Thursday, March 31, 2022

"Rogues," #1 is a Fantastic Start to a Crime Caper Yarn

The Flash has a fun gallery of assorted villains. "Rogues," imagines if they were aged up to being near retirement age and trying to live relatively normal lives but failing at it. Mainly through the eyes of Captain Cold, we witness some worn-down villains hoping to pull one last, incredibly dangerous score (hint: it involves stealing from Gorilla Grodd). It's an equally dreary and funny read thanks to some stellar writing by Joshua Williamson and sharp artwork by Leomacs. The Rogues look suitably worn-down and exhausted by life, but when powers or weapons get used they fill the page majestically with fiery explosions or icy freeze-rays.

"Rogues," asks what happens to villains when they get old and are stuck as failures instead of dying in a blaze of glory or fulfilling a master plan. It then sets a fun heist in motion, gathering a uniquely skilled and desperate team who will undoubtedly face a lot of challenges in the remaining three issues of this four-issue prestige-sized series. The big pages really let the story and artwork breathe wonderfully, sprawling out across the oversized comic in a manner that pleased the eye. It's good stuff.

I had a fantastic time reading the debut issue of, "Rogues," and look forward to seeing just how wrong their last attempted heist might go. I'd give this great first issue...

5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

I Suspect the Song, "Sweetest Pie," is Not Actually About Pie

You know I find the evolution of dirty lyrics fascinating. I did a report in high school about controversial music and the efforts to censor lyrics judged, "Explicit," due to swearing, sexual content, or being political in a way that rubbed folks the wrong way (e.g. the song, "Fuck Tha Police," to give an example). A few years ago I wrote about how it was interesting to see the evolution of raunchy lyrics from 2 Live Crew to rappers such as City Girls. Little did I suspect that we would get a song like, "WAP," which is literally about females getting super aroused to the point where a, "Bucket and a mop," is needed to wipe up all the wetness of the genitals. A song like, "Me So Horny," is now incredibly tame compared to, "WAP," or even a new song that at first, I thought was about baked goods but quickly realized was definitely not.

"Sweetest Pie," at first blush seems to be about a really sweet treat that Dua Lipa is presenting to a gentleman when she begins singing the song. Certain lyrics make it clear that this pie is not a literal one, however, and by the time Megan Thee Stallion starts rapping any idea this pie is innocent is thrown out the window. The musical scholar in me just finds all this fascinating to think how outraged people were at the simple statement by some gents that they were horny and how tame that is compared to these ladies going in-depth about having some pie that obviously is a stand-in for the Vulva. Here's the music video which is not really safe for work at all, just so you know:

It continues to also be interesting as we see more women proudly proclaiming their sexuality and swatting away at any haters who dare to slut-shame them. Decades ago it just seemed to be the guys who rapped dirty lyrics (with the exception of notable trailblazer ladies, because we need to give credit where credit is due), but now men and women spit bars that can make listeners both nod their heads along and blush a bit. Whether it is Too Short with, "Freaky Tales," or Cardi B and Megan thee Stallion with, "WAP," or now Dua Lipa and Mega Thee Stallion with, "Sweetest Pie," dirty lyrics keep evolving.

Oh, and I'm aware I'm pretty much just talking about pop and rap. I don't know rock or country as well so I can't comment about those with nearly as much knowledge. I'd more than welcome comments about dirty lyrics and how they've changed in rock and country should anyone have some insight.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Television Tuesday: "Moon Knight," Premieres Tomorrow!

My favorite comic-book character is, of course, Moon Knight. I have been very eager to see the Disney+ show ever since it was announced. Early reviews seem to be mostly positive with Oscar Issac getting a lot of love for his great acting. I am pumped to watch the first episode tomorrow and am trying to have reasonable expectations in the sense I am expecting nothing but to hopefully be entertained. We shall see as of tomorrow!

Monday, March 28, 2022

The Oscars Last Night...

I am not huge on award shows. I just don't watch them much for anything. People deserve awards for working hard but a show dedicated to that tends to just be dull and full of self-congratulatory back-patting from whatever industry or business is being recognized. Therefore, I didn't think I'd bother watching the Oscars. I set our DVR up to tape it so I could at least see some highlights and watch Wanda Sykes' jokes as she is hilarious. Then, before I went to bed I checked online if anything interesting had happened at the show and damn, that was unexpected.

Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith lacking hair and looking like G.I. Jane. He apparently was unaware she had recently made it public she had alopecia. Her husband, Will Smith, did not like the joke and as he was sitting near the front of the stage (thanks to his best actor nomination he later won) he walked up there and slapped Chris Rock. He then went back to his seat and twice yelled, "Keep my wife's name out of your fucking mouth." It was sudden, bizarre, and everyone had an opinion on the internet about it. Some said Smith was justified, others stated this arguably puts other comics in danger if people think they can slap them should they dislike a joke, some said it was a bad situation all around, everyone had a take. I don't really have a take, though.

I think this whole thing is unfortunate and that hopefully Rock and Smith can come to some kind of resolution or agreement even if there isn't an exact apology that will be stated by either (when Smith won best actor about a half-hour later he apologized to the Award Academy but clearly not Rock). That's about the best thought I can offer compared to some really weird opinions I've seen online comparing this to Russia's War on Ukraine in some fashion or other random analogies. I just hope something can be worked out from all of this.

3/28/22 Update: Smith has apologized to Rock via Instagram.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

The Quad Con in Saint Charles Was Incredibly Fun!


Today I attended the Quad Con at the Olympia Center in Saint Charles. It was a superbly fun experience! I showed up a bit before the show kicked off and talked with a lot of my favorite vendors and good chums. They were all very excited for a good show and the crowd that was eager to enter at opening promised it would be a good time for all:

The show was busy but thanks to having a good deal of space it never felt crowded or constrained. I chatted with my friend Spike of Lost in Space Toys and Collectibles as things began and he was fun to see as always. I also greeted the delightful Drew from CoMo Comics. They both were selling some snazzy wares. My chums Eric and Tricia of STL Comics was at the show selling a ton of cool comics and other knick-knacks as well (like some neat vintage video-games). I saw my friend Jack of Fortress Comics too and we discussed how he'll be at the upcoming Big River Comic-Convention in Hannibal in a couple weeks as well. I got some great comics from him and he was kind enough to pose for a photo:

I kept walking through the show seeing lots of neat items from Funko Pops to Lego, cosplay items, and more! I ran into Cathy Jackson, who had been doing well since I saw her at the last show! I spent some time talking with my friend Eric of PJ Comics and Collectibles who was excited to be at Quad Con for the first time as a seller. I looked at the cool works of the founders of Biff Bam Boom Comics and they were really cool to run into again. Bruce Reynolds had really neat books as usual too, he is always fun to see. I saw my friend Brian Lan, who was there promoting the wonderful organization The Hero Initiative. I got some goodies from Jack of Trade Up Comics too and was happy to run into him! He let me snap a pic too:

There were so many cool booths and some neat events too. Earlier in the show lightsaber dueling was being shown off and it was neat to see. I was able to get a picture of a duel in progress:

The Quad Con in Saint Charles was--as my title says--incredibly fun! The wide range of vendors had tons of neat stuff, the crowd was chill and lovely, and I'm excited to see the next one is already planned for this coming October 23rd of this year. Here's the flyer about it:

You already know I'm going to want to be there and I'll be covering it!

Saturday, March 26, 2022

I Didn't Get Into, "Elden Ring," at All

I tried, "Elden Ring," and it wasn't for me. I'm almost sad about that as many folks discuss how awesome it is. It just didn't vibe for me though. Perhaps I should've known as I didn't like the, "Dark Souls," series it basically grew out of that much. Still, everyone said how cool it was. Then I tried it and basically, it was a darker, more depressing, and less fun version of, "Breath of the Wild." I loved that Zelda game when I played it on my Switch. "Elden Ring," just didn't give me much of a feeling of fun. I found everything could kill me with ease and that is supposedly a selling feature, somehow? I get to feel like I suck and have almost no fun in this game? 

I did have some fun. The World was a little interesting to explore and the little, "Clues," left by other players of the game were at times funny. Honestly though, "Elden Ring," just wasn't a game for me. I think when I have a free moment to play some games I'll just boot up, "Dying Light 2," again and enjoy that some more. I'm not saying, "Elden Ring," is at all bad, it just fits the taste of other people much more than it does myself. Ya'll have fun with it.

Friday, March 25, 2022

I Tried Some Tin Star Potato Chips and Was Impressed

I try not to eat too many potato chips, but I do treat myself sometimes. The other day I spotted a small bag of a brand I was not familiar with, Tin Star. There were a few flavors to pick from but I picked the Santa Maria barbecue flavor. I was quite pleased with what I ate! The chip had a great crunch and the BBQ flavor was on point with a nice peppery kick. Sometimes barbecue chips can almost be overpowering in taste but Tin Star's Santa Maria chips were perfectly on point in terms of not being too much or too little of, "Zing."

I really liked the Santa Maria flavor of Tin Star potato chips and will try some of the other flavors in the near future as well. I'd recommend giving them a taste for sure if you like a tasty chip now and then.

