Sunday, December 16, 2018

The New 52- Forever Evil Aftermath- Batman VS Bane

By Mark Rodriguez

With the Justice League away, the super villains of the DC will play, especially the Batman villains. The Arkham crazies took over Gotham, dividing the city as they see fit... until Bane arrived to take over. Despite Scarecrow leading the charge against him with Venom-powered Arkham crazies... Bane would defeat them all and take Gotham as his city. But now Batman has come back....

The comic opens with Commissioner Gordon thinking about how Bane now runs the city, making it dangerous even though the large evil has already passed. Outside a random guy is auctioning off food, water and medicine to the desperate people in the streets. Bane comes in and slams the guy in a back breaker. He tells the people that the power has returned to them and throws the goods at them.

Cobb shows up and informs Bane that with the satellite feed and news back up soon any army will be coming to Gotham and they can't stand up to them. Bane tells him that the Talons and his own soldiers are already an army. Cobb also scoured the city for weapons and has a bunch ready for Bane and his men. Just then a kid steps up and asks Bane for help.

The child says his mother fell over and she needs medicine since they ran out during the blackout. Bane steps inside his home, and soon steps back out. He tells the kid to bury his mother, and to never seek help again or the wolves of the world will seek him out.

Did.... did Bane just kill the boy's mother??
The Talons watch over the Scarecrow, that's tied up and hanging between buildings on a clothesline. The Talons discuss going to the meet up as Bane requested, but then to continue with their own plans. Just then something defeats the Talons and cuts Scarecrow down. Scarecrow says "He's back...." Cobb heads out to meet up with the other Talons. Suddenly the Batmobile runs him and several other Talons over. Batman then freezes Cobb up and drives off in the Batmobile. The citizens are glad to see he's back.

Bane is hooked up to more Venom until Batman suddenly arrives in his hideout and calls him out. Batman says they took down the Crime Syndicate and now he will take him down. Bane says in his absence, he protected the city from the likes of the Scarecrow, Croc and Clayface. As they fight, Bane leaps out of the window with Batman in his clutches. Batman kicks himself out of his grasp and uses his grappling hook. Bane says Batman relies on his toys, and Bats fights back saying he relies on his Venom. As they fall, Bane lands hard and survives the fall. He says he'll burn in hell before he fears Batman. Batman dives into him yelling out that he is hell.

The two fight it out and Bane bashes Batman against the wall with a giant M from a fallen building. He then tries to drown Bats in a nearby fountain. Bats grabs one of the stone cherubs from the fountain and beats Bane down with it until it falls apart. He then punches Bane with a hammerlock punch. Bane staggers and then drops to the ground, defeated.

Bruce Wayne and Gordon discuss the help they'll be doing as the city starts rebuilding itself. Bane will be locked in Arkham and facing detox as well. Gordon says they have a lot of work ahead of them and Wayne says they rebuilt Gotham before and they can keep doing it until they get it right.

My Opinions-

Wow.. talk about short and to the point. After a few examples of how Bane was running things and how Gotham has degraded itself under new management... Batman basically comes in saying 'So you rule Gotham now? That's cute.' and the kicks his ass and throws him into Arkham. That's... basically it.

Their fight was pretty cool, I mean Batman beat the crap out of him with a fountain cherub. Though I wish it was a bit longer. Animated fights always seem so much and longer and cooler, with epic fight scenes sometimes lasting 5 minutes or so... while in a comic we have a few panels, a 2-page splash-page and the hero stands victorious. Wish the big fight between Batman and Bane was longer.... but still... he beat the crap out of him with a fountain cherub. Awesome.

I guess the only thing really worth of mention was the scene between Bane and the kid. Dude. Did Bane just step inside and kill the boy's mother? Or was she already dead when she collapsed? There is absolutely no indication of either scenario, leaving things completely up for the reader to decide. I know Bane is ruthless, hates weakness and blah blah, but did he really step inside and kill off a poor defenseless sick woman? Geez. I'm glad the kid didn't also ask him to check on his father and kid sister.

Either way, good issue to wrap things up for how Forever Evil affected Gotham City... I guess after this we'll see how things start to get back to normal. Oddly enough the final issue of Forever Evil was delayed so we actually got to see 'The Aftermath' before the actual end of the Forever Evil story.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

The New 52- Arkham War # 6

By Mark Rodriguez

With Batman (along with the rest of the Justice League) presumed dead by the Crime Syndicate, all the Arkham crazies fought it out for control of Gotham. Bane enters the scene with a plan to take control with use of the Talons from the Court of Owls. Scarecrow and his men managed to steal most of them, but Bane used the last remaining Talon as his sidekick and has also started dressing as his own version of Batman as well. Now the Scarecrow has juiced up the Arkham crazies with venom and are ready for the final face-off against Bane.

