Archive for April 17, 2020
While mere mortals are rarely worthy of wielding Mjolnir, Thor’s all-powerful hammer, a run-in with Zeus proved that other deities may be up to the task. But can a god of thunder from another time and place truly be as worthy as Thor?
When Thor is transported back in time to the Trojan War, he ends up getting in the middle of a huge mess among the Greeks, the Trojans, and the gods above. ThorAnnual #8, from the original run, first published in 1979, was written by Roy Thomas on art by John Buscema. It’s a classic take on the annual, bringing a hero out of their element to see how they fare at another point in history. And it all begins with Thor in the midst of a battle with Loki and a bunch of Storm-Giants, chasing his trickster brother into a cave... but coming out thousands of years in the past -- and directly into the legendary Trojan War.
Crucially, the first person he meets is Aeneas, from the Trojan side (making him obviously biased against the invading Greeks). Once Thor gets his bearings and remembers he is also a god in the midst of the massive battle of men and deities, he begins to interact with the Greek pantheon. Despite a general understanding that all-powerful, immortal beings shouldn’t manipulate the lives of mortals, Athena, Apollo, and Aphrodite are all pursuing their own agendas. But there's only one god who wins Thor's attention.
As soon as he’s introduced to the Olympian theater of deities, Thor realizes there’s a god of thunder here, as well. Literally, Thor hears a clap of lightning so powerful that he’s professionally intrigued about where it came from. What follows is a pretty obligatory alpha-male Thor battle, mostly just to see who is more powerful. The deciding moment comes when Thor hurls Mjolnir right at Zeus’ face... only to watch the Greek god seize it out of the air. He only holds it for a second or two before the hammer forces its way back to Thor, but it was still an impressive Mjolnir feat, and it effectively ended the quarrel.
Thor acted the hero most of the way, siding with his friends, protecting them from deceitful gods here and there, but this story was most interesting in how it dealt with different ideas of supreme beings and heroes. Thor, despite bouts of unworthiness, mostly conforms to the modern idea of god-like beings as moral heroes. The Olympians don’t have that inclination as strongly. There’s a sense that they should take care of mortals, but they’re far more likely to be corrupted by their power, both in this story, and the original myths. When this story compares the two types of omnipotent beings, it contributes to the mythology being written today.
At long, long last, Sea of Thieves is finally going to let players revive each other when the game's next update rolls out to sea. The wait for this seemingly innocuous feature has been perhaps a little too long out from the game's 2018 release, but the game's community is no less eager for it and other improvements packed into this month's major update.
Xbox Games Studios' Rare, of unforgettable Nintendo 64 fame, has spent the past years molding an increasingly varied pirate experience around the rather bare skeleton that was the initial launch version of Sea of Thieves. The Microsoft exclusive has had its fair share of rocky update rollouts and, like any always-online title with a content drip, has been criticized on more than one occasion for moving too slowly and prioritizing the wrong features at the wrong times. However, when a Sea of Thieves update goes well, players have a (sometimes literal) blast with the harrowing experiences and bizarre items that are unlike anything else in the AAA online multiplayer space. Most imminent on the game's roadmap is the Ships of Fortune update, which will introduce furry companions and much more to the high seas.
The most-requested and long-awaited feature of the Ships of Fortune update is far and away a crew revival mechanic, which will at long last give players the opportunity to bring downed friends back from the brink before they push off to Davy Jones' Locker. In the below developer update video, executive producer Joe Neate admits that the long-absent feature was something that Rare has wanted to include since "really early on in the Unity prototype" of Sea of Thieves, noting his eagerness to finally see the "really cool social dynamics" revives will bring to the heat of battle. The developer brought in Sea of Thieves YouTuber and streamer Hitbotc to summarize the mechanic's fine details, who explains:
"When you die, you no longer go directly to the Ferryman. Instead, you now have the opportunity to be revived by one of your cremates. However, the clock is ticking. In Adventure Mode, you will have 15 seconds to get to your crewmate before they're sent to the Ferryman, but if your crewmate does make it to you in time, they are now prompted with the option to revive you, which will take a total of 4 seconds, giving you 25 percent of your health back and getting you back into the action. In Arena Mode, you will have around 10 seconds longer to revive... You are now also going to be able to revive other crews in your alliance."
