GS Review: Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works (Spoilers)

And I just recently finished watching Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works, which will just be referred to as UBW for the rest of this review to save my fingers and brain from having to type the entire title again. With that out of the way, I said I would be kind of working backwards in these reviews so here is number 2. There will be spoilers, so stop while you're ahead. And as a reminder, this is coming from a guy who has NOT yet played the VN but I'm working on it. This is all based the Netflix series and some wiki reading.

Synopsis

I'll keep this as short as possible because A LOT happens, a little less than Fate Zero, but a lot nonetheless. So, we fast forward 10 years after the original series and we are reunited with the kids that are now in their late teens and prepping for another Holy Grail War. The story follows Rin Tohsaka and Shirou Emiya and their heroic spirits while they must battle for the Holy Grail and unravel the mystery surrounding it and whatever the heck is going on their town. Last warning for spoilers.

The Good

I have a lot to say here. So I'll probably break up a lot of the characters into their own sections.

Integration of the Spirits: One thing I felt was a big difference between this series and the prequel in Fate/Zero was that the human/mage characters in Fate/Zero were one of many subplots that just went along with the main plot. You can take the humans only and get rid of the spirits in Zero and have a really good series with a few alterations. The servants and such just added another layer to an already great show. The plot in this series I felt there was more of a connection and integration with the spirits. They were all necessary for plot progression and I don't think either way that is a bad thing. They managed to weave the spirits more integrally into this series and I felt they managed to have more connections between the spirits and their respective masters in the plot for this series. So I felt a little more invested in the summon spirits in this series and the plot because of it.

Plot: The plot is awesome in this series. The plot has a good balance of fights, twists and turns, sweet revenge, character interactions, and mystery, deep philosophy and meanings too. The stories that it tells I felt invested in, it makes you think a lot and I managed to get behind it relatively quickly. It's not a mindless show and you have to pay attention to mostly everything that is going on.

Mages: The human characters. I think the voice actors do a really good job at making you invested in the characters and you feel for them. I found myself really getting behind Rin as a character and I enjoyed watching her progression. Mela Lee does a phenomenal job making her seem totally bitchy and stuck up one second and then you feel for her with her motivations. I kind of found Shirou irritating at first but I did enjoy his progression overall. His contrast with Archer and their philosophical differences and I understood his importance and I also liked his power progression as well because it took time and they explained it all. He was also voiced by Bryce Papenbrook, sooo, that helped. Shinji was made a cowardly dipshit. Kuzuki was awesome. I liked we got more with Sakura this time around and Kirei was as despicable as ever. The human cast for the most part was done really well and they had a really good voice cast to go along with them.

Servants: I will go and just straight out and say that this series also holds my all around favorite batch of servants. I'm a huge UBW Archer fan, Kaiji Tang made him a straight badass, he hit his tones and quips and his anger and frustration. He is my favorite servant period. Cu Chulainn was a fantastic lancer. I loved Berserker in this series. Saber is always badass and Kari Walhgren is a gem. Gilgamesh being a full heel was great. Assassin was also straight badass and I'm glad they made the assassin class into something powerful this time around. Caster was cunning and intelligent and I think she was a good villain for the first and into second half of the seasons.

Animation: One thing I have given so much credit to Ufotable is the animation in this. They upped the animation a bit from the 2012 Fate/Zero series, which already has beautiful animation, and it is amazing. All the characters look amazing and smooth. The backgrounds are beautiful. The fights are really well done. Kudos to Ufotable for what they did here. And the noble phantasms are just jaw dropping to look at.

Fights: Just piggybacking off of the animation section, one thing I really like what they do here with the fights is the fights are intense. They are bloody. You hear the impact of the blows and feel the weight behind the strikes. The fight scenes are really intricately done and from visuals to noise is all covered and meshes incredibly well.

Soundtrack: And credit to the soundtrack for this series. I think the music was done very well and blended well with all the moments. It captured the intensity of the fights, it captured the solemn moments when needed.

In-depth: I will say I've seen some people complain about the dialogue and stuff and a lot of the characters talking, but I will say I think it did well to explain things. The show went out of its way to explain noble phantasms, mana, spells, reality marbles, summonings and all that. With how big the nasuverse is I'm glad the show actually explained things.

Cons

Fujimura: I know anime usually has a character like this, but I hated her. I found her irritating, annoying, and added virtually nothing to the show. So I didn't care for the scenes she was in.

Wasted Characters: I will say one of my biggest cons in this series is that the cast seemed a lot smaller in scale than Zero. And they wasted some very important characters and did little with Kirei, Illya and Berserker and Rider. I felt with how important they were to the series, they would have done a little more with them.

Final Rating: 8.5/10

So my final rating is 8.5/10, and maybe even 9/10 with my own personal love of the series. But objectively speaking as much as possible, I think the show was amazing. Where some people might find flaws with too much dialogue and such, I found there to be purpose behind them. And when there was longer discussions I still found myself invested. The plot is great. I think it was a good mix of twists and turns, deception, redemption and good character progression. I found the ending satisfying and I loved how it ended with Shirou and Rin. Accompanied with rich characters, amazing animation and music, I give UBW an 8.5/10.

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GS: Review Fate Apocrypha (Spoilers)

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

I have been on a big anime binge lately and have been going over a universe that I have really loved over the last couple years. So I will straight up say, I HAVE NOT read the novels or played the VN. I really want to, but I have not had the time to invest in it. I will eventually. But I plan on reviewing the Netflix shows, starting with the one I completed latest before I return to re-watch Zero and UBW. So let's get to it!

Summary:

2 factions, one of red, the other black, summon heroic spirits to fight for the Holy Grail. It's a story of mystery, deception, mystery, twists and turns and has some pretty badass battles. It follows Ruler and Sieg and Rider of Black mainly as they try and save humanity. That's it in a nutshell.

Pros:

The Premise: Overall, I really liked the premise. Based off my previous experiences with the series and what I've read up on wikis and stuff, I thought it was pretty cool. You have two factions, twice the amount of summon spirits, and they fight for the holy grail. Shirou fights for world peace and saving humanity, while Darnic wants to kill the Association. Sounds cool. I'm down.

The Spirits: I'll actually break this off into individual sections because I actually really liked some of these servants.

  • Dracula: I really liked Dracula. I thought his design was badass. His powers and concept were fantastic. I absolutely loved his legend of Dracula noble phantasm as well. The fact the series played on that was awesome.
  • Achilles: Probably my favorite or second favorite spirit. He was played up as badass, boastful, and incredibly powerful. I really grew to like him towards the end and his interactions with Atalanta were some of his true characteristics coming through. I thought it was awesome he was strong enough to take on Siegfried and Frankenstein's Monster at the same, and kinda went "whoa" when he stopped Siegfried's attack with one hand. His lance was of a cool and simple design and it was fun watching his fight with Chiron when they were punching each other squishy.
  • Chiron: Keeping this one short. Overall, kind of boring at first, but I respected this character as a chivalrous and wise teacher, yet he was incredibly skilled. He was a pretty simple character but you couldn't help but like him. Oh, and his noble phantasm was awesome in theory.
  • Mordred: I liked her attitude, her design was great, her attacks were cool as hell and she was badass. I think there was little done in her motivation, but I liked her. She also had the best relationship with her master out of the series.
  • Shakespeare: He was just fantastic. So well done. That is all.
  • Karna: My dark horse favorite. At first I thought his design was a bit much, he just seemed too stoic, stereotypical anime badass in the beginning. But after finishing the series and watching his fights and his motives come through more, he was a good guy and just wanted a good fight. His noble phantasms were badass as all hell, too. Vasavi Shakti was amazing to see. He also had the best battles I think.

Kairi: Kairi was the only master I actually gave a shit about. The dude wanted a kid and was so different. The fact he was going around using heart grenades, fingers as shotgun bullets, and throwing human eyes. He also hit crippled Doc Ock chick with a car and that was great.

Battles: I think the battles were awesome. Chiron vs Achilles was brutal. Karna vs...everyone he fought was great, Vlad and Siegfried and his fight with Sieg was fantastic in animation. The actual army and against army was great. Overall, I think the fights were the best part. They were great. Though I think episode 22's battles could have been broken up and shown more. As cool as they were, that episode only showed what seemed like bits.

First Half: I think he first half of the series was a lot better than the second half. I think the pacing was pretty good the fights were great, and overall had the most consistency in terms of quality.

