10 Print List …… You might be the SpartanNerd if….

10 Print “You tell your kids to clean their rooms, and proclaim “THIS I COMMAND!”

20 Print “You do the Mario on the way to the kitchen.”

30 Print “You make a transforming sound when you change into your robe for the evening.”

40 Print “You warm up your children’s choir with “Co- Bra- LALALALALALA”

50 Print “You lift something heavy, and proclaim “I Have the Power!!!”

60 Print “You weigh yourself, and seeing that you have gained, pronounce “Up, Up, and Away!”

70 Print “You compare your professional relationship with bosses to that of all of the Sith’s apprentices.  (Darth Maul, Count Dooku, Darth Vader)”

80 Print “You sing to your child, who says they have to go to the restroom “Nothing can stop the smooze

90 Print “You say “Mine resolves first” to your child who suggests eating at McDonalds and you say you would rather eat Mexican.

100 Print “You are still crying about the time the Quintessons commandeered Optimus Prime’s body, as a ruse to defeat the Autobots.  Optimus’ will was too, strong, however, even in death…He saves everyone and flys his ship into an exploding sun (I can hardly type anymore…waaaa)

SpartanNerd MTG Quest update….TOP 8

I finally cracked the top 8 at the local comic book store’s Magic Tournament!  The Hub City was SLAMMED with snow for the past week, keeping me and everyone else indoors, so I spent plenty of time practicing, and it paid off it seems.

Basically, I played two rounds of 2 out of 3 matches against one of the SpartanSmurfs everyday.  One of them had a BEAST of a BNG Minotaur deck, and I was having a hard time with that, and thought to myself…”This is what people will be playing Saturday…”  (nope)

My two deck choices were either the Fencing Ace deck, which I had been playing and working with for awhile, but it always seemed to lose.  However, it would be fresh with some new BNG cards.

But then I thought I would revert to my pre-Return to Ravnica style…MONO BLACK.

Too bad this guy isn’t legal anymore…:(

I had been playing some black devotion.  But I thought it was time to step up my game a little.  One of the slow things about my devotion deck was that it was a “budget” deck, featuring the complete Bogbrew Witch combo.  I had some success with this deck in the last Modern tournament that I played, balancing the activity of assembling the combo and ramping up my devotion with Vampire Nighthawks.  Basically, I ripped all of that out of the deck and added something I never hardly played…Thoughtseize!  I replaced the Witch combo with Nightveil Spector, Herald of Torment, and Slitherhead.  (In place of the Festering Newts.)  BNG added Temple of Malice, so that was four more scry lands I could play.  Then there is the added advantage of having mana available to play cards stolen with the Nightveil Spector.  (The deck is mono black.  But the lands are not.  Unfortunately, there is no green and black scry land…yet…)

After playtesting it for a week because of the weather, I decided to add Elixir of Immortality in place of two of the Slitherheads…A fine choice!  The Elixir proved to be a star of the deck.  Cracking it over and over replenished my life (which I had to pay from playing Thoughtsieze), and it kept my cards playable, refreshing my deck.

I really wanted three more copies of Bile Blight.  I have whined and cried about this already.  I hoped to trade someone before the tournament.  No one had theirs for trade, or no one had one to trade.  BUMMER.  In the end, this would make a difference.

So at the Tangled Web on Saturday, February 15, I brought my black devotion deck.

Here is the deck list.

4 Temple of Malice
4 Temple of Silence
4 Temple of Deceit
1 Nykthos, Shrine ot Nyx
10 Swamps

2 Slitherhead
2 Desecration Demon
4 Nightveil Spector
2 Herald of Torment
3 Pack Rats
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
3 Spiteful Returned

4 Devour Flesh
1 Bile Blight
2 Liliana, of the Dark Realms
4 Thoughtseize
2 Elixir of Immortality
1 Erebos, God of the Dead
1 Whip of Erebos
2 Hero’s Downfall

I also had a sideboard….