5 out of 5 stars.

My Usual Disclaimer: Nobody asked me to review a chip for them or offered me money to say nice things, I just felt like discussing a tasty chip I tried. As always, if Tin Star wants to send me a bunch of free chips as thanks for my kind words, I won't say no. No pressure, though.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

My Thoughts on Transgender Athletes/Just Let People Play Games As Who They Are

People say to me, "David, you almost always have a strongly-held opinion on most political issues. You don't hesitate to declare your feelings on the latest topic garnering headlines." Then they ask me what I think about one issue or another. Lately, everyone is arguing about transgender athletes and that's become a controversy. I haven't said much yet. Why? I don't even get why some people wanted to make this a controversy. Sports are people playing games. We pay some of these people an absurd amount of money to play these games with skill (look at professional athletes), but at the end of the day, sports are (supposed to) be just a fun thing that some people get way too invested in. If someone identifies as a boy and wants to play with boys in a game, let them, if they identify as a girl and want to play with girls, let them do that too. 

People complain about, "Unfair advantages," but I don't see any stereotypical big burly men beating women at sports, I see women who were born as males and have undergone extensive hormones and such to have their body better match their gender identity. One thing that cracks me up is some of the same people complaining about trans athletes bitched and moaned about women getting equal funding for sports in college or such years ago and suddenly are concerned about the,, "Integrity of a sport." Again, it is people playing games, who gives a shit what sex they were born as versus how they now identify as? I just don't get what's controversial about boys and girls or men and women playing games as the gender they feel they are.

I also understand some people don't want to be considered transphobic for being against trans people playing in sports. Hey, at the end of the day you know whether you're transphobic or not. Just be aware the same people who agree with you are the transphobic folks who hate the idea of someone being transgender, period. You maybe are just concerned about sports, but for the transphobes, this is just a first stepping stone for them trying to increase anti-trans laws and give us trans-erasure. I'm not being hyperbolic, just look at efforts to pass laws that basically criminalize parents helping their children live as the gender they want to be or persecute adults who are trans that simply want to use a bathroom. The haters want to get people who aren't transphobic to slowly come to their side with something they think is more likely to garner sympathy for their hateful views. 

So, yeah, I'm not saying you being concerned about transgender athletes makes you a transphobic person, but be aware of who else is siding with you when you get angry about transgender athletes. Why you're even angry is what baffles me, however. I'm befuddled because, as I said, we are talking about people playing games as if it's some big deal what genitals/hormones/etc. they have. Let people play games as who they are and then respect them in everyday life as who they are too. It all seems simple to me, yet the angry rhetoric I see from some people makes it clear this is apparently a big ask.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Zestworld Brings in Big Talent for its Own Digital Comics Platform

Substack has become an interesting little platform for digital comics. It hasn't totally upended the comic-book industry by any means with its subscriptions to creators who put out newsletters and fun comics, but it has been intriguing to witness. Marvel has been doing more with digital comics via its Infinity-branded ones--of which even more projects were recently announced as coming. Now, we have another entity with its sights set on entering the digital comic space--Zestworld.

Zestworld is launching a digital comics subscription service and got 9.37 million dollars in funding to do so. This money has gone towards getting some solid talent involved and (one assumes) building a good way to read the comics, promote this new platform, and so forth. Some big names are involved such as, "Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Peter J. Tomasi, Eric Canete, Phil Jimenez, and Alex Segura among many others." Creators will own the rights to their comics, which is nice to hear. Whether Zestworld works out or falls apart will pretty much rest on the quality of the comics and how easy/difficult they are to read digitally. I am quite curious how this will work out.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Pusha T Released a McDonald's Diss Track...and It's Actually Glorious

I will always tell anybody willing to listen that Clipse was incredibly underrated as a rap duo. They had a solid debut album, were stuck in a contract-limbo for years that delayed an official follow-up, but once they could actually release new LPs those killed it too. They basically dissolved in 2010 (besides reuniting on one song with Kanye West in 2019) and have since then had solo careers with No Malice (originally named Malice) and Pusha T seeing success doing their own thing. I've followed the works of both gentlemen (admittedly a bit more Pusha T) and when I heard Pusha T had released a diss track aimed at McDonald's where he rapped about how great Arby's fish sandwiches were, I was a little confused and quite intrigued.

