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Review of Thor 9 (4.5 stars) June 3, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews, L O S T.
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Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Despite this being a mainly supporting cast issue, this might be the best one so far. This isn’t to say that Thor’s friends are more interesting than him, quite the contrary, rather that JMS’ writing is so strong that he can produce a spectacular issue even without his title character. In fact, the opening panel shows Thor just as he is leaving (perhaps to make his appearance in Invincible Iron Man 2 😉 ) and Loki approaches Balder. Balder, like most of Asgard, still does not trust Loki and he does his best to ignore her, but like any good fantasy villain, her treachery comes not from her powers or strength, but her venomous words that poison our heroes be degrees. Of course, there are some that see right through her trickery, as Fandral rejects her words with a witty remark.

Eventually, Balder sees some wisdom (though false) in her words, and goes to engage some loose Frost Giants that Loki has notified him about. (Of course, said Frost Giants are actually working for Loki.) Next, we get a lot of humor as “Little Bill” finally decides to take Kelda up on her offer to visit Asgard. I’m not sure what cracked me up more, Bill’s attempt at his “floral delivery,” or the Asgardians’ attempts to understand basketball. Nonetheless, JMS provides us with more of the society-clashing hilarity that I have come to love from this book.

Finally, we see the ramifications of Balder’s and Loki’s Frost Giant battle, as the authorities intervene and laws of the gods clash with the laws of men. Eventually it takes Thor to clear everything up with the “mortals,” as he states his displeasure with Balder’s hastiness and reminds him that the laws of mortals must be better understood before there are major interactions with their world. Of course, Balder hears more excuse to take away his supposed freedom, and therefore is more inclined to believe Loki. At the end, we get a big reveal as Loki informs Balder that he is really the son of Odin and half-brother of Thor, and has just as much right to the throne. All I can say is that Loki is one talented schemer. JMS excels at giving this series a classical mythological feel while maintaining the elements of a modern day superhero comic, and most importantly, being downright entertaining. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: anyone who is not already reading this series needs to at least look into it, as this is quite possibly Marvel’s best ongoing. (Also, apologies if this post sounds somewhat less coherent than normal, I am very tired as I write this.)

-LOTRKing

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Casual Saturdays: John Locke – In Memoriam May 31, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Casual Days, L O S T.
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If anyone hasn’t already had the LOST Season Four finale spoiled by reading yesterday’s post, then the title of today’s post gives it away. (That’s your fault for not watching the episode yet anyway, you untrue LOST fan. :p 😉 ) So yes, John Locke, my favorite LOST character, and one of my favorite fictional characters ever is now dead. There is some hope, assuming we see what happened to the Island after it vanished, we will likely get more of his story and learn just how he died. Likewise, there are rumors floating around that if Locke’s body returns to the Island, it will come back to life like Christian’s did. Then again, I think Christian seems more a phantom than alive, so who knows really? Personally, I’ve accepted that this awesome character is going to die, but at least we know he probably died happy. After his miserable existence before the Island, we see that Locke was finally able to learn the secrets of the Island and to lead a group of people who believed in it as strongly as he did.

So why all this fuss about a dead fictional character? No, I’m not traumatized at his death, nor will I be wearing black the next several days. But his character was awesome in so many ways, that I figured he deserved a little memorial post. (Don’t tell me Dumbledore wasn’t on your mind for several days after reading Harry Potter 6!) Locke, more than any other character in the show, “got” the Island. While everyone else was merely trying to survive and get rescued, Locke was surviving effortlessly and exploring this new world around him. It wasn’t long before he stumbled upon some of the secrets of the Island and spent his time trying to solve their mysteries.

Of course, what caused this intense curiosity is likely the healing that the Island brought to him. I’m not just referring to his paralyzed legs that were suddenly healed, he also got his life “healed.” Before the Island, Locke had had a traumatizing and tragic life. Everything that had brought him joy had been stolen away by a sad event, oftentimes involving his con artist father. On the Island, Locke finally had a chance to escape that. He had the opportunity to lead, to learn, and to have what he did actually matter. He began to realize in his explorations of the Island that “everything happens for a reason.” Locke was able to see things where other people did not want to see them. Truly, the Island chose him for a very special reason.

Here’s to the memory of the unforgettable character named John Locke.

