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X-men: A jumbled mess of confusion

Recently, I've been having a desire to get into the X-men universe a bit more; I've always liked the movies (..... Okay the first two.  The third one, AUGH.  And Wolverine just looked dumb so I never bothered to see it) so delving into the comics seemed like a prospect I would enjoy.  Plus, it's pretty different from what I currently am heavily invested in; gotta have a good contrast to constant sci-fi and horror, right?  (and Bioware, though I suppose only a couple people would consider that its own genre. Heh heh)

I've been putting it off for awhile, though, for a couple of reasons.  First off, I just don't have the money to go out and buy comics randomly.  Yeah, it sucks.  Anyway, the second reason was because I wasn't quite sure where to begin.  There are SO many X-men comics out there that it's just slightly overwhelming.  Certain one-shots were referred to while I was searching for some good introductions, but at the same time, I was always unsure about that route because I don't want to just jump into the universe with a one-shot and not have any emotional investment at all in it past the movies.  Simply put, if I started off with a one shot, I'm not sure how much I would "care" about what happened.

So the idea of starting any X-men comics fell by the wayside for awhile, and then I went to the recent WonderCon in San Francisco (OMG so much fun - I am totally volunteering there next year!).  Well, during my aimless wanderings around the convention center, I fell upon the Marvel booth with loads and loads of comics before me - most of which were 50% off.  Oh, sweet temptation.  I immediately started looking through what I could get, but once again, I found myself pretty lost because I didn't know where to begin. 

So, the cool dude managing the booth helped me out; he had a bit of knowledge of the X-men comics and said that since I wanted some basic knowledge near the beginning of the series, getting X-men: Essentials Vol. 1 would be a good bet.  It collects issue #1, Giant-Size X-men, and then issues 24-119 of the regular X-men comics that started in 1975 (I believe).  He said it'd give me some great knowledge of the core beginning of stories and relationships - and it was only $8.50!  I simply could not refuse. :D

So, I've been reading that for a few days now, and I must say, even if it is dated - it's actually not even colored in, it's just black and white - I'm thoroughly enjoying it.  It's sooooo different from the movies, though.  Which brings me to my main point, since I'm rambling too much.

Apparently, between issue #1 and #94, there's a whole other X-men series dealing with Cyclops, Jean (or Marvel Girl. LOL that is such a corny name that I can barely take it), Iceman, etc. that the guy at Wondercon didn't tell me about.  Not only that, but there are soooo many X-men series that apparently all have some sort of different canon?  Like I said in the title of this blog, it's a jumbled mess of confusion.  Is what I'm reading at all relevant to what happens in the movies?  Is it a totally different canon?  Was everything I'm reading retconned?  What's the whole timeline here?

Despite the fact that Star Wars is a HUUUUUGE universe, I found that incredibly easy to jump into.  I could just start off with NJO and even if I was missing some prior knowledge, it didn't really detract from it; I enjoyed it all SO much and had an amazing reading experience with those novels.  This, however, is a very different case.  It shouldn't be this hard to start with a new series, but I guess I'll just keep searching for some sort of thorough guide to see if I can make sense of it all.

So..... The new Wonder Woman costume

Awhile back it was announced that NBC was going to be making a new Wonder Woman TV show, with Adrianne Palicki in the titular role.  In case you don't know who she is or what she looks like, here you go:


 
Yeah, I couldn't find any pictures of her - other than the one I'm going to be discussing in a minute - with the dark locks that Wonder Woman has.  I guess she must have dyed her hair for the role, but I digress.  Anyway, I've been cautiously optimistic about the project; knowing NBC, the show will undoubtedly be fluff - pure, soft fluff - but it might be decent, too.  Unless it goes in the direction of The Cape, in which case.... Oh god the horror.

At this point, I still can't say whether the show will be any good - I've heard murmurs of the script to the pilot being leaked, and having some negative reactions to what the contents are, but I haven't read it and it's probably fake anyway, but either way - but regardless, the first promo pic has been released; a picture of Adrianne Palicki all dolled up in the official Wonder Woman costume.  And it's.... um.... yeah....



