Month: September 2008

Heroes Recap: Volume 3: Chapter 3

Each week, Comicdom Wrecks! (whose staff consists of three Heroes-loving nerds) will be recapping the most recent episode of Heroes. Lost somewhere in the season? Forgot something that’s taken place? Check the Recaps to find what you may have missed.

HEAVY SPOILER ALERT!

9/29/08 – Volume 3: Chapter 3 (One of Us, One of Them)

Story 1 – Villains Escape (Peter, Angela, Sylar, HRG)
The escaped villains, with Peter still inside Jesse, rob a bank. When the police arrive, Knox reveals that he called them to allow the Company to find them, giving them the chance for revenge. The German wants no part of the plan, but is killed by Knox with a punch through the stomach. Angela reveals to HRG that his partner will be Sylar, who she is confidant will be able to control the hunger that causes him to kill people for their abilities. The two arrive at the bank, with HRG going in and telling Sylar to remain outside. Inside, Knox has learned that Jesse is an imposter with a trick question and knocks him down, but is distracted by HRG’s arrival and allows Peter to use Jesse’s sound manipulation to knock everyone away. Future Peter arrives and knocks Peter out of Jesse and teleports them both into the future. With Jesse back to himself, the tide turns on HRG, who is actually saved by Sylar. The hunger gets the best of him, however, and he kills Jesse, which in turn allows Knox to flee the scene.

Story 2 – Hiro’s Formula (Hiro, Ando)
Hiro and Ando arrive at a theater in Berlin, Germany where Daphne arrives and tells them that she’s already delivered the first half of the formula and is going after the second half. She runs into the building but finds that her speed is no longer working. Hiro spots the Haitian, whom he recognized from the future, and follows him into the theater. Hiro and Ando set up an interception for the Haitian’s meeting and knock him out, getting the formula. However, with her powers functioning again, Daphne quickly steals the second half of the formula and takes off. Hiro and Ando barely have time to react before the Haitian recovers and captures them. They are then incarcerated in Level Two of Primatech.

Story 3 – Nathan in Congress (Nathan, Linderman, Tracy)
Nathan is sworn in as Senator from New York, but is distressed to find that Tracy is missing. Traveling to her home, he finds her distressed about Niki Sanders, which again has Nathan questioning whether that’s who she really is. Tracy travels to New Orleans to find Niki, but discovers in a funeral home that Niki has died. She is spotted by Niki’s son Micah, who realizes that she’s not his mom, but helps her understand that she’s not the only person with powers. He uses his power to compare all the data he can find about the two women and learns that they were born on the same day by the same doctor, a Dr. Zimmerman. Tracy finds the man who reveals that he “created” her.

Story 4 – Parkman in the Desert (Parkman)
Usutu brings Parkman to an area of rocks he has painted upon, depicting stages of Parkman’s life. Parkman questions one of him and a woman, happy, but Usutu tells him that this one no longer exists, as the future has changed. He sits down and goes into a “painting trance” (like that of Isaac Mendez). When Usutu comes out of his painting trance, Parkman sees that he’s replaced the painting of a happy family with one of him holding a woman he doesn’t recognize. He questions what the whole thing means, and follows Usutu’s guidance and goes into a similar trance himself.

Story 5 – Suresh’s Formula (Suresh, Maya)
Neither Suresh nor Maya appear in this episode.

Story 6 – Claire’s Mission (Claire)
Finding herself unable to return to the menial tasks of high school, Claire asks her mother Meredith to train her to fight so she can take on villains from her dad’s files. Meredith takes her to a storage container and ignites the air around them, making it impossible for Claire to breathe. After much demanding, Claire finally reveals that her desire to battle is not to ‘save the world’ but to hurt villains like Sylar who caused her so much pain.

Debuts

  • Bridget Bailey (Tehmina Sunny) – An employee of the Company who can see the history of any object.
  • Dr. Zimmerman (Ronald Guttman) – A doctor apparently responsible for the “creation” of Niki and Tracy.

Deaths

  • Niki Sanders (Ali Larter) – While she didn’t actually die in this episode, her final fate is revealed.
  • Bridget Bailey (Tehmina Sunny) – Killed by Sylar.
  • The German (Ken Lally) – Killed by Knox as an example to the others.
  • Jesse Murphy (Francis Capra) – Killed by Sylar.

