Friday, August 31, 2007

I think that about wraps it up for Countdown

Countdown is, at best, tiresome.

I'm a huge fan of Paul Dini, but I can't possibly imagine how he could be behind this horrible, horrible mess. I'm going to get a bit longwinded with a commparison here, but bear with me. I think it's relevant.

With whatever other qualms anybody might have had with Star Wars, Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, my biggest problem with the movie was the climax. George Lucas had us following four plot threads at once.

  • Little Anakin flying a fighter
  • Cool Jedi lightsaber fight
  • Princess Amidala fighting for her throne
  • Gungans vs. Robots

My problem was this was that you didn't follow any one part of the story long enough for it to make an impact. And the one part that everybody really wanted to see (Jedi on Sith lightsaber action) was over too quick, and then you were forced to watch something that, comparatively, sucked.

The reason for this comparison is that it describes the main problem with Countdown beautifully.

We're about 17 weeks into the Countdown (soon to be retitled to Countdown to Final Crisis) and what's actually happened in the book? This is a legitimate point to assess it... we're a third of the way there, more or less. Here are the plot threads in the book, as near as I can rattle them off my head:

  • Jimmy Olsen has SUPER-POWERS!
  • Mary Marvel's a witch!
  • Piper & Trickster are living a buddy-movie
  • Bob & Jason & Donna get lost (And Ryan's a bug)
  • Holly Robinson gets her Amaz-on
  • Karate Kid and Friend
  • and very seldom, Death of the New Gods

Now there may be more that I've missed, but I'm only interested in reading two of those stories at the moment. (For the record, the search for Ray Palmer, and the Death of the New Gods) But how much schlock do I have to wade through each week to get perhaps two or three pages of what I'd actually LIKE to read? And of the stories I find interesting, when I get them, there's never enough space to live up to their potential.

I'm done with Countdown. I may not manage to dodge the next issue next week due to my work schedule, but I'm dropping a cancellation notice on my next trip to the Dragon.

Countdown aborted.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

'Weird Al' Concert Aftermath

Well, much to my own surprise, we actually made it up to Carowinds to see Weird Al, and I have to say that the man can put on one heck of a show.

He opened up with Polkaramal, his latest Polka medley before tearing off into an impressive selection of his more recent material, with a few of his older gems smattered here and there.

Most of his most recent album Straight Outta Lynwood was represented in some way or another, and the best tracks of the album were played in full. Al and his band performed a medley of songs, most of which were on his last album Poodle Hat. Each song was given about a minute and half or so, and included the tracks eBay, Ode to a Superhero, Couch Potato and A Complicated Song. One of the more amusing moments in the selection was a new verse for his song Headline News (a parody of the only memorable song by the Crash Test Dummies, Mmm-Mmm-Mmm-Mmm) detailing Paris Hilton's arrest for a DUI.

A bunch of his hit songs got the full treatment, including (in no particular order) Fat, It's All About the Pentiums, Amish Paradise, Smells Like Nirvana, The Saga Begins, Yoda, White & Nerdy and others. He and the band were constantly changing costumes between songs, for the big numbers. All told, the show was about two hours long, and thoroughly rocked. At least if you're a fan of Weird Al. I would've liked to see a bit more of his older material, but the man can only be asked to perform for so long, and with a younger audience, he's probably going to hilight the songs they're more likely to recognize.

Between the songs, during the costume changes old Al TV segments were shown, and he played an extended version of Albuqurque as an encore. An awesome, awesome show!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Who Wants To Be A Superhero

After watching two episodes of the show, I'm of the opinion that none of the characters this go around have the presence of some of last year's entrants. (I was a big fan of Feedback, Major Victory, Ty'Veculus and Monkey Woman.) I kindof want to like The Defuser, but knowing that there's a 'mole' in the cast makes me more and more suspicious that he's the one. He's been taking charge from the start, and I wouldn't be surprised if he turns out to be Stan's undercover man.

Most of the characters this year make me wince. Parthenon is the biggest offender in that regard. I'm not bothered by the concept of a homosexual superhero, but his wealth of 'catch-phrases' just made my teeth grind. Ms. Limelight seems more like she's interested in being in a reality show than in crafting a superhero character. And Mr. Mitzvah is more of a caricature than a character.

At this point, I think I'd have to say that my favorites are The Defuser, who I suspect of being Stan's undercover agent, Basura, and Hyperstrike.

Hyperstrike, at least, apparently watched the last season of the show and saw the episode where Ty'Veculus didn't care for his costume change. Figuring he'd score some points with Stan, he admitted right out that he wasn't crazy about the costume change, but agreed to give it time to see if his opinion changed. At the elimination last year, Ty'Veculus was called out for not having been up front with Stan about not liking his costume. This year, Stan called out Hyperstrike for not liking it. Stan, you wacky old man... I guess for creating Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, we'll let you have it both ways.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Deadshot's a p-i-m-p!

Deadshot's so smooth he cops a feel even while shooting up the Iceberg Lounge. I have a new role model, folks.