Tag Archives: Heroic Realism

#DC Rebirth

I have been reading some of the spoilers online about DC Comics upcoming Rebirth event. If you don’t know what that is, in a nutshell, after DC’s last reboot, they did away with a lot of legacy stuff that fans were not happy with. So they have decided to bring some of this back and they have been building up to it for about 8 months now.

One of the conversations I have seen around Rebirth, is there seems to be a group of people who do not want to see Green Arrow and Black Canary get back together. Most of them site an uninteresting relationship, one that is not like Lois and Clark or Ralph and Sue. These people do not feel it is an epic love story and is therefore not worth revisiting.

I disagree, one of the best aspects of Oliver Queen were his relationships. It is true, Ollie and Dinah aren’t Lois and Clark or Ralph and Sue, but that is a good thing. If all the relationships were the same, it would boring. The relationship is interesting because as Ollie and Dinah they are a doomed couple, both are bored and feel trapped, this is why both of them have had affairs. But as Green Arrow and Black Canary, the relationship is hot and exciting and they can’t stay away from each other.

Lois and Clark have polite little spats, Ralph and Sue have been married so long, they don’t even fight anymore and the sex for both couples is probably about the same. But Ollie and Dinah, they have knock down drag out rock and roll fights. And you know what else, the make up sex is volcanic and they do it in costume more often than not. They are always on the verge of breaking up, but they just can’t give each other up because its just too damn hot.

Ollie and Hal is one of the great Bromances of comic history. As heroes they could not be more different, Green Lantern, a cosmic power police officer and Green Arrow a street level vigilante who on occasion has crossed the line. But as Ollie and Hal they like the same bars, drink the same beer and watch football together on Sunday afternoon. They always have each others back and never keep secrets from each other.

Then we get into his relationships with Roy Harper, Conner Hawk and Mia Dearden. I think very few characters in comics has had the color and depth of relationships that Green Arrow has, most of which was wiped away by the New 52. I hope they bring back these relationships, the current version of Green Arrow lacks this depth.

My hopes are high

I am a man of the digital age. Although I was born into a time before computers were anything people thought they may someday own, I have embraced the idea of digital technology and everything it has to offer. I do not remember the last time I read a paper book, a comic book, magazine or newspaper. For that matter, I don’t remember the last time I bought an actual music CD. All of these things have been replaced by digital versions. I no longer play Dungeons & Dragons in person with my friends, we play using an internet chat and mapping program. In fact, most of my best friends are online rather than people I physically talk to everyday.

I think about how my Grandmother must have felt. She was born in a time when horse and buggy was the predominate mode of transportation of the world and she lived to see a man walk on the moon, can you imagine that? When I was born, cars were the predominate mode of transportation and it still basically is and that technology really has not changed much in the last 50 years. On top of that, we pretty much lost interest in manned space flight, we pretend to play at it, talk about going back to the moon or even Mars. The reality is though, there will be no manned space vehicle leaving earths orbit again in my lifetime. We as a people simply do not have the will or the sense of adventure we had 50 or 100 years ago.

What has changed in my life time, is computers. I marvel at how far we have come in my lifetime. When I was born computers still filled buildings and ran on vacuum tubes and had very little connectivity. Today, the phone I carry in my pocket has more computing power than there was in the whole world on the day I was born. In the early 60’s they used computers to calculate trajectories of missile, today we use them tweet about our bowel movements.

I am no longer waiting for my chance to go to space, I am no longer waiting for a personal jet pack, I am no longer waiting for life extension treatments. What I am still waiting for is usable consumer grade virtual reality, Occulus Rift is not quit there, but we are on the verge. I am also waiting for truly useful wearable computers, smart watches are getting us close, but still not it. I would also love to see the first true AI in my lifetime, again, there are some good smart systems out there and some interesting work being done in computers that learn, but we are probably still 20 years away. My hopes are still high.

5 things I want to see

Star Trek TV series: I know the money is in movies and I know it will take a near act of god to do another Star Trek series, especially in light of how poorly the last two did. However, I’d dearly love to see a good solid Star Trek series hit TV.

