The Edge and Christian Show That Totally Reeks of Awesomeness

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Whew! That was the longest title I have typed into a blog post yet and it is perfect for a show as wonderfully ridiculous as this one.

The WWE Network not only contains 1000’s of hours of wrestling content, but also many original shows that feature some of their past performers. Edge and Christian were two of the biggest stars to come out of what is known as ‘The Attitude Era” in the WWE (late 1990’s to early 2000’s) and they were both known as two of the funniest guys on the roster. With their slapstick humor and the ‘5 second pose’ (look it up on YouTube, some genuinely funny stuff) they showed that not only were they great athletes, but overall tremendous performers which is key to a successful career in professional wrestling.

Both men are retired from wrestling, but when the WWE announced they would have their own show on the Network you knew this would be something brilliantly absurd and 2 episodes in the show has not disappointed.

Their humor is mostly wrestling based which works for the platform their show is on. Their brand of humor is simply goofy, but not irritatingly soon and the in-jokes are great. The show primarily consists of various skits, funny appearances from other wrestlers and other celebrities, and Edge and Christian simply seem to enjoy hanging out and cracking jokes.

The highlight so far is during the first episode when they talk to Fred Ottman (known as Tugboat and Typhoon in the WWE, and infamously as the Shockmaster in WCW). The Shockmaster gimmick is notorious because his debut was marked by him ‘bursting’ through a wall, accidentally falling down, and his bizarre glittered Star Wars Stormtrooper mask falling off his head. The fact that Ottman was so open to mocking himself was a blast to see and showed that he really has a good sense of humor.

It airs on the WWE Network following Raw every Monday Night.

You can sign up for only $9.99 a month with the first month being free so you can check out this show and many others and enjoy the absurdity of it all.

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Batman, Incorporated

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Full disclosure, I have been a long time fan of Batman. He has been one of my favorite characters since the first Tim Burton Batman movie was released in 1989. I enjoy everything from the campy 1960’s television show to the most recent Christopher Nolan trilogy.  I have at least one long box full of nothing but Batman comic books. For me he is such a compelling character for multiple reasons that I will not list here.

I am fully aware of the various storylines that have went on in the past 10 years involving Batman and I have only read single issues sporadically. There have been some good stories told recently, but sometimes the sheer doom and gloom that many people feel Batman needs to be in the modern era, based on Frank Miller’s classic The Dark Knight Returns, weighs the character down and makes him less interesting in some regards. It is nice to occasionally have a break from the darkness. That is where Batman, Incorporated comes in.

Grant Morrison is one of my favorite comic book writers and personalities in the industry. He is intelligent, witty, and very unique in his thought processes. His book Supergods is a must read to get his insightful take on the mythology of our favorite comic book characters and a little more knowledge of Morrison himself. When I saw this collected edition of issues 1-8 and the one shot Leviathan Strikes! I knew I had to give it a shot since the combination of a great writer with a legendary character had to be worth the read. Thankfully, I was right.

The whole concept of Batman, Incorporated is that Batman/Bruce Wayne is traveling around the world recruiting international heroes to join his group and become Batmen to assist him in his fight against a new terrorist group called Leviathan. There is a true ‘fun-ness’ to this book that made it hard to put down. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing silly about this tale, especially some of the imagery we see through the miniseries and especially towards the end of this collected edition, but the overall tone is much more enjoyable and not as dark as some of Batman’s well known storylines.

The different variations on Batman are inventive and great to see. I especially enjoyed the Native American version Man-of-Bats. His focus was helping his own people by any means necessary and his nobility was admirable even though we saw some flaws in his approach. He is a very human hero that anyone could become, whether or not they had the finances to do so.

Grant Morrison really seemed to enjoy writing this tale which results in the reader experiencing the same emotions throughout the series. The team of artists on this series all had their own styles well represented, yet still made every issue seem artistically cohesive. The art popped off the page and really grabbed your attention and made this series very engaging.

The only thing that was a slight disappointment is that I saw the twist ending coming from a mile away. I did not know the outcome of this series so I went in fresh and I was still able to figure out who the mystery person behind Leviathan was going to be. I will not spoil anything, but many long time readers probably did the same. Despite this fact, the ending was still good and did not detract from anything.

This deluxe edition is a great collection of an amazing miniseries and will look great on your bookshelf.

If you are a fan of Grant Morrison, Batman, or just good storytelling, then this is a must read for you.

Happy New Year!

It has been a few months since my last post and I am looking forward to starting up again. I started a new job in October and the transition has taken my mind off of what’s important…blogging! 🙂

I used to do the resolution routine for the new year, but have decided to avoid that since life seems to constantly be in flux and there are some things you cannot control.

My goal is the same this year as it is every year…to be a better person and to do everything I can to better the lives of my family.

