Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Recap 31: Heart of Tarkon

Well, what do you know? I managed a recap after all. :-) Don't get used to it though.

Today's episode is "Heart of Tarkon" which, since it does not involve the name "Buzzwang," makes me cautiously optimistic. Also, I liked Maya at least.

Technophobes have good parties!

We start off with the image of a pretty planet with oceans and land and such. It has four moons, which is kind of neat too.

There's a fairly swanky looking palace structure amongst all the pretty green. And a weird thing that might be a robot or a weather balloon zips toward it.

Inside we see a bunch of dudes wearing headdresses that look like sabertoothed tigers with mohawks are blowing into horns. This announces the entrance of King Spartos, Lord of all Tarkon. Maya's in the audience. Yay.

A few folks in the crowd cheer his name. Everyone looks reasonably pleased. He greets the citizens and raises his hand in a vaguely Hitlerian salute and announces that he is humbled by their loyalty. There's a weird cloaked person standing near him.

Okay, that whole bit about protecting the "purity" of the world is making me a tad nervous. Anyway, Tarkon wants to be neutral to avoid being crushed between the Crown and the League of Planets. That's nice after Maya brought you those toys from the other episode, courtesy of Zach looking the other way, guy.

Hmph. That's gratitude for you.

Anyway, with the help of "Baron Atark" who judging from character design and music is EEEvil, he's drafted a treaty to ensure this. Maya is aghast, because she is actually sane and intelligent.

Baron McEvil gestures to the walkway above him where a slaver lord waits, flanked by two crown soldiers, and announces that he has the Queen's guarantee that they'll be kept in peace. Bullshit. I'm calling that now. To show good faith, they'll be sending observers.

This is giving me "To Serve Man" flashbacks.

Maya insists that they should join the League and learn the useful sciency stuff. She thinks that it's their only hope of survival. Her father, being a douche, silences her and announces that the treaty will be signed at the festival of liberty. Maya announces that she's free to invite whomever she chooses and storms off.

Baron McEvil subtly motions to the big purple guards, and they, and two other armed guards, leave. That can't be good.

An old guy with a staff, so you know he must be wise, calls this outrageous and says that he must see the king. The Baron orders him thrown out. He protest s but is thus thrown.

It's now night, and to the beat of catchy 80s music, Maya leaves the palace and ducks into a house, narrowly avoiding the guards. A cleft-jawed fellow in green and a short old fellow greet her saying that they'd heard the news. Maya has also seen the Twilight Zone and announces that any Tarkonian who goes there will become slave to the psychocrystals.

Maya believes Atark (Baron McEvil) blinded her father and declares she must make him see the truth. She reveals a hidden button and pushes it. A panel breaks away to reveal a League radio! Clever girl! She sends her message just before the guards interrupt and place her under arrest.

Jeeze, Tarkon sucks. Still, Maya and her friends aren't going quietly.

Mr. Lantern-Jaw is apparently an archer and makes quite the effective showing. Short old guy has a club and apparently badass judo moves. Nicely done! And Maya of course is doing well, though her staff prissily declares that lethal force is not required. Still even without zappage, Maya knocks her opponent into what looks like a wine barrel quite handily. The guards run for it.

Lantern-jaw sonoriously intones that they're not safe here, while old guy remarks that it'll be quite a party. Maya has faith that the League will help.

And indeed, in bright daylight, we see Ranger One touching down. Doc and Niko, both dressed quite swankily in navy blue tunics, silver sashes and white pants come up. Niko's got some kind of bag with her. I guess these would be Ranger dress uniforms? Maya asks after Goose, as most women would. Sadly Goose and Zach are on other missions. Probably they didn't have a dress uniform that fit. Doc makes a sweeping bow and points out that diplomacy is his specialty.

Maya introduces them to her father. Niko still has no last name. The guards raise weapons, but Spartos welcomes them as friends of his daughter, he does warn them not to use alien science here.

Off a distance away, the Queen makes her displeasure known to Atark via Slaver Lord. Apparently Atark was told to do something, he's done it. That can't be good.

Niko steps up, holding her bag thing which actually looks more like a drape-covered bird cage. She suggests that perhaps Spartos will find that they're not such bad people. Doc adds that the League sends a "beacon of friendship" and indicates the thing Niko's holding. It's odd, metal and glowing. She says that she hopes they'll put it near their sacred monument to show mutual goodwill.

Spartos agrees, and his cloaked advisor takes it and sets it beneath. Atark eyes it and ominously steps closer, but before we can see what he'll do, the old guy from earlier runs up and casts himself on the ground by Spartos's feet declaring that he must speak. Spartos permits it.

The man begs forgiveness, he's come from the haunted lands. Atark snaps that they're taboo, and Spartos acknowledges this. Niko surreptitiously taps her badge, while the old man continues, declaring that he went only in his service to find the "all-seeing eye."

Spartos protests that this is a myth, but the old man, who's a shaman by the way, insists that it does exists. Atark declares his actions sacrilege and kicks the old man away. He aims to follow for more kickage, but Doc carefully slides his foot out and trips him. I love you, Doc. In all fairness, Spartos doesn't approve of Atark's actions. Doc can't resist punning at Atark, who accuses him of doing it deliberately. Doc plays ignorant and Spartos, losing patience, simply declares the festival's beginning.

Suddenly an explosion strikes near the sacred monument. Eek. Atark accuses the Rangers. Niko insists it's not what it looks like, but Atark is all "You lie! This is sacrilege." It might help if you offer proof, guy. Sadly Spartos is an idiot. The guards ominously advance on Doc and Niko. Spartos declares that until the treaty is signed, the Rangers are confined to quarters.

Maya protests, but Spartos is an idiot. Niko and Doc cooperate.

Doc and Niko are situated in a nice room up in one of the towers. Doc wonders why the Queen doesn't just invade, while Niko suspects she's afraid of something. She sensed something about the shaman and wants to know what the deal is with the "all seeing eye." Meanwhile Doc's getting readings of a tech system. Doc plans to look around while Niko wants to talk to the shaman.

Niko pulls on an awesome cape and heads toward the balcony, on account of them not being able to go out the front door. Two fighters are whacking at each other while riding weird lizard things of an ilk that I think Goose has either punched in the face or otherwise menaced. The crowd is distracted, and Niko uses her powers to cause a rope to descend from the top of the tower. Niko uses her belt to slide down while Doc intends to stay behind for his snoopage.

Now landed safely on the roof, Niko sees guards below and takes a nice leap into the nearest tree. Above, Doc compliments her smooth technique and investigates another rope. This one apparently part of the carnival decorations. Doc is glad for his education in acrobatics at Miss Abercrombie's charm school. Hey! I think that's the first mention!

He swings into a window via tarzan yell and slams into some furnishings. When he gets up, his head is covered in a mask which startles him initially, but he seems willing to go for it. He grabs a cape and decides to take an unguided tour. The mask comes in handy as a maidservant assumes he's looking for the costume ball.

Doc ducks into a curtained area, removes his mask and taps his badge. He sends pathfinder out to find the advanced system.

Meanwhile, outside, two of the big purple guards are accosting the poor shaman. They pick him up by the collar. Niko is having none of that, and she's riding Mel too! I wish I had a robot horse! And an awesome cloak like that! She charges the group, knocking the guards aside and pulling the shaman on behind her. The guards chase.

In the costume ball, Doc is peering around, while Maya looks despondant in the corner. Thanks to a couple of irritating gossips, we know that people are snubbing her.

Huh, didn't she like save a good chunk of her people when she helped the Rangers against the General? That's gratitude for you. Maya, you're too good for your fucking moron planet. Doc agrees and pushes through, asking Maya to dance. Aw.

The Baron and Spartos interrupt. They are thankfully idiots who don't recognize that this tall African-American fellow is wearing the same dress uniform that Doc was wearing earlier. Idiots. Maya smoothly introduces him as "Lord Walter" because she's not an idiot.

The Baron might know actually, going by how he demands to know where Doc's sword is. Doc quips something about the bigger kids taking it away. Unfortunately, Pathfinder chooses this moment to show up and dive into Doc's pocket. The Baron shouts "Imposter!" and removes the mask. Spartos sounds aghast, because he's an idiot. While Doc runs for it. Atark of course shouts "Seize him!" Because he's that sort of guy.

Doc is tackled, and Spartos orders his arrest. Maya is aghast.

Back on Mel, Niko questions the Shaman about the All-Seeing Eye. Apparently it's the "eye of truth", enlightening, and is the property of the king. It lies in the haunted land. Mel notes that he's detecting an immence power source and Niko orders him to track it. Hunting down old relics is much easier with a robot-horse.

Niko and the shaman now stand in front of aglowing obelisk. The Shaman warns that they must beware the spirts, but Niko is all "We'll see." And shoots it. She's clearly been hanging out with Shane for too long. Then again, I suspect Shane would have shot the lot of them by now so it's probably a good thing he's not here.

Or a bad thing, if, like me, you find the Tarkonians annoying.

Anyway, the thing glows green and and then the glow fades. The shaman makes to step forward but she pulls him back and uses her powers instead. The obelisk apparently is singing. Then it gets bored of singing and greets them as "Seekers of Truth." Niko realizes it's a holographic projection. As indeed, there is a translucent giant fellow in front of it. I'm not sure how I didn't notice before. Huh. Oh well. It looks down and bathes Niko and the shaman in glowing light from its eyes.

The hologram notes that the Eye awaits those who "are true" and bids them enter the "Heart of Tarkon" whose doors conveniently open on the side of the mountain. They do.

Back in the city, Doc is addressing a letter to Miss Etiquette from his jail cell lamenting his lack of execution attire. His letter writing is interrupted by a guard announcing that Baron Atark wants to see him.

Inside the Heart of Tarkon, a giant head greets them. Niko asks the relevant question of what IS the heart of tarkon. The head obediently provides exposition. Apparently there was a war, hey! There's the Scarecrow! Neat!

Anyway, ancient enemies tried to destroy Tarkon and the survivors built a great computer to guard them with hidden moon fortresses. Ooo. Neat. I want moon fortresses! The Shaman asks why it never spoke before. Apparently, it's weak, but knows that Tarkon is in danger. Hence the summoning. A thing opens up in the wall, revealing a nifty green gem thing.

Hey, you try being precise during this time of year.

Anyway, the head declares that the King must have the Eye. Wow. That was easy. Usually artifacts don't WANT to be collected. It's a powerful sensor that will let the King see into the hearts of men. Neat.

Back in the palace, Atark's got a blade to Doc's neck and is demanding that he tell them what they want to hear. Through the Slaver Lord, the Queen wants to know "Where is Niko?" The utterly useless king steps in the room and orders this stopped at once.

Hm. Okay, maybe you're not completely useless.

The Queen orders Atark to dispatch of the occasionally useful king, and I can't help but wonder what Atark gets out of this? Is he just deluded? Does he want more power? What?

The guards run to attack the king but Niko shouts at them to stop, while the shaman presents the all-seeing eye. It looks like a coronet of sorts. I think. Or a tiara. I'm not completely sure of the difference. A head-thingy. It glows, and the King breaks through the guards and takes it. Nice break actually. I wonder if he's played football. He puts it on and scans Atark's heart.

Atark glows oddly and the King recoils. Atark is...controlled by the Queen. How utterly shocking. They advance on the King, and Atark draws his glowing blade, demanding that the King serve the Queen as he does. The blade however is shot out of his hands as Maya, flanked by her cohorts, appears on the balcony shouting "King Spartos serves no one!"

...I love you, Maya. That's a nice entrance. The archer takes down the queen's men, while Maya leaps down herself to take on Atark's cronies. One tries advancing on the shaman, but Niko's got that handled via swinging rope. I love you, Niko. His weapon is knocked free where Atark picks it up and holds it on the Shaman.