Revelations

  • The Haitian is still working for the Company.
  • Sylar has gained the ability to learn the history of an object on contact as well as sound manipulation.
  • Usutu’s power is revealed to be precognitive painting.

Chapters 1 & 2

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Longshot and Dazzler

In last week’s X-Factor #35, oft-forgotten X-Man Longshot debuted in the title, apparently set to join the cast. As he had not been seen in several months (since the end of Exiles), a bit of exposition came forth in a conversation between him and Strong Guy. It was there that Longshot explained why he was no longer in a relationship with Dazzler (as they had last been seen) and commented that there was really nothing between the two of them – that the whole thing seemed forced. It was (in my eyes) a well-deserved comment on the part of Peter David on the longtime relationship between the two characters. I found it to be quite amusing.

The explanation is not exactly simple, and a history lesson of Longshot and Dazzler is forthcoming to help get you through it. You’re welcome.

Longshot debuted in a cult-classic self-titled mini-series, and was quickly shoehorned into the X-Men in an annual that also featured the debut of the X-Babies (and that’s all I’m saying about that one). He briefly vanished during the Mutant Massacre, only to show back up in its aftermath, in which he quickly became a member of the new team. An amusing trait of the character was his attractiveness to the opposite sex (mullet notwithstanding), and his naivity to the matter due to his nature. However, that was quickly abandoned in a suddenly developed relationship between him and his teammate Dazzler.

The Longshot relationship always puzzled me during the “Australian Era” of 80s X-Men. The dialogue would have you believe that there was a love-triangle going between him, Dazzler and Rogue, but this really never was touched upon in the stories themselves. Dazzler and Longshot were just sort of a couple until he left the team right after Inferno. All right, to be fair, they did get a bit physical at one point, but they were possessed by demons at the time.

It was sort of out-of-sight, out-of-mind once Longshot left the team, as Dazzler began hitting on Havok (chicks dig moody depressants, after all) and then got her mind wiped by a journey through the Siege Perilous. Wherever writer Chris Claremont was planning on taking either story (Longshot’s departure and Dazzler’s amnesia) didn’t come to anything by the time he left the book. It was plotter Jim Lee and scripter John Byrne who actually finished the Longshot story, pulling in Dazzler and restoring her memories in the process. The battle left Longshot in charge of the Mojoverse, Dazzler pregnant, and the readers feeling that the relationship was much more than earlier stories had ever implied it to be. So they lived happily ever after.

Or not so much.

Turns out that a universe-ruling Longshot and an expecting Dazzler weren’t too interesting. In fact, the few writers that did use either character often didn’t use them together, with an obligatory reference to how the other one was doing just for fun. Dazzler was given an implied miscarriage by Fabian Nicieza just after the Age of Apocalypse and the two were sort-of broken up when Dazzler showed up to help the X-Men apparently unaware of where Longshot might be. She settled into random guest appearances here and there and he ended up in Limbo (the unused kind, not the demon kind).

Eventually, Longshot was brought into the Exiles, though he had no memories of his past life. This was a welcome attempt to get him back to the basics of his character that had become lost over the years of sort-of romances and universal uprisings. He stayed with the team until the title ended with a Chris Claremont written crossover between the Exiles and New Excalibur (of which Dazzler was a member) and almost all of the characters were shuffled so an all-Claremont-created team could relaunch Exiles. For Longshot, this meant heading back to Earth with Dazzler in an effort to rekindle their romance. So they lived happily ever after.

Or not so much.

Turns out the Longshot/Dazzler coupling is still not interesting, and really hasn’t ever been. The effort to put them back together after all of their convoluted non-use felt like a forced issue. They were together in X-Men, they should be together now. That’s exactly how it was presented in Longshot’s X-Factor appearance when he flat out said it felt more and more awkward trying to make it work when it really didn’t. So finally, Dazzler and Longshot have both returned as usable characters in the X-World. Let’s just hope they stay away from each other this time.

Recipe for suck: add comic characters to FPS game

I spotted this baby on the Playstation Blog today:

For those of you too lazy to click the link, the news is that this new game is going to be released exclusively for the PSN – all you X-Box Live users can suck it.

Actually, no not really. The game is an arena-based multi-player first person shooter using the engine of whichever Unreal Tournament game came out last. That means you connect to a server, you show up in a room, you kill other players. No story necessary.

Now, I am aware that there is a dedicated fanbase for FPS games like this one, but if history teaches us anything, changing the rather colorful cast of storyless characters that can be blown up repeatedly into comic-based ones doesn’t really work. Comics are illustrated stories. When you create a game, you need to have some kind of story there.

