Darth Vader #1- by Charles Soule

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Darth Vader #1- by Charles Soule

Last week we received the new installment to the Darth Vader legacy. Marvel had already released a Darth Vader comic series that was released during the time of Episodes 4 and 5. Marvel decided to head into a different direction and allows us to pickup the tale from the end of Episode 3 and the infamous “NOOOOOOOOOOO!”

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This issue was very ‘Light Saber” heavy. We received the information on what makes a Sith’s blade crimson red. Sith sabers are no different from a Jedi saber. Any Kyber Crystal can be wielded by a Sith, and since Kyber Crystals are alive in a way, they can feel pain. A Sith will use the Dark Side to torture the crystal with pain and rage until the color becomes “a beautiful crimson.” In the background we catch a glimpse of hundred of Jedi light sabers being destroyed. Vader remarks that he understands why Palpatine did not give him any of those sabers to corrupt; a Sith saber needs to be taken, not given.

The remaining issues plays out the the Palpatine has left Darth Vader on a Mid Rim planet where he must track down a Jedi to kill and claim his light saber. Darth Vader then seeks out thieves that have stolen the landcraft that was left there from Palpatine as transportation. When Vader tracks and encounters the thieves; the scene is very reminiscence of when Aniken executed the Tuskens. It was a work of art to see an out of control Darth Vader.

There are not enough positive things that I can say about the first issue. I thoroughly enjoyed the additional story after Episode 3. This is definitely a series that I will add to my pull list.

My final rating of Darth Vader #1- by Charles Soule is 9.6 out of 10.

The Dull Knight

 

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INJUSTICE 2 – final review

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(Reviewed on Xbox One)

I gave my initial thoughts the other week and have since played through the entire campaign as well as a large chunk of the ongoing multiverse. Let me tell you, this is a hell of a fun game!

Campaigns are quickly dismissed in this era of online multiplayer. Thankfully, NetherRealm Studios didn’t skimp on what turned out to be a riveting and fun storyline! There’s a lot of story to tell in this alternate DC Universe – the multiple comics set in the world serve as ample proof of this. Injustice 2 dives right into the post-Superman Regime era setting up the conflict with Gorilla Grodd’s ‘The Society”. This quickly caves to the true conflict with Brainiac which is introduced along with bringing Supergirl into the story.

The real strength for Injustice is its voice acting brought to life by an impressive graphics engine. All voices were well done, however, there are certainly some highlights for me:

  • Kevin Conroy will forever be MY Batman thanks to a childhood love of Batman: The Animated Series. I’m thrilled he voiced his titular character once again for this game.
  • Jeffrey Combs is a perfect fit for Brainiac; his calm, controlled tone brought the mega-villain to life quite deservedly.
  • Khary Payton rocked it out once again as Cyborg. I’m glad he’s been able to stick with the character in all recent animated versions.
  • Scarecrow is voiced by Robert Englund! I don’t know how I missed this before but how freakin’ cool is that?!

I was quite surprised by the length of the campaign as well. There are 12 full chapters to it with multiple endings for different characters to add replayability. Playing through the first time will also add to your character rankings for online matches or the multiverse. This was really helpful because it gives you a serious jump in progress for character upgrades and customization.

Online matches are what should be expected. Games are filled with trolls that exploit those specific moves that are hard to counter. I haven’t spent a huge amount of time playing real people online but frustration isn’t the reason. Most of my time (not spent on the campaign) has been spent enjoying the hourly/daily updated Multiverse.

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The Multiverse offers matches of 3 to 8 opponents. Each one is modified visually and level-wise to ensure things stay fresh/challenging. Specific rewards are earned for completing Multiverse events to provide even more customization and leveling options for the wide array of playable characters. Oftentimes, more sweeping modifiers are added that can turn the tide of a match to level the playing field against characters that are higher level (Example – altered gravity or ‘sidekicks’ added).

Player upgrades took a little while to get used to. I’m still toying with the regen tokens and other ways to make each hero/villain unique. There are multiple save options for each character for you to have various versions catered to fight other player types. I haven’t done much with this because I’ve focused on having a single class of each character with the strongest gear possible.

Local multiplayer offers drunken matches with friends or games against my daughter where she ‘tricks’ me into staying still so she can do a super move. The game is engineered to allow brief playing sessions or hours of fun. Overall, I don’t have anything really bad to say about it. It is a fantastic sequel that has yet to get old after hours of play.

My final rating of the INJUSTICE 2 (on Xbox One) is 9.4 out of 10.