Let's see.... how do I put this?

Okay, if that was a costume you were wearing for Halloween night, or to somewhere like Comic-Con, that would be badass.  You would be stopped for lots of pictures.  It's a really, really good fanmade costume. 

But as an official costume for an NBC show?  No.

It's so terribly fake it screams cheap material and plastic.  Seriously, stop reading for a minute and just look at that headband, or most obviously the thing on her chest (no, not her boobs - not yet at least).  Is it not painfully obvious that that's cheap plastic when authentic metal should be used for something like this?  Sigh, costume designers.  Sigh.

And the actual material.... don't get me started.  I don't care about it being tight; this is Wonder Woman we're talking about.  It should be tight because Wonder Woman is supposed to be, well, hot.  But it's so.... so... fake.  Why couldn't they use some sort of material that looked more real?  It looks like it's going to rip as soon as she moves an inch (and there's only a slight chance that it'll rip in just the right places, guys, I know what you're thinking).

Guh, even the rope is fake-looking.  The goddamned rope!  It's not hard to do a freakin' rope well, guys.  There are ways you can get ropes that don't entail making it that really cheap rope-like material that constantly rips when you put pressure on it (I don't know what exactly the stuff I'm thinking of is called, but it's the annoying stuff where when it's colored like Wonder Woman's rope, you always get glitter and crap all over your hands, annoyingly enough.  Adrianne Palicki isn't going to have fun with that). 

I get that at this point I'm nitpicking, but come on!  They could've really made this costume badass, but instead it looks like a WonderCon costume.  FAIL.  Utter disappointment and FAIL.  If the quality of the costume is any indication of the level of the show, we might be in for a trainwreck.

The only good thing about the costume?  The boots.  The boots are awesome.  In fact, I would say they're quite perfect.  So, keep the boots, ditch the rest of the costume.  Please.

I must say though, Adrianne Palicki is a good pick.  It's not her that I'm against, don't get me wrong; she looks the part very well, has a nice body so can pull off the sort of sex-symbol image of Wonder Woman, etc.  It's just the costume. 

Meh, once the show starts, maybe I'll have a different opinion and it'll grow on me; once I'm actually watching the show I probably won't even notice it (I'll undoubtedly watch at least the first episode out of curiosity, though if it sucks, like The Cape, I likely won't watch anymore) but I just have been extremely "meh" to this costume since the first moment I saw it.  But maybe they're trying to go with a VERY comic book-ish look - in that case, I suppose they aced it.  *shrugs*
I'm not sure how many people know this since I rarely mention it, but I really love HBO's Big Love.  It's a series about a polygamist and his three wives and basically what they have to deal with, the family dynamic, etc. and it just finished it's sixth and last season.  I've grown really fond of it over the years because, once again (once again because I'm a sucker for these and sound like a broken record at this point) it was a very character driven show with some of the most well developed characters I've ever seen in a TV series - or any media series at all, for that matter.

For those of you who also have kept up with the show, you know that the series finale aired the other day.  There were a lot of ways they could have ended it, and, well, my Mom and I pretty much brainstormed every single way possible: Bill dying, Nicki dying, Barb dying, Margene dying, etc.  It was pretty much an endless marathon of, "OOOOH, but this could happen too...." :P

One of the scenarios that we threw around a little, but not as seriously as some others, was Bill dying, like I mentioned above. Thinking about it, I knew it made sense, because that was pretty much the only way they could have really wrapped up the main plotlines; Bill was on trial for statutory rape, had all the political shenanigans to deal with, etc. and it was pretty much impossible for them to wrap ALL of that up without him dying in the span of one episode.  So, yes, it made sense, but it wasn't a scenario I really considered as a serious possibility.

