Marvel’s Avengers Assemble! Crimes and Circuses

marvel.wikia.com

marvel.wikia.com

It’s Saturday so obviously I’m watching cartoons.  Yesterday my daughter and I watched The Avengers, the movie, and today went back to try and finish up the season of cartoon Avengers.  We’re almost there.

Crimes and Circuses deals with (surprise, surprise) the Circus of Crime.  Ringmaster, Bruto, the Human Cannonball, the Gambonno Twins, and Trickshot.  Right away I noticed Princess Python was missing, (boy does that make me sounds nerdy) but she did show up later.  Hawkeye and Falcon were the star heroes of the episode, as the rest of the team got themselves brainwashed by Ringmaster.  I was a little disappointed that he didn’t use the spiral hat to do that, but it was okay.

marvel.wikia.com

marvel.wikia.com

The Circus was out for revenge against Hawkeye, since, as most of you will undoubtedly know, he used to be a part of their criminal team.  If you didn’t know that, sorry for the minor spoiler, but I’m sure you would have figured it out in the show.  He tries to hide this from Falcon, but the secrets come out, as they always do.

It was a pretty straight-forward episode, and consisted mainly of fights, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  A couple of things, though.  Princess Python didn’t have a real snake, but instead had a giant, robotic, cycloptic monstrosity.  There was never any mention of who the new Trickshot in the circus was.  I won’t post who it should have been, should anyone out there be unawares, but it was someone who was close to Clint.  Also, no Swordsman?  It would have been a perfect time for him to be put into cartoon form, but maybe they didn’t want that many mustachioed villains in one group.

I’m anxious to finish the season.  Although it’s been a good show, it’s slowed down a bit in the last couple episodes we watched.  I’m hoping the finale will be huge, and bring back the cabal, who are in possession of the Tesseract (aka cosmic cube, aka an infinity gem(probably the reality or power one)).

So check this one out if you like the show, but it’s not one that is needed.

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Paper Crafts (Part 1)

Do you like geek decorating?  Of course you do, you’re on a comic book website aren’t you?  So do I.  I love going over here and seeing all the “Shelf Porn” (don’t worry it’s SFW).  One thing that I get insanely jealous over though is the amount of statues or figurines that some people have.  Now, I like to have playable toys, (and I’ll say for my daughter) but still, the statues look awesome.  Now a lot of people seem to get those bobbleheads or minimates or whatever else is cool these days.  I’d like to, but I just don’t have the money to spend on those things.

Which is why I was so happy when I found CubeeCraft.  It’s all free, and there are so many to choose from.  You simply print off the designs (I suggest cardstock or thick paper), cut them out, fold them together, and BAM!  Awesome art to line your shelves with.  And what a amazing array of them too!  TMNT, Marvel heroes, DC heroes, Arrested Development, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Dragon Ball Z, Princess Bride, Mario, and the list goes on and on.  You can also print off blank ones, or design your own.

So today, I’m here to give you a little crash course in making your own FREE! paper statues.

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Here is what the design looks like when you print it out.  As you may or may not know, this is the prince from the wonderfully simple game, Katamari Damacy. Again, I use thicker paper, as it holds up better and makes folding it easier.

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Now it is all cut out.  I use an exacto-knife to do this, as there are some slits you have to cut.

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Here are the individual parts all folded.  Most of them follow this pattern.  Legs, torso, two arms, and head.  There are ones with extra bits or accessories as well.

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Now I’ve started to put them together.  I like to put the feet in first, and then the arms.  I bend the flaps inside the torso down so that they lock in place better.  If you don’t, they tend to fall out if they get moved.  The head gets put on last, and I do the same thing, folding the neck flaps inside before I put the top of the head into place.

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Ta-da!  Easy.  The whole process only took about 15 minutes.  The first one you do might take a bit longer, but it’s an easy groove to get into.  Not only that, but it’s an easy enough thing that kids can do it to.  The whole family can find some character they like.