Doc...looks pissed, and as Atark pulls the shaman out the door. Doc picks up the sword and declares that Atark's his. Whoa.

There's running down of staircases, Doc holding his sword in his teeth as he grabs a rope and swings down to kick the Baron in the head. There's a lot of rope swinging in this episode. Then there's sword fighting and quipping.

Doc is left handed, or at least sword fights that way. Interesting! The Baron slashes his uniform, which annoys Doc as it's his best one, then demands to know where he learned to handle a sword. Of course it's Miss Abercrombie's Charm School. He knocks Atark over and out. While Maya takes out the crown soldier sneaking behind him. Yay! You two should totally date!

Meanwhile Atark's getting to his feet, but Maya warns him in time to send him flying. He grabs a rope and lands on the catwalk, but Doc still wins. As the others come up, he gets filled in on the All-Seeing Eye.

Apparently the staff is also a link to the computer. Maya asks them to keep the computer a secret as it would shame her father to know the truth. As opposed to continuing to arrest people using forbidden sciences I guess. They agree, and Doc promises that when they're ready, he'll help them wake the computer.

Now the King addresses the group, declaring that the Shaman and the "magic" of their ancestors had saved them. They'll remain independent and free of advanced technology. But at least the Galaxy Rangers will be welcome friends. The King leads Niko in a dance, while Doc escorts Maya out too. They exchange winks and the episode ends.


It was infinitely better than Buzzwang's Folly, thank god. Though the Tarkons are really fucking annoying. I'm still also shaky about why Atark was siding with the Queen to begin with. Granted, Slade and Killbane also work with her, but their motives are much clearer. Slade is a demented meglomaniac who wants to be her consort. Killbane's a mercenary. Atark? God knows.

I did like the focus on Niko and Doc. And hey, Doc got the girl this time! Go Doc! I missed Shane and Zach, but let's be honest, even ignoring the fact that Zach's half technology himself, and Shane's the product of it, neither would have any patience for this kind of thing.

Granted I wouldn't mind seeing Tarkon blow up, but Maya would probably mind. I like Maya.

I definitely like the concept behind the Heart of Tarkon. And the Scarecrow's presence was interesting! I'm assuming it gets revisited later on.

But yeah, fun episode. Some weak points, but still pretty solid. Good characters. And definitely much much better than the last one. :-) I'm satisfied.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Yay...still no post.

Okay, well, finals period has officially started, which means, as I'm sure you've guessed, a vast increase in filler posts and decrease in posts that actually have real content.

Especially recaps, though one should be up soon. Not today though. As I'm running late for errands and other stuff.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More X-Back Issue Reaction

One thing I'm realizing reading all of these back issues?

Iceman annoys the fuck out of me. It's so weird, because I remember liking Bobby Drake when he was the cute little prankster of the group. And I liked him in the X-Movies before they all went to hell. But as I think about it, his sole appearance in the 90s cartoon series annoyed me too.

He does have neat powers. But really, how much of an asshole can a guy be? I mean, take the whole love triangle with Alex "all the downsides of my big brother without any of his redeeming qualities" Summers, and continually and regularly comes out as the worse option!

How do you look like the worse option than Alex Summers? In the immortal words of my good friend Matt, "All he has to do to look better than Alex Summers is say 'Hi! I'm not Alex Summers!"

That said, I kind of like Alex in a weird way. If nothing else, I like him for this bit from Uncanny X-Men 57:

Alex Summers Is A Tool

Um, yeah, Alex? You can see. You still lose the sucky power sweepstakes.

I also kind of love him for X-Factor 39. In brief: they're fighting Sinister. It's not going well. Not in the least because the only team member who can actually hurt Sinister is currently paralyzed by a combination of mental conditioning and scary abuse flashbacks:

Traumatized Flashback 1

Traumatized Flashback 2

So yeah, there's a legitimate problem. The team figures out that Sinister went out of his way to neutralize Cyclops first because he's the only one who can damage him. So somehow this ends up with Havok volunteering to deal with his brother.

So how does our intrepid hero, now apparently a prodigy in the study of repressed memory, adult survivors of child-abuse, and PTSD flashbacks deal with the situation?

Alex Summers - Trauma Counselor

Verbal abuse and blasting the crap out of him! (Okay, yeah, it won't actually HARM him but STILL!)

And what the fuck are you wearing? Aren't you usually the slightly more macho Summers' brother? Are you trying to establish a rapport with your brother's time living on the streets by acting like a streetwalker?


Maybe I just have a thing for assholes.

At least the assholishness comes honestly. See, my favorite Corsair scene ever from Uncanny #391!

Corsair wins Father of the Year

Okay, granted, I'm sure we've all wanted to bitchslap Cyclops once in a while. But there are a few factors to consider in this little scenario: 1) It is pretty much right after the whole presumed-death/Apocalypse un-possession thing, so Scott's not really at his best at the moment; 2) this entire issue involved Corsair demonstrating the multitude of ways he's never tried to find out jack shit about his kid in the years since they had the whole "Oh wow, neither of us are dead" revelation, 3) Corsair decides after two unfortunate faux pas (namely "Why don't you light the fire with your eyes?" and "Isn't this sunset pretty and red") both of which Cyclops actually took fairly well, to go "Fuck it," and start walking off, and 4) Well, let's face it, there's at least some merit in the complaint. Considering that even in the real world people DO occasionally survive long falls from planes without parachutes, and neither brother is exactly going by a pseudonym, it probably wouldn't have been that hard for Corsair to take a few minutes out of his busy space-pirate schedule to just, y'know, come back and double-check.

I mean granted, Cyclops isn't much of a father either, but as far as I know anyway, he's yet to bitchslap Nathan, Rachel, or whatever umpteenth extra-dimensional brat he ends up with this week for complaining about it.

Congratulations, Corsair. You're now in the running for "Worst. Non-Villain. Father. Ever." Hopefully you'll be resurrected in time to collect your prize.

The sad thing is that, ultimately, even WITH this bit, he's still the best father-figure Cyclops has. No wonder he's fucked up.

Monday, April 27, 2009

I'm Not Hating Wolverine

One weird effect of mainlining a lot of X-books recently (what can I say, approaching finals get me in the mood for epic and cosmic angst) is that I've discovered that I actually do, sometimes, like Wolverine.

This is a weird feeling for me, since I've pretty much hated Wolverine since day one. And honestly, I still think he's remarkably overrated and overused. At the same time, when he's not the lead character of the story I'm discovering, I actually enjoy him. I'm the same way with Batman really. I like seeing him in relation to other characters more than I like seeing him on his own.

I do remember that I liked Wolverine in the X-Men Evolution cartoon too, now that I think about it. It was a clever idea to make him a teacher and completely change up pretty much all of his established comic relationships. It's also the only universe that can completely straight-faced include a scene where Cyclops asks Wolverine for advice on women. Though now, I'm kind of dying to see that happen in the main universe, somehow. I have the distinct feeling it would be hilarious.

It's still a weird feeling to not instinctively groan whenever I see Wolverine pop up on a comic book page. But on the plus side, I still hate Gambit! So not all has changed for good.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Things You Re-Learn When You Mainline a Bunch of X-Men Backissues

Charles Xavier is a really bad foster parent.

Honestly, Xavier, letting your color-blind son leave the house in that horrible suit? For shame.

(Picture taken from Uncanny X-Men 102, click for a larger version.)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Recap 30: Buzzwang's Folly

Good morning! I'm finally back to doing recaps! Which makes me happy, because recapping is fun. :-)

Today's episode is "Buzzwang's Folly."

This does not bode well.

I hate you, Buzzwang

Oh no. I'm already taking the cheerful opening music as a bad sign. Though at least the music gets a bit darker as we zoom in on some equally dark looking planet. One of the Queen's towers is there, and inside, a humanoid jester appears to be trying to entertain the Queen.

Hmm. I'm torn in my expectations now. In general, I tend to enjoy episodes with the Queen. But equally in general, I tend to hate Buzzwang episodes. Buzzwang is the Nightwing of Galaxy Rangers for me.

Anyway, the jester is introducing "Someone who needs no introduction" but this is belied by a metal hand shoving a card under his nose. It's the usual sort of ego driven spiel "giant among humans" yadda yadda. As it turns out, it's DOCTOR Lazarus Slade.

I do irrationally love Slade. I don't know why. I think it's the music. Also that he's a cowboy cyborg version of Doctor Strange. The Queen seems less fond of him than I am though. Considering that she recoils and calls him a slug.

Slade on the other hand calls her "radiant." This does not win her over. But his daring scheme might. He's obtained a fleet of Andorian hypercrafts that can reach Earth.

Huh, I wonder if this episode was supposed to be before Armada.

Anyway, Slade's planned an all out assault on BETA, and the man certainly does know how to hype himself up. All he needs is 2000 of her most daring crown agents. Would you settle for a girl scout in a canoe?

The Queen's more generous than me and offers 500 Plagos. Slade doesn't like this as Plagos are apparently the lowliest creatures in the Queen's domain, and it takes 100 to make one slaver lord. "And a midget at that." Whoa, that's not PC, Slade. Amusingly the jester keeps trying to mimic Slade's grandiose gestures.

The Queen wants to know how Slade intends to get by BETA's defenses, Slade tells her it's been taken care of. Soon the Queen's crypt will be filled with humans, and Slade will have proven himself worthy to rule at her side. The Queen disagrees.

Why doesn't she just slaver lord Slade?

On Tortuga, Slade is giving an inspirational speech to the Plagos about how everyone says they're lazy, weird and lack discipline, but they're wrong. Wow, Slade, you suck at this. Then again, I'm a Nick Fury kinda gal when it comes to inspirational speeches.

...okay, a cyborg cowboy Howler-era Nick Fury would be the awesomest Galaxy Ranger character ever. I suspect the closest we'll ever have to that is Nat Blake though. How disappointing.

They are enthusiastic at least.

On BETA, Buzzwang, damn him, is pushing a machine while Q-Ball talks to Walsh over a monitor. There's going to be an inspection from some guy who's done budget cuts before. Oh god. Inspections. I'm calling "comedic" hijinx. This is going to be painful. Q-Ball is running a surplus of something which apparently is good.

After Walsh hangs up, Buzzwang shows Q-Ball the thing he's wheeling. Apparently it's a "BETA Buzzbot Houseware and Recreational Unit" Apparently it makes coffee, tea, hot cocoa and soup.

...okay, I hate you Buzzwang, but that sounds damn handy. Especially since I can't cook. You win this round. Q-Ball praises him, but a very mocking voice repeats the praise. Oh no. But Q-Ball likes the project and thinks it's good coffee. But he's busy with his project budget thing.

But it's gone! Oh no! Apparently, Buzzwang tapped into the defense robot program somehow. I don't know if he did that or not, but I kind of suspect Q-Ball blames a lot of his own mistakes on Buzzwang. Then again, Buzzwang's annoying enough that he has to have some benefit. Q-Ball wants to know where seven million dollars can go? That's a legitimate question.

The machine shouts "Soup's on, sucker!"

A strange looking green alien pops up on Q-Ball's screen. Ralph at warehouse seven, apparently. Apparently Q-Ball's new projects are blocking off the whole area. He and Buzzwang go to investigate, while the machine wonders if it's something it said.

I think I like the machine. If Buzzwang is the Nightwing of Galaxy Rangers, then that machine is the Guy Gardner. And there is no Guy Gardner I don't like.

Now we see Waldo and Zozo walking down a corridor with three cute Kiwi kids. Two of them are the girl and boy from the Magnificent Kiwi. (The boy is riding on Waldo's head.) The third is a boy, a bit bigger. Waldo is wondering if this is a good place for toddlers. But they'll only be here for a few hours...

