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Monday, December 23, 2013

Eleventh Week: Thank You, Doctor


The Eleventh Doctor's gonna die this Christmas.

I'm pretty excited, actually. It's my first "live" regeneration, so to speak. I will not read about it from a wiki, or watch an old regeneration episode. I will be watching a Doctor die and be reborn, when it happens, as it happens.

It's sad, though. Matt Smith has just grown into the role of the Eleventh Doctor. I saw him stumble ever so awkwardly through Series 5 like a newborn giraffe, like someone who literally does not know what he's doing, until he found his feet in Series 6. Then Series 7 rolled around, and I was happy seeing Matt finally settle into the role. Then he says he's leaving, the Purple Frock Coat of Awesome not having found time to warm on his shoulders.

I'm one of the more level-headed fans who see this as a natural progression for the show. It happens. An actor doesn't want to do Who any more and, thanks to a clever plot twist created 50 years ago, somebody new takes their place.

At least, that's what I'd tell myself. I'm not one to mourn and fret over something that hasn't happened yet, but I think tears will definitely be shed once I see, with my own eyes, the Doctor regenerating into someone else.

Oh, who am I kidding? I'm not ashamed to say it. I will fucking cry like a little girl when I see my Doctor die in The Time of the Doctor.

Yes. The Eleventh Doctor is my Doctor. It's because of Eleven that I became a Whovian. It's because of Eleven that I found a place where I feel I belong. It's because of my love for this Time Lord and his adventures that I met many new friends. Amazing what the latest incarnation of a fictional character created 50 years ago can do.

But he's not just any fictional character. The Eleventh Doctor is me. I see so much of myself in this bowtie-wearing klutz with the awesome frock coat. Like him, I am incredibly old but childish at times. Like him, I care too deeply for the people I love. Like him, I don't like not knowing or being told I'm not cool. Like him, I'm too hopeful for my own good, and I'm trusting to a fault.When I dress up as Eleven during conventions or at the office (much to the dismay of my officemates), it's not because I think I'm an awesome cosplayer (protip: I'm not), it's because I'm basically just being myself.

More importantly, the Eleventh Doctor inspired me with his words and actions, more so than any of his previous incarnations. He gave me so many things to aspire to, things no human being might ever achieve. But then he gives you that wink and that smile, as if saying "Don't worry. You can do it!" And you believe him.

A part of me will die alongside the Eleventh Doctor. But until then, I will not mourn. Until then, I will hold on to all the things that made me love this incarnation above all the others. The manic energy. The purple frock coat. His relationship with Clara Oswald (Whouffle 5EVER). The badass speeches. The way his enemies cringe at the mere mention of his name, and the smile he makes when they do. The way his eyes can show both rage and affection in equal amounts. And, most importantly, the way he assures us, like a loving parent, that everything will be all right.

He told us all to trust him. And we did. I did. And he did not disappoint us.

And for that I give him, our Raggedy Man, my Doctor, my eternal gratitude.

Now repeat after me: "GERONIMO!"

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Eleventh Week: My Eleven, My Doctor


Our guest post today is from Nina Dionisio, a Psychology major from Ateneo de Manila University who loves Doctor Who, BBC's Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch and books more than life itself. When she's not incapacitated by Moffat-induced feels, she likes to over-analyse everything she sees and theorise about Doctor Who and Sherlock. Read her poignant essay on what the Eleventh Doctor means to her, and what it means to say farewell to the Doctor who changed her life.

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It’s funny how the littlest things could make the most profound effects on our lives, and how the simplest decisions could take us on paths that make us stronger and better persons. For me, that little thing and that simple decision both involved a little show called Doctor Who. This is the story of my run with the Eleventh Doctor, and how he’d managed to give hope to another little girl, a girl who’d almost given up on it all.

I remember the first time I watched the show. It was probably around late May of this year, and since I didn't have school at the time, I was staying up late and looking for something to watch before I go to bed. As I was casually browsing through the files in my external hard drive, I chanced upon a folder entitled ‘Doctor Who’. I remembered that the files were given to me a few months ago by a dear friend, and that he said it was really good. Since I didn't want to start a whole new TV series just before the start of the semester, I decided to choose an episode to watch at random. It was about 11PM at the time, and because it was sort of in the middle of the whole series and could therefore be surmised as most likely representative of what I can expect from the show in its entirety, I chose to watch The Eleventh Hour.

That tiny, seemingly insignificant decision was one of the best I've made in my entire life. A few minutes into the show, I thought it was just another series that I could watch while doing homework. Halfway through, I realised that I was very wrong—this was more than just another TV series. It was action-packed, funny, touching, and just plain brilliant. I found myself utterly enthralled by what I was watching, and most especially by the man who calls himself “the Doctor”. I've never felt so utterly affected by anything until then. I wanted to know more about the impossible Doctor and his equally impossible blue box. An hour later, I was scrambling to start from the very beginning. I watched episode after episode; and before I knew it, it was already morning and I’d gone straight through series 1 and most of series 2. I only stopped when I’d realised that it was already afternoon and I've been up for more than 24 hours.

After that night, I religiously watched Doctor Who for the next few days, stopping only when I was too tired to keep my eyes open¬—not only because I loved the show, but also because I wanted to get to the Eleventh Doctor as soon as possible. (I am just thankful that I’d started during summer break and not in the middle of the school year.) And now, six months and seven series after I’d decided on that fateful night to watch this little show to pass the time, I cannot even begin to describe how much Doctor Who has helped me grow and develop as a person. If not for this one ostensibly inconsequential decision and for this equally ridiculous man, I would not be the person I am today. I owe who I am today to one man: to the Raggedy Man, to the Eleventh Doctor, to my Doctor.

I know that this might sound bonkers to most people (and I won’t even try to argue that it’s not because, frankly, I think it’s bonkers too—bonkers, but not wrong), but to me, Doctor Who is more than just a story, and the Doctor is more than just a character—he is a beacon of hope, a representation of all that is good in this universe and beyond, and all of the possibilities that we have with our lives. Personally, I've been dealt a bad hand in life. Because of all that has happened to me, I've come to the point wherein I've stopped seeing anything positive about everything and I’d even considered ending it all. But just when I was at my lowest, when I saw nothing good in life anymore, I discovered this little show. And I know this sounds cheesy, but Doctor Who somehow gave me hope at a time when I thought that there was no more hope left to have. Like for van Gogh in Vincent and the Doctor, the Doctor was “first doctor ever actually to make a difference to my life.” The Doctor has taught me so much—Nine taught me to take courage and fight; Ten taught me to love even though it hurts; and Eleven, my dear Doctor, taught me to hope in spite of everything. And the wonderful thing about Eleven and all the other Doctors is that while they acknowledge the bad things, they also never forget the good things. Hope—this is what the Doctor teaches us, and what he is for me.