The story opens with Bane taking some time out in the medical supply room in Blackgate to heal his wounds. Meanwhile Bane's sidekick, Cobb, tells Bane's soldiers that the Talons they captured are all recovering and will be ready to help out soon enough.

Outside, all the Arkham crazies, now even more insane and pumped on Venom have arrived and are about to attack the place. Cobb and the soldiers are unprepared as muscle-bound versions of the Mad Hatter, Poison Ivy and Professor Pyg take them down. Clayface traps Cobb within himself and tells him he lost the war. Cobb asks what happened to them and Scarecrow tells him that he used venom on his men. Bane leaps in and tears Clayface apart, demanding to know where they got his venom. Scarecrow explains it was from his blood and calls out for Man-Bat.

Man-Bat swoops in and grabs Bane, flying off with him as Scarecrow commands the others to kill everyone in sight. Outside, Bane refuses to struggle and lets Man-Bat take him to his destination as helicopters follow him. Bane is dropped in front of Arkham where the villains decide they will finish him. Scarecrow tells him it takes more than a costume to become Batman... he tells them it takes more than his venom to become like him. Bane also tells them that they need to kill him before the effects of the venom wear off.... and everyone jumps on him.

Bane defeats them all as they soon feel the pain of venom withdrawal symptoms as it wears off. Penguin then comes in and congratulates Bane on his efforts. He will give assistance to him and his men in exchange of Bane handing over all the Arkham crazies to him. Bane says he can have all then, expect for one...

Bane rejoices in his victory and takes Gotham City as his to protect.... as his men fly off carrying the Scarecrow's defeated body.

My Opinions-

It was an entertaining read overall. The major characters of this overall story were of course, Bane, and Scarecrow, and hey, they brought back Cobb and the Talons. Everyone else got decent enough screen time, especially Poison Ivy, Mr.Freeze, the Mad Hatter and the crowd-favorite, Clayface. Though I have to admit at times it was hard to tell who was on who's side, we've seen these guys fight against each other just as often as we've seen them fight alongside each other all within what I assume is a few weeks time. And we got to see a lot of the White Rabbit... at least one cameo per issue. Though seeing as Bane was working with her in her first appearance, they should have at least exchanged words.

Overall, it was a fun ride and we get to see a lot of familiar faces. I do wonder where the Joker was during all this? After Forever Evil ends, there's another issue, a one-shot where Batman returns to clean up Gotham. Will Bane be ready?

I do have to say, it was VERY damn clever to sneak in having comics Bane wear the Dark Knight Rises movie-Bane outfit. Even the pose and everything. I honestly did not notice this little detail until it came time to take pictures of the article. LOL

Friday, December 14, 2018

The New 52- Arkham War # 5

By Mark Rodriguez

The Crime Syndicate has arrived and killed the Justice League and now the world belongs to the villains of the DC Universe. While Lex Luthor tries to gather some of the villains that don't want to see their world destroyed, like Black Manta and Captain Cold, to stop the Syndicate... there is a war brewing in Gotham over control as the Scarecrow and his men have captured several Talons and plan to use them to take over. Bane has come and has not taken the persona of Batman, and has one of the Talons, William Cobb, as his personal sidekick. As Bat-Bane and Cobb try to get the other Talons, Scarecrow and his gang have revived the Talons and want to send them after Bane.

The story opens with Gordon and Agatha rescuing people from the Bane Tower. They worked out a deal with the Penguin to get these captives away from Bane.

Meanwhile, the Talons are out on the loose and are killing all of Bane's men. Bane starts fighting the Talons, even when Cobb warns him that they will never stop coming. Bane declares that this was a battle worth waiting for as he starts taking down the Talons. One of the Talons attacks Bane and but the mercenary grabs him and bashes his head into a fire hydrant. He then drowns him in the water splashing out. Cobb alerts him by radio that their vehicle is ready.