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There are a couple my daughter did.

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And there’s some by my wife.  I was actually going to do a different paper craft today, but in our process of going through stuff as we prepare to move, I came across some undone cubees, and so decided to let the force guide me.  We had done a whole lot of these last year and taken then home with us.

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This is a small selection of some of my favorite ones I had made.  I hope you enjoyed this and I hope that you try making some of your own.  My next goal is to make some larger ones.

 

Black Powder #1

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Welcome back to Free Comics Now! reviews, the place where comics are free and what I say doesn’t matter. (That’s a Whose Line is it Anyway, if you didn’t notice).  Today we are looking at a pirate comic, or so I’m guessing judging from the cover.  Because in comics, you can often judge a book by its cover.  Which is usually a big help.  Now, I love pirates, and actually just started watching Black Sails, a new(er) TV show, so I’ll probably be comparing the two in my mind.

The cover looks like a watercolor painting, which makes me intrigued to see the art inside.  It’s put out by Asylum Press, which I am unfamiliar with, and is done by Dwayne Harris, who I am also unfamiliar with.  I love getting into things without any preconceived notions.  So let’s jump into Black Powder Bloody Frontier Adventure.

We are on the Ohio River in 1811.  An odd place for pirates, but I guess that explains the “Frontier” part of the title.  Molly Livingstone is being escorted to New Orleans when the boat is besieged by pirates! The fight is over quickly, but brutally.  One month later, we journey to Pittsburgh where we meet some other characters and hear some tales of animals and the earth acting strangely.

Okay, I can’t keep talking about the story without addressing the biggest problem.  The artwork.  The cover looks great, as I said, but now I stand corrected about what I mentioned earlier.  If I were to judge this by its cover alone, I would say it’s great.  But inside, the artwork is, well, not great, to put it mildly.  To be blunt, this is some of the worst comic art I’ve seen.  It’s all watercolor, but has none of the talent that the cover seemed to show off.  The people look very odd, and some have faces that appear to be frozen, while others just look amateurish.  From afar, they are passably mediocre, but up close, they do not work.  The blood from the fights is too bright, and Pittsburgh looks as though it is an inferno.  Just, no.  No, no, no.

As for the storyline and the dialogue, I’m not impressed by either.  A pretty bland tale of love lost and a girl to be rescued.  The characters talk woodenly and while there are colloquial phrases thrown in, they don’t seem authentic.  This was part 1 of 6, and I’m sorry to say, I have absolutely no desire to read anymore of it.

This doesn’t happen to me very often, and I was so excited about this (because pirates) but I cannot recommend this to anyone.  Even though it’s free, I urge you to skip it.

 

The Monday Morning Quarter-Bin – The Inhumans #4 (1976)

In the interest of full disclosure,  I did not find this issue in the quarter bin. In fact, it was mailed to me for free when the order I had for another comic from somewhere online was delayed. I didn’t really notice the delay, so this free issue was just a happy surprise. Moreover, with a 25-cent cover price, it totally counts for the MMQB.

The Inhumans are a race, mostly of cousins, who each semi-evolve to their next stage of being from exposure to Terigan mist, which, sadly, isn’t a fragrance available from Irish Spring. Yet. They first appeared in Fantastic Four, and have gone on to be important characters in the Marvel Universe, though usually somewhat in the background.

This issue, #4 of their bi-monthly run from 1975 – 1977, features the menace known as Shatterstar. No, not that Shatterstar. This is a Kree warrior, and he kind of looks like a leftover Green Lantern villain with this rainbow color wheel on his chest. Either way, the cover is a bright mishmash of blues, yellows, and reds, and to me screams “comic book”. The art is by George Perez, and over the course of the book it’s all pretty good. Our story follows Shatterstar, as he battles the silent Black Bolt. Throughout this issue, because of Black Bolt’s inability to speak, there’s a more pronounced reliance on the narrator, and it tends to lend the story a little bit of gravitas, as if this is a tale being recounted to the reader, rather than characters driving their own exposition. In the end, another Kree, friendly to the Inhumans, tells them Shatterstar is his son, taken away from him at a young age to be experimented upon and turned into a heartless warrior who ends up killing his own mother. The battle between Black Bolt and Shatterstar takes place in New York City, drawing the ire of the “normal” humans below. In the end, when Black Bolt shows Shatterstar and his father mercy, the humans remark that they could stand to act a bit more like the Inhumans, more…human.

