Tag Archives: Review

Hearthstone DarkMoon Mini-Set: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

I often want to brand January as “new year, new games” here at 2 Guys Gaming. Other than the previous article about my introduction to Pathfinder, this year’s theme has again been an utter failure. I hamstrung myself by taking the week in between Christmas and New Year’s to talk about Mario Kart and the new D&D adventures I purchased. Also, this year’s Christmas brought many fewer new games than in the past. Luckily, Hearthstone Darkmoon Mini-Set and Magic the Gathering Kaldheim arrive soon to save the day.

I guess Santa figured that since we only play Minecraft around here, we didn’t need new games.

Those of you who have been following the Hearthstone saga this year might be surprised to know that people still play the game. The decision to add a battle pass angered many players. They may have quit playing altogether. At the very least, they complained very loudly on Reddit. In spite of it all, Hearthstone survived.

Now, I won’t take full credit for that. But, I will say that I was a voice of reason within the chaos. Sure, streamers like Kibler also tried to talk our fellow Hearthstone players off the ledge, too. Let’s agree that it was a group effort. Everyone played a role. I never got to preview the Hearthstone Darkmoon mini-set. I just bought it with 2000 gold, though, so might as well do a review.

Dual Class

Yes, Virginia, dual class cards are back. I think that means that dual class is now an evergreen keyword. I remember having a discussion about echo and how a card used the echo mechanic, but not the keyword. Someone said, “Well, that keyword was from this expansion and this is the only card with that effect.” I shrugged. Never stops WotC from digging up old keywords to shove onto the latest mono green overpowered rare. I’m just waiting for the next Future Sighted card with banding or some nonsense. You know it’s coming. The point is, I don’t understand why a digital card game that can easily program tool tips for each keyword. Eternal does so. Then again, this is Blizzard and they aren’t exactly known for their efficient programming practices.

Great: Guidance is pretty amazing. Two spells for two mana? That seems like an autoinclude in any druid deck. The versatility alone makes it probable for Totem Shaman and maybe even Evolve. Nitroboost Poison looks good for a Pirate warrior or Aggro rogue deck. 1 mana with corrupt? That’s just unfair. I threw Barricade in as a border case. I will discuss the other possibilities now.

Good: I considered putting both Ivory and Deadeye in the Great section. However, with Ivory, you need another cheap spell to trigger the spellburst that turn. And, Deadeye is too easily removed to make it more than a single turn impact. The corrupt clause on the Hoarder is nice, but three mana to corrupt is a bit slow. Before, we had Mass Hysteria. Now, we have regular old Hysteria. Warlock and Priest get another board clear. How quaint.

Decent: Rally feels far too situational to me. I’m trying to think of the good minions for each class. I guess with priest, you have cleric and the bird man. But, you’d need follow up man with both. I got Resizing Pouch from a discover and never played it. I guess the Phoenix could be used for lethal set up, but I have yet to see it have an impact.

Class Cards

Great: 2 mana Consecration (most of the time)? Don’t mind if I do. The Racer combos with Frost Nova and Blizzard to be a board clear, especially if you have spell damage, which most mages do these days. X’anesh is a personal choice since I like playing Corrupt Priest decks. Outcast abilities are often ridiculous for their cost and this card triggers them automatically. The cheat feels like a power creeped Kirin Tor Mage. Likewise, they nerfed Fiery War Axe all those years ago, then gave us the 2/5 taunt guy who gives a free one and this is basically a 1 cost version. GG, Blizzard. Speaking of GG, 3 mana and 3 damage for 3 cards? Ye gods.

Good – Bola is removal and removal is always good. Drake, if corrupted, is solid stats for the cost. Some priest played Lightsteed against me and basically autowon the game with it. Celestial can be good in a combo with some bigger minions. Shenanigans are just that. Going to mess with card draw decks. Like the Wheel, this will almost always be a 4/6 and it is a battlecry, so persistent. Felsaber follows in the shadow of the Griffon (or Roc or whatever). However, being a DH card, it is naturally overpowered.

Decent: Anything with Treants is usually overcosted or just trash. This card is situational in token druid, I guess. Like Resizing Pouch, I discovered Biscuit. It’s delayed 2 mana. Good for cheap Spellburst, I guess? Libram of Judgement is an overcosted Truesilver Champion. However, it is a libram. I might be very wrong about this card. Mistrunner is normal Shaman trash buff. Rustwix is the randomness that Blizzard loves so much. And, Saddlemaster is typical trash Hunter random beast nonsense.