Like my Doctor, I hate endings, and consequently, goodbyes. I know that change is the only constant thing in life, and that everything is bound to end at one point or another, but that doesn't mean that I like it. How ironic then that I had started my run with the Doctor at the very end—I had started watching the show around the time when Matt Smith announced that he was leaving the show. At the time, I thought that it was a shame since he was a brilliant Doctor, but I knew that it was bound to happen. I also knew that it would be very sad, as all goodbyes are, but I never would have imagined that it would be this heartbreaking, this painful. But even though it hurts, I know that I have to face facts. As the Doctor himself says in A Christmas Carol, “Everything has got to end sometime; otherwise nothing would ever get started.” And now that I think about it, the fact that this affects me so profoundly is a good thing, since it means that what I feel is real. The fact that it truly pains me to say goodbye to my Doctor means that I truly love him. Otherwise, it wouldn't hurt this much.

So here I am, at the last page of my journey with the Eleventh Doctor. The time has come to say goodbye to the man who has made such a huge impact on my life, and to say hello to another new face. I know that it’ll still be the same Doctor, but at the same time I know in my heart that it won’t ever be the same. I admit that this endeavour and the whole business of saying goodbye to my Doctor is not any easy task. When I was asked to write about what I would miss about the Eleventh Doctor, I could only think of what I love and will always love about him. I love my Doctor and everything about him. I love the bowties and the fezzes, the Tweed and the purple frock coat, his sonic, and the distinctive green light that it emits. I love that impossible chin, that floppy hair, those big bunny ears (especially when he wears a fez), and those grey-green eyes that seem to hold both infinite joy and infinite sadness in them. I love the fish fingers and custard, Jammy Dodgers, Stetsons, and Amy’s glasses (which Matt Smith actually wears). I love his awkwardness, the way he has the balance and coordination of a newborn baby giraffe, and the fact that he views the world with such child-like wonder. I love that he loves ridiculous things like the word “Geronimo”. I love that he gives such impassioned speeches that move me to tears every time. I love the life lessons that he gives out of the blue. And above all, I love that he had given me hope when nothing and no one else could, that he made me see that there is so much more to life, and that he made me realise that I should never give up because he never did in spite of all that he’d been through.

While these are certainly the things that I would yearn for once the Twelfth Doctor comes along, I refuse to say that I will miss these things and that I’ll miss my Doctor, because to miss something is to accept that it’s gone, and I refuse to do that. I refuse to say goodbye. Eleven’s hour may be over now, but his story and his legacy live on. This may not be the case for many of the other fans of the show, but it is certainly the case for me. Eleven will always be my Doctor and I will never forget him. As he says to little Amelia Pond in The Big Bang, “We're all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh? ‘Cause it was, you know. It was the best.” And it certainly was. The Eleventh Doctor’s story was and is brilliant one—one that I will never forget, one that will never leave me, and one that I will keep in my heart forever.

Although this may be the last page, it surely isn't the end.

Geronimo, Raggedy Man.

Geronimo, my Doctor.

Thank you for giving me hope.

Thank you for that wonderful run.

Geronimo, and thank you.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Eleventh Week: Raggedy Man No More


Our guest post today was written by meaches of the multimedia art blog, NO REAL PLOT. Before traveling with the Doctor, she grew up with Hobbits and lived with talking animals. Then she discovered the bigger universe with the Jedi. The rest is history. Or future. Whichever. Feel free to visit her blog at http://norealplot.blogspot.com. But first, read her thoughts about the Doctor who showed her whole new worlds and what she'll fondly remember about the madman with a box.

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"Amy Pond, there's something you better understand about me 'cause it's important and one day your life may depend on it: I am definitely a madman with a box.
- The 11th Doctor, The Eleventh Hour

Among all the Doctor incarnations, Eleven is the most extraordinary Doctor of them all. He eats fish fingers with custard, he wears weird hats, he moves awkwardly and his eyebrows aren't exactly a defined feature. He's brave and adventurous but brash and reckless. He has a childlike wonder about the universe but he has a sliver of cold ignorance about the mortal lives around him. He doesn't stop to think his plan of actions through but thankfully, he still manages to save the day. But best of all, he talks horse and baby.

Yet for all the Eleventh Doctor's quirks, I didn't like him so much when I first met him. The Tenth Doctor was my Doctor and he delighted me so much with his silly antics that I wasn't ready to move on to the next series and accept the new Doctor. I found the new Eleventh Doctor too nitpicky, showy and sloppy. Worse, he hated bacon, which is supposed to be everyone's favorite food. I thought this Raggedy Man that little Amy Pond met was a terrible Doctor.

But after I decided to give Eleven a chance, I found he wasn't terrible at all. On the contrary, he was just as delightful as all the other Doctors. By the end of Season 5, I had grown too fond of Eleven's eccentricities and started mimicking his manner of speech. It wasn't until The Impossible Astronaut that I realized I came to love Eleven as the Doctor. That day I watched that episode, I realized I don't want him to die.

Out of all the Doctors I've traveled with, Eleven has given me the more magical and enchanting adventures (probably mostly due to modern special effects, probably. haha!) Compared to the other Doctors, I've met more aliens and visited more exotic worlds with Eleven. I've been frightened by more monsters and seen stranger events with him than I have had with previous Doctors. I've laughed at his goofy moments and I admired his courageous acts. I love the way he boldly introduces himself to strangers and imposes his assistance, if they need help.

While traveling with Eleven, I've met my favorite painter, I've run from Silurians, I've fished in the fog, I've met the TARDIS as a human, and I've seen a glimpse of how wibbly-wobbly crazy it gets when time lines cross each other. Every episode with Eleven is a wonderful story waiting to be told.

Ever since his/Matt Smith's departure was announced, I felt sad knowing that Eleven has officially limited time left in the show. But though he may no longer be the face I will see in the future, I will remember him. I will remember the way he spins around when he's ecstatic, to the way he cuddles up to the TARDIS console and the way he brandishes his sonic screwdriver at people's faces. I will remember the way he shouts "Geronimo!" before embarking on a very dangerous affair. I will remember how he started off as that awkward raggedy man in a broken blue box and I will remember how he became a Doctor I love to watch, running from one adventure to another.

