Did you catch the season final of Star Wars the Clone Wars? Did you cry like a baby at the end (if the answer is no you are a heartless Sith spawn and I hope you take a light saber to the knee)?!
Over the last four weeks The Clone Wars has taken fans on an emotional ride centered around fan favorite Ahsoka Tano. The padawan of Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka has been a strong and positive female character and a fantastic counter balance to Anakin. Her youthful energy played well off Anakin. She was hopeful and at time doubted herself and her place in the world. She was caring and grounded Anakin and as their relationship grew you could only wait for the outcome that longtime Star Wars fans tried to wish away.
The animated Clone Wars takes place between Episode II and Episode III..in which Ahsoka does not appear. It is in Episode III that Anakin finally makes his decent into darkness becoming the Sith lord Darth Vader. Ahsoka’s absence from Episode III left fans to speculate what her finale fate during the shows run would be. Would she escape the fate of the other Jedi that died due to Order 66? Would she meet her final end before the end of the animated series? As season five teased its four-part ending focusing around Ahsoka answers to those questions were dangled before out eyes. One sound bite at a time presented in a tantalizing trailer.
In the end it lived up to the billing. A fantastic four part ending that toyed with your emotions and sent Anakin even farther down his path towards the dark side. It was bitter-sweet. Ahsoka is proven innocent only to still be lost to fans of the show as she exited in the closing scene. Not knowing where the Jedi order fit in her life she chose to leave on her own terms until she could sort things out for herself.
For a season (and now it seems series final) it was all you could ask for and more than you could have hoped for.
My lack of blogging has nothing to do with forgetting my password. Totally the truth (mostly) yet the real reason has been lack of time to compose my thoughts into something that made any sense at all. Or at least made sense to someone who was not cracked out on cold medication and a metric shit ton of candy.
Since my last entry life has taken several dramatic changes that struck like a bolt of lighting out of the blue. So much has happened that I could spend the next several months just trying to play catch up. Which would make me late to the party as far as comic book related topics are concerned. A vs X has come and gone after hanging around just a tad to long for my liking. DC has already had to shuffle the new 52 a couple of times leaving me unimpressed with most of the titles and willing to part with most of the ones I am reading. If I am going to stick to my guns about being honest…Marvel and DC are just not doing it for me right now. I have sworn off Spider-Man until they undo the voodoo they did to one of my favorite characters. I would rather give my money every months to Red 5′s Atomic Robo, Darkhorse and their Star Wars titles and IDW’s TMNT books.
Talking about comics for a minute..have you ever had to move your whole collection? That is facing me right now. I am not sure if I should be proud that I need a moving truck just to get my comics to their new home..or if I should be worried that I might need some sort of 12 step program. The growth of your collection is one of those things that can just get away from you. You don’t notice the number of short boxes you have accumulated until you actually have to move them. I could have sworn the last time I looked it was only 10 boxes. Somehow over the last couple of years those 10 boxes has exploded into (number withheld to keep people from urging a 12 step program is needed)…
Anyone feel like helping a comicaholic move?
I have been on a quest, at quest that has taken me deep into my inner Geek and into the world of the Dr. I have even been able to drag a few friends along with me and have converted them into Dr. Who fans. This journey was spurred on not out of boredom like most of my journeys but out of wanting to experience Dr. Who from start to finish in order. I have been a fan of the modern Dr. Who for years and have been watching it as I can when it runs on BBCAmerica. The only problem is I keep catching it all out-of-order and for a person that loves continuity it has always bothered me that I have not been able to watch the show in the proper order.
I had started my journey by trying to snag the seasons off Ebay so I could enjoy them at my own pace over the summer but to be honest..wow..getting the six seasons in physical form and not having to hand out body parts as payment did not seem plausible. Then I did something spur of the moment and got a Kindle Fire. What does this have to do with the Dr.?! How can this have to do with a space man in a big blue box?! My Kindle came with a free month of Amazon Prime which just happens to have Dr. Who as one of the shows you can stream for free with an Amazon Prime account. A journey that I had planned to spread out over the summer I have now crammed into just about two weeks. I have just finished with season 4 as well as the David Tennant specials which bring an end to my favorite Dr. (the 10th played by Tennant) and lead into the current Dr. played by Matt Smith.
