Category Archives: Snap *censored* Pop Culture

2021 NFC Preview: An NFL Love Story

Introduction

And, now, time for the 2 Guys Gaming 2021 NFC Preview. I got back to writing for the page after an extended absence and, frankly, a bit of an identity crisis. However, as I said to a friend the other day, I like to write and this page (and my http://www.2guysgaming.net/outdoorsother page) are the only sources of inspiration for that creative outlet right now. And, so, here I am typing once again into the void.

If you’re a regular to the page, you know my story with the NFC. If not, let me take this paragraph to explain. I grew up in Pennsylvania. Born in Pittsburgh, then moved to Erie while still in elementary school, I defaulted to being a Steelers fan. As a result, I paid little to no attention to the NFC other than watching with chagrin as they pummeled the shit out of my AFC teams in the Super Bowl. The Bears gave me one year of respite in 1985 and I watchd with glee that year as they absolutely destroyed the Pats.

LOUISIANA, NO – JANUARY 26: William Perry #72 celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the New England Patriots during Superbowl XX at the Louisiana Superdome January 26, 1986 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Bears won the Super Bowl 46-10. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Yes, it’s true. I have been an anti-fan of the Patriots longer than most people. Their most recent run of success with Belichick and Tom “Terrific” “Golden Boy” Brady only fueled that hatred and crystalized it into the unhealthy obsession you see today. Hell. You might be thinking, “He’s talking about this team in the NFC preview even though they sucked last year and Brady is at Tampa.” Trust me. We’ll get to that.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys (6-10, 3rd place in 2020): I want to like Dak. I understand that, as a Steelers fan, I am legally bound to despise the Cowboys and all they stand for. However, I’ve mentioned before, I’m far less of a Steelers fan these days. Hell, I even rode Dak a couple of years ago in fantasy football. I combo’d him with Amari Cooper. What can I say? I’m a master on the waiver wire.

New York Giants (6-10, 2nd place in 2020): Okay, now that I got rid of about 90% of you and will get rid of the remaining 10% now that I’m talking about the Giants, I can put my secret to a long and healthy life in this paragraph and nobody will ever know it. MUAHAHAHAHAHA!

Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1, 4th place in 2020): Remember when the NFC used to be the “best division in football”? Yeah, that’s not true anymore. At least it wasn’t last year. Admittedly, I don’t pay a ton of attention to the offseason. Nevertheless, I don’t see that changing this year.

Washington Football Team (7-9 , 1st place in 2020): The only thing I ever have to say about this team until it changes is, “Dan Snyder is a dick.”

NFC West

Arizona (?) Cardinals (8-8, 3rd place in 2020): Are they still in Arizona? I feel like they moved last year. This is the team that should be in Vegas, not the Raiders. Oh well, neither here nor there. I like their quarterback and I accidentally noticed while visiting family in Pennsylvania that they made some moves. Might be able to sneak in past the overachieving Rams.

Los Angeles Rams (10-6, 2nd place in 2020): Speaking of the Rams, I have nothing else to say. Once upon a time I really liked Sean McVay. Now that I realize he’s just another con in the long history of this country, he offends me to my very core.

San Francisco 49ers (6-10, 4th place in 2020): God, there are a lot of bad teams in this league. Other than the possibility of Trey Lance, I have nothing good to say about the 49ers, either.

Seattle Seahawks (12-4, 1st place in 2020): Thankfully the Seahawks are not one of those terrible teams because, otherwise, one of those terrible teams might win this lousy division just like the Washingtons are the shit that rose to the top in the East. Here’s to you, Seahawks. Thanks for keeping Jimmy G and Jared Goff out of the playoffs.

NFC North

Chicago Bears (8-8, 2nd place in 2020): I think the Mitch Trubisky experiment is over in Chicago. Yes, a quick Google search confirms that. Too bad because I liked Mitch. But, I’m also ready to see what Fields can do once Andy Dalton and Nick Foles both go down with an injury.

Detroit Lions (5-11, 4th place in 2020): You could tell me literally anything about the Lions and I’d believe you. I have paid no attention to the Lions other than the fact that they are on in the background for 3 hours on Thanksgiving every year.

Green Bay Packers (13-3, 1st place in 2020): I sold out completely in rooting for Green Bay/Kansas City in the Super Bowl last year that when the Packers lost to Tompa, I all but gave up on the season. Given the Chiefs injuries, Green Bay probably would have rolled them, too. But, at least I wouldn’t have had to watch Tom Brady win another damn Super Bowl.

Minnesota Vikings (7-9, 3rd place in 2020): The Vikings defense was almost historic a couple of years ago. This year, I only heard about them because their quarterback is an idiot anti-vaxxer. So, should be a good year for them, right?

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons (4-12, 4th place in 2020): For a few years there, I wanted to ship the entire NFC South (and AFC South) to Europe as my plan to expand into that market. Glad to see the Falcons are still upholding that fine tradition.

Carolina Panthers (5-11, 3rd place in 2020): I had two different layovers in Carolina cities this summer. Also, my wife wants to visit the Outer Banks. None of that, obviously, is relevant. The same can be said for the Panthers recently.

New Orleans Saints (12-4, 1st place in 2020): Before Aaron Rodgers, I wanted Drew Brees and the Saints to end Tompa’s inevitability. Obviously, that did not happen. Now, Brees is retired and Jameis Winston is the quarterback. If nothing else, the Saints will be exciting this year.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5, 2nd place in 2020): Eff the Bucs.

The Verdict

Other than a few noted exceptions, I can go back to my childhood habit of ignoring the NFC until they break my heart in the Super Bowl.

Note: All teams and the single logo used on this web page are the property of the NFL. They are used without consent (written or otherwise), but only in good fun. If you’re feeling litigious, please refrain from throwing your vast legal resources at this small page that caters to my kids, Chris (Hi Chris!) and about 25 Russian bots (Hi Sergei!).

2021 AFC Preview: An NFL Love Story

Introduction

It has been nearly two months since you heard anything from us here at 2 Generations Gaming. That begs a couple of questions. Why were we gone for so long? Why are we back now? So, before I give you our 2021 AFC Preview, let me answer those questions for you as best I can.

