Sage's Stray Thoughts Episode 2

 I know, I'm surprised to be back for a second week too.


Television
 

The 12th Doctor:  Matt Smith is out.  Peter Capaldi is in.  It's the nature of the Doctor to change it's protagonist's face--it's a way to test the flexibility of the series' audience.  Just as you get close to one Doctor and become familiar with him, they change him out and he becomes what he's always meant to be: a quirky mad-man who no one truly knows or understands.   And that's all well and good but..can someone explain to me why this new Doctor is so gosh-darn crotchety?

Since the reboot in 2005, the key trait of the Doctor is that each new regeneration is affected by the way the last version lived their life.   The Eighth Doctor (John Hurt or Sylvester McCoy, take your pick) was a guy who committed tons of murders, so the Ninth was a coward, a man afraid to do things he sometimes had to do.  The Ninth's cowardice lead to a Tenth that was more fiery, one who bought into the idea of being angry god.   The actions of the Tenth at the end of his life were arrogant and presumed too much in terms of his responsibilities as a Time Lord, so the Eleventh was more childish and tried to run away from all that. 

But the Eleventh Doctor?   He's the guy who won at literally everything.  He escaped the Pandorica--the ultimate prison created by dozens of highly-advanced species trying to get rid of him.  When time itself threatened to crack wide open and swallow all of creation, he rebooted the universe.  He changed the fate of a fixed point in time, something previously thought to be completely impossible.  He brought back his lost planet of Gallifrey and cheated death itself, so please tell me what the new Doctor has to be so angry about?!   If someone can explain that, I think I'll be able to deal with Capaldi.


Balance:  Wow.  Didn't the third season just air?  As much as I want to see Season 4 of Korra, this is a little disheartening.  Cartoon Network axed pretty much all of its action-oriented shows in favor of comedies or action series that were heavily tinged with comedy.  This is why Young Justice and Beware the Batman were canceled, and why CN didn't present any new action series with their upfront earlier this year.   That's just not what they're about right now.

I'm more than a little worried that Nickelodeon is headed in that same direction, because even though Korra appears to be incredibly popular, they're burning through episodes at a disgustingly fast pace like they just want the show off the air as soon as possible.

I guess they could order a third series and prove me wrong, but the odds aren't looking good right now.   Oh well.  At least Korra with short hair looks awesome.

Comics



Blood Moon: Okay, so Newsarama was talking about this and it occurred to me that far too often I put my two cents in a forum post no one will ever see instead of putting it here.

Blood Moon is most likely DC's next big crossover--one that will probably involve multiple Earths.  Going into this, I'm hoping two things:

- DC doesn't trivialize it's multiverse.  Grant's doing a fantastic job over in Multiversity developing all these Earths as separate, unique little things that could support their own ongoing series.  The last thing I want to see Blood Moon do is trivialize that by either having New Earth's heroes save everybody and make the heroes of all the alternate Earths look worthless, or worse, kill off a bunch of characters on those Earths or destroy them altogether.   What does that accomplish?

You've got these 52 Earths--it's such a specific number that you can make most of these Earths unique and capable of telling interesting stories that you can't normally tell on New Earth.   Don't just go wiping them out when you've just barely developed them.

- That this is the New 52's Zero Hour.    I think most comic book fans who followed DC before and after Flashpoint can agree that the New 52 wasn't handled perfectly.   In fact, it was handled about as clumsily as the original Crisis on Infinite Earths' handled it's post-series continuity.  Everything is needlessly muddled, characters' origins don't quite work right because of how short everyone's timelines are, etc...

But here's the thing, while the 1993 Zero Hour event was kinda meaningless in the grand scheme of things, a LOT of cool comic books came out right before and right after it.  You got things like Chuck Dixon's Robin before it, while series like James Robinson's Starman and Mark Waid's original Legion of Super-Heroes came out of the post-Zero Hour.   I'd love for DC to use 'Blood Moon' to fix some continuity errors that have sprung from New 52, and then start righting its ship creatively.  I'm tired of reading 80% Marvel Comics.

