Stormtrooper Terry

Stormtrooper Terry

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Panel of the Week: 4/22/15

If you have any sort of comic awareness, I bet you're expecting me to go with the whole "Iceman is gay" thing from All-New X-Men #40 (written by Brian Michael Bendis, art by Mahmud Asrar) but I'm not. Partly because I just don't care, and partly because it isn't that big of a thing since there's plenty of precedence. Hell, go back to X-men #1, way back when...

So no, none of the panels from the following page won.

Besides, how could I pick just one?
No, the winner from last week goes to a page from The Black Vortex: Omega, written by Sam Humphries and pencilled by Javier Garron:

Shadowcat is one of my favorite characters, so this big moment for her gets the win. Although who knows if it'll actually happen, but she does say yes. Honestly, I just love it because he includes all her ridiculous codenames...

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Talkin' Television

I really don't spend that much time writing about television on here, do I? Which is weird, considering not only how much time I spent watching it but how much time I spend figuring out how I can spend time watching it between everything else I juggle. And yet, I love television just as much as books, movies, and comics. After all, just like the aforementioned, television is just a different medium for storytelling, and that is a craft I fell in love with a long time ago. So while things at worth are almost distressingly slow, why not take a few moments to talk about a few shows that have had their beginnings and endings in recent months, and see what sucked and what didn't.

What Sucked:

The Messengers. I admit, I was psyched about this new CW show, because it features things like angels and the Rapture, and that is a topic that has been all in my wheelhouse for a good two decades now. Imagine my disappointment when the first episode ended and absolutely nothing about it left any sort of impression with me. I couldn't remember character names or relationships or anything. And admittedly, my mind checked out a bit as soon as I saw JD Pardo, formerly of Revolution "fame" pop up. He's just awful. This was definitely a miss for the CW. But it's not all bad for them (and not just because I already watch six shows on that damn channel...)

What Didn't Suck:

iZombie. Proving that zombies aren't over yet, this show, a complete 180 from The Walking Dead, might be just as good in its own way. It's funny as hell, it's got a good cast that interacts well together, and, if you'll forgive the inherit puns, it's got brains and heart. And the lead, Rose McIver, is cute as all get out. If I wasn't at work, I'd look up a pic to post to prove it. The basic premise is that she's a zombie who works in the coroner's office and eats brains of murder victims, which gives her flashes of how they died so she can help her cop partner solve their case. Meanwhile, she tries to figure out how she became a zombie and just what is going on with the increasing amount of undead around. It's basically a mashup of Tru Calling, Veronica Mars, and Walking Dead, but better than two-thirds of its parts.

What Sucked:

Someday someone is going to look at the meteoric way this show's popularity and quality fell apart. It won't be me, though, I don't care enough anymore (although I do have some theories: the change in direction between the third and fourth season being one, and Cory Monteith's death being another), but I did watch the show from the beginning. At times it was great, at times it was awful, but it was almost always funny. The final episode, which was a ridiculous mix of flashbacks and flashforwards, was just stupid, and it took away from organic endings the characters deserved. Y'know, except for the ones they ignored completely. I was glad to see this show go.

What Didn't Suck:

Easily the best television adaption of a comic book ever. It was perfectly cast, from Matt Murdock right on down to Foggy Nelson, also known as Fulton Reed from the Mighty Ducks. Vincent D'Onofrio, however, bears singling out in his role as Wilson Fisk, who is just amazing. The realism the show shows in dealing with its plot, characters, and action, while still being a superhero show and embracing the things that come with it, is fantastic. It's no surprise that this was the lead off for Marvel's Netflix division, and that it's already been renewed for a second season. It's got me very excited for the rest of Marvel's Netflix plans.

I had initially planned for each of these to get their own entries, but I don't have that kind of time, and at this rate by the time I got to them it would be less than timely. I mean, Glee ended over a month ago. I'll try from this point on to be more on my TV game, but I'm not making any promises.

