Thursday, June 30, 2016

Comics this week

Jupiter's Legacy 2 #1- After too long of a wait, Jupiter's Legacy is back. Now this issue is nothing but setup with Chole, Hutch and Jason going around the world to setup their own super team. The issue itself is pretty light on plot but with likable characters and a funny set piece in an airport, writer Mark Millar gives us hope this series will be just as good as the first.

Plutona #5- Wow…I did not expect this series to end like this. Now the concept of a comic series focusing on the people living in a world of superheroes is not new, but the way writers Jeff Lemire and Emi Lenox and did it is. The fact that Plutona just left because she got bigger problems on her plate than babysitting 5 teenagers is correct. You can’t blame her for leaving. She just didn’t know one of the teenagers would die because of it. Now that’s new and to me, leaving the series on that note was perfect.

Spider-Gwen Annual #1- Now I have no problems with Marvel putting together an anthology for an annual, but an anthology that makes no sense? That’s just lazy. Honestly, all the stories in this annual with the exception of the last story featuring one week in the life of Gwen were pretty poor. Save your money and skip this. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

X-Men and Avengers



For years, fans have been dreaming about it. Now it seems the superhero dream is about to come true as 20th Century Fox and Marvel Studios are rumored to be trying to pair up some of their characters in one big movie extravaganza.

As many fans know, 20th Century Fox holds the movie rights to the Spiderman, X-Men and the Fantastic Four franchises while Marvel Studios has the rights to every other characters in Marvel. So when Spiderman made a cameo in Captain America: Civil War, fans hope for more of these tie-ins. If rumors in Hollywood are to be believed, these hopes may be coming true.

I hope not.

I know I may be in the minority here but I don't think it's a good idea to have the X-Men and Avengers franchises joined in one. Before you blow your top, hear me out;

In the latest superhero movies (Captain America: Civil War & X-Men: Apocalypse), the big complain is that there were just too many characters on the screen. Just look at the poster I put up on top. There are 10 heroes there. Now imagine if the X-Men are in there as well? 

We don't need that. Superhero movies are coming bloated as it is and I for one hope everyone take a step back from that. Also, having the franchises separate means the movie studios could take a flop or two and still keep going. Honestly, that's my biggest fear. If the franchises join and the movie is a flop...

We don't that. I don't want that. It's not a risk worth taking. They are doing well as they are now so why risk it? Keep the X-Men and Avengers franchises separate.

Monday, June 27, 2016

What Brexit Really Means

With the votes counted and the results in, the United Kingdom (UK) is heading out of the European Union (EU). Known widely as the Brexit, there are now fears that the UK‘s upcoming divorce will hurt the country’s booming economy.

My view on this is that the fears are overblown. 

In the short run, there may be problems as everyone adjusts to the new reality but in the long run; I think the UK will do just fine. I mean let’s be serious here. The UK has been a kingdom for centuries. They have been in the EU for what…2 decades? The UK will survive Brexit just fine. The EU however will have a major problem with the result.

The simple fact is that the EU just isn’t that attractive right now. The refugees’ crisis last year was one the EU failed to handle. Outside that, there is the long simmering economic crisis in Greece, Spain etc. and the tension the EU has with Russia. So I can’t say I’m all that surprised the British public chose to leave the EU. They are not alone in this. Others are also hoping to do so.

Already there are calls in France and Holland to leave the EU and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Britain's planned departure from the European Union is the "beginning of a new era". That’s a problem for the EU. 

So don’t worry about the UK. They will eventually do fine with Brexit. For the EU however…

What Brexit Really Means

With the votes counted and the results in, the United Kingdom (UK) is heading out of the European Union (EU). Known widely as the Brexit, there are now fears that the UK‘s upcoming divorce will hurt the country’s booming economy.

My view on this is that the fears are overblown. 

In the short run, there may be problems as everyone adjusts to the new reality but in the long run; I think the UK will do just fine. I mean let’s be serious here. The UK has been a kingdom for centuries. They have been in the EU for what…2 decades? The UK will survive Brexit just fine. The EU however will have a major problem with the result.

The simple fact is that the EU just isn’t that attractive right now. The refugees’ crisis last year was one the EU failed to handle. Outside that, there is the long simmering economic crisis in Greece, Spain etc. and the tension the EU has with Russia. So I can’t say I’m all that surprised the British public chose to leave the EU. They are not alone in this. Others are also hoping to do so.

