Let’s Read #2

Superman: Dawnbreaker by Matt de la Peña–Chapters 5-7. I’ll try to keep spoilers to a minimum.

Not much to say about these chapters that wouldn’t be a lot of spoilers, but I did enjoy the Smallville TV show reference where a certain billionaire almost runs Clark over with his car.

I do enjoy how hints of the plot are sprinkled throughout. You don’t feel like you’re being hit over the head. You get little clues like how Lana, the girl who knows just about everything that happens in Smallville, doesn’t know about the missing persons. That tells you that whoever is behind it has some power/money.

Also when Clark meets up with Gloria, the one who told him about the missing people, she acts as if she doesn’t remember telling him. There isn’t a moment where he straight up asks her and she says, “What are you talking about?” but she does seem confused or she wants to change the subject. Did someone get to her? Threaten her? Pay her off? Does the villain have some kind of mind-erasing power or serum?

About the only problem I have with the book, at this point, is that it is kind of slow moving. It seems like it is taking a long time for Clark to get moving. He seems concerned about the missing persons but also doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it. At times it is almost like he goes, “Oh yeah! That’s right! There are people disappearing. I should look into that.”

I think it is great that the main villain might not be a Luthor. I just hope that Bryan doesn’t pull a Lex and turn out to be the bad guy. They’ve always done it where Lex and Clark were friends and then Lex turns evil; I hope they don’t do the same with Bryan, so far he seems like a good friend to Clark.

So, what do you think? Who’s behind the missing persons? What do you think is happening to the missing people? Why is Bryan’s brother so interested in the Kent Farm? Tell me your theories in the comments.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading.


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Recommended #22

The following are my opinion and do not reflect the opinion of any organization or person.

Movies/Film

Film Theory: How Game of Thrones SHOULD End! (Game of Thrones Season 8) by The Film Theorists

Victor and Valentino (Cartoon Network)

Bumblebee

Blog Posts

“The Truth About Gyms” by The Travellothoner

“Raindrops” by sandyjwhite (Out of My Write Mind)

“Let’s Stop Passing as Non-disabled” by Jenna B. Neece (writer)

Books/Stories

“Endurance” from How To Get Away With Murder (In Under 250 Words) by Hafferby

Jazz, Monster Collector in: Crash Down (Season one, Episode One) by RyFT Brand

Brian’s Last Ride by Marianne Curtis

Podcasts/News

Kid Friendly Joke of the Day – Episode 260 – Falcon by Kid Friendly Joke Of The Day

678 – Moolah, Clams, and Scratch. God, Godsend, and Godfather by Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

Episode 5: Mario – Yo’ster’s Story by Hidden Pixels Podcast

Comics

Green Lantern #30 (New 52) by DC Comics

Back in Time | Superman #10 Review by Fortress of Solitude

Shazam! (2018-) #1 by DC Comics

Everything Else

Game Theory: How to WIN the Mr Beast $100,000 Challenge! by The Game Theorists

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 – Part 4 – The Tinkerer Boss Fight! by Blitzwinger

Dreams – Dream Surfing – Cats + Dogs (Early Access) by stampylonghead

Say My Name | SHAZAM! Review

Reviews are my opinion. Spoiler alert.

Holy Moly! The SHAZAM! movie is finally out, and it was awesome.

I do have to agree with other reviews that the beginning was kind of slow and awkward. If you know the origins of Shazam, the opening can be a little long; but if you don’t, you might see it as more interesting. But once Billy get’s on the subway train…heh, heh, the fun begins.

They did a really good job balancing the movie. It wasn’t too dark/serious and not too comical/silly. You had some serious, emotional moments–and some intense moments–layered with some humor.

The Shazam costume looked a lot like it does it in the comics. It almost looked like it was taken right off the page. I mean, there were some differences but not enough to really matter. I liked how they went with the bright red instead of trying to make it a dark red or muted red.

The acting was well done. The actors seemed to get along; they seemed to know their character and how they would react. Nothing seemed forced or unnatural. Zachary Levi did an excellent job of pretending to be a 14-year-old in an adult’s body. Sometimes when they have those “age shift” movies, the actor acts too silly and comes off as acting younger than the age they are supposed to be. For instance, they are supposed to be a 14-year-old but the adult actor acts more like a 6-year-old.

Rating GuideI did have a problem with how when Billy was Billy he was serious and kind of mopey; but when he was Shazam, he was a little more immature and kid-like. It seemed like an awkward unexplained shift. I can kind of give it a pass because he is hanging out with Freddy. When you’re hanging out with friends, especially when you’ve been on your own like Billy had been, you let loose. Plus, as Shazam, he was a powerful adult thus probably feeling more like he could let down his defenses.

All the Easter Eggs also made the movie enjoyable, like the nod to the movie Big at the toy store or the Mr. Mind reveal. Also John Glover, who played Lex Luthor’s father on Smallville, plays Sivana’s father. In the Shazam! movie, Sivana’s father is a wealthy jerk…just like Lex’s father. Sivana is a bald genius. Lex is also a bald genius.