Oh fuck me dead. Kids. Buzzwang. Talking vending machines. Oh no, oh no. Show, why must you punish me for loving you?

At least they're kiwi kids. Kiwi are usually badass.

Buzzwang and Q-Ball are bickering as they head to the warehouse. Buzzwang is saying something about how much could ten little prototypes cost. The storehouse owner disagrees with the number. There are actually 299. That's...not ten. The Kiwi and Waldo have now joined the group for no reason I can fathom.

Q-Ball asks if Buzz disengaged the computer after it built the prototypes. Apparently not. BETA is now the proud owner of 7 Million Dollars worth of tea makers. Seriously, why does Buzzwang still have a job? Buzzwang says there are a lot of different machines. Which apparently include a gumball machine, washer/dryer, a video glorfmaster, whatever that is.

Suddently one of the warehouse machines manages to knock loose a column of boxes, knocking loose a couple of machines. Oh dear god.

Seriously, I mean it. Kill me now.

The "Buzzbots" run off, chased by Buzzwang and the kids, while Q-Ball, Waldo, Zozo, and warehouse guy watch. Q-Ball laments and I feel bad for him because Buzzwang is punishment enough for any man's sins.

The sandy haired station guy who always announces arrivals and departures, and wouldn't that be a sucky job, announces the arrival of the VIP. I love the craptastic computer graphics.

The ship lands quite elegantly, and the fellow coming out is grey haired, becaped, dignified and somewhat corpulent. He is greeted by Walsh, of course, who welcomes "Premier Dutch" to BETA Mountain. He's going to guide him on the inspection.

God, I hate inspection hijinx stories. They invariably end up with the one poor sap who did most of the actual work and actually cares getting shit on in the end.

Dutch looks like he has gangrene or something and "Bahs" at Walsh's welcome, stating that he says that NOW, and he makes no bones about believing that BETA spends too much money. Hmm. I'd like him, but you don't spurn Walsh, damnit. He is awesomer than you.

Ooo, it looks like Nagata is there too. Unless there's another talking brain in the box character I've not met yet. Nagata tells "Joseph" that he's glad he's not in his shoes. Nagata's first name is Owen. Joseph Walsh, who finally has a first name, is not amused.

Meanwhile Doc (a main character! Finally!) is at a vending machine. Premier Dutch gives an accusatory "AHA!" when he sees him because apparently vending machine use is illegal? Doc turns on the charm. Dutch is not buying it and chews Walsh out for his rangers having time for soft drinks instead of defending them against all the evil forces that Walsh keeps telling them about.

Yeah, next thing you know, they'll be wanting meals and a couple of hours of sleep. Fucking lazy Rangers. Besides, there was the time the Queen blew chunks out of Earth's moon, you fucking moron.

I'm more tense than usual, possibly because right behind Walsh and Dutch, Buzzwang and his idiot bots are dashing past.

Doc is indignant and points out that they never have a moment's rest. He invites him to stick around and see that they're always on their toes. And then he trips. Dutch finds this amusing, because he's an asshole.

In space, Slade is on his convoy of stolen ships, definitely not the same type as the Armada ones which blows my thought earlier out of the water. Dutch is now even more stupid than previously asserted. Anyway, he's gloating that by this time tomorrow the Queen's crypt will be full of humans and he'll be king of the universe.

Yeah, right. Seriously, even if you WIN, there's no way that's happening. The Plagos seem amused though. They head to Earth.

One of the Buzzbots, a Jukebox Buzzwang calls Juke of Earl (Goddamnit, I hate you Buzzwang) runs up to Dutch, with Buzzwang chasing after. Dutch rears up for the verbal outrage, but fortunately is interrupted by an impending invasion.

Slade of course appears on the viewscreen, his drama is curtailed lightly by the plago in the back waving. I love that plago. Zach has also materialized in the crowd watching the transmission.

Walsh orders the cannons primed, but the Premier interrupts. Walsh snaps that it's not the Premier's decision, and he agrees. It's Lazarus Slade's! The Premier is a robot!

Okay, that was kind of cool actually. So how long has that guy been replaced by a robot? Did that guy ever exist? It would certainly bring question to the other time he apparently docked BETA's budget. He dramatically falls apart, filling the room with knockout gas.

Hmm. Point to you, Slade. The gas spreads through the mountain. Buzzwang points out that the robot is not Dutch. Thank you, Buzzwang. We wouldn't have guessed. Zozo for his part brings a gas mask to Q-Ball. But Q-Ball collapses first. Poor Zozo tries to go to other human personel, pointing out that the gas is only affecting some, but to no avail. Slade laughs.

Buzzwang, Waldo and the Kiwi are awake, but no one else is throughout the whole facility. They're the only ones left to repel the invasion. Wonderful. The station rocks and Waldo shouts to everyone to get the defense shields up. I think Waldo's gained weight.

Buzzwang holds up what, I swear to god, looks like a slightly rectangular vibrator and then inserts it into the panel. ...Right. Anyway, he says he'll get them up fast, but the others have to act quickly. Waldo orders Zozo to launch the fighters, but Zozo points out the lack of pilots. Waldo thinks, then orders the defense satellites activated. Zozo points out with some acidity that he's a FARMER and doesn't KNOW defense satellites.

I like that Zozo really is the smarter of the two.

Buzzwang is having trouble though, and the panel sparks pink electricity back at him. A weird AI who isn't JV or Alma pops up and warns that shields are down. Waldo and Zozo go to the laser cannons. Buzzwang tries but is still plugged in.

I love that Zozo the Farmer can shoot a laser cannon. Weeds must grow big on Kirwin. They're not having a whole lot of luck hitting them unfortunately.

The shuttles fly in close and start shooting directly at the doors. Waldo orders the hatches double bolted, while Zozo says they'll get some weapons and hold them back manually. I love Zozo and his gung-ho psychopathy.

Slade and his shuttles fly past flames and into the hanger bay. He needs a battering ram though. "Something incredibly thick and hard." Okay then. He points to a plago.

Meanwhile, Waldo, Zozo and Buzzwang hold a nice big gun on the entrance, while the Plagos use their fellows to break down the door. Slade orders them to get the humans.

The standoff doesn't last very long, though the blast does at least knock Slade and company back a bit even though the recoil knocks them over. They run off, and Slade and the Plagos give chase. Just as some were about to split off, presumably to harvest humans, the kiwi kids pop up to complicate the chase.

Meanwhile in the control room, Buzzwang is still incompetent. The AI decides to activate the automatic destruct sequence. Buzzwang is all "You can't do that." The AI points out that with all the sensitive data and such, he kind of has to. Buzzwang holds up an arm, and urges him to wait, before activating the delay.

It seems to defeat the purpose when your self-destruct has a snooze button.

One plago chases the kids into a room, where it gets caught in the slamming door. A whole mess of others chase after Waldo and Zozo. They're creepy. All little with big grabby arms. They kind of look like nerd candies. Waldo and Zozo duck into a room, only to find MORE creepy aliens. Ew.

Buzzwang is an idiot. The AI is all "You can stop pressing the delay." And then he does. Then the AI's all "Hah! Doing it now!" Buzzwang rushes back to the button. And I hate them all.

The kids lead another poor Plago into their room of death, where they promptly seal him off and start biting him. It's vicious. And sad. Because these kids? Totally more competent than Buzzwang.

The Ambassadors run more. Meanwhile, the Plagos and Slade end up in the control room. Buzzwang yells that they're not allowed in there, and Slade's not allowed in there either, but any menace that isn't already negated by his appearance, voice and incompetence is negated by the fact that he's still pressing that goddamn snooze alarm. Slade of course drops his death card.

Slade orders the plagos to gather the humans, while he deals with his "metal-plated friend." He draws a gun. Honestly, that seems like overkill to me. He orders Buzzwang's hand's up, Buzzwang demurs, and the AI mocks him. I like that AI.

Back to the kids. They're sticking with what works: leading the plagos into closing doors. They're still the most competent folk in this episode. Though FINALLY, they end up grabbed by one of the plago. Elsewhere other plago are using their fellows as battering rams to get inside.

Meanwhile Waldo and Zozo have gotten back to the warehouse. Waldo comments that they need something to fight with and make their last stand. Zozo, as always faster on the uptake, is already opening a crate with a crowbar. His notion: use the Buzzbots! Waldo is less enthused, but I'll go with Zozo here. If anyone knows capacity for destruction it's Zozo.

Zozo points out that Waldo would probably take a "size 42 psychocrypt" and Waldo agrees to fire them up. Outside, the plago are still battering, until one stretches and presses the actual button, opening the door.

A) Wow plago are stupid. B) Didn't either of you idiot ambassadors think to LOCK the DOOR?!

A cola machine orders them to defend themselves, the plago laugh, but then get pelted by soda cans. Okay, Buzzwang, you may have redeemed yourself a bit with the combat vending machines. Those are well armed appliances! They also go to save the Kiwi kids.

Oh god, Slade is now trying to PULL Buzzwang's hands up. Just shoot him, you fucking moron!

I hate this episode.

The kiwi kids are rescued, and the machines lead the plago on merry chases into the control room itself. Slade doesn't take this well and it's all generally chaotic. Eventually Slade has enough of the insanity and leaves, the smartest thing he's done all episode. Unfortunately, he meets up with a robot who punches him in the face, knocking him out.

The AI is starting to annoy me a LOT. Meanwhile Buzz takes his hand off the snooze to wipe non-existant sweat from his brow. Goddamnit, I hate you Buzzwang. You don't have sweat glands. He does end up pressing the button.

The plago flee. Also, we find out from Buzzwang that the pudgy kid's name is Peewee. (The other kids were named in the Magnificent Kiwi: Bud and Sweetie) Good to know. Zozo and Waldo are happy. Buzzwang manages at least one more idiotic release of the button, but fortunately the invasion is repelled so there's no need to blow up.

The humans all wake up. Including Niko who apparently just appeared out of nowhere. Okay then. Still no Gooseman, but then perhaps he's the lucky one. Walsh doesn't seem displeased by the turn of events anyway, and Slade gets carried off to the brig. Q-Ball congratulates Buzzwang on his bots saving the day. He comments that they're built to last. Then of course, they fall over.

I hate this episode.

There is a funny quip about 7 million dollars not buying what it used to, mostly for Q-Ball's reaction.

Finally, back on Tortuna, the Queen is briefed by the jester who reports on the "secret new weapon." Which they brought back to study. The Queen is happy: she has hyperdrive ships, a weapon, and no more Slade.

Why didn't she just psychocrystal him?

The jester comments that all missions ought to be so successful, and she threatens him with the psychocrypt. The coffee machine disembarks (the plago seem to be enjoying their coffee) and sprays her with coffee. The plago then take off with the ship. Heh.

End of episode. Thank the fucking gods.


Okay, I have to say, it wasn't as bad as I was anticipating. But it was still pretty wretched.

And Buzzwang yet again gets rewarded for incompetence. I hate Buzzwang.

The kiwi kids continue to be adorable though, and surprisingly competent.

I suppose what's the most disappointing thing about the episode is that there were some really interesting seeds in here. I'm FASCINATED about the idea of future Galaxy Ranger-era politics. And seeing the kind of machinations and ass-kissing Walsh has to do to keep BETA running smoothly is interesting

The budget stuff was kind of interesting too.

Also, I liked seeing Waldo and Zozo resume leadership roles. They're actually not too bad at it. And I liked the thought of combat appliances as a backup security system.

That said, the negatives vastly outweighed the positives. The Rangers had almost no screentime, and Walsh's interesting plot gets upstaged by an idiot robot. Hmph.

