Thursday, January 31, 2013

X-Men: All-New, All-Women


And no, I don't plan on making an "X-Women" joke today
In case you hadn’t heard by now the post-Avengers vs. X-Men status quo in Marvel Comics theses days is “Marvel NOW!”, which is similar to the DC Reboot in that a ton of new #1 issues were printed and many creative teams were shaken up. Unlike the DC Reboot it’s not actually a reboot at all. Marvel, clearly wanting to do something similar to boost sales, managed to resist the urge to toss out decades of continuity to do so. That means Marvel wins, if just on principle. New titles are still coming out but the one that caught my attention, as well as the internet’s, has been the re-launch of (Non Adjective) X-Men, set to premier in April. The main draw; it’s an all-female cast of X-Men. Despite existing since the sixties and having probably the largest collection of female characters in any comic book franchise there has never been an all-woman squad of X-Men before this. Written by Brian Wood, who is known for writing women well on a consistent basis, the book will feature Storm, Jubilee, Kitty Pryde, Psylocke, Rachel Summers Grey, and Rogue.

Now there has been some controversy with this announcement. A lot of fans have claimed “reverse sexism” over this and are even demanding some male characters to be added to the cast. Frankly I don’t get the rage; if it’s something that can help attract female readers then it’s something I’m all for it. The fact is that this book will feature three characters from my Top Ten X-Men list and that automatically make me at least curious about it. Now as of this writing not much has been revealed about the premise of this book but I’m about 97% sure I’ll be at my local comic book shop to get my copy the day it comes out.

Today I felt like taking a look at the characters featured in this book in order to guess what kind of title this may be. Plus it might be fun to check out what the team members have been up to recently since, as I’ve said a few times, I haven’t been keeping up with the X-Men books very much during the last few years.

Over analysis on the X-Men after the jump.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Review: Doctor Who - Series Three (2005 Revival)

Though it has been a long while since the last time today I will continue looking at the revived Doctor Who TV show with Series 3. Originally broadcasted by the BBC in 2007 it’s pretty clear that by this point the writers had gotten a hold of what they wanted the show to be. David Tennant, playing the The Doctor, has a full season under his belt at this point and he’s really gotten into to his groove. Better yet (for me anyway) this season marks the first time in the new updated version of the show that a companion has left and been replaced. So no Rose Tyler, and if you recall from the last two reviews I’m not a fan of the character. At all. So happily get a whole season without her. Or at least that’s what I was hoping going into it (more on that later).

It should be pointed out that  after Series Two ended but before this one began a spin-off from Doctor Who aired called “Torchwood” (yes, the organization from Series Two) which was also created by Russell T Davies and starred John Barrowman reprising his role as Captain Jack Harkness. Now I will talk a tiny bit about that in this blog but as of right now I don’t have any plans review Torchwood here. For simplicity sake I will say that I’m not what you would call a fan. For now just take in mind that there was a spin-off and it featured Captain Jack.

Full review after the jump.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Nerd Rage #13: Whatever Happened to Cass and Steph?


Probably the oddest odd couple of the DCU
Beta is Dead is now three years old and to celebrate I thought I’d revisit an older topic. Recently one of my old articles was floating around tumblr and brought some eyeballs over to the blog. It’s certainly a hot topic and still pretty relevant even today but sadly it’s outdated. Similar its sister article, which isn’t as popular but still just as relevant I’d say, is also out of date due to the events of the past two years. So I figured now would be a pretty good time to pick up where I left off with two of my favorite superheroes, and former Batgirls, Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown.

