Why the King of the Ring should be retired.

For those of you who don’t watch wrestling, there has been an on and off again tradition within the WWE. For years they’ve hosted a one night tournament called “King of the Ring” and who ever won it was talked up as some one to watch. However things have changed so much that winning it could be seen as more of a curse then a good thing.

Back in 1993, when it had it’s own pay per view, it was seen a boost to a superstar. Bret Hart won the first televised tournament, and despite already being a former world champion at that point he would go on for even greater success, becoming one of the biggest wrestlers in the 90s. His brother, the late Owen Hart would win in ’94, and while he never won a world title, he was in the midst of high profile feuds with Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H. The Late Mabel, or Viscera as he was known later on won in ’95 to little success, except the uncanny ability to be rehired in the mind 2000s.

The King of the Ring only became a launching pad for success in ’96 due to the birth of Stone Cold Steve Austin’s famous catch phrase after he beat Jake Roberts. It was that one moment he began to connect with the audience. ’97 saw Triple H win, and of course we know how that turned out. Ken Shamrock and Billy Gunn won the accolade in ’98 and ’99 respectively and their careers didn’t really receive the boost they were hoping for, with both failing to connect to the audience as single wrestlers.

In the 2000’s an up and comer called Kurt Angle would win it that year and he has become one of the greatest wrestlers ever. Edge won it in 2001 and he also was one of the biggest acts of the later 2000’s, before his sudden retirement due to injuries. Brock Lesnar was the last PPV winner of the event and if you haven’t heard of Brock Lesnar then picture a shaved bear who is quick as he is strong

Since then it’s only been brought back a handful for times. Booker T won it in 2006, but he was already a major star so it didn’t impact him too greatly. William Regal won it but then was caught in a drug scandal which derailed his push, Even then his career wasn’t ever the same after it. Sheamus won it, but it was used as a tool to mock him or so the dirt sheets say, and then again with Wade Barret, who is stuck in a lame fued with R-Truth. My point is, the WWE are treating the King of the Ring as if it’s some great honor, when really things couldn’t be further from the truth.

How do we fix this problem? It’s simple, have Barrett go full King and refer to the fans as his subjects, and have the Ascension work for him as his knights. You could form an entire stable based around that gimmick. If the WWE were truly serious you could turn it into a multi-month event, much like a football tournament, where every wrestler wrestles against each other for points and the eight highest point scores would then square off in a one night tournament. It would give meaning to a series of once meaningless matches on Raw and Smackdown. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening any time, and I don’t see the mistreat of the once red hot Wade Barrett changing any time soon either.

Look it’s one thing if you’re going to use the tournament as a way to get some one over, that’s fine. But if they win the tournament and they do nothing good with the boost, and end up in silly fueds then it helps no one.

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Why G.I.Joe America’s Elite World War 3 story is one of the greatest G.I.Joe events we’ll ever have.

G.I.Joe America’s Elite was Devils Due Publishing’s second attempt at an on going G.I.Joe series after their “A Real American Hero” series ended. It was a lot different to what had come before them, while still maintaining some of the problems from the ARAH title. America’s Elite focused on a much smaller roster, consisting of Snake Eyes, Scarlett, Stalker, Duke, Roadblock, Shipwreck and Flint with Storm Shadow hanging around because everyone likes ninjas. Gen. Joe Colton ran the team and it was written by Joe Casey and had more of a Superhero feel to it. More members were rotated in as the series continued.148067-18418-111371-1-g-i-joe-volume-ii

Some of the problems it inherited was the drama in the team felt forced. Before during the Marvel A.R.A.H. run, there wasn’t much conflict between high command and the lower level troops. In the DDP world though it seemed that high command was always angry at the lower level of the Joes, who themselves were constantly questioning their orders to the point where it was amazing any thing got done. The cobra forces fared no better with Cobra High Command going through at least 3 regime changes across the 42 issue run.

Amercia’s Elite during Joe Casey’s run did have the troops not trusting high command but it did have some great stories. See Cobra Commander had disappeared between the series and found his way into the White House as an advisor to the President (He was in disguise at the time, not his Blue Hood). He had formed the Phenoix Guard which consisted of former Cobra Mercs and had them assault the Rock. They were defeated, but that was the set up for World War 3.

World War 3 saw the combined Cobra and M.A.R.S. forces taking over large parts of America, France and England while assisting the up risings of various groups around the world. Across the 12 issue run of World War 3, it focuses on the core team and there “blink and you’ll miss them” cameos from various Joes across the many conflicts. There are also many call backs from previous events for long time fans. Scores are settled and the ending tis up most of the loose ends.

One of the more interesting aspects was that Cobra Commander had created his own self styled G.I.Joe force called “The Plague”. The 12 member team were to offset the Joes. It’s an interesting idea which should be explored again. The downside of the IDW trades is that the profiles aren’t collected, which is a shame because it’s an aspect of world building that should happen with more comics.JOE AE combined covers

While difficult to pull of an event style story because lets face it, it’s pretty much just two armies facing off against each other on a much larger scale, World War 3 pulls it off with aplomb. It’s a large scale threat, with nods and cameos from various Joes and has a satisfactory ending one can only hope for a series. IDW recently reprinted the America’s Elite series and it’s worth a read.

