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Flashback: Review of Silver Surfer 6 (Volume 1, June 1969) September 22, 2008

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Ever since reading an adaptation of The Time Machine by H.G. Wells in elementary school, I’ve been a fan of apocalyptic future tales. There’ve been a lot of great ones, and a lot of, well, not-so-great ones, but this issue most definitely ranks with the former, and serves as some of the best Silver Age material that Stan Lee has to offer.

The story begins with Norrin, once again, lamenting his exile on Earth and missing Shalla-Bal (they do seem to enjoy using this a lot). He has an epiphany and realizes that if he travels far enough into the future, he may find a time when Galactus’ barrier no longer exists. When he does so, he finds a devastating sight: Earth is completely barren. Saddened at the loss of his adopted home, he returns to his true home only to discover that Zenn-La has experienced a similar fate.

Eventually he learns that nearly all life in the universe has been obliterated by a being known as the Overlord. As the two meet, we get another philosophical tale from Stan Lee as he examines the importance of life. Eventually, the Silver Surfer is able to escape the Overlord and change time, but not before once again appreciating all the universe has to offer. I’m trying not to give too much of the story away, but suffice to say, this should definitely go on your list of old comics to look up.

Next week: Uncanny X-Men 128

-LOTRKing

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Casual Saturdays: My Spicy Chili Recipe September 20, 2008

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Today I thought I’d share my own award winning (fine print: this won the award for spiciest chili at a chili cook-off using the “even spicier” variant recipe mentioned at the bottom of the recipe) Spicy Chili Recipe. Enjoy!

Staples’ Spicy Chili

• 1 lb ground beef
• ¼ cup dehydrated onions or fresh chopped onions
• 2 16 oz cans pinto beans
• 1 16 oz can red beans
• 1 16 oz can kidney beans
• 1 16 oz can diced tomatoes or petite diced tomatoes
• ½ package of chili seasoning
• 3 cups tomato sauce
• 1 cup water
• ½ tsp salt
• ¼ – ½ tsp pepper
• ½ tsp seasoned salt
• ½ tsp ground chipotle chili pepper
• ½ tsp ground cumin
• ½ tbsp ground cayenne pepper
• Optional: grated cheese
• Optional: crackers

Brown the beef and onions, afterwards, rinse the mixture in a colander. Next, rinse all of the beans in a colander. Thoroughly mix all ingredients in a large saucepan or crock pot. If in a saucepan, cook covered 20 – 30 min on medium heat. If in a crock pot, slow cook for several hours, exact time varying depending on temperature. Serve hot, add cheese and/or crackers to individual bowls as desired. For even spicier chili, use 1 tsp of chipotle chili pepper and 1 tbsp of cayenne pepper. For meatier chili, use 1 ½ pounds of ground beef.

-LOTRKing

Yarr! It Be International Talk Like a Pirate Day! September 19, 2008

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Ahoy me mateys! Unfortunately those scallywags at Marvel Subscriptions be delaying me shipment once more, so there’ll be no review today! Arr! However, this be yer reminder to talk like a pirate all day long, or ye shall be forced to walk the plank! If ye be not back tomorrow for Casual Saturdays, ye’ll be given the black spot!

-Captain LOTRBeard

Don’t look at me! September 18, 2008

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Still no comics in the mail! Hey, it’s not my fault! Unfortunately, I’m out of recent reviews of mine to link to at WCBR. So until my postal carrier delivers me some comic book goodness, there are still plenty of great reviews not written by me (this, perhaps, is what makes them so great 😉 ) at Weekly Comic Book Review.

Here’s hoping there’s a review tomorrow! (And you guys probably aren’t going to be too happy when I say that there will be no “Casual Saturdays” this week either! Oops! Cat’s out of the bag now! Gosh, what a lazy week!)

-LOTRKing

Review of Ultimate X-Men/Fantastic Four Annual 2008 (3.5 stars) September 17, 2008

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Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Still no comics in the mail yesterday, here’s hoping there’s something new today. Until then, here’s a review of a good two-part “Ultimate” story. (Well, a review of part one anyway.)

-LOTRKing

Review of Secret Invasion: Inhumans 2 (4 stars) September 16, 2008

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Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

No comics for me in the mail yesterday, so you guys get more WCBR linkage. Hopefully I’ll get something today (and I hope it’s ASM). If not, expect more linkage tomorrow! So for now, here is my review of SI:Inhumans 2. So far, this has been a great series, and anyone like who doesn’t know much about the Inhumans (like me), nor why they should care about them should pick this series up (or get it as a trade), because this really has me wanting to look into Inhuman history.

-LOTRKing

Flashback: Review of Fantastic Four 285 (December 1985) September 15, 2008

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If this issue serves as any evidence, it is not hard to see why John Byrne’s run on Fantastic Four is considered legendary. In this standalone issue, “Hero,” the Human Torch gets a stark contrast to Peter Parker’s “The Boy Who Collected Spider-Man” tale. The beginning of the story focuses on a boy named Tommy who idolizes the Human Torch. At school this boy is bullied, and his parents seem to have little time for him at home. The only thing that he seems to live is to follow the adventures of Johnny Storm. When a neighbor leaves out a tank of experimental fuel and asks Tommy to put it away, he cautions him not to spill any because it could turn him into “a real Human Torch.”

A few weeks later, Johnny is approached by a doctor who says that a dying boy would love to meet him in his final moments. As Johnny meets him, we learn that this boy is Tommy, and is suffering from third degree burns because he wanted to be “just like his hero.” As Johnny tries to cope with a death that he believed he caused, he is visited by the Beyonder (this is a Secret Wars II tie-in after all), who shows him that all Tommy ever lived for was the Torch, and that the rest of his life was only sad and pathetic. According to the Beyonder, he did not die because of Johnny, he lived because of Johnny.