Thank you, Eleventh Doctor. Thank you, old friend. You lived well and made us alive too. As Amy Pond said, "Above all else, we will love you always."

So run, you clever boy, and we will remember you even after the end.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Eleventh Week: Top 5 Epic Eleventh Doctor Boasts

 
It's Eleventh Week here at Behold the Geek!, and for this edition of Top 5 Thursdays we're looking back at some of the Eleventh Doctor's best and ballsiest boasts!

The Eleventh Doctor won't be remembered just for his bowties and dapper sense of style...he will also be remembered for being the incarnation that made sure no one forgot why he's called The Oncoming Storm or The Predator in a dozen alien languages. So what were the Eleventh Doctor's biggest boasts? I rank them now so you won't have to!

5. "Good men don't need rules."

The Eleventh Doctor has been many things. But a good man? Even he thinks the jury's out on that one. In A Good Man Goes to War, when Madame Kovarian and the rest of her lackeys made the very huge mistake of getting to him through the people he loves, the Doctah tells them exactly why it's never a good idea to piss him off.


4. "There's one thing you NEVER put in a trap..."

When will they learn?


3. "I have seen things you wouldn't believe! I have lost things you will never understand!"

Doctor Who Series 7 was basically a love letter to its rich 50-year history, and it was made more apparent in Rings of Akhaten, where the Eleventh Doctor gave a rousing, emotional speech detailing the events and memories that made the Doctah who he is today. All he's seen, all he's lost, all he's ever been through encapsulated in a scene so awesome even I memorized it for future use!


2. "I'm the Doctor. Basically...run."

Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor had his work cut out for him. Coming off the heels of arguably the most fan-favorite of Doctors (David Tennant's Tenth Doctor), Eleven had pretty big shoes to fill! He needed a big push, a Badass Boast...

Then, during his debut in The Eleventh Hour, he gets a chance to pull of just that. He basically got you up to speed with who and what the Doctor is about AND gave hostile aliens the simplest yet most spine-chilling warning ever in one scene. At that exact moment, you knew you're in for the ride of your life.



1. The Pandorica speech

The Eleventh Doctor has had many epic boasts, but none have come close to the epic-ness and the potency of the speech he gave in The Pandorica Opens. Faced with all his greatest enemies (ALL. HIS. GREATEST. ENEMIES.) with no plan, no backup and no weapons worth a damn, the Eleventh Doctor uses the only thing he's got left: his notoriety as The Oncoming Storm! When even the deadliest beings of the universe run when he freakin' tells them to, then you know the Eleventh Doctor is BoastMaster Supreme!


And those are the top 5 most epic boasts of the Eleventh Doctor, as ranked by yours truly. Which one was your favorite? And which one have you memorized by now? Tell me in the comments section below and lets talk about it! Stay tuned as we continue our celebration of the Eleventh Doctor for Eleventh Week! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Eleventh Week: The Clothes That Make the Doctor


It's Eleventh Week here at Behold The Geek!, and today we're paying tribute to the costumes that made the Eleventh Doctor who (!) he is! What made his costume so special? How did it take the fandom by storm? Read on and find out!


Professor Time Lord


Eleven made you need the tweed.

Matt Smith's Doctah debut in Series 5's The Eleventh Hour introduced us to the costume that would define him. The tweed jacket and suspenders gave him this sort of schoolteacher authority despite his youthful looks. And this Doctor made a good case in favor of the coolness of bowties. Even better, he made us believe it.

While Ninth rocked the edgy leather look and Ten shone in smart casual, Eleven was a sort of departure from the hip and modern. Here was a Time Lord so convinced in his own coolness, he didn't care if the elbow-patched professor look went out with Tolkien. In his mind, his fashion sense was king, and woe to anyone who thinks otherwise.

And his fashion sense was a major reason why I loved this Doctor so much.


Let's face it, Ten's suit and sandshoes chucks can look pretty commonplace. Same with Nine's leather jacket. But Eleven's tweed and bowtie was just so new (in the context of NuWho, at least) and so quirky...and looked exactly like something an alien Time Lord wanting to pass off as human would wear.

It stands testament to the man that his fashion choices became a rallying point for the fans who considered the Eleventh Doctor as their Doctor. The phrase 'bowties are cool' will never go out of style again.

Purple Frock Coat of Awesome


Then the Ponds 'died'. Then he met Clara. Then she died. And then, having re-ignited his thirst for adventure by meeting Clara (again), the Eleventh Doctor decided that a change was in order. And what better way to shake off the ennui than by a complete wardrobe overhaul?

And what an overhaul it was! Gone was the brown tweed, replaced by a purple cashmere frock coat that oozed character. Gone was the goofy professor...the Eleventh Doctor was now a dapper gentleman adventurer, ready to take on any challenge once again, this time in style.


Double Albert fob chain? Snazzy vest? Purple Frock Coat of Awesome? Just when you thought Eleven couldn't get any classier!

I like to think it wasn't coincidence that the powers-that-be decided to update Eleven's wardrobe to something more Victorian during Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary year. The Doctor isn't exactly one who conforms to the latest fashion fads (he's a time traveler, 'latest' is relative). The First Doctor was a frock coat wearer himself, and let's not forget (or remember, if you're that guy) Sixth's technicolor long coat. What better way to honor the classics while looking forward to the future than for Eleven to pick up the mantle and make vintage cool again.

Dressing Up As the Doctor

With Eleven's departure, the Eleventh Doctor's frock coat ensemble had only eight appearances in total. Criminally underused is an understatement.

But it doesn't have to end there.

Cosplayers of every make and model have cosplayed the Doctor's many incarnations, and it's through them that a part of Doctor Who's legacy lives on, including Eleven's Victorian-era garb.

I'm not really a cosplayer myself, but I'm such a sucker for dressing dapper, and the moment I saw Eleven run around in that frock coat was the moment I thought "I've got to have that coat." And it was during the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Party here in the Philippines that I decided to honor the Eleventh Doctor by dressing up as him. 


It was expensive. It was nerve-wracking. But to be able to walk around in Eleven's costume, to know what Matt Smith feels when he wears the frock coat to work (minus the pressures of acting and deadlines, of course), was priceless, and made me appreciate my Doctor even more.