Cobb arrives on horseback, with a horse to spare. As Bat-Bane and Cobb get away, Bane's horse is hit by arrows and he is soon knocked off it. As the Talons approach him, Bane says he was anxious to meet them. They fight it out but Bane is soon overpowered. Cobb then appears on the rooftops hanging on to a helicopter blade. He swoops down using the blade as a hang glider and takes all the Talons down. Bane commends him for a plan well executed.

Cobb says that after taking all this damage, the Talons should regenerate, only this time with enough strength to fight off the mind control they were under. Bane pulls the arrows out himself and Cobb says he need medical attention. Bane says he stands alone. They will return to Blackgate to plan for their victory.

Meanwhile, Scarecrow is worried since none of the Talons he sent out have returned, and none of the Man-Bats have come back with information on Bane's death. Eventually the Arkham crazies will just turn against each other and tear themselves apart. Scarecrow ponders his incoming failure, but says he has a back up plan as he spills chemicals on a metallic glove he has stored away.

Scarecrow mentions he was wearing that same glove during his fight with Bane at the Blackgate loading docks and managed to cut him and get a sample of his venom. He has all of Arkham's crazies assembled and wishes a toast to the defeat of Bane. However, not even these psychos are crazy enough to drink Bane's Venom and refuse to drink the wine. Mr. Freeze says he doesn't want to lose his brilliance in exchange for muscle, and Poison Ivy says someone else should be in charge. Clayface says they want to beat Bane, not become him. Scarecrow says he didn't taint the wine he served them.. instead he treated the air they were breathing in the room before he let his guests in. Now all of them, Scarecrow included, are insane with the effects of the Venom and are ready to kill Bane.

My Opinions-

This was a pretty action-packed issue, mostly Bat-Bane taking on the Talons. But wow, it didn't take long for Bane to take control over the Talons away from the Scarecrow. He really is an unstoppable force, and much like the Dark Knight Rises movie, Bane is the man with the plan, but also has the muscle to carry it out. And he has a bunch of mercenaries loyal enough to die for his cause.

We only got to see the other Arkham crazier in the last pages and I love how they still have Professor Pyg chained up in that Hannibal Lecture style psycho-dolly thing. Even they don't trust him, LOL. The Scarecrow is getting ever so desperate here, turning these insane killers into even more insane and powerful killers thanks to the Venom. I assume Scarecrow took some sort of precaution to prevent himself from going completely insane so he could be able to lead his troops into battle. I

 Now that I think about it, this is similar to the Dark Knight's first story in the New 52, where Bane and the White Rabbit were venom-juicing all the Arkham crazies and they were loose all over the city. Only difference is this time Scarecrow is leading the charge against Bane, trying to kill him with his own venom.

... really don't see how any of these guys could do any better against Bane than the Talons could. But I guess we'll see.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Throwback Thursdays- Our Console Firsts (first game after buying game console)

By Mark Rodriguez

It's always fun to remember the games we played in our childhood. It was a different time when most of our concerns were things like getting that high score, or racking up wins in a fighting game for bragging rights. Before rent, bills, filing taxes and adult life. So with this console I'm going to look back at what were the first games we bought for each console, not counting the one that already came with it.

NES- Nintendo Entertainment System- TMNT II The Arcade Game

The NES we bought came with 2 controllers, the NES Zapper and Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt 2-in-1 Game. Mario was a lot of fun and I remember my dad loved playing Duck Hunt.

There wasn't much urgency to get a second game at the time since there were tons video rental stores and we could play stuff like Mega Man 2, Castlevania, Double Dragon and so forth when we needed a break from Mario.

It wasn't until we got TMNT II The Arcade Game for Christmas that year that we had a blast. We were already huge fans of the arcade game, so this was our favorite game for the NES too. While the arcade's plot dealt with the Turtles fighting the Foot and rescuing April and Splinter, the manual made it sound like this was Shredder's revenge after his defeat at the end of the first NES TMNT game, which originally had nothing to do with the arcade. Now due to the NES limitations the game only allowed for 2-player action, and the graphics and gameplay were severely toned down when compared to the original. The addition of new stages and new bosses made it exciting enough though. Back then it was the only way to bring the arcade home.

Another funny thing to note was the Pizza Hut had a promotion with the game. Buying the game gave you a coupon for some pizza. The game itself was plastered with Pizza Hut billboards and advertisement wherever they could fit them in the game. I'm glad Pizza Hut is still around of the game would have been seriously dated.

SNES- Super Nintendo Entertainment System- TMNT IV Turtles in Time

The SNES we got came with two controllers and Super Mario World.

