Category Archives: Rant Alert

Just me ranting about whatever…

No Moving On This Week

Hey guys. There won’t be a chapter of Moving On this Saturday. I’ve got another project that I’m trying to finish up that I’ll hopefully have available next week. It’s a big deal for me. I’ll have more info when I’m sure of the time frame.

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Rant Alert: Man of Steel- A Spoiler Free Review


Full disclosure: I wasn’t always a fan of Superman. As a kid, of course, I loved him. I’d watch the Reeve/Donner movies, and later the Bruce Timm animated series, and run around the house with a cape (usually a towel or blanket) around my neck. But as I got older and started getting into comics I just didn’t care for Superman as a character. I still loved the idea of him, but in execution I felt that he was bland. He was too powerful, too goodie-goodie, too perfect. He was the Gandhi, and in many cases, the Jesus, of DC comics, and when good stories revolve around conflict and you have a character who is perfection personified, that’s often a big problem. It’s one of the reasons why DC still has a hard time getting the character right in his own series.

That all changed while I was working on my first novel with my best friend, Mark Ruelius. He was a HUGE Superman fan, and when he heard my opinion on the character is was as though I had personally offended him. He made me promise to read three comic book trades: Kingdom Come by Mark Waid & Alex Ross (which I already owned and loved), Superman Birthright by Mark Waid and Leinil Francis Yu, and Superman: Secret Identity by Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen. He was right. After that, I was a fan. This made Superman Returns all the more painful for all of us, because we were hoping to get a Superman movie as good as what Batman was getting with Nolan or the Marvel movies were getting on the other side of the fence. Instead we got… well, I’m not going to go into that. This isn’t a review of that movie. So let’s just get into Man of Steel.

For me, this was a great foundation to build a untied DC cinematic universe on. This was DC’s Iron Man, in that way. Just about every aspect of the movie is inspired by the various Superman comics, Birthright being a heavy influence in particular. But there are a few things you need to know going in to help manage expectations (and I promise, no spoilers):

  1. This isn’t a Chris Reeve/Richard Donner Superman. The tone is different. There’s no comic relief character. There’s no goofy gags. This has been the biggest criticism most “negative reviews” have and I think it’s because those people are going in expecting a Donner or Marvel tone. It does have some humor and moments that’ll make you smile. MoS isn’t “dark and gritty” either, any more so than any of the best Superman comics are. Just about everything, event-wise, in MoS has precedent in the comics and animated movies.
  2. Again, this isn’t a Marvel movie. Marvel’s movies have a certain tone, just as their comics do. They’ve always been different than DC, and this movie is no exception. If you go in expecting a superhero movie with the same tone (lighthearted is probably too strong a word) then you’ll be disappointed. MoS takes itself, and the character, seriously. Again, it’s not The Dark Knight serious. This isn’t emo Superman, but they do approach the material and character in a serious, mature way- as they should. The movie is still a ton of fun, and I immediately wanted to watch it again, just as I did with Avengers or Iron Man. It’s just a different kind of fun/tone.
  3. This goes with the tone, but yes, it feels more like a sci-fi movie than a “superhero” movie. I think that’s a good thing in this case, given the story. That said, the movie ends perfectly and we have the Superman/Clark Kent we’re wanting to see. This has the potential to set up an amazing sequel the way that Batman Begins set up The Dark Knight.

This is very much Clark’s story, and the focus is on him discovering who he is and what his place in the world is. Henry Cavill nails the part and is by far the best embodiment of the character since Chris Reeve. Amy Adams also does an amazing job as Lois Lane. I have to say I was really impressed with how they handled Lois. She was smart, strong, and important to the plot without just being the damsel in distress. They also did away with a typical trope that has long since been played out and done to death (thank God for that), which makes me even more excited to see how they evolve the relationship between Lois and Clark. Some people may take issue with how they portray Jonathan Kent, but I think it was a great way to approach the character, and it made one scene in particular have that much more of an impact on Clark and how he makes the decisions he does.