Have you played this great game yet? If so, what’s your favorite character to play as? Let us know in the comments or email us directly at madnerddads@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow the blog and on Instagram to stay up to date!

jolly nathan The Belligerent Barnes

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Wonder Woman – Film Review

After months, if not years, of talk and downplay by the trolls about Wonder Woman’s first solo movie…. the time has come! It’s not news to anyone, but DC Comics needed a hit in a big way. I personally enjoyed both Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad (click on the titles for my original reviews). However, neither film was as good as it needed to be especially given the relentless pressure fueled by the ultra-successful Marvel Cinematic Universe. DC’s savior was there all along – she just needed the proper outlet to shine…

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“Hold my beer, mortals.” – Wonder Woman

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Wonder Woman – 2017 – Directed by Patty Jenkins – please note that I have no intention of rehashing the plot or doing a full write up. Instead, I’ll focus on what I liked and how the movie experience was for me.

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At the time of this writing, we are one week into the release of Wonder Woman so you’ve no doubt heard the buzz. That’s part of the reason why I’m not going to do your typical plot synopsis write up because at this point that would be nothing new. What I can do is encourage you to see this movie. Seriously, if you haven’t yet then get off your ass and go. Don’t wait for on demand or Redbox – just go. If you’ve already seen it then you most likely find yourself in the same position I’m in where you’re itching to go again!

Wonder Woman was a well-rounded, genuinely great film. I was entertained from the beginning until the very end. The action was top notch, the casting was phenomenal, and the visuals were breathtaking. It had humor and heart – two things we sorely lack this day and age. The story was framed well within the current timeframe as a flashback recall. It’s a style that worked very well showing Diana Prince’s current place of importance in the post-BvS era while simultaneously establishing her background.

I had the absolute delight of seeing this movie seated next to my 7 year old daughter. Her excited bouncing, gasps of surprise, and charming giggles enhanced my own experience in ways I hadn’t felt since taking them to see The Force Awakens. How amazing must it have been for her to see this strong female figure portrayed fittingly (for once) on the big screen? The thing is, Wonder Woman isn’t just the character girls/women need to see for empowerment, she’s the character we all need to see. Her tale isn’t your typical hero versus villain (there was a little bit of that of course), rather, it was a story of a good person rising to do what is right. Gender roles be damned – this was a tale of being a human being no matter the cost.

Here are a few highlights for me:

  • Telling a story with mythical characters set in real world settings is a precarious task. Patty Jenkins balanced the two halves very, very well.
  • As I commented before, casting was really great. Gal Gadot embodies the power, beauty, innocence, ferocity, and warmth that Wonder Woman is all about. Chris Pine was a well suited match for her on-screen presence.
  • The “No Man’s Land” scene was outstanding. I can’t wait to see it again. If you listen to the score the track by the same title pairs the pace of the scene insanely well.
  • I didn’t see the Ares twist coming. Although I didn’t think it was Ludendorff, I was surprised when they revealed it to be Sir Patrick.
  • My only real complaint is Sir Patrick’s mustache. Couldn’t he have torn that thing off when going full Ares?

Let’s hope Warner Brothers takes some serious notes that are implemented into the future handling of the DC movies. Directors need creative control to make the film their own. Comic books are so versatile a medium that their films shouldn’t be constrained to any mold.

My final rating of the film Wonder Woman is 9.1 out of 10.

What did you think of Wonder Woman? Let us know in the comments or email us directly at madnerddads@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow the blog and on Instagram to stay up to date!

jolly nathan The Belligerent Barnes

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Colossal – Film Review

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At first glance this movie comes off as a romantic dramedy so I didn’t put much thought into it. Then I heard the magic word – KAIJU! That’s right, this is a romantic dramedy kaiju movie…

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**Full Spoilers Below**

Colossal is a definitely an odd movie. Thankfully, that is partly what makes it worth a watch! Anne Hathaway plays Gloria a drunken mess of a woman reaching rock bottom. She starts over by returning to her hometown to get herself together. There, she reunites with her elementary school buddy Oscar who is played by Jason Sudeikis. Oscar hooks Gloria up with a job at his bar and helps ease her into a better place. She’s still drinking too much and wakes up to see news coverage of a giant monster that attacked Seoul then vanished into thin air.

Gradually, Gloria puts together that the monster’s actions mirror her own drunken stupor. I got a good laugh out of seeing the monster pantomime taking a phone call on the newsreel all because Gloria answered her cell when she was drunk. She convinces Oscar and their other drinking buddies that she’s responsible by having them watch live coverage while she danced around thus making the kaiju do the same. Guilt from the death and destruction her monstrous counterpart caused was enough to get Gloria to clean up her act.

