Cleft Plug

Scott, Long time reader and fan of yours here. I was wondering if by chance you could plug my charity event I’m doing? It’s called Extra Life. I’m going to be playing video games for 24 hours straight on October 15th, 2011. All donations and money are going to the Children’s Hospital in Richmond, VA. My brother was born 30 years ago with a cleft lip. The Children’s Hospital performed surgery on him as a baby and today you would have no idea that he ever had it. They helped our family in lots of ways and I see this as a way to give back to them. This will be my third year participating in Extra Life. It is a lot of hard work. You might think playing video games for 24 hours straight would be fun, but it can wear on you after a while. I’ve seen your willingness to help others out, so I hope you can share this with everyone on your blog. The link to my fundraising page is http://www.extra-life.org/participant/kingofkeithand I will be broadcasting it live starting at 8 AM on 10/15 on justin.tv at justin.tv/kingofkeith. Thanks so much!

You’re very welcome.

Cleft Plug

Scott, Long time reader and fan of yours here. I was wondering if by chance you could plug my charity event I’m doing? It’s called Extra Life. I’m going to be playing video games for 24 hours straight on October 15th, 2011. All donations and money are going to the Children’s Hospital in Richmond, VA. My brother was born 30 years ago with a cleft lip. The Children’s Hospital performed surgery on him as a baby and today you would have no idea that he ever had it. They helped our family in lots of ways and I see this as a way to give back to them. This will be my third year participating in Extra Life. It is a lot of hard work. You might think playing video games for 24 hours straight would be fun, but it can wear on you after a while. I’ve seen your willingness to help others out, so I hope you can share this with everyone on your blog. The link to my fundraising page is http://www.extra-life.org/participant/kingofkeithand I will be broadcasting it live starting at 8 AM on 10/15 on justin.tv at justin.tv/kingofkeith. Thanks so much!

You’re very welcome.