I want to address Mark Waid’s review of the movie (caution, massive movie spoilers in the link ). As you can tell from my opening above, Mark Waid has written, in my opinion, some of the best Superman stories, and Birthright in particular was an influence on MoS. Waid wasn’t very happy with the movie for two reasons, one of which is a spoiler so I won’t go into it, other than to say that the way it was handled was VERY well done (and even Waid admitted as much) and that, yes, it’s not anything that hasn’t already done before in the comics and other movies, albeit not very often.

The other, and biggest, complaint that Waid had was he said that this version of Superman felt cold and that he didn’t care enough about protecting humans, given all the “destruction porn”. I will say there were times when I felt similar while watching, and it is one aspect that they could have handled better. Superman does go out of his way to help save people in the movie, but I would agree it needed to be emphasized more, and is probably the biggest weakness the movie has, especially given all the destruction and collateral damage that takes place. Again, it’s nothing that hasn’t been shown in the comics and animated tales countless times. This very much feels like a comic book come to life (or a live action version of a Bruce Timm animated feature); but because it is so realistic and lifelike it makes thinking about the innocent people being hurt that much more, where you don’t as much in the comics or animated features (or where it’s easier for them to just magically have people survive or evacuate in time, etc.) It’s something that needs to be improved upon in sequels, but it was far from a deal-breaker for me.

For me, Man of Steel is the best DC movie to date, and this is coming from a die-hard Batman fan. I’m not saying that Man of Steel is a technically superior movie than The Dark Knight, but for me it’s certainly more fun to watch. This is the Superman movie we’ve been waiting for, and it can only get better from here. Keep an open mind and don’t let the negative reviews keep you from checking it out. Go and see the movie for yourself and judge it by it’s own merits. I think you’ll be glad that you did, as it is, by-far, the best movie so far this summer.
I give it a 9/10.

J.R. Broadwater is the author of the non-fiction book Down with the Thickness: Viewing the World From a Fat Guy’s Perspective, the sci-fi detective novel You Only Die Twice, the fantasy novel The Chosen: Rebirthing Part 1-, and the superhero tale Just Super, all available now in digital and paperback formats. Sample chapters and more information about these books can be found here.  Check back each Saturday for a new chapter in the ongoing serial Moving On!


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Rant Alert: Marvel Heroes Overview


Marvel Heroes is a game I’ve been anticipating for quite a while now, both because it’s a Marvel game and because it is completely free to play. Yep, that’s right. Marvel Heroes is 100% free to download and play from beginning to end. It is also possible to unlock every hero and a vast majority of the costumes and other items for free in-game through loot drops. We’ll talk about that in more detail in a moment. MH is a game by David Brevik, the mind behind Diablo and Diablo II…maybe you’ve heard of them. Marvel Heroes is basically what you get when Diablo II and Marvel Ultimate Alliance have a love child and the results are…mostly great.


MH plays just like Diablo and Torchlight (they’ve often said that Marvel Heroes is the spiritual successor to Diablo II). Point and click, kill and loot. If you don’t like those types of games or that type of gameplay, you probably won’t like this one either. As of right now keyboard and mouse/click and loot is the only gameplay/control type the devs plan on having available.


The heroes are all well represented, and having played the game for a few months before launch as a beta tester, I can tell you that a lot of time and effort went into trying to make each hero work and play the way you would expect them to.  The powers are all pretty much like the powers that were in the Ultimate Alliance games. Each hero will have three trees with a specific focus, and each time your character levels up you’re given two points to spend in skills however you like. Many skills will have a synergy, which means putting points into one will have a direct impact on another. This generally works well, as it allows you to spend points in basic skills early without feeling like those points were “wasted” later.