VA: The voice acting was solid. I'll give it that. I thought the English dub was done well. I didn't have any problems with any of the voices.

Cons:

Execution of the story: Remember, this is from my POV of the anime, I can no way shape or form compare this to the novel. BUT, I think the execution of the story and selection of main characters was terrible. I think the second half things got muddled, the pacing of the story really switched gears and started slipping. I think it was just too overall the place. Nothing really dragged, but things felt rushed at times and certain points felt useless. They just made too many unnecessary decisions or ones that made you go "wtf?" in a bad way.

Forgettable Masters: The masters were pretty bland. I think Kairi was a really good one, and Darnic had potential but he went full heel. Aside from that, Yggds....Yeggemeprfffft....Yggdmillenias were boring. I gave zero craps about them. The characters were stereotypes, : weird uncle asshole with chip on his shoulder used as comedy relief brother and sister who I didn't care for and they played on sympathy to maybe pass her off as likable. I don't know, I didn't care about that whole family at all. The sex crazed lunatic. I didn't care the cousin or youngest one that got sucked into Adam?. They were cookie cutter. Zero and UBW at least made you care for Rin, Shirou (maybe), Kiritsugu, his partnert, Iris, Illya, (butchering names here but not looking them up because they are complicated as hell) etc. Even the fodder ones like the Archibalds were given some purpose and you hated him.

Wasted Servants: They really wasted servants here. Spartacus was given no explanation, even as far as his powers went. Frankie was wasted too early, but I at least liked their take on the character. Avicibran just kind of died. The servant selection in this series was really cool but execution wise, some were done pretty bad.

Sieg: I hate Sieg. Cookie cutter character. Little actual personality progression. Homonculi weren't supposed to have feelings but he clearly did before Siegfried dying. Another thing, Siegfried was badass. His design and Balmung were awesome, but they did little in explaining Sieg becoming possessed and being able to transform into him. He becomes a dragon later to transfer the grail....? He somehow had Frankie in him the whole time so he could combat Shirou...? What? Then Leticia somehow found him and they lived happily ever after? He was boring. He had little depth, he had little reason for me to care about and Ruler falls in love with him in like 3 days? No. He was a crappy character. Shirou in UBW had more depth than him and his whole "Hero of Justice" thing.

Jack the Ripper: WHY!? WHY!!? They turned one of the world's most deadly killers into a damn loli. Her character and master were terrible. Her concept was crap. She was a disgusting waste.

Astolfo: Really a man, looks like a girl, constantly surviving somehow despite getting ass kicked and annoying as shit.

Ending: Again, I hated the ending. The pacing was rushed, Sieg became a dragon to carry the grail away, and he lived somewhere that no one should find him and Leticia comes in, puts hand on boob, and they live happily ever after. The hell? Reiterating this as a section because it was awful.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

The show overall wasn't bad. I think the first half had a lot of promise and I really enjoyed a lot of the summon spirits. The fights were good and while animation was UFO-table pretty like Zero and UBW, it wasn't bad. I think this is definitely the weakest of the series but that was because things just fell apart in the second half. It became boring. The protagonists were boring. They wasted a lot of characters and the remaining few only gave you a few characters to really care for. The ending was trash though. So the final rating definitely drops the final rating. I'd say watch it, and you might like it. It was tolerable, but overall, very disappointing in comparison to the others. Especially since UBW and Zero were fantastic.

3 Comments

GS Review: X-Men Apocalypse (Contains Spoilers)

AAAAAND back at it with another GS: Review. I will say right now, spoilers will be ahead. If you have not seen the movie and care about spoilers do not read this. Do not open it. Run away....as fast as you can. Put in a different link, hit a new tab, close this one. Now is your chance.

Summary

I will keep this brief. Apocalypse was a mutant born thousands of years ago and was praised as a god. He would jump bodies to stay alive until he finds an immortal body, transfers his essence and falls asleep after a nearly successful coup on his life. Fast forward and he awakens and he believes the world follows blind leaders and he wants to destroy the world to rebuild a better one where he will be considered God.

Pros

Overall a lot of the pros and cons for me were specific characters, not really elements of the plot too much. So with that said let's start.

Magneto- Fassbender and Quicksilver stole the movie for me easily. I'll get to Evan Peters next but holy shit did Fassbender give a great performance in an overall solid film. He settles down and goes off the map. He has a family, he has a daughter, and they die and he goes nuts, kills a bunch of people and then kind of goes depressed/rage and eventually comes back to the good side. Everything he was in was good. He was believable with loving his family. You could feel his pain when he killed the people who killed his family. He shows a massive amount of power in this movie and was doing stuff on a freakin planetary scale..and he destroyed Auschwitz, which was also cool. Anyway, one thing I noticed was that after all this family killing stuff happened Fassneto just looked...defeated like he can never be happy. When Mystique was trying to reach him and you could see the tears just kind of sitting in his eyes as he's destroying cities across the world it was awesome. He really is a fantastic younger Magneto and his character development is great...it just kind of sucks that he is really the only one.

Quicksilver- Evan Peters and Brian Singer bring a likability to a rather jerk of a character. Let's face it, comic Quicksilver is incredibly cocky and is fast but he loses a lot. He jobs a lot and most of the time it is because he fights like a moron. This Quicksilver still has an attitude to him but him being the comic relief works pretty well. He also has arguably the best scenes in the last 2 movies, so kudos to him.

Nightcrawler- This is probably one of the only new X-Men characters, as in younger ones, that I like. Kodi McPhee does a good job capturing Nightcrawler. He shows his kind of awkwardness that Kurt has, only wanting to fight when he has to, and when they were on the plane and he was praying showed his religious side that Kurt is famous for. It wasn't a big moment but it was just one of those subtle moments that adds to the character and I think he was well done.

Storm's origin...but not her hair- Storm was an orphan thief that stole stuff...yay! And she became a good guy towards the end...yay!! I think Alexandra Shipp did well with a Storm that didn't have a lot to her. The accent was solid, she enjoys playing the character, and it sucked they didn't really do more with her. She could own that character given the chance. Her hair changing and her becoming a horsemen...ehhh not really the best thing but at least she comes around the end.

Wolverine Cameo- Let's face it, the whole Alkalai Lake thing didn't really need to happen as it didn't impact the overall story...however, those end credits doe! So it was more used for the end credits scene but adding in Stryker and them being captured didn't do anything for the overall plot. However, this scene was fan service for Wolverine and Hugh Jackman fans. I know Hugh isn't the prototypical Wolverine, and he is tall and handsome and all that jazz but seriously the man has earned his role and does the character well. One thing that has been lacking has been a berserker rage scene and FINALLY we get it. Hughverine dressed in Weapon X helmet and gear while running around and brutally, and I mean brutally, slaughtering everyone was just really cool to see. And it was something that needed to happen since Hugh only has one more official Wolverine movie left. I do wish they didn't spoil it in the trailer though.

Apocalypse- Sooo I liked Apocalypse. I can't decide if I like the costume or the fact that Apocalypse shouldn't be the shortest guy in the room. I guess I'm a bit hypocritical since I like Jackman's Wolverine but whatever. Overall, what got me was Isaac's performance. He played up that God complex really well and Singer made him Apoc seem unstoppable which was awesome. Apocalypse was powerful and should be. What really won me over was the "you shoot your arrows from Tower of Babel but you will never strike God" was delivered so well and I loved it. Isaac was intense and manipulative and was overall good.

Xavier- Nothing too memorable from Mcavoy but what the hell, he did what he had and did it well. He does play a really good young Xavier. But what the hell was the deal with the hair?

The Fights- Most of the fights were big scale and pretty cool. Just thought I'd add that in.

Cons

The Horsemen- The Horsemen I thought fell pretty flat. Apocalypse just kind of picked whoever. Seriously, Psylocke wasn't really Psylocke but I will give Olivia Munn her props. She may have been just extra muscle but she was kick ass and deadly so I give her that much and I'll blame the script for her characterization. Olivia Munn surprised me a bit as she wasn't wooden at all. Storm was more corrupted than anything but I don't think she should have been a Horsemen at all but whatever, she's on the X-Men team and that is what matters. Magneto I could understand since he was ridiculously powerful in this movie. Storm could have been a lot more. Psylocke seemed out of place but was badass. Angel though....was not Angel. They never called him Warren. He was just some alcohol abusing punk. I understood they wanted Archangel but god was he awful in this movie.