I am sure more challenges will come my way, but as long as I have the love of my family I will get through it a better and stronger person.

Here’s to a great life and a better world for all.

NXT TakeOver: Respect

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NXT is the hottest thing in professional wrestling right now and with the way things have been going there is no reason to believe that will change anytime soon.

Every NXT special has blown me away with the incredible athleticism and terrific storytelling.

NXT Takeover: Respect was another example of how great talent paired with excellent booking can make wrestling one of the most exciting forms of entertainment around.

On to the matches:

Finn Bálor and Samoa Joe vs. The Mechanics (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) – This was a semi-final match in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament and it was an excellent start to the show. Both teams worked very well together and showed off some classic tag team wrestling along with some excellent spots. The match ended with Samoa Joe performing his devastating Muscle Buster maneuver and Bálor hitting the Coup de Grace for the pinfall to earn a spot in the finals.

Baron Corbin and Rhyno vs. Jason Jordan and Chad Gable – The second semi-final match in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament was even better. All four men worked amazingly well together and the match ended with Corbin getting the pin after an insane series of moves and false finishes that have to be seen to be believed.

Asuka vs. Dana Brooke – This was Asuka’s first match in NXT after a great career in Japan and she blew the roof off the arena. The match was fast paced with a lot of stiff moves between these two women. Asuka won by submission and I cannot wait to see more from Asuka.

Apollo Crews vs. Tyler Breeze – These two worked great together and even though Crews got the win, Breeze still came off great and I cannot wait until he makes it to the main roster.

Finn Bálor and Samoa Joe vs. Baron Corbin and Rhyno – This was the final match in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament and it was a perfect way to honor the late Dusty Rhodes. All four men put their all into this match and told a great story with Bálor having to fight through an injury (storyline wise) and both teams putting everything in to this match that they possibly could. Bálor and Joe got the much deserved win and it was great to see the Rhodes family come out to present them with the trophy and to hear the heartfelt words from one of Dusty’s sons Cody. Truly a great way to honor a great man and performer.

Bayley vs. Sasha Banks – This was a 30 minute iron man match (the wrestler with the most pinfalls or submissions after 30 minutes wins) for the NXT Women’s Championship and was the first time the women have been the true main event of an NXT special. To see women’s wrestling get to this point of great respect and main eventing is a true joy. This match was simply incredible and despite a show full of great matches this one was by far the best. Not only do these two have an amazing in-ring chemistry, but they are terrific athletes and masters at telling a story inside the ring. Whether you are a wrestling fan or not you need to see this match. It was brutal, exciting, filled with the right amount of high spots and the end with Bayley retaining her title with a 3-2 victory was amazing and the emotion seen was genuine. Both women realized they had made history and everyone in the crowd showed there appreciation with a long standing ovation. If the main roster in the WWE booked the women like this then women’s wrestling would be main eventing much more often and hopefully will.

If you are a long time wrestling fan or are looking to give it a shot, then watch NXT. It will not disappoint.

Spider-Gwen #1

Today’s comic book review is Spider Gwen.

Title – Spider-Gwen #1

Publisher – Marvel Comics

Writer – Jason Latour

Artist – Robbi Rodriguez

Genre – Action/Superhero

 

 

 

One word to describe this title is fun. Being a first issue we are primarily introduced to the basics, who the character is and her personality, and that worked perfectly. It is very clear that the main thing she shares with the original Spider-Man (Peter Parker) is her powers and nothing more. She is a very unique addition to the Spider-verse and does not feel like just another re-tread.

Robbi Rodriguez’s art is vibrant and eye-catching and holds your attention from the first panel to the last. It has a modern feel, but is not alienating to those of us with ‘older eyes’. The design of her costume is fantastic as well and very unique.

Jason Latour’s writing is top-notch as well. He weaves an interesting tale to set up the rest of the series, but does an excellent job not to overwhelm the readers with too much information.

Fortunately, this title is doing well both critically and with the fans and I look forward to catching up with the series ASAP without the concern that it may suddenly be cancelled which happens from time-to-time in the world of comic books.

No matter your age or gender this is a title you should give a shot since I have a good feeling we will be seeing a lot more of this character in the future.

 

Joe Frankenstein #1

Today’s comic book review is Joe Frankenstein.

Title – Joe Frankenstein #1

Publisher – IDW Publishing

Co-writer – Chuck Dixon

Co-writer/Artist – Graham Nolan

Genre – Action/Horror

With a cover date of February 2015 I am a bit late to the party, but the above image caught my attention being a big fan of horror with Frankenstein’s Monster being one of my all-time favorite horror icons. I am glad I plunked down my $3.99 for what turned out to be a fun, old-school monster tale.

