? Of course I'm still collecting Iron Man's Marvel NOW! series. But let me be honest with you… it's kinda sorta subpar at the moment. Why, you ask? Well, Kieron Gillen is great, don't get me wrong. But Greg Land is SCREWING UP THIS SERIES. It's just not the way Iron Man is supposed to be drawn. It's wooden and bland. I loved when Dale Eaglesham took over for a few issues during the The Secret Origin of Tony Stark storyline (which is still going on), but crap, as of the issue released last week, Land is back. And it's a bummer. I'm not sure I like the direction they're taking Tony, my favorite Marvel hero. But if they screw it up, he's always a retcon away to being back to normal. Here's hoping they don't screw it up. Anyway, pick up Iron Man for the action and storytelling. The issues involving his father, Howard, are especially good. It's not a bad series, per say. It's just not the best… which it should be. Because he's Iron Man.





Judge Dredd
Drokk you, creep. You should be reading this comic if you aren't. And you probably aren't, because it's getting bad sales. But overall, it's a good comic series. Actually, it's great. If you haven't seen last year's Dredd, I recommend watching that movie, because Karl Urban is incredible in it. Then, pick up this comic series by IDW. It's violent, gritty, and has the greatest dark humor. It's also one of the few comic book series out there with a backup story each issue that relates to the main storyline. Issue #8's backup story ends up involving a character that later appears in issue #9, something I wasn't expecting, as he just seemed to be a random guy. Seriously, though. This is what I would call a mature series. Not too much language, besides "drokk." But it's very violent and gritty. And the main character is a fascist, so there's that. But get Judge Dredd while it's hot. It hasn't gone to second printing and probably won't. So find it and buy it. It's worth a read just to check out this future wasteland known as Mega City-One and its Cursed Earth. AND WATCH THE MOVIE ALREADY.



Judge Dredd Classics
Not much to say here. Recently released so I'm sure you'll be able to find a copy, Judge Dredd Classics is a new series reprinting the old black-and-white Dredd comic strips found in 2000AD in color. Yes, I know that sentence was very oxymoronic in nature. But I'm a sucker for old comic strips and the Judge Dredd ones are golden. Collecting the beginning of the Apocalpyse Wars storyline, this is the perfect jumping-on-point for classic Dredd. If you want to see what these comics are like, pick up the Free Comic Book Day one by IDW (if you can find it) involving the first appearance of Judge Death. What a great series. And for $3.99, you can't beat the price. Check it.









Mars Attacks Judge Dredd
Okay, I promise this is the last Dredd series I'm going to blog about today. I guess IDW is on a roll trying to sell their Dredd products and I don't blame them. If you manage to find Dredd in stores, it's worth the purchase. Whilst this series isn't out yet (it gets released in October), it's going to be a hoot. That's for sure. Mars Attacks is a comics property based off the classic trading cards set. Basically, Martians decide to do humanity in. There was a great movie out involving these aliens done by Tim Burton aptly titled Mars Attacks! and they have been in a couple IDW series over the past year. Mostly involving other random comics such as Mars Attacks Popeye, Mars Attacks KISS, and even Mars Attacks: Classic Obliterated. I guess Huckleberry Finn never knew Martians were out to get him. Anyway, enough talking. I'll be picking up this miniseries in October. Can't wait for the laughs. 






New Avengers
This is probably the hardest-to-read comic series that I currently pull. Written by Jonathan Hickman, New Avengers is the Sherlock to Avengers' Watson. It's very expository in nature, and you have to read each issue over a couple of times to understand them fully. But it's amazing what this series has managed to accomplish in just 8 issues so far. Each issue tells a grand tale, and each issue has dire consequences for the rest of the Marvel Universe. Heck, in just this last issue, Thanos' men invaded and the Atlanteans and Wakandans started a war. And the freaking Living Tribunal SHOWS UP DEAD AND THERE'S NOT EVEN A WORD AS TO WHY. WHATHOWOHMYGOSH?  Not what you' expect to see in a typical comic mag. Anyway. Buy this series if you want your mind blown. Don't buy it if you want to work for your money. But the payoff is worth it. Don't ask Captain America that, though.

