Wrapping up the week: Secret Wars, Supergirl, X-Men Apocalypse

There were several news stories that broke in nerdtopia this week, so I thought I'd wrap up the notable ones with a few quick hits. Feel free to follow the links to sources of the news.

Secret Wars

Secret Wars, will end the Marvel Universe as we know it.
Marvel dropped news about a big shake-up in their line of comics when the Ultimate Marvel Universe will   There's a lot of frustration over at Marvel as they watch some of their biggest properties get mishandled by rival studios.
collide with the canon (616) Marvel Universe. There will be a war between the two to determine who stays and who goes and a new Marvel Universe will be born out of it. I'm curious to know if it'll affect lesser characters such as Squirrel Girl, but in the end it could simply be a way to get things in line with their Cinematic Universe.

This could be a way to make those rights null and void, ultimately returning them to the Marvel/Disney conglomerate.


Now we just need to see the costume!
A casting announcement was made regarding the approved Supergirl show on CBS. Glee alum, Melissa Benoist, has been cast to play Superman's cousin, Kara Danvers. It's been met with controversy as some were holding out hope that Vampire Diaries own Claire Holt could land the part. Also, Supergirl is a blonde and Ms. Benoist is not. But have no fear, they've released a picture of her hair having been dyed to a lighter color. She expressed her excitement on her twitter account and looks to be passionate about the role.

I'm very excited about this show and hope with all my heart that it is a successful addition to the current lineup of DC characters on TV.

X-Men Apocalypse

I can't think of anyone better for the part.
Flying under the radar late last night was casting news for a younger generation of X-Men to appear in Bryan Singer's latest mutant movie: X-Men Apocalypse. Cyclops and Storm are being played by Tye Sheridan and Alexandra Shipp, respectively. They are relative unknowns to me, as I've never seen either of them in anything. However the news of Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark, Game of Thrones) being cast as Jean Grey is what had everyone geeking out.

Finally, since the release of X2, I have a desire to see a movie that features the X-Men. Of course there's still plenty of time for Singer to crap all over that desire.

Which one of these announcements interests you the most?

Ant-Man #1 Delivers Giant-Sized Story

I am a total noob when it comes to Ant-Man. I know about Hank Pym and his relationship with Janet Van Dyne as Wasp. I know he was a founding member of the Avengers. I also know that, unlike the plot in the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron movie, he was responsible for creating Ultron.

What I didn't know is that there have been several Ant-Men and the current one, Scott Lang, not only started off as a criminal but was dead for a bit. Typically death puts a damper on your career as a hero but we're talking comics here.

So when I picked the book off the shelf I wasn't sure what to expect. I wanted awesome panels and I wanted it to be fun. With Paul Rudd expected to play the role of Scott Lang's version of Ant-Man, in the upcoming movie, I had no difficulty choosing his voice as I read along.

At first the book seemed as though it was a prologue for the movie. We were given a few pages of exposition to explain who Scott Lang is and why he had the Ant-Man suit. But it turns out it was just a small part of the issue; which, as a whole, was packed full of panels and dialogue.

And that's a good thing!

The entire read through was entertaining. There were moments of levity and moments that humanized Lang, as we're given an in-depth look at why he's walking around in the Ant-Man suit. You see him struggle with decisions that tear him down as a man and as a father. He wants to do the right thing but he's on his own to make that decision.

It's a decision that maybe you don't agree with or maybe you do. Either way you can't really fault the guy.

His personal relationships with his daughter and ex-wife are sure to play a major role in this book. You want to hate his ex, but you understand why she says the things she does. You can't fault her for the way she feels. They're both trying to do right by their daughter, Cassie, and Lang is struggling to hang onto some thread of dignity as he struggles financially and emotionally.

This is a superhero book right?

I'm sure we'll get into the villains at some point. And there'll most certainly be some splashy action sequences coming our way. But first and foremost this is a story about a reclamation project of a man. It's about a father who made some mistakes and is trying to do right by his daughter. It's about a hero who will take whatever risks necessary to keep her safe.