Fortunately, this episode just makes me appreciate the GOOD episodes more. Heh.

Friday, April 24, 2009

This looks interesting

I have to admit this looks fairly neat. Actually, and I may have to turn in some geek points for saying this, I've never read the original story and I didn't much like Bladerunner. But the comic still looks pretty neat.

To be fair, I only watched Bladerunner once and I'm not sure which cut it was. I know there were a lot of unicorns at least. I always sympathized with the replicants and thought Harrison Ford was a dick. That's all I really remember from it. I totally wanted the lead replicant to win. Also, I remember thinking the girl (Rachel?) was a waste of space. Though granted, this was during my misogynistic teen years where I didn't much care for almost ANY female character.

I'm not proud of that time, but I won't deny it existed.

I've also never been sure of the real advantage to a four-year lifespan for replicants. I mean, okay, theoretically it should limit their ability to revolt. But it doesn't really. You can still wreak a lot of chaos in that time, especially if you're programmed for combat. It seems like giving them such an obvious reason to be disgruntled is a bad idea.

Not to mention all the material waste. Even assuming that you don't have to train them for their jobs, it's still annoying to have to replace your appliances every few years.

And there's a simple solution to the problem of developing independent emotions: Stockholm Syndrome.

(There are times I suspect that in an alternate universe, I am a supervillain.)

Anyway, if I remember that the comic comes out, I'll probably pick it up. It seems interesting. :-)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

No Post/Personal Update

I'm taking a break from posting today. Sometimes that happens. Also, well, I'm barrelling into finals period, so yeah, panic is setting in.

It'll probably mean that the recaps are going to be fewer and farther between for the next few weeks or so, just because they take a fair bit of time to do and I kind of need that time for school type things.

They do make good stress relief though, so I doubt they'll stop entirely. Heh. See you later.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

An Irrational Mermaid Rant

I'm approaching finals time, so as a warning, you guys will probably be seeing a lot more examples of irrational ranting from yours truly. Today's subject? Mermaids. And how they're fucking creepy.

I mean, just the idea of a mermaid. Half fish, half person. It's just creepy. Don't get me wrong, as a little girl in swim class I definitely liked playing at being a mermaid and always thought Ariel was stupid for giving up the awesome ocean for Eric the idiot (if nothing else, I didn't see why she couldn't have negotiated a transform-at-will deal.)

But the older I get, the creepier I find mermaids in general. I mean...for one, how do they breathe? I mean, okay, I could buy them being aquatic mammals like dolphins and having lungs, but they're always portrayed at the BOTTOM of the ocean. They'd need gills right? Where are the gills? And how can they stay in one place in water? Don't gills require movement?

And what do they eat? Fish have big mouths to swallow little things whole. Is that what mermaids do? Proportionately, human mouths aren't very big. How can they all have beautiful singing voices when you kind of need air to sing.

And really, I can't stop thinking of how, when I was eight, my dad kept his goldfish tank in the dining room and EVERY TIME I looked up they were going to the bathroom, so to speak. It was gross! And always during meal times. Do mermaids do that too? Ew.

Also, that hair is decidedly impractical underwater. And don't get me started on the shell bikini thing, because 1) OW. 2) How the hell do they stay up? 3) OW!!! 4) What's the point when they don't seem to have any need for bikini bottoms, and 5) How the hell do they find such uniform shells to begin with?!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Recap 29: Stargate

This is going up later than I planned. Oh well, the joys of oversleeping. :-)

Today's episode is called "Stargate" and I'm not expecting the presence of Richard Dean Anderson. But one never knows. He does seem to show up in weird places, after all.

No Richard Dean Anderson, but we DO get a badass Walcabian

This episode starts with Doc at a terminal, telling someone to "flex it." Despite all the potential of this scenario, it actually involves Zach trying out a peculiar looking metal glove near a wall that looks like a dressing screen under Shane, Niko and Q-Ball's watchful eyes. I'd make a comment about it being the best prospective fourway scenario yet, but Q-Ball's there and does nothing for me.

Anyway Niko asks about the toy the guys are playing with, and Doc explains that it's a "phasing glove" to allow Zach to pass his arm through solid matter. Interesting, but less useful if the rest of him can't follow. It would also be less useful unless they can make it battery powered.

They test it out and Zach is indeed able to ease his fist through the wall behind him, which ripples strangely. Suddenly the energy from the terminal starts sparking and Doc is alarmed, shouting "Flux overload!" Goose chimes in with "Phaser discharge!" No one chimes in with "Electric Boogaloo" but it almost seems appropriate.

Zach seems to have trouble pulling his fist free, and Q-Ball winces and shouts "Cover your eyes!" It's good timing since the entire room seems to flare up with incredibly bright light. As soon as the light fades, Niko's asking if Zach's all right. He is, but the glove, which is now smoking, and the wall, which has a giant hole in it, is not. He remarks dryly that that's one way to reach through. Goose laughs and says "Back to the old drawing board." Doc and Q-Ball groan.

Wow, I made it through that entire scene without making one "fisting" reference. I must be maturing!

Later, the Rangers and Walsh stand before a large screen. They've got some sort of space signal from Walcab. That seems promising, last time Walcab was involved, we had "Day the Earth Stood Still" references, giant guns, explosions, and Shane Gooseman going all flying squirrel.

As I recall, I spent the first part of that episode trying very hard not to make a bukkake reference.

Birba pops onto the screen, and oddly, Doc doesn't seem to be in the group behind Walsh. Anyway, Biro has some unpleasant news. The Queen is back, and her agents have been doing some sort of planetary search, focusing it on the oceans. Zach, naturally, asks what they're looking for. Birba reveals, "The Stargate."

At about this time, Doc steps up to join the group, still fiddling with the Phaser glove. Good, I was worried we'd end up with Buzzwang as a replacement for a moment. Anyway, Birba relates a legend about a parallel universe and that the stargate is a doorway. Zach asks where the stargate is, and I swear, you can totally see Niko closing her eyes in exasperation right beside him. I love you Zach, but if they KNEW where the Stargate is, wouldn't he have said so?

Apparently, the only man who claimed to know is "Captain Weej." I have no idea if that's the correct spelling or not. Shane comments that they could discover wonders in another galaxy. He's clenching his fist though, which makes me think he intends to punch such wonders. Walsh points out the potential for "uncontrollable danger."

It's interesting seeing Walsh as the doomsayer here given what we'll find out later about his involvement in a certain project. But we're not supposed to know about that yet.

Biro points out that the Stargate means immense power and that he needs their help. The transmission ends and the Rangers confer with the Commander. Naturally this means the Rangers get to field trip to Walcab. Walsh wants a full report.

In an oddly fast sequence, we suddenly get to Ranger One, in space. Inexplicably, Doc and Zach are both wearing cowboy hats. Goose is in a different area of the ship and announces that the flying sub and dolphin team is ready.

Seriously, I never get sick of the fact that the most explosively inclined character is also the dolphin liaison. Icarus and Winter seem to be having fun frolicking in the background. Zach asks if Shane's sure he wants the dolphins on this one, as it could be dangerous. One of the dolphins (One day I WILL tell them apart) chirps that Danger is its middle name.

They are much cooler than the talking dolphin on Sea Quest. Better with grammar too. From Ranger One, Doc argues "You haven't got a middle name." Doc, don't argue with the dolphins.

Zach announces a prepare to drop and the flying sub slips into the ocean as the other Rangers prepare for landing.

Walcab has very broken looking cities. Anyway, the Rangers look for Weej. Niko is concerned at the lack of him, but Doc, always the optimist, points out that at least there's no sign of Crown activity. Zach takes that moment to point out a bunch of approaching Crown Soldiers. But fortunately the Rangers were able to duck out of sight. Zach notes that they weren't looking for the Rangers, and Niko guesses that Weej was their actual target. She points out the nifty looking submarine that's suddenly appeared at the dock.

It pops open, revealing a Walcabian with the traditional sailor type beard. He's also wearing a blue beret, traditional sailor type coat, and smoking a pipe. He announces "I am what I am" in a usual sailor manner. Walcabians apparently have a thing for Popeye.

As Weej jumps out, Niko takes over the introductions. He's surprised to find out they're Rangers, but sobers quickly when Zach asks about the Stargate, which he calls "a graveyard for Queen, Crown and copper." He warns them that it isn't of this world. Weej tells them to go off and "flash [their] badges at someone else."

Zach is annoyed and snaps that they didn't come all this way to hear that. Weej wants them to leave before they stir up trouble. Worse than crown agents? Doc points out that it's a little late for that. (He also calls Zach "Captain" in the process.) The crown soldiers have found them.

Zach shouts to Weej to take cover, as Niko draws her shotgun-type blaster. I've always loved that Niko has the biggest gun. Weej does not take cover, instead saying that "Weej don't hide from men of flesh OR iron."

...lose the third person, and I might grow to like you, Weej.

Anyway, he marches to the soldiers, who tell him that the queen "requests" he come with them. He tries to refuse and gets his throat grabbed. Niko aims to shoot, since without Goose there someone has to have the knee jerk violent reaction, but Zach puts his hand on her gun. Weej agrees to talk to the queen just long enough for the soldier to let him go, then he floors him.

Okay, I like you anyway, Weej.

Zach shouts "Now" and the fire fight begins. Meanwhile Weej runs afoul of the big Queen robot, but manages to break a board on the deck with his heel and grab it for a makeshift weapon. Weej is kind of awesome. Anyway Niko shoots down a smaller flying robot, then all of them help Weej with the big one. Unfortunately, the rumbling of a planet crusher, as well as the fact that the wall above them is starting to crumble, signals that this probably won't go well for them.

Weej orders them into the ship. I'm not sure if he calls them "Meddling backflashers" or "Meddling backscratchers" or something equally nonsensical, but he tells them it's time they took a "trip with Weej." I'm pretty sure the war on drugs is against this.

Then again, I'm pretty sure it was against the entire Moby Dick episode anyway. They run for it. Zach, who's last in, points out that they're still tied to the dock. Weej is irreverently unconcerned. For good reason, as when the sub takes the dock with it, it causes the ground to destabilize, sending the wall and the Planet Crusher into the water.

Okay, Weej, you're starting to approach Shane Gooseman or Zozo level destructive badassery. Well done!

Inside the sub, Doc gripes and asks if this stuff does "anything besides sink." Yes actually, as one of the Queen's big robots shoves an appendage through the glass. Zach commands Weej not to submerge. Weej asks a valid jurisdictional question "Since when does a star-faring captain give orders to a sea going one on his own vessel." On the other hand, not submerging means not DROWNING, so there is that.

But Weej knows something we don't, pulls a lever, and panels suddenly slam shut over the windows, slicing the appendage off and sealing it up. Weej throws up his arms and announces "And now you star-loving flock-feet" or something like that, "prepare yourselves for a journey, the likes of which you've never seen!" The sub, still floating on the surface, enters a small tunnel in the rock, then sinks below.

Niko admires the view and Weej takes her arm and notes that it is beautiful, almost as beautiful as the "young galaxy ranger that brightens his boat." Well then.

Doc's expression is much the same as mine and he compliments the smoothness, and even Zach looks a teensy bit amused. Then he contacts Goose. Goose reports a fleet of Crown subs spread out over a 400 km radius. Back on Weej's sub, they ask where the gate is, and he shows them through the periscope. It's past a minefield.

Doc dryly says that he thought it would be dangerous. Goose also reports that "dolphin reconaissance" reveals a large minefield ahead. I want dolphins. Zach orders Goose to have his dolphins transmit minefield data and tells him to stay close behind. Unfortunately, as Alma warns, enemy vessels are closing.

