Saturday, January 16, 2021

DTM-Cast: Episode #152

Click on the banner above to download the MP3.

Talking Mega Man Maker, Hardcover Rangers, and wondering if anybody gives a shit about No Time To Die.

Friday, January 15, 2021

AEW Dynamite (Jan 6th & Jan 13th, 2021): New Year's Smash

The first two editions of AEW Dynamite in 2021 comprise the promotion's New Year's Smash event, both shows featuring big main events. We'll touch on both shows here, but I thought they were fairly enjoyable fare. Not quite top-tier stuff, but a solid two-hour block on both nights with some high points and one dreadfully low one each.

Let's get into it.

Does Anyone Give A Shit About No Time To Die Anymore?

No Time To Die, the 25th James Bond feature film and rumored to be the final film featuring Daniel Craig as the title character, is apparently going to be delayed for the umpteenth time from an Easter release to later this fall, because apparently the studio really want people to come to theatres to see this really, totally awesome movie, you blokes you.

Okay, so the saga of No Time To Die is one best told by others and I will direct you to this fellow here, who is more of a Bond aficionado than I. But apparently, the movie is done. They're just waiting for this pandemic to over with so people will flock to cinemas and catch this awesome movie with this new girl agent that might be the new 007 or something. Or maybe we're doing the codename thing for realz.

At this point, does anyone really care?

The Daniel Craig era hasn't been a huge runaway hit. Casino and Skyfall are probably the only two really good ones and the other two are just... there. For the diehard fans, I'm sure they just want to watch the movie and they don't care how. As long as it's out and over with. This compulsive need to debut this film in theatres is just sad. Does it suck for the movie houses? Sure, but at this point, best option would be to stay home and wait for the movie to show up there.

Whatever, who cares, right?

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Devoid Of The Star Wars... And Not Missing It

So, I will offer a bit of a nugget for you folks; outside of the first season of Mandalorian, I have not watched a single bit of Star Wars film since my last viewing of the last Star Wars movie, which I'd imagine was a year or so ago.

I've not watched the original films, nor the prequels, none of the spin-off films, and especially none of the sequels. I've got some of them on VHS, DVD, and Blu-Ray. They're all on my iTunes/Apple TV library thing, so I can watch them at any time, but I'm just not tempted to go back and revisit these films. Even the second season of Mando has been a complete afterthought.

I did play a bit of Squadrons... and then I went back to TIE Fighter... but that's about it.

This isn't the first time that I've had long stretches of not touching anything Star Wars; it's one of those things that comes and goes. Some of the stuff I do re-watch tends to be more easily accessible via Netflix or one of those things. Hell, I'd watch more stuff off the Impact Plus thing when I was still subscribed to it than I do Star Wars. But eventually, I'd revisit it, have some fun with it, and move on to something else... or maybe I'll adopt a bit of a Star Wars kick and try some other stuff, whether it'd be games, novels, or whatever the case may be.

However, the thought occurred to me as of late that I haven't touched a single bit of Star Wars... and what's more odd is that I don't miss it.

Actually, thinking about it, there used to be a time when the idea of new Star Wars was exciting and the prospect of new films every year was going to be something worthwhile... and then we saw the movies they put out and...

I guess that's why I don't miss Star Wars these days. The last trilogy left such a bad taste in my mouth that when I realize how long it's been since I last touched a Star Wars thing, I don't actually miss it. If anything, I realize how much better I am without it than with it.

So did the sequels ruin Star Wars for me? Or is it the toxic fanbase? Or is it Twitter being occupied by dumb shits?

Some day, I'll find the answers to these questions and get back to you on it.

Why Are You Giving Miles Morales Clones?

So apparently, Marvel Comics... yes, they still do comics. Largely terrible ones, these days, but that's besides the point.

So Marvel has decided that their Miles Morales character needed more classic Spider-Man failures to certify his status as a Spider-Man for all people and are going to give him his very own Clone Saga... because everyone loved the first Clone Saga so much, it drove Marvel into bankruptcy.