Black Bolt always looks like a badass in battle, with no quips or silly dialogue, just silent determination and the weight of a kingdom on his shoulders. Moreover, the small attempt at displaying “this is an opportunity to learn a lesson” with the citizens below first chastising the Inhumans then praising them could be too much, but it’s so brief that it only gives the illusion of depth and at least doesn’t get too heavy handed. So for a free random back issue, I’d say…not bad, and has me intrigued about other issues from the Inhumans’ series.

Rewinding the Week (5.25.2014)

So this was the first week without a couple of the key shows.  We still have most of them, but I could feel the lack of superhero shows really bringing me down about midweek.  But still, I got through it.

Game of Thrones:  Obviously the best show of the week.  I mean, just come on.  The mountain is a beast.  He is just awesome.  I’m glad that they kept the conversation between Oberyn and Tyrion in the show, because it was even more powerful than in the book.  More badassery from Arya. and a zombie crosses over to bite the hound.  Okay, so not really a zombie, but what if?  Some awkward moments this episode too, from the Red Woman and Stannis’s wife to Jorah seeing Daario do a walk of pride.  And we can’t forget about Littlefinger.  But the ending?  The best part.  Man I hated that character.  Good to see them go.

The Simpsons: A tale of friendship, betrayal and redemption.  Good stuff, but nothing too exciting.

Family Guy: I wasn’t sure if the time machine would make a comeback, but at least the graphics looked cooler this time around.  A cool alternate universe story.  Those are the backbone of this site, so always nice to see them.

Bob’s Burgers: Part 2 of the Wharf War.  Suspenseful and thrilling.  A good end to the story.

I just realized.  I think these three cartoons are over for the season.  *Sigh*  It’s a good thing I’ve come across what could be some replacements.

Black Sails: A pirate story.  This is pre-Treasure Island.  I think it has potential, but have only watched one episode so I’m not sure yet.  The acting doesn’t seem too great, but I can look past that if the story is good enough.  Will it be?  I’ll see.

Resurrection: Red Foreman is in this, so that alone makes it worth watching.  a gripping tale of a small town in middle America.  Only in this town, the dead are coming back to life.  Is it a miracle, or is there something more sinister afoot?

Now, I know these two shows have been on for a while, but they are new to me, and I’m hoping to watch at least a bit more of each, so no spoilers please.  But if you have any suggestions, I’m always happy to try something new.

Top 5 (X-Things!) – Days of Friday Past

With the release of Days of Future Past upon us, X-Men are on my brain more than usual. Traditionally, I’ve been a Spider-Man fan first and foremost, but I think I might have actually been an X-Men fan at the very beginning of my superhero loving period (which I’m still going through, 20+ years later). Sure, the X-Men may have slipped out of favor for me, with their constant “struggle for existence” getting in the way of having fun, eight jillion characters to deal with, so many different X-teams, and the fact that I looked like Peter Parker helping Spider-Man to secure the top spot, but I still have a special place in my heart for the X-Men, and here are five reasons why:

Top 5 X-Things
1. X-Men Arcade Game, Konami
This game is a retro favorite, with memorable lines (“Nuting moves DA BLOB!” and “Welcome to DIE!”) and button mashing beat em up action that’s pure video game. As it is, I LOVED this game when I was a kid, with six choosable characters, even if the special attacks didn’t make sense (I really thought Nightcrawlers special power was to run and be purple at stuff for my first few months of x-fandom). Sure, Dazzler’s included, but if you look past that, you can see the reason I became an X-fan and perhaps even a Marvel fan in general. The aforementioned purpling is also why I briefly became obsessed with Nightcrawler, to the point I dressed up as him for Halloween (one of the earliest Halloweens I can remember, no less).