4 Duress
4 Doom Blade
4 Dark Betrayal
1 Drown In Sorrow
1 Pain Seer
1 Lifebane Zombie

All evening I played against mostly green and red aggro decks.  I had no problem at all Thoughtsiezeing out Stormbreath Dragons, Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, Archangel of Thune, or Blood Baron of Vizkopa.

One thing that people were playing that they should not, was Courser of Kruphix.  This allowed me to see what was on the top of the deck…

I had one mirror match, where we played until we had to draw.  It was tough…This was a seasoned player, and to see the same strategy basically across the table was an experience.

In the finals, I lost in the first round.  Devastating.  It was my first loss all day.  But it was a good game against an Azorius Sphinx’s Revelation deck.  I think fondly on this match, it was like an ascension…a catharsis.  Here I was playing against a truly great player, and standing him down with devotion for at least one match…I lost in the third game.  How did he beat me?  I didn’t draw Hero’s Downfall when I needed it.  His Elsepeth, Sun’s Champion continued to supply him with fresh 1/1 chumps, that I could have taken care of QUICKLY with a Bile Blight….He also played Supreme Verdict a good bit after he caught on to my game to squash my devotion, and then would have his Elsepeth give him more board presence.

I mean, what good is a NightVeil Spector if you can’t swing with him because he gets removed?  And you can’t use him for devotion because he isn’t there?)

So, I plan on playing at Friday Night Magic this week.  I will use the same deck, but hopefully have a full set of Bile Blight!  There are some other things I might change as well.  Herald of Torment didn’t do anything all night.  I like him, but he has to go.  He is not as good as Nightveil Spector, and he hurts you for one life each turn he’s out.  He is also expensive to bestow.  Maybe I’ll main deck Pain Seer, a weaker version of Dark Confidant….I might swap out the other two Slitherheads for Elixir of Immortality…The Elixir was a surprise star.  I think I might come up with two more copies of Heroes Downfall.  Most of the good players I played knew how to deal with the Desecration Demon.  I like him for the devotion.  And it’s not like he was useless…But most people either dropped a removal spell on him, or said “Let him through…”  Then I usually wouldn’t swing…usually…I also might go back to playing Underworld Connections.  This card helps with the card advantage better than Erebos, God of the Dead.  Did I mention that I got to swing with Erebos a couple of times?  People don’t like that….I also am thinking of adding a couple of secret weapons…aimed at the Sphinx’s Revelation deck.

You say, SPARTANNERD…HOW DARE YOU POST YOUR STRATEGY?

Well, it isn’t a new strategy or anything.  Plenty of people out in the world are playing black devotion…it is one of the top builds in the world right now!  It is just new to me, and nobody around here hardly is playing it, so….

Comic Review…Thor God of Thunder issues 1-12

First of all, I want to say that I am generally into religiously themed comics.

They generally, probably should offend me.  But they usually don’t.  Why?  BECAUSE THEY ARE JUST COMICS, PEOPLE!  

I have a history of reading Ghost Rider, Spawn, and yes Thor.  All religion themed books.  Spawn is especially demonic in theme, and yet I was almost never close to be offended.  I didn’t like all of it.  But it didn’t offend me.  (I haven’t been reading any Spawn since “Endgame.”)

But Thor is different, because of how close much of the language comes to the actual way in which I personally worship God.

There are times in the “Godbutcher / Godbomb” story where I got pretty close to offended.  Close.  But then I remembered.  IT”S ONLY COMICS!

That pre-qualifier said.  That disclaimer delivered.  On with my thoughts.  

Oh Yeah.  LOTS OF SPOILERS AHEAD

I started reading “Godbutcher” when Marvel said.  “Ok.  DC has the New 52 and the Joker chopped off his face and he’s back now.  IDW is scoring zillions of ratings points with the nerds.  We need to reboot.  Or at least look like we are.”  So they started their Marvel NOW! campaign to get our attention, killed Peter Parker.  Oh yeah.  On the sidelines, Thor got a new book.  Thor, God of Thunder.  With a title like that, we expect to get to know Thor, and how he thinks, and why.  AND we expect to learn a lot about his history and stuff like that.