Why were we gone for so long? I’m nothing, if not honest. Therefore, I will give you the honest answer here. The truth of the matter is that we here at the page had an honest to goodness identity crisis. Chris and I planned, twice, to record another episode in an attempt to get the podcast rolling again and both times, we failed. I take full responsibility for this failure.

One time I simply forgot. The other, it ended up being Father’s Day.

Why are we back now? As a result of that, we came to a tentative agreement to consider the web page dead. I lapsed on the payments until they sent the email telling me that they shut it off. I considered calling it then. Truth be told, I probably should. This page has had almost no reach and I honestly have no clue how to find my way in this new online environment.

I realize that none of that explains why we are back now. It actually explains better why we would consider never returning. I suppose the only viable answer to the question is that I’m both stubborn and hopelessly optimistic. As Marc Maron derisively said once on his show, “Without any gatekeepers, anyone thinks they can do this.” So, let’s keep this delusion going for a little while longer, at least.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills (13-3, 1st place in 2020): I enjoy when Buffalo is good. Most of it is because I grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania and Buffalo was one of our “home” teams. Cleveland was the other. Curiously, Pittsburgh, in the same state as Erie, was only shown when the other teams were blacked out. NFL TV rules are sometimes weird.

Miami Dolphins (10-6, 2nd place in 2020): Regular readers of the page (all half a dozen of you) know that I have a major man crush on Tua Tagovailoa. Immediately after he threw the touchdown in the National Championship game, I texted my friend Craig to tell him Iwas in love. Last year was a mixed bag for my man. Hoping he turns it around this year.

New England Patriots (7-9, 3rd place in 2020): Chris, the other names participant on this page, is a Patriots fan. I grew up a Steelers fan, but consider myself more of a nomad these days. Nevertheless, we text about the Patriots and Steelers on the regular. Surprisingly,the news of Cam’s release only elicited a single text and reply. Then again, maybe not all that surprising.

New York Jets (2-14, 4th place in 2020): I freely admit my shrtcomings on this page regularly. One of those is that I will periodically forget that teams exist. As I ran through the 4 teams in the East, Ihad to look up the fourth team, the Jets. I know precisely nothing about the team this year.

AFC West

Denver Broncos (5-11, 4th place in 2020): I should have done some research before writing this preview. In my defense, Simmons and Sal haven’t done their week 1 “Guess the Line” show, if they are still doing it. I haven’t been able to find anything online about it. Hope it’s still happening. They get me through the Friday afternoon commute.

Kansas City Chiefs(14-2, 1st place in 2020): Mahomes was my first man crush of this new crop of young QBs and looked to be the guy to retire Old Man Brady. Alas, injuries to his offensive line and Tompa selling out to win last year derailed that storyline for the moment. But, I still love my man and forever will.

Las Vegas Raiders (8-8, 2nd place in 2020): So, I watched the The Hangover Trilogy again a few weeks ago. Then, on my shuttle to the Logan to fly to Pennsylvania to visit family, two ladies were excited about their trip to Vegas. I imagine both are infinitely more entertaining than anything the Raiders will do this year.

San Die…er, Los Angeles Chargers (7-9, 3rd place in 2020): They will forever be the San Diego Chargers to me. Aside from that fun fact, I’m all in on Justin Hebert, but it’s not a man crush. I’ll drop him like a bad habit if he can’t stay in form this year.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens (11-5, 2nd place in 2020): I mentioned earlier that I used to be a Steelers fan. On some level, I always will be. However, I also consider myself a bit of a free agent. Given autonomy over my fandom, I might actually like the Ravens and Browns more than the Steelers. Talk about an about face.

Cincinatti Bengals (4-11-1, 4th place in 2020): Even though I like Joe Burrows and want him to succeed, I will not root for the Bengals. Fuck them guys.

Cleveland Browns (11-5, 3rd place in 2020): The Browns, on the other hand. Love them Browns. I’ve loved Baker ever since college. The talking heads shit on him for being too much of a college student after they shit on Tim Tebow for not being enough of one. Hoping the North comes down to a race between the new and old Browns.

Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4, 1st place in 2020): My grandfather (and possibly my father) is rolling over in his grave after my comments about the Ravens and Browns. I don’t want to break their hearts even further, so I will leave it at that.

AFC South

Houston Texans (4-12, 3rd place in 2020): For a few years there, everyone was enamoured with JJ Watt and picked the Texans to win the AFC. And, every year, they finished under .500. Thankfully, that trend seems to have passed.

Indianapolis Colts (11-5, 2nd place in 2020): If you asked me to give you the Indianapolis Colts record to save someone I love from a Jigsaw style trap, they’d be the one dead before the opening credits.

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15, 4th place in 2020): They have a new stud quarterback. They have the new hotness as head coach. They had a new running back. Well, they still do, but he’s on the injured list for the year, so he’s not going to contribute much. The past few years I advocated for sending the Jags permanently to Europe to start expansion into that continent. They can stay this year.

Tennessee Titans (11-5, 1st place in 2020): I liked the Titans as the Bills nemesis in the playoffs last year and look forward to that rivalry blossoming into the future. Aside from that, I don’t have much to say about them.

The Verdict

Thanks for reading my 2021 AFC Preview. I expect more of the same out of the conference. KC will toy with everyone and maybe flirt with an undefeated season. The AFC South will disappoint me and I’ll be talking about shipping them all overseas by midseason. One thing that will be a surprise is that I might actually root for the Patriots this year. I want Mac Jones to be successful and that’s been enough in the past for me to bury the hatchet and start rooting for a team. Join me soon for the NFC!

Note: All teams and the single logo used on this web page are the property of the NFL. They are used without consent (written or otherwise), but only in good fun. If you’re feeling litigious, please refrain from throwing your vast legal resources at this small page that caters to my kids, Chris (Hi Chris!) and about 25 Russian bots (Hi Sergei!).

DC Future State: The Great

Introduction

Chris clued me into DC Future State. I knew nothing of their plans for…whatever it is. Immediately, we though reboot. DC assured us this wasn’t the case. Okay, must be an event, then. Upon reading the books, I confirmed that with a text to Chris. I don’t remember the exact wording, but I’m pretty sure it was along the lines of, “This isn’t a reboot. It’s not an event, either. The Batman and Aquaman books are just like regular books. I’m so confused.”

Me to Future State: Who-What are you?!