Already there are calls in France and Holland to leave the EU and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Britain's planned departure from the European Union is the "beginning of a new era". That’s a problem for the EU. 

So don’t worry about the UK. They will eventually do fine with Brexit. For the EU however…

Friday, June 24, 2016

Comics this week

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #8- Everyone has assumed that Lunella’s superpower is her intelligence but after getting infected by the Inhuman mist, we see her true powers and why this series is called Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur! One thing I truly enjoy about this issue is the fascinating friendship that develops between Lunella and her pet dinosaur. Writer Amy Reeder and Brandon Montclare need to develop that further. It’s the best part of the issue.

Ms. Marvel #8- Willow Wilson has been the writer of Ms. Marvel since the start and her knowledge and deft hands show in this issue which looks like the beginning of a pivotal chapter in Kamala's ongoing story. Kamala’s hero-worship of Carol Danver has been evident from the start but what will happen if Kamala got a different point-of-view from Captain Marvel? Guess it’s time for Kamala to grow up as a hero.

Rai #14- I must I am digging all these 4001 tie-ins of Rai. Much like #13, this issue show a past Rai and her (yes, it’s a her) relationship with Father. The story by Matt Kindt and art from CAFU make this issue a standout as we get an informative snapshot of not only Rai but Father as well. The idea that Father’s decision to change his Rais is due to the needs of the ever changing nature of human society is intriguing to say the least. I hope we get more stories like this in the future. It’s a masterpiece. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Crazy Ban

I have been ignoring this issue because I never thought it would happen. However since it looks like it is going to happen, I have to say this; the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) mission to ban Russian track and field athletes from competing in the Rio Olympics 2016 is just plain stupid! 

What nonsense is this about banning athletes who has never ever being caught doping? American sprinter Justin Gatlin had been caught twice for doping but he's allowed in Rio but the greatest female pole vaulter in history, Russian Yelena Isinbayeva (who has ever even been accused of doping), is not? What sense does that makes? 

If the IOC and the athletics' governing body the IAAF says that they don't trust the Russians' anti-doping program, well I say most people in the world don't trust the fact that Justin Gatlin is free of doping. Does that mean they can ban Gatlin without cause? No?

Then how can they ban Russians' athletes? The more this play out, the more it sounds like a political hit job on Russia. I hope for the sake of the IOC, they cancel this ban. It's a crazy decision.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Not Worth It

Today in The New Paper, the front pages was filled with a story about Singaporeans who got into serious money troubles after buying a car. Basically, they were doing well. So they decide to buy a car...and then they became poor.

Seriously, how is this news? I have been saying this for years on this blog that a car in Singapore make no financial sense. The COE for a car in Singapore is between $40,000 to $60,000. Outside that, there's the registration fee which will depend on the car you buy. Even a small car will put you back $20,000 at least in Singapore.

That's $70,000+, and that's just to get the car. You still have to count in the Road Tax, the insurance, the season parking, and petrol. All for just 10 years because that's how long the COE will last. Renewal of the COE will cost you another $40,000+.

So of course buying a car in Singapore makes no financial sense. It's designed not to. Take public transport please; having a car in Singapore is just not worth it.  

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Comics this week

Justice League #51- After the heavy Darkseid War, writer Dan Abnett went for some light-hearted fare this issue. This issue show the first meeting between the Justice League and Robin. I suspect this is mostly used to promote the new Titans series but you know what? I dig this issue. This is a fun issue that showed the team fighting together against multiple threats, and winning via good strategy and teamwork. Nowhere as important as anything that happened in the Darkseid War, but still a very good issue.

Spider-Gwen #9- Taking place immediately after the events in the Spider-Women crossover, this issue shows a depress Gwen Stacy questioning her place in the world. From the first moment we saw her, Spider-Gwen already has her powers and I have to admit writer Jason Latour’s take on the fallout of Gwen losing her powers is very good. Despite the problems that come with her powers, in many ways those powers are what defined Gwen Stacy for us readers; even more so than they ever did with Peter Parker because we had never once seen her without her powers.  So we can understand Gwen’s fear of losing them. If Latour play this right, this could be the beginning of a very good arc.   

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Russian Warning

With Euro 2016 underway, the big news overshadowing the football is the fighting in the streets of France. For 3 days before the game between Russia and England, English fans had been fighting in the streets of Marseille.