It has been a fantastic two weeks Dr. wise as everything has finally been laid before me in proper order for once. What I have discovered not only in my own reviewing of episodes but in talking with my friends about them is that we all have unique experiences with the show. The only thing in common is a steadfast devotion to Rose Tyler played by Billie Piper who is the first companion of the modern Dr. I can’t even think of Dr. Who without thinking of Rose and the 10th Dr. As important as the companions that follow her are to ever-expanding mythos of the good Dr. it is Rose that seems to shine the brightest.
Rose is so essential to laying the down the core of who the Dr. evolves into so much so that you can’t have the brilliance that is the 11th Dr. and Amy Pond with out the ground work laid out in the three years of the 10th Dr. and Rose (both in her full run of season three and her guest spots there after).
I don’t want this to turn into a Rose love fest but I just can’t help but gush at how powerful her guest appearances are after season 3. They are some of the most uplifting yet at times heart wrenching moments of the series. I had thought nothing could top the end of season three when the Dr. vanishes before her eyes leaving both of them heart-broken. One can only guess (and hope) that he was on the verge of telling Rose that he loved her before vanishing. This moment is so well scripted and acted that even the hardest heart will waver for a moment. The loss of Rose in his life impacts his relationship with Martha and Donna who both in their own ways in part help ease the pain of her loss (she gets stuck in an alternative dimension which the Dr. has to seal off preventing her return in order to save reality).
Dr. Who is one of those shows that rewards long time viewers by having plot threads that span multiple seasons. A seemingly simple plot point from one season could pay off bit time seasons later with fantastic results. It can take you on an emotional roller coaster making you laugh one moment and scream bloody murder at it the next. Simply put it is one of the best Sci-Fi shows on TV due to great scripting and high production value. You need to give this a try if you have not given into the greatness that is the Dr.
Someone is getting paid a lot of money to mess up a perfectly fantastic cartoon. If you have not heard about the cancellation of Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes then I just burst the happy bubble you have been living in. It has been confirmed that season two will be the final season for this current animated incarnation of the Avengers.
What is the cause for this travesty?! How dare they!? I will stab someone with a pro-tractor! Ok..maybe not a protractor but I am sure at least one of those thoughts might have crossed your mind. Why cancel a perfectly good and frankly well received show? Well if you want the honest truth it is being canceled to make way for an all new Avengers Assemble animated show with a cast that looks a lot like the line up from the recent movie (ya know little film called the Avengers made a bit of money and such).
I am all for putting the ax to bad television but I have a huge problem with putting it to good television. The only logical reason I can see for this is that Marvel might be looking to do for its animated shows what it has done for its movies: give them continuity. This is the only reason that makes sense. I hope it is something logical like this and not the result of Marvel big wigs gathered in a room piss drunk throwing darts at an idea board.
If I am being honest that last option sounds more plausible. At least we will have the DVD’s!
I would offer a half-hearted apology for taking so ruddy long between pots but 2012 has turned into a bit of a hot mess. The only calming factor has been the printed word as I have buried myself in books both comic and the more traditional form (At up to a total of 61 books read for the year). A great deal of this comes from having survived a pressure cooker that has been the last two months in terms of work and personal loss. For about three weeks I basically lived at work as we took a hard hit from some mutating flu/cold monstrosity that crippled the office staff. I somehow avoided it which resulted in three weeks of 16 hour days and at one point a nine-day stretch of looking at the horribly bland walls of the call center (honestly hang a freaking painting or something or I shall go nutty and have at a passer-by with office supplies).
When I thought I was at my wit’s end I lost a dear friend to a long-term illness and then a friend tried to hang herself..twice. So it has been a very long time coming that I sit down and try to decompress from everything. As life seemed to start to return to normal I lost a close family friend to a long time battle with cancer.
When I was in the third grade I first met Mr. Hall when my family moved to its current home. He reminded me a lot of wise old sage whose smile always hinted that he knew something you didn’t. He was always kind to my family and at a traumatic moment in my life he and his wife without hesitation took my brother and I in when a medical emergency took my parents states away. That is the kind of person he was. Always there to lend you his ear or help you when you needed it most.