He won't remember (SERIES SPOILER).



Nightwing
Wow, believe it or not, I started collecting Nightwing after buying Injustice: Gods Among Us. I've always been a Dick Grayson fan. In fact, he's my favorite DC character. I've just never collected DC comics before. Boy, has that changed. I'm looking at you, Vertigo… So anyway, I went back and picked up all of the New 52 Nightwing issues and I'm up to the current series. And I'll tell ya, Kyle Higgins is rocking this series. I'm proud to say, and this is the truth… Dick Grayson is the ONLY member of the Bat family that can hold his own series that doesn't relate around Batman. Let me explain. Dick Grayson is now in Chicago and Nightwing is better than ever. Dick has always been better away from Gotham. Of course, I'm referring to his stint Bludhaven. But seriously, if you're looking for one DC series to collect, don't immediately jump toward Action Comics or Detective Comics or Justice League. Those are money-snatchers. Pick up Nightwing and you'll see what I'm talking about. This is one of the only comics I will read 3 to 4 times before putting it away. 



Satellite Sam
Alright, let me warn you. I said Judge Dredd was mature, earlier. This is far beyond that. Don't pick up this comic if you are under 18 years of age. And maybe not even then. This comic has a heck of a lot of a language. It's gratuitous to the point of feeling a little awkward. But there's no nudity (yet). And the artist, Howard Chaykin, has apparently drawn some bad stuff in his time. Don't ask me, I'm too much of a good boy to look. The reason I picked up this comic was two-fold. Firstly, Matt Fraction. One of the greatest modern writers. Secondly, its time period. This comic revolves around the pulpy television period of the 50s. In fact, it's based around a character from a B-grade sci-fi show that shares the name of this comic series, Satellite Sam. But the story is wonderful. Even better, the visuals. I'm not normally a fan of black-and-white artwork, but it works for this story perfectly. Heck, most of us younger viewers view the 50s through a black-and-white lens. What an even better way to experience this period piece. Anyway, if you want a mature comic written by one of the greatest writers out there currently (Iron Man, Fantastic Four, Hawkguy anyone?), pick up Satellite Sam.


The Wake
Remember earlier when I said that DC is now stealing my money? Well it's the truth. Along with their regular imprint, they have me collecting two comics from Vertigo, Astro City and The Wake. Whilst Vertigo is the "graphic" imprint of DC Comics, Astro City is incredibly kid-friendly. The Wake, on the other hand, shows me why it belongs here. This limited series revolves around horror, sci-fi, and the ocean depths. Oh, and possibly mermen. Creepy mermen. Written by Scott Snyder, this series is up to issue #2 right now, with #3 being released next week. It's incredibly suspenseful and leaves you wanting more. Sometimes I wish they would release these whole things at once… but then my wallet would hate me. Anyway, it's sort of a bender to read, too, consider that "The Present" takes place a LONG time from now. "The Past," when the story takes place, takes place during modern times, and it jumps from a couple hundred years back to millions of years back throughout the story. Read it a couple times to understand. But do read it. This series is a joy.




Phewwww. Okay, I know that list was long. But it took me a long time. So do these creative teams a favor and buy their comics. And you might be doing yourself one, too.

Anyway, enjoy!

-Christian :)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My Indochino Suit Review


So I haven't talked with you all in QUITE a while. I know, I know. I'm sorry about that. I've been busy this summer and it's totally me, not you.

I figured I'd start this blog back with a review of Indochino, one of the more famous made-to-measure online suit companies. I guess I should start off with some background.

I love suits. Absolutely adore suits. Like seriously, I love them. I don't own enough and all of them have been off the rack then altered (minus my Indochino and a Doctor Who suit before it). The problem with me is that I'm short and skinny. So you know what that means??