Why you should read Fables

Having read Fables Volume 21, I figured there would be no point of doing a review for the second to last volume of the just finished ongoing series, so instead I’ll be doing a why you should read it instead. Fables, for those of you who aren’t aware of it is about real life fairy tale figures, Snow White, The Big Bad Wolf etc all living in a contemporary New York. It’s was created by Bill Willingham and Lan Medina, on writing and art respectively.

The thing about Fables is it’s an already genius idea. The Fairy tale characters are on the run from a mysterious big bad guy who has managed to take over all of their home worlds, managed to craft characters that are both magical and human, and subvert the standard tropes. Prince Charming for example, his actually name by the way, is a leech, only in relationships because he can use people. Bigby Wolf, aka the Big Bad Wolf is the sheriff of the Fables, but also the son of the North Wind.

Over the course of 22 volumes, the last being released in July, the stories contained are some of the best. There is a warmth and richness in the writing. Often times it’s just as funny as it heart breaking. They feel like real people, with their own hopes and dreams. Bill Wingham had created a world with rules and stuck to it. Some of the story arcs are little dry, I could’ve done without the “great Fables Cross Over” for example. But that’s only if you find Jack of Fables annoying, and I do.

Fables, at its heart is long form story telling at it’s finest. After 150 issues, the stories contained are great, and with only a few missteps here and there. It’s not for everyone, especially if you consider comic books only for capes and tights. But if you’re looking for some thing else not related to heroics then you could a heck of a lot worse than Fables. It’s a funny, rich textbook example of a great comic

Comics to TV shows I’d like to see.

Comic books to TV shows seems all the rage now, what with shows like Arrow, Daredevil and The Walking Dead tearing up the smaller screen, and others like Powers of Supergirl either finished it’s first season, like Powers or incoming like Supergirl, hasn’t started yet. So what’s next for the world of comics to TV screen? Below are my suggestions.

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Exiles: The Exiles were a beloved favourite of mine, and dealt with a band of heroes, mostly mutants plucked from various time lines and told they have to save the world. Led by Age of Apocalypse’s Blink, they bounded around the multiverse and encountered various worlds. A world in which the Skrulls had taken over the Earth and pit the heroes in gladiator style combat, The Avengers as vampires etc. It was a book full of potential, which was squandered in its later years. While the book dealt mostly with mutants, the very nature of the book meant that any hero or villain would be a perfect fit for the show.

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B.P.R.D. The book that Hellboy made famous, the B.P.R.D. deals mostly with supernatural events while working for the Government of the U.S.A and some times the U.N. If you merged Supernatural and N.C.I.S. together, then you’d have the type of show B.P.R.D. would be. It could be one of the most genuinely terrifying shows on TV.

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Checkmate: Checkmate is the sort of show I’d be keen on watching. It’s spies with super powers set in the DC universe. While it was handled by Max Lord, who is most famous for taking control of Superman and forcing Wonder Women to snap his neck, the setting should be when Mister Terrific et el where in charge. The main protagonist would be Kobra, naturally, and you could have a slew of cameos, much like the show Arrow.

G.I.Joe: Yeah there have been two movies, but G.I.Joe works better as a TV show. There are loads of characters to choose from, the bad guys are menacingly enough

Orignal Sin Review

Written By Jason Aaron and Art by Mike Deodato

Writing event comics can be a tricky business, seeing as how all the major story lines have been done already. We’ve had alien invasions, dead coming back to life, civil wars and infestation so to have an event based around a murder is a real gear change. The murder in question is Uuta the Watcher, who Fury and the Avengers find on the moon dead with his eyes carved out of his head. The set up was masterful, with only a limited number of people knowing the Watcher was on the moon, and not all of them were “bad guys” so almost any one could’ve done it. The unfortunate aspect of most murder mysteries is the set up is only as good as the pay off.

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There is a sub plot involving various characters, Black Panther Emma Frost, Moon Knight etc splitting up into different teams investigating various places that are filled with dead bodies. Giant monsters, gods from various realms and even a planet, all dead at the hands of some one or some thing. The pairings are all random, but one, the Punisher and Dr Strange results in the sort of odd couple story that I’d be keen on reading.

While the major antagonists are surprising and rarely used, Dr Midas and Exterminatrix who have only shown up a handful of times before, and the silly “The Orb” a man with a giant eyeball as a head. The fact that these lesser known villains come across as terrifying lies solely at the feet of Jason Aaron, who has a knack of taking under-devolped characters and using them to their fullest characterisation.

The art work is top notch as well, Mike Deodato is on top form, giving the event a different kind of feel. His renditions of the characters is fantastic, and you can see the world weariness of the characters. His spacesuit designs though. are a little hokey, as they just look more like exoskeletons then proper suits. It doesn’t even look like Luke Cage is wearing gloves in space, which is a little strange.

Though it is called Orignal Sin, the series could’ve just as easily been called “RetCon the event!” as most of the characters involved all have had a deep and dark secret exposed, that while not really ground breaking as is the case with Daredevil, others don’t fair so well. While it is an events prerogative to shake things ups, changing the back stories of long established characters may not be for every one.

Is it any good? It was my first marvel event that I collected the monthlies for and for my money, I enjoyed the entire thing. It had it’s big moments, some fantastic dialogue and the sum of its parts land firmly in the win column for me. Plus it give me a glimpse at what could’ve been the break out hit of 2015 Punisher/ Dr Strange team up comic.

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