Thursday, October 30, 2014

Top 5 characters who should be in Super Smash Bros but aren't.

I love the Smash Bros series. Hard to believe this is only the 4th one. Premiering on the N64 back in 1999, I can never remember a time when people weren't playing or talking about this series, despite having so few games in that 15 year time. This is one of those series where the games have so much staying power, where each one only seems to be eclipsed by the next. So much of what's produced by AAA studios doesn't seem to have that. Seems like a game is played and talked about for a few months then forgotten in favor of the latest space marine shooter. Since this series has expanded to include non-Nintendo characters, I thought I would take a look at 5 icons of the cartridge/arcade era who should find there way into a future Smash brothers game.
5) Q*Bert: I can't say I was ever a huge fan of Q*Bert, but it's hard to deny the presence he had in arcades, and early consoles. I even had Q*Bert for the NES and I don't even remember asking for it. I just had it. Not sure how you could make combat work with a character with no arms, but I'm sure Nintendo could think of something.
4) Earthworm Jim: For a few years there in the mid 90's, this guy was huge. Even had his own cartoon show with Dan Castellaneta (the voice of Homer) doing Jim's voice. Earthworm Jim's games had an odd, surreal, and even gross art and humor style, kind of MTV's Liquid Television-ish, which makes him very much a product of his time. I highly doubt a remake or revival would work. But nostalgia is one of Smash's biggest themes isn't it. So this quintessential product of the 90's would fit right in. By the way, this art is by MegaRyan104 on DeviantArt, you should check out his stuff.
3) Vectorman: This "Orb-bot" was the star of two fantastic run and gun platformers on the Genesis late in the system's life span. I reviewed the first one a while back, and this character really deserves to be remembered more than he is. This is also some of MegaRyan104's art.
2) Sparkster: This little guy starred in the Rocket Knight game series, an anthropomorphic medieval steampunk sidescroller game series, of which I reviewed the first one, that, like Vectorman, deserves to be remembered far more than it is. There was a remake of it recently, but it was a digital only game and I hate not having a hard copy so I haven't played it. Still, with swordplay and a jet pack, this character would be a blast to fight as. And the world just needs more Sparkster.
1) Bomberman: I actually had to look up that this guy had not been in Smash already, because I can't believe Nintendo hasn't brought Hudson's flagship character into the fray already. They've worked in Hudson before in the past on the Wario vs Bomberman game Wario Blast. Come on Nintendo, if anything he should have been in there before Pac Man.

So there you have it, my top 5 non Nintendo character who should be in Smash. Don't agree? Well then, make your own damn list.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review of the Week: Axis: Carnage #1 and Mega Man #42

So Carnage is a good guy now...sorta. During the events of the Axis event a spell was cast that altered the personalities of the heroes and villains there, turning the good guys bad and the bad guys good. And now Carnage wants to be a hero, the only problem, he really doesn't know how. Meanwhile there is a new Sin Eater running around who has supernatural, semi Ghost Rider-ish powers. This new Sin Eater kills a news anchor and we see his fellow news anchor, who he was romantically involved with, crying over this in the news cast. Carnage sees this on the news and figures she is a good person and would be able to help him be a hero. Turns out she's not though, she's actually a cold manipulative bitch who is barely even really sad over her lover/co worker's death. Carnage shows up in time to save her from the new Sin Eater and the issue ends with him asking her for guidance.

As a long time Carnage fan I actually enjoyed this issue, despite not liking the plot device that brought us here. In the Axis mini Magneto recruited Carnage among other villains to fight the Red Onslaught by telling Carnage that going hero would be the ultimate random act from him, and after the events of the recent Deadpool vs Carnage mini, Carnage would be desperate to regain that unpredictability. That alone would be a good enough reason for Carnage to go on this misguided attempt at redemption. It wouldn't even be him being actually good, as he would only be doing it out of a sense of spite for people's expectations. That would be considerably more interesting than Carnage forced to be good because of a magic spell. And besides, isn't a spell turning heroes evil and villains good so silver age-ish? Like cornball DC comics silver age no less? Still though this is an entertaining book, and it is interesting to see how messy the road to redemption can be. Definitely worth checking out.
We continue to have Mega Man work his way through the Mega Man III robot masters, this time Shadow Man and Gemini Man. And there really isn't that much more to the plot than that. We do get some interesting flashbacks into Shadow Man's history and his connection to the Stardroids, as well as some solid character development for him, but all and all this issue is filler. One of the faults of this series is it writes with the trade paper backs in mind, and as a result it's had it's share of filler issues over its run. Still, a decent read, but nothing really all that special.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Bechtloff's Podcast: Episode 26

