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MORTAL ENGINES (December 22, 2018)

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Doctor Who: Day Of The Moon

I am increasingly convinced that it is Steven Moffat's primary goal in life to drive the viewers of Doctor Who insane.

After one of the best pre-credit sequences in a long while, Day Of Moon - picking up three months after the conclusion of The Impossible Astronaut - was a roller-coaster moving at lightspeed through a surreal terrain of mind-twisting mental images, interweaving plot threads and barmy revelations.

This episode had everything - from weird science and clever twists to the most terrifying children's home in '60s America.

Although The Silents' similarity to The Weeping Angels has been picked up on by several commentators on the good, ol' Interwebz, there is no getting round the fact that they are also similarly creepy and unnerving in their own way.

There were also moments in this episode that certainly resonated with echoes of gimmicks Moffat has used before (the 'perfect prison' The Doctor was 'trapped' in by the US Government - not sure where they got the material from - was a rehash of The Pandorica, while Amy's disembodied voice touched the same raw nerves that voices in Silence In The Library did), but the innovations came thick and and fast as well.

Since Doctor Who returned six years ago and adopted the American format of 45 minute episodes (rather than its old style of four or six 25-minute episodes per story), it has become increasingly hard to pass sensible judgment on single-episodes when they are part of a two-episode story.

In the good, old days of Classic Who you wouldn't have dreamed of reviewing a single episode out of context from a multi-part story, but now the individual episodes are somehow expected to simultaneously stand-on-their-own and continue the overarching narrative of the season.

So far, this season seems to be heading the right way.

Under the auspices of The Moff, the show has been becoming ever more American in its design, with a season's through-story being more than the appearance of a particular totem in each episode (e.g. Bad Wolf) and more like one continuous story that happens to feature some 'larger', almost standalone, episodes in its run.

After just two episodes we are left with many, crucial unanswered questions - many of which I suspect will remain unanswered until the end of this season.

We still don't know who pulled the trigger in The Impossible Astronaut, how Moffat is going to get out that particular corner he has painted himself into, who the little girl is (loved, beyond words, her final appearance at the end of Day Of The Moon, by the way), what's going on with Amy's Shroedinger pregnancy, who River Song really is (although it was strongly suggested that she and The Doctor were lovers/husband and wife even?), what was happening with the face at the disappearing window that said something about "she must still be dreaming" (or words to that effect), why had The Silent been building a replica TARDIS console room (and how did it end up in The Lodger?), will Rory and Amy live happily ever after (I do hope so) and probably countless other dangling sub-plots I'm too excited to even remember at the moment.

I'm hoping this year will see the series lurch back towards science-fiction rationalisation - as it does with this two-part story - and away from the fairy tale logic of last season. So far things appear to be heading brilliantly in the right direction.

As well as giving Tricky Dicky Nixon some of his most-positive television coverage in years, Moffat's story also slipped in a Whovian explanation of The President's need to record every conversation in the Oval Office.

So is this the last we will see of The Silents or will they crop up again as The Doctor goes back in Earth's history? And what were they doing during their thousands of years of occupation when other alien races invaded our planet? It must have gotten quite crowded at times! I wonder how The Silents got on with the daleks and cybermen?

Prequel To Next Week's Episode

Next Week:

Knight City Round-Up Of The Week...

This week I've been gearing up for next week's next session of the Tuesday Knights - and I'm looking forward to seeing what they make of the leftfield challenge I have for them this time.

Over at the in-game blog, The Knight City Chronicles, this week, we have:
  • Issue Three Prologue: A text article covering recent events in the civilian lives of Nightshade (Kevin), Skyscraper (Simon) and The Surgeon (Pete). Steve - who will hopefully be present on Tuesday - has been bridging the gap between his appearances at the table with a play-by-email adventure./li>

  • First Contact: A background feature on mankind's first encounter with extraterrestrials in 1972. While I'm all in favour of including alien races in the game - they are part and parcel of the superhero oeuvre after all - I like to make them as potentially 'alien' as possible.

    This entry deals mainly with the benign Rythans, one of whom (Exarch Farillor) has been working with the Government for over three decades now.

    At a later date no doubt more Lovecraftian lifeforms will begin to appear as the players probe deeper in the genesis of their world and universe.

  • New Look Logo For COMPASS: A brief piece introducing the new look COMPASS logo (see above) from the multi-talented Paul V Fleming.

Meanwhile, here on HeroPress, all the Knight City activity has concentrated on new arrival Aviator with the next installment of his on-going fiction from creator Steve Bates as well as article about Steve's online quest to design his character a costume.

