Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Agents of SHIELD, Episode 9 - Live Commentary

Here's the archive of all the sarcasm and commentary I made on Twitter as the show played.

0:01: Labratory Accident Kills 4 - how often is THAT a headline in the Marvel Universe? 

0:01: Not , but an incredible simulation!

0:04:  Particle accelerator?  Am I watching #Arrow by accident?

0:04:  Magnets, yo!  How do they work?  

You get more with a tranq gun and a kind word than just a kind word.  

  I'm sure they rushed this episode with the particle accelerator so they could say ripped them off.

0:16: Is it just me, or do the walls of the cell look like old-school TARDIS panelling? 

0:18: Sadly, there will be some explanation for this that does not require a phone call to #DrStrange. 

0:24: You know what the fans really want to see? Simmons using the same hologram interface Tony Stark did!  

0:27: I wonder how frequently The Bus crashing is going to be a thing? 

0:34: ! It's like with... uh... er... it's like X-Files!  

0:36: Oh - put the believer in the light and the Atheist in the dark.  THAT'S subtle!   

0:40: If that room is so dang secure & protective how come their voices carry through it so easily?

0:41: The walls are made of Vibranium and allow sound to pass through them.  

0:57: Yeah...  really not digging this episode.

Red Sonja #5 - A Review

Red Sonja #5 continues Gail Simone's redefinition of the legend of the She Devil of Hyrkania.  This chapter sees Sonja newly retrieved from exile with a promise of a cure for the illness that plagues her.  By the issue's end, she will once again face her former friend and fellow survivor of the arenas of Zamora - Dark Annisia!

The script features much of Simone's famous humor, such as Sonja's bodyguards continuing their efforts to create impressive titles for their mistress.  Yet there are also many mysteries that push the plot forward, continuing to hold the readers' interest despite this issue largely being set-up for the conclusion of the first story arc.  The final page offers a surprising revelation that demands an interesting explanation next month.

Walter Geovani's art continues to impress.  I felt he was one of the most underrated artists to work on the previous Red Sonja title.  It is good to see him sitting on the monthly title on a regular basis.  Hopefully this partnership will continue for a long time to come. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Conan The Barbarian #22 - A Review

Conan The Barbarian #22 proves that any work - no matter how good - can be completely destroyed in translation by unskilled adapters.  If it weren't for the fact that this is the final arc on this book for this creative team, I'd consider dropping the title completely.  As it is, this issue inspired nothing within me save a desire to reread the old Roy Thomas Conan comics to see it retold properly.

Brian Wood does not adapt Robert E. Howard's original text - he butchers it, like Conan chopping his way through a horde of Stygians!  While the dialogue in this book does capture the basic gist of Howard's original story, much of the original passionate dialogue is gone.  For instance, Conan's famed musings on the nature of reality and how it matters little if life is an illusion so long as he is part of that illusion is cut completely.  Curiously the only text Wood leaves intact is the written descriptions of things that could be more clearly conveyed in the artwork.

Then again - considering artist Riccardo Burchielli - Wood may well have good reason to trust the text over the art.  Burchielli is not a bad artist but his sense of cinematography is odd.  Many is the conversation where we cannot see the characters talking, being instead treated to a far-shot of the ship or the surrounding environment.  When the characters do appear, they are often turned away from the reader - the better for Belit to flash her half-bared backside to the reader!

Five Ways The Doctor Can Survive If Matt Smith Is Really The Thirteenth Regeneration

WARNING: This article is highly speculative and dependent on some recent news and continuity. Do not read it if you have yet to see The Day Of The Doctor and wish to avoid SPOILERS!

SOURCE: The Mirror

Granting that The Mirror is not the most reputable source, the question raised by this article is a valid one.  And the math - by the reckoning of most Whovians - does add up.  If John Hurt's Doctor came between Paul McGann and Christopher Eccleston and the David Tennant Doctor did burn the energy for a regeneration during Journey's End then Matt Smith would indeed be The Doctor's Thirteenth incarnation.

