Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series) and all the images you see in this recap are owned by IDW and SEGA of America
Things certainly got a bit out of hand around here as I’m still reeling from moving places a week ago, and in these uncertain times it’s always good to look at the constants in our life to keep us grounded! For me it’s wrestling shows and Sonic the Hedgehog comics, so it’s a perfect time for IDW’s latest issue to come out now that things are starting to settle, but will they follow up the last issue with an interesting story that dovetails with Belle the Puppet’s mysterious past, or would I rather be hauling even more boxes up staircases than seeing where this story goes? Let’s find out!!
We begin the issue with Sonic, Tails, and Amy falling through an infinite void of bizarre geometry with no clear direction or any real way to control it. No, they didn’t find their way into Sonic R, but the whole place definitely gives off an incomplete video game level vibe as it appears to be some sort of pocket dimension that Eggman uses to test whatever his latest Sonic Killing devices are, and probably a lot of other things that I don’t particularly care to think about…
AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
So if you haven’t noticed, things have been pretty quiet on the website and I’m several days late on this recap. It turns out moving from one place to another is REALLY DIFFICULT and REALLY TIRESOME, so I’ve gotten myself woefully behind on just about everything including my weekly wrestling schedule, but fear not for most of the boxes have been unpacked and I was able to squeeze a few hours into the wee hours of the evening to finally watch this episode of Dynamite! Was it worth the effort after a week of strenuous box lifting and stair climbing, or was I better off calling this week a loss and sleeping for more than a few hours? Let’s find out!!
Cody Rhodes Vs. Penta El Zero M
Cody is accompanied to the ring by Arn Anderson
AEW likes to start their show strong and for a lot of storylines it’s all about setting up that opening match. Last week’s confrontation between Cody and Penta was all it took for a grudge match to be set up between these two, and for what it’s worth they definitely wrestle like there’s something big at stake here. For the most part, Penta is working Cody’s arm who manages to grit his teeth and fight through the pain to keep Penta from running away with this. Cody early on lands a Top Rope Hurricanrana on Penta which is the last straw for him and he starts working Cody’s shoulder EXTRA hard with a lot of kicks and stomps that leave Cody writhing in pain, but Penta once again lets his ego get in his way and eats a kick from Cody while taunting Arn Anderson. This cycle repeats a few times with Penta getting the lead only to lose it to Cody either from sheer hubris or an explosive comeback from Cody, and he even gets close to losing the match when he does his Zero Fear taunt which allowed Cody an opening to fight back and land a Canadian Destroyer which get a two count. Cody is firmly in control now and even lands a Cross Rhodes on Penta, but he just won’t give up on this match; even after Cody gets dirty and smashes Penta’s knee into the post before putting him into a Figure Four Leg Lock. In retaliation for this, Penta gets Cody to the ground and snaps his arm back, but while celebrating his dastardly deed Cody rolls him up and gets the pin. Yeah, the match just kinda ends which was a bit odd considering how much each guy was kicking out of big moves, but Penta doesn’t let it end on a high note for Cody as he starts pounding on him after the bell rang and has to be chased out by the Gunn Club. The setup last week was very basic and the match itself reflected that straightforward attitude with a classic Heel/Face dynamic, but while there aren’t really any surprises to be found the two guys fought with a lot of heart and pulled off some very impressive moves. A fun way to start the show, even if not an incredibly memorable one, and I’d definitely like to see a much longer program between these two in the near future.
AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
The Revolution PPV, for all its faults (and lack of explosions), was a fun and certainly impactful show with a lot of stories coming to a close, a few new alliances made, and the debut of Maki Itoh who is THE BEST WRESTLER EVER! With such a big show behind them, there’s a lot of weight on this episode of Dynamite; not just to build on the good stuff but to course correct on a lot of its mistakes. Does this right the ship and give us a fantastic follow up to the PPV, or will they simply be unable to salvage the disappointing ending of that show? Let’s find out!!