Neutral

Neutral – None of these cards merits too much of a discussion. There’s the undercosted 1 drop with 1/3 stats. A garbage murloc with some random keywords. Trash Legendary that will end up beating me at some point. I guess Blackwing is an answer to a solo Ragnaros on the board (which is something that I faced just the other day). Finally, Deathwarden feels like it could be fun in Battlegrounds. I wonder if they have any plans to make that happen.

The Verdict (Hearthstone Darkmoon mini-set is hopefully a nice change up)

I often give Blizzard a ton of crap. It is out of love. I can’t stand Hearthstone as a card game. More often than not, I end up swearing at the game in a way that I’m not proud of. Most recently, Demon Hunter was an error of epic proportions and they just keep piling on. Seriously, nearly every single Demon Hunter build is viable. It’s absurd.

However, they are willing to try new things and use the digital format to their advantage. I like Battlegrounds and will even try Duels every now and again because it is something different from other card games. This Hearthstone Darkmoon mini-set adds some new cards that will hopefully offer a change in the meta. Due to the fact that Blizzard mostly just supports Standard, the meta gets stale much faster than in other card games.

DunGeons and Dragons: Destination Ravnica?

Introduction

Dungeons and Dragons: Destination Ravnica? The title says it all. I remember back when Wizards of the Coast purchased the Dungeons and Dragons property from TSR, Inc. Being one of those grumpy old man gamers (more so even than I am now as an actual grumpy old man) who railed against the conglomeration happening at the time. I mean, generally speaking, it is a bad thing.

And this is under unfettered and unregulated capitalism. Technically, it’s not a monopoly, right?

Then things more or less went as they had been. It was like the Activision acquisition of Blizzard. People were concerned about that, as well. I mean, sure, you can make an argument that it hasn’t worked out well. And, trust me, people have made that argument. However, I still play Hearthstone daily and the new trailer for Shadowlands has me thinking about picking up World of Warcraft again.

My main point is that the WotC acquisition of Dungeons and Dragons and then the acquisition of WotC by Hasbro has more or less gone off without much of a hitch. Sure, there have been some growing pains, but mostly unless you knew, you’d probably not even know the difference.

Does this qualify as a growing pain? I mean, I enjoy playing it and so does Quinn, but I’m sure there are people who stopped playing MtG because of this.

Okay, that’s not exactly true. In addition to putting the MTG license on board games, they have also released Dungeons and Dragons products with Magic the Gathering lore. The first I heard of this was a campaign based in Ravnica. This makes sense because Ravnica is quite possibly the most popular plane in Magic the Gathering. Well, I finally got around to picking up the sourcebook for the campaign. How is it? I’m glad you asked.

The Great

Well Integrated – You got Dungeons and Dragons in my Magic the Gathering! You got Magic the Gathering in my Dungeons and Dragons! Two great tastes that taste great together? Well, actually, yes. I spend some time in the Dungeons and Dragons Beyond character creation and simply from that I can see that they’ve been able to blend the two games almost flawlessly.

As Chris and I discussed, the art alone is nearly worth the price.

In Depth – Not that I expect any less from Dungeons and Dragons, but you never know. They could have easily just mailed it in. They didn’t. There is an absurd amount of information in this book about the plane of Ravnica and the denizens that reside there. I felt like I was being transported to the plane of Ravnica as I read through the book. Honestly, they’re probably just happy that they get to finally share all of this information with us.

The Good

Sample Adventure – Speaking of mailing it in, the sample adventure that they’ve included in the book feels like just a bit of generic Dungeons and Dragons with the Ravnica characters tossed in for some flavor. I get it. It’s just a sample adventure and D&D has a certain feel to is, so maybe all adventures/games feel like this. I know I had a similar reaction to Pool of Radiance.

I mean, it is cool to see Krenko in this context.

Character Creation – As mentioned earlier, I spent a good two hours in the Dungeons and Dragons Beyond character creation tool. So, why isn’t this in the great section? Well, I now have these two characters that I’ve invested time and emotion into and now I don’t have a campaign to play them. Poor guys.

The Decent

Tables to create adventures – I know that not everyone is creative. However, I was a bit taken aback by the tables that they put in the book to create an adventure. Basically, nearly all of the decision making and creativity is taken out of the task of being a Dungeon Master. Ultimately, it doesn’t affect me and I can ignore it.