There are currently 20 heroes available with an additional 5 (Human Torch, Luke Cage, Emma Frost, Squirrel Girl, & Nova) set to be available “soon”. Everyone has a choice of 5 characters to start with- Daredevil, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Storm, and Thing. Not exactly A-Tier characters, but I can tell you from experience that they are all fun to play and can be just as powerful ( and in some cases more so) as the better known or popular characters. After the prologue/tutorial mission everyone will get another of the starting heroes as a random drop. You’ll get a third after defeating Dr. Doom in the Chapter 8 finale, for a total of 3 free characters. All of the other characters (and most of the stuff you can buy in the store, including potions and costumes) are available through loot drops. They are, however, very rare, though there are several things you can do to increase your chances (taken from what has been said on the forums and confirmed by devs):

  1. Equip gear that gives you a +% Special Item chance
  2. The first boss you defeat each day (20 hour timer) has a natural higher drop % to drop a hero or costume. There’s always a chance for a hero drop on mobs, chests, and other bosses, but the chances are higher for that first boss of the day.
  3. Characters that have a lot of rested time (ones you haven’t used in a while) also have a higher chance of getting a rare/hero drop.
  4. % of Hero and Costume drops go up “significantly” after you’ve played through all 8 chapters of the story, during endgame content.

For me, a lot of the fun is the chance that you may get a “special” drop, but if there are some characters you just can’t wait to play you can always purchase them in the store for “G”s. G’s are Gazillion’s special currency, and the exchange rate is basically $1=100 Gs. If you buy in the higher packages of G’s you’re given a little extra as a bonus. The heroes are priced along tiers- 600 Gs ($6), 900 Gs ($9), 1200 G ($12), and 2000 G ($20). Only three characters currently cost 2000Gs- Spider-Man, Deadpool, & Iron Man. The costumes can be a bit pricy as well, as they range from 900Gs-2000Gs. Or you can gamble with 100Gs and buy a ticket, which could be a costume, potion, pet, a 100% XP or Rare boost, or a “rare special”.


Now, Gazillion has been taking a lot of flack on the forums and game sites for their admittedly expensive pricing. However, I feel that there are a few things that need to be kept in mind before freaking out about it:

  1. The game is completely free to play. You aren’t gimped or restricted from game play content by not paying money.
  2. All of the heroes and 99% of everything else is available, for free, as drops in the game.
  3. The game is completely free. I know I already said that once, but apparently it needs to be emphasized for the self-entitled, hard headed people. These games take tons of money to produce and keep running. They have staff they have to pay. They have to make their money somehow, people. No one is forcing you to spend a dime. If you REALLY want to play as Spidey but you think $20 is too expensive to unlock him (and I would agree) play the game with someone else and try all the things above to increase your chances of getting him as a drop, or wait for an inevitable sale (a month ago they were selling “founders packs” that included specific characters and all their costumes, or groups of characters with an additional costume, for $20-$50 depending on the package you chose), or for the prices to drop- which they will as they add more content.

All in all, Marvel Heroes is a lot of fun to play and can become a huge time-sync. It’s not perfect, and they’re still working out some kinks and refining things, just like most MMOs do just after launch, but for the bargain price of free, you’re not out anything giving it a try.

J.R. Broadwater is the author of the non-fiction book Down with the Thickness: Viewing the World From a Fat Guy’s Perspective, the sci-fi detective novel You Only Die Twice, the fantasy novel The Chosen: Rebirthing Part 1-, and the superhero tale Just Super, all available now in digital and paperback formats. Sample chapters and more information about these books can be found here.  Check back each Saturday for a new chapter in the ongoing serial Moving On!

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Rant Alert: Why the Prequels Were Good For Star Wars


Gooood….I can feel the hate flowing through you! The very mention of the prequel trilogy is enough to make most Star Wars fans begin to froth at the mouth…those that will even acknowledge their existence. I think most of us can agree that Episodes I-III of our beloved Star Wars Saga were not great movies. They were horribly written, horribly cast (with a few exceptions, such as Ewan McGregor), and they featured this guy:

jarjarbinks star wars 615

It would be easy to fill a HUGE rant listing all the things that are bad about these movies, but it’s been done…to death. I mean, you’ve seen the movies (unless you’re under the age of four or have been living with the Amish). You already know. However, I would make the argument that as bad as the movies could be, and as much as they got wrong, they were still, in the long run, good for the franchise and for fans. Allow me to expound:

