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Jyger’s Rant – Injustice 2 Story Mode Review (WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD)

…So, I don’t own this game. Just throwing this out now. Not available for any systems I own, don’t have the money to get a new one, and so here we are. That said, I really wanted to give my thoughts on the story in Injustice 2, especially since I DO own the original and have given my thoughts on it in the past. Luckily, plenty of people, like Maximilian Dood and Kwing, have posted playthroughs of the Story Mode, so I’m thus able to give it my own review. Just remember, though, that as I’m doing this review, I’m speaking strictly about the story, not the game in terms of how it plays and whatnot. Although, I will get this out of the way right now: So far, based on what I’ve seen, it looks like a really good game, haven’t heard much wrong with it from a technical perspective yet, and on a personal note, NetherRealm Studios seem to have HUGELY improved on their facial designs and animations with this game. In fact, over all, I think this is their best LOOKING game of all time. Whenever they wanna make Mortal Kombat XI, they need to take inspiration from this game when it comes to the graphics.

But yeah, the story. So, this takes place a few years after Injustice: Gods Among Us. Superman is in a red solar prison for taking over the world, and his former Regime buddies are either planning to break him out, working to make up for what they did under his rule, or joining Gorilla Grodd’s new group, the Society. However, pretty soon, it becomes clear that the Society are just pawns in a much bigger game, as Brainiac arrives to capture Superman, add a few Earth cities to his collection, and then blow the planet up. Eventually, the situation devolves so much that Batman and his allies have no choice but to release Superman and work with the Regime to try and stop Brainiac and the Society before they destroy the world.

So, right away, I have a bit of a complaint to make. If you didn’t play that game…well, there’re a few details that this game tends to completely either ignore or glance over. Specifically, the heroes of the mainstream DC Universe were brought over to the world primarily presented in these games and the comics to stop an evil Superman who had pretty much taken over with a new group made up of former heroes and villains called the Regime. And while this game takes place on that world, I think there’re maybe one or two passing references to the fact that Batman had help from good Superman and the Justice League in taking down Regime Superman (as in they did most of the work and he got all the credit), and the player is otherwise left to assume Batman was bad enough to bring down Superman all by himself. Also, no mention of the super pills they took last game, which are meant to explain how people like Batman, Harley, and other characters without superpowers can go toe-to-toe with superhumans, get tossed around in outer-fucking-space, and survive without so much as a scratch on them.

Another issue with the story is that it has a bit of a…complicated relationship with the tie-in comics. Nowhere is that more clear than in the first chapter of the story, which is actually set during an operation that Superman, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg were pulling on Arkham Asylum. Basically, some events that happened in the comics are considered canon, others aren’t, and there doesn’t seem to be any kind of pattern as to what is or isn’t, nor is it made 100% clear what all is and is not canon anymore. One thing we DO know about what’s been changed is that, while Damian did apparently still kill Nightwing by accident, it didn’t happen during the operation on Arkham. Instead, the thing that tears him and Batman apart is Damian killing Zsasz…who, in the comics, survived way longer than that, and was actually responsible for killing Alfred. So, right away, we’ve got a double retcon, and that’s not even taking into account certain details mentioned by Cyborg about the deaths of Starfire and Beast Boy.

Before I get to the two biggest things that bother me about the story, though, let’s talk about some positives. First, you know I’m a sucker for stories that involve a ton of characters, and this has a lot of different heroes and villains with a wide range of abilities, from Harley Quinn with her dynamite and mallet, to Doctor Fate, sorcerer supreme of the DC Universe. From Captain Cold, a former bank robber with a freeze gun, to Supergirl, the last hope of Krypton with almost God-like strength and powers. Even Dex-Starr, who is quite possibly the avatar of everything stupid-yet-awesome about comic books, plays a minor role in the story. Characters from all walks of life in the DC Universe have various parts to play in this crisis, and all prove their worthiness to be involved in such a tale. Sadly, the majority of them are taken down a few notches at best by the last two chapters, which I’ll get to, but it’s still awesome to see them all here. Even Joker makes a return via Scarecrow-induced hallucination, which leads to the awesome sight of Harley, in a somewhat close approximation of her classic costume, giving him a good ass kicking.

 

 

Another positive to the story is not quite something I suggested after playing through the first game’s Story Mode, but close and still appreciated. Several chapters of the game give you not one but two characters to play through with, and you choose which one to play as before each fight in that chapter. As such, you can mix and match who fights whom, or you can have your favourite of the two do all the ass kicking. It’s totally up to you. And I appreciate that. I personally suggested classic Marvel vs Capcom 2v2 style fights, but whatever. Still cool, and allows not only for different dialogue and scenes depending on who is involved in the fights, but for more characters to take center stage in each…at least until the end, but again, I’ll get to that.

So, now for something that annoys me to no end, and if you’ve played through the Story Mode and know me and the characters I like, you should be able to figure this out. Simply put, I am NOT a fan of how Superman, Wonder Woman, and Poison Ivy are written in this game’s story, especially the last two (although that could simply be that nothing Superman does could top what he did to Shazam last game, who is a CHILD). In particular, there is a scene where Poison Ivy uses her pheromones on Harley Quinn to turn her against her allies. Now, first off, I’d just like to point out that Harley is supposed to possess immunity to most poisons, toxins, etc., due to injections given to her BY Poison Ivy. But, let’s just ignore that for now, because that’s not what really aggravates me. Instead, after inhaling too much of Ivy’s pheromones, Harley starts going into shock, and Ivy’s reaction is to roll her eyes and show complete and utter apathy over her former lover lying on the ground dying five feet away from her… … …Linkara, I need you again!

Thank you!… … …Look, here’s the thing: I can see a situation where Harley and Ivy could be on opposing sides, sure, maybe even having to fight each other, but there is NO FUCKING WAY that Harley could be dying two feet away from Ivy, and Ivy would be on that level of not giving a shit. This is HARLEY we’re talking about. Regardless of if you subscribe to the idea of the two as a couple or not, the fact is that the second she saw her convulsing like that, she would have dropped EVERYTHING else and tried to help her, because be it in a romantic sense or not, Harley is one of the few people left that Ivy truly cares about. But she doesn’t. Why? Because Ivy is, in this story, irredeemably EVIL, as are Wonder Woman and Superman.

Now, I’ve brought this up in videos before, and they’ve brought up the defense that this is an alternate universe, so of course characters are gonna behave in ways we’re not used to. And yeah, as I said before, that was a thing in Injustice 1, and other than going to the extreme of Superman killing Billy Batson, I didn’t mind. So, why does it bother me here? Well, I thought about that, and I came to the following conclusion: It was easier to watch and deal with characters I knew and loved acting in such a manner in Injustice 1 because we had the versions we knew and loved going up against them. Hell, it actually made for interesting contrasts between them to see how they were so different, and yet had a starting point they could both be linked back to. Here, though, we don’t have that. We just have them acting like…well, MONSTERS. And, for that matter, why is it that we have characters who behave in a way that’s completely removed from the core of who they are, and then some who aren’t? Why are Barry and Hal able to realize the error of their ways in the previous game and try to redeem themselves, but Diana isn’t? You have to remain constant to the rules of how this alternate universe works, otherwise you’re inviting people to bring up these comments when stuff like this happens.

And then there’s my last issue: The end of the game, and if you don’t wanna know, then sorry, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. This is your only warning…Okay, so Superman and Batman go up to the Skull Ship to stop Brainiac, save Supergirl, and restore the stolen cities. Unlike in past chapters with multiple characters, the final two fights of this chapter have you fighting Brainiac twice, once with Superman and once with Batman. Personally, I would have changed it to where you choose which of them fights him the first time, and then Supergirl takes him on in the final battle. After all, not only does the Story Mode start with a flashback to her escape from Krypton after Brainiac invades, but we frequently see her side of the story as it unfolds even outside of her chapter, plus she gets a good shot in on Brainiac just before the last fight, AND she plays a big role in the ending of the game. So, clearly, the story largely centers around her, meaning it makes logical sense for her to be the one to take Brainiac down in the end. However, what’s a bigger issue is…that’s NOT the final chapter. The final chapter involves Superman and Batman, having successfully stopped Brainiac’s ship from crashing due to Superman interfacing with it, as well as managing to restore all of the Earth cities sans Metropolis and Coast City, coming to an argument over whether or not to kill Brainiac and take control of his Skull Ship, thus risking the remaining cities that haven’t been restored yet, or keep him alive long enough to restore the cities. And guess what? The story ends with them fighting AGAIN, leading to you choosing which one to play as in fighting the other and their allies. So the story ends with either Batman defeating Superman with a Kryptonite-enhanced armor and then banishing him to the Phantom Zone, then inviting Supergirl to take Clark’s place on a new Justice League, or Superman defeating Batman, bonding with Brainiac’s ship, imprisoning Supergirl in the red solar prison, and using Brainiac’s tech to turn Batman into his slave…Oh, and I’m assuming (don’t know this for a fact) that you get the special armor shown in the ending for the character you chose.