I was sort of “eh….” about the cover art.  But over time, I began to appreciate it.  A kind of watercolor matte look.  The inside art is fine, with muted colors, but plain figures over all.  And there was a cool AR feature…You scan an AR panel with your phone and get to see the page come to life, hopefully….Maybe it won’t just be a commercial…or a rant from the writer or artist….(It usually was these last two.)  (Actually, I just checked.  The AR panels don’t work anymore at all…except for the ads….:(   )

“Godbutcher” begins with young viking god Thor finding a god’s head washing up on the shore, a native American god at that.  It continues with with Thor the Avenger of the present day finding a civilization that has no gods.  Shocking.  Upon investigating, he finds the planet’s gods all murdered and dismembered.  Their “godflesh” rotting slowly.  This scene should now terrify us.  Gods are supposed to be immortal!  But here we see that someone can kill them.  Something attacks the avenger…A Black Berserker.  It isn’t long before we know it is Gorr the Godbutcher who is slaying gods…And we see future Old Man Thor, the All-Father beaten into hopelessness by Gorr.

I like the way the story goes from young Viking Thor, who uses an axe instead of a hammer, Thor the Avenger, the one that we know best, and future Thor, Odin’s replacement.  This was a grand way of showing us who Thor was, is, and will be, if not confusing at times.  It also shows us that this story could have been revealed VERY slowly.  Over an entire title run.  But the writers showed us this grand story the way they did in a masterful way that makes sense if you are a persistent reader.

(I will take a brief moment to exclaim, this way of showing Thor is not unlike what we see in Conan the Barbarian stories, where he is young, mid-age adult, and eventually king.  Being a fan of the Barbarian, I see a good influence of him on the way Thor is presented to us.)

As the story of the Godbutcher goes on, we see old man Thor defeated over and over by Gorr’s minions.  Thor is the final god, saved for Gorr to kill last.  In the young Thor and Avenger Thor’s stories, we see how Thor is the one that got away from the killer.  This is why he toys with Thor as an old man.

This villain, Gorr, is a truly evil killer.  His weapon channels black energy into it’s target.  It works similarly to a Green Lantern ring in DC or the Symbiote costume for Venom…creating constructs that allow him to fly, makes swords, ropes, and whips, and more.  And when a god is attacked with the weapon, it takes something from them.  Also, the Black Berserkers are constructs of this weapon.  So we see (As Thor remarks in book  2,) Gorr has grown very powerful.

Speaking of Book 2, we get our first taste of combat between Gorr and Thor.  The young Thor utterly loses.  I like the dialogue.  Gorr says, basically “What are you the god of…poetry?”  Thor just says “Thunder,” and a bolt of lighting hits Gorr!

Book 3 is cool because we see Avenger Thor bringing up his guilt complex.  He tells Iron Man that he feels guilty because he did not kill Gorr one thousand years earlier.  And that summarizes it, pretty much.  Thor sees many more dead gods from different worlds.  This story gets more convoluted, as the three different aged Thors are having similar thoughts, and the panels switch one to another quite a bit.  Oh.  And book 3.  Old King Thor is still getting beaten up.

Book four is where I start to get a little offended.  Just a little.  Old King Thor sits on his throne, last of all gods.  In other words, the only god left.  He talks about how he has seen everyone and everything he loved killed.  He is surrounded by those Black Berserkers.  And he seems so powerless and hopeless.  The language here is nihilistic.  “Gorr won’t just let me die…” etc.  The idea of one god being powerless, is abhorrent to me.  Then I remember.  IT’S JUST COMICS.

And we could have seen where this was going.  To somewhere that time-travel can take place.  Chronux, city of the time gods.

Essentially, from this point we see Gorr’s plan coming together.  I think I have it figured out…Then I don’t.  Gorr goes back in time to the early universe, where he sees a baby god sitting and making beings out of clay.  We assume this is a god from Gorr’s own pantheon…He kills this god.  My thought was, “He’s killing all gods by killing this one.”  But nope.  That would be too simple I suppose.  Gor brings back the giant gods heart…He is going to use it as the core of a weapon that will kill all gods at all times.