Green Lantern/Green Arrow buddy story: Something that has been missing from DC comics for many years is the classic best friend relationship between Hal Jordan and Ollie Queen. In fact I am not pleased with the current Green Arrow at all, he has lost all of the interesting things that give him depth, his relationships. DC writers have eliminated his relationship with Speedy, Black Canary as well as Green Lantern. Of all DC characters, Green Arrow had the best developed relationships of all. I want to see DC bring these relationships back, I want to see GL/GA gallivant around the world saving the day, I want to see hot steamy scenes with Black Canary and I want to see the broken father/son relationship between Ollie and Roy.

A good 250 page Fantasy or Science Fiction  book that is just a fun romp: I hate 700 page books, I especially hate 700 page books filled with dark gritty bullshit. No dark anti hero where the only difference between him and the villain is the body count, living in a world of murder porn. Give me a book about a light hearted hero who is sort of having fun while he saves the world.

16 page D&D Module that takes 3 months to complete: Along with 700 page novels and I hate huge hard back D&D modules that leave very little to the imagination. Really, all I need it an outline, a rough draft if you will and some maps, I will run with it from there.

 A computer that just works: Over the years, some computers have worked better than others, but none of them seem to just work, all of them require some maintenance and general fucking around with. I’d like a computer that just works, no screwing around it just works. The closest thing I have seen so far is a Chromebook, but it is still not quite there.

Stories dragging on and on

I don’t really like 800 page books, I especially don’t like 7 book series of 800 page books. Unfortunately, this trend is now affecting Comic Books as well. For some reason the current crop of Comic Book writers have taken to writing stories that develop at glacial speeds. Please, if you can not write a Comic Book story in 3 issues, 4 at the outside, give it up, you are in the wrong business. For example, DC’s current crossover event Forever Evil is by itself a 6 issue mini series, now add in the three other 6 issue mini series that tie into Forever Evil and both Justice League and Justice League of America are tying in as well. That is 36 issues over 6 month period for this story line, we are barely 4 months in and I want it to be over with already, no more navel gazing Lex Luthor.

Forever Evil is not the only story line dragging. Both Earth 2 and Worlds Finest are killing me as well. Earth 2 is currently in a story line about the re-invasion of earth by Darkseid, okay, fine and dandy, this could have been done in 4 issues, The Legion of Superheroes did the Darkness Saga in 6 issues, we are currently on issue 12. Worlds Finest is almost as bad, They are currently telling a story about Power Girls abilities going all wonky on her, 2 issues right? We are on issue 6 of this story line and we are about to cross over to Batman/Superman. Please make it stop.

Things I own

This is a piece of original art I purchased in maybe 1988 or 1989. This is a two page spread from the Incredible Hulk # 278. The Hulk has apparently gained Bruce Banners intelligence and was given a Presidential pardon. This picture is of that moment and is significant because it shows most of the major Marvel characters of the time. The artist is Sal Buscema, who is the younger brother of the legendary comic artist John Buscema. I think this comic book goes for around $2 in mint condition, so the issue itself is not particularly sought after, but the nifty thing here is, there is only one of these.

Uh, NO!

Over at io9, they ask the question, why was Hal Jordan picked to be Green Lantern rather than Superman or even Batman. The theory goes, that Superman or Batman with a power ring would be just AWESOME!

http://io9.com/why-the-hell-didnt-the-green-lanterns-pick-superman-512852750

They do go on to explain it in a not very convincing way. My take on it is pretty simple, while both Superman and Batman have formidable wills, neither are in Hal Jordan’s category in this area. I point to the old DC Superhero RPG by West End Games as a good indicator. In this game the scale for attributes is roughly 0 to 25, where 0 is an average man and each level you go up on an attribute is roughly double the previous, basically going up in a logarithmic fashion. In this game Superman’s Strength is 25, his will is 20. Hal Jordan’s Will is 25, while Batman is a mere 12. Again keep in mind 0 is an average man, by that standard, Batman has an impressive Will, however, even Gnort, the most incompetent Green Lantern in the universe, has a Will of 15. Superman comes much closer, but on that scale, Hal Jordan has as much Will as Superman has Strength. Face it, when it comes to ring slinging, Hal Jordan was the most qualified candidate in the space sector.

All of this has pretty much played out at one time or another in the comics, both Batman and Superman have ended wearing Hal’s ring, but neither have ever been able to use it as effectively as he has. At one point Hal Jordan takes on the rest of the GL Corps……..AND WINS! This was not a sneaky sneaky bullshit plan, this was a head on full frontal assault. Meanwhile, Superman has been pretty consistently been fought to a stand still by small groups of GL’s. So yeah, no, Hal Jordan was the first best choice for the ring.