The Music

I’m starting with an easy one, because I think just about everyone would agree that regardless of how you felt about the movies themselves, the music that John Williams provided was amazing and meshed up perfectly with the original trilogy score. It was “more Star Wars” in the way that fans had been dreaming of since ROTJ, and at this point the more familiar themes within the new music have taken their place alongside the classic themes from the original trilogy in everything from the games to the T.V. shows, and we don’t bat an eye. It was simply John Williams Star Wars, and that is never a bad thing. I can’t wait to hear what he comes up with for Episode 7, because when it comes to Star Wars, Mr. Williams always delivers.

It Opened Up The Universe

Star Wars already had a rather healthy life in the expanded universe before The Phantom Menace came out. The books, comics, and games that took place in the galaxy far, far away post-ROTJ could vary greatly in quality, but there was plenty of it. However, up until the Prequels were a reality, the time periods before A New Hope (with the exception of the period of Knights of the Old Republic) were a no fly zone. As a result, a lot of the EU had to guess about history, and again, quality of the ideas varied greatly. The Prequels lifted the vale on this time frame and allowed the EU to tell some really great stories that helped to better flesh out and define the Star Wars universe we love.


Dark Horse has always delivered quality Star Wars comics, but their work on Republic (which is sold in trade collections under the Clone Wars banner) was absolutely fantastic. It is a prequel to their equally great series Empire, and if you haven’t checked it out I highly recommend it.

Likewise, the Prequels opened the doors for some of the best Star Wars novels the EU has ever produced. Two of these were written by Matthew Stover. The first is Shatterpoint.


Shatterpoint follows Master Mace Windu as he journeys back to his home planet in search for a former pupil who may have gone over to the dark side. Mr. Stover manages to tell a thrilling, mature tale set in the Star Wars universe that is unlike any other Star Wars novel before it or since. It could have been set in any other science fiction context and still been a wonderful book, but the fact that it was set in the Star Wars universe makes it a that much more unique and interesting a read. But when I say mature, I mean it. The subject matter may not be everyone’s cup of tea. This isn’t a popcorn novel. This is a gritty, often graphic, gorilla warfare story, and odds are really good events in the story will frustrate and horrify you more than once. You’ve been warned.

Stover’s second novel set in the Prequel time period is actually the novelization of Revenge of the Sith, and I am being completely honest with you when I say that it has become one of my favorite Star Wars novels. I would even go as far as to say it is quite possibly the best Star Wars novel written to date.


Stover takes the basic story presented in the movie and does it right. For me, this novel is the canon version of how things went down with Anakin’s fall. He writes the story that we all wanted to see on the big screen. Stover shows how the Jedi Council and Palpatine were playing Anakin back and forth. He shows the internal struggle within Anakin, so when the moment of his fall does come it makes all the sense in the world. He makes the Emperor the serious threat that he should be. By far, my favorite scene in the book is the showdown in Palpatine’s office between Palpatine and the three Jedi Masters. It. Is. Perfect. Where it was lame and actually made me laugh out loud in the movie, in this novel it is everything that scene should have been. The unabridged audiobook makes a great story even better, as Johnathan Davis voices the characters beautifully. Every Star Wars fan should, at the very least, read this book.


Dark Lord is the unofficial sequel to Stover’s novelization, and while it isn’t as good a read, it is still one of the better Star Wars books on the shelf. Luceno picks up weeks after ROTS left off, and we get to watch as Anakin grows into the Vader we all know from the original trilogy. Again, this is a novel that Star Wars fans should check out.