It means I can only find suits in the kids section at Belk and Dillards. Which is mildly inconvenient because those suits usually suck or are boring. I want something that pops. As a government student at Liberty University, dressing up is a must. I might as well not feel disgusting in what I wear.

So anyway, Indochino kept sending me Facebook ad after Facebook ad after visiting their website one time. I finally decided to jump on the Indochino train and order the Blue Sharkskin (now the Essential Blue) suit for $400. It literally jumped prices to $450 the week after I ordered. So I was thankful for that.

So the process is easy. Get someone to measure you, send in your measurements, customize your suit online, and you're set. My girlfriend, sister, and father all measured me and came up with pretty much the same measurements. I placed my order and I was set (BTW, the suit, all upgrades, and shipping was included in the $400).

Then comes the waiting. You know, that hellish time where you REALLY hope your suit will fit you properly. But, Indochino rocks in that aspect, too. You see, if the suit doesn't fit properly, they give you up to $75 for your local alterer. If it still doesn't fit, you can send it back and get it remade. How awesome is that? You'll be happy no matter what.

So, enough with that. Time to break out the suit, right? Well after sitting in front of my door waiting for FedEx due to tracking the package, this showed up one morning.

A nice, white Indochino box. Excitedly, I opened it up and tried on the suit. And how did it fit?


Like a glove. It was the best-fitting suit I've ever owned. And I am so so so happy with it.


So let me tell you a little bit about it and the customizations I got.





Here are the pants. Sorry, my shirt wasn't tucked in properly, but these pants fit me perfectly. They're bunched up a little around the thighs because I had to take the pictures myself and was holding my iPhone at an awkward angle. Trust me, I love these pants. I actually wore them around the house today. Weird, I know… but I wanna get my money's worth since it's too hot outside to wear this 100% wool suit right now. Anyway, aren't those pants incredible? Love them!






















Here's a really bad butt shot. You're welcome.








 Okay, I love this. I chose a peak collar (as I was getting a double-breasted suit), but you can choose peak, notch, slim notch, or shawl collars for any suit you order off of Indochino. In addition, for free, I included a working boutonniere and got the boutonniere hole to have contrasting colors. It matches the lining of my jacket (which I also chose).














 Here's the front of my jacket. Yeah, sorry, I really suck at pictures. But there's the double-breasted design. I love double-breasted suits because they are classy AND DON'T USUALLY COME IN MY SIZE. Plus, they work exceptionally well on very skinny people. Also, there's a shot of my toes.












So I sorta should've turned this picture facing the right way, but as you can see, there are two vents in the back. Indochino allows you to choose one vent, two vents, or no vents. I thought the two vents would be perfect for the double-breasted suit (though they are usually reserved for larger people).







Here's the left side of the inside of my jacket. Notice you can choose the lining color (I chose red, but they had just about every color you could want). There's also an option for monogramming (again, free), which I used for my name and the ability to add a pen pocket, which I obviously chose. That button down near the bottom is the jigger, used to hold the inside of the jacket together. You fasten it first before fastening the outside button. That pocket all the way at the bottom… I have no idea what it's for, but I assume for my phone, as my iPhone 5 fits very neatly inside of it. The problem is that with a double-breasted suit, it's very hard to reach all that way down. That's a good place to put your phone if you don't plan on using it for a while.












Here's the right side of the jacket. Again, sorry about the angle. Only one pocket, but how many do you really need? Maybe one or two more… ;)









I thought this was a nice touch. With the suit I bought, they match the felt lining under the color with the color of your lining inside the suit. I'm not sure if they do this for all suits or not, but the Essential Blue (Sharkskin) has it. Very classy.















Finally, here are the sleeves of the suit. In addition to the contrasting boutonniere, your final sleeve buttonhole can also be constrasting. If you notice, I also chose the option of having actual working buttonholes for the suit. This is a risky option, though. If you need to alter the sleeves, your tailor won't be able to much due to the buttonholes. I went out on a limb and decided to do it. Luckily, my suit fits perfectly.