2. X-Men toys, 1991
Part and parcel with the game was the line of X-Men toys that came out circa 1991. These toys were objectively awesome: Wolverine was scaled down (with removable mask AND retractable claws), Cyclops’ visor lit up, Magneto had magnetic hands…it was awesome! I had all of them, except Apocalypse (and maybe Storm).


3. Onslaught
Sure, you can lament putting Professor X through the ringer like this, making him into the X-Men’s “greatest enemy” (du jour), but as I kid I bought in, with both the Onslaught X-Men and Onslaught Marvel Universe bookends, his first full appearance (X-Men 53), the Overpower cards (including his character card, and the best named attack of any kind ever, the “Mutant Gestalt”), it was amazing. With Days of Future Past being released, and Apocalypse on tap, if Fox really wants to continue milking the X-Cow for the foreseeable future, X-Men: Onslaught has a good ring to it, and a story in which Professor X defeats Magneto (via mindwipe), only to have that action create an unstoppable combined entity has a nice cinematic arc to it.


4. X-Men animated series intro
The best thing going at 11am, Saturdays on Fox, and a brief lesson in fonts.


5. Giant-Size X-Mug
Not only because of its pleasing aesthetic (incongruently shadowed “X” notwithstanding), the large amount of coffee it holds, and its influence on the name of this site, but because mine was a Christmas gift and so warms the cockles of my heart.

Dishonorable mention:
Mojo II


This terrible character was just a clone of Mojo, but without the charm (ie fatness and spider-legs). Instead, he’s some pirate-looking thing, used as a pawn in the ongoing, never interesting, battle between Mojo and Longshot. Throw him on the scapheap next to Boom Boom and GW Bridge.

 

EDIT: Here’s a cheap plug for our longest episode of the What If Podcast to date as me and Andrew The Giant discuss X-Mens!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the original series)

It’s Saturday morning, which means it’s time to break out the Cereal and Cartoons!  This week we’re going to look at another episode of the classic turtle series.  Season 3, episode 41 – The Grybyx

If you watched this show growing up, you probably remember it fondly.  But do you remember how weird stuff got in the later seasons?  I mean, this show was on a lot.  There are hundreds of episodes.  So it’s no surprise that sometimes, they got a bit odd.  This is one of those weird episodes.

Like many episodes, Dimension X plays a crucial role.  A portal opens up, and a small, furry animal comes through.  The grybyx, which just so happens to be the Neutrino’s pet.  Any episode with the Neutrinos is bound to be weird, but I think the best was when they sent a baby through to the turtles, which, now that I think of it, isn’t too different from this one.

Well the turtles want to catch it, to give back to their weird, hitch-pitched friends, but Shredder and Krang need it to help levitate the techno-drome.  In case you feel like you missed something, this is back when the techno-drome was underground, not in Dimension X.  (Remember all those time that they sent the drilling vehicle back and forth to the surface?  That couldn’t have been good for the foundations of the city.)  In case you still feel like you’re missing something, the grybyx has psychic powers, because of course it does.  Why wouldn’t you want that sort of pet?

Anyways, the turtles and Shredder fight over the grybyx, but it’s back in the sewers that our heroes find out a horrible fact about the pet.  If it eats anything, it becomes a giant monster.  Every time it eats, it becomes a bigger monster.  This brings up a whole host of questions, like, how does it live? but that’s not our problem.  Good thing you can turn it back into the cuter little thing easily.  You just get it wet.  Overall, this felt like a Gremlin’s homage, but let’s not get into that.  Will the turtles triumph?  Will the grybyx be forced to raise the techno-drome?  All this, plus the amazing battle cries, “Go green machine!” and “Turtles fight with honor!” are waiting for you in the video above.