RE: Earth 2

So I have been re-reading Earth 2 the last weeks or so, this is probably my 4th read through of the series. This afternoon, I was thinking about how bland the Justice League line is right now, then it dawned on me that the Captain Marvel backup story in JL has been pretty all right, although Billy Batson is kind of a jerk. Then as my mind meandered through the dark roads it travels occasionally and it occurred to me, why isn’t Captain Marvel on Earth 2 instead in the main DC universe.

Earth 1 has plenty of paragon style super heroes, Superman, Supergirl. Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Mon-El, just to name a few. On Earth 2, Superman and Wonder Woman are both dead, Supergirl is on Earth 1 as Power Girl and so far none of the heroes that have appeared on Earth Two have been paragon style heroes. Captain Marvel would have fit in beautifully on Earth 2 as so far all the origin stories have been based on magic and mythology. On Earth 2, he would not be over shadowed by Superman, he would have the chance to shine be what he was meant to be, the worlds mightiest mortal. This would also bring a major bad ass villain to Earth 2 in the form of Black Adam and Doctor Sivana could be that worlds Lex Luthor.

Even if DC wanted to maintain the Captain on Earth 1, they could build an Earth 2 counterpart in the form of Captain Thunder, a moniker that DC has used for him in the past on at least three occasions. It is all so clear to me now. Sigh! Too bad DC does not invite me to their editorial staff meetings.

Earth 2

The current DC line of comics has so far ranged from Meh to “Well at least nothing major has changed”. The Justice League line falls into this category, the line is just not that interesting. The Green Lantern line falls into the latter. I have always enjoyed the GL series and perhaps I am enjoying it now because it is the book that has least changed when they rebooted the DC universe.Anyway, in the middle of all this there are two comics that are truly excellent reads, Earth 2 and Worlds Finest. Earth 2 is basically a reintroduction of the Justice Society where Alan Scott is Green Lantern and Jay Garrick is the Flash.

The basis of the story is, the history of Earth 2 resembles that of Earth 1 up until Darkseid invades the planet. On Earth 1, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman and Cyborg band together and defeat him, forming the Justice League along the way. On Earth 2, only Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman emerge and a bloody 5 year war ensues. In the end the three sacrifice their lives to win the war and in the process the Robin (Helena Wayne) and Supergirl are thrown into Earth 1 to become the Huntress and Power Girl, which is where the Worlds Finest comic comes in.

On Earth 2, a new generation of heroes is emerging, so far we have seen Green Lantern, The Flash, Hawk Girl, Doctor Fate and The Atom. This last week in Earth 2 Annual #1 they introduced several new characters, Steel, Mister Miracle, Barda and a new Batman.

So the next question is, if Bruce Wayne died 6 years ago in the war with Apocalypse, then who is the new Batman. Dick Grayson seems like a good choice, but keep in mind on Earth 2, he was never Robin, however this Batman’s costume does some what resemble the Earth 1 Nightwing’s red on black ensemble. There are a couple of other options as well. A FlashPoint style Thomas Wayne, perhaps Damien Wayne (Bruce’s son with Talia Ghul) or Paul Jean Valley are all possibilities. If the quality of this book keeps up, it should be a lot of fun finding out.

Two Reviews

The Lost Fleet Series by Jack Campbell: It normally takes me seven to ten days to read a book, I know, I know, I am a fairly slow reader. However, I have plowed through the first three books of this series in the last week. Campbell builds an interesting universe where humanity has been engaged in a galactic war with itself for more than a century and due to staggering losses, the war has degenerated into horrible stale mate with the two sides throwing cheap ships with raw crews at each other in near one for one exchanges. The main character John “Black Jack” Geary is an interesting characterization of a man out of time. Although some times it feels like a cross between between Andromeda and Idiocracy, over all it is an excellent read.

Legion of SuperHeroes/Star Trek crossover: When this first came out, I avoided it like the plague, I figured there was no way this was going end well. So by the time the 3rd issue was out, I started reading some reviews of it saying it was turning out pretty good. So I went to my friendly neighborhood comic shop and picked up the first three issues. All I can say about this is, it really sucks ass far worse than I originally thought. Whoever thought this was a good idea needs to fired from IDW and DC Comics. Seriously, I knew who the villain was by page twelve of issue 1, the plot is not only predicable, it is BORING and predictable. The characterizations of the Legion is completely two dimensional and the Enterprise crew is presented in extremely cliched manner and is almost a parody. Please do not waste your money on this crap.