Scott Reviews The New 52: Week 4

After last week’s lackluster offerings, I was surprised and delighted that there was some really high-quality stuff this time.  Especially because it was stuff I was really looking forward to. Superman #1 OK, first we’ll go with this, even though it’s a pretty big letdown for me.  I am just not digging the Jim Lee costume redesign, I’m not digging the redefined Clark and Lois relationship.  And Clark looks like Harry Potter now.  George Perez’ script is really talky, especially with the heavy-handed “print media is not dying” message imparted by the parallel Clark Kent news story recapping the action.  Yeah, print isn’t dying, that’s why I buy most of these on Comixology and read them on my computer.  I’m sticking with Action Comics for my Superman fix, I think. Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men #1 Yeah!  Now this is what I’m wanting out of a reboot.  It takes elements that fans know and love (like the names, basic concept and costume design) and creates a whole new world in the sandbox so that new fans can jump on at the start.  Admittedly I’ve been reading since literally day one of the character and have more than a little affection for it, so I’m predisposed to enjoy this anyway.  But this was really good.  Ronnie Raymond gets de-aged back to a teenager again for a feud with brainy Jason Rusch, and that’s a dynamic that’s always gonna work.  Plus the story has some legitimate gravitas to it thanks to an intense beginning, and the setup leaves you wanting to know what happens next.  Best of all, both Jason and Ronnie fans (who have been at odds since the changeover) get their guy as Firestorm.  This one definitely stays on the pull list. Teen Titans #1 Given that the initial cover concept made this look retarded, this was a pleasant surprise to say the least.  Tim Drake (who still was Robin in the reboot) assembles his team to fight the forces of NOWHERE (last seen in Superboy #1), and it’s all breezy and tremendously entertaining.  Kid Flash is back to being an impulsive dick again (although he’s drawn more like Wally than Bart…hmmm…) and Cassie is much more interesting on her own as Wonder Girl than as a sidekick from the previous universe.  I really like the costume redesign on Red Robin, and this now feels like a bi-weekly book when paired with Superboy.  I wasn’t even planning on picking this one up, but I’m sticking with it now.  Great fun, and I’m not sure how Lobdell could write crap like Red Hood and then something great like this.  Maybe they should just merge the two books? Flash #1 This was fine, but I just don’t care about Barry Allen.  If the world can survive with two Firestorms, why not two Flashes?  Or make Wally into the new Quicksilver or Johnny Quick or something?  Anyway, this feels very Silver Agey, with Barry having to get out of social situations to change into the Flash (with new cool expanding costume effect) and much like Superman, he’s now single and not even dating Iris.  The previous series left me cold and I’m not really into this yet.  I’ll wait for the trade. All Star Western #1 I love me some Jonah Hex, although I was disappointed that they’re abandoning the standalone format of the previous Hex series and going with the now-traditional serialized storytelling.  That being said, Hex working in 1880 Gotham City and teaming up with Dr. Arkham to hunt serial killers is a pretty brilliant conceit.  This was a really fun contrasting personality book, with Hex at his snarling worst while Arkham tries to psychoanalyze him and tame him for presentation to “proper” society.  I’d prefer Hex by himself again dispensing six gun justice, but this was pretty fun and will continue to be read by me. Aquaman #1 I breezed through this one, which was nice given that the character has been getting a dense backstory in recent years.  Geoff Johns, who is the guy who is going make this work no matter what anyone says so you might as well accept it, actually does make it work.  Things get meta with criminals and seafood restaurant patrons riffing on him, but Arthur beats the hell out of would-be bank robbers and damn if he isn’t pretty cool here.  He does NOT talk to fish or need a glass of water to survive on land, thankyouverymuch.  Thumbs up, and I will stick with the Aquaman rescue project for a while longer.  Batman: The Dark Knight #1 Hey, it’s yet another Bat-book.  By this point in the month I’m feeling a bit inundated with Batman, and this one is just kind of settled blandly in between the greatness of Batman #1 and the weirdly offputting Detective #1.  Bruce Wayne meets a powerful Bollywood actress at a party and gets into legal arguments, and then goes off to deal with another riot at Arkham (or maybe the same one as earlier this month, who knows).  I wasn’t really feeling the cliffhanger, but the whole thing seemed kind of aimless to begin with anyway.  We’ll call this a backup in case either of the important Batbooks get injured or called to another comics company or something.  The artwork is very nice, though, and I could follow everything going on easily, so that’s always appreciated, but it’s still a distant #3 behind Batman and Batman & Robin for me.  And finally… Green Lantern:  The New Guardians #1 Pretty slow start here.  We get crabface’s original recounted again (which made me fear he was getting rebooted), and various rings from around the galaxy get drawn to Kyle in the present day, along with the rainbow Corps members who want them back.  And that’s basically it.  As noted before, I’m kinda over the multi-colored Lantern thing right now, but I like Kyle, so I gave it a shot.  But there’s nothing here that makes me want to rush out and buy issue #2, so I’ll wait for a trade.  So to summarize, here’s what I’ll be reading on an ongoing basis, using these #1s as my criteria:  Action Comics, Batman, Batwoman, Birds of Prey, Blue Beetle, Justice League, Justice League International, Superboy, Teen Titans, Firestorm, Aquaman, All Star Western, Men of War and Batman & Robin.  Now if only DC can stick to their shipping schedule, we’ll be good to go.