-LOTRKing

My Reactions to LOST Season Four, Episode Thirteen: There’s No Place Like Home – Part Two – Season Finale May 30, 2008

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NYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR *takes a deep breath* RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGG! John Locke is dead! The moment I’ve been dreading since the moment in the first season when John began to question the purpose of the hatch has arrived. Forget Jin, we already knew that was coming, this took me by surprise, and I am deeply depressed. Or perhaps I’m just in denial, I didn’t believe it when John “died” in season three, and I don’t want to believe it now. However, we actually saw the dead and embalmed body, so as much as I don’t want to believe it, I know it has to be true. Only two things give me comfort, one, assuming the next season will show events on the Island shortly after it disappeared, there will still be an opportunity for closure in Locke’s story. Two, since he finally learned all the secrets of the Island (presumably) and since he got to lead a group of people who believed in the Island as much as he did, I know that he must have died happy. If I could compose music, I’d write “Requiem for Locke” in this sad time. Let’s all take a moment of silence right now to commemorate one of the coolest fictional characters ever created.

As tragic as this shocking death is, there is of course much more that happened in the season finale, so I’ll move on, as always, in no real order whatsoever. The actual moving of the Island scene seemed very much to echo the scene where Desmond turned the key at the end of season two. Both Ben and Desmond knew they were making a sacrifice (okay, so Des thought he was going to die, but still, neither man looked forward to the outcome), but they knew it was going to happen for the greater good. Both scenes took place in a mysterious chamber underground. And of course, the most obvious, the sky turned purple in both instances. As Locke always used to say, “everything happens for a reason,” and if the fact that these scenes were very similar is just a coincidence, then I’ll eat a backgammon set. When Desmond turned the key, the Island showed up on radar or GPS (or something) just long enough for Penny to know what general vicinity to look in. This time around, the Island has moved … somewhere. So the first incident allowed the Island to be found, the second allowed it to be hidden, two sides of the same coin, yet another common theme throughout LOST. Where did the Island go? Did it move through space? Time? Both? If it really was a temporal nexus, as I’ve been guessing most of this season, how does the movement of a nexus affect the space-time continuum? So many questions have once again been brought up, but with so many things that have been answered this season, I have faith that the creators will tell us everything we need to know in the final two seasons, even if they do leave a few pieces lying about for us to fit in on our own. Also, as a side note, it was good to finally see a redeeming action on Ben’s part as he sacrificed his life on the Island to save the Island and its inhabitants.

As for Jin’s death, while it was very sad, I can’t say I wasn’t expecting it. Ever since the episode that showed that Sun lived alone with Ji-Yeon, I harbored a small hope that Jin might somehow still be alive (since we had not seen how he had died), but this episode pretty much confirmed otherwise. The only possibility I can see is that when Christian appeared with Michael and said “you’re done now,” he (and/or Jacob) somehow transferred Michael and the other passengers off the freighter, but I highly doubt it. With the exception of Locke in season three, and the creepy Mikhail who seems to be immortal, there have been no miraculous “resurrections,” and I really don’t expect any more.

Finally, we get the promise that the six need to return to the Island to set things right. One thing confuses me here. Last we saw of Claire, she was with Christian in Jacob’s cabin, and therefore seems to side with Jacob. But in Kate’s dream Claire told her, “Don’t you dare take him back!” referring, presumably, to Aaron and the Island. So if Ben wants the Six to return to benefit the Island, but Claire doesn’t want the return to happen, something doesn’t add up here. Either Claire has abandoned Jacob and her father for some unknown reason, or Ben, perhaps enraged for having to leave the Island, is no longer working in best interest of the Island. Personally, I don’t care who is right, now that Locke is dead, the only thing I want to see have happened by the end of this series is the guaranteed safety of the Island, as that is what Locke would have wanted. (Oh, and Jack is still an idiot for not listening to Locke.) So I side with the Island and with Jacob, and as far as I’m concerned Charles Widmore can burn.

Well, seeing as how this is the season finale, my weekly reaction posts are now over. To replace this column, I’ve started a new column last week entitled “Casual Saturdays.” (Click here to read last week’s entry.) In it, I will actually using this blog as, well, a blog, and comment on whatever I feel like for that week. Originally, I had different plans for tomorrow’s post, but I will bump them to next week. Now you can check back tomorrow for a special commemorative post, remembering the life, works, and pure awesomeness that was Locke. John, here’s to you.

This is LOTRKing signing off of LOST reactions.