I do not know if I really agree with this statement. Is it better that he had a shorter life full of suffering, or would it have been right for him to continue on with a chance to improve his life? I cannot truly say if I enjoyed this issue, but I must say, it does introduce some interesting philosophical questions. If you’re looking for a single story, not concerning traditional superheroics, but something that’ll leave you thinking for quite a while afterwards, this is certainly one to look into.

Next week: Silver Surfer 6 (Volume 1)

-LOTRKing

Casual Saturdays: Why You Should Get Facebook September 13, 2008

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When I first heard about Facebook, I thought it was stupid. A place where you could go online, and become “friends” with people that you already knew, and send mindless applications back and forth? Sounded like the ultimate immature middle-schooler’s internet haven. Then my younger sister got one. She went on about how useful it was, the fun she had, and the ability it gave her to actually get to know her friends better. I scoffed, why do you need a website to get to know your friends, shouldn’t you do that just by hanging out? Nonetheless, my sister continued to try to convince me to get one, and I just ignored her. Even my mother was against Facebook. She didn’t think it was “safe” for people to have their own internet page where they could put personal information and photos of themselves “for the world to see.” She thought it was the stalker’s internet haven.

Of course, sisters have a way of influencing people. When my aunt got one (my mother’s younger sister), she finally talked my mom into getting one. At work, I had numerous friends telling me I needed to get one. “Nah, I don’t need some stupid internet page to know I have friends, what’s the point?” When it reached the point that almost everyone I knew (even my bosses and some of my church leaders) had one, I finally caved in to “peer pressure.” “Well, I’ll start one, and if I think it’s stupid, I’ll just stop using it,” I thought.

To make an already long story short, I quickly saw how wrong I was. Sure, Facebook does have stupid applications and quizzes that were probably meant to appeal to immature middle-schoolers, but chain letter emails of the same ilk also exist, that doesn’t stop you from using email, you just simply ignore them, the same case happens here. Besides, I soon saw the possible benefits of Facebook outweighed any annoyances.

Facebook really does help you to connect with your friends better. When I graduated high school two years ago, I wondered how I would be able to keep up with all the various paths my friends took. Through Facebook, I have been able to reconnect with almost all of them (including two friends that I’ve been trying to track down since graduation, but haven’t been able to). Facebook acts like a little personal newspaper, as you update pictures and events about what’s going on in your life, your friends can keep up with what you are doing, and you can comment to them about it. Facebook even sends you reminders when friends have birthdays coming up.

I also discovered that not all applications were “stupid,” many are fun, and serve as more ways to express yourself and get to know each other. I realize this is a crazy world we live in where we can socialize more often sitting in front of a computer than in front of that person, but where can you seriously find all of your friends in one place? Besides, most of the people I “socialize” with on Facebook are people I don’t see very often, and I’m grateful that this is able to bring us together.

But what about the security factor? Facebook has easy to use and understand security features, you can pick exactly who can look at your information. For me, I have it set that only people who are my friends can look at any of my personal info, and the beneficial part is that you get to choose your friends, and you can delete people from you friend list at any time. As long as you are careful what you post, and what your security features are, there is nothing to worry about.

Facebook helps parents. Parents, if you get a Facebook, and become “friends” with your children, you can look and see what they are doing just as easily as any of their friends can. You can see exactly who their friends are. If nothing else, Facebook can also serve as a great “parental guidance” tool.

Facebook is the single most useful socializing tool I have found online. When I got a Gmail account, I thought Gmail was the most brilliant and user friendly form of email I’d ever seen. I was an avid Gmail fan who told all of my friends they should get one. Now that I’ve found Facebook, I feel just as strongly. It really does help you connect better with those around you.

-LOTRKing

Review of Mini-Marvels: Rock, Paper, Scissors TPB (4 stars) September 12, 2008

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Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This graphical novel compilation is utterly hilarious and completely worth the cover price! If you enjoy superheroes and humor, this is a must read. My review can be found here.

-LOTRKing

Review of Secret Invasion 6 (4.5 stars) September 11, 2008

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Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I don’t know how Bendis does it. Very little actually happens in this issue. As with every previous issue, there seem to be panels and pages that serve as nothing more than an ad for various tie-ins. And yet, this still manages to be a spectacular read. I’ll start off with the first thing I wondered: the Skrulls seem very happy that the heroes have the Wasp with them; what exactly was in the formula that “Hank” gave her back in Mighty Avengers 8? And why is Veranke so sure that it guarantees their victory, but wishes to use it only as a last resort?

Now concerning the new speech that the Skrulls made on all of our media, that was a brilliant move. I could see how many humans would be swayed to accept the Skrull’s promise of peace and prosperity. No matter how this story ends in two issues, the Skrulls will have still left a huge scar on Earth. Seriously, if we thought the aftermath of Civil War was big, the Skrull’s attack on Earth will definitely have much larger ramifications. And what is this Dark Reign that Marvel is hinting about?

Of course, the best part comes at the end (SPOILER WARNING), as Thor finally meets the new Captain America, and summons as many people as he can to make a last stand against the Skrull army. I won’t lie, seeing an army of heroes and villains united together to take on a legion of Skrulls caused my little nerd heart to almost burst with excitement. Once again, the parallels here between Secret Invasion and Civil War are amazing. Once more, the call of “Avengers Assemble!” is given to rally the troops, but it is no longer a war of ideas, now it is a war of survival. The battle begins on the final page, but this will not be fighting to disable, with a few accidental deaths, as occurred in CW, this is a battle to the death, and I expect the casualties to be high. (Oh, and I still think Dr. Strange will show up to pwn some Skrulls before this is all over.) Secret Invasion just may be Marvel’s most epic crossover yet.

-LOTRKing