Weej is unconcerned and says that his old Hotspur can take on anything the Queen puts in its path. Zach is all "You can't navigate through a mine field!" Weej disagrees. My money's on the oddly badass sub captain.

The dolphins lead the way through, calling instructions back to the two subs following. The mines aren't ordinary mines though, it looks like they're starting to follow the subs once they've passed. Eek.

Goose is not adverse to using this as an advantage though and manages to blow up some crown pursuers that way. Heh. If it can cause destruction, Goose can use it.

Weej also has a plan, and notes a "good" mine. Doc says that he doesn't think Weej wants to take one home, and Weej counters that it's not HIS home he's interested in. He tells Zach to "tell [his] dolphin cover to follow [Weej] closely." He leads them into a small tunnel in the rock. Zach asks where they are, and Weej tells them that it's a world where "no man save we have looked upon in a millenium."

Weej has a way with words, when he uses the proper tense. He continues the spiel a bit longer then tells Zach to tell his man in the "sardine can" to enter into a hole with his sardines and not touch anything. Goose complies, and we see why. There's a sleeping sea monster in there.

Back on Weej's ship, Zach asks his plan, as Weej follows Goose in. Weej says to wait and see. Doc "casually inquires" what Weej is doing. Weej calls him "Sawbones" which makes me laugh and annoys him less than "Wally." He tells him to keep his eyes peeled for he'll never see a sight like this in his life.

I dunno. The Rangers do a lot of weird stuff, after all.

Anyway, Weej takes a sharp turn, causing the mine following him to slam into a small stalactite, which falls on the sea monster's head and wakes it the fuck up. Eeek. Doc wants to see and does not particularly enjoy it. They slide past the sea monster who is up and ready to grab the crown subs, who shoot at it. There is pinching and stomping and all of it indicating much fewer crown subs. Well done!

Weej and Goose's subs surface, and Zach asks how since they're a "mile down". Huh, I never noticed before, but in this episode Goose uses metric measurements (kilometers) and Zach uses customary (miles). I'm gonna have to try to remember to watch and see if they do that in other episodes too. What nationality are Supertroopers anyway?

They're in a lagoon where they sink again and proceed. Goose doesn't like that there's something interfering with his readouts, but Zach orders him to hold position at the entrance. Goose agrees and has the dolphins fan out.

Niko is amazed at the nifty underwater city and wants to bring an archeological crew to explore. Weej, for his part, is unimpressed by civilization, but tells them they're here. Doc notes that something is interfering with his equipment.

Weej tells them it's there they'll find the Stargate, "for all the good it will do ya." I wonder what Weej knows that we don't. Zach wants him to get to the point, they don't have much time. Weej tells him that time IS the point. A long time ago, creatures "as evil as sin captured a point as small as an atom and as large as the universe." They captured a paradox and broke through to the other side of reality.

Doc hopes Weej won't be offended, but he thinks Weej is as loony as a March Hare. Weej is unoffended and tells him that calling him crazy doesn't change facts. This is true. He points to what looks like a depression in the city with stairs leading down. He says that's where the stargate is, "a source of doom for humans, Walcabians, robots, Queens, and Weej."

Niko's reading indicates incredible power surging. And Zach notes that this is what the Queen was looking for. They have to find out what it is. Zach asks Weej if he has underwater gear. He does, but if Zach and company aren't back in ten minutes, he's leaving them here.

I think Goose would shoot you if you tried, man. You might be badass, but Goose is as crazy as you. And he has dolphins.

Zach tells him to make it five. Which seems stupid to me, but okay. He tells Goose to standby, they're going to investigate. They suit up. Amazing that a Walcabian has gear that would suit humans, but okay. Doc's also got the phaser glove. Hopefully it's water proof. Niko had thought it was blown, and Doc confirms that some of the circuits were fused, but he thinks he's got it working. Zach tells him to bring it along. They head out. Weej wishes them luck.

Zach orders Niko to use the laser cutter on the door, but they don't need it. The doors open easily and collapse inward. They make their way to a small floating object with an unbelievable atomic density. It's almost as dense as a neutron star.

Would they be standing there if that were true, I wonder. But I don't know about this kind of thing, so I'll go with it. I read comics after all.

Zach asks how it can be floating, which is a good question. Doc notes a key hole, and Zach sends Niko to sense it. She badge taps, and invisions creatures within which mutter at her "Help us." and "Use the key." Then she keels over.

They rush to her and she tells them that the Stargate wasn't to keep them from getting in, it was to keep something from getting out. Something trapped and dying. The key is locked inside as well. Niko wants Zach to reach in and get it out. Fortunately, they have a glove! Doc protests, pointing out that that's not a sheet-rock wall, but Zach's willing to make it an order. Doc hands it over.

Niko is to guide Zach to the key, whereupon Zach will bring it out. He badge-taps and reaches in. The aliens, now muttering about life-forces, grab Zach's hand.

They probably should have asked Weej which side of the Stargate the evil discoverers WERE. Zach tries to pull free, but can't, and light flares up. Goose, from the sub, wants to know what's happening, but Zach's out cold and can't answer. The aliens try to "enter the flesh." Niko wants Goose to help them, and indeed, he comes afloating. Actually. It's not Goose at all! It's Weej! He yells at them to get out of the way and starts pulling at Zach.

And then comes Goose, transformed into his nifty underwater form. Doc fills Goose in on the pertinent facts: Zach is unconscious, they can't pull him out, and they need Goose to reverse the power source. Goose obligingly taps his badge as the others back away. He grabs Zach's arm and the light flares again. Goose himself starts to glow and looks all blue and vaguely flame-like. Niko yells something about a power backlash as the flame-like energy travels down the arm and knocks the aliens away. Zach is pulled free.

The box starts to glow brightly, and the building starts to crumble around it. Doc notes this and suggests they grab Zach and get out of here. Goose indeed grabs Zach and they swim for it. The box explodes.

Inside the sub, Weej denounces "cosmic coppers messing with forces they don't understand." Well, you should have been more precise about the evil aliens, man. Niko calls to see if Goose is okay, he is indeed, and back in the other sub. He asks after Zach. Doc confirms he'll be okay, but the phaser glove is "locked." He sends tweakers into the thing as the subs flee the lagoon...which also explodes after them.

Well, there goes the underwater city. I'm not terribly confident that the cave in is likely to keep the aliens restrained if they DID manage to get out, but okay.

On the sub, Zach is now conscious and rapped in a Walcabian sized robe as Weej chides him that he hopes their satisfied for opening the universe to "the horror." Zach notes that he didn't, actually, and opens his glove to reveal the key. They're locked out for good now!

...but the box exploded...I'm confused. Oh well. :-) Weej is happy. Doc asks if there are other Stargates, and Weej says not on this planet. Zach tells Goose to meet them at the rendezvous point while Niko asks Weej what the future holds for him. Weej says that he'll stay in the ocean and enjoy it, and wonder why star lovers would want to "float around like idiots in the frozen black you call home." Heh. Though he does suggest that he'd be willing to give up his solitude for a while longer if Niko would like to have a look around his world. She chuckles and tells him "Another time." Weej winks at us and the episode ends.


Heh, a pretty cute episode. I thought it was awfully coincidental that the glove came in handy the very episode that it was introduced, but that's the way tv works after all. I was spoiled by the Mind-Net being introduced the episode before it was the central McGuffin.

But then again, I'd expect we'll see the Phaser Glove again. Or at least I hope so. It's a nifty tool.

I liked the aliens' trap. The key wasn't important, getting Zach to stick his hand in so they could try to exit that way was. You'd think Niko might have sensed their intentions though. Or at least listened longer. But then they ARE from another universe.

I think Doc and Niko are calling Zach "Captain" a lot more than they used to. I wonder if that isn't another indicator of Zach's changed demeanor and the shift in team dynamics since Psychocrypt. He was awfully aloof before then, and perhaps the way they called him "Zachary" was a reflection of not really feeling like part of a team. Now that he's less distant, they're more comfortable with him as well.

I'm definitely going to have to start watching for units of measurement now. I'd never noticed what they used before, and when Goose said "kilometers" I just figured that Earth had gone entirely to metric. But then Zach said "Mile" so I'm not so sure. I never really considered what nationality the characters were before this point, but now it's a fairly interesting question.

Especially since BETA is apparently in Australia, according to that nifty DVD booklet that I can't seem to locate at this moment. (I don't recall if it said anything about the characters' nationalities, but I'm sure someone can correct me if it does. :-))

Right now, I'm figuring that Zach's American, mostly because he seems American, Jerry Orbach's dialect is distinctly regional, and we're one of the only groups still stubborn enough not to use the metric system.

As for the others, my current guess is that Walsh is American too, Doc is either American or Canadian, and that Niko and Gooseman probably don't have a nationality as such. But I might change my mind on that later. Especially if I can find my damn booklet. :-)

Monday, April 20, 2009


Taking a break from posting today. So go away. :-)

Oh, on the advice of you guys, I totally rented Sandbaggers. And it's awesome.

I've come to the conclusion that Neil Burnside is totally a kill-bot.

But yeah, nothing else to say today, so I'm going to sleep. :-)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ooo! Nifty!

Awesome! My favorite X-Men time period will be a movie! Awesome!

Though I'm a bit boggled if they're going to try to slide it into the same continuity as the X-movies. I mean, if nothing else, it was pretty clear that Jean Grey had about ten years on Scott Summers in them, and unless Xavier's first class is going cover middle school and undergraduate collegiate level, that'll be pretty hard to pull off.

Also, I resent the last film, so I'd be much more happy if it turns out to be brand new entirely.

Still though, I'm sure I'll enjoy it!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Recap 28: "Birds of a Feather"

Hi guys! Sorry this is up later than I thought. One of those days... ANYWAY, today's episode is "Birds of a Feather."

Because you can never have too many villains per episode

This episode starts with obscenely cute music and a shot outside Longshot. Which I've always liked as a name for a research laboratory.

Ooo, apparently Longshot has a 60's Batman style door in the middle of a mountain. There's a two lane road heading into it. As swanky as I find this, and I do indeed, it's not very subtle. I mean, if I saw a road head straight into a mountain, I would probably suspect a secret door. Or someone watched too many road runner cartoons, either way.

Inside, two fellows are pushing some kind of hovering platform. One tells the other that the data library is straight ahead. Have you ever seen those old Looney Tunes cartoons with Rocky and Mugsy? Because that's exactly the voice that guy uses. Based on that, I'm calling him as evil. It's just instinct.

The other guy identifies the speaker as Miller. And Miller pulls off a glove to reveal those nifty finger metal thingies! Miller! I remember you!

...hmph, guess the Po Mutant Doll isn't nearly as "deadly" as Niko made it out to be. False hype! But on the other hand, it has been 19 episodes. Fortunately, he's already lost the mobster voice because that would have gotten annoying real fast.

You know, considering that last time you worked for subtract, you got mindraped, guy, you must be kind of dumb to work for him again.

And dude, Longshot's security SUCKS.

Anyway, Miller zaps a computer terminal and they get into the Longshot data room, the other guy, who's name possibly IS Mugsy. Or close enough to count, finds "Supertrooper Juice Formula" which seems to be a redundant name and digs it out. There's an obstacle though, an "interface deflector."

Hmm, I don't remember Miller having a mustache before. It kind of suits him. Maybe he's hoping that the power of its awesomeness will shield him. Anyway, they have to scamper off because someone's coming.

Doc enters with Bubblehead who's babbling something about data chips. I actually like Bubblehead. He's irritating, but not mopey about it. And I like his shirt. He's not Buzzwang at least.

Anyway, Miller decides that a memory bird would be useful and starts sneaking behind an oblivious and tinkering Doc. Bubblehead actually does try to warn him, and eventually Doc does turn around, only to get zapped unconscious. Poor Doc.

