Thursday, 29 January 2009

SF at the Movies - January 09

Well January's almost gone, but we may as well take a look at the films that came out in the cinema and that while we're at it eh?

The Spirit

Released 1/01/09

A film version of a classic comic book directed by one of the greatest comic book writers of modern times was always going to be good, and more than a little quirky. Don't expect your standard action movie with this one, as there are more quirks than a...what has lots of quirks?!
I found these to be a strength and gave the movie a darkly comic edge. While the movie has a contemporary setting and look it also fully accommodates the style of the original material. The Spirit's semi-tragic infatuation with the women he meets gives the film a great film noir feel to it and Samuel L Jackson, Scarlet Johanssen and Eva Mendes add more than a touch of colour to make this worth a watch - if it's still in screens that is!!

And that's it I think, January always seemes to be a bit of a slow month SF blockbuster wise, mind you we had Cloverfield last year. There's the new Underworld, which could possibly slot into the category but I'm not sure, there's also a slew of World War 2 films that are worth a look. I'd highly recommend Defiance and Valkyrie looks alright too.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Star Wars Legacy: The Malevolence/ Issue 27 Review

Well I've decided to make it my mission to tell you about the different groups that exist in Star Wars Legacy, starting with the force users; the Sith, then the Jedi and the new Imperial Knights. And that might have been all you expected, indeed I myself had anticipated no more, but in the 27th issue, the Legacy team introduced us to a more minor force weilding group that call themselves The Malevolence and as what happens with them takes up the bulk of the issue then I'll chuck in the issue review while I'm at it.

The Malevolence

The Malevolence were a Dark Side cult that existed on the world of Prakith, in the temple where Dark Lord Andeddu's temple was hidden. Drawn to the dark power in the place, whatever people had founded the movement stayed and settled in Andeddu's Keep hidden amongst impassable rocks, far from any civilization on the planet. While in knowledge of skills such as telikenisis and lightsaber crafting the group lacked the training of Jedi or Sith and were very much slaves of the dark side, scrabbling a living in the ruins, and dressed in mere rags and scraps of armour. However they had held the keep for a century and sings of battle suggested that they might have been succesful in defeating a siege, but their skills would be sorely tested with the arrival of Lord Wyrrlok.

Let's look at who these folks are eh?


Species: Human
Sex: Male
Homeworld: Prakith
Position: Cult member
First Appearance: Legacy #27 (Into the Core)

Demtri was a member of the Malevolence group who came to guard the keep from intruders. The intruder, however, was Darth Wyyrlok who used his alter mind ability to make it appear that he was in several places at once, but in fact he had put his image on the cult members, making them fight each other - in the end Demtri was struck down by a lightsaber blow to the chest.


Species: Human
Sex: Male
Homeworld: Prakith
Position: Cult member, possibly leader
First Appearance: Legacy #27 (Into the Core)

Gerlun lead the group who met the intruder to their keep and he too was affected by Wyrrlok's ability over the mind. It was only when he struck down Demtri that the illusion was broken and he realised they were fighting each other, but by then it was too late. Darth Wyyrlok dispatched the group with force lightning, sparing only Gerlun to serve him. Gerlun led him to the lower levels of the keep, where Andedu's tomb was hidden, but Wyyrlok only wanted to look at the scrolls. He decided to take his vengeance by resurrecting the Dark Lord, which he did, but Andeddu sucked out his life to revitalise his body, killing Gerlun.

Darth Andeddu

Species: Human
Sex: Male
Homeworld: Prakith (?)
Position: Dark Lord, Indirect Cult Founder
First Appearance: Republic #63 (Striking from the Shadows)

Though his presence was only on Prakith for a short time, his dark side power and tomb drew the group of followers that called themselves the Malevolence. At some time Andeddu found a way to keep his spirit potent enough to control his body, even after it had died effectively extending his life for an indefinite period. But after some time he was eventually defeated and lost. But his holocron was kept and passed down amongst the Sith, eventually finding it's way into the hands of Count Dooku who showed it to his acolyte Quinlan Vos. The holocron was returned to the tombs at Korriban and consulted by Lord Krayt, but the Holcron and those of Bane and Nihilus refused him their knowledge, denying that he was true Sith and barring him from knowledge of how to defeat the plague on his body. Wyrrlok later consulted the holocron, telling it he knew Andeddu's real tomb wasn't the one found on Korriban in his name. The holocron revealed the true location and lead him to Andeddu's tomb on Prakith, where the Sith Lord of old sprung his trap. Andeddu was actually alive, his "holocron" was actually the Sith himself, hidden in spirit form. He was resurrected and battled Darth Wyrrlok in a battle of the minds, dueling in a deadly force illusion. But he was defeated by Wyrrlok who exposed the Dark Lord's weakness, his fear of death that drove him to such twisted knowledge of the force. Wyrrlok then overpowered and killed him.

It is unknown if there were any more members of the Malevolence or whether Darth Wyrrlok killed them all.

Issue Review

Well as I said that's pretty much it for what happens but I'll fill in a few gaps. The story starts back at the end of the "Claws of the Dragon" arc where Cade escapes from the Sith temple. Darth Krayt is enraged at Nihl and talon for failing him, but at Wyrrlok's council spares them, with instructions for Nihl's arm to be replaced with a Yuuzhan Vong graft and for Talong to be placed in a healing meditation and left to see if she lived or died. The battle took it's toll on Krayt and he went into stasis, Wyrrlok consulted his Sith scrolls for answers and then the holocron, which lead him to Prakith. After defeating Andeddu he took a number of his Sith works for his own study and left with a new determination to restore Lord Krayt and a new confidence in his own power.