Scott Reviews The New 52: Week 4

After last week’s lackluster offerings, I was surprised and delighted that there was some really high-quality stuff this time.  Especially because it was stuff I was really looking forward to. Superman #1 OK, first we’ll go with this, even though it’s a pretty big letdown for me.  I am just not digging the Jim Lee costume redesign, I’m not digging the redefined Clark and Lois relationship.  And Clark looks like Harry Potter now.  George Perez’ script is really talky, especially with the heavy-handed “print media is not dying” message imparted by the parallel Clark Kent news story recapping the action.  Yeah, print isn’t dying, that’s why I buy most of these on Comixology and read them on my computer.  I’m sticking with Action Comics for my Superman fix, I think. Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men #1 Yeah!  Now this is what I’m wanting out of a reboot.  It takes elements that fans know and love (like the names, basic concept and costume design) and creates a whole new world in the sandbox so that new fans can jump on at the start.  Admittedly I’ve been reading since literally day one of the character and have more than a little affection for it, so I’m predisposed to enjoy this anyway.  But this was really good.  Ronnie Raymond gets de-aged back to a teenager again for a feud with brainy Jason Rusch, and that’s a dynamic that’s always gonna work.  Plus the story has some legitimate gravitas to it thanks to an intense beginning, and the setup leaves you wanting to know what happens next.  Best of all, both Jason and Ronnie fans (who have been at odds since the changeover) get their guy as Firestorm.  This one definitely stays on the pull list. Teen Titans #1 Given that the initial cover concept made this look retarded, this was a pleasant surprise to say the least.  Tim Drake (who still was Robin in the reboot) assembles his team to fight the forces of NOWHERE (last seen in Superboy #1), and it’s all breezy and tremendously entertaining.  Kid Flash is back to being an impulsive dick again (although he’s drawn more like Wally than Bart…hmmm…) and Cassie is much more interesting on her own as Wonder Girl than as a sidekick from the previous universe.  I really like the costume redesign on Red Robin, and this now feels like a bi-weekly book when paired with Superboy.  I wasn’t even planning on picking this one up, but I’m sticking with it now.  Great fun, and I’m not sure how Lobdell could write crap like Red Hood and then something great like this.  Maybe they should just merge the two books? Flash #1 This was fine, but I just don’t care about Barry Allen.  If the world can survive with two Firestorms, why not two Flashes?  Or make Wally into the new Quicksilver or Johnny Quick or something?  Anyway, this feels very Silver Agey, with Barry having to get out of social situations to change into the Flash (with new cool expanding costume effect) and much like Superman, he’s now single and not even dating Iris.  The previous series left me cold and I’m not really into this yet.  I’ll wait for the trade. All Star Western #1 I love me some Jonah Hex, although I was disappointed that they’re abandoning the standalone format of the previous Hex series and going with the now-traditional serialized storytelling.  That being said, Hex working in 1880 Gotham City and teaming up with Dr. Arkham to hunt serial killers is a pretty brilliant conceit.  This was a really fun contrasting personality book, with Hex at his snarling worst while Arkham tries to psychoanalyze him and tame him for presentation to “proper” society.  I’d prefer Hex by himself again dispensing six gun justice, but this was pretty fun and will continue to be read by me. Aquaman #1 I breezed through this one, which was nice given that the character has been getting a dense backstory in recent years.  Geoff Johns, who is the guy who is going make this work no matter what anyone says so you might as well accept it, actually does make it work.  Things get meta with criminals and seafood restaurant patrons riffing on him, but Arthur beats the hell out of would-be bank robbers and damn if he isn’t pretty cool here.  He does NOT talk to fish or need a glass of water to survive on land, thankyouverymuch.  Thumbs up, and I will stick with the Aquaman rescue project for a while longer.  Batman: The Dark Knight #1 Hey, it’s yet another Bat-book.  By this point in the month I’m feeling a bit inundated with Batman, and this one is just kind of settled blandly in between the greatness of Batman #1 and the weirdly offputting Detective #1.  Bruce Wayne meets a powerful Bollywood actress at a party and gets into legal arguments, and then goes off to deal with another riot at Arkham (or maybe the same one as earlier this month, who knows).  I wasn’t really feeling the cliffhanger, but the whole thing seemed kind of aimless to begin with anyway.  We’ll call this a backup in case either of the important Batbooks get injured or called to another comics company or something.  The artwork is very nice, though, and I could follow everything going on easily, so that’s always appreciated, but it’s still a distant #3 behind Batman and Batman & Robin for me.  And finally… Green Lantern:  The New Guardians #1 Pretty slow start here.  We get crabface’s original recounted again (which made me fear he was getting rebooted), and various rings from around the galaxy get drawn to Kyle in the present day, along with the rainbow Corps members who want them back.  And that’s basically it.  As noted before, I’m kinda over the multi-colored Lantern thing right now, but I like Kyle, so I gave it a shot.  But there’s nothing here that makes me want to rush out and buy issue #2, so I’ll wait for a trade.  So to summarize, here’s what I’ll be reading on an ongoing basis, using these #1s as my criteria:  Action Comics, Batman, Batwoman, Birds of Prey, Blue Beetle, Justice League, Justice League International, Superboy, Teen Titans, Firestorm, Aquaman, All Star Western, Men of War and Batman & Robin.  Now if only DC can stick to their shipping schedule, we’ll be good to go.

Glazer Plug

http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/09/28/wednesday-morning-backlash-daniel-bryan-money-in-the-bank-and-wwe-wrestlemania-28/ I think Aaron is nuts if he thinks Bryan actually gets to wrestle at WM, let alone challenge for the World title.  Bryan turns heel and loses the briefcase to a babyface within the next month or two, I’m betting.  Their flirtation with caring about him as anything but an enhancement guy is long past. 

Glazer Plug

http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/09/28/wednesday-morning-backlash-daniel-bryan-money-in-the-bank-and-wwe-wrestlemania-28/ I think Aaron is nuts if he thinks Bryan actually gets to wrestle at WM, let alone challenge for the World title.  Bryan turns heel and loses the briefcase to a babyface within the next month or two, I’m betting.  Their flirtation with caring about him as anything but an enhancement guy is long past. 

Blandy Boreton?