A couple of things rolling around in my head today

First off, I swapped my main machine OS from Ubuntu to Lubuntu. Lubuntu is a derivative of Ubuntu which uses a different windows manager. I decided to make the swap for a couple of reasons. First, I have been using it on my netbooks for a couple of years and it has come a long way in that time, developmental wise. Second, it preforms much better and uses considerably less resources than the standard Ubuntu install. Finally, I was not all that impressed with Unity, Ubuntu’s new windows manager, but I had not been terribly happy with Gnome lately either. I think my primary complaint here is OS’s seem to be making a shift to tablet computing and I am not ready to make that shift. Fortunately, being a Linux user, I have choices about what I can use.

Next I have been really annoyed by Amazon’s lack of a Linux version of Kindle software. I mean seriously, they support Android and it would probably take them 20 minutes to port the code and if they waved a bong in front of the programmer, it would probably be done in 10. So in the meantime, I have downloaded the Android SDK to see if the Android Kindle app runs in some tolerable way through the Android emulated environment. More on that later.

I just finished reading Green Lantern #1. I was some what sceptical about the whole thing. This series is pretty much a continuation of the previous Green Lantern series, picking up where the old series left off. I believe this is the only DC book which is doing this for the relaunch of their line. My problem going into it was at the end of the last series, Hal Jordan had been kicked out of the Green Lantern Corp for killing Kronos, the renegade Guardian who was about to destroy the universe. Worse, Sinestro, the renegade Green Lantern who made it his life work to destroy the Green Lantern Corp, the Guardian of the Universe and Hal Jordan in particular, had been reinstated as a Green Lantern.  Yeah, it did not really make sense to me either. So the new series picks up with Sinestro going back to his home world and trying to reclaim it from the Sinestro Corp, the very evil being he released on the universe himself. It also follows Hal Jordan as he tries to readjust to life as a normal man trying to pay rent and find a job. Both stories work pretty well, with both characters realizing they were out of their depth and had made some wrong decisions. At the end we are shown Sinestro coming to Hal Jordan for help. I have to say, I am intrigued, I like this book better than all the other relaunch books I have read so far.

Review: Justice League #1

I have two opposing opinions of this book. On the one hand, it is a slick well drawn comic and a decent relaunch of the entire DC Universe. On the other hand Geoff Johns characterization of Green Lantern is way off the mark.

Geoff Johns, the writer, started the story at the very beginning, the first meeting of various heroes and the building blocks of the team to come later. What this particular issue is less a Justice League story and more like a Brave and Bold issue featuring a Batman/Green Lantern team up. Batman’s character is pretty much the same Batman we have known since the 1980’s. He is smart, driven and competent, if not slightly insane.  The art is fantastic, I have always liked Jim Lee, his art style is a bit cluttered and overly stylized, but is otherwise really good.He does his best work on action scenes and we get some of his best work here.

Now onto my grip with this comic. I hated the characterization of Hal Jordan. He is basically written as an incompetent fool with a powerful weapon. This harkens back to Frank Miller’s odious “All-Star Batman and Robin” comic where Green Lantern has his ass kicked by Robin. Seriously, even without the ring, Hal Jordan is a military man, a test pilot, a man who can hold his own. There is no reason to write him as if he were a 17 year with his first car, which is how he came off. There is plenty of ways to create friction between Batman and Green Lantern, after all, Batman’s primary weapon is fear, which is entirely useless against Green Lantern. Even Superman can be intimidated, but this tactic simply does not work against Hal Jordan, so Batman would have to learn to deal with him differently. None of this is approached, instead, Batman bullies Green Lantern and Green Lantern acts like a teenager, in many respects they are almost ignoring each other.

I was also a bit concerned about Superman lashing out at Green Lantern, while GL was acting particularly smug, Superman, even a young Superman, would have been far more level headed and inclined to give him a chance to explain himself. Instead, Superman acts petulant, a very un-Superman like quality. So while I liked the art and the story was sound, I felt charactization was lacking and Johns could have spent more time getting a feel for the iconic Hal Jordan instead of trying to go for laughs between he and Batman. On my normal scale of 1 to 5, I am giving this book a tentative 2, if the next couple of issues shape up and and give us better characters, I will forgive this lapse.