On a more positive note I would like to mention though..that if you find yourself in a bookstore looking for something to read I suggest you try Simon Morden’s Samuil Petrovich trilogy (Equations of Life, Theories of Flight and Degrees of Freedom) as they are just fantastic.
Since last I wrote X-23 and Daken: Dark Wolverine have also put out their last issues and Avengers vs X-Men has started and my comic book friends are picking sides and calling each other names. The only bright spot in all of this for me comic book wise has been the announcement that there will be two Atomic Robo books on the shelves at the same time!
Then there was that one strange dream I had where a dear friend asked if she could borrow my robot with the death ray that shoot out its arse. I awoke to the phone ringing and distinctly remembered muttering “how did she know where the death ray was”…
Until next time..
and no..you can’t borrow my robot minions that shoot death from their arses.
The start of a new year is supposed to recharge your batteries, usher in a sweeping sense of change and lighten your spirits. At least that is the story everyone keeps trying to shove down my throat.
I have spent a lot of the new year with my nose stuck in a book. Actually about 11 so far. Some people when faced with a bucket full of suck will bury their sorrows in shopping or drink or random acts of stupidity (like trying to be a ninja only to wind up almost de-nutting themselves with home-made nun chucks), me I tend to crawl in a hole and read. I have set a tentative goal of reading 24 books this year as I figured that two books a month sounded like a good idea. Then I ended up reading 9 books in January. Ever so slowly I am starting to crawl out of the funk that has thus far made 2012 a year that I can’t wait to see the end of.
This in part stems from facing new financial difficulties (much like most of the country) as I have had to yet again tighten the belt due to a cut in pay as the University I work at looks for ways to cut into a budget deficit. Living in one of the poorest counties in NY I am just glad that I have a job yet I still like many American’s have to work more than 40 hours a week just to pay the monthly bills. In trying to come up with a more stream lined budget we cut out the things we don’t need (eating out or going to the movies) but as someone who has already shrunken his monthly budget four times in the last 12 months it gets to a point where enough is enough. At what point do we give up and start living like a hermit?
For me the only thing I do other than commute to work and back is enjoy myself a stack of comics every week, that is when I am not raiding the library for books. I have even stopped buying books, movies and video games either at all or new. Mostly if I end up buying these items I am getting them off Ebay for a fraction of the cost even when shipping is considered. Why the hell should I pay $60 bucks for a game brand new when I can wait and get it on Ebay for say $15 after shipping? This is something I used to do a lot but have limited myself to once every other month if that. The only real non-essential spending I do every month is comic books.
This one beloved part of my identity, this one shining beacon every week that keeps me sane, is the one thing that seems to always take the hit when push comes to shove. As my monthly pay has shrunk I have sat down and taken a hard look at my pull list (60-70 titles strong once mini series are included) and sat myself the task of cutting it to 20 titles. I have again discovered that cutting titles is like asking yourself with toe you would like to have cut off to save your foot. You can say to yourself that it will be an easy task then you actually look at the list and have to start cutting..and all of a sudden they all become the toe you just can’t see yourself living with out.
It has taken me a month to narrow down the titles that I consider “must have” and then sort out the rest. During this time Marvel, DC and now Boom have announced the ending of at least 10 series on my list. So in part all I have to do is just ride it out until the ending of these series and just focus on every thing else. Still this slow torture piled upon all the other random odd ball things that have added to the “meh” have me down in the dumps.
I shall endeavor to crawl out of this funk. Some new Atomic Robo will do wonders so the next issue can’t get here fast enough.
It has taken me at least five tries to come up with an intelligible way to put my thoughts into text for this one. Sometimes when you are passionate about a subject you just want to blurt it all out and let someone else make sense of your mumble jumble. So here is my back to the wall all in effort to get this off my shoulders.
I freaking love the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I am not talking about love as in clinging to a fading childhood memory of Saturday mornings long past. I am talking about the kind of love that still to this day will get me dragged into a debate over who is the top Turtle. To the point that I have to struggle to keep my inner child under control so that he does not kick you in the shin for not getting that Rafael is hands down the best.