Unfortunately for solo players, revival may be little else besides a thorn in their solitary sides. However, Hitbotc reports that theirs and all in-game deaths will now be more palatable, as "time on the Ferry has been reduced by a few seconds." He also points out that revival can be a double-edged sword, as an outnumbered player can use crew revival attempts as an "opportunity for an easy kill." Other Ships of Fortune update changes include bans for excessive quitting in the Arena, a toggleable crew status option that helps players better keep up with crewmates, and the ability to find Tall Tale quests on the ship map. As for revival, Hitbotc isn't technically wrong when he says that it'll be "an absolute game-changer," but it's mildly astonishing that the multiplayer title is getting such a ubiquitous feature so far down the line.
Critics have long declared the Sea of Thieves ship to have sailed ages ago, but the game's active playerbase and constant stream of updates have continued to shape the swashbuckling multiplayer experience into something greater than its origins as a pretty sailing simulator. Rare's cheeky tenacity coupled with recent record high Xbox Live player counts is a good signal that Sea of Thieves won't be walking the plank anytime soon.
Source: Sea of Thieves
Kevin Smith is 20 pages away from finishing the most current draft of Mallrats 2. The COVID-19 pandemic is taking its tolls on shopping malls and small businesses everywhere, but it gave Kevin Smith time to catch up on a few projects. The Dogma and Chasing Amy director let the news about Mallrats 2 drop while discussing watching movies with old friends, which he will be doing when he streams his 1995 comedy classic Mallrats during a Facebook live watch party on April 20. The party will aid coronavirus pandemic relief efforts.
Non-essential businesses have taken an enormous hit, and his upcoming Mallrats sequel, Twilight of the Mallrats, will reflect that. Smith has spent the lock-down finishing the scripts for Mallrats 2, Clerks 3, and other unrealized projects he's had shelved. The first Mallrats, released in 1995, was a slacker romance comedy with a disgustingly delicious chocolate-covered delivery. If nothing else, the movie highlighted the importance of washing your hands. It told the story of T.S. (Jeremy London) and Brodie (Jason Lee) spending a day in the mall after bad breakups with their girlfriends. They don't just window shop, they compete on a dating show called Truth or Date, meet Marvel Comics' Stan Lee, and relentlessly harass a clothing store manager played by Ben Affleck. Jay and his hetero-life-mate, Silent Bob, reprise their roles from Clerks.
Smith told the Asbury Park Press he is "20 pages away from completion on the screenplay of the latest iteration of a potential Mallrats sequel, Twilight of the Mallrats." The upcoming sequel will deal with the skyrocketing unemployment numbers in America and how the pandemic is hitting the economy. The script is “being reformed, as we speak, by the pandemic, by coronavirus, because clearly this is something that affects us going forward, from now through all time," Smith said. When he first started talking about the Mallrats sequel, he had it tenuously set twenty years after the first film, in a time when the mall was closing down. Mallrats 2 will explore the end of mall culture. "Nobody’s forgetting about this," Smith said. "This isn’t a minor blip in the history of humanity. Everything we do from here on in in the arts that reflects life is going to include this time in our history. It’s not like you can ignore it or something like that."
Even though the screenplay is still in the draft stage, the upcoming sequel caught the attention of actors Bruce Campbell and Michael Rooker, who are confirmed to appear. Campbell and Smith actually hashed out the deal together in a series of Twitter posts. While there is no word on what he will play, the Evil Dead star promises to put his whole chin into the part.
Smith has started various Mallrats follow-up attempts in the past, it's even been in the running for a TV series and almost got rebooted as "Mallbrats." So it's good to see the project isn’t dead. The original film wasn't a smash hit, but it gathered a large cult following and helped Smith move from low-budget independent films to larger works. Hopefully, Mallrats 2 find a similar kind of success and resonates with a new generation of fans.