So ready for the whole thing?









Here's the suit with a tie. Again, I had to take all the pictures myself, but as you can see, the suit fits amazingly and it was definitely worth the price of admission.

For $400 (now $450), you get a completely customized and tailored suit with free shipping delivered right to your door. Like most of you will, I ordered my Indochino suit after reading mostly positive reviews and a few really crappy ones. But I'm pretty sure those are rare and entirely the fault of the people doing the wrong measurements.

So would I order another Indochino suit? Absolutely, yes! I'd love a black suit or a tux or a nice seersucker. And if you guys at Indochino want to ever send me another one to review, you better believe I'd love that ;)

I can't recommend this company enough. You're doing yourself a disservice if you buy anything off the rack nowadays. Go try Indochino and be amazed. Or if you're like me, you'll wear it around the house just for kicks.

-Christian

Friday, May 31, 2013

Why Volume 2 of Iron Man DOESN'T Suck


First off…

Let me start by saying that I realize that this blog hasn't had much "campaigning" compared to the "gaming." I do realize this. It's just that it's the SUMMER. This is my time for enjoyment. During the school year, I am DEEP in politics and campaigning (Virginia does elections yearly), so I understand how much time goes into it. And truthfully, my heart isn't in reporting what's going on now. What with Benghazigate, the IRS scandal, Eric Holder, ugh, it's incredible. All of those things speak for themselves.

I'm going out to Utah soon for an upcoming political event. I can't wait to tell you all about that.

But right now, let's talk about something deathly important to the comic book world.

Those dark times between November 1996 and November 1997. I can't speak for the other Marvel comics taking place in the alternate Earth (Avengers, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, The Fantastic Four), but let me put aside this common misconception that most people don't realize.

Volume 2 of Iron Man did NOT suck.

Did you catch that? It did not suck. At least, not compared to what came before it.

You see, when I first read Volume 2 of Iron Man, I hadn't read the final issues of Volume 1 (320-332) in a while. After rereading those issues of Volume 1, and then all of Volume 2 (12 issues, not including a completely unrelated issue), I can most assuredly tell you that Volume 2 was actually pretty freaking awesome.

Okay, some context. So the end of Volume 1 literally ruined Iron Man. It ruined the series enough that Marvel had no idea what to do with Iron Man so they sent him to a parallel dimension. Near the end of Iron Man's initial run, Tony Stark was revealed to have been in league with Kang the Conqueror (later retconned) since near the beginning of him becoming a hero (later retconned). During this time, the stupid writers at Marvel had Tony Stark become a murderer. He killed a few people that didn't matter and fought against EVERYBODY. So how do the Avengers solve something like this? Welp, in usual comic book fashion, they went back in time and brought a "Teen Tony" to fight his older self (or at least knock some sense into him). Older Tony ends up dying to save Teen Tony and by issue #326 of Iron Man, we get to see a young Tony Stark AT COLLEGE getting into trouble with his COLLEGE FRIENDS. Seriously? We had YEARS of amazing Iron Man comics and the series literally changed in the course of a year to episodes of Saved by the Bell.

As mentioned earlier, Marvel didn't know what to do with Tony. Despite what the fan letters they posted said, no one appreciated the new direction Iron Man was taking, so, along with the other failing comics, Marvel created the Onslaught event and dumped all of their failing characters in a pocket dimension. At this time, Marvel also declared bankruptcy due to their declining comic sales. They had to do something. So they shipped Iron Man comics out to WildStorm to be written by Jim Lee and let me say… I think it worked.

Volume 2 of Iron Man started out with Tony Stark already the successful businessman he was known to be. You could tell it took place in an alternate universe, though. People dressed weird, acted differently, even looked differently. Tony Stark was a jerk and cared about no one. After becoming Iron Man in the first issue (due to an accident with the Hulk), he later changed and became a hero.

So let me tell you why Volume 2 worked.