Conclusion

"Clothes make the man," Mark Twain once said. And for the Eleventh Doctor, his costume definitely defined him in the best possible way. His tweed look set the mood for his quirky portrayal, while the frock coat ensemble made him in tune with the classic Doctors before him. Eleven may be regenerating this Christmas, but his style will live forever in this fan's heart.


I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it! What did you think of Eleven's costumes? Which one was your favorite? Which one did you hate (!)? Leave a comment below and let's talk about it!

Stay tuned for more Eleventh Doctor awesomeness as we continue to celebrate the man, the myth, the Time Lord, all this week! Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Eleventh Week: A Bittersweet "Geronimo" to My First Doctor


 Our first guest post comes from Ronald Cruz. A published fiction and academic author, Ronald is also an instructor of Biology in Ateneo de Manila University, where he's teaching a class called Biology of Science Fiction (which is exactly as awesome as it sounds) Like a true Whovian, he makes sure to include a bunch of Doctor Who stuff in his classes (where were classes like this when I was in college?) Read what he has to say about his "first" Doctor.

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The Doctor and I had quite a rocky start.

After all, he "died" the first time I met him.

The first episode of "Doctor Who" that I ever watched was "The Impossible Astronaut," the beginning of the sixth series. Anyone who's reading this would of course know what that means. Yes, a few minutes into making the acquaintance of this jovial bow-tied British fellow and his merry band of co-travellers, I watched him get killed.

I wasn't going into the show blind. I have been hearing of this little show since I was very young, and as I was growing up, I was already seeing images of Tom Baker's scarfed Fourth Doctor without knowing who or what he really was (then again, who knows?). I even thought all the while that his name really was Who. Just a few years ago, my good friend gave me a copy of Series 1, extolling its virtues to the high heavens, since she knew that I'm quite a sucker for well-written speculative fiction in literature and the visual media.

I was curious, but I never really got to watch the CDs that she gave me (sorry Sekki!).

Around four years ago, when I was conceptualizing the Biology of Science Fiction class that I've been teaching in Ateneo and as I was immersing myself in more science fiction for my own education, I started hearing about it more. Apparently, the Doctor is a member of an alien species called Time Lord. He can regenerate, which explains all the actors that have played him over the years. And oh, his name isn't Who. No one knows what it is. But I still didn't seriously think about starting the series. I thought about all those episodes that I had missed and what a pain it would be to try to catch up. Talk about a big backlog.

Ever heard teachers say that they also learn from their students? Well, it's certainly true. And in my case, it isn't just patience and temperance and humility that I've picked up. My first batch of Bio of Sci Fi students were already telling me about it and why I needed to watch it, but it was ultimately the more persistent and more dedicated second batch that finally convinced me.

So my brother and I get a copy of the current Doctor's series and we see him die in front of his friends...only to resurface a few minutes later.

Timey wimey.

There was no emotional investment yet, of course, but I think I fell in love right away. Maybe it wasn't the best way to get started, but it certainly wasn't a wrong way, either. After all, with that first episode, I learned about the Doctor's regenerative capabilities, his time-travelling antics, the creepy aliens of the Who universe, and the darling companions. Up to this time, Amy Pond has remained my favourite among them all.

I have watched the seasons of the Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Doctors, and I'm leaning toward David Tennant's Tenth as my favourite incarnation. But Matt Smith's Eleventh is my first Doctor, and no one forgets his first. He was the one who made me love the character and the world in the first place. Eleven with his bow-tie and fez and shiny green Sonic Screwdriver, and his bright smile and smouldering anger. Smith's Eleven is the mischievous friend with a twinkle in his eye, the Doctor you'd want to travel all over the universe with and then have over at dinner with the family afterward. When he realizes at the end of "The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe" that Amy and Rory are his family, and he smiles with tears in his eyes at the epiphany, my heart breaks. Heck, I'm tearing up as I write this.

He, above all else, is my Doctor.

A little piece of me will die on Christmas Day as I sit with my fish fingers and custard (non-negotiables this year) watching my Doctor die. Regeneration my arse. Ten himself says in "The End of Time": "Even if I change, it feels like dying. Everything I am dies. Some new man goes sauntering away. And I'm dead." So forgive me for not absolutely looking forward to the 25th. The only consolation I have is that he will leave without the guilt of having destroyed Gallifrey, and with hope in his heart that his next reincarnation will find his fellow Time Lords for him.

There is a scene in the film Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince where the students and staff of Hogwarts raise their wands to the sky in honour of their fallen leader Dumbledore. The oppressed of The Hunger Games have their own tribute to the slain: a three-fingered salute blessed with a kiss. Certainly, when my Doctor dies, I will raise my green Sonic and maybe, if I'm not choking on my sobs, send out a heartfelt "Geronimo, well done, my Doctor."

It's the ELEVENTH WEEK!


The Time of the Doctor is upon us.

In a few days, the Eleventh Doctor (played by Matt Smith) will say his final goodbyes, so what better time to honor this bowtie-wearing, fez-favoring, dapper-looking Time Lord than this week, which I now dub ELEVENTH WEEK!

Until December 23, we'll be featuring posts where Eleven is front and center. From Top 5 lists to guest posts from Eleventh Doctor fans like you and me, it's a week you shouldn't miss!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers Toys...Gotta Avenge 'Em All!

Ah, it's a good time to be an Avengers fan. A bad time to be an Avengers and tabletop gaming fan with little cash.

Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers was announced a couple of months ago, and while there's no sign of the final anime product yet, the toys tied-in with the anime are now up for preorder at BigBadToyStore.


The toys themselves are as kiddie as all get-out, Happy Meal-ish even, but I think that's part of the charm. I like the designs of Captain America and Thor, at least. And they look like they have decent enough articulation. There are some sort of disks included with the figures, and there are some robot-looking things which I'll assume is what you'll be using the disks for. It all spells "collectible game", which also spells "money sink" for children and the parents who'll eventually be persuaded into buying it for theirs.

No details on how big, how much, or how addictive this might be yet, but if you've been waiting all your life for a Bakugan-like version of the Avengers you can play with, 2014 isn't that long a wait.



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Himawari Shinomiya Swimsuit ver. PVC Figure Review

 
Vividred Operation was one of my 'guilty pleasure' anime, having the right combination of cute girls, fanservice and sheer badassness to get me hooked. So when news came out that there's a swimsuit figure coming out of one of my fave characters from the show, how could I resist?

Read on to find out what I thought of Griffon Enterprises' 1/8th scale Himawari Shinomiya Swimsuit ver. figure!