Look, I'm largely unfamiliar with the Miles Morales take on Spider-Man. I've only read a couple issues and also that Spider-Men mini from a couple years back. Seems like a pretty cool character and I even saw that Spider-Verse movie where he played a focal point and was subsequently the best part of the movie. I've got no ill towards anybody trying to give Miles as many Spider-Man tropes as they can, even if I don't believe it necessary. Let Miles stand on his own and forge his own path.

But... if you are going to recycle old Spidey bits, can't you do recycle something that isn't total shit? The Clone Saga was one of many, many, MANY stupid decisions that Marvel made in the nineties and none of that stuff was ever any good. So to give Miles that similar idea (if not execution) is just... well, it's so Marvel, I guess.

I don't know. Maybe it'll be good, but I doubt it. Like I said, a lot of Marvel stuff these days outside of their earliest MCU flicks have been kind of trash and I don't have high hopes for this one.

Oh well... good luck, Miles. You'll need it.

Boom Studios' Kickstarter... To Sell You The Same Crap They've Sold For Years.


Well... that's something.

The link above will take you to Boom Studios' Kickstarter campaign in order to fund their (already funded) campaign to produce hardcore editions of their Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comic book. Sounds totally fine... until you realize that these volumes have been available for some time and cost hundreds of dollars per volume for stuff you can already get for far cheaper by purchasing the appropriate trade paperbacks.

I won't completely poo-poo this off the bat; the hardcovers are a bit of an uncommon find and for those folks with plenty of disposable income who want a nice way of getting six hardcovers of the comic run have a great opportunity to do so here, along with some interesting perks, including your very own Megazord stand to house all these books.

Still, you can't help but admire Boom Studios for finding new ways to pedal the same crap over and over again over the course of several years. Multiple covers, multiple trades, multiple hardcovers, and whatnots in different shapes and sizes. Not a new thing in comics, mind you; there was a time when such practices was fairly common a couple decades back and it damned near killed the entire industry, but sure, why not bring this practice back to fool the dimwitted masses who can't help but buy this stuff.

Interested? Click the link and check it out. Campaign ends February 4th.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

COMIC REVIEW - Power Rangers: Aftershock (2017)

Written by Ryan Parrott
Art by Lucas Weaneck, Robert Carey, and Joana Lafuente

Aftershock is a weird little thing. It was basically Boom Studios' attempt at tying into the recently released Power Rangers reboot movie, but rather than go for a movie adaptation that would've expanded on some ideas or presented some new ones, they opted for a pseudo-sequel thing that served as a follow-up to the film... and it's not very good.

Here's the deal. You have a movie tied to a license you have, you want to make a tie-in book, but you can't do anything that introduces new lore because that's what sequels are for and anything you add to the lore will more than likely be jettisoned because anything on screen takes precedence over the written word that only some hobbyists will bother to read. In fairness to Ryan Parrott - a guy who has since become the defacto Power Rangers comic book writer - he tried to put out the most compelling story he could for this one shot and perhaps plant the seeds for further adventures that could be explored in comic book form.

The problem is that the story is largely uninteresting. Reanimated putties, convicts merging with Goldar dust, and "what's the deal with that lady" aren't exactly compelling plot points. The Rangers dealing with some of their personal stuff might seem like basic character development, but it feels like spinning the wheels in place; doing just enough to give the impression of growth, but not enough that it feels like proper growth.

At the very least, the art is pretty solid; some muted colors aside, the characters do resemble their movie counterparts just fine (right down to the same clothes, coincidentally enough) and the overall tone of the world is fairly recreated. It's just too bad that the glue that keeps Aftershock from falling apart - the plot - is fairly weak; so much so that the included sampler of the first issue of Boom's MMPR comic comes across as a stronger story by comparison.

COMIC REVIEW - Star Trek: Countdown To Darkness (2012-2013)

Written by Mike Johnson (with Roberto Orci)
Art by David Messina

Much like the previous film, Star Trek Into Darkness - the overall twelfth Trek film and the second in the Kelvin Timeline trilogy of films - got its own prequel comic book series in the form of Countdown To Darkness... and in hindsight, this one hasn't aged all that well.