Before I picked up Ant-Man, I was a total Ant-noob. I had no clue Scott Lang even existed as a character. But now, I want to know more about him and I find myself rooting for him. This book won't grab you by the collar and shake you out of your senses with action. But it is FUN and moving at the same time. It's entertaining in a way that we're not used to as comic book readers.

And that's a good thing.

Ant-Man #1 was published on January 7th 2014 by Marvel Comics. The creative team of Nick Spencer (writer) and Ramon Rosanas (art), deliver a powerful first issue for a hero that comes with very little fanfare.

A Dice Masters Post: Churn Baby Churn

Churn (verb):
1) To agitate or turn
2) move about vigorously

One of the most important things in Dice Masters is the ability to churn your dice. Unless you have a way to pull dice out of your bag early and often, you'll be left with only 4 to roll.

That's okay if you're playing a mid-range game of characters that cost anywhere from 2-4 energy. And there's definitely something to be said for that strategy, but if you want any of the heavy hitters, you need to find a way to ramp up your resources.

Beast, Gambit, Nova and Silver Surfer all provide ways to pull a die or two out of your bag. This serves as a double purpose:

1) More dice to roll on your next turn
2) Get to your characters faster

While the aforementioned characters are great to 'feel the churn', there's no better mechanic than "PXG" or Professor X's Global:

Pay [1 mask]. Move up to 2 Sidekick dice from your used pile to your prep area

That's a guaranteed 6 dice to roll on your next turn! You're one KO'd character away from rolling 7 dice and buying anyone on your team (Hello HULK)!

Unlike other characters that have become the 'meta game' (what everybody seems to be playing), PXG is available to both players. If both players bring PXG, suddenly it's a redundancy and you've wasted a spot on your team. Professor X is like a double agent in this aspect, he works for both combatants. So if your opponent is bringing him, why should you?

I've decided to fight fire with fire by bringing the ultimate crippler to Professor X. It's Superman's Kryptonite. It's Frosty the Snowman's Sun. It's like rain on your wedding day. It's a free ride, when you've already paid- *ahem* sorry about that...

It's Professor Xavier!

What's that Billy? How can I use Professor X to stop Professor X? Well let's take a look shall we? Through the power of the internets I can show you a side by side image of the two cards. Read them both and join me after the break...


 ...so, do you see where I'm going with this? It's not a permanent solution, but boy does it hurt their chances at a win! 2 damage anytime they want to churn their dice faster that turn. The best part is...you can have 'Powerful Telepath' by turn 3 if you play your dice right.

What once was considered your opponents ultimate path to victory...has now become a burden on their team as you freely churn your dice. Meanwhile they'll have to sacrifice a small animal to satisfy the dice gods if they want to keep up with you.

Isn't it ironic? Don't you think?

Keep in mind, even if your opponent doesn't bring PXG, Powerful Telepath will still make life difficult for your opponent. At a cost of 5, it won't take much to get him on the field as a solid defender and to make your opponent think twice before buying that power bolt!

So, there you have it Dice Masters. Good luck to you and may the dice forever roll in your favor!

Did you like this post about Marvel Dice Masters? I've written others in the past:

Breaking News: Superman is NOT Perfect!

The story:

In the recent issue of Superman (#37 written by Geoff Johns), he is being held captive by Ulysses; a powerful human cast off of Earth, when his parents research facility went into meltdown.

Ulysses has concocted a plan to get the people of Earth to trust him, by establishing a relationship with Superman. By doing this he offers them an escape to a 'perfect world'. It is revealed these humans were only going to be used to power the core of the planet he was raised on to stave off its immenent destruction.

In an attempt to save the inhabitants of the planet and 6 million earthlings (including Ulysses own parents), Superman convinces Ulysses of the error in his ways and suggests that Earth can house the inhabitants of the planet until a new home can be found. That murdering 6 million people wasn't the best way to save his people. Trusting in the Man of Steel, Ulysses frees him from his binds and the two of them rush off to save everyone.