Yes, I just dated myself with yet another reference. This movie is so old and there have been so many movie jokers since that I had to use an oddly specific search term. Plus, as you see, I wrote the text under the meme like some sort of plebian. Living in the future isn’t always the utopia they make it out to be in the movies.

And so, faced with my own mortality and bitter that I spent over 100 dollars on what feels ultimately like a failed reboot that they tried to repackage as an event, I read only the writers I like. Okay, that’s not entire true. I eventually finished the other books for the first round, but I haven’t made it there on the second round of books. And, now, before they move on and act like nothing happened, let’s look at the great from DC Future State.

Catwoman (Ram V and Otto Schmidt)

Joelle Jones and Tom King got me to start collecting Catwoman. I almost bailed after Joelle left and they cycled through writers. Then, Ram V came onto the title and I started collecting and reading voraciously again to support one of my favorite comic writers.

He took up the mantel of Future State Catwoman writer, as well. Ram loves him a heist story. Sure, it fits the character, but the same storyline over and over gets old. Well, guess what? Cats and friends board a train with heist intentions. I admit to liking this story very much. I mention that only because very few of the main title Catwoman titles kept my interest like this one. Hopefully Ram V can keep the inspiration and momentum going and bring back Cats in the main.

Dark Detective (Mariko Tamaki and Dan Mora)

I’ve made no secret of my fan boy love for Mariko Tamaki’s writing. I don’t remember where I discovered her, but her work on X-23 was top notch. Come to think of it, that might have been the first book of hers I read. I watched Logan, loved the portrayal of our favorite Wolverine clone in that and picked up the book based only on that. Hey, cross promotion works! She brought her talents to DC as writer on Wonder Woman and now Dark Detective in Future State. Surprise! Bruce Wayne is dead. Now, from here, I can go one of two ways with an inside joke. I can either use an overused line that one of the Simpsons Facebook groups I frequent and say, “That’s right! Dead serious about going to Itchy and Scratchy Land!” But, I think I’ll go with family favorite, Voldemort.

Spoiler Alert: Bruce Wayne isn’t really dead. Nevertheless, a sinister and possibly evil (aren’t they always!) police force took over Gotham and rule with an iron fist. Tired storyline to be sure, but Ms. Tamaki gives us a compelling storyline in spite of the limited environment. If DC went ahead with Future State instead of making it a tepid collection of one shots, I’d definitely like to see where this book went.

Justice League (Joshua Williamson and Robson Rocha)

Justice League Dark (Ram V and Marcio Takara)

If I’m being honest, I only got this title because of Justice League Dark. You already knew that, though. Imagine my surprise, then, when I saw Joshua Williamson wrote it. I enjoyed his Flash very much and have kept an eye out for his name ever since. This book follows the pattern of the others. We introduce the new Justice League. Some familiar faces in the group, but ultimately it goes nowhere because both DC and Marvel are afraid to take a leap and try something new.

As I wrote to Chris, I get that the market is different, but this whole Future State thing now just feels like the latest 2099 trip, which were simply half assed as a series of one shots. As with that “experiment”, some failed spectacularly. This is supposed to be about the ones that succeeded. This one mostly succeeded. And, Justice League Dark made it worth the price of admission.

Legion of Super Heroes (BMB and Riley Rossmo)

At this point, I only include this one because of BMB’s legacy. After his, let’s say “inconsistent”, runs on Superman and Action comics, I need a break from Bendis. I knew almost nothing about the Legion before this book. I still know very little. I definitely need a break from Bendis.

Swamp Thing (Ram V and Mike Perkins)

I saved this read for last. Chris and I both love the character of Swamp Thing. Honestly, his guest spot in Batman at the beginning of Rebirth cemented my decision to keep collecting DC Comics. You all know that I’m not much of a DC fan, but I always try to give them a chance and the benefit of the doubt.

This title represents all the potential of Future State. It features a lesser utilized character in a bigger role. It gives us a glimpse into a possible future that is both a hopeless post-apocalypse and a hopeful pre-rebirth (pun sort of intended). This is the best title of the lot and it isn’t even close. I can’t wait for the main title.

Wonder Woman (Joelle Jones)

I already said above that the Catwoman ongoing after Rebirth introduced me to Joelle Jones. She wrote the character in such a unique way that it kept me coming back in spite of the fact that I’ve never been a fan of Cats other than maybe Michelle Pfieffer’s portrayal in Batman Returns.

She brings that unique voice and storytelling to a new Wonder Woman. Having little history with the character other than the movie and collecting since Rebirth, I don’t know if this particular Wonder Woman has any history in the series. However, I like the character and wish we got more of her. Oh well, Future State, we barely knew ye.

The Verdict

Overall, DC Future State: The Great delivered. Each writer gave us a compelling story that I wish would be followed up in some form or fashion. You might ask why I only reviewed these books. If you remember, I ordered all of the books. However, other than these and one or two surprises, the books were underwhelming.

I think once I realized that Future State fell into this weird limbo it took some of the luster off of the books. As we all know, don’t count anything as ever completely over in the world of comic books. If DC ever grows a set and decides to follow this thread at some point in the future, it can be great.

Marvel Comics March 2021: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

Well, another week passed with limited content. I wrote a review of WandaVision last Sunday in the hopes that it might inspire me to get back on track because all I planned for last week was comic reviews. I suppose that school is more detrimental to the development of the page than I thought. So, Marvel Comics March 2021 arrives nearly a week late.

As the snail says, amirite? Image found here.

It took me a paragraph to get to the Chris and I texted portion of the article. I texted him to say that I might need to follow his lead and start looking at some indy comics because my DCBS order has been right around 50 dollars. For some context, before Covid, I regularly paid 75-100 a month for comics.

Books cancelled or delayed. Shipment problems. That one Chris mentioned during our text exchange. He mentioned having to supplement his books through Midtown. I said, yet again, that I wanted to stop at the comics store in Jaffrey to see if I can’t pick up some of the books I missed over the last year. Stay tuned. Perhaps in future installments, but for now, Marvel Comics March 2021 has only 5 books to review. As a result, I will revert back to the earlier format for reviews and give each book its own section.