My friend William Rome joined me on my latest podcast. We talk about #GamerGate, horror movies, and frankly a ton of other random topics. This podcast really went all over the place. It was pretty late when we recorded, and I may or may not have been having a little Captain Morgan. Frankly I can't decide if this is my best podcast or my worst. Check it out here and judge for yourself.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Review of the Week: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters #1

This is a crossover I've wanted to see since I was a kid, hell this is a crossover I made happen with my action figures as a kid many a time. The story here is pretty simply that the Turtles go to use a teleporter that Donatello made and end up in the Ghostbusters universe. Also an ancient mystical immortal being called Chi-You ended up there as well, and as the Turtles are fighting it the Ghostbusters arrive to deal with the spirit as well as the "Kung-fu Martians" as Venkman called the Turtles and our issue ends on a cliffhanger. Obviously there is more to it, but why spoil it, go read it yourself.

This was a good start to the crossover. It caught me up to speed as to the current status quo going on in the two respective IDW books for these franchises, and had more than a few nods to long time fans as well as the spirit the Ghostbusters are busting early in the book.
I totally had that toy with the eye that popped out. Also I love how the Paranormal and supernatural is just accepted in this world, people almost having a "Ho-hum, another ghost? Call the Ghostbusters" attitude. The bride at the wedding with Chi-You shows up seems no more annoyed or afraid than if she had found ants in her kitchen. All and all this was a good start to this crossover, but it is a little slow and obviously written for a trade. I miss the days of just 90 page prestigious format crossovers rather than 6 or 12 issue minis. But that's just the nature of comics these days. Still this is a great read and a fans of either franchise should check it out.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hiding behind a dead man's memory.

As GamerGate continues to march on, the anti-gamergate crowd continues to reveal time and time again what types of people they truly are. Apparently Todd in the Shadows saw a Gamergate supporter say "something cruel" to him on Twitter. This person apparently had the JewWario hat in his avi, to commemorate Justin "JewWario" Carmical who took his life earlier this year. Todd then responded with this Tweet:
Yes. He did this. And it's not like the person tweeting at Todd brought it up, he just had the hat symbol on his avi, and Todd decided that was a good enough excuse to use the memory of his dead friend to defend the political beliefs he likely only has because otherwise his feminist girlfriend won't give him any. Because these people have no actual points, because they are on the side of censorship and corruption, and because calling attempts at holding journalists accountable "harassment" are not working, we now have a prominent GamerGate opponent hiding behind the corpse of a dead friend. To be fair, Todd did issue a half assed apology, which I guess is better than claiming his account was hacked like Brianna Wu did after tweeting that Camera Lady was a"gross fucking aspie", so Todd is at least sorta taking responsibility for his actions. Sorta.

Time and time again we see Gamergate opponents act in immature and vile ways, and yet we're all suppose to believe that it is the Gamergate crowd that is the bad guys. Where are the major Gamergate faces and proponents that are behaving this way? There are none. But it really shouldn't be surprising that the side that is fighting for corruption isn't on the moral high ground.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Review of the Week: Spider-man 2099 Vol 2 # 5

For those of you who didn't know, Spider-man 2099 has been stranded in the present day for sometime now. But it seems the main universe isn't the only universe where a Spider-man 2099 is in the present day. We see one where Miguel is in the present day and an Avenger...for some reason. Also we catch up with the Spider-man 2099 who had been a member of the multiverse policing Exiles, only to settle down in one of the universes they saved and apparently start a relationship with that universe's MJ. Needless to say Morlun makes short work of the Avenger Spider-man 2099, which for some reason our Spider-man 2099 somehow kinda felt psychically, and the Exiles version had been monitoring it with Exiles tech, and attempts to warn the version in the main universe only to be killed by Morul right in front of our Spider-man 2099.

