Saturday, 31 May 2008

Indiana Jones and the Crystal Martian (SPOILERS)

I doubt there are any Indy Fans who haven't seen the film yet, but just in have been warned!

I'll leave film reviews to people who are better at them if they want to do one, but I'll focus on the introduction of a new dynamic to the Indy films, which I'm afraid didn't work very well for me or most of the people I've spoken to about it. This is the introduction of aliens to the plotline, which has neve featured anything of the kind before.

Don't get me wrong, the film is fantastic and well worth seeing. It has caught the spirit of the original trilogy and brought the characters back without spoiling the franchise by "modernising" it or leaving it too far in the past - which is quite a feat considering the slew of not so good fourth parters that have been recently, not many of them hit the mark, but this film does and is a delight to watch.

But while totally enjoyable the plot of aliens landing and creating these crystal skulls is a bit implausible and not very true to the originals I thought. The original trilogy concerned itself with religious artifacts such as the holy grail and the ark of the covenant and the consequences for obtaining such items if sought for the wrong reason. While the film sticks to the choice and consequence formula of the others the artifact is no longer an ancient religious relic but something altogether different, which detracts from the film somewhat.

While Crystal Skulls are a real thing (the above picture is not from the film) and therefore valid subject matter I didn't quite like where they took it in the end. That is, to have a group of thirteen crystal skeletons inside a spaceship inside a temple which can move between dimensions was brought on too quickly and with not enough explanation to be absorbed by the viewer. One has to ask if the beings are so powerful, how did one of them get it's head nicked in the first place, and surely the advantage to having thirteen bodies would be that one of the others could go and retrieve it?!

If it had maybe been an alien artifact or the remains of a dead alien I might have believed it. But despite it tying in with the time period and the Roswell crash and that I still can't see it as part of Indy. But nonetheless the film is a great success and is not let down by the alien premise. I guess we'll just have to accept aliens as part of Indy's world now - which I think I can just about live with.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Power Trip 3 - Space/time manipulation

Most viewer's favourite character Hiro Nakamura has a greta ability - the ability to manipulate the spac-time continuum to do many incredible feats - including freezing time and traveeling through it and teleporting to different locations. Part of the genius of the show is to hand to such a powerful ability to one of the most harmless characters. Hiro is loveable, shy, a little bumbling and veyr honourable and kindhearted and while awed at his part in the order of superheroes he is also reverent and respectful of the duty given by said power and never uses it for slefish or unjust causes. But Hiro is more than just the "good guy" he is the fun guy who is still trying to figure out his gift.

Hiro's ability to change the continuum means he can move about and change things in both time and space. Most superheroes are restricted to one or the other, able to time travel or teleport, but Hiro can change location and time as shown at the end of series 1 when he teleports form modern New York to ancient Japan. He also has the ability to freeze time, this is used well when the creators show him having to use his normal strength to move objects around while time is frozen. These, so far, have been the key manifestations of Hiro's power I'll examine them individually.

Time manipulation most commonly appears as time "freezing" ansd that's how it's most commonly used in the show. There have been other examples - Hiro "slows" time at one point and at the beginning of the show he sents time back by one second so he could presumable reverse the flow of time if he wanted though this has not happened so far that I've seen. Characters who can freeze time are common, such as classic Kids TV show "Bernard's Watch" where a stopwatch given to a boy had the ability to freeze time. Some characters do seem to possess it inherently, such as Professor X in X-Men 2, but the ability is most commonly granted by a gizmo or by magic.

The same is true of time travel. From it's earliest conception in H.G.Wells' The Time Machine - there are earlier stories where some one goes back in time, but Wells' book is the first to employ a gizmo and develop time travel proper. Since then a number of heroes have used various devices, both magical and technological to travel through time. One of the most popular is the Doctor, who can use his TARDIS to travel about in time, and also space, making him one step closer to Hiro. The Doctor also has teleportation technology so aside from freezing time, and let's face it he'll probably find a way, he does (through technology) possess much of the same maniulation capabilities and laos the benevolent nature Hiro. Time travel is almost always created by a device of some kind, but there are a few characters, such as Waverider, that posess the ability inherently or through mutation.

Teleports are common devices in science fiction tales and a popular subject such as in The Fly the popular tale of a man who teleports and gets crossed genetically with a fly stuck in the teleport device. It is also a common trait amongst superheroes, such as Nightcrawler from X-Men who possesses the ability to jump anywhere he can see. The novel and film "Jumper" are based around individuals who can jump to anywhere in the world. So in this ability Hiro has a long superhero heritage.