It was fun! After the AWFUL comics that ended Iron Man's initial run, just getting to see a wisecracking, older Tony fight bad guys like Whirlwind, Crimson Dynamo, Titanium Man, Hydra, the Mandarin, and Dr. Doom, was awesome. I really enjoyed these issues.

The writing was top-notch. I know I keep comparing these comics to Volume 1's last few, but it's a comparison that must be made. Jim Lee did a phenomenal job at writing a jerk Tony Stark that you couldn't help but love. Sort of like how Stan Lee originally wrote him. By the end of Volume 1, Tony was a whiney college-aged adolescent who caused more trouble than he solved. I know that if I had bought the comics when I was four (which is why I didn't), I would've stopped buying Marvel. And that is serious for someone who has yet to ever drop a comic from his pull list (that's even with the crap that was the first couple issues of Marvel NOW!'s Iron Man).

Dr. Doom! Everyone loves Dr. Doom, especially in their favorite comics. Dr. Doom is actually an arch villain to Iron Man. They've fought each other numerous times, and it was great to see this relationship re-established in Volume 2. The last time they fought was almost a hundred issues before Volume 2 in issue #250 of Volume 1.

There are countless other reasons. More importantly than anything, many people will call Marvel's move to outsource their comics as bold and risky. But you can't deny that it saved Marvel. They left bankruptcy and look at them today. Sure Volume 2 of Iron Man had crappy armor, and the art was sometimes ugly (but not as ugly as that AWFUL art during the final stretch of Volume 1. Seriously… did people really enjoy that awful 1994-1997 art so much?), but it brought Iron Man back to its roots. Tony Stark became quite the hero, and truthfully, it would've been awesome to see that Tony Stark in his own ongoing series. I think it would actually be cool for him to be the Stark in the Ultimate universe. Anyway.

Iron Man was transported from the pocket reality by Franklin Richards and became the older Tony Stark again (with the memories of Teen Tony, as well). Kurt Busiek wrote Iron Man Volume 3, which ROCKED. Iron Man was finally awesome again.

So yeah, Volume 2 wasn't the best. It was nowhere near Volume 1's quality, or Volumes' 3 and 4. But it served its purpose. It helped to establish Tony Stark as a hero again. It helped to wash away the taint that Marvel so foolishly placed upon him. It saved the character that people adored. You can find Volume 2 for really cheap on Amazon. Again it's only 12 (plus one) issues. Check it out.

-Christian

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Star Trek: Into Darkness… The Easter Eggs!

Just saw Star Trek: Into Darkness and, dare I say it, it was one of the best, if not THE best, Trek movie out there. If you don't know me, I'm a huge Trekkie (and yes, it's Trekkie because Roddenberry said so… none of that Trekker nonsense) and have seen every single Star Trek episode possible: TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT, heck even The Animated Series.

I went into this film expecting easter eggs and I came out with quite a bit. Do NOT read ahead if you don't want spoilers. Because this blog will be filled with MANY. I'm not going to "review" the flick like I did with Iron Man 3. I merely just hope to drown you in the many easter eggs that I found. Just like the last flick… if you found anything I didn't, please let me know and I'll add it to the list.

Here we go!

The People

Besides all the main actors on the show, there were a couple big roles in this movie and throw-away lines that referenced famous characters in Star Trek. We'll start off with the obvious.

Carol Marcus
Basically Kirk's "love interest" (or maybe McCoy's… hmmm?) in this film, in actuality, Carol Marcus was a one-time lover of Captain Kirk in the classic Trek. She made an appearance in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as an old flame. She and Kirk actually had a son, David Marcus, who would play a semi-important role in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Basically, she was more there for the looks and accent in this film (which she didn't really have in the last movie). I'm sure she'll stick around as Kirk's love for the next film. You never know… maybe they'll be another David on the way.