The Clone Wars


While it started out admittedly a little rocky, the Clone Wars grew into something extremely good. Every season had at least one dud (or overly kiddie) storyline, but the rest tended to range from great to holy-crap-that-was-awesome! This was especially true in the last three seasons. I was very sad to see Clone Wars go, but holy crap did it go out on a high note. I am very excited to see what they do with Rebels, which has a lot of the same creative minds behind it and is set between Episodes III and IV. Speaking of which…

The Force Unleashed


It wasn’t a perfect game, and the sequel was a rushed mess (but cool gameplay mechanics. A lightsaber that actually works like a lightsaber!), but I loved the story behind The Force Unleashed, and it still stands as one of my favorite Star Wars games (behind the KOTOR, Jedi Knight, and X-Wing/Tie games). I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve played through the game. I own the comic, the novelization, and the audiobook as well (which, admittedly, weren’t as good at telling the story as the game). I’m really hoping that Rebels will feature Starkiller, because it was just a great concept and he is really one of my favorite Star Wars characters. Plus, I have a total  man-crush on Sam Witwer, and I’m secure enough in my masculinity/sexuality to admit that.

As an uber-fan of Star Wars I was really let down by the end product that we got from the Prequels, but I can’t say that I wish they hadn’t happened. They opened up the universe I love and provided some really quality entertainment that I can go back to and enjoy again and again. That’s not to say that I don’t wish the movies themselves had been done better, or that I don’t hope fervently that the movies we get in the future will be of the same, if not better, quality as the original trilogy. I do. But we have to make the best with what we’re given, and in this case, what we’ve been given can be pretty great if you know where to look.

J.R. Broadwater is the author of the non-fiction book Down with the Thickness: Viewing the World From a Fat Guy’s Perspective, the sci-fi detective novel You Only Die Twice, the fantasy novel The Chosen: Rebirthing Part 1-, and the superhero tale Just Super, all available now in digital and paperback formats. Sample chapters and more information about these books can be found here.  Check back each Saturday for a new chapter in the ongoing serial Moving On!

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Rant Alert: Randy & Sarah’s Bogus Journey


So my girlfriend, Sarah, and I thought it might be fun to take a day trip down to Sikeston, MO and visit Lambert’s Cafe. For the uninitiated, as I am, Lambert’s Cafe is a pretty famous restaurant that serves Cracker-Barrel esq. food in ridiculous amounts, but is best known for their fun atmosphere and a staff that throws fresh rolls at tables when the patrons request it. Sarah loves the food there and I’d never been, so it sounded like fun. But Sarah and I were both a bit nervous about it, because my truck, in the last year, has been known to spontaneously develop some issue whenever I go out of town. As long as I’m in-town it’s fine. But as soon as I take a trip, every time, something happens…

Well, I was determined we’d be fine this time. Sikeston is only about an hour and a half drive from where we are, and it’s a very scenic and pretty trip, but it’s not anything really far. I checked everything out before we left. Everything looked good. We get about half way to our destination when we start hearing a grinding sound every once in a while, like we were weaving into the road div-its on the sides of the roads that are put there to help wake up drivers that are falling asleep. After the third time hearing such a noise, and this time not being anywhere near either side of the road, we both mentioned it didn’t sound right, so I pulled off at the next available exit into Ozora, a little town where the only real thing off the highway is one large lot with an Exxon station, a cafe, a small motel, and, lucky for us, a large truck tire place.

So I get out of my truck and start checking the tires to see if we might have a flat. I get to the front, passenger-side tire and I notice my grease cap is missing and the center where it should be is smoking like Satan’s butthole, complete with  nasty tar-like substances leaking from it. Satan apparently had Taco Bell for lunch.


So I see a Firestone sign on the building next to the Exxon with a garage attached so I think we might be in luck and that they had a tire place right there. I pull the truck over to their lot and at this point the tire is starting to screech. Now, I know nothing about cars at all- I was always a tech-geek, not a car guy- but I know enough to know that a screech like someone is trying to give a pterodactyl a prostate exam is not a good sign. It looked like the tire place might be closed, but one og the garage doors was open so I walked inside and yelled like an idiot. We got lucky and a mechanic was in- Mike.