Individuals who possess more than one of these abilities are few and far between, which makes the innocent Hiro all the better for possessing them. Characters who do ahve such abilities are most often "Gods" or godlike characters such as Dr Manhattan of Watchmen who could interact with people in past and future at the same time and teleport himself to Mars at will.

I usually try to chuck in a Bible reference so I will do that here only to say that the desire for this ability is partly a reflection of God's complete perception over all time and control over destiny. We like the idea that we might be able to change time, see what will happen next and maybe change it. After his resurrection Jesus appears to his disciples despite the doors being locked - possible teleportation powers? Mere speculation on my part though!!!

Till sometime soon.

P.S. Sam if you want to do another follow on thingy you are more than welcome, the last one was pretty cool and I like finding out about more superheroes.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Star Wars Legacy #23-24: Updates and Review

Star Wars Legacy 23-24 (Loyalties)

I bought these two issues together and since they form a two part story I'll review them together also. The issues actually feature the Imperial Knights a lot, but I'll skim over those bits and go into more detail when I do the second Imperial Knight post a bit later. These issues return to the story of Cade Skywalker after a brief sojourn to look at the Galactic Alliance, and they take place during and after the time of Darth Krayt's retribution. But first - some updates...

Sith Updates

Darth Maladi

While Lord Krayt is away on "business" at Dac, she is keeping the fort at the Sith temple and continuing the hunt for Skywalker as well as supervising the recovery of injured Sith. She contacted and recruited Rav, Cade's former boss, who gave her a report of a sighting and promised to give her more information.

Darth Talon and Darth Nihl

Both are alive and undergoing Bacta treatment at the Sith Temple. Nihl appears to be regenerating his arm, whether this is Nagai physiology or some new technology is unclear.

Jedi Updates

No word still on Cade's friends, but a new ally has shown up in a surprising place, and with an even more surprising name!!

Nat Skywalker

Species: Human
Sex: Male
Homeworld: Unknown
Position: Jedi Knight, Chief Mechanic, Selonian Shipyards
First Appearance: Legacy #23 (Loyalties, part 1)

Older brother to Kol Skywalker and uncle to Cade, Nat left the order for reasons he hasn't decided to share with anyone. He accepted that his brother was more poweful and a better leader and was confident to leave the Skywalker name on his shoulders. He was aware of Kol's relationship with Imperial spy Morrigan Corde and helped rasie Cade while Kol was away on missions. He settled for an ordinary life, being a skilled mechanic and weapons maker. He married and became father to three children, including a disabled Cathar he rescued from slavers and brought into his home, building cybernetic legs for him. Keeping his powers a secret from his children, but not his wife, he still managed to stay strong in the force though some skills, such as mind tricks, faded over time. But things were going to change when Cade came crashing at his door once again.

Ok I'll now move on to the story - I guess technically I should to a Cade update, but that pretty much is the story so I'll just get on and tell it shall I?!


Cade shows up at Rav's, his former Pirate master's stronghold. Rav sold his crew out to the Sith and impounded the ship of Chak and Kee, friends who had lent their ship to Cade's crew when he took the Mynock. Cade fought down Rav's guards and crew and demanded that he release the ship and swear loyalty to him. This Rav did, though he quickly passed the news on to Sith Lord Darth Maladi. After making up with Blue, who was still angry with him for his pseudo-relationship with Darth Talon, they decided to head for "Rawk's Nest" home to Bantha Rawk and family, who had always given them safe harbour. On arrival they encountered crime syndicate Black Sun, who were trying to extort protection money from Rawk. The crew helped fight off Black Sun's fighters and speeders before joining their friends. In the action they missed a ship landing not far away, a bounty hunter's ship that had followed them from Rav's.
The crew relaxed, enjoying good food and good company. But Cade had things to talk about with Rawk, who confronted him about his raid on the Sith temple and other events. Cade bit back by mentioning his mother and asking Rawk for what he knew...back when he bore the name Skywalker. They were interrupted by the news of the slaughter on Dac and a terrorist alert put out for a man named Cade Skywalker. Cade was grieved at the danger he'd put his friends in and even resorted to using deathsticks to sleep, much to the annoyance of his force ghost anscestors. In his drugged stupour he was ambushed by the masked bounty hunter, who was in turn attacked by Rawk, both of them manifesting force powers. When the conflict was over the hunter revealed herself to be Azlyn Rae, who knew Cade form the Jedi temple when they were apprentices together. But their reunion was shortlived when the Imperials attacked. They were tricked into leaving, but the situation was dark - Cade decided the only solution would be to kill Darth Krayt and collapse the Sith order - to do that he'd need help, and a secret temple of the Jedi would be just the place to get it, and Rawk just happened to know the way. They got some reast after the events, apart from Azlyn Rae - who had her own agenda.