Cyclops- UGHHHH!! Why can't we get a decent Cyclops? Ok, first thing's first, he doesn't have heat vision. I am going to be one of those fans for 30 seconds. I haven't watched X1-3 in awhile but I don't recall Singer messing up his optic blasts in the first two movies. I get the tree scene was funny but he messed up in his own continuity. And Cyclops is a boyscout at that age and is incredibly introverted. I was ok after awhile with the whole 'let's make Havok the older one" so we get a new face in the movie. I was ok with them showing their parents but come on. You mess up his powers in your own continuity and you also get his characterization wrong. He was an asshole. He seemed like a punk in school. He gets his sunglasses and goes from "I can't see, meeeeeh" to "I have sunglasses, let's go steal a car". Singer doesn't write a good Cyclops. And I know Sheridan can play a young Cyclops like character, he did so in Scouts Guide to a Zombie Apocalypse. So I know he could have if the writing for the character was done correctly.

Jean Grey- This was my first experience with Sophie Turner that I can remember so I don't know how she is an actress but I thought she was one of the worst parts of the movie. I'm not a big fan of Jean overall but I liked Famke Jensen as Jean. Famke can act, I felt like Sophie couldn't. She never emoted with her face. It was always this kind of blank stare I guess. And she was very monotone. She just didn't emote or change her tone. It was either bloody scream or derp face from her for most of her scenes. I was okay with the whole Phoenix thing but they did treat her like a Mary Sue at times. She was the one to calm down Logan. She was the one to beat Apocalypse. Xavier needed her. I'm not complaining about her powerful too much but it was more of Sophie's inability to act or change up her style in this role that just made me despise Jean Grey in this film.

Inconsistent CGI- The CGI at times looked either really good or really bad. The full scale destruction scenes were gorgeous but when they closed up on the characters at times it felt like a bad SyFy movie did the effects at that point.

Beast can Unbeast- I think he still needs his meds but why still use them for so long after 10 years? He showed plenty of control when he was in beast mode to not need them, and they made it seem like he was the Hulk in a sense that he keeps that side in check. Just a small gripe.

Mystique- J-Law sucked in this movie. You could just tell that Jennifer Lawrence did not care to be there and I'm pretty sure she has expressed her feelings as such but did it anyway. Her speeches just didn't cut it for me and she should have never been such a good guy in this movie. She wasn't in make up too often and her being J-Law more than Mystique really didn't mesh with the previous movies on her being mutant and proud. Her DoFP performance was so much better and her not wanting to do this movie really showed and just dropped the quality of the film when she was on screen.

Oh, and Alex is Dead- Seriously...they did show Havok dying? Or did they pull an X3 Cyclops move and kill him offscreen and just be like...oh, he's dead and have Scott fall and cry for 5 seconds before shoe horning in William Stryker? I think the latter.

Rating 6.5/10

To me this movie was overall pretty good. I was entertained. I was invested. Apocalypse was a good villain. Magneto and QS stole the show. It was a fun movie even if the plot was a bit iffy. However, I felt a lot of aspects and things done for a decent chunk of the characters could have been done so much better. Cyclops was not Cyclops and Jean and J-Law were awful. Angel sucked horribly and why was Psylocke just muscle for Caliban? So much more could have been done and while it is overall a solid movie, the glaring aspects and some of the acting dragged it down for me.

9 Comments

G-Speak: Why I Think Bray Wyatt Should be WWE Champion (SS Spoilers)

I haven't done a blog in awhile and I don't really talk about wrestling too much on here anymore. If you are one of my good friends on here you know why and where I stand on the business. But I just got done with Survivor Series and I have to say I'm further disappointed with the product. I know there are other options than WWE but let's face it, all those other promotions and Indy circuits I can guarantee most of those wrestlers want to be in WWE because it is supposed to be the top promotion despite its faults. Despite all the continuous problems, WWE has all the potential in the world and NXT shows that. But the main stuff just flops too much and once again WWE missed a golden opportunity this past month and it culminated tonight. If you missed the PPV or didn't see it you would know that Reigns won the title but lost to Sheamus via cash in. So shouldn't WWE be ok with Sheamus as top heel again? No. Why should Bray Wyatt, someone who has floundered because WWE won't let him come out on top for the big moments, be WWE champ? Here is why I think so.

1. Timing

The timing right now is a double edge sword. I think timing wise Wyatt is in a good position to be champion. Cena is gone so WWE has time to fill for bigger segments. Rollins is injured and WWE is in need of a top heel, something Wyatt has shown he is very good at being. He has massive strength in the form of the Wyatt Family with the introduction of Strowman. He is supposed to be a god, or was, after WWE gave him the "the powers of Kane and the Undertaker" on top of his own. As I said up top in my little rant, Wyatt is the guy that can give a great fight but isn't allowed to get that final pull of the trigger. Under his own abilities and with just Rowan and Harper he has given great fights to top guys like Cena, Undertaker, Bryan and Reigns but ultimately has lost the final battles against them. With the introduction of Strowman and how he has been built and now that Wyatt has/had the powers of the Undertaker+Kane, it could've been used as that "amp" to give him the boost he needs to get that final win. He should be portrayed as unstoppable.

On the opposite side of the whole timing thing, Wyatt just had the feud with Reigns so no reason for Reigns to chase him so soon since they want Reigns to be the next guy. Also, it is Survivor Series, and what is the big deal with this one? It marks the Undertaker's 25 years in the business so again WWE wanted to boost Undertaker up for merch reasons. They don't have to, but I view it similar to how Punk was allegedly supposed to end Taker's streak at Mania but Paul Bearer died so it made sense for Taker to win despite me thinking Punk should have won. But whatever on that, the point is I can see a counter argument for why Taker needed the win but at the same time WWE had the timing and built Wyatt in a way that he could have been an unstoppable heel without being as cowardly as Rollins. Now if he had the title would the Family come into and helped in matches? Of course, but Wyatt has always been a good fighter heel and it would have been a change of pace from Rollins being the weasel heel champion.

2.Wyatt is a package deal.

Wyatt is a package deal. I know some people don't like his in-ring style but he can have amazing matches. He can go in the ring. His gimmick is solid, I love it. His ring psychology and ability to draw his gimmick and nuances into a match are always constant. And let's face it, Wyatt is amazing on the mic. And he can work a crowd so well. I've seen a lot of people say he is repetitive on the mic or doesn't make sense but I call bullshit. That guy has basically carried feuds by himself just on mic work alone. On top of it, he has the family to back him up and possibly the Authority since they were looking for a new guy. Both those stables and with the power of the Undertaker at his command? Whoever would've taken down Wyatt and ended his reign as champion would be super over and overcome massive odds that would have just fallen in the right place.

3.Your new champion is Sheamus

Sheamus a couple years back was great as a top heel but over the course of time he has dropped in quality and stock. He isn't the best guy to carry important segments. He just doesn't have the greatest charisma and I mean that in the way of being able to make you care or react. He could probably do cheap heat like insults or cheap shots but he just doesn't make me hate him or compel me to feel a certain way like Rollins who people hated because of just how cocky and brash he came across as but was so slimy as a wrestler, I loved it and it worked for his persona. It's like WWE squandered Sheamus' abilities too much and just doesn't care as much. I will be the first to admit that WWE has floundered Bray but Bray is compelling enough and good enough to have always drawn people back in. I understand WWE needs a heel champ right now but Sheamus isn't the best pick.

4. Bray has never had a one on one title WWE title match

Self-explanatory. Bray has had one WWE title opportunity and I think that was last year in the MITB match that was straight for the WWE title after Bryan was forced to give it up. He has hasn't had a feud or a singles match for it and I think he should be given one.

In Summary

WWE done goofed. I understand they wanted to do something special with the Undertaker but at the same time WWE squandered a huge opportunity. They didn't have to turn Ambrose or Reigns heel and I love that they didn't but Sheamus isn't the answer for a missing Rollins. He is good but WWE has a golden ticket with Bray. With how he had the powers of the Undertaker and Kane, he has a stronger version of the Wyatt Family and with Rollins WWe needed a top heel. Wyatt has all the makings for a top heel and even more so with the current script surrounding his character before he lost tonight. He can go in that ring. His mic work is phenomenal. And Bray is just a fantastic character in this roster of cookie cutter gimmicks. Wyatt would have been a perfect choice given the circumstances with Rollins, but i can see arguments against it. Despite them I tried to counter the points that I felt would most likely be brought up. But this is my two cents on the matter and I'm sick, tired, and need to be up early but felt like venting this out. I hope you enjoyed the read and feel free to comment, disagree, agree or whatever.