And, well - it happened.  Bill died. :/

The bastards tricked us into thinking everything would be okay, then in the last couple of minutes, BAM!  He died just like that.  Cruel, if you ask me. :P  And while that was something I had considered could happen, the way it happened - as in, who did it - certainly came as a surprise.  I don't think anyone really predicted that because it was just so random.  I have to say, his death was done beautifully.  Very tear-jerking to be sure; I'm glad all three wives were around to say goodbye when it happened, and I think it was very symbolic that the sunlight was showing behind Barb, portraying her as almost a God-like figure as she gave him his final blessing (I won't go into that whole thing but that was VERY important too - Bill asking Barb to do that at the end meant the world to her). *tears up*

After he dies, we're given a short epilogue scene taking place eleven months after the death.  The wives are still living together, and Margene and Cara Lynn (I assume, since she was with Margene) were leaving to go on this cruise to Africa to do some work there helping the people (nicely wrapping up the plotline of Margene wanting to do this before Bill died but not really feeling comfortable with it).  Barb seems to be the sort of leader of the house, a position she would fit well in, and Nicki.... Well, I don't know.  She's.... depressed.  Which is understandable, I think they're all pretty sad about Bill's death obviously, but she doesn't seem to really have a purpose at this point, which makes me wish they had given her one.  Meh.  The three wives share a hug before Margene leaves, and the camera pans out to show Bill's ghost sitting at the table nearby, looking at them.  *tears up again* After that it ends, and I must say, I'm really glad they didn't mess this finale up like so many other series finales I've seen.  *thinks of Rome and how the last two episodes were just not good when the entire series was BRILLLLLLIANT and sighs*

I do wish a couple of the plotlines had been wrapped up, however - or at least maybe just referenced.  Cara Lynn and her teacher, for example.  That was ended a bit abruptly.  Is she still going to the same school?  Erm, can you say awkward?  Yes, yes, I know that with her being so young and him so much older, they couldn't actually be together (even if they did really care about each other.... if only she had been a bit older!) but still, I would've liked some closure to it past what we got.  Anyone who watches the show knows that Nicki really can't be trusted when she says stuff like what she did to Cara Lynn ("He was relieved to be rid of you!") but was it true after all?  Hmmm.

And Alby.  ALBY.  Come on you guys!  He was a MAJOR character throughout the entire series - you couldn't have even mentioned him?  Sure, I know the episode before last led us to believe that he was arrested, but being such a huge character, he needed some sort of mention in the last episode.  He deserved it.

Also, I really wish we had been able to see peoples' reactions to Bill's death, the family in particular.  What was Ben's reaction?  Sarah's?  Well, yeah, obviously they were sad, but specifically how did they feel?  With the epilogue being eleven months later, we didn't get to see any reactions firsthand (well, except for the wives' when it was actually happening, but still, there were many characters who would be effected other than them).  On a similar note, what happened to the neighbor that shot Bill...????

So, the epilogue did leave a LOT of things open, and it gave us a lot of questions that remain unanswered (which for the most part bugs me, unless it's like a horror movie and there needs to be mystery - PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 I'M LOOKING AT YOU!) but I did still really like the episode as a whole.  There were only a couple of things that were annoying about it, but I know that's also me just being really nitpicky for the sake of being nitpicky.  I think that comes with the reviewer mentality now.  *sighs*

One thing I did really love - that briefly I touched upon earlier - was Bill's ghost being present just for a second at the end.  You could tell he was at peace with things - heck, even before his death he was.  He knew that everything would be all right and was perfectly content.  I think a part of him even knew he was going to die, what with his vision at the church and everything, though I understand that that could be stretching it a little (but I still think that's the case, so if you don't like it, well.... Boo to you).

I'm really gonna miss this show - I know how silly this'll sound, but after so many years of seeing such amazing development, it's like you come to know the characters and really care about them.  Hell, I know them more than a lot of my own extended family. :P  Once again, HBO, bravo.  BRAVO!  You make some freakin' amazing shows that never fail to impress.  Big Love, Rome, Carnivale, Entourage, The Extras, John From Cincinatti... to name just a few.  Can't wait to check out Game of Thrones this April, which has also inspired me to read the Song of Ice and Fire novel series as soon as I can (I'd heard of it before knowing about the upcoming series, but haven't really paid attention to it until now).