Rey Fénix Vs. Matt Jackson
Rey is accompanied to the ring by Pac and Matt is accompanied by Nick Jackson
Okay, so was I the only one confused for the first few minutes? Perhaps I’m just bad at paying attention to things, but I thought that AEW was jumping right into the title defense just FOUR DAYS after Death Triangle earned their shot! Thankfully that’s not the case as it would have been WOEFULLY rushed, and as you’d expect from these two, they do put on a great match. Starts with a bit of feeling out as no one is going all out to start with, but Fénix is the first to start putting some weight behind his moves and gets the early advantage. So many dives, so many flips, and Matt Jackson just gets caught up in the middle of it without much defense to speak of. Perhaps Jackson is selling an injury as I have no doubt that SOMETHING hurts on the guy, but it’s not until he somehow reverses a Top Rope Hurricanrana into an Avalanche Powerbomb (yes, those are real moves and these guys are pulling them off) that he gets an edge in the match. They go back and forth for a bit, but Jackson manages to land a Canadian Destroyer not once but TWICE on Fénix back to back (and the second one was on the floor!) which knocks him dead for a solid nine count before barely managing to roll back in. It looks like its Jackson’s match to win as he keeps one step ahead of Fénix for the rest of the match, but Fénix manages to reverse a Pile Driver from Jackson into a Pile Driver of his own (don’t ask; these guys are wizards) and Fenix manages to get the pin. It was a good match, but I couldn’t help feeling that it was just way too soon to see this. I mean we’re not gonna wait until Double or Nothing to do the tag match, but there’s got to be a big TV event they’ll want to build up to in the next few weeks and there’s no reason that this match had to be done RIGHT NOW, right? The Bucks like to start the show off strong and in most cases I’m in favor of them having a fun opening match, but this felt like a waste as they have definitely simmered this for at least a week or two with a few decent promos for AEW to get the most bang for their buck out of seeing these two go at it.
After the match, we cut to a video of Moxley and Kingston; the former wearing wrap-around hangover shades to disguise the fact that he’s asleep, and the other wearing a DMX hoodie like the old man that he is. Now apparently Tony Khan DID use my idea and the story now is that the explosion at the end of the match was in fact a giant dud because Kenny Omega sucks at making bombs. Because they’re going with that story, they now have to come up with a way for it to make sense that Kingston sold it the way he did. It turns out the dude has an anxiety disorder and so he had a panic attack while waiting for the explosion to go off. Yes, apparently Eddie Kingston is part fainting goat and he’s ready to fight anyone who has a problem with it. The two of them spend the rest of the video roasting Kenny Omega for his lousy bomb and reaffirming that they are friends again which is frankly the most interesting outcome that could have happened in that match! I’ve been saying for over a year now that Moxley needs some friends to watch his back as his loner attitude is holding him back, so while I don’t know where Butcher & Blade & Bunny are gonna fit into all this, I’m genuinely excited to see a Baby Face leaning Kingston teaming up with Moxley. They have genuinely good chemistry as this video and several of their promos in the past have demonstrated, and bonding over the disappointing explosion is the kind of closure I’m sure some people needed after the end of the PPV.
So with fans having played their way through Halo 2 and chomping at the bit for the next one, Bungie and Microsoft had to find a way to satiate fans until the next console generation and they couldn’t rely on Rooster Teeth to doing it on their own. So like with every other franchise that gets sufficiently popular the world of comics came a calling, and they also have that novel series that churns out entries at a reliable rate, all of which means it’s time once again for the Halo book club! Let’s get started!!