Want to find out more - keep reading the blog...please!

My Two Credits

Well this has been quite a long post, but the double issue excuses me I hope. These were really good issues and a welcome return for series artist Jan Duursema who did a great job of illustrating all the new characters and ships that appeared in this story. This was a fantastic piece with plenty of twists and surprises to keep the reader's attention the whole way through. Legacy is always great, but these issues were particularly good I thought. The new characters were easy to get to know over only a few pages and the dramatic consequences of a short trip home were brilliant. I can't wait for the next issue - with a hidden temple there's bound to be plenty of new Jedi for me to ramble on about! More on the Imperial Knights soon, but I'll try and slot in a power trip as well - variety's the spice of life eh?

Monday, 19 May 2008

The Matrix Online: Chapter 1, part 3

mIt is my intention to also give you some idea of the things to do whilst playing the Matrix Online so I think I shall slot them in between chapter reviews, starting with the basics of gameplay and what there is to do when you first enter the game. But for now let's finish the first chapter of the game storyline, which was quite a shock to the system let me tell ya.

With the Nightfall over, events turned to Morpheus who continued his crusade to free the One or his remains from the Machine city. Morpheus put a secret message in a newspaper and several redpills got it, meeting with him while he continued to speak of his campaign. Following this a surge of "code bombings" began in the Matrix. This sows great confusion, especially among Zion, some help him, some try to stop him other stand and watch uncertain of where their loyalties should lie.

Almost unnoticed in the chaos, though certainly adding to it, helicopters are spotted flying around the city, dropping leaflets stating "Don't Trust the Frenchman" - but no one has time to figure out why they are there. Also a group of Masked Men start coming out of the woodwork, also with their motives unclear, but joining in the attacks on Morpheus - showing up in large numbers after Ookami tried to attack him and on other occasions when he showed up in public. Both these entities remained a mystery - but they weren't going to go away.

Then the unthinkable happened...

And everything changed.

This mysterious assasin had really done it, despite all the new measures put in Morpheus's body has not been found and he was really dead. To be true, some people think he may still be alive - this has never been confirmed, but either way it didn't matter: the hunt was on!

Early on, operatives uncovered evidence linking this Assassin to the Merovingian. The Merovingian didn't acknowledge any part in the assassination - but there wasn't time for following that up because The Assassin wasn't hiding - he was fighting!

It started when Agent Skinner, a senior Agent often in charge of human operations, was confronted and killed (also permanantly) by the Assassin. Monsters caled "corrupted" - seemingly monsters made of flies in a roughly human shape - began attacking humans en masse. While difficult to kill a swarm of flies the humans fought back uncovering a definite connection to the Assassin and confirmation that he had killed Morpheus...and more than that - he wanted to bring down the entire Matrix!!

Soon decay began to appear in the Matrix as flies began to attack everything, even to the extent of revealing the code behind monuments and other structures. Flies even attacked Morpheus's body at an improptu funeral held for him - this enraged the humans, that rage and anger would be something they'd need to get through what happened next. One person did show up to help however, newly designed liaison program Agent Pace.

But the battle became even more intense when "Complete Corruptors" - massive fly creatures that towered over anything human - began their assault. Very hard to injure and able to cause massive damage to anything that came near. The battle was long and hard, with all organizations working together, spurred on by ookami - now working for the Merv - they eventually brought all the monsters down. But even though they hadn't succeeded in destruction they had given the Assassin the chance to escape justice...for a while.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Book Review : Stardust

Neil Gaiman has written some fine novels and comics over the last few years. I personally am a fan of his The Sandman Series. Set in the same world as The Sandman, Stardust is perhaps his most refined and elegant novel.
I saw the film version a few moths ago and was immensely disappointed. Not only because it deviated away from the original story a bit, but also because this is an adult book, not meant to become a children's film with Take That on the closing credits.
I say this is an adult book, not because of the sexual references and swearing that appear in this book (which was £1 in the children's section in ASDA) but because of it's emotional and blunt storytelling. Without the cover, I would have compared it to Steven King's The Dark Tower. This is not to say that it is a dark story, far from it, but that it is a mature and clever piece of fiction that deserves to be placed on a wooden cabinet alongside the more complex members of the Lord of the Rings family.
The ending is suitably sad, it's expected of a book of this standard. It gives it that bit more finesse and professionalism that would be lacking if the final words were "Happily ever after", that makes the film adaptation fall from a potential fantasy classic, to a run of the mill children's film.
I would strongly recommend this book. The one retailed with the film's graphics on the front hasn't been altered in anyway (and is perhaps slightly cheaper) but to in order to impress people who have never heard of Neil Gaiman, buy the original printing instead.