And, truth be told, I’ll probably use it once or twice for giggles.

I want more! – Yes, this is a cop out. No, I don’t care. Honestly, the only “bad” thing I can find about this is, in spite of how in depth it is, I still want more. More lore, more characters, more story. The whole thing is just a testament to how much I love both of these games. I can’t wait for Theros to be released.

The Verdict

You never know how these crossovers are going to go. Especially in comic books lately, their super summer crossover events have been lackluster. However, Dungeons and Dragons: Destination Ravnica is an overwhelming success. I already have the adventure that I wrote for the family and I will be sure to expand on that, but there’s nothing that says we can’t have multiple campaigns. See you on Ravnica!

POOL OF RADIANCE: Noob’s Way Back Machine

Introduction

I don’t know if I ever played Pool of Radiance. One of my most fond memories of high school is playing Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve already talked some about my memories with paper and pencil D&D. However, I also have extensive experience with the computer games as well.

The thing about the PC games is that I don’t have specific memories of which games I played. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I remember playing the Spelljammer game and I remember playing at least one of the Dark Sun games. I don’t know if I played any of the Dragonlance games, though I’m almost positive that I did at one point or another. It remains my favorite setting even today.

In case there was any question, we’re putting the “way back” in Way Back Machine today.

One game I’m almost positive that I never played was Pool of Radiance. Why, then, am I picking that game to feature? Well, according to my extensive research (a single Google search), it is the first of the PC games to feature the mechanics of D&D. So, it’s only fair that I pick that one as my first entry into the Way Back Machine. If it goes well, I might take a look at one of the Dark Sun games in a couple of weeks. If it goes poorly, I definitely will.

The Great

Decent Graphics – I know many of you will scoff at this. And, you might have a right to do so. However, compared to my expectations, this game blew them away. Granted, I’m not sure what my expectations were, but I clearly forgot about the capabilities of those early games. There were different sprites for the different monsters and you were able to customize your characters to some degree.

I mean, doesn’t he have the classic dwarven features?

Surprisingly in depth – Again, I’m not sure what I was expecting. I mean, we’re not exactly in the prehistory of games, but 1988 is pretty early in the history. The Super Nintendo (when I really started to become involved in video games and consider to be the start of good graphics and consistently good gameplay) is still 3 or 4 years away. I guess the old PC gamer mentality of being a step ahead was true at the time. In addition to the character creation feeling almost (you don’t individually roll stats, but you do pick alignment) like pencil and paper, the features of the game are greater than the sum of their parts. Let’s talk about some of those features.

The Good

Intuitive – Granted, this isn’t pick up and play if you haven’t played Dungeons and Dragons before. It will take some getting used to. As I told Chris when he texted about flipping through a source book, “It’s a whole other language. However, like Magic, once you get used to it, it’s second nature.” This game is very much along those lines. Within a half an hour of (probably too in depth for a simple review article) character creation, I was into the game and wiping my party. (More on that in a bit)

Minimap – Again, those of you who have grown up in modern video game times might get a chuckle out of an oldbie like me thinking that the minimap is worth of mention in the article. But, hear me out. Being an oldbie pencil and paper D&D guy, I took about 5 minutes to look for some graph paper to start drawing my own map of the town before I realized there was a minimap built into the interface.

Even so, my map would have been more detailed.

The Decent

The Story – The story of Pool of Radiance isn’t bad. In fact, it’s actually pretty engaging and gets you into the action quickly. I’m not surprised because this is a TSR (the owners of the D&D license before WotC bought them) product. Even so, the story is pretty generic RPG stuff and isn’t engaging enough to keep me coming back for more. That’s to be expected since The Forgotten Realms is the most generic of D&D settings

Pool of Radiance is hard! – So, I went to the City Hall to find out what commissions I could collect. “Go to the ruins and help clear it of monsters.” Okay, sounds good. Let’s kill some monsters. First encounter in the ruins? A party of kobolds. No problem, right? Wrong. 2 party members dead. Crikey! Let’s rest. Nope. Interrupted by a party of monsters. Let’s rest in the city. Nope. It costs 1 platinum to rest in the inn. Let’s rest in an alley. Nope. Caught by the guards. WTF. Okay, how about a temple? 100 gold pieces for cure light wounds. Jesus. Fine. Now, back into the ruins. Second encounter is a party of orcs. And, we’re all dead. Well, that was fun.