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My Reactions to LOST Season Four, Episode Twelve: There’s No Place Like Home – Part One May 16, 2008

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Garg! A whole two weeks until the season finale! Thank goodness this episode was good enough to last us ‘til then. As I always seem to do in these “LOST Reactions” posts, I’ll move along in random order: first, I’m glad that Jack will eventually find out that Claire is his sister. With his father being dead, and Claire left behind on the Island, I feared he’d never learn the truth. This leads to my next comment, assuming the Six are going to leave the Island soon, it appears that Claire may get no say as to whether she wanted Aaron to leave the Island or not. When the Six finally do return to the Island (c’mon, it’s inevitable) I feel sorry for the person who may face Claire’s (and possibly Jacob’s) wrath for baby-snatching.

Back to the “present” time, I sure as heck want to know what Ben’s plan is, because the way it’s been implemented so far seems questionable to me. Also, why is the Orchid underground? Could it be the location of the source of the Island’s power? And why was a light signal required before travelling there? Who was he signaling? Perhaps the Orchid is near the Temple, and Ben had to let the Others know why he was travelling there? And speaking of the Others, why has a group left the Temple in order to abduct Kate and Sawyer? And what do they want with them? I think in this desperate time for the Island, the Others and the Survivors may finally need to ally to keep themselves alive. (It would certainly be interesting to watch.)

Lastly, on the freighter, we finally get to see a portion of the survivors “re-meet” Michael. Personally, I’m surprised Jin didn’t sock him in the face. Of course, the big question from the ship is, why is a bunch of C4 wired, where’d it come from, and how are they going to defuse it? All of this put together looks as though the season finale will be just as shocking as ever and I certainly can’t wait.

See you in two weeks! (Or sooner if you read my comics reviews! 😉 )

-LOTRKing

My Reactions to LOST Season Four, Episode Eleven: Cabin Fever May 9, 2008

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Whoa, with so many hints and Easter Eggs in one episode, this show seems to get more complex by the minute. Learning that both the Island’s people and Widmore’s people have had an interest in Locke since a very early age just confirms what I’ve been saying all along: Locke is easily the coolest and most interesting character in this show. Moving along in random order, the ending scene seems to quell the rumor that Christian Shepherd is Jacob, but he apparently has very close ties. Likewise, Claire’s prescence in the cabin took me aback. I realize that she was last scene being lead away by Christian, and I’ve always liked her character, but I never thought that she was part of the “grand scheme of things” on the Island. I’m beginning to wonder if every survivor of 815, including the minor ones that are only in the background, is there for a very specific purpose, or was in some way or other “chosen.”

Back on the freighter, things take a turn for the scary as Keemi stages a mutiny and plans to “torch” the Island. We also learn that the freighter people received news of the doctor’s death from the Island before it happened, confirming again that the Island is definitely surrounded by some sort of temporal distortion. Whether this is more proof of my Temporal Nexus Theory or not remains to be seen.

Finally, we have the closing line of “we need to move the Island.” What sort of movement does this suggest? The first answer would probably be a physical displacement, implying the Island can somehow move, and with all the other crazy things in the show, it is certainly possible. However, I’m wondering if the movement will be temporal, perhaps the Island is some sort of giant time machine which can move itself back and forth through time? (It would certainly explain why Richard Alpert has appeared at several points in time never looking any older.) Anyway, I’m certainly looking forward to the season finale, as next week begins the first part, and I’m sure the ending will be even bigger than last year.

-LOTRKing

My Reactions to LOST Season Four, Episode Ten: Something Nice Back Home May 2, 2008

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So Claire has disappeared again, talk about season one déjà vu. Of course, this time, it was her and Jack’s father who lead her off and who, according to some popular internet rumors, might also be Jacob. The (seemingly) obvious thing about her disappearance is that it was forced because she would (seemingly) never leave Aaron. Then again, we have the whole conundrum of why Kate ends up with Aaron off-Island, and Claire is not off-Island. An obvious answer would be that Claire is dead (which would just be way too sad for me to accept), and the other answer is, well, not obvious. If Claire is still on the Island without Aaron in the “present,” as with everything on this show, there has to be a reason, especially when an obvious reason is not apparent.

Jumping backward through the episode, Jack’s appendicitis didn’t arouse suspicion in me until Rose pointed out the obvious: people don’t get sick on the Island. Therefore, Jack’s appendicitis can mean one of two things: either he was poisoned by someone, or he is being “punished” by Jacob like Ben was (at least, that is my explanation for Ben’s tumor). If Jacob is indeed somehow Jack’s father, this might provide some insight in why he is being punished (though not much), and if not, I am now really curious why Jacob would punish him. Perhaps for saving Ben, who he was punishing in the first place?

