While I think I mentioned in my previous post on the top 5 Anime on Netflix that they were evaluating a live-action version of Attack on Titan, I didn’t expect to see the advertisement for it already!  Now, this could be a complete mishmash of different video’s and some very clever CGI and photoshop, but it definitely looks real and if it does indeed prove to be so, well its definitely something I’m interested in seeing!

If you’ve not seen the Anime version of Attack on Titan its definitely something I would recommend that you review immediately … however I would absolutely state that this is not something for the faint of heart as there is significant blood, death, destruction and gore in this show.

Attack on Titan explores a dystopian world dominated by ruthless Titans that appeared out of nowhere.  These titans feed on humans and it is only by building massive walled cities that the survivors manage to eke out a living.  However when even these city walls are breached by new armored and it seems intelligent titans humanity looks to be on the edge of extinction.

Sad news …

One of the icons of my generation is unfortunately no more.

There will be lots on the news about this I’m sure over the coming days and weeks so I’m not going to go over the whole value of his life and his whole history of film/television here.

Suffice it to say that this is one of those days you will remember for a while … Spock & Leonard Nimoy made a difference to me and I am very sorry that he is no longer here.

Thank you for all the memories & I wish you were still with us.

As a recent member of Kindle Unlimited – by the way and completely unrelated do you feel that Canadian’s and for that matter anyone not from the US gets gypped by Amazon?  I mean Amazon Prime is actually quite cool … in the States.  There you get Video (similar to Netflix but probably not as good) and unlimited music streaming + unlimited photo storage + free two day shipping + other things … in Canada you get unlimited photo storage and free two day shipping … big whoop! – oh well, there are other positives to living in Canada but I guess we’re never going to get our electronics and gadgets as cheaply or as quickly as they do in the States.

As a bit of a … well lets be honest as a big … geek this is somewhat depressing.  In addition as a huge reader this is even more disappointing as Amazon Prime in the US has access to over 500,000 free ebooks … this isn’t even available on Amazon Prime in Canada!  What is available in Canada is something called Kindle Unlimited and while at first glance it seems somewhat similar – I think they offer 250,000 ebooks – there are only 50,000 that are related to SciFi and Fantasy which is in my very biased opinion a crime! 🙂

What you might not realize until you start really using it is the list of authors available seems to be restricted to either self published authors or ones that are fairly new to the genre or writing in general.  There are obviously exceptions to this – I found some good books by Arthur C. Clarke and some other older grandmasters but finding some of the newer books by authors like David Weber and John Ringo … well you’re out of luck!

Kindle Unlimited seems to be a grand experiment really as while its definitely a good way of introducing newer authors to readers, the restrictions remove some of the advantages and make me question the decision and cost of a $10/mo price point.  I mean if I could read the people and books I wanted to read, this would absolutely make sense to me.  While I realize that authors need to make money and get rewarded for their imagination, I’ve never been able to justify the fact that there is little to no difference in cost between ebooks and paperback books.  It just doesn’t make sense and considering the volume of books I’m able to go through – well simply put I couldn’t afford the habit!

So Kindle Unlimited at the $10/mo price point for up to 10 books – like I said that actually works.  It would be better if it was included in Prime versus being a separate product as now even if I wanted to take advantage of the pathetic benefits of Amazon Prime in Canada I wouldn’t want to spend another $10/mo for that also, but that’s just another gripe.  However if you can’t even get the books you want then it probably doesn’t make any sense.

A bit of a pity really as I’ve found a couple of good authors that I’d like to continue following – so in that respect its worked – but I’ve also had to pay $$$ for some others that simply weren’t available and this is where it fell down for me.  If they roll this out to include more titles and authors perhaps this will work, but right now Kindle Unlimited feels to me like the exact opposite – Kindle Limited!

It’s a long story … well no, not really, its actually not that long at all so stick with me.  Santa Claus is real – well you already knew that right? … well, maybe he’s real and maybe not.  OK, I know – pretty wishy/washy, but what do you expect … it is Doctor Who after all so expecting something that completely makes sense is probably not a valid expectation.  Expecting to have fun though … well he always delivers on that doesn’t he!