Lucky I saved my game. Now, if only I could figure out how to load it.

The Verdict

Pool of Radiance is a game that definitely stands the test of time. Over 30 years later and I will probably keep going back to try to at least defeat that first dungeon. Who knows? Once I do that, I’m sure that I’ll be back to try to finish the rest of the game. Then, I’ll move on to other games in the series. I have been playing the game on this web based emulator. However, I recently discovered a place that has the game plus a bunch of others for only 10 bucks. I just have to vet the source to make sure that it is legit and not bloatware or virus ridden like the old Limewire files. In spite of the frustration of the game being hard, I suggest you give it a try.

2019 NFL Season Review Part 2

Introduction

Welcome to our 2019 NFL Season review part 2. Yesterday, we did the first part of the review by playing Santa Claus and giving each of the AFC teams a late Christmas gift. Today it is time for the NFC. Then, at some point during the week, I will do New Year’s resolutions for each of the teams.

Apologies for all of the NFL content. It’s my way of trying to get back into the swing of things for the new year. I promised myself and the page that I would do something. Then, life got busy again. Yes, that is a bit of a convenient excuse. But, it’s also true. Okay, enough about me. Let’s give out some more gifts.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys weren’t quite the horror show that the Browns ended up being. However, they did underperform once again after a promising previous year. Jason Garrett, as much fun as it is to watch him on the sideline, needs to go. Since I gave Urban to the Browns, enjoy Lincoln Riley, Dallas.

New York Giants – I give them a peaceful and painless Eli Manning retirement. He wasn’t as historic as big brother. However, he did give you two Super Bowl victories over the Patriots. For that, he has my undying gratitude. God speed, Eli.

Philadelphia Eagles – Eagles fans are a miserable bunch. They went 9-7 this year and limped into the playoffs. But, they’re happy as long as Dallas isn’t and Dallas isn’t happy. So, the Eagles have everything they need. Please, just lose in the first round and go away.

Washington Racists – I will forever wish only one thing on this disgusting organization. Get a new name. I know that will only happen if Dan Snyder is gone, so draw your own conclusions.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals

Los Angeles Rams – I grant the Rams the ability to go back in time a few months and not hamstring their entire organization with the Jared Goff contract. That guy stinks on ice. Oh, and wunderkind Sean McVay? Yeah, about that.

San Francisco 49ers – I appear to have already given the 49ers one of the best gifts I possibly could. I picked the Seahawks to win the division and, ultimately, the Super Bowl. Apparently, that went right up on the billboard in 49ers locker room. You’re welcome.

Seattle Seahawks – I give the Seahawks a healthy running back that doesn’t have one foot in the retirement home. Beast Mode coming back is wonderful and heartwarming. However, it isn’t going to do much to erase the demons of Super Bowl 49.

NFC North

Chicago Bears – Last year, Da Bears got eliminated from the playoffs due to the “double doink”. This year, the wheels just fell off. I’m giving them a lucky rabbits foot, a four leaf clover, and a horseshoe. Hopefully that counteracts whatever bad mojo has been rising.

Detroit Lions – Earlier in the year, I was again surprised to learn that John Matthew Stafford was still a starting quarterback in this league. This has been an annual epiphany for at least the last three years. He is a gift unto himself.

Green Bay Packers – I give the Packers a peaceful week off and plenty of snow next week for the Saints to come into town. If things go the way I expect, that will be next week’s game.

Minnesota Vikings – I give the Vikings a pat on the heads and an “Atta boy” for making it into the playoffs. I just have a feeling the Saints are gonna steamroll them. No chance at a “Minnesota Miracle” this time.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons – Another team that grossly underperformed this year. I give you and your fans some time off to think about what you did to the league and other fans this year. It wasn’t a kind thing that you did and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Carolina Panthers – Chris told me the other day that Josh McDaniel was being considered as the head coach of Carolina. I replied with an “LOL”. Please, for the love of all that is holy, I give you any coach but him.

New Orleans Saints – I grant New Orleans the greatness of my presence this summer. I know that sounds conceited and it just might be. I’m just saying that I visited South Carolina last year and now Clemson is in the championship. Coincidence? I don’t believe in coincidences.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – I give Jameis Winston LASIK surgery. I don’t know if he actually needs it, but he did become the first 30/30 man in the NFL. Sure, it’s entertaining as hell, but it had to be frustrating for TB fans. Both of you.