No Caption Provided

19 Comments

GS Review: Death of Wolverine (Potential Spoilers)

Greetings and felicitations, Malefactors! It is time for another GS review. Today I am going to review the already known Death of Wolverine 4 issue miniseries written by Charles Soule and art by Steve McNiven.

The reason I really wanted to do this review was because Wolverine is a very special character to me, having been my favorite character as a child when I originally watched the X-Men cartoons back in the day before I ended up becoming more of a Cyclops fan as I got older, but Wolverine has always managed to stay in my top 3. We all knew this death was coming as Marvel hyped it up months ago and with 3 months to die and coming off a horrible first run with Cornell, whom planted the seeds early on, and then proceeded to do an equally if not worse run after that. When you go from having a killing machine character to making him scared to shave and complain about allergies to his "big character growth" being him defeating his arch-nemesis with a punch while in his underwear, I take a bit of issue with that. Enough of my little rant, let's get down to it.

Summary

In a quick summary and in case you haven't read the series, the basis for this mini is that Wolverine has a bounty on his head. So Wolverine goes off on a spree to find out. He steamrolls through fodder, a lot actually, and he starts to face off against a lot of people from his past. We see Logan fight the likes of Nuke, Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike, an encounter with Ogun and so on. Fast forward, and we learn the bounty was put on him by Dr. Abraham Cornelius. Logan confronts Cornelius and deals with him and his creation and then Logan does end up dying. Lots of stuff in between that happens and a lot of excellent fights, but I don't want to spoil too much.

Pros

There are a lot of pros about this series.

  • Soulverine over Cornellverine- I loved what Charles Soule did with Logan. If you have a moderate amount of interactions with me, you probably know I absolutely hated Cornell's run on Wolverine. But Charles Soule absolutely killed it with Wolverine, no pun intended. For years we have had a poorly consistent take with Logan (not uncommon among writers), but he's been more controversial with his whole becoming of a headmaster and "think about the children" attitude, but at the same time two other writers will still have him walking knee deep in blood because, hey, it's Wolverine. Soule does a find job mixing these two developments and balancing them really well, which I think hasn't been much at all over the last couple of years. What I mean by that is Wolverine is still kind and caring, but one wrong move and you lose a hand...or two. His scene with Ogun/Kitty (before knowing it was Ogun), was an awesome scene. The dialogue and the art helped it. At the end of the final issue, pay attention to the panels, and the same thing. So he does touch on Wolverine's caring side, but he plays with Logan's beastliness and savageness as a fighter quite a bit during the action scenes. So to me, this is probably the most balanced Logan we have had in awhile and it sucked it only lasted 4 issues before his inevitable death.
  • Story- The story felt mostly natural. To me, this didn't feel forced, it felt organic. Between how the pacing went with setting up the plot, Logan's tendencies and his death, it fit mostly well. Overall, Soule had 4 issues to work with, and he put in a lot of past Wolverine stories, faces, and references into this series. I felt like he truly cared about the character, the fans and wanted to give Logan a proper send off, which he almost did. A lot didn't feel out of character, and while some flaws stuck out to me that didn't make a whole lot of sense, there were only a couple, so that didn't bug me.
  • Logan Can Fight!?- Remember how Logan is supposed to know almost every martial art and can bust out fancy karate moves every now and then? Charles Soule does. We finally get a reminder that fighting Wolverine that was a solid fighter for consistent issues instead of him going "ragghhh" and stabbing stuff, which he did even without his healing factor and for some reason forgot how to dodge (Cornell did it). Logan was vicious in his fight with Nuke. He took out fodder bare-handed and was blocking swords with his knuckles, and kicking people around like nothing. When Kitty was resisting Ogun, then you can see him blocking and defending against his attacks almost casually. I do feel none of the big fights were super exciting and drawn out, but Logan desperately needed to be touched up on that he can be brutal or technical, (see differences between his fight with Nuke and then his fights against Viper's goons or Ogun/Kitty).
  • The Art- I like the majority of things that Steve McNiven draws, but I felt he was really top notch in every issue of this series. He normally has a very clean style to me, but this showed he can be almost cinematic in his approach and be gritty with it, too. When Logan slammed Nuke's face off, it was brutal. When Kitty ripped Deathstrike's hand off, that was brutal. Logan looked messed up in a lot of his panels, or you could tell he was getting tired and so on. From issue to issue, he just looked a little more beat up. But we also get scenes like the garden with Kitty and the artwork was beautiful for it. So McNiven does a fantastic job switching and setting the tone of the scene rather quickly when he needed to. He also did a couple of flashback panels during some of the important scenes, which I would group in with past references, but awesome nonetheless. (look at his fight with Sabretooth and his death are the ones that stick out most to me)
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Just some examples.

Cons

Why, Logan? - What I mean by this is somethings Logan did were questionable to me. Primarily this was in the the 2nd and 3rd issues. One of them to me was when Deathstrike was going to kill Sabretooth and Logan said no....because he's suffered enough and poisoned and why would he care.(?) Idk, it bugged me. This is the same guy he thought he beheaded in the wilderness and left it at that. I get Wolverine's code of honor sometimes and Soule needed Sabretooth alive, but that irked me a bit. The other one was in issue 3 when Ogun offered him more healing serum, and my good friend and CV staff member, @k4tzm4n touched up on this quite nicely in his review of the issue I will link here. So he is about to face the man who set the bounty on him, but denies any serum? Hmm...just in case why not take some?

Final Issue -- So we get this big build up, and we see the real reason Logan was brought back by Cornelius, and we get the touted perfect weapon that is above Wolverine. Well, his name is Major Spark and just see how he is dealt with and you will figure out what I mean. Also, I felt like this issue was really rushed. It felt like Soule wanted to do a lot more with it, but just didn't have the room. Some things in this issue felt abrupt and the last villain is one of them to me. So I think while the intentions were good and this issue, given a couple more pages, could have been awesome. Still, the issue wasn't bad, but just not what I expected. And Logan's actual death itself was meh.

Conclusion

The Death of Wolverine was overall a good mini. I think the problem with Marvel hype is it is usually 90% sh*t. Soule lived up to the hype for the majority of the series. I felt there could have been things that were done better, but overall, the characterization of Logan was better than it has been in a few years. The story was solid. The art was fantastic, and the mini was really good with bringing so many different pieces of Wolverine's life, be it events or characters, and tying them into the scene at hand with only 4 issues to do it with. When Marvel does decide to bring Wolverine back, I really hope they give Soule the reigns to Logan. I think it was a fitting ending and despite my opinion of the last issue, I felt like Marvel has found their current niche writer for him.

Final Rating 8/10

12 Comments

GS Review: X-Men No More Humans (Spoilers)

This review is all purely subjective and based on my own opinions.

GS Review time It's been about 6 months since the last GS Review I did, and today I'm doing the somewhat recently released No More Humans graphic novel written by Mike Carey and Salvador Larroca on art.

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Plot

I'm going to try and summarize this as quickly as possible since it's kind of a lot. So the book starts with a surprise, we get Mystique and Wolverine's alternate future love child in the form of Raze attacking a the owner of a company called Autolycus. The next thing we get is a plane crashing towards the Jean Grey Institute. The plane is saved but with no one in it, the X-Men of JGI investigate. They find out no one else but mutants are on the planet from Cerebro and begin their hunt for answers. Wolverine's team teleports to New York and do find things to be a wreck. And right on queue comes Cyclops' teams. Wolverine and Cyclops argue...again, but then Magneto comes. So they all team up and find human left in the, Gregory Sales, the scientist and entrepreneur that Raze attacked. They also find this machine by him and upon messing with it, they get zapped into a different dimension. They mess with the machine and try to figure it out, Magneto and Beast work their magic and the group is zapped back into the real world and find Sales dead. They get a message from Rachel about a bunch of mutants seeking refuge. The field team confronts Raze, who has kidnapped an infiltrating Nightcrawler. The X-Men attack can't do much with Kurt held hostage and Raze having a backup of alternate versions of various mutants, and has built his own brotherhood. He was the one responsible all the humans disappearing and he has turned the X-Men's school in a refugee camp since all mutants coming through this portal are apart of timelines where mutants are killed.