Aviator #2 Hits The Shelves...

The second "issue" of Steve Bates' Aviator fiction from my Knight City Villains & Vigilantes campaign has been published over at his Pseudo Random Noise blog.

In this episode, the aerial avenger finds himself tussling with an armoured abomination by the name of Feuerkraft (that's Firepower, for us non-German speakers).

Seeds are also sown for future foul-ups in the novice hero's private life with a missed call from an ex-girlfriend...

In other news, Aviator's origin is explained in a back-up feature that can be found here.

And so, the universe of Knight City continues to grow!

High Tech Noon...

Before Outland, there was High Tech Noon...

You can't fail to love this incredible reworking of the Western classic, High Noon, which, itself, was retold in 1981 as the Sean Connery sci-fi flick Outland.

Ladies & Gentlemen, We Are Gathered Here Today...

What are you all doing here? Look at the weather, you should be out frollickin' in the sunshine, dancing through water fountains, dabbing your loved ones on the nose with ice cream, clearing up after riotous street parties and that sort of shenanigans!

Yes, it's hot, hot, hot here in the good ol' UK, but that's not stopping people from signing up to our merry marching band.

Please give a big hand for the latest arrival:

* richard.yeates


Friday, 29 April 2011

The Final Word On The Royal Wedding...

The latter is from The Mary Sue

Fleamarket Friday: Cast A Spell On DVD...

The HeroPress-championed, Dungeons & Dragons-inspired web serial Spellfury has come to DVD.

With the opening episode of Season Two due any day now, Season One is available direct from the show's producers for $15 (plus shipping). Bonus features include an audio commentary and behind-the-scenes footage.

To order your own copy visit the Spellfury home page and click on the "buy now" button on the left hand side of the page.

Fleamarket Friday: My Mysterious Doctor...

QMx, manufacturers of fine sci-fi prop replicas, are offering this reproduction of The Doctor's portrait that appeared in the opening scene of The Impossible Astronaut last weekend.

Should you desire a copy for some reason, it will set you back $14.95 (plus shipping, presumably).

My Mysterious Doctor is an 18" by 24" art print taken directly from the original painting, resized and published on 100-pound satin-finish paper.

Fleamarkey Friday: Everybody Was Kung Fu Fightin'...

On August 10, Wizkids releases its new range of Street Fighter HeroClix. I used to enjoy button-smashing, fighting video games when we all got together to play them at University, so I can see myself eventually picking up some of these - and, of course, they'll probably come in useful as general purpose wargames minis anyway.

According to Icv2: "The Capcom Street Fighter HeroClix figures are also available in a Starter 6-Pack, which will retail for $19.99, and which will allow players to conduct their own Heroclix Street Fighter matches right out of the box.

"The attractive, transparent
Starter 6-Pack includes key Street Fighter characters like Guile, Ryu, and Blanka that are 'completely redialed' and feature alternate paint schemes from those used in the base set. In addition the Starter 6-Pack includes character cards, 4 exclusive maps, 2 custom dice, and a 2011 HeroClix rulebook"

Fleamarket Friday: Venture Beyond The Fence...

Simon's Cat: Beyond The Fence, by Simon Tofield... available through Amazon.

Apparently There's A Royal Wedding Today...

I'm sure William and Kate are lovely people, but their wedding interests me as much as mine did them.

My feelings about our token and anachronistic royal family are best summed up in this script excerpt from the hilarious Monty Python & The Holy Grail... and I shall leave it at that.

