Sunday, June 16, 2013

Man of Steel: The Superman move we have Long Deserved

Greetings all.

Caught a showing of Man of Steel this weekend. I found the movie to be very enjoyable; far superior to the Superman Returns movie from 2006. Personally I think Man of Steel is even a better Superman movie than the ones done by Christopher Reeves. In my not-so humble opinion, this movie does a excellent job of being an origin film/reboot of the franchise as well as being a superhero action movie.

While some may disagree, I found the splicing of the childhood/backstory bits into select parts of the movie whole to work well. The intro sequence showing the fall of Krypton was also handled very well, setting up the initial mood and tone of the film and preparing the audience for the story and action to come.

On that note, the super-powered action of this movie is very well done. The masterful blend of CG and the actors in-play is something that could never have really been done before; outside of an animated feature of course. It is my opinion that this kind of Superman movie could not have been made prior to this point; a movie that does a good job of showing just how powerful Superman can be, as well as showcasing the kind of foes and challenges he should be pitted against.

Do not look to this movie for petty problems of a simple megalomaniac madman obsessed with economic schemes and land-grabs. An entity such as Superman deserves opponents who can challenge him; if not purely physically then by the scale of their menace or by their intelligence. For this first movie we see a bit of those first two; his strength tested as well as an assortment of foes of near-equal caliber. We will have to wait to see if further movies in this franchise will handle the  intelligence of the character with the same aplomb.

This movie finally gives the DC franchise a better leg to stand upon; matching the bar set by the Nolan Batman movies. One would hope that the tragic mistakes of Green Lantern are learned from (and that movie is ignored and not drawn upon for a sequel). This movie is primed for a sequel, and should be used as a key to unlock the rest of the potential inherent in the DC catalog of characters.

A little more time is needed before Green Lantern is tried again (and do it better next time!) but I think the stage is now set for a few of the other major IP's. In my not-so humble opinion, The Flash should be high up on the list of properties to try again. The super-speed combat demonstrated in Superman would transition well to a new movie about the fastest man alive.

What next for superman? Well this movie has set the bar; as a standalone hero (barring a Justice League movie) there are still threats and enemies to draw upon that are suited to the kind of cinematic storytelling possible. DC may wish to stay away from Darkseid however; as Marvel is already pursuing that goal with Thanatos and the Avengers/Galactic Guardians (I presume). Doomsday would work better for a later movie in the franchise (say the 3rd+) or for the Justice League to handle.

As (far as we know) Kryptonite is not an issue with this current Superman, so Metallo may not be a good choice. Right after Zod Braniac may not be thematically appropriate either. Mongol would only be a good choice if a Lantern reboot is in the cards. Luthor may have to be the villain of choice for the second movie; especially if he tries to match superman not just intellectually but also physically with advanced technology.

Do I recommend this movie? Hell yes. Well worth the price of admission.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

GU Comics: (almost) 13 years of hillarity and going

Greetings all.

It's rare for a Webcomic to last any length of time. Many fall by the wayside; and few of those who have tried to do it professionally have succeeded. One of my all-time favorite webcomics has always been GU comics; as the quality of the run has been good since the very beginning. My largest complaint is how some of the most recent material has diverged from the 'roots' of the comic in my opinion; but one must write (or in this case draw & write) about what one knows, neh?

As of July 10th next month GU Comics will be 13 years old unless I am quite mistaken. Thus far it has been a good run, but of late there have been concerns that Woody would have to call it quits. A professional webcomic artist (and artist, he does commissions) his comic used to be far more popular; but its readership waned... and more importantly the crash of the advertising revenue model really threw a spanner in the works.

Definitely worth a read in my not-so humble opinion. MMO and gaming veteran's may also get some good laughs from the older comics; it makes for a good stroll down memory lane.

Hot Sauce Review: Sriracha from Huy Fong Foods

Greetings all.

No, not a paid advertisement, just a little post about something very delicious. As a lover of spicy food (and sauces to make food better) I have been a user of this brand for quite a while. I do believe I first discovered it thanks to an awesome local Chinese buffet, and have been hooked ever since.

