Comics, Movies, Video Games, and More

"Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

~Ephesians 5:16

Friday, August 31, 2012

On Godzilla #4

This was my most hyped up issue of the year. The idea of Rodan taking on Titanosaurus was an amazing concept. This is one of those match-ups where it's really hard to say who would win. To this day, even I'm not sure. Both monsters have proven to hold their own against Godzilla. If I had to pick one, I think Rodan would maybe come on top, but it could go either way. I was kinda hoping the issue would answer the question of who would win. (Check out my review here.) No, instead we get a battle that is less than half the comic and no winner. Here's the fight. Boxer shoots the 'headache beam' at both Rodan and Titano, but it has no effect on the latter, so he shoots more at Rodan, making him bang into Titanosaurus, starting the fight. On my first reading, I didn't exactly notice that Titanosaurus had actually slapped the building with his tail. Rodan then just shot it back with his wings. The building struck, but Titanosaurus leveled himself, then Rodan just simply flew into him (love his smug look) and they both rammed into a building. The battle ends with Rodan biting Titanosaurus' neck, then with Boxer using apparently really powerful bombs drops them onto the building, crushing Titanosaurus, with Rodan escaping. Now that I'm looking at it, Titanosaurus didn't get any hits. The fight was way too short. Knowing that, upon second reading the issue was more enjoyable. But that still doesn't excuse the joke they made Titanosaurus...

My new main problem with this series is how some of the monsters are getting treated with no respect. This was Titanosaurus' debut issue, and he lost! Not only that, but he lost by getting crushed by a building that exploded. I don't quite buy that. The only two monsters that are getting treated with dignity are Godzilla and Rodan. Godzilla appears at the end briefly for more generic stuff, he really has no personality whatsoever. The thing I am happy about is that Rodan is looking really good in this series, he didn't get captured last time, looked great in battle, and managed to avoid defeat again. I think it would be interesting if Godzilla and Rodan decided to team up to free the other monsters, it would give them personality, which they're pretty devoid of. To be fair, Rodan does have some character, but that's mainly thanks to the way he's drawn. (My gosh he looks so much better than in Kingdom of Monsters.)

Near the end it is revealed that the government is having the monsters transported to a place dubbed 'Monster Island.' Now that's admittedly pretty cool, fans will appreciate it most of all. The way they're doing it makes perfect sense for it to be in the same continuity as Gangsters and Goliaths. Obviously it's not, but the same monsters are there, so it's all coincidence. With these comics the second reading is usually better than first impressions. Knowing the battle wasn't the main focus, I did like the comic a little more. Next issue seems to have Kiryu make his debut, so that should be interesting. Personally I just want SpaceGodzilla to come and the monsters to rally against him, I am not liking this monster bounty hunter angle. Last issue we had three monsters lose, and here we have another one lose in his debut! Maybe once Mothra shows up things will lighten up.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Latest Figure Hauls: X-Plus Telesdon

About two weeks ago I received an Ebay e-mail saying one of my watched items had been re-listed. It was an X-Plus Kiyla. Instead of taking me to it however, it took me to another figure, the X-Plus Telesdon. I was taken off-guard by this, this Telesdon I've been wanting for a long time. Being an X-Plus, it usually goes for $170, so I thought I wouldn't be able to get it until Christmas. The price on this one was $39.90 plus $18 shipping, I couldn't believe it. I went into the details and saw that it was 'C8.' I had no idea what that meant, so I looked it up and found out it meant 'Condition 8.' So C8 was pretty great. (It's on a 1 to 10 scale.) This was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I took it. Two weeks later, it is now mine. I would have never thought I would have this one so soon. It doesn't disappoint, this being an X-Plus, the detail is amazing. The look, the teeth, the tongue, all beautifully sculpted and matches this guy's appearance 100%. Telesdon is my fourth favorite Ultra monster, it's great to have his best representation since the Bandai vinyls on him aren't really that great.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is the Greatest Cartoon of the 21st Century

My Little Pony is a franchise title that associates itself with the likes of Barbie and Polly Pocket. Then Friendship is Magic came along and changed that. Let's head back two months ago. Now I as many others have always known about the franchise, you know, those little pink pony dolls you see in Toys R Us. It wasn't for people my age really. Friendship is Magic I didn't think was any different. To be honest, I didn't even know much about it, I just made an assumption because of the My Little Pony insignia. I would sometimes see the ponies in ads while watching Transformers: Prime on the Hub. Outside of that, I never really saw them. On the internet I began to realize just how popular the show was, spawning hundreds and hundreds of memes. I found out that there are legion of fans who are guys, and that they're labeled 'bronies.' (Bro-pony.) I thought that was...interesting. Sometimes on TOHO Kingdom I would take a peak at the Friendship is Magic sub-forum, these guys were really into it. Throughout the internet I kept hearing about how amazing the toon is. Great animation and stories I would hear. One day I was having breakfast and looking for something to watch on demand. I went into the Hub section and ran into a couple of Friendship episodes. I was there, doing nothing other than having a meal, so why not? That way I could see what all the hype was about. I ended up watching The Show Stoppers. I was a little taken off-guard, it was pretty nice and cute. Okay, so the following day I saw another one on demand, Fall Weather Friends, which featured more of the main cast. Now that was good I thought, it was entertaining, funny, and even gave you a warm feeling inside. So after that I typed the show into Netflix and to my amazement it was streaming the entire show. I started to watch episodes out of order, ones that sounded good. Eventually, I decided to start from square one and work my way through. About a month later, I am finished with Season 2. Wow. Even after finishing Season 1 I knew it...this show was a true gem. Yes, I'm a fan, big fan even. I haven't seen a cartoon like this in a long time. No, I'm not overrating it, it really is a fantastic show.