Source: Asbury Park Press
The Flash and Wonder Woman once completely ruined Green Lantern's love life, though it was a tragic side-effect of one of the most convoluted stories in DC Comics history. This did little to improve the relationship between Wally West and Kyle Rayner, who were frequent frenemies during their time together in the JLA.
While most superheroes have a tough time with romantic relationships, Kyle Rayner had luck similar to Peter Parker. His first girlfriend, Alex DeWitt, was murdered by Major Force in the incident which coined the term"fridging" for whenever a woman in fiction suffers for no reason other than to create drama for a male character. His most recent love interest, fellow Lantern Corp member Soranik Natu, ended their relationship after she discovered that their future son was destined to become one of the Green Lanterns' greatest enemies and that Kyle had learned this first and tried to hide that knowledge from her.
However, Kyle Rayner's most tragic romance was undoubtedly with Donna Troy. The first hero to go by the name Wonder Girl, Donna was a founding member of the Teen Titans and a good friend of Wally West, the first Kid Flash. That friendship would later play a role in ruining Kyle and Donna's relationship, ironically through Wally's efforts to save Donna's life under Wonder Woman's direction.
Kyle Rayner decided to move to New York City, needing a fresh start after the death of his girlfriend, Alex. He was aided in this by Donna Troy, whom he had met during the events of the Zero Hour crossover event, before being recruited into the Titans. The two bonded over a love of visual arts (Kyle was a freelance artist, Donna a photographer) and were soon kissing under the mistletoe in Titans Tower in the final pages of Green Lantern #59.
The romance was passionate, but tumultuous. The two heroes argued often, with Donna being frustrated by Kyle's immaturity and Kyle complaining that Donna talked down to him like he was her preschool-aged son, Robert. Still, Donna and Kyle managed to carry one another through the tough times that followed. Donna helped Kyle to make peace with Alex's death and Kyle helped Donna keep it together as she got into a bitter custody dispute with her ex-husband Terry Long, who argued that Robert wasn't safe with his superhero mom.
Sadly, Donna ended things with Kyle in Green Lantern #90, after learning that her son and ex-husband had died in a car accident. Donna felt that she needed some time to get her head together and wasn't in any shape to be with anyone. Kyle understood, but the pain of Donna leaving still remained.
It turned out that the car crash which killed Terry Long and Robert was no accident and was the work of a being known as the Dark Angel. Wonder Woman #131 revealed that Dark Angel had taken a special interest in Donna Troy's life and making her as miserable as possible. The issue ended with Donna disappearing and the friends with whom she'd been visiting having no memory of her ever existing!
The origins of Dark Angel and her interest in Donna Troy were explained in Wonder Woman #132-136, as part of a story which redefined the Wonder Woman mythology and the history of Donna Troy in particular. Donna was revealed to be a magical clone of Princess Diana of Themyscira, fashioned by the priestess Magala from a part of Diana's soul to act as a playmate for the young Amazon so she would not feel so lonely. Magala believed the double would fade away in time, when Diana was old enough to begin the formal training of an Amazon warrior. However, unbeknownst to Diana and Magala, the double was abducted by Dark Angel, who sought to avenge herself upon the daughter of her old enemy, Queen Hippolyta.
The story arc also explained why Dark Angel had a grudge against the Amazon queen. Hippolyta had replaced her daughter, Diana, as Wonder Woman in the modern day after Diana died in the line of duty and ascended to become the Goddess of Truth. It was during this period that Hippolyta traveled back in time and helped the Justice Society of America in fighting the Axis Powers for several years, before returning to her proper place in time.
One of the many enemies Hippolyta made during World War II was Dark Angel, who had been called into the service of the Third Reich by a German sorceress. Once free of her binding to the will of Adolf Hitler, Dark Angel set about destroying the girl she thought was Hippolyta's daughter. She did this by setting up a continual chain of reincarnation, with the soul of the woman who was Donna Troy forced to suffer through an increasingly awful series of lives, only to be reborn into an even worse existence, as all memory of her former self was erased.
By a happy coincidence, Wally West just happened to be in the Speed Force when Dark Angel removed all memory of Donna Troy from the world. Hippolyta also remembered Donna, thanks to her being outside of the normal flow of time while having her adventures with the JSA. The two journeyed into the underworld to confront Dark Angel, who was in the middle of torturing Donna before sending her on to her next doomed incarnation.
