Saturday, August 31, 2013

Recap/Review: Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H "The Collector"

I dislike Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. But instead of venting about it on Twitter (some more), I'm going to bite the bullet and just recap an episode to give you all an inkling of just why this show gets on my nerves so much. Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. could have been a really, really cool idea, but any inherent awesomeness is buried under 7 metric craptons of meh.

The premise is that the Hulk (now at normal intelligence levels... long story) has formed a team of Gamma-Mutates to combat major threats. Thing is, there's already a team for that. They're called "the Avengers," you may have heard of them. The show itself has the framing device of being Rick Jones' (Hulk's buddy/sidekick) web show, showing that the Hulk's actually a good guy. This is entirely pointless and only exists to give the team reasons to talk to the camera in reality-show-type cutaways.  The show is (ostensibly) shot entirely by Rick's floating cameras, but that's impossible, judging from some of the angles and footage we get. Meh, I stopped caring.

Now let's go over the individual characters:

Clockwise from upper left:  A-Bomb, Red Hulk, She-Hulk, Skaar    Center:  Hulk
Hulk- I have few complaints with the Hulk's characterization. I actually prefer a Hulk who can say and think more than “Hulk smash!” I'm just wondering why he never changes back to his alter-ego of Bruce Banner.

Red Hulk- Yeah, talk about Continuity Lockout! The show acts like everybody in the audience knows exactly who he is. (Hulk's former enemy, General Ross, now mutated into the thing he hates most: a Hulk. But he keeps his old gung-ho military personality.)

Rick Jones/A-Bomb- I've said it before, I'll say it again. Bruce Banner became the Hulk after saving Rick Jones from a gamma bomb. So... if Rick Jones becomes a Hulk himself, doesn't that negate Bruce Banner's original sacrifice?

Skaar- A Hulk-like teenage gladiator from beyond this world. In the comics, he's Hulk's son. The character's too bland for me to have any feelings about him one way or the other.

She-Hulk- Hulk's cousin who he gave blood to, resulting in her powers. Shortest Hulk at 7' ?", and least muscular. Loves fighting. Goes out of her way to not act girly. Ostensibly, she was only added to add a good role model for girls, but behind her "I'm not a girly girl" attitude, there's not much at all; a far cry from the character in the comics, who's actually a professional lawyer, and a good one, at that. Here, she's just "Punchy McSeeHowNotGirlyIAm?"

Let's just get Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. "The Collector" out of the way.

Gonna be a long half-hour....

Friday, August 30, 2013

Sketchbook: Johnny Thunder's Thunderbolt

Well, I didn't want y'all to go too long without a thing, so here's a thing! Specifically, Johnny Thunder's Thunderbolt! Johnny Thunder was a classic DC character who had a 5th Dimensional genie doing his bidding with the magic phrase "Say you."  (Which was actually the genie's name backwards.)

Site News: 2013 September/October Announcement!

Well, that time is all upon us.  Again.
Back to school.
Yes, as maybe one of you has no doubt been wondering, I am still in college.
As I embark for one final year to finish up my Theatre Arts and English Majors, I will still be keeping up the NewtCave.
But, in order for me to complete everything that I need to get done at this time of year, I've been simplifying my schedule for the NewtCave.
As such, here is said schedule.

September/October:
*  11-part Legacy Character Study
*  At least 3 Batman: the Brave and the Bold Recap/Reviews
*  Halloween Special
*  Other things

Not much of a Schedule in terms of specificity, but I'd rather be vague than make a promise and break it.
But I guarantee at least one post a week, and a normal Schedule resumes as soon as my 11-part Legacy Character Study is completed.

Yeah, 11 parts.  Well, and an Intro.  And an Epilogue.
Now, you may be asking, "What comic book character passed the torch ten times?"

Well, what with it being a special time for a certain franchise, I've decided to bend the rules a little bit and include a decidedly non-comic-based character. 

And with that, I hope that you'll all join me in taking a look back at....

Monday, August 26, 2013

Recap/Review: Batman TBATB, "Inside the Outsiders!"

I’ve been feeling a bit bad about having to cancel last week’s Ranting and Rambling due to a number of factors, so I’ve decided to make it up to all of you! Now, I’ve made it no secret that I’ve been feeling a bit, shall we say, irked with Beware the Batman’s lollygagging up to this point in terms of turning Bruce’s bodyguard Tatsu Yamashiro into Katana after the promos, Wikipedia, interviews, and CartoonNetwork.com have all stated that she’s “Katana, Swordsmistress and Owner of the Soultaker Sword.”