Miller grabs Bubblehead, opens a panel in its back, and does something to make his eyes bulge out. Um. Really, man, please stop molesting the machinery. He wants to know what Bubblehead knows.

He starts singing a song about pipes. The mobsters lose patience and insert Bubbleheads beak into the terminal. Lucky that the technologies are compatible or someone would get blown up. They get the info, and shove the bird back into the "Servo Dolly" and head out.

They walk past Zach and Goose, who remarks about everyone being in a hurry. Dude, shouldn't your supertrooper programming be all "Something to kill!!!" or something? Your programming sucks, dude.

Goose sees Doc, who's groaning and waking up, first and amusingly yanks Zach back by the arm like my father STILL does whenever he thinks I'm about to cross the street during oncoming traffic. Zach calls to Doc to see if he's all right and they run over.

Doc thinks he's okay, but the Memory Bird is gone! He quickly checks the computer and determines that a file has been accessed. Goose points up to where the file was and asks "What's in file 18?" Did he count them that quickly?

Doc is alarmed and reveals that it's the Supertrooper Juice Formulas. I still think that's redundant. Though now I have disturbing ideas where they got it. I never should have read that bit from the Witchblade manga. Apparently they loaded the formula into the bird.

That doesn't seem like a good idea. Doc apparently agrees with me and disparages Bubblehead's basic math skills. Yeah, Doc, but he does know an ambush when he sees it. Goose declares that they can't take any chances. He'd know. Zach orders him to alert security, and he pushes a button.

Um, Zach, couldn't you have just done that yourself? I think power's gone to your head.

Outside, Miller and Mugsy are being stopped by security. Cleverly, they've hung Bubblehead on the rearview mirror. Miller's a very good thief. But they lose on subtlety when they floor it past the guard. He of course alerts his fellows, who shoot but miss. Aw.

Zach and Goose are also in a flying car and giving chase. Zach is driving, which I think is not using one's supertrooper to the best of his ability, but then maybe Zach wants them to live.

Mugsy and Miller note their pursuers, as Bubblehead keeps singing. I know I should find Bubblehead annoying, but I strongly suspect were I to measure my personality against any Galaxy Ranger character, I'd come closest to the crazy, attention-span deprived defective memory bird. Or possibly Zozo, though I'm not remotely a farmer.

You can make of THAT what you will.

Anyway, the annoying song is getting to Mugsy and Miller. They take the car through a tunnel, which Zach and Goose simply fly around to cut them off.

Hey, why do they have paved roads when the cars hover? I've always wondered that.

Goose uses his wrist thing to call in Longshot's airstrike. Pays to have connections, eh, kid? One of them says "Roger, Ranger." And that makes me giggle.

Miller is prepared for choppers though, and pops out with anti-aircraft guns. Wow. You know, for all his stupidity about continuing to work for a guy who drove him insane rather than pay him, Miller's a really really competent underling. My lifelong ambition!

Anyway, he shoots down a chopper (we see him eject with a parachute, so that's good) and heads into another tunnel. The other chopper waits at the other end, but is promptly blown up. But the pilot ejects safely at least. Goose and Zach are still chasing.

Once down from the mountain, Zach puts on more speed and as soon as they're close enough, the sun roof slides open so Goose can stand and start firing. Miller's got another trick though, and sends them flying, with a missile.

Amusingly, as they roll to a halt, Goose is still standing easily upright. Zach is hunched down and braced, like a sane person. They're both okay though. Zach notes that they're heading for "Phoenix Spaceport" which combined with the desert gives us a location for Longshot! Awesome!

Goose calls in the Galaxy Ranger equivalent of an APB with his wrist thingy. Meanwhile in the car, Muggsy and Miller take off their masks. Hey! It IS Miller! I was wondering if they'd just vastly changed the character design. Mugsy is an odd alien with half of his face pink and half blue.

I'm amazed by the ability of masks in the Galaxy Ranger universe to change the shape of the face of the wearer. Anyway, Miller also does a "bit of transforming" with the car, plates melt away, so now it's yellow. And fins pop out too. Clever! He also, when asks, has what to do with the bird "figured."

In Phoenix, Miller has no trouble driving the car past the waving guard. Bubblehead is a hood ornament now. They get on board the transport and head off. Nice escape. Betcha Subtract screws you over again, though. Idiot.

Back at Longshot, Walsh is showing all the Rangers the security footage. Walsh identifies them as Miller and Moxie. I like "Mugsy" better though, so I'm sticking with that. :-)

Zach asks if Subtract is still headquartered on New Pigalle. Walsh confirms and sends Zach and Goose to begin the stakeout. Doc and Niko are ordered to isolate the data and see what they've got. Walsh doesn't want the supertrooper juice changing hands.

Huh, it looks like the space transport has encountered a bit of trouble by way of Captain Kidd. Like wise people, they end up surrendering. Kidd, the monkey, and Umbrella-underling board the ship and Kidd is vexed. The raid is so far a bust, apparently. His luck changes however, when he stumbles across Bubblehead in the cargo hold, still acting like a hood ornament. There is a bird brain joke or too, and then Kidd recognizes Bubblehead as the Queen's memory bird.

Kidd asks if Bubblehead would like to be an ornament on the Iron Falcon. Bubblehead shouts "Daddy!" and leaps to Kidd's non occupied shoulder. Squeegie, the monkey, does not like this.

Nor do Mugsy and Miller who have a sotto voce conversation with their hands up. Miller orders him "on the horn" to Subtract.

Back at Longshot, Niko and Doc have figured out what they've made off with. Doc is rather surprised as he reads off the string of numbers. Apparently Mugsy and Miller didn't get what they came after.

On Tortuna, in the same neon signed saloon that the Rangers tend to have their barfights in, and the Queen met up with Kilbane in, and...

Sheesh, is there really just ONE saloon on Tortuna?!

Anyway, Kidd tells the bird that he's tougher to crack than a flagon's egg. Or something like that. Bubblehead continues to babble something about Sunny-Side Supertroopers, and Niko and Doc on a raft. A woman interrupts the conversation.

Hey! It's Daisy O'Mega! This episode's a call back to a whole slew of episodes, ain't it?

Daisy is invited to a seat, I forgot how much I liked her theme music. Daisy pushes over a nice stack of coins, as she wants to buy the memory bird. Bubblehead goggles at the stack. Kidd is pleased to see someone who speaks "his language."

On New Pigalle, Subtract is chewing out his underlings via viewscreen. Jeeze, Subtract, you find the one guy who's simultaneously smart enough to break into BETA's space station and Longshot, while being stupid enough to keep working for YOU and you continue to not appreciate this. Mugsy reports that Kidd sold the bird. How do they know this? Did they follow him to Tortuna?

They report that Daisy has it, but they don't think she knows about the formula. Subtract snarls that he doesn't pay them to think, which isn't exactly true, and that she has to know the formula as the whole galaxy does by now. Miller and Mugsy are sent off to Entropy's Edge to catch her. We see some nifty little green spidery ships take off.

The Rangers apparently have been busy beavers, and we see that the conversation between Subtract and his minions is also playing in the cockpit. Goose is enthusiastic, probably imagining a rematch versus the Black Hole. Zach reins him in though, reminding him to trail them.

It looks like they've rebuilt the asteroid base. And like all outlaw asteroid bases on the edge of a black hole, there's a saloon. Daisy enters, carrying the bird. There might be still some hard feelings in the gang, as the guy leading her calls her O'Mega and is awfully curt. MaCross looks up at her approach and growls that he can't say it's a pleasure. Daisy smirks and says that she thought MaCross would be right pleased to see her.

MaCross that he knows ten crime bosses who would storm the station for that thing, as well as the Galaxy Rangers. She sets him on the table and tells them to deal her in.

Kidd remains on Tortuna, where he's drinking up happily, and buying a round for everyone. Geezy (Geezy!) slides up and asks what the occasion is. Kidd tells him he's sold a Bubbleheaded memory bird.

Geezy confirms that it was wearing a "stylish tie and a labcoat" and then irately informs him that the bird he sold for a thousand crowns was stolen from BETA and has the Supertrooper Juice formula. Kidd sputters and realizes he's been robbed. He wants his bird back.

The Rangers meanwhile appear at Entropy's Edge, which Goose confesses always amazes him. Well, you did get to see it close range. Zach has no intention of indulging his young subordinate in a repeat journey and decides to have a look around instead.

Goose looks absurdly young in the shot I'm paused on (and like his nose/cheekbones could cut glass) while Zach looks very pensive. I just felt like sharing. Anyway, he's just grumbled a question about whether there was a convention as he recognizes Kidd's ship. Wow. He got there fast. Zach is all "Let's move in."

Daisy has finally put the bird up as stakes, and as it babbles, Mugsy and Miller appear in the door and announce that it's not hers to bet. "Says who?" She snaps, and Mugsy draws his gun. However, Daisy doesn't have her reputation for nothing. She tips her chair back and shoots his gun out of his hand. Meanwhile MaCross overturns the table and throws it into Mugsy while the ducking Miller shoots out the light.

And the bar fight commences. <3 I love this show. It's mostly dark though, with just lasers shooting back and forth, which is one way to lower animation costs. One of Mugsy and Miller's men lights a match. He talks like the idiot gangster and is promptly punched in the face by MaCross and knocked into the other room.

A bar patron wants people to stop and is nearly hit by a chair, while an old man who looks like Mark Twain gets slammed into by another patron. Kidd enters and is aghast. Miller is tossed unconscious out the back room, and Bubblehead hops out with him. He tries to coax Bubblehead to come with him, but Bubblehead isn't having it ("You buy me dinner and then you think you own me!") and runs off. Kidd crawls after him.

A BHG member announces Galaxy Rangers at the front door, and MaCross makes his way out with Mugsy in a headlock. He says he knew the bird would bring trouble. To be fair, MaCross is usually right. He asks how many ships there are, and when told one Interceptor, MaCross calls him an idiot and tells him to blast them.

Doesn't look like an Interceptor to me, actually, but okay. Maybe I'm wrong or the guy is an idiot. Could be either.

They shoot down the security defenses, and inside, MaCross calls things to order, commanding the gang members into ships and weapon ports. Kid grabs the bird finally and readies to leave. Daisy yanks Miller up by the collar, and he informs her that Kidd has the bird and is making a run for it.

Outside, Goose is having fun shooting down fighters. Zach points out that they're out-numbered, but Goose just cheerfully asks what else is new. He's always so happy when he's causing destruction. As the ship weaves in and out of the enemies, Zach mildly asks if they should revise their plan, and Goose's answer is "Nah."

...I love when Zach and Goose team up. It's always amusing and destructive.

They're not the only ones destroying ships though, as suddenly one is taken out by behind. It's Ranger One! (Goose and Zach are using the bigger ship that was the same one that we see periodically, especially when Goose was bringing MaCross back to Earth.) Doc greets them. Some Ranger banter is cut off whenn Goose notes someone making an end run. Kidd, of course.

As Kidd leaves, MaCross pops on the viewscreen and flatly tells them that he doesn't want anymore trouble and tells them that Kidd's taken it back to Tortuna. They head there. Personally, I'd be worried MaCross was lying, but well, I guess I can buy cop-instincts.

Kidd is happy, but made less so when he discovers the Rangers are chasing him. He groans and asks why they can't just mind their own business. Well, technically they stole the bird first. As the Rangers fly side by side, Niko suggests Doc "tell them." Doc does so: What Mugsy and Miller got was an early experimental formula. Zach interjects that even the early formulas are potent, but Doc says that Bubblehead can't handle the data and half his memory's filled with plumbing info.