So, what’s my problem there? Well, it’s two-fold. The first reason I dislike it is because I would’ve personally ended the game with Brainiac’s defeat…then I would have had Superman DIE trying to use the ship’s systems to restore the Earth cities. Yes, I would have KILLED Superman. Barring that, I suppose he could’ve been left critically injured past the point of being able to recover quickly from solar rays, thus leaving him comatose or the like. Either way, I would have had the story end with him making that sacrifice, and then, as he lies on the floor, surrounded by friends and family, he looks back on how everything that went wrong stems from his decision to kill the Joker, and finally realizes his mistakes. It wouldn’t have magically taken away everything he did, but it would have at least let him go out saving the world and acknowledging that he did wrong. And then, from there, I guess you have Supergirl taking his place on the new League, the Regime all either surrender, go into hiding, or likewise realize their errors and join the new League, and so on. Oh, and I also would’ve added a teaser at the end for Darkseid deciding to try his hand at attacking Earth next, since…well, let’s be honest, that’s probably where they’re going.

The other reason I don’t care for the end of this game, either one, is because… … …Well, because I don’t care. I don’t care that Superman and Batman are fighting AGAIN. I’m too numb to it now. Why should I care that Superman and Batman are going to fight for the 11,311th time?…That’s one for every day since The Dark Knight Returns #4 came out, btw, and oh dear lord, I just now realized I’m two days removed from being exactly one year older than that comic. My God, I’m old. But the point still stands, I’ve just seen it too often, and I just don’t care to see it ever again. So ultimately, the ending doesn’t impress at all. It literally leaves me going “Oh yay, this again…”, and that’s not how a story should end. Like, it really says it all when, the first time they fight in the game during Chapter 1, all I can think during this scene that’s supposed to be really dramatic and sad is “Wow, I love the gold trim on Superman’s cape in this scene. Looks really good, and adds some much-needed colour balance between the red, blue, and yellow”.

So, as a result, for the ending leaving me so disappointed and for everything else that went wrong…I have to unfortunately give the story a thumbs down overall. There ARE moments I like and even love, like Harley beating down Joker, Hal Jordan fighting off the urge of the Red Lanterns’ rage, Cyborg vs Grid, the reveal that Batman kept the old round table for the Justice League, and so on. But it’s just overshadowed by a story that is infuriating at times and just unenthusing at others. Sorry, NetherRealm, but this is one story I just couldn’t give my approval to. Better luck next time, though.

Anyway, what did you think of the Story Mode? Let me know in the comments below, and let’s hope that Mr. Boon and DC listen to what we have to say next time. Ja né!

The Biggest Plot Hole Involving BvS Batman Killing

Y’know, I’ve made it clear that I’m not a fan of Batman killing people. I just think that’s contrary to who the character is in the modern age. Batman should not kill people. However, let’s assume you’re whoever it was that decided Batman must be a killer in the current DC movies. Regardless of my own personal feelings on the matter, let’s go with that premise. However, beyond simply acclimating us to Batman killing people, as Confused Matthew recently pointed out in his own review of Batman v Superman, you need to make sure that there are no contradictory issues involving him killing people with his other actions and inactions. And, in the case of these movies, I think I may have found one.

Now, I know we all liked to think that the ending of Man of Steel, where Superman snaps Zod’s neck, would act as the catalyst for him deciding to never kill again, that being forced to do so and feeling so awful about it would, in turn, make Superman a better person. However, considering he kills at least two more times in BvS, I think it’s safe to say that was never the plan. Sorry, it just wasn’t. BUT, let’s give the benefit of the doubt and assume that, given Batman’s decision not to kill or brand Lex Luthor at the end of BvS, he’s decided to abandon his killing ways. That way, we can even craft character development around it, in that meeting Superman and Wonder Woman and saving Martha Kent’s life, something has changed inside of him, and he’s not going to kill anymore. That means that, whenever the situation comes up where he COULD kill someone and doesn’t, we know why and it makes at least some sort of sense. However, there’s still a problem that’s been nagging at me ever since the movie came out…and I think I finally figured out what it is. And ultimately, it comes down to three panels…

And that’s when I realized the biggest plot hole regarding Batman killing people: Given what we’ve seen and heard in these movies, we can infer that Batman started down this much darker road after Joker killed Jason Todd. And, as I’ve mentioned before, that actually makes sense when you consider what happened in the comics. The biggest difference between what happened there and what’s going on in the comics is that, apparently, in this universe, Tim Drake never stepped into Batman’s life, and he went down a route of killing his enemies. But, if all of that’s true, then why in the hell is the Joker still alive? Why wasn’t he the FIRST person Batman killed? And don’t give me any bull about how he hasn’t been able to catch him, because I refuse to believe that, in all of that time, he NEVER caught him. Hell, according to Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn was an accomplice in Robin’s murder. Why didn’t Batman kill HER when he fished her out of the bay? Honestly, I think the only reason he doesn’t kill Deadshot is because his daughter was there watching the whole thing go down. Now, admittedly, we don’t know EXACTLY when he caught both of these individuals, but I was under the assumption they were both just a little bit before BvS, since the Justice League trailers and the ending of BvS seems to indicate he immediately began putting all of his efforts into locating and bringing Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman into the fold. So even if he DID decide not to kill anymore by the end of that movie, these events would’ve happened BEFORE then. Harley and the Joker should both be dead as shit. It makes no logical sense, if Batman kills people, and they’re the ones who sent him down this dark path, that he wouldn’t kill them. So yeah, add this to the LONG list of ways that the makers of these movies have failed hard… … …Though it’s hardly the worst way.

Are there any other plot holes you can think of regarding Batman killing people? Lemme know in the comments below. Ja né!

12 Essential DC Titles That Must Be Part Of Every Line-Up/Reboot/Etc.

Y’know, in comics, when you’re setting up line-ups of different titles to try and sell to your customers, say as part of a reboot or relaunch or whatever, it’s a good idea to keep it varied. After all, you never know when something different might stick with someone. But, at the same time, there are certain books that have a certain name value to them that need to be kept in, no matter what you’re doing. DC Comics, in particular, seems to have several of these high name value books. But which ones are the ones that I feel are the ones that MUST be kept in, regardless of what they’re doing? What books, no matter what kind of universal reboot or retooling or new direction, do I feel are the titles that should be kept around? Well, strap yourselves in, because I’m about to go over them now. These are the 12 essential DC titles I feel should be a part of every line-up. So, let’s start with an obvious one…

#1 – Action Comics

If for no other reason, Action Comics needs to be kept around for DC’s entire life-span because it’s the book that started this whole incredible ride. And because it’s been around for so long, it can provide for great anniversary moments. Hell, at this moment in time, we are coming up super close to a legitimate Action Comics #1000, and it’s frigging awesome. I would keep Action Comics running from now until the end of time if I could, and I would NEVER attempt to renumber it ever again.

#2 – Detective Comics

Same deal as Action Comics. Detective Comics has been a major staple of DC (right down to the frigging name), and is likewise creeping up on 1000 issues. This needs to keep running for as long as DC Comics does. Maybe even longer, if say someone like Marvel or whoever bought out DC and kept their characters and stories going.

#3 – Batman, #4 – Superman, and #5 – Wonder Woman

They are the three pillars of DC Comics. Let’s just be clear about that. No matter how big anyone else gets, and there are plenty of big freaking names, these are the ones that best define DC: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. You do not have DC Comics if you don’t have these three characters, and they MUST have their own solo titles. Admittedly, though, Action Comics and Detective Comics of the modern day are pretty much just Superman and Batman books respectively, but at least said books also feature plenty of their supporting casts. Hell, for a time, Detective Comics primarily starred Batwoman. But yeah, these three HAVE to be around.