Janet Wallace
Okay, this was definitely a throw-away gag in the movie. Apparently, Carol Marcus's mom is Janet Wallace in the new Trek continuity. That's a little odd. Mainly because Janet Wallace was a love interest of James Kirk in The Original Series. Like mother like daughter? She was a scientist, too, and only appeared in The Deadly Years. Something to note, however. I read a long time ago that she was originally supposed to be the scientist in charge of the Genesis Device in Star Trek II. Of course, this was later switched to Carol Marcus. So maybe that's a reference to this, as well?

Nurse Chapel
Awe, I loved this line. Nurse Christine Chapel (played by Gene Roddenberry's wife) was the nurse who served alongside McCoy aboard the USS Enterprise. She never liked Kirk, but she did have sort of a "relationship" with Spock. It was really only in her mind, though. Anyway, I smiled when Marcus mentioned Chapel. What a great reference.

Henry Mudd
What? Where did this name get thrown in the movie? Okay, this is sort of a stretch, but just hang with me. Remember that weird little ship that Kirk and his crew took down to Qo'noS? And the clothes they wore? In the movie, they were referenced as being taken due to the "Mudd Incident." In the recent IDW comics, Kirk met up with a female version of Henry Mudd. But who is Henry Mudd? Well, he was a devious scoundrel seen a couple times in The Original Series. Not only is this a cool continuity reference to the Star Trek comics, but also a cool reference to TOS.

Khan Noonien Singh 
Well, this was sort-of-but-not-really expected in this film. Would J.J. Abrams really dare to resurrect one of Kirk's greatest enemies? Apparently so. First seen in the episode Space Seed, Khan was a genetically-altered surviver of WWIII found adrift on the Botany Bay. Kirk brought him aboard and resurrected him. Khan and his crew tried to take over the Enterprise. He and his crew were stranded. He reappeared in the second Trek movie to cause mischief. That's it all in short. Anyway, he was a great enemy in those appearances as well as this film. Great to see him back. It was AWESOME.

Species

Gorn
Woah, these guys are ugly, right? Dr. McCoy mentioned in this movie that he gave a c-section to a female Gorn before the events of the film. That could relate to the Star Trek game just released, where Kirk and Spock fight the Gorn. In reality, the Gorn are a bunch of lizard-like aliens that Kirk famously fought in an old episode. Nice to hear them mentioned.

Klingons
Not only were they mentioned, they were shown!! Definitely given a visual makeover, the Klingons acted and fought like how they used to. Gosh, it was wonderful seeing them use bat'leths in battle. This scene in the movie was probably my favorite. Seriously, it was wonderful to see them again.

Tribbles
These things sure are a bunch of work, huh? Gosh, there is always some sort of *puts sunglasses on* Trouble with Tribbles… isn't there? These guys made their first appearance with the Klingons in TOS. Not only are they a mortal enemy of the Klingons, but they're cuddly to boot. They made a cameo in the first Abrams Trek, and it was good to see them again in this one. You could say they played a big role.

Places

Qo'noS
Well, obviously this is a place. The Klingon homeworld has made an appearance quite a few times throughout the years in various Trek shows. It was interesting to see a dilapidated section of the planet, as well as the new Birds of Prey… but am I the only one that prefers the older ones? Anyway, awesome reference. Oh, and they showed Qu'Nos' moon, too. Praxis. It was destroyed in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Looks like someone made a continuity goof here, because it's already shown destroyed in this movie, when it really should be about 30 years later. Awe well. Can't get everything right.

Ketha Province
Speaking of Qo'Nos and that destroyed city, remember where the city was located? Well, if you can read, it was located in the Ketha Province. This throw-away line relates to the location where Chancellor Martok of the Klingon Empire, a prominent figure in Deep Space 9, was born. Nice reference!

Things

Section 31
Speaking of Deep Space 9, do I have any fellow viewers out there? If you watch this series, then you definitely know what Section 31 is. The secret intelligence arm of Starfleet was the LAST thing I expected to see show up in Into Darkness, but it was awesome to see the reference. Looks like they're up to no good even this early into the Federation's creation.