So how can Peter Capaldi become The Doctor in The Time Of The Doctor then?  Of course we knew they'd find some way around the rules regarding Time Lord regeneration... but how?  With that in mind, here's five work-arounds I've come up with that would solve the problem.

1. The thirteen regeneration limit is a legal one.

While the mythology is firm on Time Lords being limited to a dozen regenerations, there is much to suggest the limit is a legal one controlled by The Time Lords rather than a physical one.  The High Council of The Time Lords offered The Master a new set of regenerations for his aid during The Five Doctors.  Further, The Trial of a Time Lord suggested it was legally possible for one Time Lord to sign their remaining regenerations over to another, as The Valeyard attempted to force The Sixth Doctor to do.

Therefore, with no Time Lords around to enforce their own limits, there's nothing to actually stop The Doctor from going on... assuming he found some way of absorbing the energy for a few more regenerations somewhere on his journeys.  One way this could have happened...

2. River's sacrifice in Let's Kill Hitler didn't just save his life - it gave him more lives.

It was said that River sacrificed all her regenerations to save The Doctor from the poison that killed his ability to regenerate.  What if she wound up doing a bit more than that?

3. As a result of The Night Of The Doctor, The Doctor's regeneration clock "reset".

In The Night Of The Doctor, we learn that the Paul McGann Doctor was left near-death following a spaceship crash onto the planet Karn - home of the Sisterhood of Karn, who protect the Sacred Flame that grants them (and The Time Lords) eternal life.  They prepared several elixirs for him that would allow him to decide what he would become when he regenerated.  Perhaps the elixir also gave him an entirely new set of regenerations?

4. The regeneration triggered by The Sisterhood of Karn was a 1-Up.

Another possibility is that the elixir The Sisterhood of Karn gave The Doctor functioned like an extra-life in a video game as well as a trigger for his next regeneration.  That would give him one extra life, which could become the Peter Capaldi Doctor.

5. "Maybe even the universe can't bear to be without the Doctor."

In The Curse of The Fatal Death, The Doctor was somehow able to regenerate after his apparent death from an energy blast that destroyed his ability to regenerate.  No explanation was given, save for the above phrase from his companion.  Granting that The Curse of The Fatal Death was a spoof episode, it was also written by Steven Moffat and that scene was played completely straight.

Are any of these guesses close?  Time will tell.  It always does.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Austin Comic Con - Part Three

Sailor Moon

Chell from Portal.

Captain Marvel, Bullseye and Elektra.

The Green Hornet and Kato.

The Fourth Doctor and Link.

Classic Star Trek crew.

Hit Girl.

Nightwing and Harley Quinn. He was much more excited about meeting Green Arrow than she was.
He also lamented that everyone kept calling him Batman. I was one of the few who recognized him!

Speaking of Harley, here's a nice dress inspired by Harley Quinn.

Steampunk Poison Ivy, The Greatest American Hero as a baby, Darth Vader as a Tween Girl and Grifter.
Somewhere, someone just had an idea on how to make this into a fan-fiction story.

I shall pose for your picture, for Doom likes the cut of your green cowl.
Then Doom will return to his quest for an ultra-rare Doctor Hooves variant figure!
It shall be mine! So swears Doom!

Ariel - here seen with a newly working pair of legs - was working at the booth for Silver Leaf Costumes.

No, Babydoll! Watch out for No Face!

Austin Comic Con - Part Two

Cobra Commander planning strategy (i.e. playing with his dolls).

This display made possible by The Austin Toy Museum.

Abby from NCIS.

Future Finn and Princess Bubblegum from Adventure Time.

Go Go Power Rangers!


Link from The Legend of Zelda


War Machine.

Zombie Lara Croft!

Zombie Lara Croft and her friend hadn't had a picture together all day.
I was happy to oblige them - you don't argue with Lara Croft or a zombie!

Green Lantern.

Emerald Allies.

Sadly, DC declined to option a Green Arrow vs. Predator: Hunters comic.