Amazing Spider-Man 59 (Nick Spencer and Marcelo Ferreira)

The Great (Skeletons in the Closet): Both Harry and Norman returned for the latest “Spider-Man in Peril” story. I commend Spencer for mostly leaving the Goblins in the past and giving both Osborns a new purpose in this arc. Harry torments Spidey as the new character (spoiler alert) Kindred as Norman wrestles with the past and tries to repair the family legacy through his son and grandson. So far, his effort failed, but some headway is made in this issue, at least, with Normie. It remains to be seen how Harry’s story plays out this time.

The Good (Why Would They Ever Kill Aunt May?): Aunt May “died” once during issue 400. She also got mortally wounded during Civil War and that kicked off the One More Day storyline that some consider to be one of the worst stories in the history of Spider-Man. I hope they learned their lesson from that. Don’t ever kill off Aunt May. Her heroism during this story serves as a reminder of her selflessness and heroism. Aunt May is, and always will be, the real MVP of the Spiderverse.

The Decent (Mr. Negative needs to go away): I understand that Spencer brought back some 2nd and 3rd tier villains for this story. For the most part, I appreciate that choice. However, I have no use for the Mr. Negative story and would rather they release Kindred and give him another chance. I know it will happen eventually, but I have no patience right now. Only 5 books in my pull list, Marvel? They better be good.

Avengers 42 (Jason Aaron and Luca Maresca)

The Great (Wolvie’s reaction to the Phoenix Force): It came at the end of the issue and nearly saved the entire issue by itself. I say nearly because the rest of the issue is just so bland that not even Logan’s apprehension at being given control over nature’s most destructive force can drag it out of the doldrums.

The Good (The final reveal): Ever since the Legacy reboot, Avengers focused on the history of the group going all the way back to prehistoric times. The embodiment of the Phoenix Force featured prominently in that history. Now, this issue confirms (?) something long assumed. Again, the final interaction between the Force and Thor almost saved the issue. Almost.

The Decent (The rest of it): I have no use for this story. Given what I said about the end, perhaps that will change. In lieu of an actual review, allow me to give Aiden’s thoughts.

Aiden: “There’s this guy with a shield, but he’s not red, white, and blue. He’s orange?”

Me: “Yeah, that’s Captain America with the Phoenix Force.”

Aiden: “What’s up with Hulk?”

“That’s She Hulk.”

“Now, Logan has the Force?”

“Yeah, that’s my favorite part.”

“I just don’t get it.”

“This hasn’t been my favorite story lately. Not a good time to jump in.”

Fantastic Four 29 (Dan Slott and Ze’ Carlos)

The Great (The Previous Storyline Continues): As you see, this issue has tie ins with the Venom story, King in Black. Naturally, that warps the story some. However, our intrepid heroes still work to deal with the fallout of that previous story and Slott manages to work that in mostly seamlessly in spite of having to symbiotize the book.

The Good (About Those Symbiotes): I always like to see how they “Venomitize” heroes. A few years ago, they put out some of those Pop figures where they looked like they wore the symbiote costume. I planned on purchasing all of them. I actually purchased none of them. Through this non sequitur, I attempted to illustrate how excited it made me to see the heroes succumb to Knull.

The Decent (King in Black): With that being said, I have no use for King in Black. I admit that some of the lead in issues got me interested. However, like Death Metal and even Dark Knights before it, I didn’t collect the main series and I certainly didn’t buy in like with Civil War and even Secret Empire. Perhaps that’s my Marvel bias showing. Then again, I mostly ignored Empyre and can’t wait until King is Black is over so I can have my comics back.

The Immortal Hulk 43 (Al Ewing and Joe Bennett)

The Great (Joe Fixit): The Leader destroyed Devil Hulk. He also trapped Banner in Hell. Dumb Hulk looks like a puddle of melted Jell-O. That leaves Joe Fixit, stuck in Banner’s body and unable to change into Grey Hulk, to pick up the pieces. He does an admirable job for much of the issue until Jell-O Hulk needs to take over.

The Good (The Set Up): The reveal at the end of the previous issue got me excited for the show down between Hulk and Gamma Flight. A training montage only increased that excitement. Finally, they took a trip to the desert base of Hulk’s birth. Oh, man, this fight is going to be epid.

The Decent (The Lack of Pay Off): So, about that epic fight. It, uh, didn’t happen. All this gearing up and no fight. Unlike Avengers, which got me slightly more excited for the next issue, this one just annoyed me. Yes, we are closer to the fight. But, we still have to wait at least one more month. And, according to the math, we only have 7 issues left. Need to pick up the pace here.

Venom 33 (Donny Cates and Iban Coello)

The Great (Spider-Man’s talk with Dylan at the beginning): Clearly, the recent history with the Osborns has matured Mr. Peter Parker. He gives Eddie’s son Dylan one heck of a pep talk to jump into the fray and help in the fight against Knull.

The Good (Eddie and Flash reminisce and arrive at an agreement of sorts): The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Good to see all of the Spidey old heads coming back for a reunion to defeat the common menace. I just wish that I cared more about that menace that feels like it was cooked up in a fever dream and never quite reached maturity.

The Decent (I won’t say King in Black again, but I guess I just did): There is no connection for me in this story. I don’t care one bit about Knull or the fact that it represents the eventual end of the Marvel universe if it wins. I enjoyed the Venom arc before all of this happens and I hope that Cates can recapture that once this is all over and done.

The Verdict (Marvel Comics March 2021 represents several disappointments)

As I just said, I’m quite disappointed in the overall quantity and quality of the books I received in my Marvel Comics March 2021 shipment. Immortal Hulk and Amazing Spider-Man both continue their consistent great storylines. Fantastic Four and Venom are both tied into an event that I have no interest in, but they’ll hopefully be back. And, the Avengers are in the same boat with the Phoenix Force story. Add to the fact that I think there’s still something wrong with the supply chain. No Captain America? What about Thor? Where’s the X-Men?

We Love Wandavision (Part 1)

Introduction

I already reviewed the first 4 or 5 episodes of WandaVision on the page. Searching for the post to add the link confirms that it was 5 episodes of the show. The title is not a lie. This show took our family by storm and became must watch viewing from episode 1. We love WandaVision Part 1 implies that there might be more than one article in this series. While I can’t promise that’s the truth, I have a lot to say about this show.

Based on this post on my Facebook, others have a lot to say, too.