Expect a Doctor Who The Movie review (the eighth doctor one) and if i can be bothered a review of the book series that followed (which is the longest running book series in the world).

Friday, 16 May 2008

SF Masterworks #4 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

I very much doubt that anyone remember, but a while back I read and reviewed book 1 of the SF Masterworks series "The Forever War." The series reprints exceptional pieces of Science Fiction Writing from the last fifty years or so and a bit further if a book merits it. I had originally intended to go through them in numerical order, but the length of time between this post and the first (use tags to find it if interested) and the vast amount of unread books cluttering my room suggest to me that it will be a while before I get even to the very tempting I Am Legend, which is book two.

So I will press on and go through what I've got and read - which is actually quite a small amount, even more so than I'd anticipated. I've got one or two more on my shelf waiting to be read and I'll add them as I go along. This book, fourth in the series is perhaps the most famous work of Philip K Dick, more famously known as the film adaptation Blade Runner. It's been a while since I read it so I will rely a lot in wikipedia and other sources to keep my memory fresh as I write.

The book is the story of Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter living in a desecrated America affected by World War Terminus. Due to Earth effectively being a lost cause the government is busy trying to get people to move to off-world colonies ( a common theme in Dick's work) even promising them an android helper to get them started in their difficult new life. Some of these androids rebel, kill their human masters and return to Earth and go into hiding, thus providing Deckards employment.

Deckards desire is to have a real sheep of his own. Most animals have been destroyed and all are endangered and real animals are very expensive. Deckard has to make to with a robotic model, but is eager to get a real one and thus willing to take on the job. Six of the latest model androids have escaped and his job is to find out how they can be distinguished from humans and taken down. His first point of contact a rich heiress for the android manufacturer turns out to be an android herself and pushes Deckard into doubt and strange terretories where he encounters people who aren't what they seem, Mercer, the God of a new religion and those worst affected by radiation poisoning.

The novel differs significantly from the film though the basic premise is the same. I found watching the film to be a confusing process after reading the book and doubtless the process will be the same the other way round. Nonetheless both are excelent works and well worth experiencing. This story is dark, compelling and when faced with biological copies designed to think like us, it makes us question what it is to be human.

Dick's work is always out there to play with your mind, but his works truly are greats, and many more of them are on this list of Masterworks and they are well worth picking up.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Star Wars Legacy - Imperial Knights, part 1

Ok, so I've covered the Sith and the Jedi, as well as Cade who has danced to both tunes. But now it's time to introduce a new group of force users - The Imperial Knights. I'd normally start with still active members, but this time I'll go with fallen members to give a bit more space to explain this new organization and comment on it.

The Imperial Knights are a groups of force sensitive individuals trained in force abilities and lightsaber combat, but they don't hold to Jedi teachings...nor do they believe in the Sith path. Rather they are dedicated to serving the Empire and especially it's emperor, Roan Fel. Because of this the Jedi Order regards them as "Grey Jedi" - not inheently evil, but not true Jedi either. The Knights are a small order, mostly dedicated to serving and protecting the Emperor and undertaking key missions that require additional abilities. They are a small order, not comparable to the thousands of Jedi and Sith, but they are strong and powerful. They have enough to train knights within the order as well as some Jedi that joined them during the war. They wear distinctive Red and black armour, equipped with lightsaber resistant cortosis gauntlets. As a further sign of loyalty and unity they all carry the same design lightsaber with a standardised shaft and silver blade. Though they dislike Jedi they hate the Sith and stayed out of the war on the Emperor's orders.

I must admit to liking the Knights. The arrogance and superior attitude of some makes them annoying, but it's better than if they just instantly became buddies with the Jedi and everyone else. Their armour is very cool, slightly reminiscant of the Royal Guards, but new and more flexible in appearance, but with a still distinctly Imperial style. I also like the fact that there is diversity among them and that the stories focus on the individuals and their actions rather than just presenting them as an order. OK, I'll now get on and profile some of the Knights who have fallen in battle.