The Halo Graphic Novel – 2006
Published by Marvel Comics
The story of this graphic novel is kind of an interesting one as Microsoft bigwig Eric Trautmann was the one to come up with the idea of expanding the Halo brand into comics, but Bungie jumped in and started stirring the pot pretty much immediately. Sure, you don’t want to IGNORE the company that’s making you successful video games, but when Trautmann brought on industry mainstays John Ney Rieber and Adi Granov to work on a comic, Bungie was not impressed and their art director Lorraine McLees even went so far as to call their pitch “a lump of coal”. Instead, Bungie insisted on getting their OWN team of comic book veterans to work on it and Trautmann relented as long as Bungie was willing to finance it all on their own before submitting it to publishers. Just to get an idea of where their heads were at, two of the names they wanted to get were sixty year industry veteran Joe Kubert, and of all people Alan freaking Moore. Can you imagine a bunch of Bungie execs going to cranky ol’ Alan Moore and ask him to write a comic about their silly space marine nonsense; ESPECIALLY one that’s THIS un-ironically jingoistic? Obviously they didn’t EITHER of them but they managed to snag a few names like Jean “Moebius” Giraud and the book was released in 2006 as a collection of vignettes exploring the Halo universe. Did Bungie’s insistence for creative control and top tier comic book talent lead to a fascinating book that expands our understanding of the franchise? Let’s take find out!!
Last Voyage of the Infinite Succor
Lee Hammock and Simon Bisley
The Covenant are SO much more interesting than the humans as they’re written to be flawed bad guys instead of one dimensional macho bad asses, so the beefiest story in the entire graphic novel is devoted to a Flood outbreak that occurred on one of their ships during the event of the first game. Sadly the Flood does to storylines what they do to everything else, and pretty much ruins it from the inside out because I found this to be rather lackluster and kind of ugly honestly. I like the colors, but the character designs are wonky as heck and the flood is EXTRA disgusting in ways that never came across in the games. It unfortunately reminds me of that westernized Song of Saya comic and while the writing doesn’t revolt me as much I find that it’s not enough to overcome the deeply unpleasant artwork. It’ just another zombie story no matter how many Klingon-lite warrior dudes you through into it, and it frankly plays out more like a level in a video game than anything else; a REALLY gross and tediously structured one on top of that.
Revolution and all the images you see I this recap are owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, and Shahid Khan
The big day is FINALLY upon us, and while it may be missing a Shaq match, it’s not lacking in quality fights as this card is stacked from top to bottom with grudges, title bouts, and even a few novelty matches just to keep things interesting! With the somewhat wonky build up to this show and some tediously overdone storylines, does this PPV manage to put it all together into one excellent evening of wrestling action, or are you better off saving your money and watching the highlights on Twitter? Let’s find out!!
Riho & Thunder Rosa Vs. Britt Baker & Maki Itoh – Buy In Match
Now originally this was supposed to be Baker and Rebel (Not Reba) teaming together, but the latter supposedly got “hurt” and comes out on a crutch, so Baker signed a Doctor’s note and Tony Kahn allowed her to choose someone else to be her partner and frankly she couldn’t have gone with anyone better! As much fun as Rebel (Not Reba) can be as an instigator, having Maki Itoh show up as a surprise on this show is an AMAZING way to kick the show off! She got some attention when she was announced for the women’s tournament, but it was her very fun social media made that made her a fan favorite right off the bat. She was knocked out in the first round unfortunately, but now she’s here proves without a doubt that AEW needs to signer her yesterday! Why is she so great? Well first, she comes out here and singes her ENTIRE entrance theme which is definitely a good start, and as soon as she gets in the ring with Thunder Rosa she flips her The Bird with both barrels. Yeah, I think she’s going to be my favorite wrestler of all time! Now admittedly she looks a LITTLE bit stiff at first as the initial minutes against Rosa feel a bit stop and start, but as soon as they get a flow going Itoh proves to be an absolutely BRILLIANT professional wrestler! She’s got by far the most expressive face in the women’s division here at AEW, and she reminds me a little bit of Eddie Kingston of all people. It’s just an overall presence of nastiness and a flair for the comedic as she puts on a CUTIE POP IDOL image but she fights like a total heel and takes cheap shot whenever she can; going so far as to fake cry so her opponent lets their guard down. And yet, despite being such a craven and obvious bad guy, I don’t know WHO could possibly boo her!