So I’m going to take a look at a Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode featuring Katana, and we’ll see if her origin story’s handled in a less annoying way here. (Spoiler Alert! It is.)
And so, let’s take a look at Batman:TBATB, Season 1, Episode 24, "Inside the Outsiders!"

Not to be confused with "Outside the Insiders," where Batman stays away from Agoraphobic people.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Site News: Guest Blogging!

Well, some of you may have known this already, but I've been contacted to be a guest blogger for a neighboring site!
Well, I assume it's neighboring.  It should be somewhere close to me.
But that's not important, what is important is what that means for the NewtCave, the other blog, etc.

Well, first things first.
The blog is question is at artsycore.blogspot.com, and there, you can find excellent View Logs of several shows, including Breaking Bad, Low Winter Sun, and Under the Dome.

What the heck am I doing there?

Well, I'll be providing a counterpoint opinion on ABC's upcoming show, "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."
 As a comic fan, I'll be able to provide a different viewpoint than someone approaching it as just another Joss Whedon show.

Does this mean that I'm quitting the NewtCave?
Far from it.  The NewtCave will neither stop nor slow down for the posts at Artsy Core's site; don't you worry.  I'll still be here every week, doing my thing; I'll just also be doing it there.

Well?  Sound interesting?  My first post has been published over there, so you can see exactly what I have to say regarding Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Recap: Beware the Batman, Ep. 6

And, so, here we are. We've arrived at the final episode of Beware the Batman... for now. From what I'm seeing, the season's being split up into at least two parts, and we've reached the end of the first chunk of episodes. And with a heavy heart, and for the last time for a while... Let's recap Beware the Batman. 

Britney Spears doesn't show up, but there are a couple blondes involved.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Review: The Mighty Titan #1

And now, my first review of a comic at the NewtCave! Instead of looking at something from one of the big two, or Dark Horse, or Image, or something, I'm going to be looking at an independent comic that exists completely thanks to Kickstarter. Without further ado, let's look at... The Mighty Titan.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Recap/Review: Scooby-Doo, Mystery Incorporated; "Heart of Evil"

First things first: Thank you all for helping the NewtCave reach 2,000 hits! I hope you'll all be here for 2,000 more!  As is now apparently customary, here's a bonus post to celebrate!

Storytime! I wasn’t planning on being home Saturday, but it turned out to be the case. With nothing planned for the day at that point, I turned on the TV. Nothing was on, so I turned it to Cartoon Network, and decided to watch the Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated reboot, because I’d heard good things about it. I came in at, like, Chapter 36, but I managed to follow the plot reasonably well, and I’m quite impressed with what they’ve done with the material.

So, I’m recapping the second episode that I ever saw… which is actually the fortieth episode of the show. So… looks like I’ll have to summarize a bit, if you’re not familiar with the rebooted show.

1. The team lives in Crystal Cove, a place world famous for its monsters and hauntings.
2. After debunking some hauntings (perpetrated by townsfolk to draw tourists), they uncover a conspiracy.
3. One of their on-and-off enemies goes by “Mr. E,” and owns a local company, Destroido Corp.
4. There’s an ancient MacGuffin that the bad guys want that the gang’s now in possession of.
5. Fred (who, in this continuity, has an obsession with traps, and is also on the run from his parents for various legitimate reasons) and Daphne broke up, but still have feelings for each other.

Don’t worry if you didn’t follow most of that, this is a stand-alone episode, with only token references to the ongoing plot. And with that, let’s recap Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated, Chapter 40: “Heart of Evil.”

 Also, apparently, Harlan Ellison (voiced by himself) works at Miskatonic University in this continuity.  No, seriously.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Top Ten "Punny" Secret Identities

You know, I enjoy a good pun. Where would Super Hero comics be without them? So, here I am, listing my absolute favorite secret identity puns!

Before we get to the list proper, here's a list of the runners up, in no particular order.
(If a (?) appears next to the name, it means I don't know if it's an intentional pun or not.)