The Verdict

All 32 teams have been given their gift. Man, I don’t know how Santa does this every year. I’m spent after only 2 days of writing these articles. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoyed my 2019 NFL season review part 2. Join us the rest of the week as we do NFL resolutions.

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!).

2019 NFL Season Review Part 1

Introduction

Here we are at both the end of the year and the 2019 NFL Season Review part 1. As Chris and I have both said numerous times, it has been an interesting season and the playoffs should be fun this year. I’m, personally, pulling for Buffalo. But, I realize this is just their “sneaky” year and we have to wait until next year to see if they are for real.

Also, my pick a few weeks ago was Baltimore and Seattle, but injuries have hit them hard. I know it is boring, but I’m amending that to Baltimore and San Francisco for the “Big Game”. (Super Bowl, there I said it. Please see my note at the end of the page, NFL.) As in the past, I will do actual previews for the playoffs. That’s where this little gimmick started, so it’s only fair that we pay homage to that. But, that’s later in the week.

Now, we wrap up the 2019 NFL season with a few more cheeky articles. The first one was supposed to happen before Christmas. I was going to get a gift for each of the 32 NFL teams. So, even though it’s about a week late, let’s play NFL Santa. On with the 2019 NFL season review part 1.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills – Two weeks ago, I would have said that the Bills didn’t really need anything. They were a game out of the division lead and playing the Patriots. Then, they lost a close one against the Pats and took this week off against the Jets. Now, I will give them a playoff win to get into the second round.

Miami Dolphins – Now, this is the team that needs nothing. They got their annual final week victory against the Patriots to knock them out of a first round bye. I read that Ryan Fitzpatrick has now beaten the Patriots as a member of every other AFC East team. That’s a great stat.

New England Patriots – I normally don’t like the Patriots, as you all know. However, as I’m still in the Christmas spirit, I will give them one of the best presents I can think of. With Brady decidedly on his way out, I will follow up on a rumor I heard a few weeks ago. New England Patriots, I give you Tua Tagovailoa. Treat him right.

New York Jets – I will get them a DVD review of the year of the Super Bowl III win. That might be the last time this franchise had a serviceable quarterback.

AFC West

Denver Broncos – Sure, this was a forgettable season, but they live in Denver, where both weed and mushrooms are legal. They won’t have any trouble forgetting. Merry Christmas, Broncos.

Kansas City Chiefs – All I want for the Chiefs is bubble wrap armor to keep Patrick Mahomes healthy. Sure, Lamar Jackson has taken over and become the darling of the league, but Mahomes was my OG QB man crush from last year. Keep that man on the field.

Las Vegas Raiders – All I want for the Raiders for Christmas is that they find a forever home. Los Angeles, Oakland, Las Vegas, London. It simply doesn’t matter. Just pick a place and stay there, Raiders. You’re embarrassing yourselves.

San Diego Chargers – I want to give the Chargers something similar and I think you can figure out what it was by my “typo”. Regular readers of this column know that isn’t a typo. The Chargers belong in San Diego and there’s no reason (other than blatant money grab) that they are in LA).

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens – This has been a year of reconciliation for me and the NFL. First, I’m willing to give the Patriots my college QB man crush in the draft. Now, I’m 100% rooting for the Ravens to win the Super Bowl this year. There, I said it.

Cincinnati Bengals – Okay, now this is a team that needs Santa. Or, maybe Jesus. Hell, probably both. I’m just granting them and their fans merciful end to this nightmare of a season. I told you I was feeling generous.

Cleveland Browns – I grant the Browns a new coach! What? Freddie Kitchens has been fired? Well, I am the most efficient Santa ever. Maybe they’ll be able to snipe the Cowboys for Urban Meyer.

Pittsburgh Steelers – At the end of last year and the beginning of this one, I would have given the Steelers a new coach. Only a couple of weeks ago, I texted Chris with the hot take, “Tomlin is the coach of the year.” He calmed me by reminding me that Buffalo was guaranteed to make the playoffs. So, this year, I give the Steelers my undying affection once again. I’ve always liked an underdog.