While it may seem awkward, some of the sections in this post will come in the form of reactions to the responses I received on that post. Since the page doesn’t quite have the reach I always hope it will, I can’t respond to anyone here. Hopefully some of you reading out there will have some of the same reactions and it will feel like we are having a conversation about this really great show.

In this post, I plan to address the first couple of episodes, the overall theme of the show, the fan theories that almost all went kaput, and where do they go from here? Before we get too far into it, though, a word of warning. I neither care nor respect the culture of “No spoilers”. I won’t actively spoil anything, but I won’t be careful about what might be considered a spoiler. You’ve been warned. Let’s see why we love WandaVision Part 1.

Those First Episodes

What is with this show? Why are they ripping off Dick Van Dyke? Where’s Hulk Smash?

I probably addressed this is the previous article. But, we are nothing if not thorough around here. I constantly repeat myself in case an article picks us up a new reader or two. Several people in my orbit (and by orbit, I mean one of them is a famous individual who I follow on social media) came away from the first two episodes disappointed.

Having possibly watched two of the most epic movies ever made (Infinity War and especially Endgame are in my top 10 movies of all time, MCU or not), they wondered why two of the most powerful heroes from those movies now played house in black and white complete with the messed up dinner and messed up magic act in the talent show trope. I implored the friends over who I believed I might actually have influence to stick with the show. It will pay off, I promised.

I’m not going to be disingenuous and say that I’m not here to gloat. I’m totally here to gloat. After all, it’s the sole reason for this post. Whereas other comic book “fans” went off about Mephisto this and X-Men that, knew. I knew about pain, suffering, loss, and grief. Let’s just leave it at that. I knew.

The Overall Theme of the Show

The show finally accomplished what Marvel has been trying to do since they rebooted their most popular heroes in the early and middle 2000s. It brought a new audience into the Marvel universe. My wife, Christine, who often sneered at us when we talked about how excited we were about the latest Marvel cinematic offering and went out of her way to avoid the movies like the plague, bought into this show from the first scene. The mother of one of Aiden’s friends also found herself watching the show with her son.

Here’s the thing. They both became curious about the backstory behind these characters. We ended up watching Infinity War and Endgame to give the most recent history. Then, Christine actually asked to go back to watch the chronological order of the movies. We are currently at an impasse because she wants to skip Iron Man 3 and the 2 GotG movies and our boys aren’t letting her. Hopefully, soon, we can resume because the GotG are my favorites, but I’m staying out of it.

The mother mentioned earlier said she had some of the same questions as Christine, so I summed it up for her thusly. Wanda is a witch. Vision is an extremely powerful AI given humanoid form. They are in love. Vision is killed by Thanos who looks to balance the scales on a cosmic level. Infinity War and Endgame, if you want the backstory, but not crucial. Her brother was killed by another villain named Ultron. That’s Age of Ultron, again not crucial. Driven a bit crazy by the death of her brother and lover, she created this alternate reality to have the life denied to her. And, guess what. Yep, gloating time again. I mean, honestly, people, it’s in the bloody title.

Fan Theories that Ultimately Fizzled

I admit that I paid little to no attention to these. Along with Star Wars, there is a sect of Marvel fans that became insufferable about the MCU and tolerates no deviation from the comic stories that they know and love. It started with organic web shooters during the Toby Maguire era. Like most of these underground internet communities, it grew into an unnatural den of anger and suffering.

Though, I admit to flirting a bit with the dark side after Spider-Man 3. It took the Avengers to get me back on board with the MCU.

Regarding WandaVision, the two most prominent theories I saw were a retelling of House of M, but instead of wishing mutants out of existence, Wanda wishes them into the MCU. With the acquisition of FOX, this made some sense. Then, FOX Quicksilver showed up and it looked like the old boys might have stumbled onto some inside intel. Alas, that rabbit hole proved too deep and Quicksilver is just our husband Ralph.

Apparently Mephisto fan boys (and girls?) exist because that’s the other one I heard bandied about from the beginning of the show. This one made the least sense to me. I suppose they derived inspiration from the Spider-Man story “One More Day” (I think that’s the one where Mephisto deals with Peter to give him back Aunt May, but takes everything else), so I give them credit for doing their homework. However, nothing else added up. My jaw dropped at the Agatha reveal like anyone else, but it made more sense that a rival witch showed up to throw a monkey wrench into the proceedings than Mephisto and his meddling ass.

Where Do They Go From Here?

I won’t do an “explained” type post, though it would probably get me more hits if I did.

The protagonists “won”, Agatha rests in a flesh prison of her own design (Admittedly, not the fate I wanted for her, but an appropriate end all things being equal), the Vision is whole again, and Scarlet Witch (yes, they finally gave her name!) went the Thanos route and retired to a mountain retreat. I mean, yeah, she’s astral projecting and reading from and old gods cursed magic book. But, baby steps!

I’ve been trying to figure out Scarlet Witch’s character arc since the beginning of the show. It feels like they have been setting her up as a big bad to be redeemed. That only left when the redemption might actually happen. At the end of episode 9, it appeared that Wanda was at peace with her decision and willing to move on to bigger and better things. As a colleague noted, in the end credit scene, she looked to still be a little bit bad. Back to square 1.

What I can say for sure is that she will most likely be in a post credit scene in Spider-Man to set up for her next big starring role in Doctor Strange. Also, no matter her role in that film, it always seems like even when she tries to do right or good, it ends up blowing up into unintended consequences. Thanks for reading my recap of WandaVision Part 1. Stay tuned for a possible part 2 and maybe even a part 3 and 4 after watching the series two more times between now and next year when Doctor Strange releases.

Not sure what’s going on in our WandaVision Part 1 review? Go watch the show on Disney Plus! Know exactly what we’re talking about? Come watch it again with us!

DC Future State February 2021: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

Technically, all of these books released in January. But, you know what you get here at 2 Guys Gaming. I’m not part of the comics media elite (yet, and I may never be, but hope springs eternal), so I order my books from Discount Comic Book Service and they arrive all in a big box at the end of each month. And, so, you read the general review of the first month of books DC Future State February 2021 instead.

If I’m completely honest, and I usually am, I considered calling this “Month One” instead of February 2021 to cover up my deficiencies. Delightfully devilish indeed, Seymour.