Finally, I liked that Freddy and Billy never came up with a superhero name. They go through hundreds of names but never settle on one. It was a nice nod to the comics where Billy’s hero name is a little unclear. Is it Captain Marvel? Is it Shazam? Is it just Billy?

I had a hard time finding things wrong with it. I’d really like to see it again and use more critical thinking. I don’t think it was a perfect movie, but it was pretty close. If DC can continue this balance of serious and humor–don’t have the movies be kiddy-goofy but also don’t make them apocalyptic-gloomy either, I think their movie future will be bright. 4.98/5

Other SHAZAM! related videos–contains spoilers.

Shazam! End Credits Scene Explained (SPOILERS!) by IGN

Shazam!’s Big DC Superhero Cameo Revealed by IGN


Sparks of Rebellion is available for preorder. It releases April 19, 2019.

Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

Recommended #18

The following are my opinion and do not reflect the opinion of any organization or person.

Comics

Amazing Spider-Man #15 (Caped-Joel review video)

Venom #11 (Caped-Joel review video)

Miles Morales Spider-Man #3 (Caped-Joel review video)

YouTube Videos

JAZZA INVADES ART WEBSITES to UNITE THEM against T-SERIES by Draw with Jazza

Jason Inman on Kickstarter marketing by Dreamer Comics Highlights

Movies & Shows

Fire Force Teaser Trailer (Soul Eater Creator)-English Sub by IGN

Project Blue Book History Channel

Books

Wolf, the explorer #0.5 (Karabas in Old Turkey) by Leen Lefebre

Recommended #12

Some more recommendations you might enjoy. The following are my opinion and do not reflect any organization or person.

DC Comics

Young Justice #2

The Adventures of the Super Sons #6

Action Comics #1007

Justice League Annual (2019) #1

Heroes In Crisis #5

Justice League #16

Justice League #17

These are available wherever DC Comics books are sold, such as Barnes & Noble or Amazon. If you’re looking for reviews of these and many others comic stories, you can check out the Caped-Joel YouTube channel.

Lights Out|Side Quest

Zzzttt-wah-MMMmmm…

One by one the lights went off. Within minutes the city went dark. Everything started to shut down from the holo-boards advertising the new diet soda to the residential holo-screens playing the sixtieth season of The North Wilbertons. The VirtNet and Internet went down in seconds. A few moments later, vehicles started to shut down…except for one ion-mag lev commuter train…that one was just running out of control.

I needed to take care of the runaway quick—not just because there was a group of citizens aboard or that the train would soon derail and destroy a couple city blocks but because I needed to get to the power station and put a stop to the one behind this power out.

Luckily, my Dog Toys (aka gadgets) operate on a different system, so the Dogfighter was still operational. I positioned the advanced fighter jet ahead of the runaway.

“Dogboy,” Brain said via the Dog Whistle communication system. “SPOT just scanned the train; it was hacked. This is a distraction.”

“Well, it’s a pretty good one,” I said. I flipped a switch. The Dogfighter sprayed a foam-like substance along the tracks. It would slow the train while also keeping it from derailing.

A second after I finished coating the tracks, the train ran over the foam. The train itself, thanks to magnetic levitation, hovers over the tracks. The foam is designed to lessen that connection so that the train slows but not cause it fall to the ground. The train jerked and moaned like someone who’d been at the gym too long. It slowed some, but I could tell it wouldn’t be enough.

I flew the jet ahead of the oncoming train and jumped out. I landed with a heroic thud. I braced for impact with the train while holding my paw-like hands out in front of me.

WHAM!

The claws on my paw-like feet dug into the rails. Sparks jumped around me as the claws tried to find purchase in the rails. My purple cape folded around me like a cocoon as I pushed against the train. Two handprints began to form in the train’s front. I pushed against the train, pouring on my telekinetic power. I could feel the phantasmic energy flowing out of me and down through the train. I groaned.

Finally, the train began to slow.

Thanks to the foam and my push, the train finally came to rest. I panted, my tongue almost reaching the ground. The passengers and workers shouted out thanks as the Dogfighter angled to pick me up. With a leap, I soon was back in the cockpit.

“Now for Terabyte,” I said.

***

When I arrived, Terabyte was having a fun time blasting transformers. Machine bits sprayed everywhere and plumes of fire reached high into the sky. I jumped down behind the cybernetic villain.

Without turning, the villain in yellow, said, “Well, well, well. Look who’s here. Next time I’ll sabotage two trains.”

“End this now, Terabyte, before someone gets hurt,” I demanded with a swipe of my arm.

He turned slowly towards me. His body crackled and glowed with energy. “But, Dogboy…that’s the whole point. Humanity’s time is over. It is time for the Digitrons to rule. It is only natural: the son always replaces the father. Humanity created us; now we will rule.” Terabyte spread his fingers. Arcs of electricity danced between his fingers. “Besides, it serves them right for imprisoning me.”