Apparently, this is not just Pusha T randomly teaming up with Arby's for a check (although I'd hope he was paid well). Pusha T has a bad history with McDonald's, having apparently helped co-write the, "I'm Lovin' It Jingle," in 2003 with No Malice, Pharell Williams, and Justin Timberlake. Timberlake made 6 million, Pusha T has said he and No Malice got, "Peanuts." in terms of initial money and zero royalties. Now, Pusha T has 75 seconds of pure fire where he slams McDonald's with his stellar rapping and makes it clear that Arby's is where you should go for a better fish sandwich. Give it a view/listen below:

Yes, yes he snuck in a cocaine reference, which is not surprising if you're familiar with Pusha T's raps. I look forward to seeing how McDonald's responds (hopefully they do) and if Wendy's puts out a funny tweet as they always like to be involved in wild shenanigans.

Monday, March 21, 2022

The New, "Carnage," #1 is a Satisfyingly Creepy Read

I often don't like Carnage as a character. When they try to make him Marvel's symbiote-infused version of DC's Joker it just is awful. He's not, "Funny," he's a violent force of nature that is practically pure bloodlust due to a psychopathic killer having been bonded to an already violently vengeful symbiote. Carnage works when he is presented more as a horror character than as something funny. Therefore, when an ongoing, "Carnage," series was announced--not a one-shot, not a mini-series, but a theoretically long-term ongoing--I was concerned. Then I was Ram V was writing and relaxed a whole lot. I also saw Francesco Manna was doing the artwork and felt even more cautiously optimistic. Having read the first issue of, "Carnage," I will say I am pleased.

There was a, "Carnage Forever," one-shot that had a little backup story that helps set up some of this first issue (but you don't have to read it) and Ram V provides a story of a serial killer obsessed with Carnage and how good he is at killing. We see most of the story from the POV of detectives after the killer or the killer himself--but we never, "Hear," the thoughts of Carnage. He is presented as a terrifying and violent force that even a serial killer who admires him might not quite understand just what kind of risk he's in for summoning such being. Recent developments in Carnage's life are covered as well--recent comic events made him no longer, "Need," Cletus, apparently. Plus, Manna's artwork is perfect. It is incredibly gruesome and nasty when called for. This is a comic about dangerous people doing unpleasant things, and it excels at portraying that.

There is a backup story here too by David Michelinie (writing) and Ron Lim (on art) that brings a good scary vibe too. A young boy who wants the help of Carnage to get revenge discovers how Carnage is basically pure rage and rage is a dangerous thing to fully give into. It's a short but sweet little yarn with some skilled creators attached to it. A nice little back-up that fits the overall tone of this first issue, in other words.

"Carnage," #1 uses Carnage the best way it can--as something scary and violent. Ram V and Francesco Manna bring us a great first issue thanks to utilizing Carnage in the best way possible and the back-up by David Michelinie and Ron Lim serves as the perfect dessert to a delectably disgusting first issue. If you've been desiring a healthy dose of horror in your Marvel comics this should fit the bill.

5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

The Next Quad Con is a Week From Today!

A week from today the latest Quad Con will be happening! That's right, on March 27th you can go to Olympia Events Center at 49 Lawrence Street and have a fantastic time! It'll run from 10AM-4PM and a ton of awesome folks will be there selling all kinds of fantastic wares. I plan to attend and write about all the fun I had. Should you be able to go as well I'd encourage you to do so!

Saturday, March 19, 2022

"Dying Light 2," is a Great Time of a Game

I don't play video-games a ton lately, but when I do I hope to have a good time. "Dying Light 2," is a great time. Running around a desolate city doing parkour while I fight the occasional zombie or evil human is kinetic and fun. Exploring buildings for useful knick-knacks while clambering around and trying to avoid hibernating zombies is intense and neat as well. Creating unique little weapons with fun effects that really stagger or slice up the zombies is obviously a hoot too. I've seen some folks be critical of the storyline as well but I actually think it is pretty good (of what I've played), especially when compared to the first game; the first, "Dying Light," just had you as the most generic soldier ever whereas this one introduces some fun story beats. I haven't played a ton of, "Dying Light 2," but what I have is a ton of fun on my PlayStation.

Due to only playing a solid earlier chunk of the game without unlocking some of the other items/skills that sound awesome I won't offer an in-depth review or rating of, "Dying Light 2." I'll just say that what I have played is great so far and anytime I do have some minutes or an hour to play the game I've been pleased. I'd fully recommend giving, "Dying Light 2," a try based on what I have experienced of it.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Film Friday: "Irredeemable/Incorruptible," Escapes Development Hell and Will Be a Flick