#6 – The Flash

Okay, I know what I just said about the Trinity, but if there was anyone else in DC that I can’t imagine the books existing without, it’s The Flash. This is probably because of the fact that he’s been central to so many major events that revolve around the Multiverse and the central continuity of the stories. Think about that: Any time there has ever been a major shake up, Barry or another Flash was in the middle of it. As such, Flash is very much a central part of DC’s legacy, and needs to continue to be as much moving forward.

#7 – Justice League

It’s the A-List group of superheroes within this universe. There is no shared universe of any sort without the Justice League. And I don’t care what you call them, be it the Justice League, Justice League of America, JLA, Justice League International, or Justice League United, there MUST be a Justice League of some sort no matter what is going on. That said, there are maybe two other teams that need just as much focus…

#8 – Birds of Prey

With so many great superheroines in the DC Universe, it’s hard to imagine there ever being a time when the Birds of Prey didn’t exist. I mean, I know there was, but I can’t imagine how or why. It’s bizarre. That said, one thing that the Birds of Prey books need to stop doing is introducing whole new male characters that no one cares about. Specifically, Condor from the New 52 version and the new Oracle in the Rebirth version. It’s infuriating. lol I would also probably use this book as a means of getting the Gotham City Sirens (Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy) involved in major storylines if they didn’t have their own books. I mean, I would probably make sure they did have their own book, but again, I’m going specifically for the bare essentials here.

#9 – Teen Titans

Again, with so many younger heroes, there simply MUST be a Teen Titans (or just Titans) book at all times. Even if you rebooted back to square one, to where Dick Grayson is Robin and so on, there are still plenty of options to go with. You still have Kid Flash, Aqualad, Raven, Cyborg, Beast Boy, Starfire, so many younger heroes that would be welcome in a Titans book.

#10 – Green Lantern

Granted, this hasn’t always been the case, but Green Lantern, more than any other hero, helps to unite the events on Earth with the events throughout the universe in DC. So many cosmic heroes and villains that are brought into what goes on with Earth via connections to the Green Lantern Corps. I don’t even care which one you use (I personally prefer John Stewart, but whatever), but there MUST be a Green Lantern with their own book at some point. Hell, there are so many, each with their own unique stories, you could give the vast majority their own books.

#11 – Aquaman

Of all of the characters who have rotated in and out of the Justice League, Aquaman is one of the few that has stuck around the longest. For all the jokes people STILL sling at this guy, none of which are warranted, he remains one of DC Comics’ signature characters. And dammit, he needs to remain as such forever. He’s earned it.

So, that leaves us with #12. And, I’ll admit, this is the hardest one to decide, because whoever gets in, that means everyone else is left out as being one of the essentials, which I feel is a slight against all of them. No matter how I spin it, I’m purposely leaving out each one of the above characters who aren’t chosen as #12 as being one of the most important characters with the most important stories. And it doesn’t help that my own personal bias affects this, too. And yes, my personal bias makes me want to say Gotham City Sirens or a Stephanie Brown book. But, in the end, I have to choose what I feel would be the most important to DC’s line-up and its legacy. So, with that in mind, and I KNOW I’m gonna piss someone off with this, here is my pick for #12…

#12 – Earth 2/Justice Society

I think that one thing that’s been universally agreed upon in terms of what was lost with the New 52 was the DC Universe’s legacy. Not just where it’s headed, but where it came from as well. Both the legacy heroes who came before and are yet to come. No matter what kind of reboot or reset that happens, it’s important, for the sake of those that continue to keep up with DC, to have something that speaks to its legacy. And no team better represents DC’s legacy, where it’s been, and where it’s going, than the Justice Society. And it can be either a book set on an alternate Earth, or a book about a team that existed back in the days of the Golden Age of comics, but there MUST be a Justice Society. Ironically, at this time, Earth 2: Society has finished its run, and a Justice Society book is still in the works. Hopefully, though, DC doesn’t leave us waiting for too much longer with the latter.

And, just to be clear, if I was running DC Comics, I would of COURSE have books like Poison Ivy, Batgirl, Martian Manhunter, Gotham City Sirens, Green Arrow, Supergirl, and Secret Six going at the same time as the other twelve I’ve mentioned. They’re all important characters and stories to me. But this isn’t just about me. And besides, with the choices I gave, there’s still plenty of room to involve all of those characters and more. And, like I said at the beginning, it’s good to throw other, varied options around for the reader to pick up and see if they like it. Give different heroes and stories a chance to shine. But, at the end of the day, these are the twelve that I think NEED to survive above all others from now until whenever this crazy age of comic books comes to an end.

… … …BUT, I’m sure you all have your own picks and selections, so feel free to leave them in the comments below. Ja né!

Injustice 2 – The Lines Are Redrawn Trailer

Welp, Injustice 2 is four months away, and we’ve got a new story-based trailer up, so let’s take a look, shall we?

So, with this trailer, we have confirmation of Robin, Poison Ivy, Brainiac, Bane, and Darkseid all either being playable or playing a role in the story. If they are all playable, then they join Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Blue Beetle, Atrocitus, Aquaman, Deadshot, The Flash, Gorilla Grodd, and Harley Quinn. Also, as I understand it, at least A Green Lantern (probably Hal Jordan) will be in the game, there’ll be skin/voice patches to include Reverse-Flash, John Stewart, and Power Girl, and we’ve had hints that Doctor Fate and Captain Cold will be in the game. All in all, a rather impressive roster so far.

As for the trailer, I could do without the call back to Lois and little Jon’s murders, since, as you all should know, that’s kind of a hot button issue with me. Wasn’t fond of it when it was first revealed, still don’t like it now. But, I understand that it was the event that kicked Injustice off in the first place, so it would be impossible to continue this story without it. It sucks, but what can you do?

Anyway, still plenty of spots open on the roster, and more to come via DLC, so who would you like to see announced? Lemme know in the comments below, and we’ll see what happens between now and May 16th. Ja né!

DC Rebirth – My Thoughts, Hopes, and Expectations

“I love this world. But there’s something missing.” By now, the current crop of DC Comics fans should be well acquainted with these words. They’re the words of a hero whose return to the DC Universe has brought back life, optimism, and legacy to it. His name is Wally West, and he is the fastest man alive… … …aaannd he’s wearing some pretty awesome new threads. ^_^

With the end of The New 52 this past June (happy birthday to me, btw, lol), a new era has begun in DC Comics. While it continues telling the story of the universe established at the end of Flashpoint, it’s nonetheless balanced things out to be more similar to how it was prior to the reboot, as well as set up the groundwork for some big stories in the future. It’s also helped to establish exactly how and why the characters and their stories are different from how they once were. This is DC Rebirth.

DC Rebirth officially started with DC Universe Rebirth #1. However, the seeds of what would become Rebirth were planted almost exactly one year beforehand during DC Convergence. In that story, several pre-Flashpoint worlds were reintroduced, and the events that led to the collapse of the original Multiverse were undone, causing it to become infinite in size once again (though with the currently established Multiverse at the center). In the year that followed, several stories followed up on those events. In particular, we learned that the pre-Flashpoint Clark Kent, his wife Lois, and their new son Jon had all someone been transported to the current Earth 0, AKA Prime Earth. Furthermore, as a result of events in Justice League and his main books, the New 52 Superman found himself dying and, before the end came, asked his pre-Flashpoint counterpart to continue protecting the Earth in his stead. This brings us to today, where Clark is Superman once again, and his son Jon is the new Superboy…and there’s another Clark Kent who has no powers who may or may not be the New 52 Superman, I’m honestly not sure what that’s all about. We’re supposed to get an explanation in March, though.

Another thing that happened in the year between Convergence and Rebirth was the return of the Titans. Basically, it was retconned that the original Titans team really DID exist (although how is anyone’s guess when one considers the backstory of the New 52 Donna Troy, and that’s ALL I’m going to say about that, lol), but that they all lost their memories of ever having been a team. After a while, they finally all came back together, minus one individual who they knew was missing but couldn’t pin a face or a name to. Luckily, as it turned out, they wouldn’t have to wait long.