I have to say, Super Mario World was a blast. It was a lot of fun and there were a lot of worlds and challenges to explore. As big Ninja Turtles fans though, we just had to get a SNES when we found out they were doing the second arcade game.

TMNT IV was a feast for the eyes as the SNES really made the game as close to the arcade as it possibly could. Basically Krang stole the Statue of Liberty and when the Turtles try to get it back, Shredder blasts them to different eras through time. The stages include stuff like Prehistoric Times and the future. It was still missing 4-player action, but the game was so fast paced that it was fun with 2-players regardless. The music was awesome, the colors were vibrant, new boss characters were added in, possibly the only downside was that the game was so easy. We had to stop ourselves from beating it on the first day because we didn't want the novelty to die so fast.

This game was so beloved (and easier to get to than the arcade version) that for many people this was the definitive version of Turtles in Time. When Ubisoft did a 3D remake called TMNT Turtles in Time Re-Shelled, fans complained that they decided to remake the original arcade instead of the SNES version. I mean, the SNES version had Slash after all.

SEGA Genesis- TMNT Hyperstone Heist

The Genesis came with Sonic the Hedgehog and one controller

So yeah, you can see the pattern here. We were big TMNT fans. Once we heard about Hyperstone Heist, we had to get a Genesis. Since the console came with one controller we figured we'd have to make do with Sonic until we buy a second controller and finally Hypstersone Heist... except Sonic was a lot of fun. The gameplay was different enough from Mario and I liked the speed as well as the cooler music and graphics.

TMNT Hypserstone Heist was basically this bizzare fusion of Turtles in Time, the original arcade game and some new stuff sprinkled in. Shredder uses the Hyperstone to shrink down New York and the Turtles have to stop him. Since the game takes place in modern day, they took some of the time travel stages from Turtles in Time and adjusted them to look like modern day locations. I guess Konami wanted to cut corners and re-use a lot of Turtles in Time graphics and stuff, but I wonder why they didn't just port Turtles in Time right off the bat. The game did feel a bit faster, and you can actually dash by pressing a button as opposed to it happening by itself in the arcade/SNES as you kept walking. My favorite part will always be the Gauntlet where all the old bosses return. It reminds me of the X-Men arcade.

One thing to note about this game was that one of the bosses was Tatsu, Shredder's right hand man from the first 2 live action movies.

Game Boy- Super Mario Land

The Game Boy came with Tetris and a Game Link Cable

We finally break the TMNT trend with the Game Boy. While we did get TMNT games for that one eventually, the first game was got for this one was Super Mario Land. We had fun with Tetris though, thanks to the Link Cable, Johnny and I would play against each other a lot.

Super Mario Land was a bizzare game. It was kinda like the original Super Mario Bros but you faced all new enemies and the main villain was a space alien named Tatanga that kidnapped Princess Daisy instead of the usual Princess Toadstool/Peach. Even the enemies that look like Goombas and Koopa Troopas were given different names in the manual. The most interesting addition in the game are stages where Mario mans a sub or a plane and shoot the enemies. In fact the final battle is a shoot out in the skies between Mario and Tatanga!

Sony Playstation- Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha

The Sony Playstation came with 2 controllers and a disc that had several previews and games on it including Parappa the Rappa.

At this time we were big on fighting games, and the local arcade in Mexico was starting to bring over PS and XBox games to play the newer fighters. It was cheaper for them to bring in the consoles than Tekken and Soul Calibur game cabinets.

We went on a trip where we were able to get the Playstation AND SF EX Plus Alpha, right after seeing it in the arcades the week before. The game brings Street Fighter to the 3D polygon era and mixes in the Street Fighter characters with original characters created by Arika like Kairi and Allen Snider. I guess the 'Plus Alpha' name comes from the fact that the PS version of the game added Sakura, who at the time was Street Fighter's newest sensation.

Johnny and I played the hell out of this game. It had enough familiar characters, original characters and hidden characters to keep our interest. The main gameplay feature was the ability to cancel Super Combos into each other. The Arika characters were so well liked that they were featured in their own games without the Street Fighter characters, namely Fighting Layer and Fighting Layer EX.

Sony Playstation 2- A whole bunch of games

The PS2 came with 2 controllers and as far as I can remember, a FIFA game. We got rid of it soon enough.