So yeah - RIP Big Love, you will be missed because you were very much loved by millions of people.

Rebecca Black's "Friday".... THE HORROR!

So I've suddenly been hearing a bunch about this new song by someone named Rebecca Black, "Friday".  Quite a few songs garner a reasonable amount of hatred sometimes - Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" comes to mind, though I hate to admit I actually love that song quite a bit - but the amount of jokes "Friday" has made is just..... overwhelming.  And when songs get a reputation like this one now has, I usually give in to my curiosity and listen.

Oh my god.

I'm not quite sure how to begin with this one.  I just don't know.  I forced myself to listen to the whole song, watch the whole video.  I don't think I've ever quite seen or heard anything like it.  It's perhaps one of the worst songs I've ever heard, for so many reasons, but let me try to explain.

First off, her voice.  Her voice.  Look, I know this girl's only thirteen, and you know what?  This attention has given her temporary fame.  Awesome.  Maybe it's bad attention, but it's attention nonetheless, something that's going to give her - well, money and (short-lived, probably) success.  But she's not talented.  Her voice is so terrible.  It's just.... it's horrible.  The way she says "Friday" in particular is cringe-worthy.  I'm serious, every time I've listened to the song I've cringed.  To put it in perspective, people are likening her singing "talent" to a younger Ke$ha (I hate having to use that dumbass dollar sign when naming her, but whatever).  I haven't listened to Ke$ha enough to agree or disagree with that - thank god - but for those of you who have, there you go.

Her singing is briefly - and I put a LOT of emphasis on briefly; only a few lines, literally - interrupted by.... a rapper.  Some random guy.  I have no idea who this guy is, either, so let's resort to Google to find out!

*googles*

Patrice Wilson.  Okay.  A bunch of stuff about gospel singing is coming up when I google his name, so I guess he's a.... gospel singer?  Wouldn't have figured that out by listening to "Friday", where he delivers a wannabe-rap verse that's generic enough that you'll barely remember it after listening to the song.  It doesn't even fit.  It comes out of nowhere.  You'd think Rebecca Black's singing being interrupted would be a good thing, but not if it's replaced with someone who's pretty much just as bad.

The lyrics - oh my god!  *dies laughing* I'm not a person who pays attention to lyrics in songs that terribly much; if something has a good beat, even if they're singing about something totally stupid or rude, I'm usually prone to still tap my foot to it and enjoy it if the actual musical aspect of it is good enough.  Yeah, I'm lyrically oblivious like that.  But I couldn't help but notice the overwhelmingly bad lyrics contained in "Friday".  Let me show you a sampling.

Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday
Today is Friday, Friday (Partyin’)
We-we-we so excited
We so excited
We gonna have a ball today

Tomorrow is Saturday
And Sunday comes afterwards


Erm?

I'm not one to complain when lyrics aren't complex and deep, and maybe these lyrics sound better in text form (though I doubt that) but.... really?  Yesterday was Thursday, today is Friday, tomorrow is Saturday, and Sunday comes afterwards?  Come on!  Please!  Not to mention the fact that a good portion of the song is her trying to figure out which seat to sit in in a car being driven by.... children?... so that THEY CAN ALL GO PARTYING.  0_O  Guys.  GUYS.  You're like twelve.  Please don't start singing about partying on weekends already.  Christ.

Look, I know that a thirteen year old may not write the best lyrics, but... Wait.  WAIT.  From Wikipedia:

""Friday" is a song written by Clarence Jey and Patrice Wilson, performed by Rebecca Black, a singer from Anaheim Hills, California."