Anyway, those were all big parts of the Rebirth, but the official era didn’t actually kick off until DC Universe Rebirth #1. In it, we see the pre-Flashpoint Wally West has apparently been trapped in the Speed Force, is regressed in age by a few years, and is back in his Kid Flash costume. Also, it turns out that he and the New 52 Wally West are cousins. Might seem like a bit of a stretch, but I have both a brother and a half brother named Randy, so I can tell you from past experience, it ain’t impossible…though it IS confusing. But more of a big deal is the fact that nobody remembers him. He keeps trying to remove himself from the Speed Force by making contact with people he knew, but without that connection, he keeps falling back. Even Linda Park doesn’t remember him. Finally, he appears to Barry Allen, ready to disappear, but at the last possible moment, Barry remembers him and pulls him back into the world. After five years, Wally West has returned.

Wally gives some exposition, and between it and stuff we can make guess work at, we learn that someone has literally taken away 10 years of history. At this exact moment, we don’t know how, why, or which 10 years exactly were the ones taken. We don’t even know if they were 10 full years or just bits of time here and there that added up to 10 years. But here’s what we do know: The New 52 DC Universe is essentially the same universe that existed prior to Flashpoint, just with those 10 years taken away. That’s the biggest contributing factor as to why this universe is so different. Because, without certain key moments that occurred during those 10 years, relationships were either changed or outright erased, characters were de-aged, and several other contributing factors occurred to completely mess with peoples’ lives, who they were, and what they meant to the universe at large.

Now, with that said, you might ask “But Jyger, wasn’t the reason the DC Universe was changed was because of Barry’s traveling through time and Pandora’s merging elements of the Wildstorm and Vertigo universes with it?”, to which I reply “Yes, that WAS the reason given”… … …Ugh, okay, let’s TRY and unravel this, shall we? So, first off, let’s assume for the moment that this isn’t just a blatant retcon (although, let’s be honest, it probably is). If I had to make a guess at what happened, it’s that someone took advantage of Barry’s breaking the time barrier and used that opportunity, when history itself was vulnerable, to remove 10 years. Pandora, seeing what had happened, decided to strengthen the now weakened universe by fusing it with the Wildstorm and Vertigo universes. That, I THINK, is what has happened here: That, while having some cosmetic differences and whatnot, the New 52 Universe wouldn’t have been AS different as it has been without the loss of that decade worth of history. Oh, and speaking of Pandora, during the events of DC Universe Rebirth #1, she was apparently fried…in a very familiar fashion, but I’ll get to that in a moment. Also, because of certain other events going on in some of the newer stories, I have my doubts that she’s really gone.

Anyway, other stuff happened in DC Universe Rebirth #1 that has started to balance things out to be more like the previous continuity. For starters, Aquaman proposed to Mera, so we can finally put it to rest as to the nature of their relationship. Green Arrow and Black Canary met up during an investigation into New 52 Supes’ death and were left with a feeling like something was missing from their lives, which is being explored in the current Green Arrow book where the two are finally tag-teaming against criminals and dating again, except without the baggage of some of the shittier things Ollie did while they were involved in the previous continuity. And characters like Ryan Choi, Jackson Hyde, Ted Kord, Johnny Thunder, and Saturn Girl were given their appropriate reintroduction to the universe (okay, technically, we’d seen Ted beforehand, but now he’s working with Jaime as he should be).

In the midst of all of that, though, we found ourselves with hints of what was to come. Batman was seen investigating the revelation that there are apparently three Jokers…and yeah, not sure what to make of that, other than the fact that, with the Silver Age Joker supposedly coming back as his own character, we’ll at least have a Joker who is FUN again. Superman was visited by a figure known as Mr. Oz, who we’ve actually seen in the Superman books of the New 52 before, and who gave some rather cryptic remarks regarding the nature of both Supermen’s existence. Like the new Clark, we’re supposed to get some more info on Oz in March, and we’ve even seen him in the newer Detective Comics issues as well. Damian Wayne, the current Robin, turned 13, hinting toward his future alignment with the Teen Titans. Doctor Fate (Kent Nelson) let Ted Kord know that the Scarab is actually magic…because, for some reason, we’ve now gone backwards through retcons. Seriously, I don’t get why they switched BACK to the Scarab being magical in nature, other than as a means to involve Doctor Fate, and with the Justice Society apparently coming back soon, it’s not really necessary. We learned for absolute certain that New 52 Wally West is a speedster, and pre-Flashpoint Wally gave his blessing for him to be the new Kid Flash, which I’m actually fine with. Now that we’ve established the two as completely separate characters, New Wally is free to be his own character. And we found out that Jessica Cruz, the newest Green Lantern of Space Sector 2814 will be having to work directly with Simon Baz, AKA the one Green Lantern who carries a gun.

However, all of that paled in comparison to the big reveal. After being brought back from the Speed Force by Barry, Wally told him everything he knew about the current situation and how he felt this wasn’t completely Barry’s fault. In the end, though, he couldn’t place a face or a name to whoever was responsible for taking away time. However, it seems he may have left a clue nonetheless, as Batman investigated where Wally had originally appeared in the Batcave, and found something embedded in the stone wall: A single smiley face button with a drop of blood smeared across it. And so, the story ended with the image of a watch on Mars, along with the following familiar dialogue…

“I did the right thing, didn’t I? It all worked out in the end.”

“In the end? Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends.”

…Yup, turns out the culprit is none other than Doctor Manhattan. How and why is still unknown. Hell, for all we know, Jon didn’t even do so intentionally. However, considering the all-too-familiar method by which Pandora was killed (as well as Owlman and Metron at the end of Darkseid War, and yes I AM still planning to do a full review of that someday), chances are he’s very much doing this blatantly. But regardless, we do have a reason for Doctor Manhattan’s inclusion from a meta standpoint: Simply put, there are a LOT of writers out there who look at a book like Watchmen and think that the reason it was great was because it was dark and dire, so they try to copy that approach, not understanding that dark stories don’t automatically equal something good. As far as I can tell, between what’s being presented and what Geoff Johns has said in interviews since the release of the comic, Doctor Manhattan is basically being cast as just that: Someone who doesn’t understand that the way his dark story is being written doesn’t work. Of course, no one bothers to mention that Geoff Johns himself has done this in the past, whether he realizes it or not, but he still has a good enough idea as to how things are supposed to work and how characters are supposed to behave that I trust him with this. How exactly that gels with what happened at the end of Watchmen is yet to be seen, but between his involvement and the dialogue at the end of the book, I think we might just know who exactly “Mr. Oz” really is, who has since abducted both Doomsday and Tim Drake for reasons that are currently a mystery. Personally, I’m kind of expecting to see this resolve in some big DC Rebirth vs Watchmen event. How that’ll play out, and just to what degree will its existence piss off Alan Moore, is still a mystery, but it’s still likely to happen nonetheless. Hopefully, they take their time building to it.

So, at this point, you’re probably thinking “Well, that all sounds well and good, but if that’s the case, then why in the hell has it taken you this long to discuss Rebirth?”. And…yeah, I fully admit that I kind of procrastinated at that. However, in the end, I’m kinda glad I did. Why? Because it gave me something POSITIVE to talk about at the end of the year, and as I alluded to the other day, there hasn’t really been a lot positive to discuss regarding 2016. And while Rebirth hasn’t been perfect, and there are still some issues from the previous era left to iron out, it’s most definitely been an improvement, and I’d likely consider it the best thing to happen in comics this entire year. I’ll probably go more into detail as to some of the ups and downs of Rebirth once it’s a year old…at which point, I’ll be 32 years old…God, I’m ancient. But, for now, stuff like seeing the Titans and the Birds of Prey back together, the pre-Flashpoint Superman training his son, Dick Grayson being Nightwing again, Barry teaming with the new Kid Flash, and Wonder Woman being written by Greg Rucka again (who is fixing EVERYTHING that went wrong with her in the New 52, btw) are all major pluses. Oh yeah, and they’re also hinting at the return of the Blue Lanterns, THANK GOD. You have NO idea how hard it’s been to keep optimistic about a comic book universe that seems to actively hate hope, and to see it on its way back is such a relief.

