Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Simple Solution

When Qatar was controversially awarded the 2022 World Cup by FIFA's executive committee in 2010, I said then it was a bad idea. Two years later, FIFA is still trying to make the bid works.

Faced with the prospect of playing in the summer heat of the Middle East, FIFA has been trying to think of all kind of ways of making it possible to hold the tournament in Qatar. Ideas ranged from moving the Qatar World Cup to late 2022 in winter, to moving it slightly earlier in early May, to starting games at 1am to avoid the worst of the heat.

I have a better idea. Just move the whole tournament to another country! That solves everything right? Sometimes the simplest solution is the best solution. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Too Much Of A Good Thing

That’s what I thought when I read that Warner Bros. will be releasing more than 10 movies based on DC superheroes. With the successful Marvel had these past few years, it’s little wonder why Warner Bros. would want in on the act but 10 of them?

The 10 DC movies named are as follows:

• "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" (2016)
• "Suicide Squad", David Ayer (2016)
• "Wonder Woman" (2017)
• "Justice League Part One" (2017)
• "The Flash" (2018)
• "Aquaman" (2018)
• "Shazam" (2019)
• "Justice League Part Two" (2019)
• "Cyborg" (2020)
• "Green Lantern" (2020)

Now as a long-time fan of superhero comics, I love the fact that there are movies in the pipeline but 10 movies in 6 years? Good god, that’s overkill even if you don’t count the Marvel movies.

I hope between them, Marvel and Warner Bros., the two rival studios do not kill the genre. Give us fans some room to breathe guys. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Comics this week

Deadly Class #8- Unlike most people on the internet, I’m no fan of writer Rick Remender’s work on AXIS but in Deadly Class, he is still showing his class (pun intended). #8 gave us the backstory of Marcus and it is suitably horrifyingly awesome. I like the way Remender didn’t sugarcoat anything. Yes, Marcus had good reasons for doing what he did but that didn’t change the fact that he killed a lot of people and was responsible for the deaths for more. The pain the memory bought to Marcus was beautifully illustrated by artist Wes Craig and after last issue so-so return, it’s great to have the series back on form. 

Justice League #35- The game within a game continues as the unlikely and uneasy alliance between Lex and the Justice League continue to give writer Geoff Johns a lot to work with. It’s fun to watch the self-righteous and honorable JL team trying to work an angle on Lex when they have nothing to go on but past history. The fact that Lex is now more afraid of some unknown entity out there than he is of the League is something none of them want to accept and it’s fun to watch the continuing duel of wits between Batman and Lex. More please!

Ms. Marvel #8- Since the beginning, we have seen Kamala Khan fumbling around on her own and that’s part of her endearing charm. She’s a young slightly confused, hardworking working-class hero who is just trying her best after gaining some superpowers. Her inexperience told this issue as the giant robot that attacked her school caused great damage and injured her. Luckily she was rescued by Lockjaw and Medusa and the Inhumans given some answers on how her powers work. Writer Willow Wilson’s strong writing continue to make this one of Marvel’s best and as long as she's on the title, this series looks good for the long haul.

Who Cares?

The simple unspoken rule in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is that Singaporean Malays are barred from certain sensitive vocations in the SAF. The simple and (to me) outdated belief is that as a country surrounded by Malay majority countries, Singaporean Malays might not want to fight against their ethnic kin if we ever go to war.

So when the SAF introduced the SAF Volunteer Corps (SAFVC) for new citizens yesterday, some Singaporeans are questioning why permanent residents who only been Singapore citizens for one year are allowed to be a Naval Combat Engineer (for example) when a born-and-bred Singaporean Malay who has lived here all his life is not?

It is a good question but the simple fact of the matter is this, “Who cares?” As a Singaporean who has been through National Service and almost through his reservist period, I can tell you this with great conviction, "Most of us in uniform have no desire to be there". 

That is just the truth and I think most Singaporeans know it. So if there are some “volunteers” who want to be a combat engineer, would I complain? Hell no, and with the exception of the few “on” Singaporeans, I don’t think most Singaporeans (Malay or otherwise) would either.

So don't ask why these new citizens are allowed to be in these vocations. If they want them, they are more than welcome to them. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Sports Hub Pitch

You would think they would have learned their lesson. 2 months ago when the Singapore Sports Hub was opened for the game between Singapore Selection and Juventus, many people (including me) complain about the terrible pitch.