"Irredeemable," was a comic by Mark Waid and Peter Krause about a Superman-level hero who one day snaps and starts just wreaking mayhem. "Incorruptible," was a comic that spun out of it following a villain who becomes a good guy in response to how bad things become. The two comics will be combined into a single feature film that'll stream on Netflix. After years of development Hell, something is actually happening! I thought both series had their moments and would be curious what a movie that combines the two might be like. Jeymes Samuel will direct and Kemp Powers will be writing the screenplay. Published by BOOM! Both series wrapped a bit over a decade ago (I told you the properties were in development Hell) and were a big success for BOOM! when it was first starting out. I do wonder if this is a sign of more adaptations to come of other BOOM! properties.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

I Reviewed, "The All-Nighter," For Forces of Geek

I reviewed another comic for my friends over at Forces of Geek. "The All-Nighter," is by Chip Zdarsky, Jason Loo, and Paris Alleyne. It's a wild mix of horror genre tropes and superheroics. If you'd like to know what I thought of it, give my review a gander!

Have a Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

I just want to wish everyone a happy Saint Patrick's Day! My Grandma Burton was 100% Irish (in terms of her heritage) and always celebrated the holiday with excitement. I'm wearing some green today and hope you all have a wonderful (and safe) time celebrating.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

I Visited, "Just Heroes! Comics and Collectibles," and it Was Fantastic

I try to stay updated about any stores in my region that stock comics so I'll occasionally ask around or check the internet for any shops. Through my Googling the other day I discovered that in July of 2021 (so a bit under a year ago) a new shop had opened up known as, "Just Heroes! Comics and Collectibles." I went and checked them out yesterday. I had a great time browsing, chatting with the owners, and buying some comics! Owned by Juan Dixon, he originally had an online storefront, then expanded into an antique mall before last year when he opened the brick-and-mortar store!

The shop has a bunch of the latest action figures, statues, apparel, Funk Pops, and other cool collectibles. There is also the, "Comic Cave," which I loved digging through for a variety of great comics. When it comes to comics Dixon has an extensive selection of back-issues, keeping everything in stock from notable key issues to an ample supply of dollar bin items and everything in-between.

Found at 733 Rue St Francois in Florissant, Missouri at zip code 63031, "Just Heroes! Comics and Collectibles," is open Tuesday through Sunday and closed Mondays. They offer a 15%, "Hero Discount," to all active and retired military personnel (with a valid ID showing as such). I'd recommend visiting their store in person or buying from them online. I know I'll be back in the near future so that I can get more awesome stuff!

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

The Trailer for, "Ms. Marvel," is Now Online

Before too long we will have, "Moon Knight," streaming on Disney+ and I'm obviously really excited for it. That said, a number of other interesting shows are due to launch before too long as well such as Ms. Marvel. We saw some brief teasers of it previously, but now a full trailer has been put online. Give it a gander:

Having watched it I am immediately reminded of other teenager-geared comedies (that were movies instead of television shows, but my point stands) such as, "Mean Girls," and, "The Duff." This is not a bad thing by any means. I think Marvel/Disney can cover a variety of genres and if, "Ms. Marvel," is meant to appeal to younger folks while also entertaining us grown-ups, that's cool! The most important thing is it looks like it'll be entertaining.

Christopher Priest to Write a New, "Black Adam," Series

I often discuss how I am a fan of Christopher Priest's writing. He has the ability to take a character I enjoy and make them even better (Black Panther), and can take a character I don't normally care much about and give us an amazing story about them (Deathstroke, Vampirella). Now he will be doing a Black Adam series with artist Rafa Sandoval (Irvin Rodriguez will be providing amazing covers). 

Knowing Priest is writing this has me already sold without knowing anything else about the plot, but if you're wondering what the hook is besides Priest's writing, it seems Black Adam may be dying. He has an, "Incurable plague," and tries to transfer his powers to someone else, only to find himself, 'Handcuffed," to them. Sounds a little like another previous Priest classic, "Quantum and Woody," so I look forward to it. The first issue's tentative release date is June 21st of this year. I'll be getting myself a copy for sure!

Monday, March 14, 2022

William Hurt Has Passed

It recently was announced by his family that William Hurt had passed. An exact cause of death was not given but in previous years he had been open about getting treatment for cancer. Hurt was a fantastic actor whether he was the lead in big movies or a supporting character in a great flick like, "Changing Lanes." Marvel movie fans probably know Hurt for playing General, "Thunderbolt," Ross in one of the earliest Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, "The Incredible Hulk," and then popping up in more recent Marvel films as the character. A part of me always hoped that Hurt would get to turn into the Red Hulk (like in the comics), but it seems that is not to be. My sympathy goes to his family and friends.