Harry Potter Wands

Last week, I talked about how my daughter and I celebrated Star Wars Day.  This week I’ll show you another craft we did.  This one wasn’t related to a holiday, and is actually not even related to comics.  But I think it’s okay to put some Harry Potter stuff on here too.  We recently finished reading the first book as a bedtime story and then watched the movie.  My wife was waiting for this day for ages.  Now, we could finally do a craft that she had seen on Pinterest a while ago.  Harry Potter wands.  And it was surprisingly easy!

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We started off with just some chopsticks, marbles, beads, and a hot glue gun.  Just gloop a whole bunch of glue onto the end you want for the handle (we chose the thicker end) and glue a marble onto the base of it (totally optional, but it provides a nice weight and makes it a bit longer).  When the glue is mostly cooled, you can shape it a bit by rolling it around and make the grip to your liking.  You can also add beads in the glue to give it more texture (or add a unicorn hair or phoenix feather).

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After the glue is completely dried and you’re happy with how it looks, you just add paint.  We used acrylic, since it dries quickly.  We had to put on a few coats of it to really make the color right.

And that’s it!  So easy.  I went over mine again with a lighter color on a dry brush to make it look a bit more worn and three dimensional.

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So there they are.  A close up showing the highlights on mine, and then the three of ours all together.  I also made another wand later, in an almost white color, but don’t have a picture of that.  These have already been used for playing some magical games and will find a nice home in our library when we move home.  One day, Our Nerd Home. One day we will be your equal.

So try it out for yourself.  It’s quick, easy, and fun.  You can make any sort of design you want, but just remember, the wand chooses the wizard, so let yourself feel the magic flow through you.

Oh yeah, check us out on Facebook too!

Complex #1

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Hey there people and strange animals that may be somehow viewing this webpage.  Today, on Free Comics Now! review, we look at Complex #1, another comic I’ve heard nothing about, but intrigued me.  Why did it intrigue me?  Well mostly because of the flying VW bus on the cover.  And also the fact that it is flying in front of the MOON!  I LOVE THE MOON!  Sorry, but I do.  I enjoy writing these as I read it, so I’m going to continue that trend today.  Hope it works out.

The inside cover (if that’s a thing when you read on a tablet) has a note stating that this comic is in 8 page chapters because that is how it was done online.  So apparently this was a webcomic before becoming a comic on my tablet.  One step up!  Good work.

Chapter 1 is very unsettling.  A man wakes from an odd dream to be slightly comforted by his wife who then drugs him via a shape prick from her ring.  The room they are in is strangely barren and they talk briefly about how they moved recently.  It is very unnerving.

Chapter 2 gives us more of the backstory.  I don’t want to spoil it, as this is really good stuff so far.  But we learn a bit more about the wife and husband.  The nature of their relationship and how they got to the town is fleshed out a bit.  We also see a couple neighbors, who only add to the air of mystery.

Chapter 3 focuses on one of the neighbors.  It’s getting harder to talk about it without spoiling anything.  She talks with her “boss” about the current situation, which gives us more insight into what is really going on.  At the end she is confronted by an assailant who was briefly mentioned before, and whose name was met with widened eyes.

In Chapter 4 the assailant catches up with an old acquaintance and we see a bit more about how some of the women are connected, as well as delve deeper into the mysterious organization that seems to be pulling the strings.

Chapter 5.  Just when I thought I understood it all, things got turned upside down.

Chapter 6 brings all the players of the game together and one of them appears to know a bit more than he should.  It’s a tough play to stop but unfortunately, that’s where this collection ends.

Overall, I was hooked.  The art, while nothing spectacular, is good and adds to the dramatic, mysterious atmosphere of the story.  It’s all black and white, with heavy shadows and highlights.  But it’s the story itself that makes me want to read more.  I am going to look up more about this right now and hopefully I will find some more to read of it.  I highly recommend this.  It’s not superheroes or insanity, but it’s science fiction that is dark and unsettling.  Read this, I implore you.