Soon a giant robot also appears in Seoul. Since we’ve already thrown believability out the window, we learn that it’s Oscar who controls the robot because…. why not? Honestly it was the connection between Gloria/the monster and Oscar/the robot that was the weakest part of the movie. They tried to justify it by showing some childhood incident involving a diorama of Seoul, weird lightning, and action figures. It was a bit of a stretch. I think it almost would have been better to not offer any explanation as to why the connection exists. The flashback was also slow to reveal itself completely which made me a little more critical of it. In reality, the continuous flashbacks to that memory revealed Oscar’s true self as the actual villain.

Colossal showed me how underrated Jason Sudeikis is as an actor. He has such a likeable personality in everything he’s in which was certainly shown in the first half of the film while getting to know Oscar. When the dark underside of his abusive nature began to rear its head it really took me off guard. Surprisingly, Sudeikis sold this fantastically. His normal demeanor made the dark turn even more impactful when his personality did a total turn. I’ve seen some critical reviews that found his transformation jarring. For me, the fact that it was so jarring is what made it work.

I loved how the world’s reaction to the appearance of the kaiju was shown. Social media wet itself, the news wouldn’t shut up about it, and veritable fan clubs were formed. The whole thing was completely ridiculous because I see this as being EXACTLY how our world would actually respond to such a thing.

The movie has a satisfying conclusion that I won’t spoil. I will say that there is a sense of closure for all those involved. All in all, I enjoyed this way more than I expected to. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, however, if you give it a chance then I think you’ll get a kick out of it.

My final rating of the film Colossal is 7.3 out of 10.

Did you catch this one? If so, what did you think? Let us know in the comments or email us directly at madnerddads@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow the blog and on Instagram to stay up to date!

jolly nathan The Belligerent Barnes

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Open Letter To Marvel

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Dear Marvel,

Oh how things have changed. I remember the days before the movie glitz and glamor. I remember the days of walking to the comic store in Queens, NY having that $1.75 burning in my pocket; excited to spend it on you. My eyes would almost be on sensory overload as I approached the rack; deciding on what to buy. Would it be Spider-Man in the Hologram cover? How about X-Men in the foil cover? Or what about Fantastic 4 in the normal paperback? There were so many choices to pick and I loved standing there taking you all in; in your wondrous glory.

I remember the days of waking up on a Saturday morning, getting a big bowl of cereal, and sitting criss cross in front of the television amazed; watching the X-Men and Spider-Man the animated series. I was so inspired seeing you in animated form that they got the creative juices flowing and I would draw your characters for hours… trying to perfect every detail that I saw. It was never as perfect as you were, but I did my best to show the beauty you brought us.

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I remember the awesome stories you told us. You told us of Days of Futures Past. You whispered to us of your Secret Wars. You foretold The Age of Apocalypse. You warned us of The Coming of Galactus. Your stories captivated us; they filled our minds with wonders of different worlds. Your words were so mesmerizing that I would put them toe to toe with novels any day.

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What happened?

These days you are off in Hollywood; turning our childhood fantasies into reality. I could not be more happy for your success, but along the way you are losing yourself… you are forgetting what brought you here. While our hero’s search for Infinity Stone’s, we the reader, are searching for new stories with real content. Your comics these days feel a bit forced… like you are trying to spoon feed us content; not for the sake of your comic panels, but more so to help transition your plans and ideas into the big screen. You gave us Civil War II and Secret Wars again… great stories that you already told us… why re-tell the story? You gave us new looks for Captain Marvel, you introduced Rocket Racoon and Groot, you reintroduced Black Panther, Captain America, Thor, Iron-man, etc. back to the forefront in paperback; but again it all feels like it has all been done to fit your movie endeavors. Your VP told us in April that your comics sales are slumping. Are they slumping because people are not reading comics anymore or is it because the stories lack content… where is the disconnect? (I want to state this, cause I know this has been an argument to lack of sales; diversity is NOT killing Marvel comics.)

Is all hope lost? I don’t think so. You are still freaking Marvel Comics… you are one of the Juggernauts! Secret Empire has been amazing! The story is building to something that I feel will stand up with some of the greats. Your tie-in comics to Secret Empire have truly kept me engaged and entertained. Don’t forget who you are… don’t lose yourself. Your legend has been built on your comic stories… don’t forget that.

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-One of your biggest fans, The Dull Knight.

 

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Flash #22- by Joshua Williamson

SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!

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Flash #22- by Joshua Williamson

Last week we received the highly anticipated conclusion to “The Button” story-line (To get up to date, please see our past reviews).

I have had 6 days to digest and process Flash #22. I, for one, am very disappointed. I felt compelled to write this review for closure purposes. This issue left me searching for content. Typically at the end of any story line, there is a “satisfaction” feeling that comes over us. Yes, I do realize that Geoff Johns did advise us that the integration of the Watchmen into the DC universe would be a “slow burn”, but this felt like the fire was lite and quickly smothered with the Reverse Flash’s body.