But for me, the biggest point about why Rebirth works and The New 52 didn’t is because the characters FEEL like themselves again. It’s not just the situations and circumstances, it’s WHO THEY ARE. How they act, how they respond to different situations, and so on. Everything just kind of fits again, but without excluding any of the things about The New 52 that worked. Because this isn’t about pretending The New 52 never happened. This is about putting the DC Universe back on the right path, one that isn’t devoid of hope and fun, nor forgets the lessons learned from the mistakes of yesterday. Really, the only thing about the previous era that’s been undone is the vast majority of what happened to Wonder Woman. And even then, it’s not like those events never happened, it’s more damage control for her origins and the Amazons, and it all unfolds in a way that makes sense and helps make things feel like they’re supposed to be. It’s not just that Lois and Clark are back together. It’s that Lois and Clark FEEL like Lois Lane and Clark Kent. And I hope that, in continuing with DC Rebirth, the writers and higher-ups of DC Comics remember that point and continue to learn from their past mistakes.

But hey, that’s all just my opinion. What do you think of DC Rebirth? What have some of your favourite or least favourite titles been? Lemme know in the comments, as well as how you hope to see things unfold from here, and we’ll check back in June with how Rebirth has been upon turning one year old. Ja né, and Happy New Year!

How Affleck Batman Could Have Been Bale Batman

So, I think a lot of people probably know by now my general thoughts on Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Namely that I didn’t like it. However, it wasn’t until a video was posted online that the gears in my head started to REALLY turn as to one thing they could’ve done differently with relative ease to make the movie flow just a tiny bit better. That video was the following:

Now, when I first saw this video, I left the following comment: “Sounds epic as fuck, and would’ve guaranteed given boners to the crowd, but it doesn’t work for one reason: Bale Batman doesn’t kill, Affleck Batman does. Whatever your stance on whether Batman should or shouldn’t kill, that’s the major difference between the two”. However, the more I’ve sat and thought about it, the more I realized just how easily it would’ve been to have Affleck Batman be Bale Batman, only years after the events of The Dark Knight Rises. Let’s go through how the two film series line up, shall we?

So first off, let’s talk about how The Dark Knight Rises ends. Bruce faked his death so he could retire to a normal life with Selina Kyle, and Robin John Blake is given the coördinates to the Batcave, presumably so he could take over Bruce’s place as Gotham’s protector. Now, you may ask how that could transition to Batman V Superman, but let’s look at a few other details. Specifically, let’s look at the one major villain from The Dark Knight Trilogy who didn’t die and is now an important character in the new DC Cinematic Universe: The Joker. Now, granted, the Joker from the Dark Knight movies IS very different from the new one. Specifically, Ledger Joker was clearly wearing make-up and had a permanent smile due to the scars on his face, whereas Leto Joker is hinted at having the more traditional backstory of having fallen into a vat of chemicals. However, let’s say they didn’t go that route for a second and then look at what else we know about Leto’s Joker from details given to us strictly in Batman V Superman: He killed Robin.

Now, lets look at Bale Batman vs Affleck Batman. Obviously, the biggest difference between the two (besides their age) is their methodology and the limits they’re willing to go to in the line of duty. As I said before, Affleck Batman has no problems killing criminals, while specifically not killing was a big thing for Bale Batman. Yes, the Batman of the Nolanverse movies did find loopholes he could exploit to get around that fact, but for the most part, that was Bale Batman’s biggest rule, so something pretty drastic would’ve had to have happened for him to go back on that to such a degree that he’d resemble Affleck Batman’s style of doing things. So, what would make him do such a thing? The answer again falls on one point: The dead Robin.

Anyone who knows anything about Batman in the comics likely knows that the dead Robin in the DC Cinematic Universe is more than likely Jason Todd. However, let’s instead think of Batman V Superman occurring in the same canonical universe as The Dark Knight Trilogy, and Robin is, in fact, John Blake, having used his first name that he mostly opted not to use as his codename while working as Batman’s replacement. Now, imagine if The Joker brutally killed Robin, then publicly taunted Batman (regardless of if he knows Batman is really alive or not) with this fact. Again, Jason Todd dying in the comics was a big deal for a long time, and still sort of is even after his return to the land of the living. It’s often regarded as Batman’s greatest failure. But now imagine this happening under these circumstances, with Bruce realizing that Robin would have never died if he hadn’t faked his death and enlisted him as his successor. Suddenly, not only do you have a great reason for Bruce to return to Gotham and continue his work as Batman, as well as coming up with a convincing excuse for how he, as Bruce Wayne, likewise was still alive (preferably not at the exact same time as to avoid arousing suspicion), but he would also have reason to go more than a little nuts. Remember, the only reason he didn’t in the comics after the death of Jason Todd was because Tim Drake stepped in and helped to keep him grounded. But in a world where that never happened, can we say with 100% certainty that he wouldn’t have lost it, even if we’d LIKE to think Bruce would never do that? It’s certainly a believable scenario to have presented. And all of the aesthetical changes to Batman (his suit, his equipment, his vehicles, etc.) could easily be explained by him changing with the times, especially since the vast majority of his tech was destroyed at the end of The Dark Knight Rises, specifically The Bat and his spare Tumblers. Hell, you can even explain away the voice modifier as him deciding he didn’t need to do the Bat voice himself anymore.

So, with all of that said, why didn’t DC and Warner Bros. decide to do this? Well, there’re a few reasons. For starters, there are characters who appeared and died during The Dark Knight Trilogy that they might be considering making use of later on. Second, all of the characters who would be returning would either have to be recast, or they’d have to convince the previous actors to return. In particular, The Joker would NEED to be recast due to the death of Heath Ledger, and honestly, I don’t know who I would have chosen to portray Ledger’s Joker. And, not to be too disrespectful, but suffice to say, Jared Leto is NOT Heath Ledger. Just saying. Third, while the details DO line up, there likely would still be plot holes created. One that comes to mind is the fact that we know Clark was wandering around and helping in (relative) secret wherever he could for several years before becoming Superman, and odds are good he would not have just sat around and did nothing about what was going on in Gotham during The Dark Knight Rises. And no, there’s NO way he couldn’t have known. And lastly, another big reason why they may have opted not to connect the new DC movies to the earlier ones in any way was so that they could build this whole new movie universe from the ground up. Don’t have to worry about past continuity, doing research to make sure everything lines up, or rehiring anyone that worked on the previous movies, they can just do everything over again. And, admittedly, while they COULD have found ways to iron out all those issues, I can’t really say as I blame them for not doing it. Plus, with the Arrowverse CW shows having established the existence of an infinitely-spanning Multiverse, it’s entirely possible that ALL of the live action interpretations of DC’s heroes are canonically part of it. Still, for what it’s worth, everything I’ve presented can still stand as a neat little idea of how things might have been. But hey, that’s just a theory…A FILM THEOR-Wait, what do you mean MatPat does theories for movies too???

…Anyway, let me know in the comments (or in the poll below) whether you think DC should or shouldn’t have connected the new Batman related movies to the previous ones, and I will see you guys the next time I decide to show my geekness…which’ll probably not be very long from now. lol Ja né!

An Idea On How To Shake Things Up In DC Comics

So, I’ve been thinking lately about ways DC could keep things interesting in their comics. More often than not, their ideas include reboots or big epic crossover events or stuff like that. And not to say that plan doesn’t work, but I don’t really think it’s necessary all the time. Instead, I had another idea on how to shake things up: Rotate villain rosters a little. Add variety to the different antagonists that show up in the books. Give us some new dream matches of heroes vs villains we either haven’t seen before or don’t see often.

For example, let’s say that some of the villains in Gotham City actually wised up and realized “Hey, this city sucks and Batman is always kicking our asses! Let’s leave this shit-hole!” Like, what if Poison Ivy decided to find her own home away from everyone to continue her research and whatnot, only to accidentally end up on Themyscira and become a recurring character in the Wonder Woman books? Or if Penguin realized he had an opportunity to become the kingpin of crime in Star City and thus became a villain in the Green Arrow books? Or Bane could go to Detroit to test the power of muscle (with illegal strength enhancement, lol) against metal by fighting Cyborg in his book? And none of these would HAVE to be permanent, so those worried that Batman would lose some of his precious and continuously expanding villains roster wouldn’t need to panic.

But hey, Batman’s not the only hero with villains to go around. And maybe everyone could just kinda swap one or two with another. Maybe Parasite could go try to absorb Flash’s connection to the Speed Force or Shazam’s incredible strength. Perhaps the Injustice Gang could try their luck at their enemies’ teenage counterparts, the Titans? Conversely, what if the Justice League had to engage in a battle of wits and strategy against arguably the devil himself, Trigon, to keep him from rising? What if Nightwing was forced into a situation where he’d have to occupy space with the man who killed him, Lex Luthor? Or hell, why not have Deathstroke, a guy with a healing factor, fight Cyborg, an old enemy from pre-Flashpoint and a guy whose body was saved by technology?