My Two Credits

One of the best 'side stories' of the series and a great look at a cool Sith Lord that all the fans had been waiting for and now we hold the Loremaster in even greater respect. The art was bang on, with guest artist Omar Francia making a welcome return to the series and with more of his work lined up it looks like he might become a series regular along with stalwart artist Jan Duursema, who'se artwork and story input powers the series. The story was solid, having us look again at the Sith as more than monsters, yet still clearly the bad guys, which isn't an easy thing to do. The introduction of a new group was exciting and the mind force battles were immense.

Great stuff, next up for Legacy is "Vector" the crossover series bumps into Cade and crew - I haven't caught up with the final issue yet, which came out this week, but I'll do a review at some point I'm sure!!!

Friday, 2 January 2009

Heroes: Going Postal

Well I do keep mentioning online content and extra features and ARGs to people, not so much here I admit, but I do keep trying, generally in vain, to persuade people of the wealth of extra enjoyment available to those fans who are willing to give their precious time to geek out on the internet. So I have decided that, instead of promoting these things and hoping in vain that people will take interest, I shall instead bring them to you.

Heroes has a very good set of online stuff with weekly free online comics and a range of websites related to companies and characters in the show. Their "Alternate Reality Game" (ARG) type content is not as good as some other shows - I still think the Lost series 2 ARG was the best, but the variety of the content available and the consistent updates make it quite possibly the best show for online content, some of which I will share with you. The show bridged the gap between volumes 2 and 3 by releasing "Webisodes" - three short online episodes introducing a new character with a special ability - I could say more, but I'll let the episodes speak for themselves, they are available at the NBC Heroes website, but the content is restricted to non-US residents, something that boils the very blood in my veins, so we rely on trusty YouTube, where some kind fellow has cut the three episodes into one video, with a slight loss in quality - enjoy!

Want to know how Echo ended up in Level 5? Well when there are gaps to be refilled the Heroes "Graphic Novels" step in. You can read Echo's story HERE and see how Primatech used their wiles to capture the loudmouth postie.

I didn't know what happened next until I read his page on the Heroes Wiki, which reveals that in true Series 3 fashion they brought him back and killed him off. I don't know if he got out during the breakout, but at the end of series 3 he is in Level 5 and Noah Bennet releases him and the other inmates, promising freedom if he can take down Sylar. Later Noah comes across him with his throat cut in one of the cells.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Doctor Who - New series, new species part 17

Well if you're UK resident you probably recently watched the Doctor Who Christmas special - I'm eagerly awaiting the podcast boys' review on that ( and I should probably get a link up to the podcast cause it's great and features our very own member and on rare occasions poster Caleb) The podcast is a "DVD commentary" style review of Doctor Who episodes and other discussion points and makes for very good listening.

Anyway, what I was saying was that I'm actually going to plod on with the Sarah Jane Adventures monsters in this post. This series has featured a lot of returning monsters actually but there were two episodes with new monsters which I'll review here - both are actually the kind of "energy force alien possession" type creatures and so most of the work was done by the actors, which I have to say did a pretty darn good job on the thing. Anyway - alonzie, as a certain someone might say

The Ancient Lights

I liked this villain a lot actually as it stretched beyond the need for a big CGI monster or a creepy man in a green skin costume to present a great threat. It also pushed beyond the usual and even accepted that the Big Bang might not be the be all and end all, which went down very well with me. But the fact that the creature's power came from beyond the usual realm of science that could be defeated with technobable and whose power did not make sense and could not be read with scanners or defeated by energy beams.

The Ancient Lights are beings from before the Universe as we know it. When the rules of physics and logic worked differently, and where power and energy came in different forms. With the beginnings of our Universe, most creatures from their time would have perished, but at least some of the Ancient Lights survived. A great part of their power was tied up in the various horoscopes and the power of the stars and people's birth. They appeared as a beam of energy that possessed a small-time astrologer, Martin Truman and began to spread their power, taking people of different star signs under their control - but Luke Smith, who had no birth sign was beyond their power and so was able to break their hold on humanity. They vanished, taking Truman with them, but it is difficult to know what happened next as they are undetectable by current Universe technology.


This was a very potent episode in which Clyde's absent father returns and ends up voluntarily falling into the possession of a dangerous alien artifact. The episode balanced well, showing Clyde's desire to impress his father, despite hating him for leaving and Clyde's dad's desire for power, fueled by his feelings of inadequacy as a father and as a person. His descent into madness and the parasite's control were brought out in a believable way that was emotionally strong and thrilling viewing. The creature was another ancient myth with an "it's an alien" explanation, but despite the Who cliche it worked well.

The origins of this race are shrouded in mystery, but they did have in their posession pendants which would turn the wearer slowly into a beast with great power and the ability to command anyone to do what they desired. The wearer was initially in control, but gradually the pendant's posession spread leaving vein like lines that spread across the skin of the user. Seemingly some of these pendants fell into the hands of Norse warriors, whether purposefully or not is unknown, but from that the name of beserkers, fearless warriors with great power clad in blue war paint, spread. One pendant remained and was found in the 21st century and eventually came in the the posession of Paul Langer, who succumbed to it's power. Clyde, his son disposed of it by throwing it to the bottom of a river, where hopefully it remains safely hidden.

Well that's pretty much it, I might see if some of the things feature in the remaining episodes and the crimbo special can pass my scrutiny and be posted up some time - but don't worry there's plenty of fresh content on the boil and ready to make it's way to you soon.