Along the way, during the time-travel part of this adventure, Avenger Thor manages to rescue Old Man Thor.  The two of them fail to stop Gorr.

Issue six was a break from the larger story…a telling of Gorr’s origin.  Basically, Gorr came to curse the gods his people were devoted to.  His world was dry as a bone, and people were suffering.  His family was all killed off, and offerings, prayers, etc to their gods resulted in nothing.  Finally, as Gorr begins blaspheming, he is exiled.  In his banishment, he sees two gods in battle.  They nearly kill one another.  The “good guy” god begs for Gorr to help him.  Instead, he steals the “bad guy’s” weapon and kills him.  This is the origin of Gorr and his weapon, which we learn later is called “The Anihilablade.”  This issue introduces us to Gorr’s son as well, leaving us scratching our heads….

When I set out to read these stories, I thought they would be a smaller story arc.  Instead, it looks like Marvel roped us into eleven issues total.  Luckily, I enjoyed the book.  Unluckily it seemed that this book had an inconsistent release schedule.  It was like issue after issue came at once, then there was a lull of like six weeks….

The second part of the story is called “Godbomb.”  With the ability to control time, Gorr has gathered gods from all corners of the universe and kept them as slaves to build a bomb that will make their “species” extinct all through the ages of time.  Gorr is making himself into a god, styled after the gods that drove him to become what he is.  But he refuses to admit this to himself.  He also does other things, including giving the slaves the seventh day off, and crucifying gods who try to rebel.  (Here is some of where I got offended.  ITS JUST COMICS.  Whew.  Got that over.)  Viking Thor is among these slave gods, and when he arrives on the planet where the bomb is being built, right away he takes action and manages to escape and meet up with the other two Thors.

This story moves a little faster than the first arc, because we are not jumping around in time.  All three Thors are on the same timeline.  Which is what it would take to bring down Gorr and his plan.  We also see that the Black Bersekers are now a mighty army, and Gorr not only has a son, but also a wife.  These two are hopeful that Gorr’s dream of a godless universe will come about.

What happens basically is that the Thor’s fail.  The bomb explodes, killing ages of gods, past present, and future.

But…Thor the Avenger takes a last desperate breath, grabs his future hammer, and goes into the exploding bomb, absorbing the blast into both Mjolnir hammers.  In doing so, he also steals Gorr’s weapon.  We find out that Gorr’s wife and child were just constructs as well.  And then Viking Thor chops off his head.

I also like the follow up one-shot.  Issue 12 shows the three Thor’s returning to their proper time, forgetting all about their future adventure.

Analysis.

Gorr the Godbutcher represents humanism and agnosticism.  Both viewpoints either deny the necessity of God or deny that we are of concern to him.  Gorr is someone who lost his faith after being burned over and over, having prayers unanswered while devotion was religiously given.  He took action in the most negative way possible.  (Otherwise he wouldn’t have been a villain, right…)

Thor is seen as an evolution of Western religion.  His barbarian self represents what gods were like in early pagan times.  His Avenger self represents the active and visible religions of the world.  (I like how issue 12 portrays Thor!)  Then the All-Father Thor represents that far off and untouchable-ness people often sense from God.

So Thor and Gorr are philosophical opposites.  And in the end, Gorr had no hope.  All of his hope was in himself and his efforts.  And religion won out, living it’s legacy after the god butchers was more or less erased from history….

Hmmm….deep.

My Rating.

I rate this story arc as a 4/5.

I took a point because the story starts to ramble a bit.  I wish it were one of two things.  Either a story spread over a 100 issue series, or a lot shorter…Maybe only six books long.  Instead, we got eleven books and a twelfth book chaser.  Think.  This is a YEAR WORTH OF READING.

But it kept me interested.  I kept buying.  The high idea of the story, Humanism vs Religion as a slasher story, was very entertaining.  The art has its own style, and I am glad to see that Marvel is still printing letters at the back of almost every book.