AFC South

Houston Texans – I give the Texans a slight chance of beating my Buffalo Bills in the playoffs. I know it is in Texas and that the Bills offense hasn’t quite lived up to the defense, but I think the Bills are good for one more win this year. Aren’t I feeling generous? Well, yes, but usually I say the AFC South just shouldn’t exist, so this is a plus.

Indianapolis Colts – The best thing for this team would be for Tom Brady to pull a heel turn and come to Indianapolis at the end of his career to bring them a Super Bowl. He’s obsessed with being the best and erasing part of Peyton Manning’s legacy would be fun.

Jacksonville Jaguars – I give them their continued existence. Just move them to London with the Raiders so I don’t ever have to watch them again.

Tennessee Titans – I give them my full support against the Pats. Yes, I’m still in the generous mood, but that only extends to the regular and offseason. I can’t take another year of watching the Pats stumble their way into the damn Super Bowl. Just end this next weekend, Tennessee.

The Verdict

The 2019 NFL Season review part 1 is done. All of the AFC teams will find their late Christmas gifts under the tree just in time to celebrate the new year. Thanks for reading and join us tomorrow to play Santa again with the NFC teams.

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!).

Marvel Comics Week of 06/30/19 Review

Introduction

Note: While this is listed as the Marvel Comics Review for the Week of 06/30/19, the comics reviewed are actually from a few months ago. Some might be more recent, but I’m still catching up on my reading, so most will be older.

I think that this might be the last of the retro review articles for a couple of weeks. With the release of Core Set 2020, next week I am going to focus on Magic the Gathering. Then, hopefully, the week after, I will do some more recent comic reviews. The boys have gotten into Marvel Puzzle Quest recently, so I want to piggy back off that momentum plus the release of the new Spider-Man movie.

Tony Stark, Iron Man #7-9 (“Stark Realities” by Dan Slott and Valerio Schiti)

The Good (I Like Dan Slott)

I’ve been a fan of Dan Slott on Spider-Man and enjoy what he’s been doing with Fantastic Four, too. When I saw that he was writing the new Iron Man book, I figured I would continue collecting after issue 600. Admittedly, it’s been a mixed bag, but hopefully things will pick up soon.

The Bad (This Story is Kind of Meh)

I said that this title has been a mixed bag so far and it starts with the story. There’s some sort of virtual game or other program that Tony created that became very popular. Now, the thing has gone haywire and it trying to kill it’s users. It might have even crossed over into real life in some way or another. I’m just not interested.

The Ugly (Tony Alone is too Much)

I think I texted Chris when I first started reading this title and the new Avengers book that I liked Tony much more in the Avengers than in his own title. I don’t know if it is the writing or just because Tony by himself is too much. I like it better when he is reduced in his role because the writer has to pay attention to other characters.

Uncanny X-Men 18 (“Something Hellfire Club” by Matthew Rosenberg and Carlos Villa)

The Good (Mr. Sinister and Emma!)

Two of my favorite villains were in this issue and that kept me going through what is another uneven offering from the House of M. I was genuinely excited about this title when it was announced that they’d be doing away (?) with the X-Men color series and consolidating into a single Uncanny title (which is the only X-Men title that should exist in my oldbie opinion), but this one hasn’t grabbed me. Again, maybe it will get more exciting.

The Bad (What is this team?)

This is not my Uncanny X-Men. I can’t even remember who all is on this team. That’s how bad it is right now. I mean, you bring out the Z team for X-Men Fuschia, not Uncanny. Please, for the love of all that is holy, give me my Uncanny X-Men. I’ll even understand if Logan is off doing his own thing. As long as the rest are there.

The Ugly (How many times…?)

How many times are they going to do this extermination of the mutants story? They just did an extinction event and before that was the 187. Is that literally the only story that they have for these characters at this point? Just stop already.

Captain America #7-9 (“Captain of Nothing” by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Adam Kubert)

The Good (Cleaning Up after Secret Empire)

I’ve mentioned before. I wasn’t much of a Captain America fan until Brubaker somewhat redefined the character in the 90s. Then, the movie version became one of my favorite characters. Secret Empire did some damage to that fandom, but I did want to see how they were going to clean up after that. It was a bit messy at the end of the event. Now, though, I like the direction that things are going.

The Bad (The Aftermath is Bad)

This is to be expected. When you take one of the most popular characters and completely retcon them to be the opposite of what they were, things are bound to get bad. When that is compounded by what is actually happening around us, it approaches ugly. While they’ve done a good job of trying to fix things, it will take some time to get back to normal (if ever). God, I hate writing that.