Besides, do any of you really care anyway?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Goodreads Book Review - William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace

William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace (William Shakespeare's Star Wars, #1)William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace by Ian Doescher

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The bloom is definitely off the rose when it comes to this series. It was a fun idea when the first one came out, but they've been getting progressively worse. It doesn't help that, when it comes to the prequels, the source material has an even bigger drop off in terms of quality either. Too much of what happens in Phantom Menace, like the podracing, doesn't translate to this format well. But the worst part is the idea the writer puts forth here that Jar Jar was just playing the fool, Hamlet style, to manipulate people. It's just ridiculous. I know the other two prequel adaptions are coming, but hopefully it'll finally stop there.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Goodreads Book Review - Furies of Calderon

Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, #1)Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked up this book because I'm all caught up with the Dresden Files and, since I'm short on things to read since my self-imposed Star Wars boycott, thought I'd give Butcher's other series a shot. It's not as good as the Dresden Files, but it's alright. The characters are fully realized and have great depth and nuance, no surprise considering the author, and the action scenes are fun. The intrigue is interesting too, even if some of it is fairly telegraphed. The story itself didn't grab me as much as I'd hoped, but he had a lot of world-building to do here, and it was good enough to make me want to read the next installment. My only real gripe is that I feel like he could have done more with the idea of the Furies, had more of a variety than just six, as it becomes, "Oh, another watercrafter" or "Oh, another firecrafter," but we'll see where it goes.

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Panel of the Week: 4/15/15

Pickings were slim this week. DC is doing their Convergence stunt, fully 1005 of which is half-assed books with some really awful art, so all their books just eliminated themselves from contention without even trying. For whatever reason, nothing in any of the indies this week grabbed me. Most of Marvel let me down too, which is why the winner this week goes to the full-page splash on the final page of Loki: Agent of Asgard #13, written by Al Ewing and drawn by Lee Garbett.

Loki has been on an interesting journey over the last few years, dating back to his decision to sacrifice himself during Marvel's Siege event, which led to him being reborn as Kid Loki in Kieron Gillen's brilliant Journey Into Mystery storyline which saw a ghost of Loki eventually kill Kid Loki to become teen Loki. Teen Loki goes on to become the Agent of Asgard, doing missions for the All-Mother in an attempt to erase his evil past and prevent himself from becoming the evil King Loki. Yeah, it doesn't make any sense in recap form, but it all makes for a great read. Agent of Asgard isn't as good as Journey Into Mystery was, but the end result of teen Loki's battle against King Loki, where he gives up being the God of Lies to become this unknown God of Stories is an interesting change. But it beggars the question, aren't stories just lies anyway? Might make for an interesting read as it continues...

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Friday, April 17, 2015

SSTS Turns 400!

No, not years, obviously. C'mon, I'm not THAT old. 400 posts. Although yesterday did mark the fifth year since I started this blog, so I guess it's a birthday for me here all the way around!

400 posts over five years isn't necessarily as many as I might want, but it's still quite a lot. When I hit three hundred, I did a thing where I pointed out the most popular posts in each category. I'm not going to do that this time around. Besides, you can see most of the stats over to your left there (at least in the blog's current layout, which might be changing soon...) if you're curious. So I'm going to do a little "this is my life" recap instead of a blog stats recap. Plus, a blog stats recap takes a lot of time and effort, and I'm posting from work, so...

Yeah, that's right, I've finally found a steady, reliable job that's set to go from temp to perm in a little over a month. It'll have all the medical benefits I could want, plus vacation time, a decent salary, and all the other good stuff you could want, like free breakfast once a week and a bunch of other little bonuses. What's more, I neither hate it here nor hate myself for being here, which is a definite improvement over the majority of my jobs in the past. And the office is walking distance from Port Authority, which is important because...

You know, I live in New Jersey now. I moved in with my girlfriend of almost 18 months just about 6 months ago now, so considering I'm already paying the fare from NJ to Port Authority and back, not having to pay for a Metrocard is nice. So is not having to deal with the MTA, although New Jersey Transit isn't any better. Other than the commute issues, living with my girlfriend in NJ has been great. Everyday is a new, fun adventure with us, and it would take an entirely separate post for me to even begin to describe how happy I am with her. And this weekend we'll be celebrating her 35th birthday, which I'm hoping to make great.

After all, it's almost as important as my blog's birthday/milestone today, right?

Speaking of milestones, considering the theme of my whole setup here, I'd be remiss if I didn't post this:

Anyway, as for this blog, what we can expect is more movie reviews (hopefully with some advancements down that particular avenue), more short book reviews, some TV review (I've got a back catalog of those just waiting to be written), some more comic book stuff aside from just my new Panel of the Week initiative, and maybe, just maybe, some more of my ever elusive original fiction. Because my love for writing, while it sometimes ebbs and flows, never dries up.