Now I feel I covered the details of who these two characters are very well in past articles (here and here) so if you don’t know who they are you can check those out. However if you’re too goddamn lazy here’s the short version of what I previously wrote:

1) Cassandra Cain, daughter of the amoral Lady Shiva, was a martial arts prodigy who was literally bred and raised to serve as the ultimate assassin and bodyguard for Ra’s Al Ghul by the League of Assassins. She rejected this and eventually joined Batman as the new Batgirl. After years of serving the role DC Comics decided to try turning her into a villain, becoming a murdering despot despite being totally against her character, but it backfired and resulted with a public backlash before turning her back to normal. Soon after this she abruptly quit being Batgirl, leaving the mantle in the hands of…

2) Stephanie Brown became the vigilante known as The Spoiler in order to rebel against her super villain father the Cluemaster. She became a frequent ally of Robin (Tim Drake) before a series a events led her to replacing him as Batman’s partner…only to quickly be fired from the role. DC then killed her off in a particularly controversial (and brutal) way while also denying that she was ever truly Robin. After a few years she was retconned back to life and soon afterwards took up the mantle of Batgirl from her friend Cassandra.

Today I’d like to catch up with both characters and see where they are now and what can be done for them in the future. If you regularly read this blog you likely already know what became of them during The Great DC Reboot of 2011 and you may also know what I’m going to say. Everyone else may want to prepare themselves for good old fashion nerd rage.


The very best of friends acquaintances!

Two former Batgirls after the jump.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Three Year Anniversary is Dead

Three years, baby!

Another year, another anniversary. It has been three years today since I started Beta is Dead! It now actually feels like I’ve legitimately done this for a long while and I have many great memories and benefits such as…such as…um…er…hmm.

Anyway I’m glad I’ve mostly maintained a regular schedule this long since, when I started, I wasn’t certain I’d make it six months before getting bored and giving up. So really at this point it’s all gravy. Still as long as I still feel like writing about stuff I’ll keep doing Beta is Dead.

More anniversary stuff after the jump.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Kickstarter Weekends: TOY, Enter the Bluebird

Here we are with another visit to Kickstarter. This month…there weren’t a whole lot of projects that struck my fancy. I usually do three four of these at once but hey; this is my nerd blog and I’m the one who makes the rules. So today we’ll just be doing two. Deal with it, I guess. Anyway before we check those out let’s revisit the projects from last month and see how they did:

BIT Parts: Funding Unsuccessful!

Final Earnings: $0 ($30,000 Goal)

Sadly things didn’t work out for this web series and I for the life of me don’t understand why. They did everything right and provided a hell of a lot more promise of returns (in the form of quality internet entertainment) than 90% of the other projects in their category. This is the first failed project that I’ve covered (as opposed to canceled ones) and it’s really depressing. Blue Goggles Films will be moving on to other projects but they are hopeful they will revisit BIT Parts someday.

Barkley 2: Funding Successful!

Final Earnings: $ 120,335 ($35,000 Goal)

Seeing as this project was funded when I posted the last edition of KSWs it’s no surprise that Barkley 2 (aka The Magical Realms of Tír na nÓg: Escape from Necron 7 - Revenge of Cuchulainn: The Official Game of the Movie - Chapter 2 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa) got funded. But man, they destroyed that goal! That’s always cool to see. What Kickstarter doesn’t often tell lookie-loos like us is that there’s some pretty notable fees (Kickstarter fees, Amazon fees, and taxes) so I like to see projects go past their goals to help pay for such things. Even so that is a huge chunk of change!

Nightwing the Series: Funding Pending

Final Earnings: TBA

Like I said last time these guys gave themselves a two month worth of error time for this project (which statistically is a problem as projects are more likely to succeed when they’re set for thirty days) so they still have a few weeks left to go. Still they have surpassed their goal in pledges so, barring a massive flood of backers pulling out, they’ve already won and now are just collecting gravy.

Forsaken Fortress: Funding Successful

Final Earnings: $ 121,096 ($100,000 Goal)

The bonus project form last week. I have to say that the game looks like it might be a lot cooler than I originally thought. Hopefully you weren’t broke like me last month and got yourself a copy.

Two new projects after the jump.