Today, the national teams of Brazil and Japan are to play a friendly on the same pitch and…it is not much better. The coaches of both teams have openly complained about the pitch with Brazil coach Dunga voicing concerns about his players getting injuries. The pitch is so bad even the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) declared that the pitch was “far short of international playing standards”.

The FAS could say that of course as they are not in charge of the Sports Hub, thus not in charge of its pitch. Which begs the question just who is in charge? It’s been 2 months since the Juventus game, that’s more than enough time for grass to grow. This is Singapore after all and it is ridiculous that a stadium that cost millions of dollars to build can't even get it's field right.

So as Japan and Brazil play on the sandy field today, I have to ask, “Just who is to blame for this farce?” 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Strange New Titles From Marvel

You know how people always complain about diversity in comic books? Well, Marvel heard the complaints loud and clear as they intend to release at least 5 new series starring women.
Just as Marvel announced the cancellation of the Fantastic Four, they also announced new series for Gamora, Squirrel Girl, Silk and Spider-Gwen. Add them to the previously announced Spiderwoman series and you get 5 new female-led series. Now I'm all for diversity but I have a question for Marvel, “Why these characters?”
I can understand that there’s an outcry for more heroine titles and Marvel's respond to the cries is a good thing (just look at the new Black Widow, She-hulk, Elektra series) but this new lineup is strange. With the success of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, I can understand the company picking Gamora. Spider-Gwen may be a new character (she has appear in 1 issue so far) but she seem to have struck a chord with fans of Spiderman, so I can understand picking her as well but...why Squirrel Girl and Silk?
Sorry but are these series going to sell? I don’t think so. There may be an outcry for more heroine titles but why not Jessica Jones, or Psylocke or even Songbird? Instead they pick a D-list hero in Squirrel Girl and an almost totally unknown character in Silk?
I give Marvel credit; these are bold choices but will they sell? Nope.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Comics this week

Birthright #1- The issue starts innocently enough with a father playing catch with his son near the woods. The son became lost and after an unsuccessful search, the father was accused of killing him. Years passed, the father became a drunk, the parents got divorced, and the younger son got into trouble in school. Things were bleak before the police got a man claiming to be the missing son. According to his crazy story, he was “spirited away” to a fantasy world where he was a hero. The story is crazy but his fingerprints and dental records match that of the missing boy and he do looked a little like the father. Could his story be true? Well, it is but that’s almost an afterthought to what went on before. The promo of this series showed a warrior with a big sword and fantasy creatures flying in the background. However if you came to Birthright thinking this is Conan 2.0, you would be solely mistaken. Birthright is a FAMILY DRAMA and writer Joshua Williamson hit it out of the park with this one. This debut is well-written, well-paced and very interesting. Artist Andrei Bressan also nailed it filling the issue with many small details that flesh out the story. Looks like a winner!

Earth 2: World’s End #1- Ever since 52 became a smash hit, DC has been trying to make lighting strike twice by releasing a series of weekly titles. All of them ranged between okay to not-so-good but give DC credit; they never stop trying. Earth 2: World’s End is their latest weekly title and it is set on Earth 2, an alternate world where the Trinity died saving the world from Darkseid. Immediately, you can see a problem. Readers who don’t follow the main Earth 2 book will have a lot of back-story to cover. Most of them probably won’t even know who Sloan is, much less how important is the reveal that he was the one who killed Alan Scott’s boyfriend and partner. This fact (and some others) would just fly over your head if you don’t follow the regular Earth 2 series. Luckily for me, I do! I won’t say this issue was perfect but I liked it. More Earth 2 is just not a bad thing in my view.

Earth 2 #27- This issue is the companion issue to Earth 2: World’s End and in many ways, it felt like it. This issue features a story that is entirely reliant upon its readers picking up World’s End and World’s Finest (I honestly have no idea Power Girl and Huntress were back on Earth 2). Add to that the complete utter fake and forced relationship between Batman and Huntress, and between Power Girl and Val-Zod, and you got an issue that’s easily the worst in the series thus far. This issue was like the poor cousin to World’s End and I worry about the series if this is the route writer Tom Taylor is going to take.