First off, there is literally nothing wrong with this show. I'm using wrong with both definitions. There is nothing wrong in terms of negatives. As a reviewer, I cannot find any faults with the show. There is literally nothing negative I can say about it. If you read my On the State of the Cartoon post, you would know that I'm not fond of today's cartoons in general. Obnoxious, poor story telling, and is completely moral free with main characters going against their parents almost every episode. (The Amazing World of Gumball....stay away from that show.) There is nothing bad about this series. There's no crude humor that parents would find off-putting, no questionable main characters, and just remains a really innocent show. Most importantly, there are plenty of great morals found. Let me give you a quote from Twilight Sparkle herself:

"It's great to be really good at something, but it is important to act with grace and humility." ~Twilight Sparkle

Grace and humility? Do you hear that ever in any cartoon today? I'd like to think there are two types of cartoons, ones for entertainment and ones moral based. (Cartoon Network vs. PBS Kids.) Friendship is Magic combines them both. I've seen enough things such as anime where they have the cheesy friendship speech where the main character gets hidden power and all that nice stuff. Thankfully, this show is anything but cheesy. The morals come natural as the characters learn them. And don't think these are things only little kids can take out of, people my age could also take them to heart, they're that good. In today's violent world, we could use a show like this. One that's free of today's culture and makes you smile. (I hope I'm not sounding cheesy now.)

Twilight Sparkle is the show's front runner, but the rest of the characters also get plenty of episodes centering around them. We have Fluttershy, (as you guessed, the shy, low-voiced one) Rarity, (the one who is into fashion and looking good) Applejack, (a swift contrast to Rarity, works at an apple farm and doesn't care all that much for fashion) Pinkie Pie, (the hyper one who loves parties and making friends) and finally Rainbow Dash, the tomboy of the group. This is probably the most well-written cast of characters I have ever seen. Their personalities are all extremely well defined, which makes interaction all the more entertaining. You will most definitely have a favorite. They're all awesome however, you can't really dislike any of them. This is of course thanks to the smart writing. In today's toon world, I'm going to admit I have zero expectations for any new TV-Y show, I expect the writing to be juvenile and cringe-worthy. Not here. Another thing I like is how new viewer accessible it is. The Show Stoppers was an episode in the middle of the first season, yet I had absolutely no trouble following along. It takes really good writing and story telling to be able to make practically every episode one which a new viewer can jump in.

I hate sing-a-longs, I really do. I almost died from watching High School Musical 2. I really cannot stand them. Tangled, a very good movie, had them which felt kinda forced in my opinion. Once I heard the first song in an episode here, I started to shout the Darth Vader "Nooooo!" from Revenge of the Sith, but then stopped, cause the song was actually pretty good. This may sound shocking, but the songs in the show are really good, even a little emotional sometimes, it gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling, they're really well done. (Highlights include Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash's pet song duo and At the Gala.) I think I'm going to have to put some of these on my iPod now.

The thing about this show is that you actually care about the main characters. Such as when Fluttershy is sent away in tears from being pushed around by a griffon called Gilda in Griffon the Brush-off or when Rarity is kidnapped in A Dog and Pony Show. Then there's the emotion-filled final two parter of Season 2. I am amazed at the amount of emotion these episodes pack. I gotta say that I don't find too many things in media funny these days. You will be astonished at what passes for 'humor' in cartoons and sitcoms alike. Here the humor is genuinely funny. There's the classic Fluttershy going kinda crazy in the finale of Season 1, almost any scene with Pinkie Pie, among many, many other things. The voice acting is phenomenal. I don't think I've seen a show with better voice work. Each of the ponies' voices compliments their personalities 100%. There are three major villains, Nightmare Moon, Discord, and Queen Chrysalis. All written surprisingly pretty menacingly, especially Discord. While this isn't an action show, don't think it holds out on letting the ponies let loose. Especially in the final episode, where they battle an army of demonic servant things working for Queen Chrysalis.

What I'm saying is that Friendship is Magic is the perfect cartoon. There are literally no faults to be found. These last couple of paragraphs I would never have thought I'd write if this was two months ago. I've spoken to a quite a few people who are hesitant on checking it out just cause of the My Little Pony insignia. If you think it's just a little girls show to help sell the toys, *newsflash* it's not. You're talking to a 16 year old guy who enjoys movies like The Matrix and Aliens. This show is not the stereotype you're thinking it is. It's a series full of heart. With Season 3 starting next month and a comic series coming in November, it's not going away anytime soon. Every thing stated above is why I think Friendship is Magic is the greatest show of the 21st Century, and maybe ever. And with that said, I will close with another quote from Twilight:
"Friendship is a wondrous and powerful thing. Even the worst of enemies can become friends. You need understanding and compromise. You've got to share, you've got care." ~Twilight Sparkle

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Godzilla vs...the Avengers?!

Now that is what I call a crossover. It's stuff like this that you read in fan-fics. Godzilla vs. the Avengers, Godzilla vs. Gamera, Godzilla vs. the Cloverfield monster....but what if I were to tell you that he actually did meet the Avengers?

Wait, what?

It's true! Some people are not aware of the fact that Marvel had the rights to do a Godzilla comic series back in the 70's. In 1977, two years after the final Showa Godzilla film, Marvel released Godzilla: King of the Monsters #1, then the series went on for 24 issues, stopping in 1979. (That means the Godzilla franchise was really only dead for five years.) Despite the awesome-sounding concept of Godzilla in the Marvel universe, the actual series isn't that great. For one thing, the Godzilla design is plain awful. Take away the title, it could be any generic giant dinosaur. No detail, and for the love of mercy, he's bright green. Besides that, the series focused too much on the humans, especially Dum Dum Dugan, whom you're going to really want to punch by the series end. This comic however does provide the greatest crossover ever, Godzilla against the Avengers.

I just love 70's writing. This is what the series is known for, having the big G meet Earth's Mightiest Heroes. It's not a fantasy folks, and yes, they do fight. There is no winner since the kid asked Godzilla to leave, but the latter was winning. The only one that was giving any real competition was Thor, everyone else Godzilla was swatting away like flies. Also, if you want to see J Jonah Jameson talk tough to Godzilla, that here, and it's priceless. After Godzilla slaps (literally) aside Human Torch, Thor attacks him with Mjolnir with the narration box saying, "Pain--such as Godzilla has never before known..." The battle continues in the next issue with Earth's Mightiest fighting for dear life as Godzilla barely even notices them.