We did get Jay Garrick saving the Flash and Batman. He stopped the Flash on the Cosmic Treadmill and directed him back to the present day Bat-cave. We also got, at the end of Flash #22, Bruce Wayne heavily considering if he would continue the mantle of the Batman (We kinda knew this was gonna happen from Batman #22), but aside from that… the content was lacking. Flash #22 had the feel of a “filler” issue, but this was suppose to be the conclusion. There was no major cliff hanger that we did not already know about. We already knew that Mr. Manhattan was behind all this. We already got the confirmation the day prior (May 16th from Geoff Johns) that Mr. Manhattan would go toe to toe with Superman in November with the “Doomsday Clock” story arc. I was flipping page to page for something to take hold… for something to get me salivating for November’s story line, but the moment never came.

My final rating of Flash #22 “The Button”- by Joshua Williamson is 5.0 out of 10.

I really hated to give such a negative review to this issue. If you missed out on this issue, you aren’t really missing anything and can save yourself $3.99.

What were your thoughts? Did it get it wrong? Let us know in the comments or email us directly at madnerddads@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow the blog and on Instagram to stay up to date!

The Dull Knight

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Injustice 2: Initial thoughts

Can you believe the first Injustice game came out over four years ago?! The wait for its sequel has certainly been a long one. I haven’t had a huge amount of time to play it yet but wanted to share some initial thoughts I have from the bits I have played (on Xbox One).

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Campaign

Much like its predecessor, Injustice 2 has a surprisingly compelling campaign. This time around the graphics are absolutely gorgeous. They did a much better job with the facial expressions so it feels more like being part of a movie. At the time of this writing I’ve only completed up through the Green Arrow and Black Canary level. Thus far I am eager to keep going (but my jerk kids insist I wait for them).

My only real complaint is how they handled the flashback fight at Arkham. It blended so well with the rest of the style that it became confusing. I don’t think there’s any need to have flashbacks since that time frame was covered so thoroughly in the original game and comics (comics that you should check out because they are really, really good).

Multiplayer

In the spirit of honesty, I must admit that I’ve spent the least amount of time with online multiplayer. However, the time I have spent has been a mixed bag. This new upgrade feature is not very intuitive from what I’ve seen. Hopefully my opinion of it will change once I rank up a bit and have more to play with.

One factor I was very pleased with is the lack of downtime between matches. The game is engineered to put you into a fights in fairly quick succession. My biggest complaint with games like Battlefield 1 or Star Wars Battlefront (the other games I’ve played a lot of in the last year) is that the wait between matches can seem painfully long. In the multiplayer matches I’ve played I only had one instance where I experienced connection-related lag – something I don’t usually get so I suspect it was on the Injustice servers.

The local multiplayer is just as flawless as the original. It’s nice to have a game I can play with the kids that offers equal fun for all without the fear of being a terrible parent for allowing them to see a rated M game.

Character Roster

Not too shabby of a line up right out of the gates!

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Every character definitely has a different feel to them. In addition of characters like Swamp Thing, Atrocitus, and Dr. Fate show that the studio won’t be afraid to tap into DC’s wealth of characters to make this game kick all sorts of ass.

Surprising favorites so far:

  • Black Canary – she’s hot, moves incredibly fast, and throws the trademark Canary Cry in at all the right times. I love how the sound gets muffled immediately after her scream to drive home the sonic impact.
  • Blue Beetle – never been a fan of this character so I was pleasantly surprised to see how much ass he kicks in the game. When his bladed hands are in play they extend his reach allowing quick damage to be dealt.
  • Scarecrow – I absolutely love the visual style they chose for Scarecrow! They perfectly demonstrate Dr. Crane’s true look and how he changes when the fear gas hits. The look combined with his fierce fighting style make him a lot of fun to use.

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Surprising disappointments so far:

  • Darkseid – maybe I haven’t gotten the knack of using him yet, but, he’s pretty pointless. Slow movement and crappy dialogue make the demi god a disappointing dud to fight with.
  • Cheetah – Catwoman with a different skin. She adds little from what I’ve seen.
  • Bane – I hoped he’d offer a lot more with the second game but there’s nothing special. Up the venom, Bane.

 

So what do you think? Is Injustice 2 worth the wait? What characters do you hope to see from the DLC? Let us know in the comments of directly via email at madnerddads@gmail.com. Also be sure follow our Instagram and subscribe for a coming giveaway!

jolly nathan – The Belligerent Barnes

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