I originally planned to review each book individually as I do for all of my comic reviews. That plan is unfeasible for a couple of reasons. One, there are a ton of books (my order doubled for this month) and I only give myself a week to read and review the books. Two, none of the books have been very good so far.

I ran the gamut when it came to opinions of Future State. Initially, when I thought DC planned to use it as a reboot, yet again, I met it with my usual cautious optimism. When Chris assured me that DC said it was an event and not a reboot (though that’s looking to be delightfully devilish on their part in retrospect), I jumped all in. I put ever single book on my pull list. I even added a few variant covers by mistake. Now that I read a few of the books, put me on the (spoiler alert) extremely disappointed list. What makes DC Future State February 2021 so disappointing? I’m glad you asked. Let’s start with the good news first.

The Great

Sorry folks, no great this time. I wager there are more than one or two great books here. They have some of their best writers (Tamaki, V, Jones, Bendis, among others) on the “project”. So, once I get around to reading them on vacation, I might write an amendment to give them their props. Overall, though, as mentioned, the books give me the impression of a failed reboot that they repackaged as an event. It all looks and feels like the next generation reboot that pissed off so many Marvel fans about a decade ago now.

As I wrote to Chris, nerds are a fickle bunch.

I, personally, would have more respect for them if they just powered through the awkwardness of another reboot until the books got good again. You know it would happen eventually. The hard core collectors would keep collecting because they’d be afraid of missing out. The lovers like me and Chris would grab the books that held our attention and eventually found new books to enjoy. The casual fan (haha), if they still exist, would pop in here and there. Who knows, you might even expand your audience. Again, I mock, haha. Instead, we’re met with this mealy mouthed “event” in which nothing really happens.

That can be forgiven when Bendis writes for a title for 3 or 4 years. There’s bound to be lulls in the story. But, when you give these characters 2 or 4 books in which to be introduced and possibly concluded? Those books had better be damn good. And, quite frankly, they just aren’t.

The Good

Marketing – I often say that I’m not very susceptible to marketing. I say it almost as much as I say that I don’t hate Tom Brady. Both come out of my mouth (and virtual mouth) enough that you may think that I’m compensating. Chris has said as much on numerous occasions. Honestly, that may be partly true.

Mostly, I repeat myself because I don’t know which post might lead someone to the page. Therefore, I feel the need to explain myself on as many articles as possible so people know what they’re in for. To make a long story short…

Even though I generally feel like I don’t respond to marketing, of course I do. It’s just that marketing needs to be tailored exactly for me. DC accomplished that with Future State admirably. I went from not caring and maybe picking up a few titles that interested me to ordering every single title they published. Well played, DC.

The Decent

The Stories: I don’t mean to imply that the books are bad. They’re not. Admittedly, at this writing, I’ve only read three of them. However, the overall trend follows this pattern. They’re DC books set in the future. Sure, Aquaman mentions the multiverse. However, the Batman Superman and The Next Batman stories are just Batman and Superman stories set in a near future dystopia.

Don’t get me wrong. That’s all fine. It’s just not “event” stuff. As I said, it looks, smells, and feels very much like an aborted attempt at another reboot. I give them some credit for trying to switch it up and give the reboot some flavor. However, I have no respect for backing off and then trying to resell it as an “event”.

This is no event. Civil War was an event. Planet Hulk was an event. Secret Empire was an event. This is a well (at least to suckers like me) marketed shift of focus. Again, nothing wrong with that. They invested quite a bit into this and want to see some return. I just don’t understand why they’re being so coy about it. Perhaps their margins are thinner than Chris and I have feared all these years. If so, do what you need to do to keep making comics, guys. I’m 100% behind you.

The Verdict

I will read the rest of the books in DC Future State February 2021. I’m on break next week, so I’ll need things to keep me occupied. Perhaps I will also write an addendum article with some of my free time. I mean, there are some great writers and artists on the project. Almost every one of my favorites is involved other than Tom King and James Tynion. I suppose some had to stay back to hold down the fort when we return to the present. At the risk of sounding like one of those comic nerds, that return can’t happen soon enough. In the meantime, there’s always WandaVision.

Note: Header image from here.

Marvel Comics February 2021: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

Well, football is finally over. We recovered from the emotional trauma of watching Tom Brady win another Super Bowl. Hell, that one event devastated me so much that I even forgot that Alabama won another national championship. January indeed represented a dark time in our page’s history. But, we can safely put all of that behind us. Welcome, fans of 2 Guys Gaming, to Marvel Comics February 2021.

No lame joke. I just realized how weirdly February is spelled.

My high on Marvel Comics dulled a bit last month. I still put all books in the Great and Good categories. However, all three good books took a turn for the worse last month. I know that every month can’t be a winner. However, add in the fact that Spawn dragged on for about 20 pages too long and it looks like we are in the winter doldrums for comic books.

I should have seen it coming. My pull list went from almost 100 dollars at times in the middle of last year to just over 50 dollars the last few month. I think there are only 7 titles in my Marvel list for February. Plus, Marvel scheduled Immortal Hulk to end in less than a year. Sure, DC made up for it by blitzing us with Future State, but I’m going in to this Marvel Comics February 2021 review less than enthused.

Thank goodness WandaVision and Falcon and Winter Soldier are here to save us from mediocrity.

The Great

Amazing Spiderman #55-58 (Nick Spencer, Mark Bagley, et al): I feared a bit of a let down with the end of Last Remains. I needn’t have worried. Spencer came through again. Good ending and now Petey has to deal with the fallout, which promises to be potentially deadly.

Immortal Hulk #42 (Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, et al): I didn’t care for the Jackie sequence. The Gamma Flight sequence was compelling, but ultimately unnecessary. This issue nearly bumped Hulk to “Good” for the month. However, the Leader “in The Below” and Utrecht starting to pull out the stops at the end sets up for a potential fun next few issues.

Thor #11 (Donny Cates and Nic Klein): Man, I love this Donald Blake story. Throw a little Jane Foster and some murderous tension for good measure. Also, we get to see what Thor’s been up to. The final reveal nearly made me put this in “Good”, but I will give Mr. Cates the benefit of the doubt because this story has been so great.

Venom #32 (Donny Cates and Iban Coello): Eddie’s dead? Flash is back in symbiote form? So many questions that perhaps will be answered when I finally pick up the King in Black main story. Perhaps not. But, unlike the previous issues, this one makes me want to check it out.