The Ugly (Not Quite as depressing as Secret Empire)

This story isn’t quite as depressing as Secret Empire. However, with things the way they are in real life, things are still pretty ugly. I’m hoping that changes soon. It seems like I’m saying that a lot in these books. I can see now why Marvel hasn’t been as popular in the comics scene as in the movies.

Venom #12 and 14 (by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman)

The Good (Love that Horror Vibe)

When Marvel relaunched after Secret Empire, there were two books that I enjoyed. One was expected (Hulk) and the other was a bit of a surprise (Venom). Both had a distinct horror vibe in common. I’m glad to see that they haven’t changed their minds about that for this book and Chris says that Hulk is still nailing it, too. Who knew? I’ve never been much of a horror book fan.

The Bad (Another Retcon?)

I’m not sure if this is a retcon or I missed the notes, but it feels like they’ve changed the origin of the symbiote suit. There’s some weirdness in here that I can do without. It doesn’t make things not enjoyable. It just takes me out of the narrative a bit when they start in with the new stuff.

The Ugly (Eddie’s Family Past)

This doesn’t feel like something new, but it might be, too. There’s some story in #12 (I think) about Eddie’s father and the abuse that Eddie suffered. I don’t remember that from the original story way back when Venom was introduced, but it makes sense. Abuse in any form is ugly, but it does make the character a bit more well rounded.

The Verdict (Marvel Comics Week of 06/30/19 Review)

The books that I read this week were uneven. Tony Stark is not my cup of tea so far. Uncanny X-Men has a long way to go to become enjoyable for me. Both Captain America and Venom are very good and I will continue reading them to see if they can keep it up.

I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to read the first two books, but definitely check out Captain America and Venom. If nothing else, read Venom and Immortal Hulk. Those are probably the best two Marvel books out there right now. Until next time, Excelsior! (Old joke now made a bit melancholy thanks to Stan Lee passing away.)

Power Play

(Editor’s Note: A�TLDR: A�While not a perfect movie, or even a perfect representation of the franchise, this is a good movie and you should go support it so that they make more! I gotta have more Rangers!)

As I’m sure it is in many houses with boys, ours is a Power Rangers house. A�I don’t remember–and I don’t think–that Liam was a super fan. A�Aiden, on the other hand, loved the show from the first episode he watched. A�And Quinn is a super fan. A�He has watched parts of every season and will periodically rewatch parts of his favorite. A�He wore a Red Ranger costume around for the better part of a month a couple of years ago. A�He even wanted to wear the thing to go see the movie a few weeks ago.

That, of course, is why I’m writing the article. A�Christine mentioned that she wanted to take her dad to see the new Beauty and the Beast. A�As if by chance (and I”m realizing that there may not be any such thing as chance), I saw a trailer for the Power Rangers movie. A�It just made sense. A�She and her father can go to Beauty and the Beast and we go to see Power Rangers. A�With the plan hatched, all we had to do was bide our time.

MUAHAHAHAHA! Okay, I admit. As far as evil plans go, this one is pretty lame, but it is no less…evil.

The boys spent their time watching and rewatching old episodes on Netflix. A�I got into the fun because Twitch did a marathon leading up to the release of the movie. A�I also essentially put the trailer on a loop to hype myself even more. A�Hey, I’ll be the first to admit. A�I was excited to take the boys to see the movie, but I even said to Christine, “I think that this movie is just as much for me as it is for them. A�Maybe more.” A�I may be many things, but I’m not afraid to admit that I have never grown up. A�Have never and most likely will never.

The funny part about it is that I did not grow up watching Power Rangers like I did with some of my other childhood obsessions that have come back. A�I was a teenager when the first season released here in the states. A�I think that one of my brothers really liked the show and that might be how I got into it even though I wasn’t the primary demographic. A�Well, that and I had a crush on the pink ranger.

Who among us didn’t?

So, that’s how we ended up at the movie. A�The question begs, “Is it any good?” A�Well, that’s complicated. A�I know what you’re thinking. A�This is the guy who says he loves everything A�If he isn’t saying that it is unequivocally good, that’s a bad sign. A�Plus, it hasn’t exactly gotten the best reviews. A�Why should I see this movie?