The, "Snelson: Comedy is Dying," Trade Paperback is in Stores This Week

I reviewed the first two issues of, "Snelson: Comedy is Dying," and really enjoyed them. Having read the rest of the issues I can say it was a fantastic mini-series. It follows a comedian past his prime as he engages in all kinds of bad decisions--really, really poor choices. Paul Constant's writing is the perfect mix of insightful, dark, and hilarious. Fred Harper's artwork is a treat to witness as well, perfectly matching the varying moods of funny or wildly cringe-worthy. This Wednesday, March 16th will have the, "Snelson," TPB arriving in all finer comic and bookstores. I would recommend picking it up and giving it a read.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

It's Time to Complain About Daylight Savings Again

In my long-running series of bitching about Daylight Savings, here we are again, tired. Whether we are, "Gaining," an hour of sleep with the result being it is pitch black outside at 5 PM or being robbed of some sleep in the name of...something, DST is awful. We need to get rid of DST, it is one of the few issues most people agree on. Please.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

The Latest Relaunch of, "The Punisher," is Passable but Could've Done a Lot More

Before I criticize this latest, "Punisher," relaunch let me at least say the art is absolutely fantastic. Gorgeously visceral stuff. I loved the art. Now let's rip into this comic...

Marvel was avoiding using the Punisher in comics as he'd become topical in troublesome ways. Soldiers and police officers were using his logo, as well as dangerous alt-right groups. One of the character's co-creators, Gerry Conway, condemned this. Garth Ennis--a popular writer of the Punisher, did too. The Punisher himself has addressed in comics he is aware he is a vigilante and arguably a bad guy whose only saving grace is he (in his mind) kills people worse than him. Still, the problem persisted. Marvel's response was to change the logo for the latest relaunch and give it a story-based reason. I'm going to spoil the comic's big twist at the end that kind of explains some things (it ain't that impressive) so be aware of that.

Marvel could have had this Punisher story address Frank Castle/the Punisher being an icon to people who should not idolize him. They could've made it a really cool story. Instead, the Punisher is recruited to lead the secret ninja organization known as The Hand. Why would he work with evil assassin-terrorists? They brought his wife back from the dead. Yeah.

Those who have read Punisher comics for a while may know this concept has been explored before. During, "Dark Reign," the Hood tried to make Castle stop being a thorn in the side of Norman Osborn (his boss) by seemingly resurrecting Maria and Frank's two kids before Frank dismissed it as a trick and took a flamethrower to them. Perhaps something changed Frank's mind about alive-again family members, and I'm honestly not too hung up the continuity of it all as this is the Punisher we are talking about. The Punisher has been killed and brought back to life as, "Frankencastle." He has gone to space to hunt aliens. He piloted an Iron Man suit for a bit as well and that is all in continuity (the stories that don't, "Count," can be even crazier). 

Remember, "Frankencastle," back in the day?

The story writer Jason Aaron gives us is perfectly fine that Frank Castle seems to think he can reform The Hand to only prey on villainous people and his new job is why he changed his logo. It just seems like a lazy excuse to alter such a politically-charged logo without actually acknowledging why Marvel changed it. It is like when the movie, "Super Size Me," came out and made the fast-food industry look really bad. Not too long after its release McDonald's announced they were getting rid of that terminology for a variety of reasons without just outright acknowledging the flick made them embarrassed. If you make a change without discussing the actual reasons you did it the whole thing just seems half-assed. I don't blame Jason Aaron for any of this, he's just trying to craft a fun Punisher story. In a vacuum where none of the controversies exists with the character and his logo, it would be another solid little Punisher yarn. We don't live in a vacuum, however, and Marvel usually acknowledges what's going on in the world outside our window in their comics to some degree.

As I said at the start of this wordy review, at least the art is fantastic Jesús Saiz and Paul Azaceta trade-off on art duties depending on if a scene is set in the present or the past. They are amazing and illustrate what the Punisher is known for--bloodshed--with fantastic skill. Perhaps the comic will actually go ahead and touch upon the actual controversies with the Punisher and his logo or the series will just awkwardly ignore it. Either way, at least it will look really good. As it stands now, this debut issue is fine but really lacking considering what it could have actually done.

2.5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Film Friday: "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent," Looks Like a Hoot

Nicholas Cage plays himself, or a version of himself, in the new movie, "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent." Cage is an exhausted actor ready to call it quits until an enigmatic rich guy (played deliciously by Pedro Pascal) offers to pay 1 million dollars for Cage to hang out with him at his birthday party. They become good friends but it turns out Pascal's character is a dangerous crime lord resulting in some FBI agents (Tiffany Haddish, Ike Barinholtz) recruiting Cage to help take him down. It sounds utterly insane and the trailer is quite funny with Neil Patrick Harris almost threatening to steal the show from Cage as his agent. Observe:

That looks quite funny and very meta. I think I'd like to see it!