 

Lastly, there’re a few villains that haven’t appeared in a really long time that could be brought back under the right circumstances to fight new heroes. What if Composite Superman returned to fight the Super Sons, Jon and Damian? Perhaps Roxy Rocket could decide to try her luck at becoming a Green Lantern and become a rogue for Jessica Cruz? Or hey, Wally West is back now; how about bringing back Inertia as a rival for him?

 

Anyway, that’s all I got for now. If you think of any other good ones, lemme know in the comments. Ja né!

Pokémon FireRed Text-And-Screencap-Only Nuzlocke Part 4.1 (SPECIAL GRINDING EDITION!!!!)

I love these previously on's that the journal provides. ^_^

I love these “previously on”‘s that the journal provides. ^_^

Last time in the Pokémon FireRed Text-And-Screencap-Only Nuzlocke Challenge, I made my way up through Nugget Bridge and Routes 24 and 25, battling Tim Oak and the various Trainers along the way, caught some new Pokémon, met up with Bill, got a ticket to go to the party on the S.S. Anne, fought some Rockets up to no good, and managed to score the Cascade Badge from Misty. This time, I decided to head south to Vermilion City. Unfortunately, while I could’ve otherwise cut through Saffron City…

Danged dehydrated guards. -_-

Danged dehydrated guards. -_-

…yeah, that was a thing. lol So, instead, I took the underground path and came out in Route 6, on the other side of Saffron, and battled my way through some Trainers.

Yeah, as a matter of fact, there are NO Bug-types on this Route.

Yeah, as a matter of fact, there are NO Bug-types on this Route.

Funny story: In Yellow version, these two are replaced by Joe and Giselle from the anime. :P

Funny story: In Yellow version, these two are replaced by Joe and Giselle from the anime. 😛

… …Screw it, play the damn clip. 😄

HEY, someone's actually got an evolved Pokémon! :D

HEY, someone’s actually got an evolved Pokémon! 😀

...Okay, YOU are just cheating. lol

…Okay, YOU are just cheating. Also, Jeff meets Camper Jeff. 😛

Anyway, to make a REALLY long story short, I made it to Vermilion City, healed up, went to the Pokémon Fan Club, listened to the chairman talk for God knows how long about his Rapidash in ways that STILL haunt me to this day, got the Bike Voucher, and traded it for a bike back in Cerulean. Afterward, I noticed that my overall Pokédex count was low (in terms of captures), and I realized why: Because I can only catch one Pokémon per Route, and the only other Pokédex pages are provided by gift Pokémon and evolving them and the Pokémon I catch. Unfortunately, battling wild Pokémon and once-off Trainers for experience meant filling up my Pokédex enough to get the items that Professor Oak’s aides have would take FOREVER. On top of that, I also wasn’t feeling great about my levels going into S.S. Anne and battling Surge. Luckily…

…YEAH. So, after catching the Pokémon found in the surrounding area…

Milo and Otis reference, AND I used to sort-of have a cat named Milo. Really, it was a neighbour's cat, but he liked us more. lol

Milo and Otis reference, AND I used to sort-of have a cat named Milo. Really, it was a neighbour’s cat, but he liked us more. lol

Get it? Edge? It's a SPEARow?

Get it? Edge? He’s a SPEARow?

THIS bitch almost killed Buttery. It was SO close, I thought for sure she was about to be killed. O_O

THIS bitch almost killed Buttery. It was SO close, I thought for sure she was about to be killed. O_O

…I decided to go about training by battling Trainers and then having rematches via the VS Seeker. However, what ended up happening was that I took SOOOOOO many photos of me grinding levels. So, with that said, here’s a quick rundown of some of the highlights. ^_^

My boy! :D

My boy! 😀

Why can't you be like that other Bug Catcher and have an evolved Pokémon?

Why can’t you be like that other Bug Catcher and have an evolved Pokémon?

Came prepared for you this time, asshole! :D

Came prepared for you this time, asshole!

NOT how I meant!

NOT how I meant!

Okay, Santanico doesn't have Intimidate, thank goodness, because there's NO WAY it should've worked here had she.

Okay, Santanico doesn’t have Intimidate, thank goodness, because there’s NO WAY it should’ve worked here had she.

Butterfree's actually REALLY good at the Para-fusion combo, and the only reason Buttery doesn't use it is because...I'm going for something else. :)

Butterfree’s actually REALLY good at the Para-fusion combo, and the only reason Buttery doesn’t use it is because…I’m going for something else. 🙂

I was expecting this battle to be a little closer, to be honest.

I was expecting this battle to be a little closer, to be honest.

Not sure, but I think this might be the first case of seeing a Fire-type so far.

Not sure, but I think this might be the first case of seeing a Fire-type so far.

Anyway, after a while of that, I was rewarded with the following:

Also, since he's not a mandrake anymore, pretty sure I'll be renaming him when I reach Lavender Town.

Also, since he’s not a mandrake anymore, I think I’ll be renaming him when I reach Lavender Town.

Pretty sure Edge just replaced Damian on my team, but of course, I'll keep Damian as my back-up Flying-type and an HM Slave for when I get HM 02.

Pretty sure Edge just replaced Damian on my team, but of course, I’ll keep Damian as a back-up Flying-type and an HM Slave for when I get HM 02.

With all that done, I finally decided to return to Vermilion and head to the S.S. Anne. So, sorry this article turned out to basically be one big grind session, but I figured I’d include it just for funsies, and so that you know just how much time was put into preparing. Anyway, be sure to check in next time for Part 4.2 as I take on the S.S. Anne. Ja né!

The results of my training.

The results of my training. A shame Milo won’t get Limber until evolving, because he’d otherwise be great for the Vermilion City Gym.

Pokémon FireRed Text-And-Screencap-Only Nuzlocke Part 3

My team at the beginning of this phase of my journey.

My team at the beginning of this phase of my journey.

Last time in the Pokémon FireRed Text-And-Screencap-Only Nuzlocke Challenge, I headed into Mt. Moon, battled several tough Trainers, added new members to my team, evolved a couple of pre-existing ones, took down several members of Team Rocket, and obtained both the Dome Fossil and Moon Stones. This time, starting off in Cerulean City, I decided to prep my team for taking on Misty by battling the Trainers on my way to meeting up with Bill the Pokémaniac, creator of the PC Storage System. Before that, though, I decided to swoop back to Route 4 (the eastern half of it, anyway) and do some training. And, while I was there, I caught a new Pokémon.

No, I've never watched From Dusk till Dawn, but I was trying to come up with a nickname for this, and that was the best I could think of. lol

No, I’ve never watched From Dusk till Dawn, but I was trying to come up with a nickname for this, and that was the best I could think of. lol

…I’ll be honest, I have no idea what I’m gonna do with this one. Not because I have any kind of issue with Ekans, just that my team has already become a little Poison heavy, but we’ll get to that in a bit. Still, might be a good idea to have it as a back-up. In the meantime, though, I had…slightly different snakes to concern myself with.

"Which is why I only have a team of 4!" XP

“Which is why I only have a team of 4!” XP

I swear, it's almost like this Abra is here specifically for the purpose of getting the newbie on your team some experience.

I swear, it’s almost like this Abra is here specifically for the purpose of getting the newbie on your team some experience. That said, probably the best use of Leech Life and Astonish I’ve ever gotten.

...Okay, I'm with Petty on this one: You fucking hack evolved your Level 17 Pidgey into a Pidgeotto, but you didn't evolve your Level 18 Starter? WTF? o.O

…Okay, I’m with Petty Artist on this one: You fucking hack evolved your Level 17 Pidgey into a Pidgeotto, but you didn’t evolve your Level 18 Starter? I honestly can’t think of anyway this guy could insult me as a Trainer any more than thinking I couldn’t handle his Ivysaur at this point.

...I stand corrected. I'm gonna kill one of your Pokémon the next time we meet.

… …Okay, well, I stand corrected. Tim, I’m gonna kill one of your Pokémon the next time we meet.

Anyway, with that out of the way, I decided to make my way to-

...Hel-loooooo. :D

…Hel-loooooo. 😀

Honestly, at this point, Oswald's kinda become my primary battler for dealing with other Poison-types, unless I'm confident that Buttery can get a quick Confusion in without getting hit.