So what’s the history that teaches us this? Many moons ago, there was a Quake II conversion that featured the X-Men…except your mission was to go around blowing up the X-Men. The game didn’t go over to well and can actually be downloaded for free at numerous sites, provided you have a working copy of Quake II.

Will I be buying this? No sir, I don’t think so. It just seems lazy to me.

Heroes Recap – Volume 3: Chapters 1 and 2

Each week, Comicdom Wrecks! (whose staff consists of three Heroes-loving nerds) will be recaping the most recent episode of Heroes. Lost somewhere in the season? Forgot something that’s taken place? Check the Recaps to find what you may have missed.

HEAVY SPOILER ALERT!

9/23/09 – Volume 3: Chapters 1 & 2 (The Second Coming, The Butterfly Effect)

Wrapping Up – Who Shot Nathan?
Most of the themes of this arc are set up immediately with the answer to who shot Nathan in last season’s finale. Peter (the scarred one from the future) travels back in time to stop Nathan from announcing the existence of superhuman powers to the world, thereby preventing his timeline. The problem is that the longer he stays in the past to make sure the job has been completed, the more of what was supposed to happen is disrupted.

Story 1 – Villains Escape (Peter, Angela, Sylar, HRG, Claire)
Claire gets a visit from Sylar who cuts her head open and studies her brain, gaining her healing. When she heals from the attack, she can no longer feel pain, which she begins to associate with the loss of her soul. While with Claire, Sylar finds a file on Level 5 of Primatech, which houses some of the most dangerous prisoners ever dealt with by the company. He kills Bob, gaining his transmutation, but is confronted by Elle and HRG, both of whom he quickly dispatches. As he tries to cut open Elle’s head, she instinctively unleashes a torrent of electricity that shorts out the building’s security and sets the prisoners free. Unbeknownst to them, one of them is possessed by Peter, whom his future alter-ego locked within the mind of a prisoner. Angela, now in charge of the company with Bob’s death, fires Elle and warns the future version of her son that he had better get to fixing this mess he made. Sylar, who was knocked out by Elle’s attack, is held prisoner in a Level 5 cell. At the Bennet house, HRG prepares to go after the escaped prisoners, and leaves Claire in the care of her birth mother. The escaped villains, unknowingly joined by Peter, kill two people and escape in their car.

Story 2 – Hiro’s Formula (Hiro, Ando)
Bored out of his mind after becoming majority owner of his father’s company, Hiro is excited to receive a video recorded by his father before his death. The video tells of half a formula locked away that could possibly destroy the world. As soon as Hiro opens the safe, the formula is stolen by Daphne, a speedster who is not completely subject to Hiro’s abilities. Unwilling to travel back in time, Hiro travels forward to discover what the formula could possibly do, but witnesses his own death at the hands of Ando, who seemingly possesses lightning powers. As Tokyo explodes, Hiro returns to the present, doubtful of Ando and determined to get his formula back. A private investigator discovers the name and address of the crook. Hiro and Ando travel to France and set a trap for Daphne, allowing Hiro to plant a tracer on her. They follow her path, planning to get the other half of the formula before she can.

Story 3 – Nathan in Congress (Nathan, Linderman, Tracy)
Doctors rush to save Nathan’s life, but are ultimately unsuccessful. As Peter looks over his brother’s body, his wounds heal and he regains consciousness. As he convalesces, he is visited by Mr. Linderman, who begins telling him of what he is capable of. Nathan travels to the hospital chapel, and before news cameras, gives a monologue about how he has been blessed by God, no longer willing to reveal his secret. This change of heart prevents Peter (future) from shooting him again. The news coverage brings Nathan to the attention of the governor of New York Robert Malden, whose assistant Tracy recommends that Nathan be appointed as the replacement for the recently deceased senator from New York. When Tracy visits Nathan, he mistakes her for Niki Sanders and is skeptical of the offer, but eventually accepts it under the advice of Linderman, as long as Tracy serves on his staff. Tracy herself is confronted by a reporter who accuses her of being Niki Sanders, and even produces hotel security footage of Niki and Nathan together during Nathan’s campaign. As Tracy lays a hand on the reporter, his entire body freezes and shatters, causing her to run in fear.