They figure out Raze's flaw in his plan thanks to Eva being a spy in Raze's compound and figures out he doesn't fully understand the tech. Props to Storm for coming up with the idea, and Cyclops comes up with the idea to have Triage raise Sales from the dead to get his help about understanding the machine. They figure out all the humans are in the dimension the X-Men were. It is a virtual limbo dimension that can store people. So Raze used it to make a Utopia for all mutants, even ones from different timelines. The X-Men attack Raze and his Brotherhood in a big battle. Cyclops' team starts to look like they are winning, but Raze calls in his trump card of an alternate Phoenix Jean Grey being controlled by Mastermind.. The X-Men try and stop her but to no avail. Teen Jean tries her luck and also becomes possessed by this Phoenix Force. The X-Men manage to get through after configuring the device to teleport all mutants away. Zombie Sales pulls a double cross and destroys the machine. They manage to get the Greys to come to a conclusion of saving all the humans and the main Earth's X-Men and send them back. Magneto helps compromise that the virtual storage become the home of the alternate Earth mutants so they don't get sent to their timeline of mutant killing radicals. So everyone is saved, there is a new dimension full of mutants and the humans are safe.

The Good

Single Faction and Everyone gets a turn- The X-Men team up and fight a common threat. I know we had BotA a couple months ago, but I felt like this was handled better and a bit more organized. We see Wolverine and Magneto acknowledging Cyclops as the best role of leader for the situation. We see Storm showing her tactical abilities by coming up with a fallback plan for Cyclops. We see Wolverine leading the charge against the Brotherhood. We also see things like Nightcrawler and Cyclops doing port and blasts. Storm was using her wind to guide Cyke's optic blasts. We get callbacks of a character like Psylocke when an enemy asked if she could throw mountains. Emma tells Jean to use her as a conduit for her telepathy since Emma is more experienced than Jean. Beast played an important role here in saving every one. I thought it was awesome seeing the X-Men just sit down and game plan. Other mutants helping others instead of just them attacking together, but fighting separately if that makes sense. The X-Men were a team here.

Raze-

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I thought this choice was interesting as the main villain. Carey could have made this graphic novel like an anime movie. You know the ones where they come up with a movie specific villain that kicks the crap out of the main guy and almost wins the day? If you're an anime fan, you'd get it. But he went with a fairly new character. Raze made his debut back in the beginning of BotA. so he's not even a year old yet. I'm not too big on the character, but he does have a lot of potential and damn near won with his plan. Reason being as I see him more a background cast character like he was in BotA.. Just another enemy on a team. But Carey does a real good job here turning him into a credible threat. The character comes off just like his mom and like a new Magneto. He loves his race and saved alternate timeline ones while successfully getting rid of humans. The character also held his own against Wolverine in a claw battle and then started using mommy's abilities and seemed to have the upper hand. So he's getting a push here in this novel and I think Carey did a nice job without having a lot to go on with the character.

Magneto the Hero/Villain/Switzerland- Magneto is legitimately all over the place in this book. While that may sound kind of bad, you have to read to figure out his decisions. At first he wanted to find out what was going on and had no problem teaming with Logan and Cyclops, two people that have very similar goals but different ways of doing things, but at the same time not really. When it comes down to an ultimatum of saving the human race or sending all the mutants back to their time periods where they will die, Magneto had no problem leaving the X-team and fought alongside the Brotherhood. And at the end of the day, it was him finding a way to save everyone in the book. I know in his on-going he has no problem crossing the line. He does that here by following the one true core value of his character: Mutant survival. So given who he is, all of the decisions he makes here make sense.

Larroca- The artwork was awesome in this book. I've always liked Larroca, but I don't think I've ever been like "Wow". The last thing I saw him do was the majority of Cable and the X-Force. I liked the artwork he did there, but it was just good. He's like that one person you know that might not be outstanding, but he won't do a bad job. He's just "safe". But the attention to detail in some panels was awesome.

One of my fave panels.
One of my fave panels.

He drew the fight scenes really well. He showed the constant emotions of the characters. Nothing seemed wooden and for penciling a 100+ page graphic novel, he remained consistent with it. I was afraid he might have gotten worn out working on it, but he surprised me here.

Classic Comic Feel- What I mean by this is it gives me a feel like I'm reading old school comics. The book is canon but is a separate entity. I think that gave Carey a bit of elbow room to write a story without really being restricted with it having to fit in with whatever crappy event is going in Marvel at the moment. Still, he does bring in current continuity elements like not having 05 Cyke there. Nightcrawler is on a team. Magneto is in his black armor and on his own. Now I know that might possibly be on the artist, but if Carey told Larroca to do it that way he did. Anyway, back on track. We all know the heroes will win in the end. But we actually get a situation in which the X-Men do seem to be on the losing end here. We actually get a couple situations like that. It's like everything that could go wrong did, but Carey makes it all connect.

The Bad

Wolverine and Cyclops Arguing: Round ???- What I mean by this is we have to see Wolverine and Cyclops argue again. In fact, they but heads quite often in the book. The worst was at the beginning, but they routinely take shots at each other throughout the book. I know Wolverine and Cyclops take shots at each other or argue even when they are on the same page, but ever since AvX it's just been kind of over the top in more books than one. I didn't like it had to happen here.

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Magneto- Magneto isn't bald....c'mon, Larroca. I don't care that he has hair, but it's just such an obvious blatant thing in current continuity, why couldn't he do it?

Phoenix Plot Force- They had to use the alternate universe Phoenix Force to fix every thing. It connects with the other points in the story, but it has been a plot device has just gotten so old, and they had to bring in the alternate one to use it in the story since AvX destroyed it or broke it. Carey could've done something different since he had an open canvas, but nope. Phoenix Force.

It Reads Like BotA With an AvX Ending- It reads like a combination of AvX and BotA. This story involves time travel. It possesses alternate universe versions of characters to be used as enemies. It has mutants reigning supreme over the human race. It involves the Dark Phoenix. 2 red heads become hosts of the PF. Jean Grey basically replaced Hope and Jean Grey's ghost was replaced with an alternate Jean...a 2nd alternate Jean. The Phoenix Force is the plot device used to save the day and fix things before it goes away forever. While I think Carey does write a decent story, it does bare some blatant resemblance to BotA and AvX. Honestly, this feels like this COULD have been Battle of the Atom or if you take BotA out of continuity, this could easily replace it.

Rating: 6.5-7/10 "C"

Overall, I liked it. I didn't have any agonizing complaints about it. It at points does feel like the X-Men are in trouble and you wonder how they will get out of it when you think it will go a certain way and it doesn't. The artwork was awesome and made the story a lot better than if it was just an ok artist. Larroca's artwork here does wonders with the action scenes. The only real big gripe I had was the fact it did feel like it took elements from two events that happened relatively recent, and neither were good. I think Carey actually made a better BotA, but it still doesn't feel right when it comes off as basically a sequel to it. Nothing really makes you go "wow" in the book, but nothing really made it bad. Larroca at least livens things up with his panels. Carey also worked a fairly large cast well and made a relatively new character that isn't his own into an actual threat. It's just that it all seems like he hashed some major elements of two big events Marvel did and put his own spin on it, even if it did work out. I would recommend No More Humans if you have some spare cash since it was like $25, but since it's stand alone, it can be treated as its own entity without having to worry about continuity issues.

6 Comments

GS Review: Lego Marvel Super Heroes

Well, it's after Christmas. Got some new games, so new reviews will be coming out. On that note, I know it is the day after Christmas, but I had previously rented the game for a few days prior. So I have gotten quite far into the game. I beat the main story. I have over 100+ characters right now. I think I'm in a good spot to review the game.

Plot

SHIELD and Iron Man are chasing the Silver Surfer. Dr. Doom attacks him and takes the cosmic bricks for their power. He forms an alliance with some of the villains, but it is revealed to be Loki's plot all along, as he wants revenge on Earth and Asgard, so he concocts a plan to use Galactus for vengeance. It is up to the Lego Marvel Heroes of the world to save it. It's a pretty simple and straight forward plot.

Characters

Hah! I'm not going over each character in the game. But there are plenty of characters. You can play as many of the Avengers, X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy, to even some of the Marvel's best villains like Dr. Doom, Magneto, and so on. The roster is just huge.