*blinks for a minute*

No.... No.  Just no.  An adult didn't write this.  An adult COULDN'T HAVE WRITTEN THIS!  God, if people realized this maybe Rebecca Black wouldn't be getting so much hate; blame Clarence Jey and Patrice Wilson for part of this horrid-ness, guys!  They're responsible too!

You know what the worst part is, though?  It's catchy.  It's one of the worst songs I've ever heard but there's something about it that's annoyingly catchy.   Seriously, the first time I heard it I hated it, but for hours now it's just been looping over and over in my brain.  Over and over and over.  "Frai-day, Frai-day, gettin' down on Frai-day..." *screams*  MAKE IT STOP!  PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!  I've literally forced myself to listen to it over and over again, and I think I'm finally getting it out of my system, just because my mind is overloaded with ear-bleeding music finally.  Augh.

So, yeah.  There you go.  One more negative reaction to Rebecca Black's debut single, "Friday", among millions of other hugely negative reviews.  Once again, I'm not trying to be a bully since this is just a 13 year old girl; hell, I'm a terrible singer.  I know that.  And she didn't even write the lyrics, so once again, she's not totally responsible.  But that doesn't mean it's not one of the worst songs ever conceived.

I'm going to bed now, but I just know I'm going to have nightmares from this.

So I was playing what I presume to be the end of Year Four in Dragon Age II (the Qunari are attacking Kirkwall right now) and guess who showed up randomly to fight alongside me: Allistair.  HELLZ YEAH!  You can imagine my fangirl excitement when this happened.  Oh, Bioware.  I rarely get all fangirly over romance-y things in games but every Bioware romance subplot they throw at you I totally go crazy over.  I'm a horrible fangirl that way.

Anyway, the short conversation you have with him definitely makes me curious about what's going on behind the scenes with the Grey Wardens.  You really haven't seen much of them in the game until now, and he mentioned there was an extremely important secret Warden mission they had to do in Kirkwall - even more important than the Qunari attack.  Hmmm..... Interesting.  They better tell us what that's about later on or I swear to god! 

It makes me wonder if anything at all will be said about your character in Origins, though.  I hope so.  They're now supposed to be the leader of the Grey Wardens so that garners some sort of mention.  I think Allistair made an indirect reference to them, but it was.... vague.  Extremely vague.  He mentioned them as an "old friend" and that's it.  That's obviously not confirmation that it's your Warden he was talking about, of course, but with the way he said it - lulz, yes, I romanced Allistair in my DA: O playthrough :P - and mentioning the person as a "she" - obviously I played as a female - it leads me to believe this is the case.  But why would he mention them as an "old friend"?!  They're supposed to be together at this point, dang it!  Don't you break up my in-game relationships Bioware! :P

I've played a good 35 hours of DA II already but I don't think I'm even halfway done yet.  I hope not at least - that would make the game way too quick for my liking. :P  I feel like things are REALLY leading up to something pretty huge happening in the game.  I have a feeling I'm only just starting to really get into the plot heavy part of the game.  The artifact that Isabella took will definitely come back into play, somehow, and the Grey Warden mission I'm hoping will be explained in some more detail.  Someone may very well die - a major character - just to move the story along - not sure who at this point, Bioware really throws curve balls at times so it could be anyone - but I hope it's not anyone I really like. :P  Merrill.  Kill Merrill if a companion has to be killed. LOL

I really, really would hate to not ever venture out of Kirkwall for the entire game though.  I'd like to travel to Ferelden at some point, but the more I play, the more I think that's not going to happen, which really is a shame.  If the game limits you to just Kirkwall and the surrounding nearby locations outside of it, it'll really feel so much smaller than the first Dragon Age - which was just huge.  I guess I can still be hopeful though.