Don't get me wrong; as a story in a vacuum, it's a fairly traditional Trek story involving a trip to a new planet, the discovering of a reimagined classic character, the depiction of Klingons in this new universe, and an otherwise, fairly entertaining romp. There are some minor inconsistencies in terms of canon - the mention of a previous Starship Enterprise before the one featured in the movie, for example... which I don't believe ever made it to Kelvin canon - but as a standalone adventure, it's a perfectly adequate Trek comic book.

As a tie-in comic, there are a couple plotpoints that tie in to the movie in question, but these are mostly related to comments made in passing in the film. Unlike the first Countdown miniseries or even the Nero miniseries that came afterwards, there's no real reason to dive into this one expecting anything that would further your enjoyment of what has since become a somewhat divisive motion picture.

David Messina's artwork is still pretty much a highlight to these comics and pretty much drive the series onwards. But he's provided artwork for many superior Trek minis. Not quite his best work, but still pretty good.

Countdown to Darkness is fairly basic Trek fare and an underwhelming tie-in comic.

COMIC REVIEW - Star Trek: Nero (2010)

Written by Tim Jones & Mike Johnson
Art by David Messina

The other Trek 09 prequel comic miniseries focuses on Nero and what he's been up to in between the prologue and the rest of the movie many years later. Beginning shortly after George Kirk sacrificed his ship and his life to save the fleeing crew, Nero and his ship are soon ambushed and captured by Klingons, who somewhat resemble the Klingons we're familiar with when they don't have their helmets on.

A lot of the Klingon stuff is based on deleted scenes from the movie and Nero's band eventually make their escape, but there is an additional element that comes into play that gives Nero the answer to where and when to find Spock. I won't spoil it here, but it is a nod to another Star Trek movie that I thought made quite a bit of scene in the larger picture and was a nice fit here.

David Messina returns to art duties here and he hasn't missed a beat. The same kind of colors and character portrayals are pretty spot-on in his own stylized way and his interpretation of the Klingon ships as well as the battle at the end of the series is pretty good,.

Nero isn't quite as good or as essential as Countdown, but it's still a pretty good read and fills in the gap nicely between point A and point B.

COMIC REVIEW - Star Trek: Countdown (2009)

Written by Mike Johnson and Tim Jones
Story Conceived by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman
Art By David Messina, Paolo Maddaleni, Giovanna Niro, and Ilaria Traversi

2009 saw Star Trek get a "reboot" of sorts in the form of what is now known as the Kelvin Timeline.

The story of the Kelvin Timeline involves time travel that created an alternate reality so that these movies can co-exist with the "prime" universe of the previous Trek shows. And so a comic miniseries was conceived to give us some backstory as to how we got to t his point... and while the more recent Picard series (or as I'd prefer to call it, Blunt Talk: The Next Generation) has effectively curtailed Countdown's chances of (already non-existent) canonical status, when it comes to giving that generation of Trek a proper sendoff while also leading us to the next Trek era, Countdown has it nailed.

It tells the story of Nero, a humble minor who assists Spock in attempting to save Romulus from the expanding supernova, but when that doesn't happen, we see his descent into madness and the origin of his mining ship, the Narada. In addition, we get appearances from Next Gen characters such as Jean-Luc Picard (now an ambassador to Vulcan), Data (revived in B4 and now Captain of the USS Enterprise-E), and a couple others even. And they're all true and consistent with how the characters have been portrayed all these years, which is more than what I could say for BTTNG.

This series was my first exposure to artist David M|essina, who had done a prior Trek mini for IDW and would eventually do art for several more Trek series. I like his style; his depiction of the characters are true to form while being somewhat stylized, the various space settings and ships look fairly accurate to what was on screen, and the choice of coloring to create a somewhat somber tone for the book, yet retaining some of the old TNG movie aesthetics is much appreciated.