In Last Christmas a couple of questions are answered, some old friends are seen again but like all good Dr. Who episodes, we never get the whole picture.  One question I (and I’m sure Parents everywhere) had was how would they include Santa Claus without ruining Santa Claus for a generation of kiddies?  I’m happy to say that the inclusion of Santa Claus (played by the aptly named Nick Frost) was exceptional.  The elves … really funny & extremely witty … were awesome and it was so nice to Clara and the Doctor back again.

Let’s talk Turkey (Christmas Turkey)

For those of you new to Doctor Who (where have you been) you might not know that this is actually his 10th Christmas special.  Some of them have already been reviewed on this blog:

and while you’d like to think that a Christmas Special matches or exceeds the writing and story-line of the preceeding season, unfortunately that’s not always the case.  There have been good Christmas episodes (David Tennant’s battle with the Sycorax) and bad ones (wooden creatures in the previously mentioned Christmas special) , but in most instances they have served to advance the story of the Doctor forward and I’m glad to say that this episode is no exception to that rule.  One other positive about this episode … scary monsters!

So what is it all about?

If you’ve read my previous posts on Doctor Who – Death in Heaven, you’ll remember that the Doctor and Clara had both lied to each other as they thought that would make each other happy.  The Doctor had lied about finding Gallifrey and Clara had lied about Danny returning from the dead.  In reality of course neither statement was correct and when Santa Claus walks into the Tardis at the end of the episode I’m sure you too were thinking what the hell are they going to do now?!  Basically and in a nutshell – this episode is Inception … in a different guise … stick with me and you’ll see what I mean.

Quick Synopsis

Clara having been woken by some strange noises on her rooftop comes exploring and there she finds Santa Claus and his elves.  Initially disbelieving, she very quickly realizes that he is in fact real but before she can do anything, the TARDIS and the Doctor reappear.  The Doctor tells Clara to come with him and they both enter the TARDIS.  After insisting she doesn’t speak, he takes her to an arctic research station. Why? It’s a long story (you’ll find that repeated somewhat regularly) – one of many long stories claimed by the base’s inhabitants, all brushed over with pointedly fuzzy logic.

At the research base the four inhabitants are attempting something to escape the base for some reason.  We’re not initially informed of what the evil baddie is, but when the Doctor and Clara arrive on the scene they quickly discover a new alien creature unlike any foe they’ve fought previously.  These alien crabs (that look and act just like the facehuggers from Alien) are quite a bit more disturbing than the run of the mill villains in Doctor Who as they are basically not evil … they simply are.  Once they latch on to a host, they anaesthetise victims with pleasant dreams while their brains are liquefied. A grisly fate to be sure, but one born of a biological imperative, rather than extravagant plans to take over or destroy the Earth.

Click on the next page link below to continue.

It’s 2015 and names like Batman and Spider-man are as well known as Homer Simpson or Santa Claus. The names that are becoming harder and harder to remember are those of the pulpy characters that helped shaped these modern day superheroes.  i’m not that old, but it seems that unless you’re over the age of 45 to 50 you’ve never heard of the Shadow or Doc Savage. Hell, even if you are of that age you still might not have heard of them! I have always had a particular fondness for Pulp characters. I’m not really sure why. It’s not as if there are many groundbreaking stories that I can go back to time and time again. It’s not even that they present fascinating character studies.  Perhaps part of their appeal was the fact that they looked great and very much of their time. Perhaps it’s more the latter. They are old fashioned and maybe a bit outdated but there is something remarkably idealistic and mysterious to them that has always captivated me.

I can appreciate almost any Pulp character from one degree to another but my favorites were and still are The Shadow, The Phantom & Zorro. Throw in a little love for The Lone Ranger and we’re good. I discovered Zorro and the Lone Ranger very early on when I was a toddler growing up in South America. I came to know The Shadow and The Phantom much later in the mid nineties thanks to their, less than well received movies.  I loved those movies so much at the time that I wanted to see more of them. TO my surprise it was exceedingly difficult to find much out there, even in the nineties.