Honestly, at this point, Oswald’s kinda become my primary battler for dealing with other Poison-types, unless I’m confident that Buttery can get a quick Confusion in without getting hit.

...SERIOUSLY! What IS it with these people not evolving their Pokémon?! Although it was HILARIOUS when I had Oswald use Focus Energy, and then immediately after, the Nidoran did it, like he was trying to copy his big brother or something. :P

…SERIOUSLY! What IS it with these people not evolving their Pokémon?! Although it was hilariously adorable when I had Oswald use Focus Energy, and then immediately after, the Nidoran did it, like he was trying to copy his big brother or something. 😛

... ... ...Why, hello, Pork Laser. It's been a while. WELCOME TO DIE.

… … …Why, hello, Pork Laser. It’s been a while. WELCOME TO DIE.

YES! :D

YES! 😀

... ... ...OH...Wait, does that mean the others were all members of Team Rocket, too? Some of them were kinda young to be grunts, is all.

… … …OH…Wait, does that mean the others were all members of Team Rocket, too? Some of them were kinda young to be grunts, is all.

Seriously, what was your plan? That you were somehow going to beat a guy who had taken down five other Trainers with your two Pokémon? It's not like you were even higher leveled than the rest of them, either. The girl with the twin Nidoran was tougher than you.

Seriously, what was your plan? That you were somehow going to beat a guy who had taken down five other Trainers with your two Pokémon? It’s not like you were even higher leveled than the rest of them, either. The girl with the twin Nidoran was tougher than you.

Anyway, now that I’d gotten past Nugget Bridge, I found myself with…a grassy patch on Routes 24. This is where I got a little nervous. Not because there was anything in the grass that could kill anyone on my team, but because it is known for being home to ABRA. And…well, I’ve gotten to know my luck as it pertains to rare Pokémon at this point. If I ran into Abra, there was no way I was gonna catch one before it could teleport away, and that’d be TWO ROUTES locked off on my journey at that point. So, with fingers crossed, I entered the patch of grass, and…

Fuck, I'll take it! I don't even care that I named it after Hank Pym, I'll take it! XD

Fuck, I’ll take it! I don’t even care that I named it after Hank Pym, I’ll take it! 😄

So, with that done, I let out a sigh of relief…and then recalled that Abra was on Route 25 as well. Because why not at this point? I also knew there were Kakuna on Route 25, too, so I decided that, so I wouldn’t end up wasting that Route on the evolved form of a Pokémon I already had, that I should first evolve Hank.

And since I'd gone to the trouble of getting a Kakuna, I thought "What the hell?". lol

And since I’d gone to the trouble of getting a Kakuna, I thought “What the hell, let’s go all the way to Beedrill.” So…

I wonder if I should tell him I'm planning to use him as my Cut slave? :P

Aww, he looks so happy to be fully evolved… … …I wonder if I should tell him I’m planning to use him as my Cut HM Slave? 😛

And thus, with a Beedrill in my box, I headed for Route 25 and waited to see what I’d find…

...Well, I think I know who is gonna be fighting Misty's Staryu. :)

…Well, I think I know who is gonna be fighting Misty’s Staryu. 🙂

Now that I’d caught a couple of new Pokémon, I decided it was time to make my way to Bill’s, while training my team up for Misty by battling the Trainers and wild Pokémon in the area. And thus, TRAINING MONTAGE TIME!

Hmm, not quite as epic as Mr. Satan's, but good nonetheless.

Hmm, not quite as epic as Mr. Satan’s, but good nonetheless. lol

"Sempai noticed me! And then he blew me the fuck away!" XD

“Sempai noticed me! And then he blew me the fuck away!” 😄

It's always strange to find someone with the same Pokémon as a Gym Leader one city away, only higher leveled. It's like "Why wasn't THIS person the Gym Leader?"

It’s always strange to find someone with the same Pokémon as a Gym Leader one city away, only higher leveled. It’s like “Why wasn’t THIS person the Gym Leader?”

As you can see, Katherine's kinda stopped being as helpless as she was when I caught her. :)

As you can see, Katherine’s kinda stopped being as helpless as she was when I caught her. 🙂

Okay, THIS asshole scared the shit outta me, and here’s why: I totally forgot that Slowpoke learn Confusion at Level 17 in FireRed and LeafGreen. I guess I must’ve had the other Generation III games on the mind, wherein Slowpoke doesn’t learn Confusion until Level 20. As such, I sent Drakeman in to deal with him, thinking the best he could do was Water Gun. When Confusion hit, I thought for sure I was about to see my first casualty. And how I didn’t, I’ll NEVER know. O_O

...Sure enough, I ran into three of these things, and before I could hit them and try to beat them for Exp, they each Teleported away.

…Sure enough, I ran into three of these things, and before I could hit them and try to beat them for Exp, they each Teleported away.

With all the Trainers on the way to Bill’s place defeated, I made my way inside. Problem was, Bill didn’t seem to be home. Instead, there was a Clefairy sitting around…with a human face… … …At this point, I was ready to piss myself in terror. Then it started talking. And thus, a thousand Creepy Pastas were written. 😛

Yeah, I know it's really Bill. I've never understood this line of dialogue, though. Why would he say that?

Yeah, I’m kidding, I know it’s really Bill. I’ve never understood this line of dialogue, though. Why would he say that?

The technology of the Pokémon world will never cease to astound me. Why can't humanity be inspired to make stuff based on this like we are with Star Trek?

The technology of the Pokémon world will never cease to astound me. Why can’t humanity be inspired to make Poké Balls and PC Storage Systems like we are with stuff from Star Trek?

Yeah, not gonna lie, I'm kinda with Bill on this one. Maybe it's just because I prefer to dress like a dirtbag hipster, but whatevs. lol

Yeah, not gonna lie, I’m kinda with Bill on this one. Maybe it’s just because I prefer to dress like a dirtbag hipster, but whatevs. I’ll take the free tickets to a cruise liner party.

So these must be the "lots of pages to my Pokédex" that Tim was talking about. Don't get me wrong, I love Eevee and the Eeveelutions (that sounds like a band), but it's FOUR pages. I had that many when I first got the freaking 'dex.

So these must be the “lots of pages to my Pokédex” that Tim was talking about. Don’t get me wrong, I love Eevee and the Eeveelutions (that sounds like a band), but it’s FOUR pages. I had that many when I first got the freaking ‘dex.

Anyway, with that done, I decided to head back to Cerulean City, just in time to notice a house had been broken into. The officer outside said it was Team Rocket…well, no shit. I could see the Goddamn Rocket Grunt standing in the back yard from right there. How do you not see that? Apparently, the police in Kanto are completely inept, OR they’re on the take. It’s one or the other. Either way, I decided I’d need to go all vigilante and take the law into my own hands by dealing with the grunt myself.

...No. The Team Rocket uniform kinda gives you away. In fact, why aren't you wearing a disguise like your buddy on Nugget Bridge? o.O

…No. The Team Rocket uniform kinda gives you away. In fact, why aren’t you wearing a disguise like your buddy on Nugget Bridge? o.O

One rather embarrasing asskicking later. lol

One rather embarrassing ass-kicking later. lol

Man, could you imagine if EVERYBODY was able to deal with loss of property that well?

Man, could you imagine if EVERYBODY was able to deal with loss of property that well?

Yeah, we never really did find out what that was about, huh?

Yeah, we never really did find out what that was about, huh?

And thus, with Team Rocket beaten down again, the Nugget Bridge conquered, a few more pages added to my Pokédex, and some much-needed training done, it was finally time to deal with Misty. As always, I went into battle using the same number of Pokémon as the Gym Leader’s, meaning I needed to decide which two would take on her Staryu and Starmie. I’d already decided that, based on type and overall performance (and luck) thus far that Drakeman would lead against her Staryu, but there was still the matter of her Starmie. Katherine now knew Bite, but I wasn’t sure if she could one hit KO her opponent, nor was I confident in her ability to tank a Water Pulse from a Starmie. I could’ve worked to evolve her into a Golbat, as I had thought about before, but that felt like I’d be committing to making her a full member of my team, and with Oswald and Drakeman in the party already, I was clearly a bit too Poison heavy. As such, I ultimately decided to go with Mikey, matching his bulk against Starmie’s Special Attack. With my two party members chosen, I headed for the Gym…

Not kidding, first time using Bullet Seed, and it hit 5 times. Seriously, Drakeman, you are the luckiest Goddamn Oddish EVER, not to mention one hell of a trooper. Speaking of, btw? I was originally gonna name him Steve. I’m not kidding, if he survives to Lavender Town and that kind of crap keeps happening to him, I’m changing his name. lol

Honestly? Not as bad a policy as some would suggest.