Lastly, we have the “present” plotline, and we learn that after the trial, Jack changes his mind about Aaron and moves in with Kate. As is apparent by the end of the show, this is not going to work out, and for some reason as stated by Charlie, it is not meant to. This, like all of the “present” plotlines just makes me sad. The Oceanic Six’s lives after the Island suck just as much as before the Island. Couldn’t they all see that Locke was the “awesomest” character, and know to trust him when he said they shouldn’t leave? 😉

More next week! Please leave comments!

-LOTRKing

My Reactions to LOST Season Four, Episode Nine: The Shape of Things to Come April 25, 2008

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That was without a doubt the best LOST episode to date. Just a few quick comments for today: one, I was utterly shocked at the death of Alex. I knew as soon as Ben started speaking that it was a ruse and that he was expected the soldier to release her when he revealed his “lack of feelings” for her. For the first time ever, Ben’s plan failed, and as creepy as he may be, I feel sorry for the guy. Two, the smoke monster attack was probably the single coolest part of any LOST episode, as soon as I saw it coming through the trees, I couldn’t stop grinning. On another note, I loved Bernard’s “pwnage” of Daniel with the Morse Code. The only real problem I had with this episode was when Sawyer decided to leave and take Claire (I was uber shocked when I thought she had died! Sorry, I digress.) and Aaron with him. It seemed a little forced. I realize that Sawyer was getting fed up the shroud of mystery surrounding Ben and Locke, but his sudden statement of “I’m leaving” seemed to come out of no where. You’d think the fact that Miles’ people had just tried to kill them would be a reason to trust Locke, since he and Ben were trying to avoid them in the first place. Likewise, why would Claire give up on “Charlie’s final message” so easily? Oh well, can’t have everything be perfect. Lastly, the concluding scene was the icing on the cake. Ben and Charles are going to have their little game of chess, and we are going to see who wins. Much as I’d hate to see Penelope die, I can’t help but think that Charles finding the Island would be the worst case scenario. He may be creepy and ruthless, but for some reason I trust Ben, almost as much as I trust Locke. This is without a doubt the best show on television, if not the best show ever. (Yes, even better than Firefly *gasp!* Star Trek. *double gasp!* *Can feel himself being excommunicated from the brotherhood of nerddom.*)

Please leave comments!

-LOTRKing

My Reactions to LOST Season Four, Episode Eight: Meet Kevin Johnson March 21, 2008

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Not since “Flashes Before Your Eyes” of season three has there been an episode like this: a question is asked, then answered all in one episode. I must say, it does make for a satisfying episode (all of the mini-mysteries of LOST are what make it fun, but it can sometimes be annoying when done in excess) even if not the most “mess-with-your-mind” as we often get from this show. This wasn’t quite how I would have guessed that Michael got onto the freighter, but it does make perfect sense. In fact, it was quite well done, because now we will not have to see very much of Walt, as everything has been resolved on his part. Nothing against Walt as a character, but if only three months in terms of the show has gone by and Walt has magically aged from 10 to 14, well, it would take some fairly heavy explaining to make up for that. (Ah! The limitations of making a TV show not in real time! 😉 ) As for the “two endings” of this episode, I’m curious how Ben’s plan will work now that the Captain knows about his spy. Did Ben intend for this to happen? (Everything that happens always seems to be a part of his plan!) If not, are the goals of the freighter people really to kill everyone on the Island? As always, time will tell. As for the deaths of Rousseau and Carl, I must say, about 10 seconds before Carl died, I thought “Holy crap! I think Carl’s gonna die!” Don’t know why I thought that, but I did, and then it happened. Weird. As for Rousseau, that was certainly unexpected, though we know almost everything we need to about her, so why not kill her off? (That seems to be the LOST motto: tell ‘em everything they need to know about the character, and then kill them off!) The big question is who the assassin was, was it one of the freighter people, or was it one of Ben’s people? If it was one of Ben’s people, killing off Carl is semi-understandable, but why Rousseau? And finally, a bit off topic, what is this temple that has been mentioned several times now? On the map, it had a Dharma logo on it, so it was likely associated with the Dharma Initiative and not the “hostiles.” I really have no idea what it could be, the true home of Jacob? The lair of the monster? The location of the secrets of the Island? The “big magic box”? Who knows? I’m just calling it right now, that the temple will be insanely important in the future.

Well, LOST is going on hiatus, and so, of course, my reactions must too. The next episode airs on April 24th, so be sure to watch it, then check here on the 25th for more of my comments, theories, and random babblings! (Oh yeah, and please leave comments!)