Friday, November 15, 2013

My Week in Comics: Protocol Orphans #1

Boom! Studios has been wowing me lately, especially with one of their sapien-starred series, and it's by virtue of their track record that I decided to try out Protocol Orphans #1. Being a fan of the espionage genre in comics is suffering, since good 'black ops' comics are few and far between. So how does Protocol Orphans fare?

Pretty damn well.

Protocol Orphans #1 opens with a ticking time bomb that can't be defused, and it just gets better from there. Writer Michael Alan Nelson takes this tense opportunity to tell a story about a team of talented secret agents working for 'Dad' and "Grandparents', which in context sounds like happy family fun if not for the fact that these authority figures are actually ruthless caretakers who have trained these boys and girls since childhood in the art of hacking, bomb defusal and more.

The story operates at a fast clip, with characters racing against the clock to stop a bomb from destroying the Dodgers Stadium and everybody in it. Nelson just piles on the obstacles to nail-biting levels, stopping only to let some interesting tidbit or back story about the characters slip before pulling you back into the fray, and whatever you glean from these characters are juicy and interesting enough. There's certainly a Nikita-esque vibe in all of that back story, but it doesn't take away from what reads like a heart-thumping techno-thriller complete with suspenseful drum line.

It would have been a shame if a story this nice and taut didn't have art to match, but thankfully Protocol Orphans #1 looks really good, thanks to Mariano Navarro on art and Gabriel Cassata on colors. Navarro's style is easy on the eyes and he knows how to tell a story with action and verve, two qualities I look for in comics that this art team delivers.

Protocol Orphans #1 is off to an interesting start, and for a first issue that counts as a success. To paraphrase a popular line from Django Unchained: they had my curiosity, but now they have my attention. This gets a 4 out of 5.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Thor: The Dark World Invades Marvel: Avengers Alliance


So I've been playing the turn-based social RPG Marvel: Avengers Alliance on Facebook for a while now, and just when I thought I could give this game a rest, out comes the chance to (sorta) relive the action of Marvel's latest movie Thor: The Dark World!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thor: The Dark World Movie Review


Stepping foot on Asgard again for Thor: The Dark World feels like coming home to something comfortably familiar. Now that Thor's whole origin business is done and out of the way, we're finally given the chance to see these characters as they were meant to be.

When Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) accidentally unearths the Aether, a weapon that could throw the universe back into darkness, it awakens the dark elf Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), an ancient Asgardian enemy who wishes to use the Aether to bring about the destruction of all the Nine Realms. It's up to the mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth) to save them all, but he can't do it alone. In Asgard's darkest hour, Thor needs the help of the last person he would expect to ask...his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston)!

Thor: The Dark World stands out as a flashier, more honest film than its predecessor. Thor gets to show a more complex and sensitive side of him, Odin (Anthony Hopkins in a scary good performance) exudes more imposing authority, and even Rene Russo as Frigga gets to kick some dark elf ass. You don't mess with the queen of Asgard!  And in no surprise to anyone, Tom Hiddleston stole the spotlight with a fantastic performance as Loki. He gets to cut loose in this film, more so than in previous Loki outings, with more quips and schemes you can shake a god of mischief at. And I absolutely loved that the movie dabbled more into the relationship between Thor and Loki, painting them as brothers who hate each others guts while knowing deep inside they'd risk their lives for each other. Aww.

But killer performances ain't worth squat unless you have a killer story to go with it, and unfortunately, Thor: The Dark World suffers from some pretty jarring storytelling. Story beats jump from heroic to tragic to comedic with little rhyme or reason, resulting in painful mood whiplash. At one point a tragic scene was directly followed by a weirdly comedic bit, leaving you to pick up pieces of your heart on the floor while crying!

And don't get me started on the massively missed opportunity that is the movie's Big Bad, the dark elf Malekith. I was really hoping he would rival or even one-up Loki's schemes in the first film, but limited screen time meant little time to build up Malekith as a believable threat. It says a lot that the most boring parts of the film were the ones with Malekith in them! A sad and monumental waste of Christopher Eccleston's considerable talent.

But despite the topsy-turviness of the entire movie, it's still got all the things we came for: a lot of Thor smashing stuff, Loki being a Magnificent Bastard, and a few laughs and moments of awesomeness in between. Thor: The Dark World is a louder, shinier and funnier Thor movie, and if the ending is any indication, the ride ain't over yet.

Oh and for goodness sakes stay until after the credits.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Thor: The Dark World Hot Toys is Godly


Hot Toys, they of the obscenely beautiful and obscenely expensive 1/6th scale figures, just released preview pics of their latest Movie Masterpiece: the mighty Thor as seen in Marvel's latest film Thor: The Dark World!


My god, look at this thing. Spitting image of Chris Hemsworth as seen in Thor: The Dark World? Check! Spiffy new costume? Check! Highly-collectible piece of movie memorabilia that few can afford? Check, check, check!


Chris Hemsworth fans (and fangirls...I see you, girl) are probably looking to lay down some sweet cash needed to bring this mini-Hemsworth home. As for me? I'm REALLY tempted, but since I already own the Avengers version of Thor, I'm on the fence. But damn does this Hot Toys figure look sweet.

Check out more hi-res pics over at the Hot Toys official page.

Fang Folio: Strahd von Zarovich

Welcome to the final installment of my pre-Halloween special Fang Folio! I've shone a (non-UV) spotlight at the most cunning, most deadly, and even the cutest vampires I've grown to love, and now I saved the best for last, because our next fanged fiend is one near and dear to my heart! Bow to the majesty that is...

STRAHD VON ZAROVICH

Claim to fame: The Big Bad of the Dungeons & Dragons gothic horror campaign setting Ravenloft.

Why he's awesome: Oh man, where do I start? I've loved Strahd ever since getting to know his character in P.N. Elrod's novel I, Strahd: Memoirs of a Vampire and the D&D campaign Return to Castle Ravenloft. I learned how he was a cruel but fair ruler, never tolerating thieves and liars in his presence. I learned how he grew resentful about his youth fading with each passing day, and how he both loved and envied his vibrant younger brother Sergei. I learned about his doomed love for the beautiful Tatyana, who would be the catalyst for his dark turn as the first vampire and the torturous curse he would have for the rest of his unholy life.

His back story, his love story, just tugs at my heartstrings. We all wished one time or another that the ravages of time would stop for us, or for the one we love to love us back, and we would do anything to get it. Strahd could be any of us with the right push into madness.