Got to love 70's melodrama. Want to see Godzilla and Thor do a tug a war match with the Empire State Building? That's here too. For awhile Thor managed to hold his own, then the Avengers did a last-ditch assault...which did nothing. It was only until this crying-all-over-the-place kid managed to stop Godzilla with true heart. After, the King went back to sea. Lots of emotion here in the final issue.

So yeah, just wanted to share that piece of history. When you think of Godzilla vs. the Avengers, remember it actually happened. While the series is anything but great, it did have Godzilla battle a bunch of Marvel heroes, with the biggest one being the Avengers. (And yes, it's safe to say that he would have won the battle.)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Godzilla vs. Megalon Review

Ah, Godzilla vs. Megalon, a title fans cringe when hearing it. However, over the years, the fanbase has gained a liking for the film, becoming what the critics call a 'cult classic.' Back in the day I would hear fans call this the worst Godzilla movie ever. Today, things are different. Final Wars has taken its place and is the hated one now. (A lot of people tend to even like All Monsters Attack more than Final Wars, though most agree that it's still better than the 98 film.) Godzilla vs. Megalon is the most low-budgeted Godzilla film since All Monsters Attack. Thought Godzilla vs. Gigan had stock footage? That was nothing. Here the majority of Megalon's 'attacks' on the city are stock footage from Ghidorah and a few others. Also, you'll notice that Japan seems like a ghostown. It's like everyone died in the previous film and it's just these people that are left. Seriously, on the highway, it's just those two cars! This film defines the 70's for Japan. Just look at the groovy outfits and disco music. It's no surprise that this film has a slight comedy undertone. The monsters are representing the 70's with energetic moves and personality that put the Heisei era to shame. There are car chases in this man. You just can't dislike this movie, it's too entertaining.

I remember many years ago when my dad put on the Sci Fi channel, there was a Godzilla marathon airing. (Those were the days.) The scene that had always stayed in my head was when Gigan and Megalon did their monster 'high five.' The film never got an official North American DVD release, until now of course. Fast forward over ten years later and the awesome people at Media Blasters has released the first ever official American release of the film. Besides it being a bare-bone release with no special features, the video and audio are impressive. (Yes, you get to hear the horribly dubbed kid's high pitched voice in all its glory.) The story is also not something that would usually be found in these movies. Atlantis, I mean Seatopia, has decided to take revenge on the surface world for doing atomic tests. So they send their 'god' Megalon to cause destruction. It's a lot more silly than it sounds, trust me. While Zone Fighter is a second rate Ultraman, Jet Jaguar is pretty awesome. (The only Godzilla film where a robot gives a thumbs up.) Eventually Seatopia sends a message to Space Hunter Nebula M so they can borrow Gigan for a bit. (Apparently undersea people has connections with outer space.) With Megalon and Gigan ganging up on Jet Jaguar, Godzilla arrives to even the score and the stage is set for the most colorful battle in all of Godzilla history. If you're one of the people only remembering Godzilla has a hero of Japan, this is the film defining that. No longer do the people fear Godzilla, in fact, they welcome him!

First of all, there are three main characters. Goro, his kid brother Rokuro, and Hiroshi. The relationship between the two main guys is not explained. Friends? Roommates? Cousins? They never explain it. Whereas all the previous films had people living in the cities with traffic and everything, here it's like open country. Only once we're shown people, a little bit before Megalon attacks the dam. (Which was a pretty great scene.) Besides that, it's like these three guys are the last surviving members of the human race. At least they're funny to watch. (I'll take funny over boring, Heisei era.) The 'antagonist' I guess you can say is some guy that belongs in Rome. The dub's voice, you're going to die laughing at how seriously sad he sounds. In the end, he turns out to be the most laughable human antagonist in the series. With some character development, things could have been better. Then again, this guy just fits the film. He's really serious, and that's the funny part.

This is the first new Godzilla look in awhile. (The previous one lasted four films starting in DESTROY ALL MONSTERS.) Isn't he just cute? It's amazing to think how far (or behind) the series has come in terms of tone from Gojira. There Godzilla was a horror icon, people feared him, he was scary. Now here he has a Pug-like face and people cheer him on. C'mon, this is good stuff. Godzilla is acting all 70's with his gestures and boxing like moves. He's really into it, in fact, this is the first time when he starts acting all karate like. This is the heroic Godzilla a lot of people know. He's there, ready for a fight, no retreats and helps his teammates. This Godzilla has so much personality, he's just a blast to watch on screen. This is also Jet Jaguar's film. Created in a contest, the robot is pretty darn awesome. For awhile fans disliked him, but over the years he's been more liked. Who doesn't love a robot that can magically 'program himself' to increase size? Despite what you might think, Jet Jaguar (love how Hiroshi just thinks the name out of the blue) has a lot of personality. When he's getting doubled by Megalon and Gigan, que sadness from the audience. Megalon is the new monster this time around. Excellent and unique concept, a giant beetle thing with drills for hands. (Gotta love TOHO and its crazy creations.) This weakling of a monster fits right in with this era. (Really should have been him instead of Hedorah in Final Wars.) The giant cyborg chicken Gigan returns. This guy is just awesome with his 'I-enjoy-killing-you' persona. He actually threatens to Godzilla that he will chop off Jet Jaguar's head if he comes any closer! (Godzilla then just blasts him away with atomic breath, good stuff.)

The final fight is what makes the film. It actually has a lot less stock footage than I remember. The actual battle is much better choreographed than the battle in Godzilla vs. Gigan. There it felt like it dragged on too much, the fight in this film is long enough, fun enough, and awesome enough. There's just so much energy and personality in the fight! You gotta love the monster expressions, like when Megalon watches Jet Jaguar in awe as he turns monster size. My personal favorite is when Gigan and Megalon think they have Godzilla and Jet Jaguar trapped in a ring of fire, they're dancing around mocking the two heroes, then Godzilla grabs hold of Jet Jaguar and they fly out! Gigan and Megalon stop dancing and look in disbelief to see the two flying. They're like "You've got to be kidding..." Man I LOVE this stuff. The soundtrack takes some ques from Godzilla vs. Hedorah. (Yes, Godzilla's goofy theme returns.) I was not a fan of the soundtrack in Hedorah, but here it sounds good cause it fits the non-serious, slightly (let's change slightly to very much) humorous tone. (At the end you'll hear Jet Jaguar's song, it is worth the wait for its amazingly cheesy lyrics.)