Pros:

The Roster: The roster in this game is like I said, big. There are 150 characters (originally) out of 168 (?) I believe if you get the DLC packs. Most of the characters come with their own abilities and I will expand a little bit on this in another section.

The Storyline: The storyline is very simple. I basically explained the whole thing in the beginning. But why is it a pro? Because it is so simple. The game to me takes us on the good old fashioned superheroes fight bad guys days. And at the end of it, everything is good. This isn't like the host of Marvel events over the past few years where heroes are constantly fighting heroes, or they fight a common enemy but someone has to die. No, it was a happy ending for once. I think the game kind of took us to what comics originally meant. When a character was supposed to die, it was a big deal. Nowadays, someone dies and 6 issues later are back. It wasn't a compelling tale, but it was fun, light-hearted, and the game ends on a good note.

Gameplay: Gameplay was awesome. The game is set in Marvel New York, so it's big. The game is a sandbox and free roam, so I like that stuff. You get a lot of characters that do different things. Some can double jump. Others can just fall on their heads. You can glide, levitate, or do the fun thing and fly. I like the characters that do fly have their unique ways of doing it. They stay faithful to Iron Man repulsors, Human Torch is flaming, Silver Surfer...surfing, Thor needing to spin his hammer around. Now some characters will float or fly in a similar fashion, but the game at least gives them like their own unique aura and stuff to match the character.

Each character will generally also have a special ability. Certain characters can only shoot bolts of energy while others can do steady beams of different types like lightning, ice, fire, optic blasts, etc. Some characters can use telepathy, others telekinesis. Some just block stuff with a shield or force field. Or some characters just clobber or smash. These abilities will come in handy on missions and are fun when just goofing off. And some characters can't do jack but might have a gun to make up for it. Plus, there are a bunch of different vehicles to use in the game.

There are also side missions from helping get taxis to fighting hordes of frost giants or HYDRA agents. These can award you with vehicle or character tokens. There are also side story missions narrated by Deadpool. These you need a set number of bricks to enter the buildings. The cool thing is there are 250 bricks. So it takes awhile to get all of them, but it keeps you busy.

Cons:

The Roster: The roster is kind of a double edged sword for me. While it is huge and is plenty versatile, I found some characters ...unnecessary? And let me explain, I understand some characters are there just for fun, but I think game found the line and slightly crossed it when they could've put someone else in. Do you want to play as Mary Jane or Gwen Stacy in the game? I didn't. They are there. There are also about 4 web swinging characters in the game that I have so far. Spider-Man, Venom, Carnage, and Superior Spider-Man. Venom can at least Vulk out into his massive Hulk/Venom size. This also gives him a different powerset, but it was cool. I can understand having another character in there like Carnage, but he doesn't do anything different than act like Venom but he doesn't have a second stage he can enter. Then we have Superior Spider-Man. He has a different suit than Parker, but also has the Ock arms. The arms don't do anything....I think it would have been better to add him as an alternate outfit. Parker already has an alt outfi, but a 3rd wouldn't hurt when Iron Man has like 7 different outfits. Some of them useless.

The other downside is when they just kind of half-ass a character. Emma Frost can go diamond in the game, but they don't give her telepathy. Drax and Elektra have the exact same template. They do the exact same attacks and both use sais. The only difference is one is a green, bald space explorer while the other is hot Greek ninja. They could have at least given her the silent scream or telepathy or something. Or give Drax his knives instead of sais.

Glitchy: Not really a huge problem, but the game isn't without a few bugs. I just wanted to point out a few that happened to me. When I flew jets or other flying vehicles and they exploded, the character would turn kind of on an angle. I would then be stuck running around with said character on angle. I would try and correct this problem by picking another character and the character would be upright in regular standing position. The glitch is though if you pick a character with anything attached to the back like cape, you lose it. Thor, Emma Frost, etc won't have their capes. Venom or SpOck won't have their back pieces. I just exit back to the main menu and reload the game. Every thing was fixed. During some side missions, some enemies get stuck in walls. I had this happen in a Captain Britain mission where a Hydra agent was stuck in the ceiling with his legs dangling out. I killed him with Cyclops' optic blast, but it took me awhile to find the guy as all I heard were jumping noises.

Summary:

Overall, it has been an awesome game. I haven't had a good game where I could just kind of turn off my brain in awhile. With a game this big, I didn't expect it to be perfect, but clearly the positives outweighed the negatives for me.

Rating: 8.5/10

17 Comments

GS and DM's Swole Your Role: The Bro Edition!

Yo, yo, yo, bros. It's D-Midge and Gee-$ with another edition of Swole your Role. Where we turnin your YOLO into SWOLO. We got the answers to the hottest questions, so let's get right to it.

"How often should I do legs?"

GS: Bro. Bro. Bro. You don't need to do legs. You just need to focus on chest, biceps, and shoulders, bro. Girls don't care about overall appearance. Girls don't hang on ya legs and go "man, them thighs be sexy." They don't go "Them calves are hot." Bro, you be wearin' shorts anyway. It don't matter. You need to do bench press and curls every day. You wake up, first thing you do is bench and curl. You get that pump started early. When you feel that pump fadin, do more curls. Carry a bag with ya. Keep some a dem weights in the bag and curl til you get them veins poppin.

DM: Legs? Waitaminute, waitaminute, waitaminute... *gives look of distress* Bruh, you ever seen Hugh Jackedman or Superman work out their legs? Nah bruh and you know why? Because the ladies only check out that upper body man! They don't care for your legs! They want to be drooling all over your swole pecs and your tree-trunk biceps son!

But hold up... I only make one exception. Bodacious buttchecks. Yeah, that's right. I work them lunges and squats not for my legs but to get a rock hard behind you feeling me?

"How do I lift more in my workouts?"

GS: Yo, bro. I'll break it down step by step for ya.

  1. Wear a muscle shirt. It is scientifically proven by scientists or something that if you wear a muscle shirt, you can lift more. It's called a muscle shirt for a reason, bro. You don't wanna wear that T-shirt. You know what else starts with T? Tits, bro. You don't want them flabby man tits, you want pecs. You know what else starts with P? Pump. And as a meathead you want that pump. It's ya goal. A pec is a muscle, hence muscle shirt. See? Science, bro. I would know, I'm a masstrophysicist.
  2. Pace around the machine or weights you're usin'. You're an animal. You stalk that b*tch like it's a piece of meat and you're hungry. You're hungry for the pump.
  3. Slap your face. Get psyched. Growl. Let everyone know who is the king, you are. You lift the weight, bro, the weight don't lift you.
  4. Scream when you move the weight and make a face. When you scream, adrenaline gets goin' and by making a face, you be activatin more muscle fibers in ya body at once. Science, bro. More muscles recruited=more weight= bigger pump. Duh.

DM: Eh man, my bro over here pretty much covered the basics for all you gents (and ladies) who want to get swole. People like to tell you that it's about proper training and diet and all that fancy, schmancy nonsense. GET OUT OF MY HOUSE! Man, all you have to do is workout for HOURS ON END. You lift that weight until you tore every muscle in your body and then you keep lifting it! But as Gee-$ laid it out, you have to rep the proper attire! Ain't no walking in with some goofy shoes and special shirts. NAH! You rip off that shirt in the middle of your damn set! Look like an animal, work out like an animal. Bruh's be mirin the entire time, BELIEVE THAT!

"How much cardio should I do?"

GS: Pfft, cardio? Yo, D-Midge, ya see this question? Cardio. Hah. Only two kinds of people do cardio: chicks and uhh....well, marathon runners or some sh*t. But you ain't a chick or a marathon runner, you're a man, bro. Bros don't run, they lift.

DM: I see it bruh... I ain't never seen the nerve of someone bringing up this cardio in my business. Eh man, you like cardio? That's fine but if you want to make dem gains and get swoooollllleeeee, STOP HITTING THAT CARDIOOOOOO! Ain't nothing worse than a blood pumping pec bananza only to ruin it with some pathetic muscle burning sessions of cycling or stairmaster. Get up off my land son. Ain't nobody got time for that.

"When is the best time for protein?"

GS: Bro, when ISN'T the best time for protein, bro? Anytime is good for brotein. You got muscles that need feedin, you feed them that brotein. Start ya day after that bench with 20 raw eggs. Slam that sh*t down and you good. Lunch rolls around, whatcha gonna do? Eat brotein. Eat dat steak. Put it in ya pocket. You eat it on the go since you a On-The-Go-Bro. 2 PM rolls around, you hungry yet? You should be. You shoulda set that protein clock. Slam a shake. Hell, slam 3. Get them shakes. You a machine, son. Feed it that fuel ya need to be a hot rod.