“Then I’ll stop you.” I thrust out my hand, launching a blast of telekinetic power at him.

Nothing happened.

“Uh-oh,” said Terabyte with a sneer. “Someone’s running on empty.” Terabyte moved his hand before him like some Tai Chi student. A lightning ball began to form in his hand. “Fortunately…I just ate.” He lobbed the ball at me.

ZZZzzttt…BOOOM!

I spiraled through the air like a toy shot out of a cannon. I crash landed into the side of a transformer with my back. I left a small dent. As I tried to stand, electrical wires wrapped around me.

I fruitlessly struggled against the wires. Terabyte laughed mercilessly as he hovered into the air. Electricity shot all around us.

“With you out of the way,” Terabyte monologued, “this city will be helpless against my army.”

“What makes you think I’ll be ‘out of the way’?”

“Because you have no power to stop me.”

“Really?” I relaxed my arms and chest. Earlier as the wires wrapped around me, I puffed up my chest and arms in order to be larger than I was. By relaxing, the wires loosened enough for me to use my claws to cut myself free.

Terabyte yelled in frustration before firing a lightning bolt at me. I managed to dodge and summon one of my Dog Toy gadgets. It looked like a tennis ball but was really an explosive.

I tossed the ball at Terabyte. He, of course, blasted it in order to make it explode early. He was momentarily blinded by the flash and by the resulting smoke. In that moment, I summoned another tennis bomb from my belt and tossed it. This one did connect and Terabyte fell to the earth. While he was recovering, I ordered my belt to print up a superpower suppression dog collar. Just as Terabyte was standing, I jumped at his chest, knocking us to the ground. After a brief struggle, I snapped the collar around his neck and his powers faded.

With Terabyte under control, the workers were able to move on the scene and began repair work. Within a matter of minutes, power was restored to the city. Not long after that the authorities arrived for Terabyte.

“You can’t stop us!” shouted Terabyte. “One day this world will belong to us!”

I rolled my eyes. “Super-villains.”

________________

Joe Rover eBooks are available at most online retailers.

Does Whatever a Review Can|Spider-Man PS4

I finally got my copy of Marvel’s Spider-Man for the PS4. And now that I’ve been able to actually put it down…for about ten minutes, I can give you an initial review–because boy is it going to take a while to finish it. I played it for like three hours and only have 10 percent completion…but that’s probably because I keep getting distracted by all the collectables and crimes in the city.

So, let’s address the white elephant in the room first (or I could say white spider). You know the first thing people want to know about: the graphics. All I can say is, “Yes, the graphics are good.” The city looks like a city and the lighting is excellent; it looks like they somehow digitized New York and put it into the video game. (New York City is still there, isn’t it? I mean, no super-villain has come along and zapped the city into the digital world, right?)

img_2674My problem with the graphics is that the people look a little weird. It was like they were good and the developers spent time on them but they still look odd somehow. But, what I did like is how every scene so far (remember I’ve only completed 10 percent) looks lived in. Birds and helicopters share the sky with our web-swinging wonder. The inside of the buildings are just as good. The lab Peter works in has notes everywhere and machine parts scattered across the desks; it looks like a lab that has people in it.

So with graphics out of the way, let’s again address the real white spider in the room: the new costume. I was a bit ‘eh’ about it and still am, but what I do like is that you can change the costume, so you can wear the new one or the OG costume or one of the others you unlock. I like how the costumes unlock as you level up and not by finding some random code or doing a certain amount of “X” things. Also, I like how the suit powers work on any of the costumes–once you unlock that power of course. For example, with the original Spidey costume you get a power called “Web Blossom,” but you can equip that to the new suit or you can equip the new suit’s power to the original suit. (My favorite suit power so far is the one that let’s you make hologram copies of yourself.)

The suit mods also work like the suit powers. They work across all suits so you can customize your Spidey as you like.

I do have to add here that sometimes the game had weird camera and response issues. Sometimes Spidey would get stuck on an object; like when a henchman was about to hit him with a rocket, Spidey kept running forward against the railing and wouldn’t move. But for the most part, it’s been very successful.

Finally, the collectables. I really like how the collectables mean something in the game. If you find one, such as take a landmark photo, you get a token. The tokens then can be used to craft new suits, mods, and gear. I really like how this game focuses more on Peter’s science know-how. You get to see him use that mind of his and there are mini-games that involve crafting and technology. I like how they show that the Spider-Man suit is machine-like, that it isn’t just spandex that it has circuitry and technology in it.

At this time, I’d have to give Spider-Man a 4.8/5. Now if you’ll excuse me, Spidey’s got some vent crawling to do.

If you’re looking for more reviews (for instance my next Spider-Man post), you can subscribe to my Patreon account. There, depending on how much you wish to spend a month, you can have access to my reviews, short stories, and webcomic–along with other posts.