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Happy March 10th AKA Mar10/Mario Day!

Today is March 10th. When shortened it looks like Mar. 10, or Mar10. Mario, in other words. That has resulted in folks deeming today as Mario day. This often leads to sales from Nintendo (lots of stuff for the Switch today, I imagine), so that's cool. I have actually met the voice of Mario, Charles Martinet, back at Wizard World in 2015. He was very nice and I imagine he's pleased today honors the character he loves voicing. Anyways, Happy Mario day, everyone.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

I Tried Liquid Death and it Was Water as Promised

I always see ads for, "Liquid Death." It is water in a can. It is more environmentally friendly, they like to brag, as it is a can instead of a bottle. The marketing for Liquid Death has always been pretty fun, with a wide range of humorous ads. What happens when you crack open a can and drink it, though? Well, it is water as promised.

Liquid Death water tastes like water, which sounds generic but is actually the highest compliment I can pay it. They promise us water and they deliver it. There is no weird aftertaste and upon drinking Liquid Death you can feel a little proud it was a can instead of a bottle. It would probably still be best to get water from the tap, but if you want some from a can, Liquid Death is the drink for you. Liquid Death, it is water as promised. That's the review.

5 out of 5 stars.

Note: I wrote this review of my own volition after I bought a can of Liquid Death at the local Vintage Stock. I was not solicited for a review or anything. If Liquid Death wants to send me some free water they are more than welcome to do so.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

I Won't Be at ToyMan This Sunday, But You Should Still Go!

I will be unable to attend the upcoming ToyMan show on Sunday, March 13th, 2022. I'll be up late judging a trivia night on the 12th so I won't have the energy to attend ToyMan early and have a number of things the afternoon of the 13th so I'll have to miss the show. I don't mind as there will be another one May 1st I eagerly plan to attend. That said, even if I won't be at the ToyMan show on March 13th, you should still go for sure! I always have fun there and find something cool. It is the show most packed with neat stuff I've ever attended. Whether you're after new toys, antique toys, comics, diecast cars, Lego, Funko, video games, DVDs, vinyl records, posters, or anything else snazzy you can think of, ToyMan probably has someone selling it. Check it out this Sunday and while I won't see you this time, I'll be there at the next one!

Monday, March 7, 2022

"What If...Miles Morales," #1 Holds a Promising Start

I (almost) always love a good alternate reality tale. DC has done them with titles such as, "Elseworlds," or, "Flashpoint," which had an alternate reality outright change the main DC Universe (the New52). Marvel has off-and-on done their, "What If," comics and they tend to either be quite great or just terrible (with rarely an in-between). I was curious what exactly was the idea behind a, "What If," mini-series focused entirely on Miles Morales becoming a different superhero in each issue. Was it a silly cash-grab because Miles is so popular or a clever way to explore the character of Miles through different heroic lenses? Well, having read the first issue where Miles becomes a new Captain America (after exposure to the latest super-soldier serum in the present day) I enjoyed what I read a good deal and see some interesting possibilities for future issues.

If I may spoil a smidgen, it is clear this issue is not a standalone tale, as multiversal travel is discussed and it seems to be strongly hinted various Miles are going to be needing to team up to face the threat of reality itself falling apart. That adds a fascinating little meta element beyond, "Let's have Miles be a different superhero in each issue and leave it at that." Cody Ziglar's writing hints at even more cool stuff coming and Paco Medina's art is always a treat as well. It's a fun issue and the hints that things are going to get crazy (maybe a Spider-verse but just with Miles...a Miles-verse) has my interest especially piqued. This first issue is definitely worth reading, in other words.

5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

DC Comics Moving Their Offices Again, Albeit Less Far

Some years ago DC Comics moved their offices from New York City to California. It resulted in some people leaving the company and brought us the two-month event, "Convergence," which took the place of all other DC Comics, allowing time for everything to be moved. Now, DC is moving offices again, albeit it is a smaller move. As Heidi MacDonald of Comicsbeat reports...

"DC Comics is moving from its purpose-built offices in the building known as The Pointe in Burbank to new facilities. The new building is designed by world-famous architect Frank Gehry and is already a landmark looming over the I134 freeway – earning it the nickname, 'The Iceberg.' Although some have reported that DC is moving to the Warner Media lot, it absolutely is not, although the lot proper is not too far away, and the Iceberg is located in the heart of the WB/Disney media district in Burbank, and not far as the crow flies from The Pointe."