DM: Eh man listen, you eat at every opportune moment and when- Oh the hell with these fancy, big words! Man, you eat that protein during your workout, before your workout, after your workout! When you're driving, sleeping, working! You don't eat that protein, dem gains be slipping away as we speak bruh!

"What should I eat to get big?"

GS: You need a steady diet of eggs, dead animals like ya cows, chickens, and pigs, and the nightly intake of beer and patr'on. Real bros drink patron. You don't seem them skinny kids and chubby dudes drinkin patron, bro. You only see bros.

DM: Anything bruh. Grab anything you find, it's all just protein, carbs and fats. Ain't no thing as food groups baby! Ain't no picky picky with this! You see some of that cheap Mcky Dee's? You buy seven of them big macs. Dem gains be coming faster than you believe bruh! You buying a pizza? Better make that two just for you! That's how you get big and swole.

And there you have, bros, and brodettes. You now have the necessary tools and knowledge to get big. Have a nice day, and remember, Swole your Role!!

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83 Comments

GS Review: Black Cat (Manga)

Out of sheer boredom and nothing better to do, I have decided to do a review on a lesser known little manga series called ...

Black Cat is a manga written by Kentaro Yabuki and is actually the only manga I ever decided to fully collect over the years and when I was younger. The series is relatively short, being about 20 volumes long, but it isn't lacking in any aspects and I will get to the goods and bads later. Also, I shall add links to some of the characters under their names since they pages on this site if you want any further in depth info.

Synopsis

The main character is called Train Heartnet, and he is a sweeper, which is basically a bounty hunter. He was an assassin of a group called Chronos and a member of their elite squad called the Chrono Numbers. He was number 13 and was dubbed the Black Cat due to his golden, cat-like eyes. So by adding the two notions together, he gets the moniker of being "unlucky" and that plays a pertinent role in the series if you choose to get it. So something happens and he befriends a sweeper after she saves him from being killed. She ends up dying due to his former partner and being crazy and obsessive to the point it possibly borders on the erotic. So anyways, he becomes a sweeper and partners up with another guy named Sven Vollfied. They periodically team up with a thief by the name of Rinslet Walker, and acquire a special little girl by the name of Eve. They are then contracted by Chronos themselves to kill Train's old partner and prevent him from taking over the world.

Characters

There were quite a few characters in the book that were extremely likable. The cast was large but without being too crowded and it fit well in the 20 volume story. Due to the size, I will only focus on the 5 main characters.

Train Heartnet: The protagonist of the series and the guy in the chair at the top. Train is a 23 year old bounty hunter that suffered through the assassination of his parents and the assassin who killed them didn't realize they had a son and asked Train if he wanted to live or die. Train wanted to live, so the assassin took Train in and taught him to kill properly. Train used the teachings the assassin taught him to try and exact his revenge, which the assassin took as kind of humorous at times, commending the determination of the young boy. Well, the assassin dies and Train hates the fact he cannot exact his revenge. He was eventually taken in by a member of Chronos and raised by them until he achieves the level of becoming unlucky Chrono Number 13. Thus, he is given his trademark and nearly indestructible pistol, Hades. As an assassin, Train was incredibly ruthless and was often able to freeze people in fear just by staring at them as he would brutally slaughter them. Upon meeting the sweeper friend named Saya, he goes on to quote "fell in love with the way she lived" as he felt like she was free. Train was always chained and bound in some fashion so he became a sweeper in her memory and adopted a much more carefree attitude. Train's CV link can be read here.

Sven Vollfied: Sven is the guy with the eye patch and fedora in the picture. He is older than Train (I think he is 30?) and he was a former FBI agent or cop and his partner had a special gift to where he could see the future. So anyways, Sven is captured and loses an eye due to a gang attacking him and his partner dies but donates one of his eyes to Sven, Kakashi Hatake style. He retires from being an agent and becomes a sweeper instead. He ends up meeting Train and joins him on his journey. Sven is basically the tech guy of the group, as he is normal for the most part, and often times is the one inventing new types of bullets, weapons, explosives, etc. He even built a briefcase filled with a myriad of weapons such as a machine gun, net gun, compartments for pistols, an electrocable, and a pressurized diamond cutter. Shooting with class, people. He is also much more serious than Train and is pretty cool in his own right. Anyways, he also expands on his friend's gift to him and I won't spoil that unless you want to read the manga or check out the page which is right here.

Rinslet Walker: The lady in purple. She is 21 and plays the role of sexy thief. She isn't afraid to use her looks to manipulate people and is pretty handy when it comes to whips, guns, and overall stealth. She is actually a pretty strong character without being too serious, providing some funny moments throughout the series. Also, they never put her in a position of does he love me or does he not with any character and I liked that Kentaro did it. I'll explain that a bit more later on in the good section.

Eve: Eve is the little blond girl and is actually a genetically engineered bio weapon. She is full of nanites and can shape or transmute her body, such as forming blades, to transmuting her body into metal to deflect bullets, to even forming blades gloved fists with her hair. She really tries to prove herself as not just a kid and wishes to be a sweeper like the boys when they take her in. I really liked her character progression as far as refinement in powers go. Kentaro does a fantastic job showing her rudimentary shaping with her powers to the point she can grow wings to fly or become a mermaid like being to swim. He also shows little details in the transformations and weapons too to show said refinement. One example I remember is in the beginning she was using blades all of the time and they showed like veiny muscles and shapes at their bases, but she can eventually showed perfect and detailed hammers.

Creed Diskenth: Since Creed wasn't in the main pic at the top, I'll post this here.

No Caption Provided

So Creed Diskenth was Train's partner at one point. He always tried showing his mother he loved her by doing things like getting her flowers, but she was constantly drunk and beating him senseless since she blamed him for her never getting a man. So one day he poisons her drink and runs away. He lives on the streets and was routinely beat up by cops just venting their frustrations. So the guy didn't exactly have a warm childhood, despite trying to gain his mother's love. Somehow he gets picked up by Chronos and becomes an assassin, wielding his beloved kotetsu. He finds Train, as an assassin, to be a kindred spirit and admires him. He feels like this is the only person he can connect to. When Train changes, Creed goes apesh*t and kills Saya, as he blames her for changing the one person he felt a connection to. Creed was also at one point going to be Chrono Number 13, but was deemed too unstable for it and that position went to Train. So Creed ends up risking his life and ends up gaining the power of the Tao which allows him to generate a sword made of chi with varying stages and attributes. He calls this sword the Imagine Blade. His end goal is to become immortal via nanomachines and live forever while he overthrows Chronos and the governments of the world and he will selectively hand pick those that will survive in his world. He also leads a team of like-minded individuals called the Apostles of the Stars. And he has an obsession with trying to change Train back to his old ways and for him to join his team. This borders on the erotic...Creed is just nuts. He's awesome, but he's off the walls psychotic. Oh, and he too shares that ability with Train to freeze people in fear. That becomes pertinent too. Creed's page if you want to check out more here.

Pros

Story: The story is fantastic. It is very smooth and takes place over a period of time of just over a year at the most. It doesn't force itself into certain situations where it has to slow down or speed up and has a few chapters that allow it to kind of stray from the main story itself without becoming filler and going completely off track. Because of this, it allows the characters to move around through various cities so it gives a sort of adventure feel to it, too. Kentaro just does an amazing job developing every little detail with the story. It is a little cliched of a story when it comes to general terms, but the details of it are really great as to not become just another crazy guy bent on world domination and main protagonist must beat him. Like I said, it doesn't ever really spread too thin, it has an adventure kind of feel to it while having very likable characters and great action all around without seeming to stop like One Piece or Bleach.

The Characters: Every character is pretty much likable for some reason or another. He has solid personalities for each one so they don't blend together but the characters themselves have interactions without forcing it. Kentaro does a great job at making every character develop in a way that feels natural. So it's not like Bleach where Ichigo gets his butt whooped, trains for 3 hours, or finds some kind of revelation and comes back and owns the person. No. He has a casual progression and you can see it throughout the story. And to maintain it for a 4 year series, I commend the man for it. He just has a way of molding the characters and eliciting certain reactions. Like Train is a goofy character and often times it actually makes you forget he was this ruthless and cold blooded killer. Or how Creed tried very hard as a kid to make his mother love him and seemed like a sweet boy until he snapped.