[SPOILER] highlight to read:

The plan, unfortunately, backfires and kills everyone on the planet.


My take:

Superman is not perfect and Geoff Johns realizes this. Everyone expects that Superman is the hero that always finds a way and when there isn't one, he'll take time to consider all options. We've seen him take risks many times since the launch of the New 52 and many times, he's failed. Even in the movie 'Man of Steel' we see an inexperienced Superman trying to save Earth the best way he knows how; as it's all happening in real-time.

Hindsight is always 20/20, it's easy to go back and see what could be done differently. For those of us on the other side of the looking glass, we can analyze his mistakes as we watch the movie or read the comic book a second, third or fourth time. We get a chance to see the whole picture (pun intended). We KNOW what could go wrong and we wonder why Superman doesn't see it.

The point is: Superman doesn't know he's in a story and shouldn’t know what we know.

This initial arc for Johns and Romita Jr has been carefully crafted and is being executed to perfection. I look forward to seeing how Superman rebounds from this tragic, tactical error. While I wait for that to unfold, I eagerly await the showdown between an enraged Ulysses and a Superman who is in shock at the death and destruction that he has caused.

Top 15 Movies of 2014 (That I've Seen)

My top movies of 2014 are only movies that I’ve watched, that were released this year. I enjoy sitting down with a bowl of popcorn on my Yogibo for 2 hours whenever I get the chance. Throughout the year I watch old movies, movies I’ve already seen and occasionally I get to the theater to see new releases. I’ll rent movies I missed or stream them on Netflix if they’re available. Either way, I love watching movies.

So without further ado...I submit to you my top 15 movies of 2014 (and their release date for reference):

The Legend of Hercules (1/10) - This was only slighly entertaining. The story jumped around a bit and left wide gaps wondering how the characters got from one place to the next. I'm not sorry I watched it, but that's because I streamed it on Netflix. Not the best Hercules movie ever made.

The Nut Job (1/17) - A fun movie for kids, slightly predictable with a few 'laugh out loud' moments. It's worth watching if your tired of the same old movies and need something new for family movie night.


Pompeii (2/21) - Watched this on a rental and I'm glad I did. It's a love story disguised as a disaster film to appeal to both men and women on 'date night'. The ending will be appreciated no matter what, even if it's for different reasons.

Robocop (2/12) - Not all retcons are made equal. But almost all of them stink. This movie was a nice update to the classic but it'll never be confused for the original. Enjoyable and action packed, modern technology gave this version special effects that the original could only dream of.

Godzilla (5/16) - Giant monster destroys city on his way to stop other giant monsters from destroying other cities, in which a city is destroyed during the climactic battle. Meanwhile, generic action hero guy does things. Coming in at 2 hours long it is worth hanging around for the single greatest finishing move in the history of monster movies.

Hercules (7/25) - In another Hollywood attempt to tell the truth behind a legend, Dwayne Johnson (WWE’s ‘The Rock’, in case you didn’t know by now) more than looks the part of half-man, half-god. His supporting cast really helps make this movie worth watching. Overall it was a good movie, although I may have been disappointed if I paid theater prices to watch it. As a rental, though, it’s worthy of an evening of entertainment. Better than ‘The Legend of Hercules’ as was the case with that one, this is not the best Hercules movie ever made.

Muppets Most Wanted (3/21) - Picking up right where the last movie left off, quite literally, this was a successful follow-up. Entertaining for parents and kids alike, a soundtrack that's enjoyable and plenty of cameo appearances that only a Muppet movie could pull off. Toss in a little slapstick comedy and you've got yourself the very model of a modern major muppet movie!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (8/8) - Like a child suffering from ADD, whose breakfast consisted of energy bars and a can of Monster, this movie zips along. I had trouble keeping up with it the first time around as the action and one-liners zipped right along with nary a chance to breathe. The second time I watched it, however, the movie slowed down for me and I enjoyed it more. So...replay value? There’s plenty to laugh at and Raphael finally reveals why he’s such a jerk to the other turtles. Coming in at just over an hour and a half, the movie will be over before you know it and you can go back to doing other things.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (5/2) - It’s a dark sequel but the humor is still there and Andrew Garfield, while not convincing as Peter Parker, is an amazing Spider-Man (pun intended). Watching Spider-Man swing through New York City stopping everyone from super-villain to common crook never gets old. The future of this franchise seems up in the air right now, but on it’s own, this movie is worth seeing.