Coming 2 America and all the images you see in this review are owned by Amazon Studios
Directed by Craig Brewer
Coming to America is not a movie I have much nostalgia for. I didn’t see it until I was well into my twenties and while I found it amusing it wasn’t exactly an all-time classic for me, so while I’m not giddy with anticipation to see where Prince Akeem ended up thirty years later, I shouldn’t be particularly bummed if it doesn’t live up to the original. Frankly, the Eddie Murphy from my childhood peaked with Dr. Doolittle as I didn’t see any of his classic movies until I was much older, and it’s only been in the last few years that he’s buckled down and tried to be more discerning with his roles so perhaps this will take to heart the harsh lessons he learned over the last few decades and will actually be something true to the spirit of the original and to the comedy legend that he was at the time! Yeah okay, I don’t think that’s going to be the case either (especially with them putting a 2 in the title), but let’s find out!!
Prince Akeem Joffer (Eddie Murphy), the soon to be king of Zamunda, has been living the last thirty years in luxury and bliss with his wife Lisa (Shari Headley) and their three daughters (KiKi Layne, Bella Murphy, and Akiley Love) in the beautiful palace that I’m sure is not an opulent eyesore and a constant reminder of wealth inequality in the region! Surely not when they are being menaced by the neighboring warlord General izzi (Wesley Snipes) who wants his own son to be married to Akeem’s oldest. After all, the law says No Chicks Allowed and therefore a woman can’t be the leader, so perhaps Akeem’s happy little life is about to get quite complicated. As luck would have it however, the King (James Earl Jones) has been keeping a secret from Akeem as it turns out he has a son living in Queens that he conceived during his trip there thirty odd years ago. Must have happened when we weren’t looking I guess. We were probably all getting more popcorn. So Akeem, with the help of his loyal aide Semmi (Arsenio Hall) must return to the United States and bring his son back to be groomed as the next Prince and eventual heir to the throne; something that doesn’t sit right with his eldest daughter who was hoping to find a way to ascend to the throne as well as his wife who’s a bit perturbed that he conceived a child about a week before they started dating. His son Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler) has his own reservations as it’s a pretty sweet deal to be plucked out of obscurity to become a big shot, but being a Prince isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be even if it means the easy life for his mother (Leslie Jones) and his uncle (Tracy Morgan). Will Prince Akeem be able to ascend to the throne as King with a competent heir by his side, or will the culture shock for Lavelle be too great for him and his family to handle? What will General Izzi do now that his master scheme is about to be unraveled, and will Lavelle suffer the consequences of his newly found father’s machinations? Or will it be about none of that and everyone will spend most of the movie spouting lines from the first one?
On the day of its release, Halo 2 solve over five hundred thousand copies and would go on to sell over eight million copies by the end of 2008; making it the biggest game to ever get released on the original Xbox. If it wasn’t clear already by the swaths of dedicated nerds sitting by payphones to get cryptic clues only tangentially related to the franchise, this cemented Halo as a HUGE franchise with a powerful presence in the video game industry. We already talked about Red vs Blue season 3 which was the first to use the Halo 2 engine and today we’ll be looking at the fourth season as well as another noticeable fan made project that came out in the wake of the sequels’ overwhelming success. Let’s get started!!
Red vs Blue Season 4 – 2005-2006
Red vs Blue is owned by Rooster Teeth
Going into this season I had a few ideas about it based on my half-remembered recent viewing; at least the show is going on an adventure for part of it, but it’s disappointing that we’re back at Blood Gulch with the Reds. Watching it again, I kind of felt the opposite as the Reds are pretty darn funny despite having no direction and literally going back to where they started, and the Blue team is honestly kind of dreadful despite the attempts to do something new. The addition of Andy the Bomb in particular just drags all the humor down to the gutter where we’re back to pointlessly sniping at each other and throwing off lazy offensive barbs. It’s such a shame because the status quo change in the third season could have really led this series into a new direction, but it’s just more of the same and frankly a bit backwards on top of it. Thankfully the Reds don’t rely as much on that and they have some genuinely fun and silly story arcs; the big one being Simmons who got driven out of Red Team and joins up with Sheila at the abandoned Blue Base to mount a panicked revenge scheme against his former allies. They have a lot of fun with Simmons’s sense of confidence and emotional security getting shattered by Sarge firing him, and Sheila makes a great foil as she’s a constant threat throughout the season; just one bad comment or one ill-timed scheme away from ending this conflict in a bloody blaze of glory. It’s definitely going back to the series’ roots after taking such a long detour and for the most part they succeed even if it all feels a bit too familiar. They at least have GENUINELY good material to work with instead of the Blues who are just getting on each other’s nerves Even Donut’s character is somewhere better as he’s a bit toned down. It’s far less innuendo and girly behavior than it is naiveté and exuberance which I found much funnier, though they can’t help themselves from pushing it a bit too far and knocking you over the head with his sexuality in a mocking manner.
AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
It’s the Go Home show for AEW’s first PPV of the year, and it’s been an interesting journey; the least of which because of Shaq of all people entering the ring on this episode of Dynamite! Still, AEW is nothing if not flexible and they’ve turned bad situations into pure gold in the past! Will they manage to wrangle all their disparate pieces and wonky storylines into a cohesive final sendoff to get us all hyped for the PPV? Let’s find out!!
Cody Rhodes & Red Velvet Vs. Shaq & Jade Cargill
Starting things of with the feud that would not die, no matter how many things went wrong! First Brandi had to be replaced by Red Velvet due to her and Cody getting pregnant which isn’t a BAD thing, but then Cody got hurt recently in one of his matches, the NBA All Star game happening on Sunday which meant the match had to be moved off the PPV, and more than anything else it feels like Shaq is barely even involved in this feud. He’s not made a single live appearance on television and the few taped moments we got were rather underwhelming. It just feels like something that AEW has to do; trading off Shaq’s popularity and the eyeballs this match will get versus what a mess it could easily turn into. So after ALL that build up and after all the missteps, the match itself… is just fine. It’s decent enough given the fact that they’ve got one (arguably two) untrained competitors in there and it helps that both Shaq and Jade have enough personality to not seem COMPLETELY lost in the ring while Cody and Red Velvet do a fine job selling for them. Cody knocks Shaq off the apron at which point Austin Gunn tries smashing him in the back with a chair which Shaq no sells and proceeds to suplex both him and his brother which was perhaps the biggest pop of the match. Red Velvet then does a darn good Moonsault from the top rope to the floor, but it WAS a bit strange is just how much collateral damage there was as she took out not just Jade but Cody and QT Marshall as well. Frankly the best aspects of this match are like that; all spots no smarts. The moments that do feel more like a real wrestling match such as when Jade tries a Figure Four Leg Lock don’t look great, but then they start pulling out tables for absolutely no reason and you know that SOMEONE is going through them at some point which keeps the excitement and the momentum up; even though this isn’t a No-DQ match and there shouldn’t even BE tables. In any case, they’re holding off on that for now as Shaq and Cody jump back in with the former landing a decent Power Bomb on the latter, but Cody follows up with His Kitty Cat Uppercut and he actually manages to just barely slam Shaq onto the mat which was pretty impressive, but the sloppiness kind of undercut the impact. He goes for a pin but is tossed off with great force which looked a lot better than the slam, and he realizes it’s time to get Red Velvet back in there before he injures himself further. There’s a Spine Buster from Jade that looked good (not as good as Will Hobbs’s, but still decent) which forces Cody to break up the pin and he finally decides it’s go big or go home as he dives at Shaq and they both tumble through the two tables from earlier. It’s a huge pop from the crowd that forces Jade and Red Velvet to kind of stand around while waiting for everyone to calm down, and when they do Red Velvet gives Jade a Spear that the camera almost missed. They start trading Suplex attempts as neither one can hold onto the other long enough to execute am over, but finally Jade hits Red Velvet with a move that I’m assuming is her finisher and gets the three count. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but it kind of looks like a Sit-Out Powerbomb only with the opponent facing the other way so their face hits the mat instead of their back. In any case, Jade and Shaq won which I’m sure the latter is going to be quite please about once he wakes up in the hospital. Yes, apparently two particle board tables aren’t enough to break Shaq’s fall and so he’s wheeled out on a stretcher to an ambulance where, and I’m not making this up, the dude just DISAPPEARS! Like a freaking wizard, or perhaps like Bray Wyatt, he’s apparently brushed up on his magic and just poofed out of existence as soon as he was in the ambulance! I don’t know what the heck any of that means or frankly what this match was supposed to accomplish, but I had a decent time with it which is SO much more than I had expected. I was prepared to write this match off completely as nothing more than a publicity stunt, and while the focus on big spots and flashy moves still kind of makes it one of those, everyone ended up looking good in it and no one embarrassed themselves. Red Velvet is a fine worker, Jade Cargill is someone who can be darn good with some seasoning, and even Shaq managed to pull this off despite his clear lack of experience! I don’t want to see another one of these anytime soon, but it was a better payoff to this boring story than it had any right to be.