The heroes were able to defeat Dark Angel, but Donna Troy's soul was left as a blank slate. Thankfully, Diana arrived in the nick of time with the knowledge of how to save Donna, having been banished to Earth by Zeus as a punishment for attempting to intervene in the lives of her mortal friends too often. Ironically, this put her in the perfect position to use the Golden Lasso of Truth and her divine powers to bring out Wally West's true impressions of his old friend and imprint them upon Donna's soul and the world. Wally was quick to point out that he didn't know every little detail of Donna's life, but Diana felt that reality would fill in the gaps using what he knew as a starting point in bringing back the old Donna.
Unfortunately, Diana proved to be quite wrong. While Donna was reborn with full knowledge of her life as a superhero and her time among the Teen Titans, she didn't remember anything beyond the direct knowledge of her life known by The Flash. All the fine details of her personality (like who her favorite photographer was) were lost in the ether and she remembered nothing of her relationship with Kyle Rayner beyond the fact that they had dated and that she loved him. Seeking answers, Donna attended Kyle's first professional gallery opening in Green Lantern #118, hoping they could talk over old times and that she might remember something of who she had been.
Unfortunately, while Donna was gone, Kyle had moved on with his life and begun dating the superheroine Jade, who was less than thrilled about Kyle being so quick to try and help Donna with her amnesia issues out after all she had done to hurt him in the past. Within the span of an issue, Jade had dumped Kyle and he was horrified to learn that Donna was literally not the woman he fell love with anymore. The young Green Lantern's love life was in shambles, and it was all thanks to Wonder Woman and The Flash!
Francesca Farago is one of the break out stars on Netflix's new show Too Hot to Handle. The show's premise centers around some attractive people at a tropical resort looking to hook up. However, there's a cash prize on the line. All they have to do is refrain from hooking up. That's right, there's no sex, no kissing, and there's even a ban on self-gratification. Every time someone breaks the rules, some money is deducted from the grand prize. The idea is that they'll form some deeper connections if they actually comply with the rules.
Right off the bat, Francesca described herself as a "rule breaker" and she was proud of it. Well, that was until Harry Jowesy tried to turn the whole cast against her by claiming that she was the one who initiated their initial kiss. She was able to move past that pretty quickly though. Just like the rest of the singles, Francesca isn't used to not getting what she wants from a man right away. In essence, she is the true epitome of the phrase "too hot to handle," i.e. she's the most perfect person that they could have cast on this show. Someone needs to get Francesca some Advil. This woman must have severe back pain from carrying this whole season. Let's get to know her a little bit more.
Francesca mentioned on the show that she lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, but it's easy to forget where she's from in the sea of many accents. Her Instagram bio lists her location as Vancouver/LA. The latter is pretty standard for any reality TV star, those trips in LA are essential to maximizing her reach as an influencer.
According to The Sun, claimed that Francesca dated Diplo. She hasn't confirmed this (or denied it) yet. However, it sure looks like she's hanging with the famous DJ in this 2017 Instagram photo. Now, it's hard not to wonder what shows Diplo is binging during the quarantine. Did Too Hot to Handle make the cut?
In an interview with Women's Health, Francesca talked about sticking her to vegan diet while she filmed the show. Thankfully, she had a chef on hand to whip up some custom meals. She shared, "He always, always, always had an alternative for me. So it was the best food ever." She also revealed that she decided to go vegan six years ago and that it has changed her "for the better times a thousand."
Why build up such a strong social media following if you're not going to capitalize on it? Of course, she has her own clothing line in the works. Strike while the iron is hot, girl. Farago the Label is ethical, sustainable, and biodegradable, according to the brand's Instagram page.
Francesca isn't the only social media star in the family. She has a Pomeranian named Romeo Jonathan Webb, although it's unclear where the "Webb" comes from. For the record, the dog goes by Romii for short and he even has his own Instagram page.
Now that Netflix has dropped Too Hot to Handle (during a quarantine, no less), Francesca has an even bigger following and a lot of eyes on her next move.