The story begins with our main character Joe delivering pizza to a home occupied by multiple women who turn out to be vampires looking for a person to snack on. Joe is saved from his untimely death by a hooded figure who thwarts off his attackers with ease. The hooded figure turns out be the Monster from Frankenstein lore and Joe turns out to be an heir to Dr. Frankenstein much to the surprise of the reader and the character of Joe as well.

Much of the first issue focuses on Joe coming to grips with his surprising lineage, trusting the Monster, and the establishment of the villains of the story. For the most part the story is simple and standard but with the art from Graham Nolan really bringing every image to life and showing all the necessary details and the fun writing from both Nolan and Chuck Dixon with the interesting lineage twist, this is a first issue that makes you clamor for more.

I will be hitting the back issue bins at my local comic book store to get the 3 other issues that were released earlier this year. Hopefully, the story wraps nicely and maybe the series will continue in the future.

Fallout

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Recently, I have become absolutely obsessed with the video game series, Fallout. I have been so utterly lucky to have fallen in love with the game just a week before E3, after the Fallout 4 trailer released. My father had been talking about how he pre-ordered the Pip-Boy Edition of the game – not yet knowing that a Pip-Boy was actually included with the special edition version of the game – and on that same night was E3. As soon as they started showing concept art of the game, I knew that this would be the game that would stick with me for a very long time. (I’m an artist myself, and seeing all of that beautiful work, before the gameplay had even started, was very inspiring for me.)

I could talk about the game itself, the feeling I got when I was watching Bethesda’s E3 conference, or how I feel about Fallout 4. Instead, I’m going to start this post with this quote, referencing the DLC for Fallout 3, Mothership Zeta;

“The Great War, in order to fit with the established motif, needs to be purely human conflict to be a morally ambiguous, horrifying event. Adding little green men turns Fallout from a serious setting and hyperbole about the nature of men into a grotesque comedy.” From Michał Tagaziel Filipiak.

I agree with this to an extent. I think Mr. Filipiak definitely falls into the group of people that think the Fallout series is just meant to be some dark, gritty, and mean series about one person going on a dark, gritty, and mean adventure. It isn’t. With the game’s characters and companions making jokes left and right, Easter Eggs being around almost every corner, the Fallout 4 trailer containing the phrase, ‘You ready to f–k some sh-t up?’ and the perk ‘Wild Wasteland’ even existing in Fallout: New Vegas, it’s kind of odd to think that so many people really see this game as something it just isn’t.

A lot of people are just missing the point of Fallout. It’s truly such an uplifting game if you put some thought into it. People are still surviving in this world, they’re making factions and civilizations and complete towns and cities all by themselves. The town of Megaton was built by scratch with the hands of people that cared enough to try and survive. The Strip is still lively and rich and glowing. Vault City became what it is from sheer will power. (From my knowledge, that is.) While the world itself may be mean and cruel, the people themselves are still surviving.

While every faction in Fallout; New Vegas has a gray morality, and Fallout 3 is certainly much more black and white, people, individually, lean more towards being kind if your character is a good person. Look at the companions; Butch Deloria in F3 is constantly acting like a little kid, Charon in F3 and Raul in FNV have, arguably, the most humor in both of their dialogues, and the fact that Rex in FNV can howl at you and tell you that ‘Jimmy’s fallen down the well.’

Now, look at the character that starts the entire game; Benny from FNV uses awful 1920’s slang, calling a female character things like ‘pussycat,’ ‘one crazy broad,’ saying that you and he need to be ‘smooth like smooth little babies,’ and that he calls certain body parts ‘charlies,’ I really don’t see how people can make this game out to be nothing more than a game about a post-apocalyptic world.

When it comes to the topic of ‘little green men’ being added into this universe in canon; The DLC Mothership Zeta was not an amazing DLC. It went on for twenty-forty minutes too long, and had the worst boss fight I have ever had the displeasure of playing through. But, I don’t think it’s that huge of a deal. I really don’t think that aliens being a part of the Fallout universe is some great, huge immersion-busting game-breaker, like so many people seem to think it is.

It’s just a DLC. From my point of view, from my personal memory, there was never some big reveal in this DLC that the aliens caused the great war. Nuclear launch codes were released from a tape that was recorded from a captive that had been a part of the U.S. military.

Did the aliens start the bickering between China, America, Russia, etc.? Did the aliens help these countries start building nuclear weapons? Did the aliens destroy most of humanity? If anybody knows, let me know. In the DLC, you can blow up an entire state though, which is rumored to be Texas, and has absolutely zero effect on the game.

This was an irrelevant DLC. A lot of people just don’t understand that the Mothership Zeta DLC was never going to be an amazing, show-stopping DLC that enhanced the lore by a million. It’s truly one of those few DLCs on Earth, that’s really just a DLC.

I’m always okay with having a Fallout conversation with anybody, but when we’re discussing the topic of DLCs that did something for the lore, talk to me about Lonesome Road, Dead Money, and The Pitt.

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