Some hot sauces, to my own tongue, do not really have a discernible flavor beyond the burn. Sure hot can be good, but not at the expense of taste. An ideal hot sauce is one that combines a high heat factor, with a good mouth feel and flavor. I must thus commend the folk at Huy Fong Foods for a good recipe and, more importantly, a quality that has sustained itself over years.

One bottle of hot sauce can be good, but it is even better when the level of quality of the product can endure for many long years.

Outside of restaurants, I have made use of Sriracha in cooking (as an ingredient) as well as an additive right at the table. It goes well with noodles and rice (of many sorts) and mixes well with Chinese, Japanese, Indian and other cuisines as well. Many a cheap microwavable oriental-flavored meal has been saved from mediocrity by a squirt of this red-deliciousness.

Don't expect a numerical rating of this product, as I do not tend towards those sorts of arbitrary numerical reviews. This stuff is good, try a bottle. If they stopped selling it in my area, I would be horrified. I like it, you may not, consider yourself warned as it can be very hot if applied in abundance.

Enjoy the burn.

CthulhuTech the Movie: Pacific Rim

Greetings all.

Longtime fan of the Cthonian Mythos as originally penned by H.P. Lovecraft and extended by innumerous other authors. It was a damn shame that the Mountains of Madness Movie was canceled and all of the other Cthonian movies (of which there are many good ones) have all been B-films and fan projects.

I have also long enjoyed Cthulhu-inspired gaming, from the old staple of Call of Cthulhu to things like Cthulhu dor d20/D&D and so forth. A number of years ago I came across a rather lovely game system & setting known as CthulhuTech. Check it out, it's awesome. Fans of Guyver should also be rather happy with the Taggers and other entities as well I would imagine.

In any event, you can imagine my surprise and interest when Pacific Rim was announced a while back. Naturally I immediately thought of CthulhuTech and I do wonder if anyone involved in dreaming up and producing the movie was aware of the game. It's not a far cry to imagine the Jaegers as prototype Engles; and that despite how horrible things have become in Pacific Rim (according to the trailers) that the worse horrors have yet to arrive.

Personally I hope the movie does well; and unless the threat is entirely eliminated in the scope of the movie, that the universe established is not left to rot.

IMNSHO the world needs more Cthulhu-inspired movies and games that are handled as well as I hope Pacific Rim is (and that I know CthulhuTech has been). Nuff said.

Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade - Doubts and Concerns

Greetings all.

It seems the Dark Gods have more 40k joy in store for us. However pleased I was at the news of another attempt at a 40k MMO (I still think Dark Crusade would have been good) I do have quite a few doubts and concerns about this project. Most of which are centered around the studio who will be developing the game.

Eternal Crusade will be brought to us by the folks at Behaviour Interactive. Many folk will be forgiven for not knowing who they are of course. While they have quite a few games under their belt, none of the titles I am personally familiar with are all that great (Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Wet, etc.). with only one or two (Dante's Inferno) being ones I have played and found rather enjoyable.

The four faction choices we can pick from (Chaos, Space Marines, Orks and Eldar) are sensible for the first picks. We have yet to learn though which Chaos Space Marines (and Loyalist of course) will be playable. Personally I am hoping it will not be limited to just one Legion or Chapter per side; customization would be nice.

Some of the stated goals for the project are rather ambitious. Each player getting their own ship, guilds being able to bombard planets, player-controlled quest generation, dynamic & hazardous weather, etc. A pretty tall older; especially for folks who have been burned by the two previous Warhammer MMOs (Warhammer: Age of Reckoning and the aborted Dark Millennium).

Other than some hopes and promises, we have nothing else solid yet. Only some concept art, and some voice samples. Meatier discussion on this IP will come in time of course, but information as of this post is thin. Personally I think it would have been wise to wait to announce the game till there was more concrete info & something to show off. We will have to wait and see.

Speaking of waiting, a 2015 release date for the game seems pretty close. This leads me to believe that the game has already been in development for a while (6-12 months perhaps) but I could be quite mistaken.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Boundless Stars Webcomic: Batch 61-65

Gotten a little busy with other things (and taking a break form all things Starbound for a while). Had expected to get to 70, but I will have to come back to this project later. Here is 61-65 that I finished up a little while back.
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