Godzila vs. Megalon is the type of film hardcore critics hate. It's not the most well-made movie, with stock footage throughout and non-existent character development and a pretty poor (but funny) human antagonist. However, as a fan of the genre and one who likes a fun time with a film, I, as many others, enjoy this movie. It's just too much fun, you will be left smiling. Critically it deserves a 4/10 because of its low production values, but it gets a 7/10 from me for having personality, fun, and most of all, heart. Plus it has Godzilla defying gravity with his famous and infamous double kick. (He's Godzilla after all.)


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Weekly Comic Reviews

Greetings everyone on this rather cool summer night. Here I have just two reviews. (Also, be sure to check out my review Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1 here.) Now we have the Lizard going super, and Cyclops taking out Thor, Thing, and Hawkeye in one blast.

Amazing Spider-Man #691

Official Description

• “No Turning Back” comes to an epic conclusion as only one man on Earth has a chance of helping Spider-Man stop the Lizard. And his name is Curt Connors. • Plus a shocking development that will set things in motion... for AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700! • Be sure to pick this issue up fast, because you can bet it’s going to be VERY important later. You’ve been warned!


Now that's what the Lizard should have looked like in the film. The movie went the non-reptilian route, this issue features the Lizard's 'final form' which looks like a more threatening version of the film's. Never Turning Back has been a pretty great arc. Like with Doc Ock's 'final story' in Ends of the Earth, this is Lizard's big final (for now) story. The reptile villain stole the show, this is by far the greatest incarnation of the character. It's great to see him without Connors getting in the way, we get to see the true Lizard. The actual battle between him and Spidey could have been better, haven't seen a really good one-on-one Spidey fight in awhile. The writing is strong, and the ending with the Lizard was pretty surprising and makes you think of what will happen with him in the future. Madame Web is as annoying as ever, saying pretty much the same things she always says about the dire future. Art is good, it makes the Lizard's final form look all the more deranged. The cover is generic, (how many times have you seen something with a creature's eye like that?) but looks pretty good anyway. And is it me, or is the Hobgoblin acting exactly like Jack O'Lantern from Venom?

Overall it's a fine conclusion to the story. With a very interesting ending, I look forward to seeing how things play out in the coming issues.


Avengers vs. X-Men #10

Official Description

• Time is running out as the Avengers are cornered in their last stronghold! • But the stakes change when Hope and the Scarlet Witch join forces! Why?! How?!


The big Marvel event of the year is coming to a close in the next two issues, which means big things has to happen between this issue and those. In the previous one we were introduced to an even more powerful Cyclops. Seriously, they don't downplay the power he has. In my favorite scene where Thor, Hawkeye, and Thing confronted him, he shot a single blast from his visor, defeating the three and then saying "How's that for clobbering time?" Iron Man also gets some good page time and lines. Cap, Spidey, and Wolverine surprisingly don't do much. This issue was good at showing hope, then destroying it, that happened twice. (Remember how the Scarlet Which was the Avengers' ace? Not anymore.) Hope is finally developing into an actual 'character' and not just a plot device. The scene with Emma Frost acting like a dictator and her short conversation with Magneto was great. The art fits the overall energetic tone well. Cover is okay, nothing great, but not bad.

Overall it's another great installment, looking forward to the showdown next issue.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Happy 50th Anniversary King Kong vs. Godzilla!

What is the greatest movie crossover? Some may say Alien vs. Predator, some may say Freddy vs. Jason, but the truth of the matter is that King Kong vs. Godzilla stands above all cinematic crossovers. Some only know Kong from the Peter Jackson film of 2005, and some only know Godzilla as a giant iguana from the 1998 movie. Some don't even know this crossover exists! But that some is very few. King Kong vs. Godzilla may just be the most well-known Godzilla film in America, it still holds the record for highest grossing Godzilla film. (If we un-adjust inflation, Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth holds the record.) C'mon, it's Japan's premiere monster against America's premiere monster. (If only the Cloverfield monster could get a few more films.) Not everything was dandy though, this film does have some controversial origins. Originally this was going to be King Kong vs. Frankenstein. (Frankenstein had battled the Wolf Man, next step was King Kong.) The story by Willis O'Brian (the guy who animated Kong in the original 1933 film) was stolen and given to TOHO by John Beck, whom we know is responsible for the dub. TOHO replaced Frankenstein with their own monster and went on to make their most successful kaiju film to date. The original Japanese version to this day has still not been released in America, so many have not seen it. (I am part of that many sadly.) From what I know it's a satire of giant monster movies in general, and it was actually funny. When it was dubbed, Beck wanted to make it a 'straight up science fiction story.' The satire was removed and an attempt was made to make it into an adventure. What we got was a science fiction story with pretty bad dubbing comedy. While the dub is a complete joke, it's still magic when you see the two beasts fighting for the first and last time.

This film being a lot less serious than its two predecessors, the Godzilla suit was given a more cartoony-like look. Now don't think that's a bad thing, it's really quite awesome. Next to the GMK look, this one makes Godzilla look evil. In this film Godzilla was a complete jerk when it came to fighting. In their first encounter he was just laughing and clapping his hands and making Kong retreat thanks to his atomic breath. King Kong, well, as a kid I didn't really notice too much, but now I see how goofy the King Kong suit looks. There's no getting around it, it looks silly. But it's part of the film's charm. The final battle is what this film is known for. Unlike some vs. movies (any Asylum movie) where they wait until the final five minutes to show the two fighters battling it out and it ends up being disappointing, in King Kong vs. Godzilla the final fight is long and satisfying. America doesn't quite understand how to do giant monster fights like Japan does. Classic kaiju wrestling at its finest. King Kong is obviously no match for Godzilla, everyone seemed to know that, so they gave Godzilla a weakness against electricity just for the film, and made Kong stronger when struck by it. Godzilla was never without a doubt winning the whole time, easily outmatching Kong. Of course the biggest asset here was Godzilla's atomic radiation, whenever he struck Kong by it, the latter was like "The heck is this?" Meanwhile Godzilla is clapping at how futile the battle was. Godzilla even attempted burying Kong alive, and clapping while doing it! This is one of the few films where Godzilla is the definitive villain with his opponent being the good guy.