Review – DC Retroactive: Green Lantern

Okay, DC Retroactive: Green Lantern has been the comic book I have been waiting for all summer. It brings back Mike Grell and Dennis O’Neil to produce a new Green Lantern/Green Arrow story, hearkening back to the good old days of the 1970’s. I have blogged previously that I did not care for the previous instalments of the DC Retroactive series. Really though, there was no way this one could miss. Mike Grell is the best comic book artist in the history of comic books. Dennis O’Neil is the defining story writer of DC comics in the 1970’s and was responsible for the 2nd wind given to the Silver age in mid 70’s.

I have only two gripes with the book, both are fairly minor. First, the story separated Green Lantern (GL) and Green Arrow (GA) into to separate stories and they did not come together until the last pages of the story. I think the best GL/GA stories of the 70’s were those in which they were featured together and I think O’Neil missed the chance to write a great buddy story and replace the generally horrible Justice League: Cry for Justice as the most recent expression of the GL/GA relationship. My second complaint is the GA plot was closer to the GA of the 1980’s rather than the GA of the 70’s.

Beyond those two points, the writing and art of the first story were good. This is neither Grell or O’Neil’s finest work, the Grell art is far better than the O’Neil writing. By today’s standard, O’Neils story is weak, but by the standards of the time and in context of the the 70’s, the story accomplished what it was suppose to, which was show the characters as they were in the 1970’s. I especially enjoyed the panels where GL uses his ring to make a giant can opener and a tennis racket, in classic GL form in the 1970’s. The backup story was reprinted from Green Lantern #76 which was the beginning of the classic run by Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams that ended abruptly with issue #89. The only issue that might have been a better pick was Green Lantern #85, the issue were GA finds out his side kick Speedy is a heroine addict. This was a good read, I enjoyed it all the way to the end, turned it over and read it again.

DC Retroactive Series

Several months ago I posted that I was looking forward to summer series of books by DC comics  called DC Retroactive. This week the first three were released, Batman, the Flash and Wonder Woman. Where to start, where to start. The idea behind this series to present the character as they existed in the 1970’s in a new story and then reprint a story from the actual 70’s as a backup feature. In all three comic, the reprint story in the back was better than the featured faux 70’s story. The feature stories felt more like a caricature of the 70’s, than an actual story from the 70’s. The writers took all the bad things about stories from that time period and ignored all the interesting things being done.

While I think the reprinted stories in these books were better than the the featured stories, in none of these cases did I feel these were the best stories they could have picked. For instance, in the case of the Flash, they reprinted a mildly amusing time travel story from DC Presents, where the Flash teams up with Superman. From 1970 to 1979 DC published 120 issues of the Flash and I read a great many of those issues and at least 3/4 of them were better than the story they chose to reprint. The Wonder Woman story was the worst of the lot, both stories blew chunks, the Batman book was the best, but still fell short. This is not a good start to what I had hoped was going to be some fun nostalgic reads for an otherwise dull comic reading summer. Too bad.

DC Universe reboot

This fall DC comics is rebooting their line, cleaning things up and streamlining their characters. This may seem odd to some, but really DC has a history of periodic reboots, so its not really that big of a deal. What is significant is the real reason behind the reboot. For those of you who are not in the know about such things, the descendants of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster have been involved in a lawsuit with DC comics to get the rights to Superman back. This lawsuit is a mess, the rights have been divided up, and I suspect no one is going to like the outcome. What we are seeing here is DC protecting its IP from the Siegel and Shuster estates, by significantly altering his costume and origin story.

RIP: Gene Colan September 1, 1926 – June 23, 2011

Gene Colan was probably not the greatest silver age artist and in fact I didn’t care for some of his work. What Gene Colan did well was Dracula, his historic run on Marvels Tomb of Dracula is without a doubt the single best depiction of Dracula in comics to date. While not great horror, Tomb of Dracula integrated the character into the Marvel Universe pretty well, most of the stories were interesting and well done. I am certain Gene Colan will be missed by family, friends and fans alike.