He-Man.org Fan Poll…The Current DC Comics

You can find the poll I reference throughout this post on He-Man.org until Sunday, February 16th, 2014 at 11:00 PM EST.

The poll asks our opinions about the current comics.  I am one of those (quiet?) people who actually enjoy the new comics, while all around the web people are bad mouthing them.

Here is how I answered the poll questions.  (Everything is a scale of 1-10, 1 being worst opinion, 10 being the best.)

Overall, how do you rate the story in the current on-going DC MOTU comic?


I gave this one a 7.  I appreciate the “secret identity less” continuity they have established.  The Dark Orko thing doesn’t bother me, and I feel it shouldn’t bother so many others.  The idea of “the buffoon” being the big-bad isn’t new, but MOTU fans don’t seem to be aware of this.  They are treating Dark Orko with the dreadful criticism deserved for Scrappy Doo in the Scooby Doo movie.
GO BACK AND READ YOUR ASIMOV, People!  (OK, I’ll lead you there, since you seem blind without me.  Check out “The Mule.”

What I don’t like is that they started the whole thing in an altered reality.  That isn’t a strong place to start.  I also don’t like the way they write Teela.  Hordak is OK, but far too many people have been killed off.  

They’ve beaten the Good Guys down over and over it seems.  There hasn’t hardly been any victory.  And I like my good guys to win in Masters of the Universe.

I almost feel like this whole current main story arc is heading towards a big reset button where the comics will transform into a more comfortable, filmation-esque story.  Everything and everyone reverted back to normal.  Or maybe a part of me wishes that would happen.

Overall, how do you rate the art in the current on-going DC MOTU comic?

II rated this one at 8.  Largely the art has been pleasant.  Some of it has been sort of Avant Garde, even.  (The Origin of He-Man in particular)

The art in this book is very high level.
And I think the hottest Sorceress design appears in this book too!



I don’t like all of the art.  There was one recent issue that I really hated…The one where they enter Subternia.  Nope.  Not my style.  Way too scribbly.

Here’s an example.  And it seemed to decay even more as the issue neared the end.




Overall, how do you rate the story in the current DCU vs MOTU comic?


Remember this post, oh Hub City Geeks?  I was so excited…You’d think I’d give it a 10.  But I give it an 8 instead.

Well…there are a couple of things that are unclear.  Is this story really in the New 52 continuity? It is billed as it is.

What has been happening in the main continuity of the DC Universe is never referenced, hardly ever anyway.  No news of Forever Evil.  And it seems Green Lantern is with the League.  Frustrating.  Didn’t he fly away after the whole mess with David Graves?

A couple of more weak things…Evil Lynn is not so good at deception.  Anyone can see a double cross coming.  Also, why wasn’t Wonder Woman more angry that He-Man killed Superman?  Everyone remember this, from the Old 52?

Shouldn’t more have been made of the Man of Steel’s demise?
As far as I know, this is the first time Superman was killed in the New 52.  I know, I know.  It was an impostor.  Still.  It is notable.

And this has been more of a Justice League Dark story, than a Justice League (regular) story.

Gripe. Gripe.  Gripe.

What do I like?  I like that this story comes right after the Horde invasion, but before the events of Masters of the Universe #7.  It is wedged in there.  I like that Skeletor’s story continues here, and that Dark Orko is revealed here.

(Shouldn’t I have separated my vote from the first question?  I guess I didn’t know they were distinguishing between the two titles.)

I like that Skeletor is gathering lackeys on Earth as well.  At least Black Alice.  And she has been entertaining.

You know what would be great?  In Forever Evil the Crime Syndicate keeps talking about “a being that destroyed our planet.”  What if that being turns out to be…Dark Orko.

I expect Darkseid.  Or someone like that.  But Dark Orko would rectify some of the seeming inconsistencies.  Wouldn’t t be cool if Dark Orko was from the Earth 3 Universe…That would be sick!  I guess we’ll find out when that this month’s issue ships!