Eventually I did find older issues here with The Shadow. I even came to learn that Bob Kane, ( The creator of Batman) Had heavily based our favorite Dark Knight on The Shadow with a big dash of Zorro. There’s even a comic where Batman meets his inspiration. A very cool moment in comic history.

Thanks to two wonderful Biographies on The Phantom and Zorro I became more intrigued with the rich history of theses characters. The world building on The Phantom was so interesting! I’m still scouring Youtube trying to find them so I can watch them again. The Phantom was even more of a challenge in terms of comics or novels. I could only find a few but I did thoroughly enjoy those few.  I wondered why there was so few of these cool characters out there.

I remember I had an eye opening moment when my Mother, Father , brother and I went to watch The Phantom in theaters in the summer of 1996. My brother and I were so excited and eager with anticipation but I didn’t see much of a lineup outside for the movie. When I went into the theater it was practically empty. No more than 10 or 15 people at most. It was the first time in my short life at that point that I was ever in an empty theater watching a movie I thought everyone would love. I asked my Dad, ” Where is everyone?”  and he simply said ” I guess no one remembers The Phantom”.

A bit sad for me at the time but a true shame that people today don’t know or remember that The Phantom was the first costumed crime fighter! Talk about obscurity.  Along the years I got to know more characters like Doc Savage, Flash Gordon, Mandrake and The Spider. All the while thinking these characters will come back at some point, but they never did.  The question is why? What they al have in common is that they come from roughly the same time period and it can be said that they work best in those time periods. The funny thing is that Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman were created in the 1930’s much like the Phantom and countless others. The difference is that Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and the lot continued to grow with the times. They did it so seamlessly that it’s often forgotten that they, in some ways, started out as Pulp characters themselves.

However when there are attempts to modernize Pulp characters like John Carter From Mars, it still doesn’t work.  Perhaps you could say that that was a lackluster movie but still. Modernization of these characters is often met with skepticism and scorn. I can see their point. I mean how can you really do a modernization of someone like Zorro? The period is sort of a key point to the whole story I think. Other characters do have a chance at this but it’s going to take the right take on it. Change it too much and you loss the initial appeal of the character. Change too little and no one will care.

One of the recent delights for a Pulp fan like myself was the 12 issues Dynamite comics run called ” Masks”. It presented a handful of iconic pulp heroes teaming up for one story. Add art work from Alex Ross and I was back to my 11 year old self.

 

Gorgeous cover isn’t it? I had heard that Sam Rami ( Director of Evil Dead and Spider-man) was dying to do his own film adaptation of The Shadow. I hope he does because I don’t think we’re any closer to bringing him or any of those characters back.

I’ll end with one last story. Just last year I decided to dress up as The Shadow for Halloween. I went to work all decked out and ready to go. That was an interesting experience. Most of the day people kept calling me Zorro, The Spirit, Ghouly man to even The Grim Reaper?? It wasn’t until the end of the day that someone finally recognized me and even quoted the famous line ” Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows.”

That was a nice treat. Do yourself a favor or at the very least do ME a favor and give Pulp a chance!

Not with a bang but a whimper …

While I know that it would have been very difficult for Moffat to exceed the thrills and spills of last week’s episode, this week’s just did not provide the same level of satisfaction. We ended with The Doctor trapped in the Pandorica, River Song and the Tardis getting blown to smithereens and Amy Pond lying in Rory’s arms after getting shot. The tension as you can well imagine was rather extreme and we were on track for one of the most intense season finales ever!

The obvious question was could the tension be maintained or would it all fall down around its own weight? Unfortunately – for me – while it started well and ended well, the middle of the episode was anticlimactic to say the least and very disappointing.

In The Beginning

The story starts with the young Amelia Pond … showing her aunt a picture of the moon and stars she is taken outside to look at the night sky and asked to point out the stars which she admits she cannot see. While her aunt talks to the councilor a leaflet is dropped through her door (the reflection of the person dropping the leaflet through looks like The Doctor and the immediate question asked of course is how did he get there if he was trapped in the Pandorica??) to a museum display of ancient antiquities including … the Pandorica! Amelia and her aunt make their way to the museum where Amelia sees a petrified Dalek a Cyberman and other ancient monstrosities that “never existed” and Amelia is informed she should “hang around” … escaping from her Aunt, Amelia waits till the museum is closed and the goes to the Pandorica and touches it. As soon as she touches it, it starts to glow and opens up … inside it we find …

I know the suspense is unbearable isn’t it!