Now if only I could make things around here more interactive!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Panel of the Week: 4/8/15

A quick entry this week, because it's late and I'm tired and we're about twelve hours from a new batch of candidates dropping. But first, let's drop a spoiler warning here.

This week's winner comes to us, again, from the Walking Dead, #140 this time, written by Robert Kirkman and pencilled by Charlie Adlard.

This won't mean much to people who only watch the show, but to people who read the comics... Negan is free. That can't be good. And it IS baseball season...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Goodreads Book Review - Rise of the King

Rise of the King (Companions Codex, #2; Legend of Drizzt, #26)Rise of the King by R.A. Salvatore

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It isn't often that a Salvatore book, especially a Drizzt one, gets less than four stars from me. But as much as I enjoyed the drow intrigue and characters like Jarlaxle and Gromph Baenre, I had a problem with how much focus was given to side characters at the detriment of the main characters. I mean, it's a hundred and some odd pages before the Companions of the Hall appear for more than half a chapter, and they're shortly separated again, spoiling the pleasure of having them back together. That aside, Salvatore's plot is fine, although it fills like there's some filler here. And of course, his action scenes are top notch, as they always are. I just usually expect more from a book in the Legend of Drizzt series, and am hopeful the next installment will give me more of what I've come to expect.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Panel of the Week: 4/1/15

This week's installment (oklay, I'm a little behind, so it's really last week's installment, but whatever) comes from Batman Eternal #52, the final issue of the year-long weekly series about a mastermind moving people and pieces around to destroy Batman from the shadows. It has a plethora of writers and artists involved so I'm going to skip the credits this time around, also because it's late and I'm tired and lazy, and I'm just going to skip ahead to the picture, a look at what inevitably happens to anyone who crosses the line in Gotham...

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

"Serena" Review - Written by Jim Herling

Mets Monday - Opening Day 2015

I'm not going to be one of those Mets fans that gets too excited about the season before it begins and then inevitably ends up with a broken heart by the time summer hits. I will, however, admit to being cautiously excited this time around. The fact that one game into the season we already have half as many wins against the Nationals as we had all last season combined helps a bit. And so does having Matt Harvey back in the rotation.


Yes, it sucks that Wheeler is down for the season, but having Harvey back makes up for it and then some. Plus, a rotation of Harvey, DeGrom, Niese, Gee, and Colon is pretty damn good... and the pitching bench is deep. So yeah, I'm excited. But I'll temper that excitement with a healthy dose of Mets fan pessimism until I see if we're still in contention at the All-Star Game.

After all, there are still a lot of question marks. Will someone step up and be a solid lead-off hitter? Is Captain Wright going to get right this season? What about shortstop? And will Granderson pay off now that he's had a full season to adjust to being an NL guy?

For a long time, we were told 2014 was going to be our year, the year to wait for. Then Harvey went down, and it wasn't. And even though it wasn't that bad a year, considering we were an over .500 team if you removed our 2-16 record against the Nationals, it was still another losing year. This year, they promise, will be the year. Like I said earlier, we're already halfway to better against the Nationals, but do I think this is the year we go all the way? I know you gotta believe, but I'm not there yet.

Ask, instead, do I think this is the year we take some steps? The year we finish over .500? The year we make the playoffs? Maybe I do. And sweet merciful Christ, I hope so. It's a beautiful game, and it could be a beautiful season.

But it's also a long season. So we'll wait and see.

Who knows. Maybe it'll be... amazin'.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Goodreads Book Review - Skin Game

Skin Game (The Dresden Files, #15)Skin Game by Jim Butcher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is a chapter in this book that had me thrumming with excitement more than any other chapter in recent memory. Likewise, the climax of this story is just as thrilling, and just as satisfying. It says something about Butcher's talent and the world he's crafted that, in the fifteenth novel in this series (sixteenth if you count the short story collection), he's still able to keep situations this fresh and exciting, and keep propelling the characters forward in new and exciting ways. As always, his pacing and plotting is great, the action scenes are entertaining, and the amount of intrigue holds the attention tightly right from the start and never lets go. I'm a latecomer to the Dresden Files, and to date they've all been published so I've never had to wait any longer than I wanted to do to read the next installment. The wait for me now for the next installment to come out well be interminable, especially with how much I've enjoyed the last two.

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