You know, despite all the effort that goes into all this supplemental material, whether it’s I Love Bees, the canonical novels, and what we’ll be discussing today, the games themselves still pretty much stand on their own and I probably could have saved myself a lot of trouble by just doing a retrospective on them instead of on everything Halo related I can get my hands on. For completions sake though, we might as well talk about these which were released alongside Halo 2 and gave us more context for the series; not just in terms of the ongoing narrative, but the story behind the scenes as the games were being developed. Let’s take a look!
Conversations from the Universe – 2004
Halo 2 got a Limited Collector’s edition release which came with a making of disk that I’m not going to try and track down, and a booklet called Conversations from the Universe that had a bunch of letters from characters within the Halo universe.
A bunch of them are rather pointless. There’s some musings from 343 Guilty Spark during the events of Halo that just reiterate what they already said out loud in those games, and there’s an entire spaceship battle that as far as I can tell means absolutely nothing to the overall story.
The ones that are interesting are about characters questioning things such as Cortana questioning0 whether Spartans or AIs are the better tools for the UNSC, and a conversation between two members of The Covenant as they try to figure out why The Prophets have decided to destroy the humans rather than have them join their Covenant. They ARE a religious cult after all and I for one would LOVE to see a couple of Elites go door to door asking humans if they’ve hear the good news about the Great Journey.
Tom & Jerry and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Tim Story
The pandemic has been awful for everyone, but I have no doubt that a few movies were relieved to avoid having to release in theaters and have dismal box office returns; particularly the movies that were already being pushed further and further back looking for the least competitive window possible to MAYBE scrape by at number three on slow weekend. My Spy certainly springs to mind, as does this movie which didn’t exactly light the world on fire with its trailer and frankly I was not looking forward to sitting through it when Warner Bros put it on their HBO Max slate. Still, even if it looks a bit cheap and cheesy for the big screen, perhaps it plays a bit better on the smaller one and will find its niche in the streaming market. Is this a fun little romp for the kids that captures the spirit of these classic characters, or is it yet another lousy cash-in that’ll come and go faster than the LAST time they tried to bring these characters to the big screen all the way back in 1992? Let’s find out!!
Thomas D Cat and Jerome A Mouse are two critters roaming the streets of New York City; one looking for a place to stay that has lots of cheese and the other hoping to be the world’s most famous keyboard playing feline right after Keyboard Cat. Their paths cross when Jerry interrupts his concert in the park and after a series of convoluted antics; one ends up in a fancy hotel chomping holes into walls and stealing food while the other is left homeless and with a broken keyboard. Try to guess which one is which! Said hotel by the way has a new employee named Kayla (Chloë Grace Moretz) who faked her way into the position and is trying to prove herself by fixing the hotel’s mouse problem in preparation for an upcoming celebrity wedding that will take place in the hotel’s banquet hall. The current supervisor (Michael Peña) is skeptical of Kayla and is looking for any excuse to get rid of her, so she has to bring in a mouse catching ringer and decides to hire this cartoon cat that clearly has it out for the little mouse. Will Tom be able to stop Jerry’s antics and earn a decent salary to fund his hopes and dreams? Will the wedding go off without a hitch, or is there more going on with the celebrity couple that can only come to light via cartoon animal violence? I know the movie is out and I’ve sat through it already… but are we sure this is even a real movie?