Amy Pond!!! What the? … how did she get there when it was The Doctor that was trapped in the last episode??

Doooo Dooo Dooo

Back in Time

 See like I said … it started out quite cool and interesting … but unfortunately it really went downhill from here (although there are some cool bits strewn around).

Almost immediately afterwards we are back in the time when The Doctor was sealed in the Pandorica and Rory is holding Amy’s lifeless body in his hands. The Doctor materializes wearing a fez and carrying a cane and tells Rory that she’s not really dead at all. He hands him his sonic screwdriver and jumps away again and then pops back telling Rory that after he uses it to open the Pandorica and release him, he should put Amy inside and make sure that he puts his screwdriver in her pocket.

Rory goes to the Pandorica, points the screwdriver at it and releases The Doctor – who is rightly surprised … see what I mean? Really anticlimactic.

  1. What about the Daleks and the Cybermen? If the universe has ended meaning that they never existed, w hy was Rory still there if everyone else was gone …
  2. How can he just open up this massive prison by simply pointing the screwdriver at it when all last episode The Doctor was questioning the whole thing and didn’t understand that it was even his prison???

The Doctor is surprised at his escape (grrr … me too … I almost would have loved to see a real prison break type sequence vs. this simple thing) … but helps Rory load up Amy into the Pandorica. He informs her that all she needs is a sample of her DNA and she’ll be right as rain again, as the Pandorica ensures that there is no escape (including death) … when Rory asks where she’ll get her own DNA, The Doctor says that will happen 2000 years in the future and until then the Pandorica will keep her in a state of suspended animation. The Doctor takes River’s time jumping device (which to me seems a heck of a lot more efficient and accurate than the Tardis – that’s not right is it? I mean The Tardis was developed by the Time Lords … you’d think they’d do it right!!) and tells Rory that they can jump straight to when Amy wakes up. Rory however asks The Doctor whether or not Amy & the Pandorica will be safer if he stays behind to protect her and The Doctor is forced to reluctantly agree (Remember, this Rory isn’t really human but rather a recreation as part of the trap from the last episode).

All of this is happening at a frantic pace and while its fun to see … it really leaves a huge gaping hole in that – how did The Doctor escape in the first place to start the sequence off? I hate it when they use time travel as a “get out of jail free” (literally in this case) card … there still has to be an initial point where the sequence kicks off and that didn’t happen here.

Back to the Future

The Doctor now appears in the future where Amy and Amelia are both together. Amy has discovered that the protector of the Pandorica – the Centurion – died in the blitz during World War II, but for the past 2000 years he has always been there protecting the Pandorica. (see there are some cool bits and this is one of them) Amy realizes that this is/was Rory and that she has now lost him. The Doctor appears and has a plan to resolve the situation but all of a sudden the petrified Dalek starts to come to life! It seems that the light from the Pandorica has partially restored the Dalek and it is threatening to kill them all!!!

Rory Williams
Rory Williams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All of a sudden a security guard appears and blasts the Dalek … its Rory … Yeah!!! Rory survived the Blitz after all and has still been there protecting the Pandorica. Big reunion and much smooching ensues (bit of a sucker for that when its warranted) but everyone is happy again. The Doctor runs out of the room with both Amelia’s and Rory and heads up to the roof … but he meets … … The Doctor!!! Shock, horror … The Doctor (#2) is injured (dying) but is able to summon the strength to speak The Doctor (#1) and then he dies. Doctor (#1) continues to head to the roof where (oh yeah, Amelia has disappeared now as reality continues to collapse) he pries off a satellite dish and “listens” to the Sun (or at least what we thought was the sun) … turns out that the “sun” was actually the exploding Tardis which had been exploding throughout all times and all universes. It is only the Tardis that is keeping Earth alive while the rest of the universe is now in darkness (by the way – what about the moon that Amelia saw right in the beginning, shouldn’t that have disappeared also? ). Listening to the Tardis exploding he hears River’s voice in a time loop. The Tardis had put her in a loop to protect her so she had been repeating the same 5- seconds for over 2000 years.