Transformers: Age of Extinction (6/27) - A movie about giant robots from outer space fighting other giant robots from outer space, here on Earth, can’t and shouldn’t be taken seriously. Why people continue to try is beyond me. Mark Wahlberg is the human counterpart so your girlfriend will sit and watch it with you. Oh, and Optimus Prime wields a sword while riding Grimlock! So get your popcorn and refreshments ready and clear your schedule for this 2 hour and 45 minute display of metal crushing, spark flying display of pyrotechnics and boyhood fantasies.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (6/13) - Is there a better movie featuring more dragons than you can wrap your mind around? I’d be hard pressed to find one. This movie had all the animated dragon action a nerd could hope for and the story was good too. A fun movie that ‘brings the family together’ and shouldn’t be missed.

Maleficent (5/30) - Hollywood is at it again with a movie that tries to uncover the ‘truth behind the legend’, this time covering Sleeping Beauty’s nemesis: Maleficent. Angelina Jolie was born to play the lead role in this movie. No one, I repeat, NO ONE could have possibly portrayed Maleficent better. The special effects were amazing (Dragon)! This movie doesn’t portray men in a very good light but it was still very entertaining. And if you can get past the sound of the King’s voice, (so distracting, it was easily the worst thing about this movie) you will love this movie.

The Lego Movie (2/7) - Everything is Awesome about this movie! Clever, witty, zany, fun and a nice message thrown in at the end. While it appeals to today's generation of attention span challenged kids, its fast pace will prevent anyone from getting bored. If anything, it'll simply be hard to keep up with. Don’t worry if you missed the point, they spell it out for you at the end. Just sit back, grab the popcorn and enjoy the ride!

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (4/4) - This movie is the GI Joe movie we never got. Chris Evans is back as Cap and has settled into the role perfectly. Black Widow, Falcon, Nick Fury, Maria Hill round out the team of good guys as Arnem Zola and The Winter Soldier create havoc. There's action, intrigue, and no shortage of characters we love facing real consequences. Slip in a little quick witted Marvel humor to keep the mood light and you've got the formula for a great comic book movie. Better than the first one, this movie hit the mark!

Guardians of the Galaxy (8/1) - Barely edging out Captain America for the top spot is a fun romp through space, whose soundtrack was just as notable as the movie itself. Director James Gunn took a relatively unknown comic book property and turned it into cinematic gold. Chris Pratt transformed his puffy frame into a chiseled superhero’s body for the role and his wit and charm turned Star Lord into an unforgettable name. Full of lovable and memorable characters and quotable lines, it has everything a top movie needs. This movie will have you hooked on a feeling!

Dishonorable Mention
Knights of Badassdom (1/21) - Ooof. I wanted this to be good, but it was so, so awful. If you're looking to kill time (and brain cells), be my guest. But don't say I didn't warn you...

Notable Trivia
Chris Pratt and Will Arnett both have 2 movies that made the list, one of which they worked on together. Care to guess which one?

Movies I wanted to see, but didn’t get around to
I, Frankenstein
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Big Hero 6
Anchorman 2
300 Rise of an Empire
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
The Mazerunner

Movie that I had no desire to see
X-Men: Days of Future Past - I realize that while this IS a comic book blog and I declare myself as a comic book NERD, I feel as though the X-Men franchise has been turned into nothing more than Wolverine fan films. I have no desire to watch an X-Men movie until FOX learns that there are better stories to be told other than ‘The Life and Times of Wolverine’.

All movie posters images provided by imdb.com