So when we bought the PS2, it was at a whim. It was in the store and it was at a decent price. However upon buying the home console... we kinda forgot that the fact that we lived in a part of Mexico where videogames weren't readily available. Luckily we had EB Games and they had no problems shipping stuff to Mexico. However the packages were sent through a packaging service rather than regular mail, so it took us a while to get them.

So in one fell swoop we got KOF 2000/2001, KOF 2003/2003, Dead or Alive 2, Street Fighter Anniversary Collection, DBZ Budokai 2 and the first TMNT 2003 game... all in one shot. Needless to say, we were gaming like crazy every night on all of these games. DBZ Budokai 2, DOA and TMNT were fun games and we loved having the KOF games finally in our own home.

Nintendo DS- Pokemon Diamond

I decided to get back into Nintendo, or at least the handheld consoles since I like Street Fighter and King of Fighters too much to give up a new XBox or Playstation. As far as I can remember, the Nintendo DS I bought came with no game, so luckily I bought Pokemon Diamond right away.

I missed out on the Pokemon craze, so I never got to play the earlier Game Boy and Game Boy Advanced games, so I got to start with what was, at the time, the newest most advanced looking Pokemon game at the time. The graphics and music were pretty cool and I was capturing and leveling up my Pokemon in no time. The plot, other than going out on a quest to 'catch them all', also dealt with a new villain group, Team Galactic, wanting to kidnap Pokemon for their evil deeds. Combine this with also trying to beat all the Gym Leaders and a lot of exploration, dungeons and Pokemon to capture and level up, and you got a good game that will give you hours of fun. It was the perfect game for me to get used to my brand new DS.

X Box 360- Street Fighter 4

X Box 360 came with one controller and Sonic Tennis. This version did not include a hard drive.

The odd thing was we got the X Box 360 thanks to a deal with our phone company in Mexico. As you paid your phone bill every month we were paying down the cost of the console. The main reason we chose the 360 over the PS3 was because it was cheaper. Eventually when we returned to the US of A, we bought the hard drive and wireless wifi adapter so that we could hop onto X Box Live.

We were quick to pick up the original Street Fighter 4 and play the hell out of it, after buying a second controller that is. The game was a lot of fun and brought back the original 16 fighters with all new graphics and moves, as well as some new characters. Probably the biggest shock was that the game that actually had hidden characters.... within the actual game without it being DLC!!! This game was also the first time that we saw Gouken, Ryu and Ken's master in the actual game as well.

Sony Playstation 4-  King of Fighters 14/Mortal Kombat XL

The PS4 only came with one controller and no game.

The reason I put two games here wasn't because I bought them at the same time. I actually bought King of Fighter 14 BEFORE ever getting a PS4. This was mainly due to me knowing that I could not pass this game up and I knew that somehow someday I would eventually get a PS4. That day finally happened last year during a good Black Friday deal.

KOF 14 is fun and packs 50 characters right off the bat. I do need Johnny to stop by and visit some time for some VS matches.

Mortal Kombat XL was the 'complete collection' version of Mortal Kombat X that has all the DLC characters already available. I missed out on the original MKX due to getting a PS4 rather late into the game. The good thing though is now I had the chance to buy games like MKXL and Tekken 7 at a good reduced price.

So those were the game consoles that I picked up and the games that I first purchased after getting them. Video games have come a long way since the days of the NES, and they're not going away any time soon. What consoles do YOU own, and what game did you first buy once you got that console?

So is this live action Sonic?

By Mark Rodriguez

So this pic hit the internet and I swear after monents of me discovering it, my co-workers were already talking about it after discovering it on their own.

I still don't know what to think, but he looks a little closer to Sonic than the silhouette we saw before with more human-sized arms and legs. His eyes are in fact seperated like the producers said they would be, since they feel it would look more realistic than the bizzare eyes Sonic (and Knuckles) have.

On top of that the guys that worked on Sonic Team and even the creator of Sonic himself are not happy with the design and what was done about his eyes. C'mon guys, not even SEGA is happy. One of my co-workers said and I quote, "he looks like a failed Looney Tunes character."

Again the movie will star James Marsden as Sonic's buddy and Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik.

What are your thoughts on what could possibly be Sonic's live action look in the new movie coming out in 2019?

The first Sonic the Hedgehog game came out on the SEGA Genesis in 1991, making him SEGA's mascot. The storyline of most of his almost countless games back then involve the super speedy blue blur save his world from the mad scientist Dr. Robotnik/Eggman. Time will tell how they'll adapt this on the big screen.