The Doctor uses River’s time travelling device to jump into the Tardis (remember what I said about it seeming to be more efficient? Also, can anyone do this or only The Doctor? Seems like pretty lax security in the Tardis if anyone can access it like this?) and rescues River, jumping her back to the roof of the museum, where he informs her and the others that his plan is to use the Pandorica itself to kick start the universe – basically another Big Bang as The Pandorica has a record of all parts of the Universe in it and just like it was able to revive Amy and the Dalek if it gets a strong enough energy source it can do the same for the universe itself.

The Dalek arrives (hovering) at the edge of the roof and starts to shoot at them … running away, The Doctor is shot by the Dalek (with striking similarity to how David Tennant was shot when rushing to meet Rose in the episode Stolen Earth) and using the time travel devise he jumps back to when he saw himself earlier on the stairs going up to the roof. Now The Doctor (#1) becomes (#2) and this is what Amy and Rory realize. They rush down the stairs to see if he’s still actually alive while River stays behind to deal with the Dalek. The Dalek realizing that he is doomed requests mercy … which River does NOT grant (another cool sequence in my opinion) and then goes to join the others.

The Big Bang

They now discover the Doctor wired into the Pandorica preparing to jump it into the Tardis. River quickly realizes that if the Doctor’s plan is to work, he will need to close all of the cracks in time … leaving himself on the other side and it would be as if he’d never existed. To save the universe, the Doctor must sacrifice himself and the Tardis. Using a memory of the universe stores in the atoms trapped in the Pandorica, he can pilot the box inside the exploding TARDIS and restore the universe. It’s a second big bang and one that will reboot the universe.

Telling Amy that when the universe reboots she will have an opportunity to “wish” herself a perfect life with her parent’s back, The Doctor jumps into the heart of the exploding Tardis with his catchphrase Geronimo!!

Almost immediately he reappears on the deck of the Tardis and believes that he has escaped his impending doom, but unfortunately it is not to be … in a mini flashback sequence, The Doctor travels backwards in time through his own (short) life and we see him trying to reach and speak to Amy on the way. His decision to stop watching the rewind when he first met Amy is a nice touch and the speech that he gives to Amy when she is in bed about the Tardis is excellent. I love the way that they are able to tie this speech into the next sequence which is ….

Amy’s Wedding

Amy’s wedding!!

Really happy that Amy and Rory finally get together after everything that they have been through and when Amy calls for the Tardis – SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW, SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMETHING BLUE – really, really good.

Now, while the cracks in time are gone … the strange voice on the Tardis calling for Silence has not been explained and is something we can only hope will be addressed in future episodes. Considering how difficult it is to tie up a whole season and the over-riding plot lines in one episode this was a good episode – unfortunately it just wasn’t as good as the previous one, which is the only reason I am slightly disappointed.

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I’m late to the whole console gaming thing … I know.  I’ve always been a PC Gamer and very much dismissed the console especially in its earlier incarnations and with the games that they had then.  I’d always been more of a strategy gamer with titles like Civilization, Master of Orion etc… and actually wasn’t into the first person shooter style of gameplay at all.  I never really enjoyed it – especially the player vs. player – as it seemed mindless, boring and silly.

However I have had to change my mind and while I still believe that Civilization is one of the best games ever produced, over Christmas we bought a new Xbox One for my son (well he plays also!) and while there are a bunch of games on there one that I got for myself is Destiny.  After doing quite a bit of research and reading up on different games for the console one of the things that jumped out for me about this game is not the graphics (which are really, really good), or the story (which is OK, somewhat engaging, but not really a key differentiation) but rather the community that play the game.