The Good

Fantastic Four #28 (Dan Slott and RB Silva): The story was interesting. I enjoyed seeing what the Griever had in store for some of our intrepid heroes. The main problem is that the issue wrapped up a bit too quickly.

X-Men #16 and 17 (Johnathon Hickman, Phil Noto, and Brett Booth): I feel like I’m missing something with this latest iteration of X-Men. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the story. I just honestly have no idea what is even happening half the time. Someone give me some issues I need to read to catch up.

The Decent

Avengers #40 and 41 (Jason Aaron and Javi Garron): Boy, this story went off the rails quickly. I remember writing during the introduction to this story that I looked forward to the eventual payoff. Now that it’s here, I feel 100% meh about the whole experience. What could have been great has just become another beat ’em up with the Phoenix Force as the prize.

The Verdict

Marvel Comics February 2021, like Spawn before them, took a bit of a step back this month. It appears as if much of their focus is going into King in Black right now and the quality of their other books is suffering as a result. Mind you, they’re not bad. They just don’t “do it for me” (I’m pretty sure that’s a movie or television quote, but I can’t find it right now)

No, he doesn't do it for me.
Of course, Spaceballs.

in the same way that the books of the past few months have. Maybe I’m just out of the Christmas spirit finally.

Super Bowl LV Post Mortem: A Love(?) Story

Introduction

No other title in the history of this web page matches as well as Super Bowl LV Post Mortem. Hell, I needed almost a week to mourn the loss. Thank you for your patience during this radio silence. I promise next week will be back to normal. I plan on finally finishing the comics from this month and either playing D&D with the family or doing the new MTG set review.

RIP in pepperonis my excitement about the National Football League.

Well, Tom Brady won….again. He looked flawless…again. In all honesty, I fully expected the Bucs to win. As I texted Chris when I heard the news, “Paranoia is setting in. The entire Chefs offensive line is backups.” He replied with a story from WEEI that said half of the team might have COVID after getting hair cuts. That turned out to be untrue. Nevertheless, Tom Brady and his deal with the devil endures.

And, still, this outcome dilutes my anticipation of next season. Sure, you could make the argument that I should be anticipating the revenge and redemption story of Patrick Mahomes. Sorry, I’m just not that kind of fan. I watch football at this stage in my life because I find it fun and I find no joy in Tom Brady curb stomping Mudville out of existence. In the interest of getting back into the habit of posting, let’s do this Super Bowl LV Post Mortem.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Instead of wallowing in the swamp that is my indifference towards what others call greatness (Look, I admit, he’s great. It’s also boring.), I will focus on the positive. An impossible task? As a great man once said, “You underestimate my power.”

Granted, that didn’t work out so well for him. Perhaps I should choose my allegiances more carefully.

If we go back to my preview article about the Bucs, I listed two people that I’d be happy for if they won. Granted, I did write that article on a high that Kansas City was going to thoroughly eviscerate Tampa Bay. Now that I have to face the reality, do I still feel the same?

Sure, I picked Gronkenstein mostly as a lark. But, I admit that I actually feel good for the old lunk. I can’t explain my sudden change of heart that doesn’t extend to The Golden Boy. Oh well, best to not analyze it. Just wallow in my hatred. Avoidance is a healthy way to deal with our problems. Speaking of avoidance…

I’m extremely happy for Bruce Arians. Again, I say, the Steelers made the wrong decision in picking Ben over him. This extremely limited data point proves me right on that point. Congratulations to Mr. Arians. He deserves this and if any coach could get me to feel even slightly good about a Mahomes loss.

Kansas City Chiefs

And, so, we congratulate the Buccaneers on winning the Super Bowl. It’s just too bad that they had to win because the other team forfeited the game. Avoidance and denial. Two healthy coping mechanisms for sure. Though, to be honest, a forfeit comes close to the truth. I will say one thing about the Chiefs. Bill Maher made the point by saying, “Somehow this team is still called the Chiefs. Washington doesn’t even have a name. They’re literally just ‘Team’, but these guys get to keep Chiefs for some reason.” I guess love for Patrick Mahomes blinds me to the blatant racism of this team name.

The Verdict

Growing up, the Super Bowl always sucked. Most of the time, the NFC won in convincing fashion. Tom Brady changed all of that. Nearly every game he played in was exciting and decided by a field goal or less. For a while, I enjoyed that change of pace. Little did I know that I’d be enjoying that change of pace for over 2 decades. Time for some new blood. Hopefully this is a one time thing and I can find a reason to look forward to next season.

Note: All teams and the single logo used on this web page are the property of the NFL. They are used without consent (written or otherwise), but only in good fun. If you’re feeling litigious, please refrain from throwing your vast legal resources at this small page that caters to my kids, Chris (Hi Chris!) and about 25 Russian bots (Hi Sergei!).

We Love WandaVision Episode 5

Introduction

Why start with WandaVision Episode 5? Are you one of the people who questioned the initial premise? No, but I can name several people who did. People I respected as intellectual and even one who works in the industry. Wait, what? Do you have connections to people in entertainment? Well, technically, yes. A former student is living and working in California and a friend from a message board is a stand up comedian and bit actor in some TV shows and movies.

In spite of the success of the previous Presidential administration, I still believe this.

Instead, I speak of Wil Wheaton, who posted on his Facebook page that he felt the first two episodes wasted the potential of the characters and the time of the audience watching. He nearly gave up on the show because of it. Also, a friend said that he lacked confidence in the show’s creators to make it more than an homage to classic television sitcoms.

In all honesty (there’s that word again), I simply didn’t even consider doing a review of the show until this morning when I went back to bed after discovering we had a 2 hour delay remote day. As I fell asleep, I thought about the article that I planned to write, a review of Kaldheim cards because the set released this weekend. For whatever reason, the idea popped into my head to write a review of WandaVision Episode 5.

How Did We Get Here? (Spoilers Abound!)

Episode 1: Wanda Maximoff, one of the most powerful magic users in the Marvel Universe, and Vision, probably the most powerful Artificial Intelligence in that same universe, live in a 1950s sitcom loosely based on Bewitched. Haha, get it? WandaVision! Perhaps, a bit too on the nose. What’s this at the end, though? Someone is watching this television show. Are they controlling the show?