Review: Green Lantern

I went to see the Green Lantern movie this afternoon. Green Lantern is by far my favorite comic book character and has always embodied what I like most about comic books. Because of this, there really was no way I was going to be happy with this movie. As I had stated in earlier posts, my expectations for this movie were low. I did not care for many of the design decisions and I felt Ryan Reynolds was not a good choice for Hal Jordan.

With all of that said, Green Lantern was not a bad movie. In other reviews, critics complained the CGI costume and the CGI background were difficult to watch and produced this surreal look of Reynolds head floating around a CGI universe. Although the CGI costume was a bit cheesy, they did a pretty good job translating it from four color art to the big screen, unlike some other attempts. The other effects were perfectly fine and well done. My only real issue was making the main villain of the movie Parallax, an amorphous cloud. This didn’t really work for Galactus in the 2nd Fantastic Four movie and was only slightly better here.

Overall the script was decent, the actors did well and the actions scenes were good. Frankly I am not sure why this movie was panned. I think it was better than all of the X-men movies, at least as good as Batman Begins and definitely better than the first Ironman movie. Green Lantern had some week spots, but as far as I can tell this was a pretty decent superhero movie and did a passable job with the Hal Jordan/Green Lantern character and story. Go see the movie, you won’t regret it.

My Green Lantern Ring Collection

With the Green Lantern movie coming up I thought maybe I should attend the movie in my favorite costume, putting on my Green Lantern T-shirt and matching ring and become the Green Lantern of Space Sector 3600, the last sector, known as the “SLACKER SECTOR”. The only question is, which ring should I wear.

 

Awsome Chart of Superpowers

I love this chart, I want the wall poster.

Picture no longer available

The 70’s: Not a total waste

This summer DC Comics is putting out a a series of one shots which revisits various characters as they existed in the 70’s. Normally, I would not be terribly excited about revisiting the 70’s, there just was not a lot of things about the 70’s worth recapping. However, It looks like Green Lantern is going to be written by Dennis O’Neil and drawn by Mike Grell. This does excite me, because the very first comic book I ever remember buying was Green Lantern/Green Arrow #90 in 1976, which was written by Dennis O’Neil and drawn by Mike Grell. Of course anyone who knows me, knows I am a Mike Grell fanboy, so this will be at the top of my summer comic book list.

Cover of Green Lantern/Green Arrow #90

Cover of the Green lantern Issue of DC Retroactive.

Green Lantern the Movie

Picture no longer available

I was not very enthusiastic about Ryan Reynolds playing Hal Jordan/Green Lantern. I do not think Reynolds was even close to a good choice, his goof ball persona does not work for me. Now seeing this picture of the Green Lantern Power Battery, all I can say is, Really, is this the best you can do ? I really hope this movie is at least watchable. Green Lantern has been my favorite comic book character for decades. The whole “Born without Fear” thing was very appealing to a small nerd boy who was always afraid of everything. Unfortunately, I have a very bad feeling about how this movie is going to turn out.

More Mike Grell Art

This is a James Bond piece I picked up when Mike Grell was in Billings Montana. This is actually a photocopy, he had a pile of them sitting on the table and he was selling them for $5 a piece.

 

The Warlord

Here is a snap shot of my Warlord poster. This was done for me by Mike Grell at a small comic convention in Billings Montana around 1989. The convention had a charity auction, at the end I asked him if I made a donation, if he would do a short for me, he said $25 and I wrote the check. To my surprise, instead of grabbing his sketch pad, he grabs a magic marker and does it on a large presentation pad. When he finished and I started towards the door, some guy offered me $50 for it.

 

Mutants & MasterMinds, Actual Play

Last Friday night we took a break from HackMaster and played Mutants & MasterMinds (MnM). I unfortunately was a bit underwhelmed. I had been lead to believe MnM had fixed many of the problems previous super hero games had, which is the problem of scale. What I mean by scale is, it is nearly impossible to play an interesting game with a Superman type character and a Batman type character, in the same game. You either have to all be Superman scale characters or you have to be street level characters like Batman. In our game, everyone was a PL 10 character, but the Morphing character and the Living Weapon character had almost no chance to hit the Powerhouse opponent and the fight was quickly coming down to the Powerhouse and the Blaster, leaving the other two to stand around bored.