The love for those Turtles began with a cartoon and spread to a toy line that easily takes the top spot as my childhood favorite. Then there was that overly addicting arcade game that between what my brother and I pumped into it in quarters could have easily bought one of us a semester at college. To put it in better perspective as much as I loved Transformers and G.I. Joe I LOVED the turtles more. I can’t even fathom the number of hours my brother and I spent playing Turtles. Rafael was my constant companion and never far from my reach. Sure I still collect G.I. Joe and Transformers but I actually hunt for Turtle collectibles. One of the first things I bought when getting back into comics was a giant Raphael action figure.
As a kid, when the trailer for the live action movie played on the family tv my brother and I giggled. I remember this fondly because of all the bonds of youth the Turtles remain the one thing that still holds to this day. Sure we talked about the Transformers movies and G.I. Joe but when the CGI Turtles movie came out it was the only movie we saw together. It was like being kids again and talking our mom into taking us to see the live action one all those years ago. With our kids in tow we waited in line and talked about the trailer and what we wanted to see and again my brother tried to convince me that Donatello was the better Turtle. He then fell back on his “Leonardo can kick the crap out of Raphael so how can Raph be the best” argument. The one that he kept bringing since childhood. Needless to say the finger he flew me when Raphael hands Leonardo his shell part way through the movie was utterly priceless. The only thing better than that beat down was seeing the suppressed giggle on the face of my brother’s wife when you see that Donatello has taken a job working as a technical services call handler (my brother works in IT for a drug store company). I couldn’t help but patting him on the shoulder and whispering “See you guys are not only both bald but have a crappy IT job!”. He could only mutter at the both of us to shut up.
It just brought back a happier time for the both of us and at least in me re-sparked the need to consume all things Turtle again. I hunted down the live action movies on DVD and started to collect the animated series from when I was a kid. Half of the joy for me this time around though was being able to share them with my son who was quickly won over and loved watching them just as much.
So you would have to imagine that I would have been overjoyed when it was announced that IDW would be launching an all new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles monthly series. In part I my interest was at least raised but my inner grump was horrified. Instantly the bar set for this series was set high for some reason I couldn’t figure out. Was it that I didn’t trust IDW? I couldn’t think of any reason to doubt them off the top of my head. So I couldn’t put my finger on what it was that had me wanting to march about singing the doom song (and then drown my sorrows in waffles).
As the launch date for the first issue closed in I placed my order for the first issue with my supplier of all things comic related and waited. I was quite literally more nervous for this than anything else in my life. I think deep down it was a fear that my beloved Turtles would be handled wrong. Maybe it was the constant letdown I had felt from other books in recent months that I just had this deep sense of doom that I would only be let down by something that I truly loved. Then I noticed something that I had somehow overlooked in all my doom and gloom. There was a name on the promo image of the cover for issue #1 that sparked that glimmer of hope. Eastman. With that one simple name the clouds started to part. If he was working on this then it had to be good right? For the love off nun-chucks if the man who helped create the Turtles was shaping this then there had to be hope!
I get about 90% or more of my comics in the mail so they arrive normally the Monday or Tuesday after they actually hit the store shelves. That Monday after the series launched I sat in my car outside the post office and tore my box of comics open. I looked with wide eyes at the Raphael variant cover edition that sat in the box (this was fate it had to be) and just sat there for a few moments. I read it twice. Then again when I got home. It was not good. It was fan-freaking-tastic! This was the turtles re-imagined for a new generation but done in a way to nod at all those who have loved them for decades. What IDW and Eastman are doing with this new series and the spin-off micro series are just excellent. They are crafting something special. Something that has heart and looks to the future while honoring the past. The supporting cast for the new series is full of old faces with fresh new looks. Casey Jones is back and is playing a large role and the developing relationship between he and Raphael is shaping up nicely. April O’Neil is there but in a different role this time and her place in the new Turtle book is yet to be fully cemented but she is there even if it is not as a reporter (yet).
The draw of the Turtles is powerful. I know people who have returned to comics because of this book alone. With a new TV series coming from Nickelodeon it looks like the future of my favorite mutants is on firm footing. It almost makes me want to kick back and play Ninja Rap until all those around me run from the building screaming. Oh the heck with it! Thank me later!