Zach points out the breach of security. But Goose quickly interjects at them to cut the chatter as they're "warping out." Kidd is doing so as well. RIGHT into a convoy of QueenShips. It is not his day. Kidd brightens and tells them to lock in on the Queen's coordinates and tell her to expect them.

Zach and Goose emerge, detecting Kidd's change in course. Ranger One is nowhere to be seen. When Goose notes they're slaver transports, Zach orders a pull-out. Ah, there's Ranger One! The two ships drop back.

Kidd is glad to hear that and says he knew they wouldn't risk following him in. Then he heads to Tortuna, where a slaver lord waits. He greets it as "Oh Marginal One," which amuses me to no end, and announces that he's brought "great booty." The Queen, speaking through the slaver lord is initially dismissive, but then pleased at the sight of the bird. (Once the Queen talks through it, Kidd calls her "your regalness") he then tells "[her] hiney" that she hasn't seen anything yet.

Now in front of the Queen in person, he announces that he's humbled. She wants the bird, who clings to Kidd and cries that he doesn't want to go back. Aw. Poor bird. Kidd apologizes, saying that they got close, and then mutters an insult at the bird. The Queen demands that he come to her and Kidd tosses him over.

She purrs all "there's something you want to tell me?!" But of course, it's Bubblehead, so he starts singing about pipes again. She thwaps him and his eyes cross and he actually starts reciting the real information. He actually looks a bit dangerous when he finishes, and calmly asks "How's that?" Kidd is happy and asks about the reward. The Queen wants to see exactly what he brought her first.

You know, I criticize the Queen a lot, but that's a good idea. Apparently her crystal will accelerate the growth cycle and let her create a full grown supertrooper to program at her command. Yeah, because Kilbane and Gooseman are so immensely programmable. Heh.

It's "the moment of truth" and a large if squat muscular figure appears in the tube and burps. It's got a large nose and isn't human. It busts out of the tube and Kidd realizes in dismay that it's a "Plago" which I think we've seen before but isn't ringing a bell. The Queen snaps that it's a Plago with superstrength. The Queen announces that Kidd will pay dearly for this. Kidd runs for it and the Plago apparently seems willing to help. The Queen orders them captured, but there's enough confusion that Kidd and Bubblehead are able to get away.

Back on their ship, Zach wonders if the Queen will reward Kidd for the bird. Goose figures he'll get what he deserves.

Kidd flies from Tortuna, chased by slaver fighters, Squeegie on one shoulder, Bubblehead on the other. He's crestfallen as he mutters something about having the slaver fighters on his tail. The sidekicks alternatively supply "The Galaxy Rangers" "Daisy O'Mega" "Jackie Subtract" "the Black Hole Gang" and Kidd decides to pilot a course for the next galaxy. Heh.

End of episode.


Not bad for a light-hearted episode. Though I don't think there was quite enough of the main characters for my tastes. There was sufficient violence to make me happy though. I enjoy explosions and barfights.

I liked all the call backs to previous episodes, and that the appeal of "supertrooper juice" wasn't a one episode occurrance. We also get a better idea of what it actually is, I think. Initially I thought it'd be something like Captain America's supersoldier serum when I saw Smuggler's Gambit, but it looks more like some kind of DNA cocktail instead. Which makes sense. People don't BECOME supertroopers, they grow them.

Though why on Earth would they have a formula to make a superstrong Plago?

I was surprised, but pleased, to see Miller again, as I honestly expected him to be a one-shot throw away character. Apparently he's more durable than I thought though, and doesn't seem to have any after effects from the Mutant Doll. Then again, maybe brain damage is why he continues to work for Jackie Subtract.

I was surprised to see so many familiar faces, but I thought they worked fairly well. A lot of villain team-ups tend to neuter some of the villains involved, but everyone kept their strengths and weaknesses. And MaCross is still the voice of reason that no one listens to. Heh.

I was disappointed by Kidd. I guess I got used to him doing the right thing. Oh well, he'll be back, I'm sure. :-) And Bubblehead is still less annoying than Buzzwang

Friday, April 17, 2009

An X-Comic Thought

Okay, so I've recently been reading some X-Men back issues. I'm enjoying it a lot, actually, despite the fact that I still think Xavier's a creepy, borderline villainous idiot who sabotaged his own cause. I like Cyclops, though. He's fucked up in ways that intrigue me.

Anyway, as I read the issues, I started noticing something odd. Jack Winters has a lot in common with Emma Frost.

I mean, first there's their names. Obvious similarity there. Frost. Winter. Yeah.

Then there's the fact that both of them have used game-related codenames/aliases before. (Jack O'Diamonds, White Queen.)

And both are telepaths with hard to kill "diamond forms".

Granted, there are over 40 years of X-stories out there, most of which I've never read, so I don't know if it's coincidence or if anyone's actually explained that. The Internet has not enlightened me.

It's a bit creepy if you think about it though. Sure, a lot of men end up dating women who are a lot like their mothers. But there's something a little off about dating a woman with such obvious surface similarities to your abusive, evil foster father. Who you killed. I really hope that at some point, someone actually called Cyclops on that, because it's really fucking creepy.

If there ever was a more obvious cry for psychiatric help that doesn't involve telepathic-jumping-of-bones, I've yet to see one. Yeesh.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Conflicting Feelings

The fact that J. Jonah Jameson is now Mayor of New York makes me honestly tempted to pick up Spider-Man. I hate Spider-Man. But it's such a clever idea! And I love Jameson.

Hopefully he'll pop up in the other Marvel books I actually do read.

(My dream comic is a team up of Nick Fury and Jonah Jameson. It'd be a cranky old man fest. And I would be pleased.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Recap 27: Armada

And today, I'm back to recapping. Because it's fun. And it saves me from thinking of actual blog posts. :-)

Rather suitably, considering how the last episode ended, this episode is called "Armada."

Dramatic Battle Music!

Today's episode begins with Ranger One flying through a star system. Waldo and Shane are in the cockpit. Shane points out that Waldo is the expert in "hyper relay stations" and asks what he thinks knocked out "the unit." Waldo tells him that he'll be the second to know.

Well, yeah, that's kind of how this works. Unless you're the Borg. Shane is unexpectedly patient and asks "Well, what do the instruments say?" with only a hint of irritation. "Nothing definite." They're getting interference. He points out that Saturn's so damn big, anything could be lurking back there. Waldo thinks it's neat, but Shane suddenly starts the beginning of an interesting sounding curse "Great Howling Hopping-"

When suddenly we see a flash of red light beyond Saturn's ring. It's the Crown Armada! Waldo says that the Queen must have a new hypershunt design. They fly in close to check the Armada out, and Waldo's all "How could she get such power?!"

Well, she IS an evil tyrannical dictator. I'm guessing she's not one for spending tax payer money on public works. Goose just says they can ask questions later.

Shane presses a button and zips them through the Armada, which is good, because at least three small QueenShips are now chasing them. Goose calls them "Bushwhackers" Waldo asks pleasantly how "running for our lives" appeals to him.

We cut away to the crownship before Goose actually answers that, which is probably for the best. On the crownship, an underling reports that the enemy shields are going down and he's lost power. The commander orders tractor beams.

As Ranger One is caught in a pretty green beam, Shane tells Waldo to "get set." Then suddenly, he powers on the ship, breaks free from the tractor beam, then essentially dive bombs a Queen ship. I love you, Shane. Having now blown shit up, Goose is more than willing to hightail it out of there. Waldo asks him to wait a moment, and then tractor's a bit of wreckage to bring back "for analysis."

Andorians keep trophies. Gotcha.

Goose says he was just going to suggest that, and Waldo retorts "Then you're quite brilliant." Okay, I kind of want to see more Waldo-Shane interaction. Their banter is odd, but entertaining.

Just after Ranger One zips off, a new ship pops out of hyperspace. This one is a bit more lavender than red. And the music has become swanky. Oh! It's Lazarus Slade! I wasn't expecting him. But the swanky music should have been a sign!

The Queen is less pleased than me though, as she sends an incoming transmission through Slaver Lord. Hey, weird question. Why doesn't she just put a slaver lord on Slade's ship and talk through that? Less chance of interception after all. She's annoyed that he already lost a ship. She insists that the armada was HIS idea, so he better not fail her.

That's not how *I* remember it, but it's the prerogative of dictators to rewrite events to suit themselves. Apparently Slade was the one to supply the new space drives that got them here in weeks instead of years. Good to know! He dramatically intones that he's her key to final victory.

The queen hisses that victory must be quick, before her subjects realize how thinly her forces are spread. Slade dramatically tells her that "Today, Earth will be [hers]." And promises psychocrystal slaves beyond number. You're kind of a dick, Lazzy.

You're lucky you're a cyborged Dr. Strange, or I might have to not like you.

At BETA mountain, the Rangers and Waldo are in Q-Ball's lab. Waldo reveals that the Queen's hyperdrive is powered by a new type of star stone he'd never seen before. Q-Ball points out that star stones are incredibly rare, and asks how they explain how she got enough to power an Armada.

Um, maybe you should ask her? Also, how many different kinds of star stones ARE there?

Zach asks Niko if her P-S-I (he spells it out, which seems weird to me) can help. Niko agrees to try. She does her mojo and glimpses Captain Kidd tossing a stone back and forth.

Meanwhile, BETA's on full alert, and Senator Wheiner appears on screen to live up to his name. He's all "You MUST do something!" I think Walsh just figured on letting the Queen take over and enslave them all, idiot. A female senator pops up demanding "Shall we wait until they're at our door?!"

Fortunately, this idiocy is broke off by Slade popping up on the viewscreen. I love you, Slade. He orders them to surrender or be crushed. After his transmission ends, the senators appear back on screen all "We'll never surrender!"

In Walsh's swanky office, Walsh, flanked by Doc and Zach, explains that the Crown needs Slaver Lords. Slade's first goal will be to eliminate BETA and spare civilians. Walsh explains that finding the Armada's weakness is the main goal.

Zach then explains that Rangers Niko and Gooseman (to this day, I'm still not sure which one's luckier. The one with no last name, or the one with a stupid last name,) are on their way. Their mission is to investigate the star stones on Captain Kidd's home planet. Walsh announces that they'll send out all available ships against Slade to buy time, and BETA Mountain must be prepared for a final stand.

I wonder if this is supposed to be a season finale of sorts. It kind of works as one. Anyway, we see a bunch of nameless cannon fodder dashing to Interceptors and taking off. Aw. Goodbye cannon fodder. We get Walsh's voice over announcing that this is humanity's most desparate hour.

That's a lot of shiny silver ships.

In the mass of red (and lavender) ships, Slade gets his own dramatic pronouncement: "Forward to Conquest!"

It's a battle of melodramatic proportions! Or will be!

Meanwhile, Niko and Shane are on Kidd's home planet, which is a fairly nice place. Kind of jungle-y, and there's what looks like a giant log with windows. Kidd's ship is parked in front of it, and we hear Shane drawl "Nice place you have here." He's totally going to blow it up.

Kidd by the way is lounging on a couch, with a small mammalian thing, and umbrella popping pilot guy hovering about. The mammalian thing introduces itself as Luigi. Amusingly, Niko and Shane turn to stare at it a moment, before turning back to Kidd. Niko insistantly asks if Kidd will help them. Goose adds that if he doesn't, the Queen wins everything. There'll be no human technology, kiwi food or andorian hyperdrives.

Might also point out that she'll increase her take-over-shit army a couple billion-fold too. Kidd breaks under their persuasive pressure and finally says "Okay!" And asks them if any of them have seen Mrs. Kidd. He looks mildly paranoid at the thought.