Hey Scott, I was doing some reading, and I noticed that a cavalcade of legends including Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Kurt Angle and John Cena (he’s a legend) have all praised Orton’s skill in the ring, calling him the best wrestler in WWE and all this other stuff.  I know that part of it has to be WWE building up Randy Orton as a legend, but some of these comments are made by guys outside of the company.  So it’s more than just politics.
Okay, I don’t want to bash Randy Orton, but this needs to be said.  Randy Orton isn’t that good.  Mildly above average, maybe.  But he’s never elevated a crappy wrestler to a good match.  So what about Orton makes all these guys praise him?  Is it his "crispness" and "cleanness" that marks him as a safe wrestler?  Cause after the Rhodes incident, that can’t be the case.  I just don’t get why such a boring wrestler is praised as an in-ring genius.  And before anybody makes Benoit, Hart, Bryan or Malenko jokes, they were never "boring" inside the ring, they showed an intensity and passion that Orton just doesn’t have.
So, I have to plumb the depths of your wrestling knowledge and ask you.  Why do legends praise Randy Orton as the best wrestler in the world when from where I’m standing he’s a thoroughly bland and pablum worker?

Well, I wouldn’t go THAT far.  He is certainly someone with major issues for being in such a high position, however.  He’s supposed to be the top babyface, but he doesn’t really have believable comebacks or make you care about his plight.  He’s also, like most of the guys who come up through the system, a bit stiff and robotic in the way the match flows.  It’s like in the AKI WWF games, where the AI would suddenly decide that now was the time for the block, now was the time for the comeback, and there’s not much you can do about it.   He’s basically a human video game character. 

Blandy Boreton?

Hey Scott, I was doing some reading, and I noticed that a cavalcade of legends including Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Kurt Angle and John Cena (he’s a legend) have all praised Orton’s skill in the ring, calling him the best wrestler in WWE and all this other stuff.  I know that part of it has to be WWE building up Randy Orton as a legend, but some of these comments are made by guys outside of the company.  So it’s more than just politics.
Okay, I don’t want to bash Randy Orton, but this needs to be said.  Randy Orton isn’t that good.  Mildly above average, maybe.  But he’s never elevated a crappy wrestler to a good match.  So what about Orton makes all these guys praise him?  Is it his "crispness" and "cleanness" that marks him as a safe wrestler?  Cause after the Rhodes incident, that can’t be the case.  I just don’t get why such a boring wrestler is praised as an in-ring genius.  And before anybody makes Benoit, Hart, Bryan or Malenko jokes, they were never "boring" inside the ring, they showed an intensity and passion that Orton just doesn’t have.
So, I have to plumb the depths of your wrestling knowledge and ask you.  Why do legends praise Randy Orton as the best wrestler in the world when from where I’m standing he’s a thoroughly bland and pablum worker?

Well, I wouldn’t go THAT far.  He is certainly someone with major issues for being in such a high position, however.  He’s supposed to be the top babyface, but he doesn’t really have believable comebacks or make you care about his plight.  He’s also, like most of the guys who come up through the system, a bit stiff and robotic in the way the match flows.  It’s like in the AKI WWF games, where the AI would suddenly decide that now was the time for the block, now was the time for the comeback, and there’s not much you can do about it.   He’s basically a human video game character. 

CM Punk does not equal buys

Oh, forgot to add to the RAW rant:  The buyrate for Summerslam is in, and people are gonna be out on the street as a result.  300K worldwide, which is down from 350 the year before.  That’s about 175 domestic, or in other words PPV is dying fast for the company and they either need to do something wacky like remember how to sell the product, or else they need a huge new revenue stream to replace it.  I would not want to be around Vince right now, I’ll say that much. 

CM Punk does not equal buys

Oh, forgot to add to the RAW rant:  The buyrate for Summerslam is in, and people are gonna be out on the street as a result.  300K worldwide, which is down from 350 the year before.  That’s about 175 domestic, or in other words PPV is dying fast for the company and they either need to do something wacky like remember how to sell the product, or else they need a huge new revenue stream to replace it.  I would not want to be around Vince right now, I’ll say that much. 

Boardwalk Empire

Hey Scott, I was just wondering if you’ve checked out Boardwalk Empire. I’ll admit that it took me awhile (and HBO OnDemand) to get hooked, but it’s a pretty decent spiritual successor toThe Sopranos. I’m still not 100% sold on Steve Buscemi as the lead, but everything else is top-notch. Just wondering about your thoughts (if any) and anyone else on the blog who happens to be a fan.

Although I enjoyed the violence and sex, and I’m generally a gangster movie aficionado, I found it difficult to connect with any of the characters and dropped out after the fifth episode.  It just didn’t feel like anything was happening to me.  Really, the only thing I was watching on HBO lately was True Blood.