Honestly? Not as bad a policy as some would suggest.

Not gonna lie: I had to use a LOT of Potions in this battle. Also, I wanted to punch myself for not raising Mikey ONE LEVEL so that he'd learn Bite. Once again, my lack of memory of the movepools in this game nearly gets one of my team members killed. Clearly, something I'm going to have to be a LOT more careful of.

Not gonna lie: I had to use a LOT of Potions in this battle. Also, I wanted to punch myself for not raising Mikey ONE LEVEL so that he’d learn Bite. Once again, my lack of memory of the movepools in this game nearly gets one of my team members killed. Clearly, something I’m going to have to be a LOT more careful of.

Two badges down, six to go. :)

Two badges down, six to go. 🙂

With the Cascade Badge in hand, my business in Cerulean City was finally complete… … …BUT, before I called it a day, there was still one last thing I had to do. After healing up and withdrawing my team, I called out Oswald and gave him one of the Moon Stones I’d found in Mt. Moon, and watched as he evolved to his final stage.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present the most powerful member currently on my team, and the Pokémon who will lead said team to victory against Lt. Surge.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present the most powerful member currently on my team, and the Pokémon who will lead said team to victory against Lt. Surge.

So, once again, I managed to get through a phase of my journey with no fatalities. Still, I can tell that what luck I’ve had thus far is gonna run out soon, so I’m gonna have to play it smarter next time, as I make my way south to Vermilion City in order to attend the S.S. Anne party and battle Lt. Surge for the Thunder Badge. Ja né!

We're gonna need a LOT more training to deal with Surge...

We’re gonna need a lot more training and a lot less weaknesses to Electric attacks to deal with Surge. But where can I find a really strong and swift Ground-type?

Pokémon FireRed Text-And-Screencap-Only Nuzlocke Part 2

My team at the beginning of this phase of my journey.

My team at the beginning of this phase of my journey.

Last time in the Pokémon FireRed Text-And-Screencap-Only Nuzlocke Challenge, I started my journey with Mikey, my Squirtle, battled my rival twice, caught some new members to my team, journeyed through the Viridian Forest, and defeated the Pewter City Gym Leader for the Boulder Badge. This time, decided to head for Mt. Moon, where Clefairy supposedly came to the planet from outer space. Before I could get to Mt. Moon, though, I had a few Trainers waiting for me on Route 3, which meant it was once again training montage time!

I'm not denying that, but that's STILL a really weird thing to open a battle with. lol

I’m not denying that, but that’s STILL a really weird thing to open a battle with. lol

...There is no freaking reason why this Caterpie should not be evolved TWICE by now. C'mon, developers.

…There is no freaking reason why this Caterpie should not be evolved TWICE by now. C’mon, developers.

I almost felt bad for the poor bastard... ... ...almost. :P

I almost felt bad for the poor bastard… … …almost. 😛

And, as always, the training proved VERY fruitful. Specifically, I caught new members for the team…

This nickname's specifically for N. Harmonik. :P

This nickname’s specifically for N. Harmonik. You’re welcome, Aibo.

I thought about Stephanie or Barbara, but they seemed a bit too obvious in my head. And really, more people should know about the awesomeness that is Batwoman.

I thought about Stephanie or Barbara, but they seemed a bit too obvious in my head. And really, more people should know about the awesomeness that is Batwoman.

…and Mikey reached Level 16, which meant it was time to ascend to new plateaus. 🙂

I've never understood why Wartortle gets frilly-looking ears and tail, only to drop them when it evolves into Blastoise. lol

I’ve never understood why Wartortle gets frilly-looking ears and tail, only to drop them when it evolves into Blastoise. lol

Luckily, this time around, I knew well enough to keep Mikey away from Pidgey. I don’t know what it is, but it’s almost like the pigeons have been abducted and replaces with vultures who are out to murder my Starter. lol Regardless, with a full team of six Pokémon, I ventured into Mt. Moon, continuing to battle my way through anything that got in my way. I battled every Trainer in the caves of the mountain, saw every single Pokémon that took up residence there, and even encountered everybody’s favourite group of Pokémon thieves: Team Rocket. They were there to steal Pokémon from unsuspecting Trainers and find the rumoured fossils that were buried in the mountain somewhere, probably to sell them and net some cash. Suffice to say, not a picnic getting through this place.

Okay, this is technically outside, but I decided to get some training in for Oswald, ran into a Jigglypuff, and...well, how could I NOT get a screencap of Jigglypuff using Sing? :P

Okay, this is technically outside, but I decided to get some training in for Oswald, ran into a Jigglypuff, and…well, how could I NOT get a screencap of Jigglypuff using Sing? 😛

Why do all the Pokémon I REALLY want to score lucky encounters with never show up until long after I've made my capture for their area? -_-

Why do all the Pokémon I REALLY want to score lucky encounters with never show up until long after I’ve made my capture for their area? The best one I’ve managed so far is Oswald. No way I’m catching Abra this LP.

Yeah, but at the low levels they're at here, they kinda suck at it. lol

Yeah, but at the low levels they’re at here, they kinda suck at it. lol

And thus, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit learned karate. :P

And thus, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit learned karate. 😛

...Good for you?

…Good for you?

Is that just how you guys introduce yourselves? I mean, it's not bad, but I can think of a lot better. lol

Is “We, TEAM ROCKET” just how you guys introduce yourselves? I mean, it’s not necessarily BAD, but I can think of a lot better. lol

Anyway, during my battles, my team naturally grew, both in evolutions…

Probably gonna wait until after the Cerulean City Gym to evolve Oswald again.

I also managed to find the Moon Stones. Probably gonna wait until after the Cerulean City Gym to use one and evolve Oswald again.

Not gonna lie, but it occurred to me that perhaps naming one of my Pokémon after one of the ROBINS wasn't a good way to avoid deaths. Still, this evolution DOES make me optimistic.

Not gonna lie, but it occurred to me (a bit late after doing so) that perhaps naming one of my Pokémon after one of the ROBINS wasn’t a good way to avoid deaths. Still, this evolution DOES make me optimistic.

…and in learning new techniques.

So Mikey's been studying under Mr. Satan to learn the Megaton Punch?

So Mikey’s been studying under Mr. Satan to learn the Megaton Punch?

Not everybody did so great, though. Minnie only got up to Level 13 by the time I was out, managing to learn Hyper Fang, and poor Katherine unfortunately didn’t get any use at all. I honestly think I’m just gonna put her in the Daycare (when I get there) and have the guy there raise her up as a back-up Flying-type should the worst ever happen to Damian. But then, I really shouldn’t be surprised. There just weren’t that many opponents in Mt. Moon that would’ve been good match-ups for them. Plus, I may have subconsciously favoured the others in their training since I figured they’d likely stand a better chance against Misty. Still haven’t decided which two I’ll go with, though. That said, Katherine might have one or two moves in her pool that might serve me well in that Gym Battle…

Could this silhouette be a sign of my future…?

Anyway, after fighting my way through the caves, I eventually met up with a guy who had the fossils, and apparently thought I was trying to steal them, so he attacked me. Naturally, I whooped him, and in an attempt to appease me, he offered to share one with me. Again, he thought I was a thief, which I wasn’t, but he was offering me a fossil, so…yeah, not necessarily gonna tell him otherwise in THAT case. 😛

YES, I chose the Dome Fossil, and NO, I'm not making that joke. lol

YES, I chose the Dome Fossil, and NO, I’m not making that joke. lol

So, after all that, I made it to Cerulean City on the other side and rested up, once again managing to come through a situation with zero fatalities. However, we’ll see if I can keep that lucky streak going next time, as I challenge the Nugget Bridge and the Cerulean City Gym. Ja né!

Which of these six will battle Misty and her Water-type Pokémon? You'll have to check in next time to find out!

Which of these six will battle Misty and her Water-type Pokémon? You’ll have to check in next time to find out!