Finally, there's something awfully scary about Strahd that I don't feel with the other vampires in my recent Fang Folios, and that's what makes him extra awesome. Maybe it's the fact that he's not just your ordinary final boss! Other vampires can be subdued, even beaten...but not Strahd. He's a force of unholy nature, you cannot defeat him...you can only survive him!

Crowning moment of epicness tragedy: Ultimately, Strahd is a tragic character, and the curse of his home plane amplifies that to insanity-inducing levels. Imagine yourself as an ageless being losing the one you love, only to find her reborn every generation, with fate dangling her in front of you like bait only to snatch it away from you in the most gruesome way possible. That's what Strahd has to go through with Tatyana, the love of his life, who killed herself in sorrow. But instead of losing her, she finds her in every generation with the same features, same loveliness, but with a different name and upbringing. An opportunity of a lifetime for Strahd to win her heart, you say? There's only one ending to Strahd's love story...and it's not happily ever after. Maybe that's why he hates adventurers so much.


Strahd von Zarovich is an awesome, tragic character with lots of fiendish flavor, and modern vampires would do well to take a page from him when it comes to being the most badass of them all!


Awesomeness rating:
Five out of five Dracula heads


Thank you so much for walking with me as I featured all the vampires I loved. I hope you had as much fun as I did writing it! Who are YOUR favorite vampires? Leave me a comment below and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading and Happy Halloween! Awoo!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fang Folio: Nyanpire

Welcome back to another Fang Folio, where I shine a non-UV spotlight on vampires from pop culture I absolutely love! And our next blood-sucking fiend is the insanely cute...

NYANPIRE

Claim to fame: He's the ridiculously cute star of the Nyanpire doujinshi manga and the subsequently cute anime series by GONZO.

Why he's awesome: In case it's still unclear...

CUTE. VAMPIRE. KITTY.

As if being a vampire isn't badass enough, he had to be a kitten who could make hearts melt within a 500-mile radius! Makes you wanna offer you neck up for him to chew on!

But it's not just him that's cute...he also has some equally cute friends he goes on extraordinary adventures with like Masamunya the samurai kitty and Nyatenshi, an angel kitty kicked out from heaven for womanizing (!) Nyanpire's anime series in particular is not for the faint of heart, coz if you have a soft spot for kittens you WILL squee (and possibly cry) after every episode.

Crowning moment of epicness cuteness: Basically anything to do with Chachamaru, Nyanpire's adoptive little sister brother. Nyanpire fretting over the safety of Chachamaru (after irresponsibly leaving her on her own a few minutes ago, of course)  is insanely heart-breaking and cute and ASD;LJFA;LSJKF


Bottom line is, Nyanpire is cuteness with a bite! You'd wish vampires were as adorable as he is!

Awesomeness rating:
Four out of five Dracula heads


Watch out tomorrow for another edition of Fang Folio and another vampire in the spotlight! Know of any other adorably cute vampires? Leave me a comment below and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading~!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fang Folio: Selene (Underworld films)

Welcome back to another Fang Folio, where I shine a non-UV spotlight on vampires from pop culture I absolutely love! And our next subject is the fanged femme fatale known as...

 SELENE (UNDERWORLD)

 
Claim to fame: She's the sexy and badass Death Dealer (the prestigious vampire fighting elite) from the highly-successful Underworld series of movies.

Why she's awesome: First, she's played by Kate Beckinsale, probably one of the most beautiful people on the planet. Second, she's totally badass in the Underworld series, taking on hordes of vampires AND lycans with just two automatic pistols and lots of cojones. Third, she don't need no man to pop caps in lycan ass (damsel in distress she is not...she does most of the rescuing in the movies!). And have I already mentioned she's played by Kate Beckinsale? She could be covered in grime and still look classy...

Crowning moment of epicness: Selene gets her CMOE in Underworld: Evolution, when she went toe-to-toe with Marcus Corvinus, who happens to be the first and most powerful vampire. I mean, sure she got a power-up from Alexander Corvinus' blood, but it was Selene who lifted her own feet and gave a vampire god the curbstomp to end them all. And it was glorious.


Beautiful and deadly...a combination we won't soon forget! Selene is a kick-ass vampire lady I won't mind seeing more of. Now if only the next Underworld movie came out sooner...

Awesomeness meter:
Four out of five Dracula heads


Watch out next week for the next installment of Fang Folio! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fang Folio: Marvel's Dracula

Welcome back to another Fang Folio, where I shine a non-UV spotlight on vampires from pop culture I absolutely love! Our next fanged fiend is someone very familiar, yet excitingly different. I'm talking about...

MARVEL'S DRACULA


Claim to fame: He's basically Marvel co-opting Bram Stoker's Dracula, with awesome results.

Why he's awesome: Come on, this is Dracula! Lord of Vampires! Prince of Darkness! He didn't get those titles by sitting on his pampered butt and doing nothin'. Since his first appearance in The Tomb of Dracula #1, his reign of terror has reached far across the Marvel Universe in ways no one even imagined. He's fought Blade, the X-Men and even Apocalypse himself, and the entire British Isles almost fell under his vampiric rule!

But most of all, I love how over-the-top he was written. Legendary Marvel writer Marv Wolfman really let Dracula cut loose, characterizing him as a proud and cunning vampire who let you know exactly what he was capable of. Even when surrounded by demonic beings in a hellish dimension, Dracula trash-talks like a pro-gamer. "I am supreme! You'll never feast on MY bones, nor bend them to your eternal torments! You'll NOT take Count Dracula!"

Unfortunately, a few awesomeness points were shaved from him when someone thought it would be a good idea to turn him into this edgy Legacy of Kain rip-off these days.

Crowning moment of epicness: Basically the entire Vampire State storyarc in Marvel's Captain Britain and the MI:13. There, Dracula basically took apart Captain Britain's band of merry mooks with ruthless precision and left the British isles vulnerable against awesome ideas like firing vampires like missiles at Britain from vampire cannons stationed on the frikkin' moon. You heard me!


Despite all the lows in his career, no one can deny that Marvel's Dracula is a formidable foe and a scary sonovagun, and it's testament to his legacy that dark days are more than assured when Dracula walks among us again!

Awesomeness level:
Three out of five Dracula heads


Check back tomorrow when another vampiric fave takes center stage! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fang Folio: Sorin Markov


As we count down to Halloween, I'll be shining a non-UV spotlight on some awesome vampires I absolutely love! From RPGs to card games, comics to movies, this collection of fanged fiends always make their home worlds more awesome than they should be! And today we'll be starting off with a vampire I met recently...