Originally the film was going to use stop motion animation, like with the original King Kong and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. Sadly (though suitmation is awesome in its own right) it would have been too costly. (Japanese movies tend to have smaller budgets than American films.) So the classic suitmation was done. However, some stop motion is found, such as the famous Godzilla double kick on Kong. Unlike in the previous two entries, the monsters became 'characters' in the fights. This is where the crazy kaiju fights originated from. Instead of being dark where "Oh man, whoever wins we're screwed" with the dramatic music playing, here is a fight you'll be smiling at the whole time. C'mon, Kong tries to shove a tree down Godzilla's throat, you don't see this stuff like that anywhere else.

When one mentions King Kong vs. Godzilla, the infamous ending rumor comes up. Obviously it's been known as fake for a long time, but still a fun thought. In the end, as much as Godzilla fans dislike it, King Kong won the battle. They both plummeted into the ocean, and moments later Kong rose up and started to leave and head back home in time for King Kong Escapes. A rumor that had originated from the magazine Spacemen had stated that in the Japanese version Godzilla had won. Once Americans were able to get a hold of the original version, the rumor was destroyed. Still, a fun thought. Godzilla was more powerful than Kong, it was only when the latter was powered up by electricity when the tide had turned.

King Kong vs. Godzilla came out in 1962, seven years after Godzilla battled Anguirus in Godzilla Raids Again. After the film's success, Godzilla became a profitable character again. While Gojira was immensely successful, Raids Again was poorly reviewed by fans and critics alike, and the monster was laid to rest as TOHO did other monster films such as Rodan and Mothra. But after King Kong vs. Godzilla, TOHO decided to start a franchise starring the title monster, he went on to crossover with Mothra and in the same year turned into a good guy and battled Ghidorah. So without King Kong vs. Godzilla, it is quite possible that there will have not been as many films we see today. (Imagine that!) On August 11th, 1962, Godzilla went on to battle King Kong for a battle of the ages, fifty years ago. It was on that day that Godzilla was defined as a character, and c'mon, it's the greatest crossover in the history of cinema!

Weekly Comic Reviews

Hey all, I apologize for the lateness of these reviews. I didn't get my comics until yesterday night, so there's a legit reason. (And if you haven't already, check out my review of Godzilla: Half Century War #1 here.) This week we have the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy teaming space, and Peter Parker hanging out at his deceased counterpart's house. Let's do it.

Avengers Assemble #6

Official Description

• Thanos is claiming Earth as his own! • The Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy team up to bring the Mad Titan some cosmically-charged pain!


If it's one comic fans of the film should be reading, it's Avengers Assemble. It's a smart way to introduce Thanos and the Guardians of the Galaxy for them. For veteran readers like me though, sometimes it could get a bit jarring at how new reader friendly the dialogue can be. In the past few issues it's like the Avengers have never encountered Thanos before. The writing in this issue is not close to triple A stuff, but it's fun, which I think was the purpose, to mimic the fun writing in the film. (Spider-Man has the greatest and most funny line this time.) The Guardians were never really a mainstream team, but thanks to the upcoming film, that's going to change. With them in the mix for this story, it's been a blast. If the purpose is to get readers familiar and like the Guardians, then they have succeeded. The best parts in the issue is actually not the action scenes, it's any scene with Thanos. If he wasn't Marvel's premiere villain before, he certainly is now. The art is great, fits the title 100%. Cover is pretty good, showcasing the Avengers along with the Guardians.

Overall it's a pretty fun issue, looking forward to the big battle.


Spider-Men #4

Official Description

• Can the Spider-Men stop Mysterio? • Peter Parker comes face-to-face with the family he never had! • ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL MOMENTS IN THE LIVES OF BOTH SPIDER-MEN!!!


It's hard to believe this crossover is ending next issue, felt like it just started. I've heard pretty positive things about this issue, getting five stars all over the place. It's terribly overrated. The writing is just off for the most part, Spidey doesn't sound like Spidey for the majority of it. Like, in his fifty years of crime fighting and reality jumping, he should know better than to tamper with these things. (This is canon, correct? Unless they do a mind sweep of the event or go back in time, that the conversations is canon to the Ultimate comics.) There are some admittedly funny dialogue sequences, such as Nick Fury inquiring about the other Fury and Spidey talking with that world's Tony Stark. It was hard for me to find this comic emotional, the writing just didn't have that touch. Nothing really important happened either, as Miles is pushed to the side and became more of a side character than a main focus, which is wrong. There's really nothing bad to say about the art, it's good. The cover is great, but doesn't really make sense for the actual story.

Overall it's a pretty disappointing comic that attempts to be emotional and ends up almost being a time-waster.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Ultraman MAX Review

After finishing the original Ultraman series, the question of "Now what?" came. I knew the original series was really the only one that was released in America, so I had no clue how I was going to watch the others. After some quick searching, I found out that many of the series were officially released in region free format, thanks to Malaysia. The only drawback is the subs. While they're understandable and not awful, there's spelling errors all over the place and sometimes it just doesn't make sense. Well, nothing could be perfect, right? There were many choices to pick, from Nexus to Mebius. Ultimately MAX sounded the most cool out of them. After reading up on it, I found out that my main kaiju Antlar returns, and a bunch classic monsters also come back. That, and the show overall just sounded fun. After a few months, finally finished it. Ultraman MAX is a slightly different kind of Ultraman show, with many comedic aspects. It also has a lot of emotion in the stories. MAX is definitely a fun show that will surprise you.