Austin Comic Con 2013 - Part One

Originally I hadn't been planning to attend Austin Comic Con.  I dislike most corporate-sponsored comic conventions (i.e. overpriced autograph fairs that have little to do with comics or conventions) and this one had the added bonus of seemingly being aimed at the lowest common denominator (i.e. half-naked booth babes whose costumes have nothing to do with what they're selling).  And given this particular corporation's pitiful record of trying to market themselves as family-friendly while at the same time partnering with strip-clubs and horror conventions...  well, I'm content not to give them any money or time. 

Only two things got me in the door.  First, the fact that I was attending for free.  Second, the fact that Dennis O'Neil - the man who modernized Green Arrow for the modern age - was one of the guests.  It's the first time I've heard of him doing a convention appearance in Texas and I didn't want to take the chance that it would be his last.

It's been five years since I've attended one of these cons and time has not improved them.  The dealer's booths were so closely packed together there was barely room for one person to move down the aisles if there were people standing in front of the booths on either side of them.  Forget about having two lanes!  Thankfully, the Artist's Alley was much more spacious.

Once I had my chance to shake hands with my hero and get an autograph, I wandered around to take in the sights of what cosplayers were in attendance on an cold and rainy Sunday morning.   


Robin and Raven from Teen Titans

Mother and Son as Princess Zelda and Link. 

Poison Ivy. 

Wolverine and Cyclops. 

A trio of Asgardians - Loki, The Enchantress and Thor. Apparently at peace... for now. 

Thankfully, Thor later had some back-up in the form of Sif and Fandral the Dashing.

Actually, all these cosplayers are part of a marvelous group called Heroes Alliance, who do charity work in costume for various events. Take a look at their website and see what you can do to help. 


A Hobbit. 

Shockingly, this one stumped me as it's a character - Kevin "Corky" Corcoran
- from one of the few British dramas I haven't seen - Copper.

Daenerys Targaryen from A Game Of Thrones

Jay and Silent Bob. 

Winter Is Coming... 

This Poison Ivy works at the excellent Austin comic books & games store The Dragon's Lair, which I've written about before.  She's teaching cosplay make-up at the store and judging by her Deviant Art page as well as the picture above, she knows her stuff.  So if you're in Austin, you might stop by and ask for Amber.

WhoFest 2013 - Part Two

Right!  All fixed!  Now, where were we?  And when were we?  Oh yes!  Costumes!

Poor lad. Everyone thought he was Arthur Dent. At least, up until they saw the sword and the Satsuma and realized it was The Tenth Doctor from The Christmas Invasion

A Time Lady 

The Tenth Doctor and The Doctor's Daughter, Jenny. 

The Fourth Doctor 

Amy Pond. 

An amazing K-9 unit. This one was capable of moving and saying several lines from the show! 

Another impressive RC unit. This Dalek moved and talked! 

A Boy (At Heart) And His Robot Dog 

Me as the City of Death Fourth Doctor with the previously seen Romana II in her City of Death outfit. 
It occurs to me I neglected to mention one important aspect of conventions everywhere - shopping! Naturally WhoFest had a large number of local businesses that cater to Whovians and their interests. The British Emporium, well-known for sponsoring the annual Doctor Who Days event (and for being the only place in DFW you can buy real Jelly Babies) had a table. I bought a new Sonic Screwdriver from Piranha Toys - a web-based collectibles store. There was even Lorrie's Broideries - a embroidery shop that does custom designs. But they were just a few of the wonderful businesses on hand...

Roll2Play is a wonderful games shop in Coppell, Texas which carries materials for The Doctor Who RPG as well as a variety of family board games.  

Collected is a new but quickly-growing comics and games shop in the DFW area. They helped me out with planning gaming events at my library and I've found their staff to be courtesy and helpful in all things.

As you can see, they also carry a lot of Doctor Who swag. 
As I said before, it was a great convention and a fun time. Even if I had a TARDIS to go to the next WhoFest right now, it wouldn't be soon enough.  See you all in 2015!