In DC's Booster Gold: Futures End, we got a glimpse at the Legion of Super-Heroes.  For those who don't know, The Legion is a group of aliens from different planets that work together to continue the legacy of Superman in the 30th century.  Is this a sign that DC is ready to bring them back?  Honestly...I hope not.

As big a Legion fan as I am, I don't know that they're ready to do what's necessary to cement this.  If you're bringing the Legion back, there are some necessary factors:

  1. You need a top-tier writer-artist team.  This is mandatory.  You can no longer bring the Legion back and think the book will survive off the name alone.  The popularity of the 70's era is over, and you blew all the heat you had during that 2007-2009 period with the Lightning Saga/Superman and the Legion and so on.   Something like Geoff Johns/Jim Lee or some equally ridiculous A-List writer-artist pairing will be necessary to do this.   If you pick a new team, the artist has to be great and you need to market the shit out of it.
  2. Don't drag fans down into Legion minutae.  Make your starting arc feature Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Lightning Lad (the founding three), Brainiac, and maybe one other guy.  Expand outwards from there.  The biggest problem with the Legion is everybody needs a scorecard to figure out who they are.  It's the same with the X-Men, but no one cares in that case because they're the friggin' X-Men.  They've had five movies.  The Legion had one cartoon that got canceled after two seasons.  They're not on the same level anymore.
  3. Whoever you pick needs to be devoted.  To really bring the Legion back you need some epic, Jason Aaron on Thor or Jonathan Hickman on Avengers type run.  The most important thing the Legion needs if it's going to come back is stability.  Anything less than four years and 50-60 issues is unacceptable.
Until you're ready to do all of that?  Leave the Legion alone, please.  Anymore damage could kill the brand.  

Video Games

The Loot Wars: So I traded in Destiny this past Tuesday in order to get a significant discount off Shadows of Mordor.  (Hilariously, Wednesday I got an email telling me they'd "patched" the broken loot system.) Usually I only trade a game in if I'm broke, so this was a unique feeling.  If you've read my thoughts on Destiny, then you know I don't think it's a bad game per se, it's just disappointing.  Honestly if I were Bungie I'd be working on a complete reboot for Destiny 2.  You can keep the art assets, the shooting mechanics and the basic enemy types, but junk everything else.  The whole thing is a mindless loot grind built for people who didn't get enough of that in Borderlands 1 and 2.

It's always depressing when you discover that all the worst things people say about a game have come true, but that pretty much happened here.   I put about 25 or so hours in across two characters--got one to level 20 and the other to level 12, and by that time I was exhausted by the grind-y nature of this game.   Sidequests are non-existent, the lore is relegated to a side website, and outside of strikes and the raid there's only like 20 missions to do total.  Meh.

Like I said: Scrap it all, Bungie.  Make us believe you learned from this.  Some ideas off the top:

- Allow PVE mode to switch between first- and third-person.  It went third-person a bunch of times anyway.
- Separate the online and story modes a bit.  If I'm working alone, an internet disruption shouldn't end my game entirely.
- Don't go overboard, but give us a heavier focus on the story.
- Screw Earth, put us smack-dab in the middle of another galaxy and make us work our way to Earth.
- Speaking of, let us actually USE the spaceships next time--think No Man's Sky, except nothing's randomized but you used the ridiculous budget you have to craft unique experiences for the user.
- Lastly, add a larger variety of vehicles to explore the planets...and for that matter a larger variety of missions to do.   I refuse to play another game where I press square and then fight off several hordes of shit for twenty minutes.

Most of this is pretty necessary for people to even look in the general direction of a "Destiny 2".   Your hardcore fans will come back, but to keep getting the ridiculous ROI that Activision wants, something's going to have to change.  In the meantime, I'm going to head over to Middle-Earth and slaughter a bunch of orcs while I wait for the last three major games of the year for me (Smash Bros, Dragon Age, and Sleeping Dogs).

Anyway, that's it this time.  Next week will probably be about the pure crapload of anime that have dropped. 

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