Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Superhero Media: Future Weapons - Season 1

Ok, so clearly I've gone right off the rails this time, how can a show where a former Marine Sniper looks at developing weapons technology possibly relate to superheros? I guess if you have to ask, you've never read a Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD comic. I think that many comic fans forget just how far-flung and Sci-Fi the old Silver Age comics were; these days, Iron Man's "transistor-powered" armour seems clunky and old-fashioned, but in the '60s it was bleeding edge. Even in The Ultimates, Fury can turn invisible and walk through walls, so long as the budget holds out. Guns that shoot around corners and bombs that can seek out the enemy hiding underground all have their place in comics, either being used by government agencies or misused by Supervillains. 

As entertainment, I found Future Weapons a little lacking, it is essentially "gun porn" and not what I would typically go in for. However, I couldn't shake the feeling that any second Tony Stark was going to walk in and talk about repulsor technology. Watching Future Weapons back-to-back with Agents of SHIELD may be the best way to see how it can provide inspiration for a Spy-Fi or Secret Agent heavy Supers setting. I am left tempted to do an SS4 character with a massive Gadget pool and some crazy-looking (but very real) guns and battlefield materiel. 

So, if you have a thing for guns, or are interested in having your Iron Man deal with some "real-world" bad guys, Future Weapons is probably worth a look; there seems to be a fair bit of it on YouTube. Personally, I don't think I'll be revisiting it anytime soon, unless the SF gaming bug gets to gnawing me again. Oh wait! Metal Gear! There's something to this yet...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Miniatures Finished: Centurions, Ladies in Red and Playboys

The pace is really picking up, only 13 minis left to paint for the big game. 

 Annihilus' Centurions, an army of 100 super-powered aliens! I did ten, because it seemed a bit more reasonable. 

 Some D&D Minis get double-duty as alien supers. 

 Some repainted Heroclix, they will also form an SS4 team at some stage. 

 Gamora and Starlord, both Clix. I will eventually replace these with their comic versions, but the film look will help with the display games. 

 Elektra and Scarlett Witch, both Clix. 

 Warren Worthington III is The Angel. Clix, but another really nice one, great sense of movement.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Terrain Finished: Road Tiles

Finally! I hate doing these road tiles, but now they're all done. A 6'x8' board of roads, ready for my buildings. 

A couple of GW Beastmen to show you the size of the layout.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Miniatures Finished: Purple and Black

As I'm now aiming to have every miniature for Little Wars painted by the end of March, things are heating up here a little. Just 24 more to go! 

 New and improved She-Hulk (Clix) and The Phantom (Avolka) are ready for action! Also Section 9's Mokoto Kusanagi (Hasslefree) joins the fight. 

 Black Dynamite, Drax and Nightwing prove that black never goes out of style. 
 Mokoto can, of course, activate her Thermoptic Camouflage in-game. As the Hasslefree clear resin version of the mini is a bit out of my price range at the moment, this empty base will have to do.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Superhero Media: Arrow - Season 1

I saw the DVD set of the first season of Arrow going cheap in my local supermarket and thought it couldn't hurt to pick it up. Billionaire playboy, Oliver Queen, is marooned on an island and forced to fend for himself for five years. When finally rescued, Oliver returns to Starling City and vows to clean up the corrupt by donning a green hoodie and loosing arrows into them. For those familiar with Green Arrow, Arrow is weirdly off the mark, paying homage to the mythos whilst tarting it up for TV and trying to cram as much Batman in there as it can. Add in a possibly-mystical conspiracy to blow up part of the city and a plethora of improbably-hot secondary characters and Arrow comes across way more prime-time than cape and cowl. At least at first. 

Over the course of the first season, Arrow is slowly metamorphosing from "Oliver Queen kills people and hates wearing shirts" to an actual vigilante hero; building a cadre of loyal helpers, getting recurring villains and even developing a stringent moral code. There's still plenty of shirtless brooding and soap opera to keep the ladies interested, but problems between characters are actually resolved, to the point where season one ties up 90% of the loose ends it started with, clearing the decks for a new story come season two. The action and fight scenes are well done, excepting Oliver's habit of hitting people with his bow rather than his fists. 

Unlike many Australians, I don't pirate television, so I have little-to-no idea what happens in later seasons of Arrow or The Flash, but season one of Arrow was compelling enough for me to seek out the above just to see what happens. As I said above, it's a very prime-time take on the character, possibly not to the tastes of those who have grown up with a green-clad and bearded Oliver espousing Socialism and slagging off his comrades in the JLA; that said, Arrow is fun to watch and it's nice to see superheroes on television outside of cartoons. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Superhero Media: Samurai Jack - Season 1

So a friend loaned me Samurai Jack, insisting that I add the character to my Ultimate Alliance collection whilst citing his love for the programme. I watched it, believing that 13, 20-minute episodes wasn't a bad investment of time, as usual, doing something else at the time, and I came away with mixed feelings. Aku, a shape-shifting evil sorcerer, awakens from his imprisonment in Feudal Japan to wreak his vengeance upon the people who imprisoned him. When his father is killed, a young boy is smuggled out of the country and begins a global journey of years, training with the greatest warrior cultures in the world. When the boy is a man, he reclaims the magical sword that can defeat Aku and confronts the monster now ruling his homeland, almost winning the duel until Aku flings him into the future; a dark future where Aku rules. Christened "Jack" by the locals, the Samurai begins to search for a way back in time, to stop Aku's evil before it begins. 

The animation style of Samurai Jack is pretty unique and beautifully handled, which I think is a large part of the programme's appeal, the crew and cast is very small, often just Mako and Phil LaMarr will be the only credited actors. The stories range from clever and quirky, to just plain weird, with very little consistency to the setting between adventures, even in a world where magic and science fiction coexist. Despite having a linked narrative, Samurai Jack is primarily episodic, and whilst I can see how it has something of a cult following, I personally was not charmed. 

There is, however, some inspiration I drew from Samurai Jack, as it belongs to a sub-genre of Superheroes that I am growing increasingly fond of, which I have dubbed "Villain Apocalypse". Sort of a blend of Superheroes and Post-Apocalypse, but rather than the world being ravaged by nuclear war or plague, it was Supervillains that ended traditional society. Old Man Logan, Dragonball Z - The History of Trunks, Neon Genesis: Evangelion and even Adventure Time all feed into this idea of Villain Apocalypse and I defiantly intend to do something with it at some stage, stay tuned...

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Miniatures Finished: Giants, Cosmic Defenders and sidekicks.

Men, are you embarrassed by the size of your "Founding Member of the Avengers"? Do you think it could be bigger? Well thanks to breakthrough Pym Particle technology, you can get a bigger Giant Man today! 

 Ant Man at Six foot and at two inches. 

 Heroclix Chaos War Giant Man looks a bit better on the table, seeing as my last Giant Man was shorter than Groot. 

 Some Cosmic Heroes join the fight! Beta Ray Bill, Tomar Re and Stardust. 

 Emma Frost, X-Man and Robin, Boy Wonder investigate a new urban greening programme. 

 Keep your table green, plant more trees! (Makes it easy for Poison Ivy to take over!)