Being a PC Gamer I’m used to playing games by myself.  Sitting and staring at a computer screen plotting out my next move or sequence of moves works for the loner.  First person shooters however are infinitely different and while you absolutely need to react faster than you do in strategy games, the distinction here is that in some missions you simply cannot do it all by yourself.  There are simply too many different enemies attacking in succeeding waves that regardless of how good you are, unless you want to spend day after day grinding through the same mission until you’re at a high enough level to survive, help is almost essential.  That’s where co-op play comes into … “play” … and unless you have tons of friends with the same game and more importantly the same schedule you’re stuck with the luck of the draw when the server assigns you to different groups in missions.  Perhaps a bit of a non-sequitur but even Kirito (from Sword Art Online) eventually realized that he needed to join a guild!

One of the best things that I’ve found in Destiny though is a group that matches MY requirements.  Namely the Dads of Destiny.  Perhaps a bit of a corny name it is – at least in my case – 100% accurate.  The sad fact is that when you’re participating in a raid or a strike (the names given to the more advanced missions within Destiny) you are committing yourself to at least one hour of uninterrupted gaming time.  Quite often with 20 year old kids with little to no responsibility and the reflexes of an Olympic level shooter!  While there is enjoyment it is somewhat muted knowing that you’re being outshot consistently and also that if your wife calls, or the kids need your help you have to go.  Your concentration – unless quite late at night – is never 100% and even then you have to get up for work the next morning so you can’t spend too much time blowing up monsters!

With the DoD’s though it feels different.  While I’ve only joined in a couple of missions so far they are more than anything else … helpful.  They want to help you get your character to that next level and they’re not there to compete, but rather to assist.  I know my experience might be limited to the few members that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and playing with, the impression I get is that they are all in this for the group and not just themselves. It’s actually quite humbling to be honest (see the video tribute posted below to get an idea of what I mean) and I hope to be able to return the favor in the future myself as I get my character (come find me if you’re a player – I’m “glassishalf”) to the next level and help other new members grow their own.

[embedyt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VipqzK6_LBU[/embedyt]

Well the long awaited day has almost arrived … AOS is coming back tomorrow!  While Agent Carter definitely helped to tide us over with some excellent episodes over the past 7 weeks, I’m sure that you were as eager for the return of Coulson and the Agents of Shield as I was.  So where were we when the show went into hiatus?

In “What They Become,” we got to see Skye & Raina transform after being exposed to what we presume was the Terrigen Mists. Unfortunately this transformation was not completely painless as the change also impacted Tripp somewhat adversely and while Skye seems to be physically unmarred, the transformation to Raina – well that seems to be a bit more drastic to say the least. Common consensus is that Skye is actually Daisy Johnson – the inhuman known as Quake, but speculation is rife as to who or what Raina is and there is even a question about Tripp also as while it seemed he died (pretty convincingly) there are questions about whether or not this is a fake out entirely, so lets look at what we know and go from there.

Raina

In What They Become, we only got to see a glimpse of Raina’s eye & the assumption is that this lady, always so prim and proper, with a level of confidence only rarely impacted, is going to be physically and drastically changed.  Raina has wanted this change more than anything else and has been chasing it from the start, but I think we’re going to see that the price she’s had to pay is more than she initially expected or quite possibly wanted!

“We’re going to see how this process affects both girls differently,” added Whedon.

We expect part of that difference will be in the physicality of it. Some Inhumans, like Crystal, can pass as human without problem. Others, like Triton, are unmistakably something else…

At the end of the second mid-season finale, Raina undergoes the process of Terrigenesis, revealing her to be an Inhuman also, but unlike Skye (Daisy Johnson/Quake), Raina undergoes a physical transformation causing a change in eye color, black, spiky protrusions on her skin and blackened fingertips. Whether she has actual powers is yet to be revealed. Questions abound about who or what Raina could be – there are some references to Tigra based purely I’m sure on the physical characteristics shown and while this is a distinct possibility another that’s been circulating is that while Marvel is restricted from using mutants (due to their deal with respect to the XMen) there is no restriction on their creating NEW characters that are unique to the MCU.  This is probably a stretch also as there is so much history within the Marvel Universe it would be somewhat silly to start a new character from scratch here (not mentioning the uproar in the Interweb when all the fan theories fall to dust), however just because it doesn’t make sense to you or I doesn’t mean they won’t do it!  So long answer short?  No clue … I know that her transformation into some sort of creature while leaving Skye physically unmarred is going to have a significant impact on her psyche, but I guess I’m more old fashioned and really want to see what her powers are!