Inactive Knights

Mohrgan Fel

Species: Human
Sex: Male
Homeworld: Unknown
Position: Master
First Appearance: Legacy #8 (Allies)

Cousin to the Emperor, Mohrgan was a key figure among the Imperial Knights and a close confidant of the Emperor. He despised the Sith and was eagre to test his strength against them when he heard of the plan to assasinate Fel. He and three other Knights escorted Fel's double to the throne room. The plan was to fight free, but unfortunately Darth Krayt overcame and slew all of them. They died, but they had succeeded, the Emperor was alive and able to fight back!

Elke Vetter

Species: Human
Sex: Female
Homeworld: Unknown
Position: Teacher and bodyguard to the princess
First Appearance: Legacy #2 (Broken, part 2)

Elke was tasked with looking after and training Princess Marasiah Fel, daughter to the Emperor. She was also training her in her force abilities and was a close friend to the heir to the throne. On a mission to Socorro they were detected and attacked. Darth Krayt sent his newly named "hand" Darth Talon to deal with them, she fought and defeated Vetter who bought enough time for the Princess's very close escape.

So that's it for now, aside from the three who fell with Mohrgan as of yet we have no more confirmed kills, but the order has taken a beating and being in exile must have only made things harder. I'll pop up again soon and let you know more about the living.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Doctor Who - New Series, new species part 13

Ok, so only one species this post due to a two-parter with classic series race the Sontarans. I suppose the clone humans with umbilicals at the backs of their necks might be new, but I think I'll just skip onto the next episode which featured among other things a feist lass who, on a very loose technicality, is the Doctor's daughter. But enough of that, let's look at some creepy aliens shall we?!


I have to say the team did a good job with the Hath race. Their look, while not completely original, was very definitive and interesting viewing. The bubbling tanks on their faces, while lacking explanation, did make an interesting dynamic, especially the added communication barrier it presented between them and the human characters. The idea of a seven day war was also intriguing, though there were some unanswered questions it threw up and I get the idea it could have made a brilliant novella but the author went for money and fame and handed it to Doctor Who...for which I can hardly blame them!

The Hath were a fish-like race adapted to a humanoid stature that had contact with the human race several thousand years into their culture. They breathed through a container of chemicals attached to their faces, possibly necessary due to their piscene nature. They were technologically advanced, with technology equal to or perhaps surpassing humanity's. One key element of their technology were progenation units which created a fully grown "child" from a DNA sample from one of their race in a matter of minutes. The process was interesting as it differed from cloning, not creating an exact copy, but a unique individual. This technology was shared with humans and used to rapidly co-colonise a planet. When an unexpected event seperated the two cultures the hath and humans fought a brutal war against each other. Due to the rapid progression of each race, coupled with massive casualties meant that within a week the two cultures had completely lost all trace of their original alliance and mythified what was only a recent past. Eventually the two races were alligned once more and colonised the planet in peace.

And there ya go - see you in a few weeks!

Saturday, 10 May 2008

The Matrix Online: Chapter 1, part 2

A short reprieve was earned after the impostors were defeated but peace is a hard thing to maintain. This time it was not a unified assault but a combination of factors and individuals that created the event known as "Nightfall." Most of these events occured simultaneously so I will discuss each factor seperately.

Firstly the Red Eyed Agents as they became known (LED Agents to some) were still present, though conducting more subtle operations such as sabotaging Hardlines and sowing dissent, more terrorists than an invading army. Though hidden they were still a large presence and operatives from all organization regularly got calls to deal with them. Gradually a bit more information became known, documents were found referring to "disguises" and a superior identified as "The General." But they remained both a hazard and a mystery.

[The next section refers to information found in cinematics. I've embeded the cinematic for this chapter here, but you can download and watch it in higher quality at MXOStory and also HERE on the Matrix Online forums where you can find much more information.]

Having led the efforts to claim Neo's RSI, Morpheus pushed his campaign further. Consulting the Oracle he began to demand that the Machines return Neo's body, if he even were dead. The Machines declined so Morpheus took drastic action. He set off "code bombs" around the city which when set off pealed back the Matrix to reveal the code beneath also attaching a code glitch to any redpill nearby. These were designed to forcefully awaken humans, thus straining the system and forcing the Machines to comply. The Machines hunted Morpheus, but he had long been adept at evading them. Zion reluctantly had to oppose Morpheus to maintain the truce and pleaded with their operatives to stop the bombings.