Of course, now I need to fight off my overwhelming desire to go bury myself in the game some more because of my addiction to it so that I can get some work done.  I need to do a review for SWTORStrategies, one of the Star Wars fansites I write for, and I also need to watch some stuff to review soon.  Oh, and schedule my Scream review that's going up tomorrow (gonna do a Scream-a-thon before Scream 4... heck yeah).  Time to do that - Dragon Age II goodness can come later tonight. :D
So, I went into Dragon Age II with the utmost pessimism.  This was for many reasons; the drastically new combat system, the lack of similarity to the original game, etc.  I thought it was going to lose much of what Dragon Age: Origins, one of my all time favorite games, had.  And, yes.  It's very different from the first one.  But it's grown on me to the point where I love it SOOOO much.

I'm not going to go too into detail on why I love it to the extent that I do; I plan on doing a pretty huge review of it, so I don't want to "spoil" that, so to speak.  I'd actually like to do a video review but unfortunately I can't capture any in-game footage on my own so I'd have to resort to things like Youtube to do that, which may not have exactly what I want.  We'll see.  Regardless, I can already tell I'm going to be playing this game many, many times. 

One thing I'm soooo glad about is that it's not as easy as I thought it would be; one fight was so incredibly, excrutiatingly, painfully hard (and many other adjectives of that nature) that I actually, for just that one fight, set the difficulty down to "normal" (I'm playing it on "hard").  I know, I'm ashamed of myself too.  I really am.  I've never actually done that for a fight in any game before but there was really no sign I was going to be able to win; I was very unprepared, but I know that on my next playthrough I'll gear up enough to kill that damn Ancient Rock Wraith! 

I'm not that terribly far in, even if I've put a decent amount of time into the game already; Dragon Age II spans ten years (OMGSOLONG) and I'm only on year four.  This is another aspect I'm actually liking quite a bit (when I thought it would be the main thing I would hate before I played it).  It gives you the chance to see how certain relationships progress, etc. and is very interesting.  Definitely curious to see how things will be literally seven years after what time frame I'm playing right now. 

Luckily, I've remained virtually spoiler free.  The one thing I was spoiled at was only because I.... er, well, it was when I was looking on Youtube for hints to beat that stupid rock creature (yes, yes, I'm pathetic, don't remind me! *sobs*) and I saw what happened to a certain character at the end of Act One (when you get back from the Deep Roads).  Boo.  I was a bit peeved at that but I suppose it's to be expected if I go on Youtube so soon after the release when I'm not even done yet.  Regardless, I'm past that point now, and nothing after where I'm at as of now has been spoiled (except one person I think commented on a cliffhanger ending.... hmmm).  I think I'll die a little inside if the ending's a cliffhanger though.  WASN'T MASS EFFECT 2 ENOUGH, BIOWARE?!?! :(

I could really play this game all. day. long.  Like without food or anything.  Unfortunately, right now I have a bit of work on my plate I need to take care of, and my brother likes to play the Xbox quite frequently as well, so that isn't an option.  Why did you have to release this game when I have things I need to do, Bioware?  Curse you.  CURSE YOU!  But, it's been a great way to kill time while I'm sick.  God, I feel horrible right now.  I really hope my voice is better by the time I have to record a video because I've been laughed at by every single one of my family members for how I sound right now.  And I'm sure the internet won't be any nicer. :P  Coffee (or specifically, lattes. Mmmmmmm) has really been helping me though. Maaaaaan.  I love coffee.  I had my first full, big cup of it the other day and I can't remember the last time I had that much energy and focus.  Had another one today and it's having the same effect.  That's why I'm writing this much, I'm sorta hyper.  Or well, moreso than usual.  Heh heh.  Now I know why people like coffee so much!

Now I should go read some more of The Old Republic: Deceived.  Need to finish that to review for SWTORStrategies soon!  Woot. :D  Luckily it's an easy read so I'll probably finish it today.

Hmmm.... Interesting...

Well, after wanting some sort of personal blog for awhile, I finally settled with LiveJournal.  I got a tumblr account quite awhile back, but, well, I never made any posts with it, so that didn't come through. :P We just didn't fit together.  I already like this more though.  And what better to do while horribly sick than open a new account on a neat website to play around with?  Well, other than killing Darkspawn of course. Dragon Age II FTW.