Tripp – is he alive?

Now the main thing fueling speculation here that he might be alive is a supposed tweet from the actress Ming Na Wen who plays Agent May on the show.  I’ll be honest, I’ve tried to find it and I couldn’t so there might be truth to the rumors, but his death looked fairly conclusive to me.  In fact the way he went out – a true hero who literally saved the Earth from the Diviner and its destructive “choosing”/weaning of humanity … well that’s what you want in your hero’s … someone that’s selfless and thinks of others first.  It’s a real pity as he’s a background character true, but he’s one that could have been developed into someone quite interesting and useful instead of a glorified red shirt.

AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. has improved dramatically since last season and if the final run of episodes this year can rival the same time season, we are in for quite a treat. AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. returns on March 3rd.

This novel serves as a continuation of the original series episode ‘What little girls are made of’. In the episode, Kirk and Christine Chapel beam down to Exo III to meet the long missing Dr. Roger Korby who is also Christine’s fiancée. Korby tells Kirk that he has made an amazing breakthrough after deciphering the texts from a past civilization of Exo III. Instead of discussing the discovery or showing it, he places Kirk into the duplication machine and creates a android copy of the Captain. After demonstrating how he can make android copies of anyone, Korby tells Kirk that he intends to use the robotic copies to hold human consciousness that can be transferred into it, creating a type of immortality. Korby, however thinks that mankind is too paranoid to openly accept such technology and insists that the androids must be introduced into Federation society covertly. Kirk, naturally thinks the plan is far too dangerous.

 

In this book, we discover that the androids are still functioning and willing to act out Dr. Korby’s plan. The android copy of Kirk is on a distant planet, ahead of the Enterprise’s arrival. The copy of Kirk makes a phoney deal with local thugs about selling dilithium crystals, they agree to the deal and give him an advance payment. He then makes no secret about spending their all money on rounds of drinks at the local pubs. The Enterprise soon arrives and shore leave parties beam down. It isn’t long before Kirk is mistaken for the android and is kidnapped by the gangsters, giving the android a perfect opportunity to slip into Kirk’s identity and take over command. Androids soon begin to replace crew members of the USS Enterprise and the USS Hood. To add to the trouble, the Romulans have been amassing at the neutral zone, putting Starfleet on a footing for possible war.

This book starts off a little slow and builds up throughout the story and I found that the writing had some flair that flowed nicely. I find that Captain Kirk’s character can be difficult to do justice sometimes, but this book revolves around him the most and really captured his wit and style flawlessly. The Androids make for some gripping villains, underhanded and calculated until the very end, they even square off against the Romulans.

Towards the end, I felt like I got my money’s worth from this book. There’s a scene with Kirk talking to his double on the ship’s view-screen, each accusing each other of being the imposter. There’s also a space-battle between the Enterprise and a Romulan flagship, and my favourite scene in which the Enterprise crew and the androids are having a shoot-out with phasers in the ship’s corridors.

My last thoughts are that this is one of the best Star Trek novels I’ve come across. It was a little slow at times, but this story is the type I really like to see. I also enjoyed going back and viewing the original episode this book branches off from, the story from episode to book flows nicely. With a small amount of changes I think the story could make a really good movie, with cold android villains, space-battles and phaser shoot-outs, how could you go wrong?

You certainly can’t say there aren’t enough superheroes on TV these days. With the success of shows like The Flash, Arrow and Agents of S.H.I.E.LD. it seems that the powers that be of the TV world have decided to keep pumping out shows based on comics or comic characters. There are currently six comics related shows on network TV with the likes of Supergirl & Netflix’s version of Daredevil on the way. Brian Michael Bendis’s Powers just debuted on the PlayStation network as well.

I remember a time when you would be hard pressed to find any superhero/ comic shows on TV. I still have a particular fondness to the 70’s version of The Incredible Hulk. As cheesy as it could be it still had a ton of heart and it was pretty much the first show to treat the material seriously.