The artwork: The artwork is really good. He scales the characters properly so we don't have 15 year olds looking like they are 25. I mean, you could probably guess the character's ages, and I like that because I always had problems in some animes and mangas where story lines just drag on forever and characters are just drawn certain ways that they could be in their 30's but aren't even out of their teens. He does fantastic detail in some panels and the action and detail is always very crisp and refined.

Powers and Fighting: One thing I also liked is the powers some of the characters had. People in Chronos were trained and were thus physically able to do superhuman things and he doesn't force the humans that have not done that to do that. Instead, he gives them basic street level stats, so bullet dodging as long as they are trained to a degree and tech. He also does well when blending these powers into fights. So guys with swords can battle guys with guns. Or someone with the ability to increase his muscle size to the point he can with stand explosive rounds and they must find a way around it. Or a guy who can control gravity to a degree. One guy can manipulate his own blood and we have a girl that can raise her body to 1000 degrees and kiss people to the point they combust. Eve goes crazy with her nano powers and shows she can transform to fly to creating blades that supposedly could cut through molecules. Train has some awesome accuracy feats and gives me that old school Vash the Stampede feel with his attitude and accuracy. Creed's sword is awesome and I love the different effects each stage grants him. It also shows some ingenuity on the characters' parts in certain battles. There are just a lot of diverse powers and no two characters are really the same. It provides fresh battles instead of just constant sword and gun fights. And each Chrono number has their own weapon and have some cool spins on different weapons. They range from a massive spear, Train's gun has a blunt edge for bashing and even a leash that extends to five meters and he does some unique things with that. Other people have a glove with retractable wires that can slice through virtually anything and one guy that has a bazooka that can convert to a massive hammer like weapon. One guy even has massive tonfas, so cool callback on that since I don't see them used very often outside of the old school samurai style like shows, similar to Rurouni Kenshin.

No love: Yes. No one loves anyone in this story and it is great. No annoying love triangles. No oblivious boys to shy girls ala Orihime/Ichigo, Hinata/Naruto kind of thing. Now, they do hint at some certain characters being possible ships but Kentaro never fully follows through with it and redirects it. He makes them friends and family. If I could give Oda one prop about One Piece it is that, aside from Sanji being ...Sanji, he makes the Straw Hats a family. Kentaro here does follow that aspect and I like it. He doesn't make Train and Rinslet go gaga or it isn't Train avenging Saya because he loved her. It is always something different, like how he loved Saya's style of life and how she made an impact on his life.

Cons

Cliches: It follows some anime cliches like Creed being egotistical and Training being the goofy idiot but smart when it comes down to it. Or how many of them have some tragic past element which almost every anime character has nowadays. Aside from that, that is really all I can complain about.

In Conclusion

Fantastic manga. Fantastic characters. Fantastic story. Kentaro Yabuki kills it in this story and everything flows so smoothly and the art and fights are detailed and crisp. Btw, don't watch the anime. I know some animes change from the manga, but the anime seems like a completely different story with just the same characters.

Final Rating 9/10.

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GS Review: Resistance 2 (Spoilers)

Haven't done a game review blog in forever and after seeing my good buddy's @dragonborn_ct's blog on AC2, I decided to do my own gamer blog on one of my favorite games. I chose...

Now I chose this and completely skipped Resistance: Fall of Man because I liked the sequel better. DILLIGAF about order? But seriously, I think the Resistance series is one of the best system exclusive games for the PS3, if not the best and I'll explain that later since I do intend doing all 3 games. Anyways, onto the review.

Plot

So a quick rundown of the game. The game is set in the 1950's and there is this virus called the chimeran virus. No one knows where it has come from in the game. The game is a WWII era inspired game it takes place in Europe where you first battle the infected. In the 2nd game, it has spread around the world and is starting to impact the USA. To get an idea of the chimeran virus, if you have ever played Halo think the flood except in a much bigger variety of uses and creatures. So you're Sargent Nathan Hale. He was infected with the virus in the first game, but he survived the infection and was never taken into the evolution pods and therefore was never fully converted. So he is mostly human except for having enhanced strength, golden eyes, and a healing factor. Anyways, you are apart of a team of similar individuals and you do take vaccines every now and then to keep the virus in check. So you battle the chimeras across the good ole U.S.of A and you learn that there was a former agent like Hale that became a super chimera and called himself Daedalus. He was experimented on as part of program that tried to create human-chimeran hybrids in an attempt to make super soldiers called Project: Abraham. It was revealed that Hale was actually originally injected with the DNA, but the DNA remained dormant until he was reinfected in the first game. Only he didn't go nuts and morph into a giant whatever Daedalus is.

This is Daedalus

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So anyways, Daedalus has psychic powers and single-handedly controls all of the chimeras. And he wants to activate these chimeran towers for some reason. Hale gets sent on a mission and too much time passes and it jump starts the virus. So at this point Hale is going to be dead....or completely turned in a matter of hours. He knows it and the player knows it and they want the player to know it because it makes Hale seem like a much bigger badass than he already is. So you team up with the last members of the super soldier squad and they plan on blowing this tower up. So you fight Daedalus and kill him. Hale touches him and gets massive psychic powers and you can then blow chimeras to pieces, like literal pieces with just a button and it is awesome. Then the bomb goes off, Hale is with one remaining soldier named Joe Capelli. Capelli is a hardass and typically comes across as the guy you wanna punch in the face...or use a sledgehammer, but you two escape and Capelli gets knocked out because they escape in a ship and an EMP causes it to fail and crash. He wakes up when you get outside there is this giant planet looking thing and .... I'll actually post it since there is more to it.

Pros:

Characters: I liked how they added more meaningful characters to the game. In the first it was basically all Hale with a few people here and there, but in this one we get new agents, a story built and driven by these characters and they all do their jobs at playing their roles perfectly. None of the two characters are really the same, but Hale and Capelli in particular really standout as far as soldiers go because they kind of represent opposites but still end up in a few stereotypical roles. Hale is the perfect soldier. Hard on the field, but not cold. He's just unyielding and calculating but is a true patriot, whereas Capelli is hot headed, he carries the big gun with a f*cking energy shield and it's ridiculous and awesome at the same time.

VA's: Voice acting in the game is near perfect. They don't go too much into the cutscenes which was really nice. They tried to make the cutscenes more supplemental to the actual storyline vs rather the gameplay being the supplement which is something I feel more games need. So the cutscenes aren't very long and it is the mission that you play that tells the story more. David Kaye kills the role as Hale.

Gameplay: Gameplay is very smooth and the combat is hard. It's not easy without overdoing it. The melee attacks are helpful and you get a large array of weapons. You get both some classic type guns and the chimeran guns, so more high tech stuff. Each gun also comes with a secondary feature that ranges from explosive rounds, to energy shields, to a tag shot that makes all bullets home in on the target, to a gun that allows you to see through walls and your bullets will phase through said walls. Kind of cool.

Graphics: The graphics are fantastic. The designs in the surrounding areas are phenomenal and some of the bosses are just jaw dropping. Seriously, go look up the leviathan. The attention to detail is amazing in the game and they even show Hale throughout the game as the virus furthers its infection. So he starts becoming more chimeran like.

The ending: The ending to the game was awesome. I'll actually post it, but without full context to it, it kind of loses its meaning, but hopefully with my plot summary it helps you appreciate it. But it was just so wonderfully done with Capelli's VA capturing the moment perfectly. I beat the game and kind of sat in my room like ....

DAMN!

But here is the ending.

Cons

Aliens? Zombies? Alien zombies? The chimerans are actually revealed to be aliens. They are just aliens that can convert creatures to...themselves. The first game didn't show they were aliens, but you could guess it, but they left it pretty ambiguous which is something I liked. I love the chimeras but to me it was just like...aliens? It just kind of went TOO sci-fi and the game doesn't really give off too much of that feeling. But it is a good thing on their part they could do something like that. Didn't detract me from liking the game, though.

Final Verdict 9/10

This is, in my opinion, the PS3's best exclusive game series. 3 games and they all are different from each other but flow smoothly together. None of the 3 games I believe have even fallen below 9/10 on IGN as far as the rating goes. It's such a good series and I definitely recommend those in need of a good war game with a bit of a outer world twist without going too Halo-y.

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