SORIN MARKOV


Claim to fame: One of the all-powerful Planeswalkers from the trading card game Magic: The Gathering.

Why he's awesome: Sorin Markov here is a sword-wielding, blood-drinking, millennia-living vampire in the Magic: The Gathering universe. If that doesn't sound awesome, I don't know what does. Also, with the exception of big dragon baddie Nicol Bolas, Sorin here is the oldest living planeswalker. In the thousands of years he's traveled he's seen it all, literally, and I bet it tickles him to know there's still more left to discover!

I first encountered Sorin Markov when the Innistrad block came out. Being a fan of the gothic horror setting, I was all over Innistrad like white on rice. And when there's gothic horror, there's bound to be vampires...and Sorin is arguably the biggest vampire of them all!

There's also something about Sorin Markov's nobleness that resonated with me. Because while he may be a blood-sucking creature of the night, Sorin knows the dangers of unbridled excess that vampires are capable of. When Sorin came back to Innistrad and saw that evil grew unchecked and humanity was on the brink of extinction, what does he do? He gives humans an honest-to-goodness angel to guard over them! [highlight for the spoiler]

But don't mistake Sorin's charity for goodness. Humanity is still cattle to him, they're just no use to him dead!

Crowning Moment of Epicness: A millennia ago, Sorin once helped trap the dreaded Eldrazi. Now, Eldrazi aren't just your normal 2-to-cast monster...these abominations are straight-up mind-breakingworld-devouring Cthulhu paradigms. Any lesser man would go NOPENOPENOPE out of that plane lickedy-split...but not Sorin. Not only did he help trap these monstrosities where they won't get to destroy again, he even came back without a second thought to stop them from escaping!


Vampire lord. Planeswalking badass. Sorin Markov is a cool character with tons of potential, and how lucky humans are that he's too busy going on epic adventures to think about crushing them under his heel!

Awesomeness level: 


Four out of five Dracula heads


Watch out tomorrow for another vampire vignette. Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 18, 2013

My Week in Comics: The Sixth Gun #35

I've harped about Cullen Bunn's storytelling chops so many times, but it bears repeating: the dude's good. Case in point: The Sixth Gun #35.

This issue marks the explosive finale to the Ghost Dance storyarc that saw Becky Montcrief journey through the spirit world, exploring different realities that could happen should the Six Guns be reunited. Here, Becky stumbles upon a world where she ends up with a husband, kids, and her father alive and well! But things aren't always what they seem, and as Becky's allies and Missy Hume's demonic army battle for Becky's soul in the waking world, one thing is for certain: no one comes out of this the same person again!

I gotta say, the whole Ghost Dance arc is some of Cullen Bunn's best work. Characters changed and grew in the course of the last five issues, and this finale gives us some very satisfying payoffs that you won't see coming. Becky, in particular, has come so far from the simple farmer's daughter in issue one. If you thought she has become hardened by her experiences before, she walks out of the Ghost Dance harder...and angrier. And it will affect her relationships with some of the characters in this book, in particular her protector Drake Sinclair and the scoundrel Kirby Hale.

Even the bad guys don't leave intact. Just when you thought Missy Hume (General Hume's sadistic widow and hunter of the Six Guns) gets to lick her wounds another day, a bigger evil rears its ugly head and what happens in the last few pages is nothing else but shocking. It's been a while since I've read a comic book that made me desperately want to know what happens next!

A finale this amazing deserves to be rendered accordingly, and Brian Hurtt and Bill Crabtree step up to deliver some of their best work. They don't miss a beat, serving up visuals that are appropriately visceral and action-packed. And at thirty-five issues in, I'm still very grateful that we have the same writer and artists working on the book. Pat your backs, everybody.!

It's safe to say that the entire Ghost Dance storyarc is a return to form for Bunn and co., and The Sixth Gun #35 is proof of that. This issue is the rare breed of comic book that delivers on its promises and makes a lot of more of them to get you coming back.This gets a 5 out of 5. You've got to read this book, people. You've just gotta!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Happy 9th Anniversary, Behold the Geek!


Nine years ago, if you told me Behold the Geek! would grow as big as it is right now, I would laugh. It was 2004, and 'web logs' were just becoming mainstream. I just made a Blogger account to vent and display my (nonexistent) sense of humor, not to one day turn it into a major driving force in my life!

But alas, sometimes life doesn't turn out the way you want it to. And nine years later, I'm glad that it didn't.

I've made papercraft Mjolnirs. I've reminisced about cartoon dinosaurs. I've amassed hundreds of comic books. I bought a giant Galactus figure. I had myself quoted in a manga and in the newspapers. I've met many wonderful people along the way who share the same passion I have with comics and pop culture. All because of this blog. And if that isn't reason enough to be thankful, I don't know what is!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the visitors, the lurkers, the commenters, the guys in Russia still viewing my blog (Здравствуйте, comrades!), the fans in Facebook and each and every one of you who, at the end of the day, still choose to read the stuff I write. It warms the cackles of this old writer's heart, and I hope you stick around coz comics and awesome are still very much the ingredients of my life and yours...so let's celebrate it together!

Happy anniversary, you blog you!

Friday, October 11, 2013

My Week in Anime: Kill la Kill Episode 2

Kill la Kill Episode 2: So Sexy She Might Pass Out!


Watched Episode 1 of Kill la Kill and was craving for more, so here were are again with Episode 2!

Last we left Ryuko, she's retreated to recover from her severe loss of blood. She wakes up to find herself in the home of her self-proclaimed "best friend" Mako, who introduces us not only to her dysfunctional family but also to the taste (both literally and figuratively) of what life is like under the shadow of Honnouji Academy.


It's pretty endearing actually, all that Mako quirkiness. She gets most of my laughs in the series so far, and here we see it's not so easy living in the slums but they make do with what they got. Kill la Kill being what it is, there's this insane amount of hope and happiness for people like Mako to keep going, which is nice.


Unfortunately for Ryuko, another of the queen bee's henchmen has set sights on her: tennis club captain Omiko Hakodate, who's souped up with a 2-star Goku uniform. You'd think after the last beating she dished out, this battle would be easy for Ryuko. But for some reason she doesn't transform into the super-warrior she was last time, and Omiko proceeds to whip Ryuko's sorry butt easily with a barrage of tennis balls and leaves her dead in the water...until she's fished out by one of the academy's teachers, who seems to know a thing or two about how her mysterious uniform works.