-LOTRKing

My Reactions to LOST Season Four, Episode Seven: Ji Yeon March 14, 2008

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Dude. Jin’s dead. Didn’t see that coming. Especially since we didn’t see the death, and went straight to the tombstone. All violence aside, this was probably the most shocking death of the show to date, simply because it came out of no where, I’m not sure I’ve completely fathomed his death yet. (Smart move on the writer’s part to have Jin’s scenes be in the past and Sun’s scenes be in the future, it certainly made everything seem believable.)

Moving backwards, big reveal number two: Michael’s back. Well that one I did see coming, his name has been listed in the opening credits since the beginning of this season, I knew it was only a matter of time, though I suspected to see him somewhere in the future flashforwards, not on the boat. Truth be told, I suspected that Locke was the man on the boat. How can he be on the boat and Island at the same time, you ask. Well if the Island is indeed a temporal nexus, he would simply need to leave the Island in a direction that would take him to the past, and then infiltrate the Widmore Corporation, etc etc, until he got on the boat. Up until now, that was my theory. Now I’m thinking Michael went slightly into the past (not too far, maybe a year or two before he came to the Island), Ben’s off-Island men recruited him, and he ended up on the freighter. Where’s (Waldo, no wait) Walt? I don’t know, I think about that some more before I form a theory.

Big reveal number three: Ben staged the fake wreckage at the bottom of the ocean. Good. This really simplifies things. If that was the “real” wreckage, and the Island wreckage was also “real,” man that would have taken some heavy explaining. This also proves that whatever off-Island organization Ben heads does indeed have huge power and access to large sums of money.

Lastly, what’s up with the suicides? I’m guessing the people are experienced things similar to what Desmond experienced, but on a much smaller level. First, let me explain what I think happened to Desmond. If the Island is a temporal nexus, then an exact direction would have to be followed to get to a specific point in time. If the freighter is in the “present” of the show (which is really December 2004), they need to head in that direction. But if the storm caused them to change directions slightly (to whatever year Desmond was flashing back to), then when the changed back to the “present” Desmond’s mind from the past may have come with them (for whatever reasons, yet unknown, that he is more susceptible to “temporal motion sickness.”) Going back to the suicides, if the freighter is too close to the Island, it may occasionally drift a few minutes into the past or future. If the passengers that are susceptible to “temporal motion sickness” are constantly having their head jump to a few minutes into the past or future, it would be not only jarring, but like a constant case of déjà vu, so suicide seems a good way to end that. As for why the captain didn’t let anyone swim after the girl? Well, suppose they swam too far in one direction and….. well, you get the idea.

More next week! Please leave comments!

-LOTRKing

LOTRKing, Where Have You Been? March 10, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Stuff, L O S T, Other Random Stuff.
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So where have I been? Well, you wouldn’t believe it, but first I was abducted by Skrulls and then ….. wait, you don’t believe me? Well, here’s the “real” answer then, mostly I’ve just been uber-busy. This past week I worked doubles every day except Wednesday, and I was still busy on Wednesday anyway (doesn’t point to the stack of comics that he bought that day). There were some days when I wasn’t busy enough, and I could’ve written a review or two, but on those days I was just lazy. So to the people who missed my comics reviews and LOST theories in the last two weeks (all four of you), I’m sorry. But just to make up for it, for the next two weeks, I’m going to post something every day (except Sunday). That’s right Monday through Saturday starting today for the next fortnight, there will be a comics review, or some LOST theories, or just some random babblings (heck, I’m even planning to write a review of a fairly new CD). So, since this is today’s post (cause I can cheat like that), check back tomorrow for my much delayed review of Thor 6!

But before I sign off, just some quick comics news: I unfortunately must now sacrifice three more dollars a month. Why? Because I was silly enough to read the first seven issues of Avengers: The Initiative on my Civil War DVD-ROM, and they were insanely awesome. This series is too good not to read, so I will be picking it up for the time being. I’m still catching up on back issues however, so you’ll have to wait a bit for a review of a current issue (I’m not going to review back issues like I did with Daredevil and Thor, because I’m lazy). Doesn’t this go against what I’ve said in my FAQ about picking up new series? Yes, it does. This is exactly why I try not to read other comics, because I’m afraid I’ll like them, and then have to pick up the whole series. You can say “its just one more comic series, only $3 more a month”, until you are in financial oblivion, and I won’t do that. So I think this is really only a one time thing, don’t expect me to pick up another series without sacrificing another any time soon. (Unless they start a Silver Surfer ongoing series.) (And Secret Invasion doesn’t count, it is pretty much a given that it needs to be read, so I will of course be getting those.)

See you tomorrow!

-LOTRKing