Like with the original Ultraman, this series has the 'monster of the week' thing. What this show got right that the old show got wrong was the monster designs and strengths. In the old show far too often we'll run into a weakling that Ultraman would beat in one blast. One blast! Here the monsters for the most part have great designs and are threats. That's also because MAX seems a little weaker than the original. He's lacking almost everything that made the original a cool focus. (C'mon, the original Ultraman LAUGHED in a monster's face, he openly mocked it!) This show has many great new creations, such as Lagoras, who appeared twice. He's definitely one of, if not the best original monster in the show. But what made this a buying incentive is that a bunch of classic kaiju appear. Antlar looks great, and just like in the old show, Max couldn't defeat him with the Blue Stone of Baraji. The suit is definitely an upgrade, but looks the exact same from his original appearance, good stuff. Eleking from Ultra7 makes two appearances. His first one in Episode 2 was fantastic. That episode is one of the best in the show. It has emotion and great action. Alien Baltan also appears for a two-parter. What I like is that instead of just 'taking over the earth because I COULD,' backstory and legit reason is given. Gomora also comes back. And of course, Red King is also here. Along with him Pigmon returns. In these two's first appearance, it was loosely a remake of the classic episode 'The Lawless Monster Zone.' Red King and Pigmon return in the admittedly funny episode, 'Alternate Dimension World.' And what is probably the best episode of the show, Zetton appears in Episode 13. Now this series got him right, no losing to human built weapons. It took two Ultramen and the power of Max Galaxy. Really, without the monsters, Ultraman would be lacking.

That's not to count out the many original creations. Take Kepulse for example, he's a fantastic monster because he has a great backstory and reason for causing destruction. Moetaranga I feel is an underrated monster/alien, his lines were great and just seemed to have an intriguing villain persona. (Plus his design is awesome.) Alien Shama is definitly one you won't be forgetting anytime soon. He's just the most over-the-top villain I've ever seen. I do have to question his second appearance that Professor. Yukari didn't find his human form suspicious. Then there's Alien Kesam, whose humanoid form looks a lot like the Xilien leader from Godzilla: Final Wars. His change of heart at the end of his episode appearance was expected, but done in a non cheesy way. While there were many throwaway monsters, at least they all put up decent fights and had good designs. Nostalgia aside, if its one thing that MAX beats the original series in, it's in the monster department.

After Episode 13 with Zetton, I felt the the quality of the show kinda lessened. There was more slapstick, especially in Episode 16, the worst episode of the show. I could see the point of adding humor, but often it comes off as rather dumb, making the characters look kinda silly. (The captain of any show should always look tough.) Like in the original show, there was a notable joke episode with this monster called Cloudos. It wasn't as bad as Episode 16, but for Cloudos they might as well have brought back Skydon, it would have given the episode a nostalgic touch. The latter part of the show wasn't as great as the first part, but there were many great episodes. A popular one is Episode 15, with this very strange monster 'If.' Basically this guy is kinda unbeatable, he absorbs what's thrown at him and mimics the ability. Then in the end his outlook is transformed into musical instruments thanks to a little girl playing the flute. It's one of those 'work of art' episodes that Shakespeare people would like. What I do like is that often we're provided extensive backstory in these episodes. Take Episode 9 for example with the legendary dragon Natsunomeryu. He's not evil, so the episode has a rather tragic touch. Ultraman MAX does have better established stories than in the original Ultraman, but is lacking the its charm. (Nostalgia? Retro?)

One cannot forgot to mention the core of the show, the characters. Instead of the Science Patrol, it's DASH. Captain Shigeru, Kaito, Mizuki, Sean, Koba, and Elly make up the main team. Kaito is the new holder of Ultraman. He's no Hayata, (don't think anyone ever will be) but he grows on you. Captain Shigeru also doesn't have anything on Captain Mura from the old show, but he isn't bad. (Though some of the comedic moments make him look pretty awful.) Mizuki is the new main female. I like Fuji from the classic show more, but she isn't bad. Aside from the the fact that she gets knocked out almost every episode. Sean is the Ito of the group. (And he's American!) He's the guy with the out-of the-blue comments and over the top remarks, he's just a funny and needed addition to the squad. Koba is the sharp shooter, similar to Arashi from (you guessed it) the 1966 show. Like Arashi, Koba isn't given as much of a focus as the other members. The most interesting (and best) character is Elly. She's an android, Data from Star Trek as you will. Elly brings a certain coolness to the group. She's not an emotionless robot, in fact, it's quite the opposite. While she isn't technically emnotional, she displays the greatest of compassion for her fellow teammates. I would have liked to see her fight more. (She does get some Ellen Ripley action in one episode, #19.) Unlike in the original show, there is some romance in MAX. Thankfully, it isn't overplayed. Kaito and Mizuki's relationship is built up gradually well, nothing beats fluid romance. One of the worst things in media is a shoehorned in romance. Then there's a little romance between Elly and Koba, which is pretty cute as it unfolds later in the show. Other characters include Professor Yukari, whom classic Ultraman fans will remember as Fuji from the original show. (How awesome is that?) Then as a treat to fans, the actors who played Hayaya and Ito return here for some appaearances as other chatacters. It was great seeing them, Ito still has the same smile for everything!

Talking about the series finale, it definitely had that 'this is the end' feel. The final boss is this giant (I say giant this time because it dwarfs Ultraman!) thing that looks a bit like Legion from Gamera, it's pretty cool. The final battle however is disappointing, since there wasn't really much fighting. It's Ultraman attacking a giant thing, gets defeated fast, then gets a powerup and slashes the thing to oblivion. Anti-climatic? A bit, could have used more of a fight. But really, it isn't about Max's final battle, it's what happens afterward with the characters. We get to see Kaito and Mizuki together married and old. (Though it's not really known as to what happened with the other members, save Elly.) But overall it was a fine finale. After that was a reflection episode and a preview of Ultraman Mebius, a nice touch.