If I were going to run MnM as a long term campaign, I would make several changes. First I would either eliminate or seriously reduce the effectiveness of Impervious. With Impervious it is far too cheap and easy to become effectively invulnerable.  In fact I would probably make all defensive powers a lot more expensive, but Impervious is the worst offender. Next I would heavily regulate the types of characters everyone could play. No Green Lantern/Green Arrow situation, because lets face it, GL does not need Ollie for much. I’d probably go for a Watchman style game, where everyone is a martial artist, low level gadgeteer or lower powered super, say PL 8 with a cap of 5 ranks in any super power.

On the other hand, maybe super hero style games are just not my thing. As much as I want to like them, I have never played one that I really liked. None of them seems play nearly as well as they should and none of them have simulated comic books very well. Of course I have also never played in a group where everyone was a comic book fan either, usually I am the only one, close to the only one, so it is also possible playing in a group of people who shared my love of comics would make a difference. Oh Well, next week is ShadowRun, I am hoping that goes better than MnM did.

DC ADVENTURES Hero’s Handbook

heroProduct Summery:
Name: DC Adventures Hero’s Handbook
Publisher: Green Ronin
Author: Steve Kenson
Line: Mutants & MasterMinds
Cost: $39.95 ($20 for the PDF)
Pages: 281
Webpage: http://mutantsandmasterminds.com/dc_adventures/

I love comic books, specifically, I love DC comic books. I also love Roleplaying Games (RPG), specifically, I love Mutants & MasterMinds (MnM). Add DC Comics to MnM and you have as close to a perfect RPG as you can get as far as I am concerned. The hard bound book is not going to be available until after GenCon in August, however you can buy the PDF version right now and if you pre-order the hardback, you can get a coupon to download the PDF for the silly cheap price of $5.

The layout of the book excellent, they start out explaining the game system, and move smoothly into write ups for the popular DC Characters and then skim the setting. The only thing they really skimped on was the setting background material, which I suspect will be done down the line. The art in the book is fantastic, even the less great ones are still pretty good, none of the choices is bad. Kenson is a good writer and it is very obvious he is familiar with the source material and did it the justice it deserved.

The game system is my only real nitpick with this book. MnM started out as an OGL/d20 derivative and with each edition they have gotten further away from that root system, which is not really a problem for me. What I do not like is the direction they went with the 3rd edition of the rules. In 1st and 2nd Edition, the attributes were more or less defined the same as they were in OGL/d20, with the 3rd edition, they decided to go with a steeper formula, with each increase of an attribute, the characters ability doubles. I realize they did this so they could get Jimmy Olsen (Strength 0) on the same scale as Superman (Strength 19/23). The problem is this sort of scale tends to fall apart rather quickly, especially when mixing non powered characters with powered characters in a group. It does not matter how good a karate expert Batman is, he will not stand a chance against Superman because nothing short of a blast from a tank is going come even close to hurting Superman.

What can I say about the setting, Silver Age, Modern Age whatever, who cares, the DC universe is rich and diverse. This book goes into very little detail, but it really does not need to, most of us who this appeals to already have a functional background. Heck everyone knows Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, so I would argue, everyone knows enough about the setting to play the game.

All in all, this book is worth every penny of its $40 price tag.I have not been this excited about a product in a really long time. I am going to force PezWitch and the interns to play this one, but I am going to make PezWitch run the game so I can play Green Lantern.

Summery (Scale of 1-5):
Appearance and Layout: 5
Game Mechanic: 4
Setting: 5
Overall: 4.666666667

The A-Team

Saw the A-Team yesterday, I would have posted this last night, but my Internet connection was down. Apparently my ISP, CenturyLink really screwed the pooch, because their infrastructure for the entire state of Texas was down until 4 AM this morning. Fortunately I was prepared and had previously installed ScribeFire for off line blogging.

So back to the movie. I was really expecting to be disappointed, I usually am disappointed by remakes, especially remakes of shows I genuinely loved. The A-Team was a good lot of fun, explosions, off the wall action scenes and plenty of nods to the original show. They made good casting choices, didn’t over reach the script and kept the characters as close to home as they could while allowing each actor to do their own take. There was very little character development, B.A. and Face got the most, but this is an origin story and the point of an origin story is to establish characters that can be built upon and developed in later movies. If you are looking for a serious and topical movie or you plan to nit pick the unrealistic action scenes, don’t go see the A-Team, but if you want 2 hours pure escapist fun, this is definitely for you.