Norrin Radd, Silver Surfer (?) ("Radd"... "rad". A surfer. Maybe a pun? Probably not.)
Cassandra Nova (?) (Cassie Nova; ironic pun on Casanova because she's ugly and antisocial?)
Julio Richter, Rictor
Jubilation Lee, Jubilee 
Frank Einstein, Madman (He was brought back to life. Say the name quickly.) 
Rainbow Raider, Roy G. Bivalo 
T. O. Morrow 
King Faraday  (King for a day)
Elsie Dee  (LCD)
Jack Russell, Werewolf-by-Night 
Cain Marko, Juggernaut (?) (Mark of Cain? He's Professor X's step-brother.)
William I. Zard, the Wizard 
Elizabeth "Libby" Belle, Liberty Belle 
Angelo Bend, Angle Man
Dr. Charles McNider, Doctor Mid-Nite          

And without further ado, the TOP TEN!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Recap: Beware the Batman, Ep. 5

Well, here we are again. ...I really have no introduction for this one, I just hope it's good.

Let's hope that this episode doesn't need fixing.
Again, after the shortened theme, we get the customary "Previously On..." segment. So, apparently, last episode, ninjas happened, and Silver Monkey tried to steal Tatsu's Soultaker Sword. I guess Batman was involved somehow?

Now, some people have complained that Tatsu's past (that a lot of us already knew by the fact that it's freely available online, and not being hidden at all) took up too much of the last episode, and they should hurry up and make her into Katana. Well, seemingly in response to that, this episode has almost zero Tatsu within. 
Is this good? Is this bad? Let's find out!

Sketchbook: Then and Now 3, Sandman & Venom

Well, I've been posting every day this month, so I want to see how long I can keep it up for. Today, I'm posting another redone drawing. This time, I drew Sandman and Venom from Spider-Man 3. It's another drawing from 2007, so it's probably going to suck.

Let's see how I did!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Recap/Review: Batman TBATB, "The Mask of Matches Malone!"

Dear readers, sometimes, I feel generous. Basically, I’ve been having a lot of fun doing recaps, and you all really seem to enjoy them. So… here’s another. I’ve decided to treat myself, as well, so I’m going to look at an episode of my favorite Batman series, Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
And yep, I’ve made some enemies with that statement.

Batman: TBATB has been decried by many as being “childish,” “kiddy,” and “stupid.”  Said complainers haven’t been watching the right episodes. Let’s set that straight!

I’ll be recapping the “lost” episode. The episode with so many “hidden” dirty jokes that Cartoon Network skipped it in the series’ original run. (It still aired in Australia. Can’t say I’m too surprised by this.) Not only that, it was written by Gail Simone. Yes, THAT Gail Simone. One of the top comic writers in the industry. No, I’m not saying “female writer.” Writer period.  (Also, because gender has nothing to do with writing quality. As proven by Gail Simone.) Birds of Prey, Secret Six, and more.

Sorry, I’m gushing a bit, but she really is one of the top writers in comics. And she wrote an episode of my favorite Batman cartoon. So, yeah.  Let’s get started on this particular chunk of awesome, shall we? 
Ladies, gentlemen, smizmars…

This Review/Recap is not meant for kids, due to the episode's content. Let that sink in for a second.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Legacy Character Study: Eddie Brock, Part 2

Part 1 here.
And so, Venom was in need of a bit of a retool, having lost his star power after the 90’s. At least they had the good sense to write out Venom's need for eating brains by having him eat chocolate to release endorphins.

Eventually, a man named Senator Steward Ward (who wanted to better understand his own alien infection) stole Venom’s symbiote, did some SCIENCE to it, and it ended up escaping captivity and rejoined with Eddie. But it came back… different. It became overtly bloodthirsty, and it was out of control. (Not that you could really tell, given some of Venom’s 90’s characterization.)

Legacy Character Study: Eddie Brock, Part 1

Well, everybody, the first People's Choice Character to be studied at the NewtCave is....  Venom! Now, this is also a specially requested installment. My sister was very excited for a Venom episode when she saw the poll on my site. I hate to say it.... but I think she may be a bit disappointed by what she finds. You see, she fell in love with a version of Venom which is....  shall we say, non-indicative of the character as a whole. Nevertheless, this is what was requested, and by Galactus, that's what she and the rest of the internet is going to get.

Now, the Venom-symbiote (essentially, a living goo-costume) has been around the block more the proverbial neighborhood bike, with prominent wearers including Peter Parker, Eddie Brock, Mac Gargan, and Flash Thompson, among others. Do I take a look at all of them, or one of them? If so, which one? I’m feeling a little bit burnt out by the Blue Beetle Legacy Character Study, so I’ve decided that this one will be done over a period of time, instead of all in one go. Well, in honor of the version my sister absolutely adores, and the one I grew up with, let's take a minute to examine....
Eddie Brock, aka VENOM.