This is a much smaller-scale change of scenery, in other words. That above-linked article by Macdonald makes it clear opinions are mixed about the move, however. Meanwhile, Marvel's comic division at least is still in New York City with no immediate plans to move.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Bandcamp Has Been Bought by Epic Games

In news that I didn't see coming, Bandcamp--the platform for indie music artists beloved by many--has been bought out by Epic Games, of all companies. Epic Games makes, well, games. They've created everything from, "Unreal," to, "Fortnite," and many games in between those big ones. Now they shall be the owners of Bandcamp in a somewhat strange union. Did Bandcamp sell out? Is this actually a good thing that will help it grow as long as Epic simply wants to be about, "More than games," but let Bandcamp be mostly independent in how it is run? I like Bandcamp and have done posts spotlighting music on the platform (I haven't done one for a bit and should rectify that). I really hope Bandcamp will still be awesome with these changes. We shall see.

Friday, March 4, 2022

Film Friday: "The Batman," Officially is in Theaters

"The Batman," officially releases in theaters today. There were preview screenings, of course, and early buzz from them has been really good! It looks like a fun movie with a great cast and I hope to see it soon when I have 3 or so hours to spare. Maybe in a week or two? I'm really behind on a lot of shows and movies. Oh, I wanted to share one thing I found interesting when I thought about it. We actively have three dudes playing Batman right now. Robert Pattinson, Affleck (who will be back in the new Flash movie), and Michael Keaton (who will also return in that flick and others). Trippy stuff.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Coca-Cola Starlight: A Review

I've tried various flavors of Coke. There are the standby flavors such as Cherry, but weird limited-time ones happen too. Some are pretty good like Cinnamon or Cherry Vanilla. Others are pretty mediocre such as the recent coffee blend. Terrible flavors occur too, such as the Georgia peach and California raspberry flavors which I referred to, as "Disgusting abominations." This brings us to the latest short-period-of-time Coke product, "Starlight." As a part of the new line of drinks that will be called, "Coca Cola Creations," the idea is to not have an exact flavor as to evoke a feeling. "Starlight," is designed to make you feel like you're looking up at the stars by a campfire, observing the vastness of space. It's decent.

If you were to liquefy a bunch of marshmallows, graham crackers, and a tiny bit of chocolate, then mix them with a Coke you'd probably get what, "Starlight," tastes like. At first blush that may sound disgusting, but it actually is relatively enjoyable to drink this mix of Smores and Coke. There is a nice light crispness and everyone agrees it is extremely sweet but disagrees about the exact flavor. I've seen some think it tastes more like cotton candy and others claiming they get a minty raspberry vibe. I stand by my, "Vaguely like smores," assessment, however. It's an enjoyable flavor and makes some curious what other, "Creations," we'll be getting, so mission accomplished to Coca-Cola for starting with a solid drink to represent this new mini-franchise.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

I've Got a Review Up of, "Prison Pit: The Complete Collection," at Forces of Geek!

I will do reviews sometimes for my friends over at Forces of Geek. When they asked if I was interested in looking at a re-release of, "Prison Pit: The Complete Collection," I said sure. I have discussed both enjoying and being annoyed by Johnny Ryan's work before. "Prison Pit," was collected in 2020, but had so much demand to be released again now a new edition is out in 2022. Did I like it though? Read my review here and find out!

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Television Tuesday: The Netflix Marvel Shows are Coming to Disney+

In a move that honestly surprised me a bit, the Netflix Marvel shows and apparently other more R-rated/TV-MA rated content will be coming to Disney+ starting March 16th. I didn't think Disney+ would ever let itself (in the United States, at least) carry more mature content when Hulu was also an option (mature stuff is on Disney+ in other countries already). Disney will offer a function to lock out the more mature stuff behind a PIN or such and soon all the Netflix shows will be side-by-side with the rest of the MCU. Anyone who has heard the buzz about, "Hawkeye," or the most recent Spidey flick already knows some Netflix characters are popping up in the MCU, so I guess Disney now can pick-and-choose what it is wanting to use from the Netflix shows. We are entering an interesting era.

Television Tuesday: I Need to Check Out, "Guardians of Justice," by Adi Shankar

"Guardians of Justice," was released on Netflix today (somewhat quietly, actually), but I want to check it out. Created by Adi Shankar, I've followed his work for a bit from his, "Bootleg," Youtube movies to when he executive produced the, "Castlevania," show (which he is continuing to work on spin-offs of now that the franchise has dropped Warren Ellis). It sounds like an utterly bonkers mix of live-action, animation, CG, claymation (of all things), and when AV Club says it has an old-school Cartoon Network Adult Swim vibe, I'm in. I'll try to watch it in the near future.