The dude is also freaking hilarious, by the way. Won't tell you why. Just watch his segment. Go ahead.

To me, the concept of 'power uniforms' like Ryuko's and the other Goku Uniforms is awesome, and I really like Ryuko's uniform (for obvious reasons. It's both sexy AND cool). We get a little bit of info about why the Student Council of Honnouji Academy has the monopoly on Goku uniforms, and the implications are pretty dire. I'd love to see where they go with this.

Armed with new knowledge and a powered-up Senketsu (her name for the magical school uniform she wears), Ryuko gets her revenge on Omiko on the tennis court and the battle is as insane as you imagine it. Tennis, Gurren Lagann-style, anyone? Probably my favorite part of the episode.


But Omiko is small-fry compared to Student Council President Satsuki Kiryuin, and Ryuko thinks she can take her on now. Big mistake.


I gotta say, it's refreshing to see a hothead character like Ryuko knowing when to back down when the odds are stacked against you. She will live to fight another day, and if today's battle is any indication, calling it a 'fight' is close to an understatement.

Kill la Kill has been crazy amazing so far. It's been a while since I've watched something as outrageous as this, and it's keeping me on my toes so much that I really want to know what happens next episode. This one's a keeper.

MY WEEK IN ANIME: Samurai Flamenco Episode 1

Note: Lots of cool new anime coming out these days, so I decided to add this new feature here at Behold the Geek!, where I review anime episodes and decide whether it's a keeper or a dud. Hope you like it!

Samurai Flamenco Episode 1: Debut of Samurai Flamenco!


I've talked about superheroes in anime before, and one of the upcoming ones I was excited for was Samurai Flamenco. The promotional video made it look very interesting, and now that Episode 1 is out, I can see it for myself.

In this first ep, Hidenori Goto, a policeman, stumbles upon a very naked Masayoshi Hazama, who claims he's a superhero called Samurai Flamenco. Not exactly an auspicious first meeting, but it does it's job. After an altercation with a burning superhero uniform, Goto finds out why Masayoshi is running around being a superhero...or a semblance of one.

To be honest, Masayoshi grated on me. Maybe because his idealist notions clash with my pragmatism? I dunno. But taking first impressions into account, Masayoshi exudes this weird weeaboo vibe, like he's out of touch with reality, but instead of manifesting itself in the obsession with 2D waifus, Masayoshi's manifests itself in the very honest desire to be a superhero. He doesn't hide that fact one bit, even unabashedly mimicking the moves of his favorite superhero, Harakiri Sunshine (seriously), in front of Goto-san.


Of course, that desire gets Masayoshi into trouble when he decides to go out again in his Samurai Flamenco alter-ego to chase away a bunch of delinquent kids and ends up getting his ass kicked. It's pretty painful to watch, seeing a grown man being kicked around by 15-year-olds. Goto-san saves him eventually, and we see that this policeman has grown to care for this seemingly misguided vigilante. But Masayoshi's commitment to his cause is unwavering, and it tugs at a heartstring or two. I guess there IS really something deeply endearing about his ridiculously strong sense of justice

The animation is pretty good though for an episode that's basically a slice-of-life. It's weird that they went for the low-key approach for a debut episode instead of coming out guns a-blazing. But I guess we needed to know what makes Masayoshi tick, and I'm still hoping there's more superheroics in the coming episodes to take advantage of that.

If there's anything I could credit Samurai Flamenco, it's that it wasn't the superhero anime I was expecting. Something tells me this isn't the be-all, end-all of Samurai Flamenco. And I really hope I'm right. For now this is a keeper.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Marvel's Greatest Villains, Then and Now

Have you ever wondered what your favorite Marvel villains looked like before they became huge? Way before Tom Hiddleston or Sir Ian McKellen stepped into their roles, the supervillains of Marvel got their humble beginnings in comic books, where they've evolved through the years and eventually inspired the big screen adaptations we know of today!

Check out what Marvel's popular villains looked like from their first appearances and beginnings, and see how far they've come in the present!

LOKI
Loki was introduced in Journey into Mystery #85 (1962) as a sly and cunning sonovagun who used his God of Mischief status to make his brother Thor's life hell on Earth.  Loki has been a lot of things through the years (even turning into a raven-haired woman at one point!), but these days he's been reincarnated as Kid Loki and is hanging out with the Young Avengers, probably learning what it takes to be a real hero. Let's hope it sticks, no?


MAGNETO
X-Men #1 gave us the foremost X-Men foe Magneto in the red and purple costume he would wear for most of his villainous (and oftentimes heroic!) life. After the huge Avengers vs. X-Men event, though, he's riding with Cyclops' Uncanny X-Men and sporting a white, arm-baring ensemble that makes you think "Damn, he looks fit for an 80-year-old."


THE MANDARIN
Forget Trevor Slattery. OG Mandarin was a straight up karate-chopping, ten-ring wielding evil dude who made Tony Stark's life hell. Nowadays he's less "Chinese warlord" and more "evil CEO",  but now he's armed with cutting-edge technology to go toe-to-toe with the Armored Avenger...and still look stylish doing it!


RED SKULL
Either it's the art style of the day, or Red Skull was absolutely horrifying in his first appearance (Captain America Comics #4, 1946). Not much has changed for the crimson-domed Nazi, except perhaps for his fashion sense. These days he's got telepathic powers (don't ask me how if you value your lunch) and have battled the Uncanny Avengers.

THANOS
The Mad Titan Thanos has cleaned up quite nicely since his first appearance in Iron Man #55 (1973). He's courted Death, killed half the galaxy, and got killed himself so many times I've lost track. Right now he's back and better than ever, crushing heroes under the heel of his titanic boot in Marvel's Infinity event.

ULTRON
For a villain as badass as Ultron, it's amazing to know that he started out as a face on wheels with the mind of a newborn baby (and invented by Dr. Henry Pym, in case anyone forgets). But make no mistake, Ultron has evolved into a villain no one wants to mess with. He's already headlined a couple of major crossover comic book events  like Annihilation: Conquest in 2008 and the recent Age of Ultron this 2013, having kicked so much superhero ass that when the name Ultron comes up, it's a 100% certainty that things are going to get really bad.


Wow! Marvel's villains have sure come a long way! So who are your favorite Marvel villains, and what do they do or look like now? Leave a comment below and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading!


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