Luigi looks up from his fruit long enough to say that Mrs. Kidd's in the Galley, Skipper. "Then hearken to me, mateys, while the Mrs. is in the henhouse." he says, and I love Kidd so much right now. "It's like this," he tells them. And we cut away to the fleet of course.

Damn you, show. I wanted to hear that. The fleet looks spiffy though. And at its head, the Laredo, which seems to be a flagship. Doc and Zach are at stations on the ship, which is weird, 'cause you'd figure they'd have naval officers for that, but okay. Zach tells them that Slade's likely to be in the back, farthest away from the actual fighting. I would watch an episode that was just Jerry Orbach-as-Zach mocking various villains. Nat of the awesome mustache is in the command chair and the screen flashes "Red Alert." He orders preparation of fighters.

The music of melodrama continues to roar as focus moves to the Queen ships. There really are a fucking lot of them. The music continues to be dramatic, until Nat yells "First wave, away." Now the music gets all 80s and dance beat-ish. Because that's how humanity rolls my friend.

Lazarus monologues that this will be a glorious triumph, and the Board of Leaders will bow before him. He hasn't noticed the music change or he wouldn't be so confident, I'd reckon. Of course, he does order that they make sure the flagship stays behind the fighting.

Aw, show, making the villain a coward? I'm disappointed. You're usually much better at avoiding cliches.

We zoom in on a VERY baby-faced guy in an interceptor who identifies himself as "Wolverine leader." Aw, fellow, I suspect you're about to die. They fly in to attack the ships and are promptly pursued by Crown Fighters. They clip one of the Interceptors (it's a squad of three) but the other two manage to slide behind them and shoot their asses off. Nice!

The space battle is fairly intense and interesting.

Someone reports to "Commander Blake" that the fighters are undergoing heavy losses. Nat orders them called back. Awesome! Nat of the awesome mustache has a last name! He then orders the Destroyers sent in. The music likes this and gets all dramatic again. Doc leans over to Zach and asks when they make their move. Not until they can get a shot at Slade.

On one of the Destroyers, a clean cut gentleman with an elegantly slim mustache calls himself Admiral Subata and announces that they're heading in. The music likes this as well. Subata orders them to maintain maximum range and fire at will. As soon as the fellow hits the button, we get the opening beat of the themesong again.

I love how utterly biased the music is. Heh. Slade orders Cruisers to annihilate them. The Destroyers seem to be having more luck though. They're blowing up quite a few ships and the sky is lighting up with red (Queen) and blue (BETA) lights and explosions. It's pretty!

Battles are fun to watch, but hard to recap. Take it from me though, it's neat! Despite their general success, the Destroyer crew worries, as the QueenShips shields are "too powerful." Ack. One of the Destroyers gets blasted to wreckage. Aw. Slade gets enthusiastic and orders them to close in on the enemy and eliminate them at "close range."

Scientists. :-)

His underling points out that they won't come into close range. Slade, annoyed, orders a bombardment. "Blast formation."

Times like this, I kind of wish I had even the vaguest sense of tactics. He's good at the evil laugh.

Back on Kidd's planet, he's finishing "So you see, Rangers..." God, that was a long-ass story. But Kidd does tell us how he turned some useless stones into fake star stones with some kind of pendulant device. Apparently, when he heard Slade wanted star stones, he popped off a bunch on him. (Luigi is in the background, eating.) Shane clarifies for those of us in the audience who have trouble picking out exactly what Kidd's saying: Slade's using fake stones for the Armada. Kidd triumphantly says he made a bundle off him.

I'm sure that's a comfort to the families of the dead folk on the Destroyer. But then I shouldn't be too mean. Kidd DIDN'T sell Earth out after all, and he doesn't have to be telling Shane and Niko this now. In the background, Luigi jumps down and runs into the kitchen, where a giant white hen is apparently cooking. She has many horns on top of her head, and a blue chin thing and tail. Can you tell I know nothing of chickens? She greets Luigi happily. Luigi whispers something in her ear, and Mrs. Kidd shrieks "He sold WHAT?!"

Back with Kidd, Shane gets confirmation that the stones aren't stable. Kidd confirms and tells them that if they do something with a grav wave at certain cycles, the stones will go up like nova.

Um. Kidd, you're awfully cheerful about what might be the deaths of thousands of people. Niko is delighted too though and realizes that they can do it by adjusting their weapon beam. It's somewhat less creepy, because in her case, it at least means saving the fleet. She runs up and hugs him.

This is of course when Mrs. Kidd comes storming in, rolling pin in hand. In the background, Luigi titters and waves. I think I hate that monkey even more than I hate the one on Kidd's shoulder. Kidd starts babbling placating things and calls her Petunia, while Shane exercises the time-honored male tradition of getting the fuck out of the line of fire, grabs Niko's hand, and flees for it.

Hand holding, hmm? And by HIS initiative this time. Interesting.

Niko awkwardly calls out a "Thanks for everything!" because she's a nice lady. Kidd comes running after, all "Wait for me!" Heh. Alien domestic violence.

Meanwhile, on Earth, BETA mountain raises shields. Huh. I didn't know it could do that. Awesome. Apparently the Armada is now past Mars. Eek.

Walsh, Buzzwang, Waldo, Zozo, and Q-Ball watch the screen in trepidation. Walsh asks Waldo how long the forcefield will hold. Waldo tells him that it won't be for long. Zozo looks nervous, probably because there is no fire.

In space, the music gets more eighties, as they launch a new set of fighters and exchange fire with the bad guys. It's more intense now. Earth is visible in the background. We see a few more of the ships get destroyed. Ouch. Slade orders one group to destroy the space station and the others to proceed to BETA mountain. The station seems to be making a good showing.

Meanwhile, in the command ship, Zach reports that the Armada has passed them. He sounds right indignant about that too. Another fellow reports that the battlelines are being pushed toward Earth, and the Death Card is bringing up the rear. Blake decides it's time to attack ad powers up. It joins in the fight.

You know, as much as Zach seemed to be accusing Slade of cowardice before, it seems notable that BLAKE wasn't joining in the fight either. Granted some of that's to set an ambush, but some of that is probably to keep the Commander of the Fleet in a position where he can continue to call the shots. So maybe it's less that the show is portraying Slade as cowardly as it is portraying Zach as unreasonable. Which is not terribly out of character, much as I love Zach.

It is pretty satisfying though when Slade gets the report of another ship attacking and is over confident that the Armada will deal with it, only to find out it's coming from behind. Nat manages to blow up one of the ships escorting Slade's, Slade orders groups three and four to destroy the ship, while the rest aren't to stop "until BETA mountain is vaporized!

The station is still in one piece. Which is impressive. Meanwhile the flagship is losing shield power. They can't take too much more. (I love when sci-fi people say "We can't take much more of this." It's totally a stage cue for the cavalry.)

Zach orders them to prepare to ram. I'm not sure why Nat Blake isn't calling the shots anymore, but he doesn't seem to mind so I won't either.

Slade's underling reports that the enemy battle cruiser is nearly finished, and Slade grins and says they'll join in at the end.

BETA's under heavy fire. But they do have guns, which helps. But suddenly the shield seems to blank out! Eek!

Actually, it's only down 50%, but that's enough for Walsh to open communications with the Board of Leaders. He starts a very nice speech about everyone making him proud to serve BETA and the Federation but they must prepare the population of Earth for the "brutal days ahead."

We're saved from hearing the rest of Walsh's undoubtedly eloquent defeat speech by the sudden arrival of a very familiar ship. And of course, the resurgence of the theme song. Shane notes the Laredo and orders tractor beams. Shane mutters to Kidd that this had better work. Kidd gives the cycle number and Niko locks it in.

Doug Preis doesn't really have a good voice for yelling "Fire," I think. At least not when voicing the Shane Gooseman drawl. It makes him complimentary to Jerry Orbach though, who can't do agony well but does bellow orders phenomenally.

Anyway, they explode one ship very nicely. Goose congratulates a pleased looking Kidd. They dive into the fray, slicing through the enemy ships like hot knives through butter.

Niko pops up on the BETA communications line to announce calmly that the enemy ships can be destroyed by tractor beams at 2-million cycles. Walsh just lights up at this. Aw. Zach and Doc hear it too. Doc quickly converts the Laredo's weapons, while Q-Ball converts BETA's own weapons. There's lots of green lights and exploding QueenShips.

Slade is not pleased and orders the retreat. But first, he intends to make one last attack, and sets himself on collision course to the Laredo. Eek. The tractor beam isn't working either. Zach notes that he must have a different drive system. Well played, Slade. Doc is upset: none of the guns have any power. Zach has a plan though and orders them to stay pointed at Slade. He runs off. Then he activates his implant and BODILY moves one of the guns into position. He opens some canister, taps his badge again, and shoves his now glowing arm straight inside. It lights up and fires.

...okay, Zach, you win badass of the episode.

Slade breaks off the attack and flees to hyperspace.

Back at BETA, Walsh gives a speech about how the Queen's suffered the biggest defeat in history. The League of Planets will stand ready...blah, blah, blah. The crowd shot's neat though. And hey, women in there too! Awesome!

End of episode.


Okay, that was definitely a season finale type of episode. It was pretty awesome too. It was good to see Kidd and Slade again.

I was particularly happy to see that despite the cliched coward characterization that it seemed like the show was aiming toward with Slade, he finished up with what amounted to be a suicide strike toward the Laredo. Yeah, he broke it off and ran for it, but only after Zach made him realize he wasn't going to be able to get close enough to make a dent.

There's a difference between "suicide strike" and "stupidity."

It was good to see Kidd again too. I've always liked his three-dimensionality. He's amoral, but not really a bad guy. He didn't really sell out Earth or anyone else to the Queen. At the same time though, he was a bit too gleeful about the potential to sabotage the Queens' ships for my taste. Yeah, they're an evil army, but... I don't know. There's a lot of death there. It's uncomfortable, which I'd guess is a good thing.

Speaking of, there was a LOT of death in this episode. I definitely think that the series, post Psychocrypt, has gotten a bit more mature in terms of storytelling. Before Psychocrypt, there was a lot of violence, but not a lot of death. The first time an enemy died, for sure, was in the Moby Dick episode, and we didn't get ally deaths at all until the Black Hole episode. Lately the show seems to be more willing to allow for that kind of thing.

If this episode had a weakness, I'd say it was probably in that the Rangers didn't have that much to do. They got to talk to Kidd, shoot things, and take part in the battle, but the battle itself was more of the centerpiece of the episode. At least until Zach's nifty badassery at the very end. The battle was fairly exciting, don't get me wrong, but it's not more interesting than the characters.

Also, it would have been nice if they'd mentioned Eliza at some point, but there's probably no point in shoving salt into that wound for Zach when there's fighting to be done.

The plus side to the battle is that we got to see some more people in authority and where divisions of power sat. I kind of expected Walsh to be commanding the battlefleet, but it makes more sense that he's commanding BETA Mountain instead. I'm surprised that Nat of the awesome mustache is apparently high enough rank to command an entire defense fleet, because I'd always gotten the impression that he and Zach were of equivalent rank. Oh well. :-)

It's awesome that he FINALLY has a last name too. I wonder if we'll see Subata again. People who get names tend to pop up here and there in this series.

I'm kind of unclear about whether the fleet from this episode is the same as the fleet attacking Kirwin or not. It looks similar. But in this episode, the Queen says that the armada was Slade's idea. And there was no sign that the armada possessed fancy hyperdrives last episode. Then again, they wouldn't have needed them since the first episode established that Kirwin is within her attack range.

Oh well.

I'd definitely like to see more Waldo and Shane interaction. We never really get to see Waldo without Zozo, but those two had a pretty entertaining dynamic. I'd like to see more of it. :-)