Friday, January 11, 2013

SMCS Companion Piece #22: DuckTales

DuckTales is one of the greatest cartoons ever made in the history of time! If you were to make a list of the greatest cartoons ever made and DuckTales wasn’t somewhere in the Top Ten, or even Top Five, it’d be a huge miscarriage of justice. Yes, this is the cartoon we watched this week on the Saturday Morning Cartoon Show.

For those of you who either lived under a rock your whole life or are depressingly young DuckTales was a 1987 cartoon produced by Disney and based on their massively popular Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck comics. Now to talk about the two books, especially Uncle Scrooge, would take a while and they do deserve their own entry but to summarize both those books were, and still are, an international power houses with a fan base in just about everywhere in many different languages.  This has been the case for decades.  You may not be very familiar with it (They’re probably bigger sellers in other countries) but trust me when I say they’re a big deal.

So anyway DuckTales was based on these two comics, more or less, and features of the adventures of Scrooge McDuck, the richest duck in the world, and his three grandnephews Huey, Dewey and Louie. It’s something of a comedy adventure; kind of like Indiana Jones meets classic Disney shorts (Now that Indiana Jones is owned by Disney this may become more of a literal truth). Lasting for three seasons the most important thing to remember about this show is that it changed the way cartoons were made at the time. Before this show the quality of syndicated cartoons weren’t usually very good as companies were just looking to make a quick buck without spending a lot of their own money. Disney wanted to change that and made a few attempts to create higher quality animation for the syndicated market (including Adventures of the Gummi Bears). DuckTales was their first huge gambit as the budget for the show was unreasonably high for what it was. It paid off big time as the show was a huge and remained in syndication for years and even resulted in a major motion picture, DuckTales The Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp (which weirdly starred two actors that have portrayed Uncle Fester for the Addams Family at some point; Rip Taylor and Christopher Lloyd). Afterwards many companies started increasing their syndicated cartoon budget (Including Disney, spawning the “Disney Afternoon” block) making way for a huge roster of awesome shows during the 90s (and also terrible shows too, but whatever).

More on DuckTales after the jump.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Review: Extract

So I think it’s fair to say that I’d prefer to be writing up a review for Les Misérables or Chronicle or any number of films I’d like to do some sort of mini-reviews. However long time readers will remember that I’m a big fan of tradition and, as per tradition, the first review of the year every year is a flick with Mila Kunis in it. I guess I could have reviewed Ted, which I did catch months ago, but I would have had to watch it again to refresh my memory but Extract was streaming on Netflix and I’m lazy. Extract it is.

 Extract was directed by Mike Judge who is the creator of Beavis and Butt-head as well as King of the Hill (which is a show I love). He also directed Office Space, one of the most hilarious and quotable comedies in history (and he directed Idiocracy, a movie that also happened). There’s some pretty good stock in this film so I’m willing to give it a shot.

Full review after the jump.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Beta's Top Ten Favorite Movies of 2012

We’ve wrapped up another year which means it’s time to list off my favorite films of 2012. This was a great year for movies as Hollywood churned out more well written and directed films than I remember them doing in recent history. Sadly I ended up missing a lot of key films that had a lot of buzz, as I often do, but more so than that because I crashed my car like a jerk I haven’t been able to get to the movies the last few days like I wanted to nor will I be able to go for some time (hence why this list is up a bit earlier this year). This is especially tragic because it means I won’t have a chance to see Django Unchained for a while, which really sucks because it’s already caused a lot of controversy while still being critically acclaimed.

Still, even though I missed out on Argo, Flight and Lincoln this year I still saw more than a few great flicks over the past twelve months. Also keep in mind that this IS NOT a list where me saying what the best movies of 2012 were (since I didn’t see every film and I’m probably not qualified to make that call even if I had) but rather MY PERSONAL favorite films that I saw. If you agree with these choices that’s cool but if you think I’m talking out of my ass that’s cool too. It’s all opinion. Feel free to post your list in the comment section.

Beta’s Top Ten Movies after the jump.