Overall, Ultraman MAX is fine series in the Ultra-verse. It's jam packed full of awesome monsters, satisfying fights, and interesting stories. It's not a perfect series, I felt the comedy got a little too slaptstick. In the end, nothing can match the charm of the original show, but MAX is a great series its own right. Ultraman MAX is a great show with lots of care (the theme song is amazing) and heart injected into the stories.

Friday, August 3, 2012

On the State of the Cartoon

Cartoons, we all grew up with them, many of us still watch them. (I do!) I'm 16, and over these past few years I've noticed something....cartoons are getting worse and worse. See, I'm something of a 90's kid. I grew up with all those Nick shows. Now, for people my age, here's a trip down nostalgic lane. Remember Rugrats?

Who can forget Tommy?

Can't forget Godzilla, I mean Reptar.

How about Hey Arnold?

Now you may have to be a bit older to recognize Doug.

Ah, those were the days. There are many others, such as CatDog, but the ones above I hold to a higher degree. Today, at age 16, I can still watch these and be entertained. Nostalgia is part of the reason of course, but the main thing about these old cartoons is that they had heart. There was heart put into the stories, often a moral was found. They were also made so that parents could be entertained while watching it with their kids. They also were respectable shows. Take Arnold from Hey Arnold for example, he's a kid all parents want their's to be like. A good friend, respectable of elders, a good student, and stands up for what's right. That's what kids were exposed to on a daily basis, back in my day. (Always wanted to say that.) Today however, things have quite changed. The 'thing' that is 'in,' is for main characters to rebel against their parents when they're not around, to do rebellious things. You ever hear of this cartoon called The Amazing World of Gumball? It airs on Cartoon Network currently.

Ignoring the off-putting animation for a second, the main character is this 12 year old boy named Gumball. Unlike Arnold, he's completely disobedient, constantly does things against what his parents want, and is the persona that a parent does not want their kid to be like. Never mind the fact the that the father in the show is portrayed as a complete idiotic fool. (You'll have to sit through an episode to see what I'm talking about.) It's not just the main characters, it's in the writing. The writing in today's cartoons have just gotten sillier and mindless. Now I know what you're going to tell me, they're just kids...they just need something to watch, right? Well...look again at Rugrats or Hey Arnold, or CatDog, those shows have strong writing. How can I tell? At my age, when I'm not the targeted demographic, if I'm engaged to the story, then that's how I know the writing is smart. Not today. Take Fanboy and Chum Chum for example. The writing, even for a kids show, is not good at all. It's a kids show, yes, but if the 90's and early 2000's could have strong writing, there's no reason why the majority of today's cartoons can't. Now for a cartoon we all grew up with....Spongebob!

C'mon, I know Spongebob, you know Spongebob, your mom knows Spongebob, and probably even your cat has seen a few episodes. I've seen the first three seasons probably a thousand times growing up, I recognize any one of those episodes instantly. I don't know if you've noticed, but after the movie came out, the show started going downhill. What I mean by that is the stories started becoming more mindless and Spongebob kept getting dumber and dumber. While browsing the TV not too long ago, me and my mom decided to watch it for old time's sake. We saw a newer episode and after that, the same thing was on our minds, "That was the biggest dud ever." The characters seemed to have lost all maturity they had in the past. Spongebob believe it or not in the earlier episodes was quite smart with a less squeaky voice and was capable of going whole episodes without crying and was a fun focus. Now he's borderline laughable, a little too obsessive with Squidward, and has become the definition of immature, he wasn't like that in the earlier episodes. Instead of getting older, he has seemingly gotten younger. Take Mr. Krabs for example, all they play upon now his love for money, he's not even close to being a respectable boss anymore. (Not that he ever truly was, but in the earlier episodes he actually acted like a respectable boss on occasion.) Now for my personal favorite example. *Drum roll*

Ahhhh, this show was what shaped me into a Spider-Man fan. I remember when they use to air the marathons on Saturday mornings. I watch it to this day, it's still the definitive Spidey show. It featured an adult Peter Parker, it was story-driven as opposed to action-driven, and talking as a Spidey fan for a second, they got most, if not all the character portrayals right. All in all, a great cartoon. Fast forward over ten years later and we're introduced to Ultimate Spider-Man. I'm not sure of you've noticed, but these days the shows favor a high school Peter over an adult one. In the latest show, as opposed to being story driven with amazing writing, it's more action/comedy driven. High school Peter is everything The Animated Series' one isn't. He's immature and isn't the respectable hero he should be. This version doesn't match the early 616 version, or even his Ultimate comic counterpart, he's been morphed into an immature kid  to 'appease' today's audience, since apparently that's what kids today find entertaining. Forget about the mature, respectable main character, that barely exists anymore in any cartoon today.

Compare the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the upcoming one on Nick. Now obviously it isn't fair to compare to something that isn't even out yet, but let's look at it for example. The new show is going to focus a lot on the 'teenage aspect' of the show. April has been turned into a teen, how convnient. The 2003 show relied on its surprisingly deep stories (even got a little PGish violent sometimes) and was just all around a great show. The upcoming one looks to be completely young-centric where older people will just cringe at it often. I will hold up on my bashing article until I see it of course. Have you heard about the upcoming Pac Man show? Turns out the title character is a teen, so it really should be called Pac-Teen. Instead of focusing on the Pac Man universe established in the Pac Man World game series, the show looks to be its own thing, portraying the title character as a pitiful and juvenile version of the chomper. An origin story isn't bad, but does it have to have the title character in such a manner? Now this is not to say that all cartoons today is bad. There are gems out there such as The Looney Tunes Show, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, (hey the show is nice) Young Justice, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Transformers Prime, Monsuno, but the bad are outweighing the good. Just turn on the TV to Cartoon Network at a random time during the week to see what I'm talking about. It should be interesting to see where we'll be in ten years from now, will cartoons become smart again or continue to get mindless and mindless? I'll be watching, then in ten years I'll make a post about on either its improvement or how cartoons are doomed.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Weekly Comic Reviews

Greetings all, glad to see you're back to check out this week's reviews. I hope you've been checking out Unleash the Fanboy, you'll find my reviews of some Image, Dynamite, and IDW comics there. Now, for Spidey taking a stand, two Mr. Toxics, and a giant squid.