Woah, woah, woah. A�Slow down there. A�First, yes i do like and can find the positive in almost anything. A�Also, I did not breathlessly state how great the movie is and that you should rush out and see it immediately. A�It is great and you should see it. Maybe not immediately, but soon and definitely in the theater. A�However, in an attempt to be taken more seriously as a critic and be more well balanced, I present a new format for reviews. A�While I will look and sound like a hypocrite and fraud after blasting Blizzard for doing this in many of my articles, I’m still going to call it “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”. A�It’s a format I used when I was writing for my Steelers web page many years ago. A�In spite of the possible repercussions, it was a good gag then and I think it will translate now.

Plus, this movie is 50 years old. Who on the internet has even seen it at this point?

The Good (Always start with the good to soften the bad)

The highest praise that I can give this movie is that it’s Power Rangers. A�I mean, it’s not classic Power Rangers, but I understand that they couldn’t take the cheesy effects and bad acting, slap some shiny power armor on it, and charge upwards of 15-20 bucks per ticket. A�So, if you’re expecting the putty noise or Bulk and Skull shenanigans, you’re going to be disappointed. A�On a quick side not, I was disappointed that Bulk and Skull didn’t at least get a small part in the movie.

Other than that, though, this is Power Rangers. A�There is comedy that made both me and the boys laugh out loud more than once. A�There is legitimate drama. A�Of course, there’s action an dfight scenes. A�I’ve seen one or two complaints of not enough Power Rangers in this Power Rangers movie. A�That’s always the potential risk in origin stories like this. A�And, make no mistake, this movie introduces the characters. A�They are based on the originals, but they mostly have new stories to be told. A�Heck, there’s even Rita, Goldar, Zordon, and Alpha 5. A�It’s Power Rangers.

Did I forget to mention the Megazord? How could I forget the Megazord?

The Bad

The criticism that I’ve heard most often and the one that I agree with the most is that the movie struggles to find its audience. A�It is only natural that a franchise that has been around for so long and has fans from 5 to at least 41 ifi you consider only our family demographics), you need to thread the needle a bit to try to give everyone what they want. A�In that regard, the movie suffers a bit from trying to do it all and almost doing nothing instead. A�Almost. A�There are a few sour notes, but overall, Power Rangers walks the tight rope successfully. A�Yay, mixed metaphor!

In addition, these comic book movies have a certain feel to them. A�Ever since Sam Raimi helped to revive the genre with Spider-Man all those years ago and Christopher Nolan Batman movies added their momentum, comic book movie have been HUGE! A�Some live up and add to the hype (re: Avengers/Infinity story). A�Others stall a bit and don’t quite reach their potential (re: A�Batman vs. Superman). A�More still have been determined not to be able to sustain a movie franchise and instead are TV shows (Flash, Luke Cage, etc.) and a few have fizzled completely. A�It is my hope that the fans of Power Rangers will be able to buoy the franchise against the tide of criticism enough to allow it to find that sweet spot that this movie only just missed.

For instance, they could have cut down on the “learning to be Power Rangers” story a bit. Although, the “death of Billy (spoiler alert)” was really cool and took me by surprise.

The Ugly

I genuinely liked this movie, so this section most likely won’t be very long. A�But, I do want to expand a bit on that last point. A�Making movies, like sports, has become such a big business that there is little room for failure. A�This attitude pervades much of our society, but especially where there is money involved. A�Teams, studios, and fans can be brutal when assessing what is success. A�Sports fans, especially, are quick to define anything less than a championship as utter failure.

As I say, Power Rangers is being met with mixed reactions. A�I was actually surprised to see that the Rotten Tomatoes score was so low. A�Now, I’m not one to be swayed by critics, but perhaps borderline new fans might be. A�I just hope that not too many are turned off by the perceived negative reviews and give the movie a chance. A�It had a decent opening, so all of this worry may be for nothing. A�Then again, it has stalled some, so…*fingers crossed*

Also, and this gives me more hope (hey, start with the good and leave with good), this might be the type of movie that gains a following on DVD/Blu Ray/Streaming. A�Those on the fence might just wait until then because it is less of an investment and find that they disagree with the critics, love the film, and go see the second one in the theaters. A�Because I definitely want more. A�If they don’t happen, though, I’m glad to have had this one to share with my kids.

I mean, there has to be at least one more movie because they post credit scened us with Tommy’s jacket.