But an even bigger problem emerged as Lupine (Werewolves) and Blood Drinker programs emerged in large masses attacking redpills and demanding justice, though the humans didn't know what they meant. It turned out that two prominent members of their "races" had gone missing and the redpills were being blamed for this. The death toll rose as the redpills tried to discover what was going on. To add to the chaos another leader, Invalesco was making his own plans, involving the humans. Offering them immortality in exchange for loyalty to him they would try to seize the Matrix itself!!

Things changed again when Lupine leader Ookami (above) and Blood Drinker leader Malphas emerged from hiding. They had not, it seemed, been captured but were hiding from the Merovingian. With their troops already on the warpath they called for a rebellion against the Merovingian, who thought himself master of all programs, and they asked the humans for aid. Rising up against their former master they had some success, but someone got in the way.

Invalesco kick-started his plan for supremacy. He invited humans to come to him and be changed into vampire kind, losing their bodies in the real, but living forever in the Matrix. But his plan was stopped by his brother, Feronus, who lead an attack on the rogue leader. Suffering multiple wounds including several near fatal wooden stake attacks he fled and became the target of a great hunt. A trail was followed to outside the Matrix where he was finally staked and killed in a hidden fortress.

This victory was short lived as the Merovingian used the distraction to seize control of the rebellious forces and revealing some of his true power over code to execute many of the key leaders in the rebellion. After a time in the Merovingian's dungeon Ookami and Malphas were dragged back into forced service for the Frenchman - Nightfall was over.

Ookami and Malphas currently serve as heads of their program groups within the Merovingian's forces, roles they seem to have accepted...for the time being at least.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Sam Li's Power Trip follow on thing thats not related to Heroes 2.1 - Completely Messed up personas (or Number one, as it's my first one)

I think I shall knight myself Sir Sam Li, Introductor of The Ultimates To the Un-Educated.
Following on from figgy's split personas feature, heres two fictional characters with odder than normal personas.

1. Ultimate Moon Knight
This guy has split personalities, which means he's more than one superhero. There's the obvious moon knight, but on other days he's Ronin. Along with these, there's the normal Marc Spector and a elevn year old girl, all of whom converse inside his head. Fun.

2. Hybrid
This is Venom's "third" child. He produced four more symbiotes (aside from Carnage and Toxin) all four of whom bonded onto one guy.
I like this character because of two reasons. One, four symbiotes leads to some very cool powers, two there's an interesting drama behind all the super villan bashing. In most issues, it's the symbiotes who hold the host back after beating up that week's supervillan. All four of these symbiotes constantly argue and take turns to do stuff, eg. beat up that weeks' supervillan.

Star Wars Legacy #22: Updates and Review

So the GA scored a victory, but they knew there would be repurcussions after they stole the Empire's latest starship - but I don't think they realised how serious threatening the Sith Lord would be, especially after he just lost his other valuable prize - Cade Skywalker. The issue features the Imperial Knights who I will post about soon. I'll do my usual updates and try and give my thoughts on the issue if there's time.

Sith Updates

Darth Krayt

Darth Krayt made a rare visit to a world other than Korriban or Coruscant to exact "justice" on the Mon Calamari people. Wyyrlok feared for his health, but he stated that the increase in the dark side from the massacre gave him strength, but still the loss of Skywalker has affected him deeply.

Darth Talon

She appeared to be in this issue, bit this was later revealed to be an error.

Darth Azard

Azard was already on station and brutally carried out Darth Krayt's order, even attacking Quarren who objected, stating "I am not one of you, I am Sith!" He battled senior Imperial Knight Treis Sinde when his shuttle was stolen by a rescue party. Treis escaped when an explosion was triggered by the escaping crew. azard was able to shield himself with the force, but was knocked back by the explosion and lost Sinde.

Wyyrlok and other Sith were on the planet to help Krayt and carry out his order.


Darth Krayt travelled to Dac (or Mon Calamari) and issued an order that 10% of the Mon Calamari population should be destroyed, starting with what remained of the government. The rest were to be put in labour camps. Monia Gahan, niece of dead Mon cal representative Gial Gahan and member of Stazi's crew, was captured by Stormtroopers then rescued by Imperial Knights who needed her to send a message to Admiral Stazi. She insisted on rescuing the captive GA and Rogue Squadron members on planet and, with some reluctance, the Knights agreed and blasted off planet. One Knight, Treis Sinde, bought time by battling Darth Azard and then joined the mon Cal resistance. The Imperial Knights informed Stazi and the Alliance of sabotage they'd done on the Imperious, now the GA flagship, when it was still in Sith hands and showed how to disable it. Though still hesitant the Admiral proposed that he'd be interested in allying with Fel and his forces and he renamed his ship Alliance giving a glimmer of hope in very dark times.