Avengers vs. X-Men #9

Official Description
• Their numbers dwindling, the Avengers stage a daring raid on the X-Men’s prison to rescue their captive members—and you won’t believe where it is! • Alliances begin to change as the nature of the Phoenix becomes apparent! • And in the end, it all comes down to Spider-Man!


There are just three more issues left of this event, then the Marvel NOW initiative can commence. Avengers vs. X-Men is one of the longer Marvel events, tied with Secret Wars. For the most part it's been good with little to no average issues. The latest issue sees Spidey taking more of a central role. I for one am happy to see that, he hasn't done much of anything in the whole event, he's just been there in the background. Jason Aaron's writing is top of the line, I haven't found myself laughing out loud from Spidey's lines like this in awhile. The Phoenix Five are getting corrupted, and the way that unfolds is really suspenseful. By the end, you're left wanting to find out what happens next right away. There are really no complaints about the art, it's very good, I especially like the cover.

Overall it's by far the best comic yet in this event. This issue reminded me of why I'm a Spider-Man fan, I'm proud to give it a perfect score.


Detective Comics #12

Official Description
• What is the final fate of Charlotte Rivers and Hugh Marder? • Guest-starring ROBIN. • The TWO-FACE backup story continues!


This little arc has been pretty fun. After some mediocre issues, this arc was welcome. While Detective Comics hasn't been astonishing, right now it's not a bad story with Batman. This issue plays out like the final part in an episode of The Animated Series. Mr. Toxic has surprisingly been an above-decent antagonist, I hope to see him more in the future. (In fact, I found myself enjoying him over Doll Maker.) The writing isn't anything fantastic, but it's good, Batman isn't acting out of character this time. Though actually the best part was the backup story featuring the Joker's face. It was greatly written and has me excited for when he comes back in Batman. The art is one of the book's strongest aspects, it's fantastic. There are some really great splash pages in there. Cover is pretty good. (Note, despite the description, Robin doesn't appear.)

Overall it's a pretty solid conclusion of the arc with a great backup story.


G.I. Combat #4

Official Description
The conclusion of “THE WAR THAT TIME FORGOT” and “UNKNOWN SOLDIER” epics! G.I. COMBAT continues next month


Generic. That's what describes the latest installment in the G.I. Combat series. I had originally started picking it up because the concept of soldiers vs. dinosaurs sounded awesome. The War that Time Forgot offers nothing new and just ends up being a SyFy original movie with a slightly better budget. The writing is bland and just isn't that great. There are some pretty cool scenes with the dinosaurs of course. (A highlight is the splash page with a giant squid.) In the end, The War that Time Forgot was a disappointment. Saving this comic from getting a below average score is the Unknown Soldier segment. It's a contrast from The War that Time Forgot, the writing is very good. I like how they use real time instead of a fictional world where real life current events don't happen. The art for both stories is pretty good, the dinos look fantastic. The cover is pretty nice, showcasing a Triceratops.

Overall it's a pretty forgettable issue. Nothing against the series, but after this issue I'm dropping it cause it just isn't worth the money and there are much better series out there.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Latest Figure Hauls: Bandai King Kong and Mechani Kong

Ebay can be a very controversial place sometimes. But often you can find some good buys in there. These two figures I've been wanting to buy for a long time, they're classics every collector should have. I had run into a few auctions from the seller that was selling these guys. He was selling a Godzilla 2000, Kamacuras, Godzilla Junior, among other cool Bandais. But what had caught my eye was the tagged Mechani Kong. Ever since watching King Kong Escapes, I was a huge fan of this guy. C'mon, a robot King Kong? He's just awesome. His figure also looked pretty fantastic, I've been wanting to buy him especially. Plus it featured the tag, it's hard to find the old Bandais with their tags at decent prices. I was going to go all-out for this bid, and it looked like for awhile it wasn't going to go too high. Then the seller listed a Bandai King Kong with the tag. I kept that under the watch list, I personally didn't think I was going to get that one also, since I've seen the tagged ones go for up to $200. (Not a joke, just look it up at Tempting Toys and Collectibles.) As the bids approached the end date, they hadn't reached too high of numbers. On Friday it was time to bid on the King Kong, which had gone up to about $55. At around the 35 second mark, I put a bid at $60, became the high bidder and put a max of $95. (That was my limit on both figures.) As the heart-racing seconds went by, the numbers went up to $86 at around the three second mark, and then zero. I won the tagged King Kong for $86. I was pretty impressed with myself, probably one of my best buys. Now here's the ironic part...later on in the Mechani Kong bid, it was up to $75. I was going to wait until the final five seconds to put a bid at $95, but apparently someone else had the same idea, cause at the final five second mark someone put a bid for $96, so I ended up losing the Mechani Kong. The ironic part is that the main point was to win Mechani with the King Kong only being a loose chance, but it ended up being the other way around. So that same night I glumly ordered a no-tagged one for $80. Glumness aside, it's truly great to have these guys. First off, King Kong.

You know, I've seen this guy in a lot of pictures online, I thought I wasn't going to be too impressed with it. It has proven me wrong, the figure is fantastic in person. I thought the two would be a little bigger, but it doesn't matter, the size is fine. My only minor complaint here is the eyes, it's all white with no pupils. It's like he belongs in GMK. According to pretty much everyone, the figure has a hairstyle very similar to Elvis Presley. Well they're definitely right, maybe Bandai had him in mind when molding the figure. And just cause I feel like bragging, here's the attached tag. (I think they should have put Kong on it instead of the jungle and lettering, maybe make a custom sticker for it too.)

Now for Mechani Kong.

The figure isn't mint condition since I bought it used, but it's in very good condition, and that's enough. There's really no complaints here, it matches his movie counterpart 100%. A fine figure. All in all, these guys were definitely worth the prices I got them for. Getting a tagged King Kong for $86 may be my second greatest figure buy right next to getting a tagged Gorosaurus for $70.

The cast from King Kong Escapes

King Kong vs. Godzilla!