Even with the plethora of material already on TV here is my wish list of 5 comics/ characters that would make for awesome TV.

5. Conan: The Barbarian ( Dark Horse Comics)

We all remember the entertaining and sometimes cringe worthy Arnold Schwarzenegger movies from the 80’s and I’m sure we’d like to forget the remake from 2011. The ongoing success of shows like Game Of Thrones and Vikings shows that if you put out quality people will flock to it. There was a time where no TV executive would touch a show like this with a ten foot blade of Cimmerian steel. The time is ripe for a chance to bring back one of the true legends of the Sword & Sorcery genre. The key here is not to dilute the material. It could work on network TV but I feel it would fall nicely somewhere on cable TV.

4. The Spectre ( DC Comics)

This DC comics character is little known outside the world of avid comic readers but thankfully TV’s Constantine seems to be putting his name out there a little more. I’ve always had an affinity towards this character. He is a spirit of vengeance carrying out his from of justice from within a human host. Essentially DC’s version of Ghost Rider. Seeing as Ghost Rider has had two movies based on him already, I figured it was time to give the original Spirit Of Vengeance his due. When I read John Ostrander’s run on The Spectre from the nineties I realized that this type of long form storytelling really works for the character. There were a vast number of supporting characters that you cared about and the material went everywhere from controversial to convoluted, in a good way. they really used both the philosophical and violent aspects of the character to their advantage and had very little limitations. The same could conceivably be accomplished with the proper group of directors and writers. This is another one of those comics that can go as dark as it needs to.

3. The Punisher ( Marvel Comics)

Speaking of dark, I bring you good old Frank Castle.I’ll give them credit in Hollywood. They keep trying and trying with this character. There have been three separate films starring The Punisher and not one of them turned out well. They all had their moments but none of them  really captured what the character was about. They focused to much on the gimmick and not the man behind the gimmick. People often cite Garth Ennis’s run on the Punisher because he doesn;t pull any punches and he doesn”t hold back. While I appreciate his work I feel that some of it may be extreme for extreme’s sake with the exception of Ennis’s story line BORN. If a TV show followed a story line closer to Greg Rucka’s fantastic Punisher run we’d be set. It is the perfect marriage of character development and bad ass. Much like the Spectre, if this was a show that was on TV it has to be darker than the norm from the Marvel camp. Let’s hope we can have a Punisher on the small screen we can all be proud of.

2. Judge Dredd ( 2000 A.D. Comics)

Extremely popular in the U.K. but not as well known in North America is Judge Dredd. The Stallone movie in 1996 was more of a miss than a hit but the Dredd film in 2012 hit it on the mark. Unfortunately not a lot of people went to watch Dredd in theaters when it came out, pretty much killing any chance of a sequel. While it developed a cult like following and did very well on DVD/ Blue ray, it doesn’t appear a sequel will happen. I throw out the idea of giving Judge Dredd his own show in the same universe and style as the DREDD film. This would work so well given the rich history of stories already out there featuring this character. ON top of that the world of Megacity one gives a TV show limitless possibility in terms of diffrent types of stories to tell. This would be a very comfortable fit on H.B.O.

1. Gotham Central ( DC Comics)

This is it. The clear number 1 for me. Most people who haven’t read this may think this is a retread of the current show Gotham. It’s not. Gotham makes a good attempt but after reading Gotham Central there really is no comparison. Gotham Central is about the Cops who work in Gotham WHILE Batman patrols the city. It’s an intriguing idea that works surprisingly well. Imagine being a Cop in a city that really may not even need Cops for the big cases because Batman takes care of everything. The characters are rich and were so well developed that two of them became a big part of the DC universe. Essentially Gotham Central could be Law & Order with Batman in it. I know that there seems to be a hang up about actually putting an established Batman on TV but that’s the beauty of it. Batman makes very scarce appearances in the comics but when he does show up it’s very powerful. The focus is on the cops and their world. Gotham Central is in my opinion tailor made for TV. I strongly recommend you seek out this series which only ran for 40 issues.