Story 4 – Parkman in the Desert (Parkman)
Parkman finds Peter in a storage closet, apparently searching for the gun that was used to shoot Nathan. When he questions Peter about it, unaware that he is actually a version of Peter from the future, Peter transports Parkman to Africa and leaves him stranded there. After walking for some time, Parkman collapses. He is visited by a large turtle, who points him to a water-enriched root. As he thanks the turtle, he is found by a man who knows his identity, but is unnerved that the transpiring events are not how he painted them.

Story 5 – Suresh’s Formula (Suresh, Maya)
Having sent Molly to a secret location to keep her safe, Suresh begins working with Maya on locating the source of the superhuman abilities. When she tells him that her powers manifest when she becomes upset and fade when she calms, he succeeds in creating a formula that theoretically can manifest powers in any human. She tells him that it should be destroyed, but instead he injects himself with it and manifests heightened strength, speed and other senses. He becomes uncharacteristically aggressive and sleeps with Maya, before waking up to find that a piece of his shoulder seems to be peeling off.

Extras
Knocking out the future – Peter’s presence disrupts key events in the future:

  • When Claire calls wanting to help, he tells her to stay put, leaving her home alone when Sylar comes knocking.
  • Sylar’s presence in the house gives him access to the Level 5 file, which sends him in that direction and leads to the villains’ escape.
  • Sylar’s attack leaves Claire unable to feel pain, which has her questioning her humanity.
  • Nathan’s wounds lead to his spiritual revelation, which gains him the attention that leads to his nomination.
  • Parkman is sent to Africa, where he is told he is not supposed to be.
  • The Peter of the present is locked in the mind of one of the Level 5 inmates when they escape.

Debuts

  • Tracy Strauss (Ali Larter) – Advisor to Governor Malden, she is seemingly identical to Niki Sanders, though she apparently does not know the woman. Seemingly possesses freezing abilities.
  • Daphne Millbrook (Brea Grant) – Speedster and master thief, her stealing of Hiro’s formula has made her his declared nemesis.
  • Flint (Blake Shields) – A prisoner of Level 5 possessing pyrokinesis.
  • Jesse Murphy (Francis Capra) – A prisoner of Level 5 possessing sound manipulation abilities. The host body of Peter Petrelli.
  • The German (Ken Lally) – A prisoner of Level 5 possessing magnetism manipulation.
  • Knox (Jamie Hector) – A prisoner of Level 5 possessing fear-based powers.
  • Robert Malden (Bruce Boxleitner) – Governor of New York looking to fill a vacated Senate chair.
  • Usutu (N’Tare Mwine) – An African man who discovers Parkman in the desert. Apparently possesses the ability of precognition, represented through paintings (perhaps like Isaac Mendez).

Deaths

  • Bob Bishop (Stephen Tobolowsky) – killed by Sylar for his abilities.

Revelations

  • Angela Petrelli’s power is revealed to be precognitive dreaming. This was hinted at in the first season, as Peter first began envisioning his and his brother’s powers in dreams.
  • With Bob’s death, the only surviving founders of the Company are Angela Petrelli, Maury Parkman and Adam Monroe.
  • Sylar has gained the abilities of healing and transmutation.

Value to whom, exactly?

I have always been a follower of the belief that something is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it. So while watching a video about the San Diego Comic Con, I was puzzled by an old Flash comic, graded (and therefore sealed) of course, going for $65,000. Why in the world would anyone pay that much for a comic they can’t even read? Just to sell it to someone else?

I will never buy a graded comic, and will never send my out for the treatment. I just don’t get it – like people who won’t take Transformers out of the box.

Millar to launch Ultimate Avengers, making Ultimates as useless as it is bad

Next year, Marvel will be launching a new title – Ultimate Avengers – written by Mark Millar who is credited by many to be pretty much the co-father of the Ultimate universe, with Brian Bendis (think My Two Dads). According to Millar in a CBR interview, the new title will be six issue stories in which Nick Fury gathers heroes to fight threats to the Ultimate universe.

Now I know what you’re thinking – isn’t there already an Ultimate Avengers of sorts in The Ultimates? Why yes, yes there is. But don’t worry about that book – it’s terrible and it looks to remain terrible for the near future.

I find it…intriguing that Marvel would bring back Millar and put him on a book whose concept is so much like an existing title…when that book seems to be losing the direction that originally made it such a hit. I, for one, am excited. After all, I dropped Ultimates 3 after three issues. I would love to get Millar back to the Ultimate U.