I hope Wills and Kate are very happy, but would just like to remind you that "I didn't vote for them".
DENNIS: What I object to is you automatically treat me like an inferior!
ARTHUR: Well, I AM king...
DENNIS: Oh king, eh, very nice. An' how'd you get that, eh? By
exploitin' the workers -- by 'angin' on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic an' social differences in our society! If there's ever going to be any progress--
WOMAN: Dennis, there's some lovely filth down here. Oh -- how d'you do?
ARTHUR: How do you do, good lady. I am Arthur, King of the Britons. Whose castle is that?
WOMAN: King of the who?
ARTHUR: The Britons.
WOMAN: Who are the Britons?
ARTHUR: Well, we all are. we're all Britons and I am your king.
WOMAN: I didn't know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous collective.
DENNIS: You're fooling yourself. We're living in a dictatorship.
A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes--
WOMAN: Oh there you go, bringing class into it again.
DENNIS: That's what it's all about if only people would--
ARTHUR: Please, please good people. I am in haste. Who lives in that castle?
WOMAN: No one live there.
ARTHUR: Then who is your lord?
WOMAN: We don't have a lord.
DENNIS: I told you. We're an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week.
DENNIS: But all the decision of that officer have to be ratified
at a special biweekly meeting.
ARTHUR: Yes, I see.
DENNIS: By a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs,--
ARTHUR: Be quiet!
DENNIS: --but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more--
ARTHUR: Be quiet! I order you to be quiet!
WOMAN: Order, eh -- who does he think he is?
ARTHUR: I am your king!
WOMAN: Well, I didn't vote for you.
ARTHUR: You don't vote for kings.
WOMAN: Well, 'ow did you become king then?
ARTHUR: The Lady of the Lake, [angels sing]
her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. [singing stops] That is why I am your king!
DENNIS: Listen -- strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
ARTHUR: Be quiet!
DENNIS: Well you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just 'cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!
ARTHUR: Shut up!
DENNIS: I mean, if I went around sayin' I was an empereror just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me they'd put me away!
ARTHUR: Shut up! Will you shut up!
DENNIS: Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system.
ARTHUR: Shut up!
DENNIS: Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system! HELP! HELP! I'm being repressed!
ARTHUR: Bloody peasant!
DENNIS: Oh, what a give away. Did you here that, did you here that, eh? That's what I'm on about -- did you see him repressing me, you saw it didn't you?
Help! Help! I'm being repressed!

Magneto's Too Cool For School!

Could X-Men: First Class be the surprise hit of the superhero summer?

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Superhero Summer Heats Up In Class...

The latest X-Men: First Class trailer arrives with a selection of new material amongst the more familiar shots, but continues to sell this as a great 'origin' piece for the X-Men.

And Bleeding Cool has an even longer trailer for your delight. Our cup surely runneth over with X-Men flavoured shininess.

Aviator Checks Out Online Costume Alternatives...

Aviator - modeling two versions of his costume
This week the latest superheroic arrival in Knight City has been looking through his virtual wardrobe and selecting costume designs courtesy of a number of online resources.

Stephen Bates, creator of Aviator for The Tuesday Knights' Villains & Vigilantes campaign, has turned Gok Wan and gone in search of the best, free, sites for creating slick superhero costumes.

His article, at Pseudo Random Noise, is well worth checking out as a great resource for those bereft of either artistic talent or the time to design a character's costume from scratch.

Green Lantern's Light!

Another Green Lantern trailer - this is a two-minute, extended version of the previous 90-second one, with some bits added from an earlier trailer and a few snippets of new stuff.

Of all this summer's superhero movies, this is the one I'm least sure about. Even by my sometimes gauche tastes, I fear there might be a surfeit of CGI, but I'm trying to remain open-minded.

On The Subject Of Doctor Who...

The geek intelligentsia who provide the daily fodder for the hilarious Our Valued Customers have struck again...

Thor's Day Babe...

To celebrate the opening of Thor today (in the UK) in typically crass HeroPress style, here is a bonus super-sized geek pin-up gallery of the film's stunning heroine Natalie Portman...

First Trailer For Magnificent Over-The-Top Fantasy Epic...

Wow! Immortals looks fantastically bonkers - part superhero movie, part (the original and best) Clash Of The Titans, part 300! One hundred per cent my cup of tea... and opening in time for my birthday in November.

See Henry Cavill do mythological superman (as Theseus) before he dons the cape for Zack Snyder's Superman movie: Man Of Steel.

Wonder Woman Wednesday...

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Coming Attractions...

A sneak peak at Thursday's episode of V.

A preview of episode three of Game Of Thrones, which airs on Monday.

Behind The Mask: The Ideas' Drawer...

All my best ideas seem to come just as I'm nodding off to sleep (although my sleeping tablets may have something to do with that) and so I've instigated a new practice - with the discovery of small-sized Post It notes - of keeping my "sudden flashes of inspiration" on the drawer of my bedside cabinet.

Some are near indecipherable scribbled plot ideas, others are just strings of words and some are inventions that Nick Law - commander of The Agents Of COMPASS - really should have in his laboratory.

Then, once an idea has been used I simply tear up the note and toss it in the bin.

It's not hi-tech - like Corkboard - but so far it's working better for me than the multitude of half-filled notebooks that were scattered around my desk in the gamesroom.

And also, as I tend to read comics on the bed, my Post Its are within easy reach when I come across an idea I just have to swipe!

If I can keep this up I'm looking at it turning into my version of Rip Hunter's chalk board (from The DC Universe) or future Iron Man's chart of events (in the Marvel Universe).

I think I have a little way to go yet...
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