My Two Credits

This issue felt quite short, but one shots always do and it can obviously be quite hard to cram a lot of info into one comic issue. Still it didn't quite convey the drastic loss of life or the sense of hope as well as it could have, but still it was a worthy epilogue to the events of the previous issues and a nice chance to meet up again with characters we were starting to get to know. The reintroduction of the Imperial Knights was good as it provided tension that Jedi, or other rescuers could not provide. While it could have been more it was still a good story and moved on the Legacy era quite well.

Issue 23 is out, but I'll probably do my comics run at the end of the month, depending on whether there are delays or not. I hope to do a post on the Imperial Knights soon.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Power Trip 2 - Split personas/Superhuman Strength

Ok, so I'm finally getting back into this, let's see if it lasts longer than just one article per series this time!!If you're interested what I'm doing is looking at the different superpowers affecting the characters in the show, how it works in the TV series and where the powers they posess come from in comic book and older sources. By the way, most of my references will come from series 1 unless something especially relevant comes up as I watch series 2.

Niki/Jessica is in terms of superpower, my favourite character in the show. While Hiro is the funny one and other characters have more powerful abilities hers is quite intriguing and done in an original way. Niki is initially plagued by a reflection in the mirror that acts independently and whispers to her. She later discovers that it is another personality "Jessica" who at times posesses her body and has the ability to do amazing things. After being threatened she wakes up to find her attackers brutally murdered. Throughout the series she battles with and strugles to accept Jessica who semingly has the personality of her long dead twin sister. Jessica is protective of her 'sister' but lashes out in brutal attacks and acts wild ways, even dominating Niki's personality for a while. But at the end of the series the two reconcile and it is revealed that Niki also posesses great strength adding another twist to this duo.

Tales of great strength are as old as time itself. I will cite two examples, the first being the Biblical story of Sampson whom God gave great strength to defeat their enemies while he kept to his vow not to drink or cut his hair. The temptress Delilah eventually got him to reveal his secret, but eventualy he sought God's forgiveness and regained his strength to deal one final blow to God's enemies. Another ancient example would by the mythical tale of the half-god Hercules who was equipped with great strength which he used to complete the tasks set for him.

Superheroes with above average strength are as common as can be, with two obvious names being Superman and Captain America, but I'll focus now on ones with a dual personality also. I will simply cite the two most famous examples, though there are a few more than you might think. The idea would seem to have it's origin in the famous tale of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The scientist consumes a concoction that unleashes a creature of rage and desire and has to battle the monster within. The Hulk brought the concept up to the modern day when a scientist is affected and turned into a giant green monster of rage. The comic book changed things and made Hulk a hero character, though certainly one with a dark side and the battle to maintain sanity and order made it even better. Other examples would include Dr Connors in Spiderman who transforms into villain The Lizard who is out of his control.

So the whole thing isn't exactly new, but Heroes has made it fresh and I certainly find the character fascinating. First of all the lack of physical transformation makes it visually more intriguing and more challenging for the actress to play. Secondly the reveal at the end that Niki also has powers makes the dual personailty more interesting. Jessica certainly seems to be more than a side effect of a mental disorder, but is she part of her 'power' or just something that's happening along side her unatural strength - I guess we'll have to keep watching won't we?

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

The Avengers!!!

With Iron Man, the latest Marvel installment, it seems Marvel Comics are proving to be a valuble source material for Sci-Fi Movies.
As well as the below films to look forward to there is X-Men origins: Wolverine out late this year, followed by a quiet 2009 (correct me if i'm wrong, but isn't spidey 4 starting filming then?)
Then in 2010 there's Iron Man two, along with X-Men Origins: Magneto.
In 2011 there's The First Avenger: Captain America, followed by The Avengers.
Sit back and take that in.
In the mean time I suggest reading Ultimate Marvel. This is the "Modern" version of the Ret-conned full Marvel Universe, making it a lot more simpler and funny than the original (Sam Raimi appears making a Spidey film in Ultimate Spiderman)
But although Ultimate Spiderman is geared towards Teens, The Ultimates (Avengers) is a lot more mature and gritty, along with Ultimate X-Men.
I'd recommend buying compilation graphic novels from Borders rather than buying individual comics. Ultimates is good as it's written as a whole, Ultimates 3 has just come out.
Here's the new art from the Ultimate line.
Sam the man Li

SF at the Movies - May 08

OK we're rapidly making our way into May so I thought I'd quickly point out and Sci-Fi related cinema releases coming out this month - please feel free to point out any I've missed. The titles link to the trailers at Apple, if available.