Holy balls, this issue was a mess. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but I this has got to be confusing as hell for a lot of people. The Spider-man 2099 that was an Avenger, what the hell is his deal? Had we seen this before? The Exiles one I knew about, since I was a huge Exiles fan, but that would be confusing to anyone who hadn't read Exiles. It seems like some simple narration boxes giving some exposition would have been extremely appropriate here. I'm an old hat at this, as juggling multiple versions and continuities, I've been reading comics for a long time and love mutliverse and alternate universe stories. But even I was a bit lost at times. As I said, it was an enjoyable enough chapter in the Spider-verse saga, but it sure as hell wasn't the remedial class that's for sure. You better brush up on some Marvel Handbooks before you crack this issue open buddy, because it has no time to hold your hand while you figure things out. I don't even know how to score this book or whether or not to recommend it. I guess if you're a Spider-man 2099 expert, or simply don't feel the need to know anything about the Spider-men you're seeing die, then you'll enjoy this book. If not, I think you might just be lost.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Bechtloff's Podcast: Episode 25

In this episode I talk about the supposed hard time girls face in geekdom, why the New 52 is a disaster, and Pacman games. Check it out here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Review of the Week: Amazing Spider-man Vol 3 #7

In this issue Spider-man teams up with that new Muslim teen Ms. Marvel, and I can't even pretend to care. Seriously, I have zero interest in that character. I only read the first few issues of her book, but they felt like they were designed entirely to appeal to the SJW tumblr crowd who complain endlessly about "representation". And frankly the only thing that really caught my attention in this book was the Spider-man UK back up story. In it we meet Billy Baddock, who is, for whatever reason, both the Spider-man and the Captain Britain of his universe and a member of the Captain Britain Corps (which is an organization of Captain Britains from various universes who protect the multiverse). We saw Billy observing the Gwen Stacy Spider-woman back in Edge of Spider-verse #2. Here we see him discovering the threat of Morlun and his clan as he sees them ripping through Spider-men in a few different universes, including the worlds of the Spider-man and his Amazing Friends and the Spider-man Unlimited cartoons. There isn't much more to this little back up story than that, but it does introduce us to Spider-Britain and the nods to those two cartoons were decent fan service.

On one level I acknowledge the fan wankery of this story. Just constant nods to the past of the Spider-man franchise. But this also has the potential introduce a lot of interesting alternate worlds. I really enjoyed the Edge of Spider-verse mini for that very reason. And while this story might be, at least in part fan wankery, as someone who loves both Spider-man and multiverse stories, it's exactly the kind of wankery I'm a sucker for. So despite a few flaws I'm really digging Spider-verse. The main story of this book however held little interest for me. I guess I give the book in total two and a half inter-dimensional murders out of five.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sonic/Mega Man: Worlds Unite announced for 2015

I kinda figured this would happen after it was hinted around back in Mega Man #40, but Archie is going to do a second crossover between these two franchises. And even though I love Sonic, love Mega Man, and love crossovers, I think it's a bad idea. I did a little video explaining why, check it out here.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Bechtloff's Podcast: Episode 24

In this episode I talk about Gamergate, feminists, conspiracy theories, Meghan Trainor, the theological depth of the Hellraiser movies, and more. Check it out here. Also of note, I did a toy review of a Mega Man action figure. Check it out here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Review of the Week: Mega Man #41

This issue begins the story arch where Mega Man fights through the Mega Man III Robot Masters. In this issue he heads up to a space station to fight Top Man and Snake Man, all the while Dr. Wily is still pretending to be reformed and claiming these robots have gone rouge from him and are following the instructions of the now destroyed Ra Moon. This issue actually did a lot to showcase the characters of Snake Man and Top Man and really give them a ton of personality. I was especially surprised how interesting Top Man was, with his flair for the dramatic as he carefully set up his traps for Mega Man. I'm not gonna lie, I always hated Top Man. In fact I listed him as my number one worst Robot Master ever before, but this issue really made me warm up to him a bit. His power still sucks though.

Also this is issue 41 and we're still in Mega Man III territory. We really need to get a move on. I would like to at least get Proto Man past his Break Man time. But maybe this series will start focusing on world building and less on crossovers now. Either was fantastic issue to a fantastic series. I give it five Top Spins out of five.