So to the surprise of no one, on the days of the game between Russia and England, trouble erupted between English and Russian fans. Hundreds of Russian fans charged through a flimsy security cordon at the Stade Velodrome following the final whistle in the 1-1 draw to attack England fans and UEFA just handed the Russian Football Union a suspended disqualification from Euro 2016 and a fine of €150,000. This means Russia will be kicked out of Euro 2016 if their fans cause problems inside the stadium again.

I have to ask this; what about England?

I mean I’m no fan of Russia but their fans caused trouble for 1 day. English fans have been causing trouble for 3! Somehow UEFA say because they cause problems inside the stadium, Russia can be thrown out. However, doesn’t that mean 3 days of violence by English fans on the streets of the host nation means less than the 1 day of violence in a football stadium?

Sorry UFEA but I don’t buy that. Not that I want any team to be kicked out but if you are going to issue this warning to Russia, you need to do the same thing to England. It is only fair. Their fans had been causing much more problems in France than the Russian fans.   

Monday, June 13, 2016

Gun Control In America

I have a question, but before I asked it I have to give you some background. 

On Sunday, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, a Muslim American of Afghan descent, went into a gay nightclub in Florida and began shooting. Before he was killed by police, Omar had killed 50 people and injured another 55. 

From reports I read, there are doubts whether Omar was inspired by Islamist extremism, was homophobic, or whether a combination of both caused him to do what he did. His ex-wife had said he was bipolar and had a history of steroid use, so he might just have been mentally ill. No matter the reason, one thing is without doubt. 

Omar Mateen would not have been able to kill and injured so many people if he did not have access to an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. 

I have to ask why are such guns allowed in American society. An AR-15 is an assault rifle and as of 2012, there are an estimated 2.5-3.7 million rifles from the AR-15 family in civilian use in the United States. That is just ridiculous. Some armies in the world probably wouldn't have anywhere near 3.7 million rifles in their armouries.

Simple common sense tells you that if Omar did not have access to guns, he would not have been able to cause as much damage as he did. So back to my question, 

"Why is there still a debate about stricter gun control in America?" 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Comics this week

Birthright #16- After a small break, writer Joshua Williamson is back and he immediately goes to addressing the big reveal last issue of Mikey’s grandfather being Sameal, one of the Mages he was sent back to kill. Outside that, the story progress on several other fronts with the relationships of the Mages and the reveal of Brennan’s powers taking most of the issue. A good return for Birthright, hope Williamson can keep this up.

Injection #10- With this issue, writer Warren Ellis’ arc of Vivek Headland is over. Honestly, the ending of the arc was kind of anti-climatic. A series of talking heads with an ending that…well, left a lot to be desired. However, the ending with Robin Morel looks very promising. Too bad the series is taking another hiatus…

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Review of Captain America: Civil War


After Captain America: Winter Soldier (which I liked a lot), Captain America seem to have taken over the mantle of the main Marvel franchise from Iron Man. For most of Captain America: Civil War; that view holds up.

Taking place about a year after Avengers: Age of Ultron, the movie starts with the Avengers laying in wait for Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo in a cameo). In the ensuring fight, Rumlow blows himself up, hoping to kill Captain America (Chris Evans). Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) saves the Captain by moving the blast into the sky with telekinesis.

Unfortunately, the blast destroys a nearby building, killing several humanitarian workers from the kingdom of Wakanda. The situation becomes a political hot potato and U.S. Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) informs the Avengers of the Sokovia Accords. The Accords will establish a UN panel to oversee and control The Avengers.

The team is divided on this with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) supporting the accords and Rogers wanting the team to remind independent of any government. At the UN conference in Vienna where the accords are to be ratified, a bomb kills the king of Wakanda. Security footage shows the bomber being Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), the Winter Soldier. The new king of Wakanda, T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), vows vengeance.

Informed of the government's intentions to kill him, Rogers decides to bring in Barnes, his childhood friend and war comrade, alive. The situation escalates and The Avengers are spilt into two, with members either with Iron Man or Captain America.

Now, as a movie, I thought Captain America: Civil War was excellent. Much like the recent Batman vs Superman, it asked serious questions about violence and vigilantism only this time, the movie has guys on both sides of the equation. This gave Captain America: Civil War an advantage as the movie is able to switch views convincingly.

Credit must also be given to directors Anthony and Joe Russo who managed to successfully juggle all the characters in the movie. Everyone got a chance to shine, even long mostly forgotten heroes like War Machine (Don Cheadle). However the best lines go to new heroes like Spiderman (Tom Holland), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) so it’s not like the directors don’t know where the current Marvel movie is going.