Episode 2: Now, on to the 1960s and a wacky plot point about the gumming up (literally) of Vision’s innards and a magic show potentially gone wrong. The twist (well, there are several) revolves around Wanda’s sudden pregnancy. With it, comes another oddity. A beekeeper exits from a manhole. Wanda says simply, “No”, before turning back time. Fade to color as the 1970s enter.

Episode 3: Wanda’s pregnancy is progressing…and quickly. The doctor’s car conveniently breaks down so that he and his wife can’t go on vacation. Pregnancy is causing Wanda’s powers to go wonky. Babies arriving! Vision goes supersonic to get the doctor. He still isn’t fast enough. When a stork arrives to indicate that the babies are imminent, a neighbor shows up to deliver the babies and drop the bomb on Wanda about her brother. Wanda ejects the neighbor, Vision meets the babies, and agents surround the ejected neighbor. After this episode, a small brained individual on the internet made fun of me for pointing out that it looked like things were about to get real. Haha, he mocked, that stork sure was something.

Episode 4: We see who has been watching. We also learn the identity of the beekeeper. The neighbor who delivered Wanda’s twins is revealed to be working with them both. What could easily have been a filler episode ends up tying up several loose ends. It also opens new cans of worms. Told you, GTFO of here, rando on the internet. It’s about to get real.

WandaVision Episode 5

After episode 3 or 4, Christine asked to watch Inifinity War again. That led to us watching Endgame and then Captain Marvel. We showed her the chronological list of the movies. So, our Super Bowl marathon this year ended up being Captain America and Iron Man. Only two movies because they are so damn long. We rounded out the marathon with WandaVision Episode 5.

Aside from that, the point is that I explained the main plot points to the movies and the television show. I got the idea and expressed to a couple of friends, that I should do a Cliff’s notes for the MCU. I said that I’m sure it already exists, but the show is bringing in new viewers and maybe this can be the thing that finally gets me some notoriety. Apologies for that bit of indulgence.

What about this episode stuck with me for two days and led to this article? Well, we are now in the 1980s and stuck in a show resembling Family Ties. The twins age up twice in this episode and threaten to do so again at the end when their new dog ends up dying (rough, I know). Vision gets a glimpse of the world beyond Wanda’s control. Wanda interacts with the agents outside of her sitcom. The final reveal is the biggest mind eff so far when Pietro shows back up. But, that’s not all. It’s the Fox Studios actor playing Pietro.

As I posted on my Facebook, “Holy ess….”

The Verdict

Hot damn. I loved this show from the beginning. Like I said, I always knew there was something underneath the sitcom setting and honestly couldn’t believe that people thought, “That’s all there is?” Well, the first payoff was huge and with only 3 episodes left, I can’t wait to see what they do to bring it all together. Granted, that will only lead to more set up for the movies this year and next. Honestly, though, I’ve been looking for a reason to get excited about the the next phase of the MCU. Wanda, showing her power once again, has done just that.

We Love Super Bowl LV: Kansas City

Introduction

After yesterday’s awkward attempt to find good things about Tom Brady winning another Super Bowl, I present our preview of Super Bowl LV: Kansas City. Unlike a few years ago, I have an actual rooting interest in this game. To be perfectly honest, it might be quicker to list the reasons I don’t want Kansas City to win this game.

Because there are this many…

So, in the interest of finishing this article before the game starts, I will keep it under five. Just off the top of my head, I have three, so once I get writing, to stay consistent with yesterday’s article, I will stick to those three. Let’s explore, then, my top three reasons we love Super Bowl LV: Kansas City.

Travis Kelce

I never concerned myself much with Kelce. Occasionally, I picked him for my daily fantasy lineup. Usually, I won money in those instances. I guess that says something about the dehumanizing nature of professional sports. Maybe I just don’t have the time to keep track of my family, students, and also over 1600 NFL players. Hell, I barely even know all of the players on the Steelers and they’re supposedly my favorite team.

Editor’s Note: I stopped writing about here. Then, I went for a snow shoe with my wife. After, I cooked lunch and dinner while watching our Super (Heroes, not Bowl) marathon. And, so, it is that I’m finishing this article after the fact. I have to admit. It’s a bit depressing all things considered.

Andy Reid

I gave Andy Reid a ton of crap in the past. And, with good reason. The guy never met a clock management situation that he didn’t screw up. Then, something happened. That something isn’t just Patrick Mahomes. Granted, getting Patrick Mahomes helped greatly.

But, Reid just sort of started going for it. He ignored the tendencies that were holding him back and blew the lid off of the NFL. The league is a copycat league and so many coaches are now going for it on fourth down. Sure, you might argue this stems from Belichick and in some ways, I agree with that assessment. But, it’s taken a giant teddy bear like Andy Reid and his genius offensive coordinator, Eric Bieniemy, to make the moves more mainstream. There’s only one person I will feel more happy for than Andy Reid if the Chiefs win this game.

Patrick Mahomes

He already captured the league’s imagination and adoration. He won both a regular season and a Super Bowl MVP. And, he’s only 25 years old. A second consecutive championship cements him as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.

Did I mention that he’s only 25 years old? I may hold back my love and enjoyment of watching Josh Allen or Tua play. That has never been the case with Patrick Mahomes. He just makes football fun again for me. That’s been sorely missing for the last 15 years or so. The Chiefs truly can represent a seismic shift in the way football is played. Their 25 year old starting quarterback is at the helm of all that.

The Verdict

Apologies that I didn’t get this Super Bowl LV: Kansas City preview out before the game. I wanted so badly to finish it and meet that deadline. Instead, I have to waltz in with my tail between my legs confident in the fact that I was completely wrong about this game. Well, not completely wrong. I did text Chris a few days ago that my paranoia ran rampant at the news that Kansas City’s entire offensive line was backups. Like I just texted him, “Football is so unforgiving because it is only one game.” Oh well, Mahomes is 25 and hopefully this loss gives him some inspiration to come out and kick butt next year.

Note: All teams and the single logo used on this web page are the property of the NFL. They are used without consent (written or otherwise), but only in good fun. If you’re feeling litigious, please refrain from throwing your vast legal resources at this small page that caters to my kids, Chris (Hi Chris!) and about 25 Russian bots (Hi Sergei!).