A pity that this couldn't have been used as a backstory for what would come after and we got Blunt Talk: The Next Generation instead, because in terms of not only providing the backstory for two of the film's key characters, but also giving us a satisfying farewell to the Next Gen crew, Countdown has it nailed to a tee.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Mega Man Maker Level - DTM20 - Weapons Research I

Click the link to play the level:

I uploaded this video and the level last week onto the DTM Archive Youtube channel and held off posting it here as to not take the focus of the week away from the Brodie Lee tribute.

Sat on this one for a year or two and did a couple tweaks before putting it out there. Weapons Research makes use of select Master Weapons and their various abilities. Knowing these abilities is key to survival and there's also some quick swapping required in a couple key moments. A more advanced level than usual... and yes, the boss fight took longer than necessary. I don't care. It's done. Next.

So, this video was posted before the update to v1.7 came around. I've got some Wily Challenges recorded that I'll be prepping and hopefully post in the coming weeks, but that's something I'm hoping to get going again. I miss those things and the new update is fantastic.

Monday, January 11, 2021

The Show Resumes... Somewhat

So now that we got the Brodie Lee tribute week in the books, we can now resume "nonreal" operations... which includes trying to get this 100-Post Challenge on the road... and yes, those do count. And the usual Post Of The Week gimmick will stay linked to the Brodie Lee tribute page, which will have all the linked content on the page.

And with that, we move on to something else...

Some folks might notice that I have changed the colors on the page. While testing some out on the site, I came to the sudden realization that black text on somewhat medium-dark gray backgrounds are difficult to read at a distance and so I made it the boxes lighter... almost white in a way. I haven't had much in the way of complaints in terms of appearance, but it's just something that needed to change.

Over the coming weeks, I'll be making some other minor tweaks to the blog - additional work on the menu and possibly introducing new pages to navigate content on the pages. This is all backburner stuff that will pop up here and there.

Regarding future content... I've touched on this in the recent edition of the DTM-Cast, but I'm attempting the 100-Post Challenge this month and while things have gone to a slow start, things will eventually pick up. All I can tell you is that Sundays and Wednesdays will be the most bulkiest of days. This coming Sunday will feature no less than twenty-four comic reviews... so that's something to look forward... okay, maybe not.

So we'll see what happens... I guess.

Went To Bed Before Midnight For The First Time In A Decade

About a decade ago, I had started a job at a food factory in the evening shift, meaning that I would be finishing past midnight. This inevitably ended up meaning that I would be sleeping at late hours. As the years went on, this became the new normal and I had grown accustomed to it. Even welcomed it.

When I started a day job in the morning, I'd still be up until 12:30 to 1 o'clock in the morning. Partly doing some last minute dubbing or other things in order to get me tired enough to fall asleep. I didn't mind it; it was part of my routine.

Then something happened last night. For the first time in ten years, I went to be at 11:30 P.M.

I couldn't explain it. There was no reason for it. There wasn't anything urgent. There was no change in the routine. I just felt tired, found myself falling asleep, and so I decided to turn it and go to bed. And I'll tell you what. It was the best sleep I had in years.

Part of me is wondering if this was just a one-off. As if the past few weeks of busywork is finally catching up to me and I'm making up for loss sleep. Maybe this is the beginning of a new sleeping pattern. I haven't a clue for sure.

But I guess we'll find out, won't we?


Sunday, January 10, 2021

DTM-Cast - Episode #151

Click the image above to download the MP3.

An impromptu episode discussing the departure of Power Rangers from Netflix as well as the first new episode of Classic Game Room in years. Also, some potential blog updates.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

It's Saturday. You Know What That Means.

We end this week long string of guest video uploads with what I feel is appropriate: the AEW clip of the revealing of the Exalted One and the formal AEW debut of Mr. Brodie Lee.

And I will echo what has been said countless times; if this had been in front of a live crowd, the pop would've been huge and it's unfortunate that he never got that truly monumental reaction that this would've - should've - garnered.

But we should cherish what we got. And while his run was short, it was certainly a glimpse of the greatness that should've been... and that makes this all the more tragic.

Rest In Power, Mr. Brodie.

And thanks.