All-original.  Accept no substitutes.

Ranting and Rambling: Comics Aren't For Kids Anymore... or at All?

I read the news today.  Oh, boy....
So, DC Comics has made internet news headlines again, much to their own chagrin.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sketchbook: Then and Now 2, Sentry Redux

Well, I was going through my closet looking for more old drawings to redo, and I found the portfolio we put out for my high school graduation. As I leafed through it, I found not one, but two more drawings of the Sentry, far enough apart from each other that you can see the progression in quality. I found it pretty fascinating just to see what's changed over the years. So what I did was put all four drawings side-by-side-by-side-by-side.
Let's take a look!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Recap/Review: Avengers Assemble, "Hyperion"

Now, I want to say right off the bat that this most likely won't be an ongoing feature.  It's enough work doing a weekly post and a weekly recap of Beware the Batman. However, after watching the latest episode of Avengers Assemble (and realizing that I've been talking much more about DC Comics properties), I've decided to recap and review it: Season 1 Episode 7, "Hyperion."

Before I begin, let me give the uninitiated a little background on this series. Avengers Assemble is an animated continuation of The Avengers where the end of that film (where they go their separate ways) and the events of Iron Man 3 are ignored. Here, the Avengers operate out of Avengers Tower (formerly Stark Tower), and they've even added a new hero to their ranks: The Falcon. The Falcon is a young, African-American tech-guy (not to the extent of Iron Man, though) whose name comes from the hard-light wings that he can generate, and use to fly/fight. If you've seen The Avengers, you're good on the rest of the details.

"High-PEAR-ee-un." Not "Hyper-Ion."

Recap: Beware the Batman, Ep. 4

Wow. I've been looking at the statistics, and it looks like these recaps are quickly becoming the most popular posts on the site! And so, we come to Episode 4 of Beware the Batman. Will this one actually deliver what it promises? Hopefully.      

Fingers crossed, everybody.
The shortened theme begins, and you know what? Mini-rant time. Why is it that superhero cartoons don't have 30-second themes anymore? Now it's just 5 seconds at best. Spectacular Spider-Man had a good theme, Ultimate Spider-Man has none. Avengers: EMH had an awesome one, Avengers Assemble has none. Beware the Batman has a really catchy one, but they don't show it! I'm hoping that this is because the intro shows Tatsu as Katana, and they're "trying" to keep that hidden from the audience. Anyway, let's begin the recap of Episode 4, "Safe."

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Recap: Beware the Batman, Ep. 3

And so, here we are again. Observant readers may notice that this recap seems to be a bit late. 
Well, there are three reasons for that.

1:  I've been feeling a bit burnt out lately.  I'm only human, creating all these posts is a bit of work.
2:  These recaps will have a "malleable" schedule, i.e., they'll be done when they're done, because....
3:  Not only do I need to avoid burn out, but episodes like this one are....  difficult to evaluate.  While I'm doing Recaps and not full-blown Reviews, I still want to present my thoughts on the events of any given episode.   

And with that, it's time for our "Previously, on Beware the Batman" summary:
"Give Tatsu a chance as your bodyguard, Bruce."
"Okay, Alfred." 

I guess all that stuff about fighting a villain was just filler, then. (To be fair, they showed footage of Batman fighting Magpie from last week's episode, so that comment might be a little unwarranted.)  And so, Episode 3, "Tests," begins.

Buckle down, I've got a LOT to say about this one.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Sketchbook: Then and Now

It never occurred to me when I started this page a few months back that I'd end up being this popular. Not only do I have 4 Twitter followers (which is 4 more than I expected), but I've reached 1000 hits! Granted, a little over 200 of those are confirmed spam, but I don't care! Time to celebrate!

So, what could I whip up on short notice? A little something I call: Then and Now.
Basically, I'm going to dig up an old drawing of mine and re-draw it, just to see how far I've come. See? It's like a metaphor for all the people reading my blog, if you don't think about it too much.

And with that, I'm going to redraw a picture I did of Marvel's Superman parody/homage/pastiche, the Sentry.

How did I do?

Character Assassination: The Avengers (2012)


Ah, the Avengers. It’s still weird to me that it actually came out. After being excited for it since the credits of Iron Man, I still can’t wrap my head around- no, you don’t want to read about that. You want me to talk about the death. If you’ve seen the movie, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, Spoiler Alert. You have one chance to turn back before spoilers, Bruce Willis was dead the whole time. See? Missed your chance. Avengers spoilers ahoy!