Iron Man

Released: 01/05/08

The first production from "Marvel Studios" has been a big hit and is a great rendition of a favourite superhero and looks to spearhead their new take on movie productions of their comic book heroes with a redesigned "Incredible Hulk" to follow soon. The film centres around Tony Stark a weapons engineer who comes face to face with the terrorists who have aquired his weapons. He quickly designs a suit of armour with multiple abilities and sets out to protect those he put in harm's way...becoming Iron Man. Great Movie - stick around after the credits!!!

Speed Racer

Released 09/05/08

The new production from Matrix creators the Wachowski Brothers is a reimagining of a classic cartoon series. Set in the future where the tracks weave above and around buildings and through psychadelic worlds this looks set to be a visual delight. The film is set around "Speed" who is determined to race without being controlled by the corporation behind the races, who of course don't take too kindly to such a thing.

Doomsday - released 09/05/08

I don't know much about this one other than it's a post apocalyptic story set in Britain when a deadly virus plagued the northern parts of the isle calling for Scotland to be sealed off with a barrier that effectively recreates Hadrian's Wall. But when the virus strikes again in London a team are sent over the wall into wild territory controlled by the survivors in order to find a cure.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Released 22/05/08

Maybe not strictly Sci-Fi, but I doubt there'll be many Sci-Fi fans able to miss this one. The intrepid adventurer returns, having matured a little bit but just as ready for adventure and willing to do anything to prevent a powerful aretefact from falling into enemy hands. I could probably find out more, but me, I'm happy to be surprised.

And that looks like it might be it for this month, though there's a slew of releases coming in June and July also. I think I'll just point out that the second Narnia story Prince Caspian is also released this month.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

The Matrix Online: Chapter 1, part 1

It ended with Neo and so, when things changed, though he was long absent it also began with Neo. Each organization had a vested interest in the saviour of manking as did some new players on the scene.

[I'll just quickly point you to MXO Story a great website where I sourced a lot of this from and can give you a much fuller account of events in the Matrix]

The terms of the truce were strict, there were restrictions on where you could go and what you could do. Fighting between organizations was outlawed. However tensions could not be held back forever and suddenly fighting broke out on a large scale. This was soon followed by another presence, Agents attacking members of all organization, further provoking mistrust and anger.

The Machines vehemently denied these attacks and redpills soon spotted that something was wrong. Firstly the Agents were unpredicable and haphazard, something the system Agents never were, secondly they could be beaten - something nigh on impossible for a human to do. Closer inspection revealed a crack in their disguise, behind their dark sunglasses their eyes glowed bright red - who were these intruders?

Operatives didn't have time to find out, but had enough evidence to work together against them. It turned out these imposters had something they wanted, fragments of Neo's RSI code. They frantically fought back against them to obtain this code, returning it to their organization leaders. Morpheus soon began to show himself in the Matrix, revealing a partly reassembled RSI of Neo and encouraging redpills to collect more Code and also to pressure the Machines for the One's body or location.

But the Intruders had their own plan for the Code. The Oracle informed operatives of Shapers an elite coder organization that could possibly reassamble Neo's RSI. The organizations, who had been hoarding the codes, also competed for control of these programs, trying to escort them to their own bases. In the competition, one was lost to the was enough.

Soon after "N30 AG3NTS" appeared, leaking code and bearing a pale resemblance to Neo himself and providing a devastating counterattack for the Agents. More was to follow, as a few Agents capable of manipulating the Matrix to call down lightning appeared, further threatening the humans. A desperate battle was fought, but with the assistance of organization leaders and genuine Agents the day was won - though that would certainly not be the last time the impostors made their presence known, indeed some are rarely sighted today, about three years on. But their bid for control was finished and the Oracle smiled as she saw humans and programs of different organizations working and celebrating together.

Quite some time later the Machines released Neo's RSI for "The edification of redpills" in a remote location - a "fight club" located in the Gracy Heights neighbourhood. Redpills like to visit once in a while and it has had a profound effect on bluepills who come across it - including redpill skecptic Andres Bonifaceao.

More to come soon.