The action was mostly solid and with a strong story, everything looks great…until the end of the movie.

Say what you want about Batman vs Superman, but one thing almost everyone agrees on is that BvS landed the ending. The ending of that movie was great. It was wonderful. The ending of Captain America: Civil War unfortunately sucks!

I won’t spoilt the ending here but after all the fights, the arguments, and the big reveal near the end; Stark and Rogers came to an “understanding”. The unfortunate thing is I can’t understand how that understanding came about after just a letter and a promise of future help?

I’m sorry but even for a superhero movie, that’s ridiculous. I can understand Marvel felt a need to have both Iron Man and Captain America staying friendly with each other for the movies going forward but this ending looks like something from another movie. It just doesn’t make sense.

That in essence was the movie. A good, almost great, movie that was utterly destroyed by an ending that came from another movie. Good movie…pity about the ending though. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

So What?

On Tuesday, the Singapore government issued a statement slamming socio-political website TR Emeritus (TRE) for publishing a letter which claimed that Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat’s medical expenses are paid by taxpayer monies. The letter on TRE state the minister's medical bills were borne by Singapore taxpayers, something the Singapore government state was a “blatant lie”. 

I have to ask this; So what if the Singapore government is footing Heng Swee Keat’s medical bills?

The man suffered his stoke during a Cabinet meeting. If he was a construction worker and suffered an injury during work, we would expect his company to pay for his medical bills right? If he suffering a fall in the office, it's not out of the question that the company paid for part of hospital bill right? Why should it be any different for a minister? 

Yes, the man is drawing a high salary. Yes, he is probably rich enough to pay the bills himself. So what? He suffered his stroke at work so shouldn't his employer, the Singapore government, foot at least part of the bill? In my mind, the answer is a simple "Yes".

To me, this is a non-issue. The Singapore government state ministers in Singapore are on the same medical benefit scheme as most civil servants. Well if the government is paying something on top of that, then I'm all for it. After all, it's only fair. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Comics this week

Deadly Class #21- Wow! I did not expect that ending and I doubt if anyone did. I will admit this arc hasn’t been my favorite but what a way to finish it. Writer Rick Remender and artist Wes Craig raise the bar high sky in this issue and the shocking ending was the coup de grĂ¢ce to a WOW issue. If you had read any issue of Deadly Class before, pick this one up! It is THAT important.

Spider-Women Omega #1- As I said before, the Spider-women crossover has been a hit-and-miss affair, but credit to writer Dennis Hopeless for saving the best for last. After a series of lackluster fights, there is finally a big showdown as Gwen, Cindy, and Jessica team-up against Earth-65 Cindy Moon. Artist Nico Leon did a great job showing the action and I especially enjoyed the powers Earth-65 Cindy Moon showed. Not a great crossover, but this was a satisfying conclusion to the "Spider-Women" event.

Superman: Rebirth #1- With the New 52 Superman dead and gone, this new start from writer Peter J. Tomasi starts from the past. The old, mature and classic Superman from Lois & Clarke will headline this new Superman series and from the get-go, Tomasi showed why. This is a great start, making me care for Superman in a way the young New 52 Superman never could. I‘m a little worried about the biweekly release but it will be Interesting to see if DC can maintain this quality.  

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The "Correct" Decision

 In America recently, officials from a zoo in Cincinnati had to shoot and kill 450-pound gorilla named Harambe after a 4-year-old boy fell into its enclosure. Outrage in America is mounting over the death of the Western lowland silverback which is an endangered species, and police are investigating possible criminal charges in the incident.

Now I understand the outrage. The gorilla basically did nothing wrong. The fault lies strictly with the stupid kid who climbed over a meter high barrier, before falling into the moat. However between the gorilla and a 4-year-old boy, there should not be a choice. You save the boy.

Not saying it was the “right” decision, but it was the “correct” one. I don’t think the zoo did anything wrong and I don’t agree with the anger directed at the zoo or even the parents of the boy.  The fault lies with the boy and you can’t shoot the boy. The zoo officials did the only thing they could. They saved the boy's life.

Unfortunately, accidents do happen. This was an unfortunate incident for all involved and the one who paid the highest price was the one least at fault. However, two wrongs don’t make one right. Charging the parents or the zoo does not help.