Daystrom Institute
First seen in the classic The Ultimate Computer, the Daystrom Institute was one of the many arms of the Federation of United Planets. It was referenced in the latest Star Trek movie. Maybe Richard Daystrom will soon make an appearance?

Kobayashi Maru
Okay, I know that this simulator had a big role in Abrams' first Trek. BUT, it was referenced again in this movie! Definitely hard to catch, but what happened to the Enterprise in this movie was the exact same thing that happened during the Kobayashi Maru test during Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The Enterprise was stranded on the edge of Klingon space, its warp core blew, and it (almost) got destroyed. Nice of J.J. to reference the old simulator (and Trek II) in a clandestine way.

72 Torpedoes
I already sort of knew that Khan would be in this movie, but when Kirk mentioned to Khan that there were 72 torpedoes loaded in the Enterprise, I already knew what was going to happen. You see, Khan had exactly 72 men serving aboard with him during his tenure on the Botany Bay. This was a big hint to classic Trek fans. Who else caught this?

Phoenix
Anyone see the model of the first human warp-enabled ship located on Admiral Marcus' desk? First seen in Star Trek: First Contact, Cochran's ship made an appearance in the latest movie. Guess Abrams couldn't change the fact that Picard and his crew went back in time to help begin human's leap into space, huh?

NX-01 Enterprise
Yay! Archer's Enterprise appeared as a model along with the Phoenix. Again, Abrams couldn't undo the canonicity of all of Star Trek: Enterprise because it took place before his films. That also means that the USS Defiant of TOS and the events of the Tholian web also have to take place, too, still. Try getting by that, Abrams!

Events

"The Needs of the Many…"
"Outweigh the needs of the few." Spock mentioned this early on in Into Darkness. This pivotal line was actually spoken by Spock right before he died in Star Trek II. I definitely let out an audible yelp when I heard this. Sorry theatregoers…

"I Am and Always Shall Be…"
"Your friend." Spock said this, again, at the end of the second Trek film. However, in this film, Kirk was the one who said it. He didn't exactly say it like this, however. It was more of a reference. I forgot the exact wording, but it was something like "best friends forever." Something silly like that. Yet still so awesome.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Okay, I've been mentioning this film throughout this blog post (for good reason). However, the end events of this film were definitely in line with Into Darkness, albeit completely flipped around. In Star Trek II, Khan almost destroyed the Enterprise. To save it, Spock went in to fix the warp core. He absorbed too much radiation. He sat down against a glass door and put his hand out. Kirk put his hand against the glass. They exchanged words. Spock died. In Into Darkness, this exact same thing happened with the roles reversed. Great reference… But the best reference of all…

KHANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
Spoken like a boss by Kirk (in Star Trek II) and by Spock (Into Darkness). Nothing else needs to be said about this.

Actors

Noel Clarke
MICKEY! Yay, Doctor Who fans rejoice. Noel Clarke has joined the cast of Star Trek as a Section 31 operative. His role was small, but it was great to see him do something other than being droll.

Leonard Nimoy
"Spock-Prime" was in this film for all of two minutes. And he HEAVILY referenced the whole of Star Trek II and Space Seed. It was great to see this legend back in the film. Thanks for being in it again, Leonard!

Nolan North
Huh? Who is this guy? Well, if you've played any video game EVER, he's either the lead role or something close to it. Apparently, J.J. Abrams saw his son playing Uncharted and wanted North to be in the film. North plays an officer on Admiral Marcus' ship. Did you astute viewers catch him on the bridge?

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So, those are all of the easter eggs I found. Hope you all enjoyed!

-Christian :)

 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Quick Blurb

ALSO:

The 2013 RPV Convention is coming up fast. It'll be at the Greater Richmond Convention Center on May 17th and 18th. If you've pre-filed as a delegate, please attend.

And make sure to support Susan Stimpson and Mark Obenshain! :D

For more info, go here.

Thanks guys :)