(That is totally not going to happen.  DC wouldn’t base their universe on Mattel’s property.  Still, one could dream!)

I guess I should also mention the Unnamed One here.  There seems to be a coincidence.  The Unnamed One is Dark Orko.  And Dark Orko’s origin issue ships at the same time as the Nameless One.  Sorry for any spoilers…But you probably already knew anyways.

Overall, how do you rate the art in the current DCU vs MOTU comic?

The art here is on par with all of the other DC New 52 titles.  I am fairly pleased.  I rated it 9. (It still isn’t Todd McFarlane.)


How are the costume designs for the MOTU characters in the DC comics?


Now here is one I can be 100% behind.  I love the new designs!  It bothers me a little bit about Skeletor not having a bottom jaw, but in the same way the Joker doesn’t have a face, so….



I gave this one a 10.  I hope they make figures of the Masters with these designs as well.  Maybe even a mini-subscription, like they did a couple of times before.

Do you agree with my opinions?  Let me know!  I will have to follow up and compare my votes with the final results.


SpartanNerd Blog…Blog Photos the way they Should Be!

I have a few really nice figures, and am always reviewing them on this blog….

But up until now, I have only used my kitchen table….Or maybe the “Protector of the Keep” playmate for Magic cards or comics.

But not anymore!

The SpartanWife got me an early Valentines present…And I was completely surprised and blown away by it.

A LIGHTBOX!

Now I can take really good pictures, and edit them like a pro!

Here is a sample!

D Arts MegaMan!

i switched out the armor on Snout Spout last week.
I like my elephant warriors to be more savage!

Teela has proven to be the hardest to photograph.
I think her face is a bit too shiny for the spotlight.  Here I gave here a cooler treatment,
with mystical blue lighting.

Here is Marvel Select Thor, with a black background and a filter.  I wanted an antique look.
I am especially fond of how the hammer turned out.

Skeletor is an interesting one to photograph.  So much detail!  This black and white filter really makes the trio of Panthor, Havoc Staff, and Skeletor feel like they came from a horror story.

A good pic of the details on Panthor’s face.  The Sepia filter makes it feel bronze, or clay even.

One thing, Skeletor’s eyes can hypnotize you if you stare too long at them.
There was masterful design and execution on the face sculpt and painting of Skeletor.

I think this is my favorite picture I have taken with the new equipment.  Nothing too fancy.  But it feels like the cover of a Conan the Barbarian comic book.  I tried to have Vikor hold Teela over his shoulder, but their facial expressions are too calm for that pose to work.  Still, Red is the perfect color to go behind Vikor.

I tried to get a “Catalogue” feel on He-Man and Battlecat here.  

And here he/they are.  Two Bad looks like he leapt off of the comic pages as well.

I have a lot to learn about taking pictures for reviews, and editing them as well with iPhoto or other software.  But I am off to a good start.  The lightbox is a 3X3X3 cube with two spotlights and four background colors.  I have found that sometimes the light reflects on faces a little too much, as in the case of Teela, Mega-Man, and Two-Bad above, but I was able to recover most of the time with editing.  I need to spend more time previewing before shooting, I think.  And also maybe moving the lights back or something.  I also took a few pics right before my iPhone battery died, and I believe that caused them to be a little blurrier. (I took some Pokemon pics that were unusable.)

There are also size limitations.  He-Man and Skeletor barely fit on their cats in the pics.  I cropped down what you see.  But the Griffin is way too big for the lightbox treatment.  And so is Megator, really.

Still, it is a great start and I am having a blast.  Comment on the photos!

(Also check out my recent blurb about Born of the Gods, where I also used the white reflecting material as the background for the cards.)

Oh yeah.  My rating.  The Polaroid Lightbox gets a 5/5!

It folds up for easy transport and storage into a little baggy with pouches for the lights.  It also came with a camera stand that I will have to try out when I use a real camera sometime instead of an iPhone.  I won’t fault it on it’s size.  Really it is perfect for most action figures, and I am a beginner.