Mike is a tall guy. I’m a smidgen over 6’2, but Mike was a good two inches or better taller than me. I stammered out what had happened and couldn’t think how to explain what I had seen because I’m a moron when it comes to car stuff and had never seen a tire do a Satan’s butthole impression before. Mike humors me and follows me out to my truck. By the time we got there the smoking had stopped a bit, but there was still plenty of wheel diarrhea everywhere. Mike knew what the problem was right away and spelled it out using small words so I could understand. Basically, we weren’t going anywhere without at least another grease cap and some new grease. Unfortunately, Mike didn’t have any parts on-hand, but he told me he’d make a few calls to some part shops in a nearby town and see if they could run what he needed out to us. Sure enough, there was a place that had a cap that might fit, and they agreed to bring it right down. Mike told us we could pull the truck into the garage and he’d get the wheel off and get everything set. He said by the time the part guy got there he’d have everything ready, and he’d charge us the garage minimum of $50 to get us taken care of and on our way.


I pull into the garage and the screech is even worse- as if the doctor giving the pterodactyl the prostate exam forgot to use lube. Mike winced the entire time I was moving and said, “Has it always made that noise? Sounds like we need to check your bearings too.”  At this point I took comfort in the fact that he’d already told me that he had grease, so I knew that at least lube would be available for me when the reaming began.

This is the point where Mike ran into his first problem with my truck. Apparently the mechanical genius that owned the truck before me put the wrong size tires on the truck all the way around. This didn’t really come as a surprise to me since we were talking about the same genius that decided to not replace a bad distributor cap and instead just installed a second, high-power ignition sparker (don’t remember the technical name) so the two arcs would connect and start the truck. As a result, over time, it burned the crap out of everything in between. Found that fun little fact out during Christmas, and spent almost half of what I’d made working my seasonal job getting it fixed.

So, Mike spent a good ten minutes with a sledge hammer just trying to get the tire off. When he finally did we discovered that my tire had been about to explode…probably literally. It had been ground down to the wire in several places- by what, I have no idea since the other tires were fine. The bearings, too, were trashed. Mike made another call to the parts place to add to the order.


But the truck wasn’t done…not by a long shot. When Mike started taking things apart  to get to the bearings (found out the brakes were shot to hell too), he ran into his next major problem- not only were things locked up, the bearings had fused from the heat.


Sarah and I walked around for about an hour as Mike tried increasingly larger hammers and chisels, trying to beat my truck into submission and let him inside. Sarah, God bless her, spent most of the time keeping me hydrated and being supportive. What she feared would happen, had, and her plans were all ruined. Not to mention the fact that I’m broker than M.C. Hammer and whatever money it was going to cost to get us out of there she’d end up having to lend me. But she never complained. She just loved on me and wanted to make sure I was okay. I love this woman.

Well, eventually Mike gave up and told us that the only other option he had was he could take a torch to it and try and cut stuff out and replace everything.



It wasn’t worth it. So now we were stuck with a few really sucky choices. Mike offered to tow the truck back to Granite City for us for $200, which was a lot cheaper than we’d get anywhere else. He also said I could leave it there for the weekend until I could scrounge enough money to have it fixed. But with my truck dead, and me with no money to fix it, there wasn’t much reason to have it towed, and Mike was going to have to close his shop in about an hour. I sighed and asked if he knew anyone that might want to buy a truck. I had the title in my glove compartment and I really didn’t see much else I could do. Ends up he had a friend that needed a truck for work. Mike made a few phone calls to his friend and wife while I called my grandparents to mount a rescue mission.  We eventually made a deal for what Mike and his friend could afford.  It wasn’t as much as the truck was worth, problems and all, and we both knew it, but it was what he had and, like I said, something was better than nothing. So I signed over the title.



You never really know just how much crap you have in your car until you find yourself having to clean it all out and then carry it. It took us about ten minutes, and Mike donated a heavy duty trash bag to the cause, but we eventually had all our stuff out and were ready to go. We looked like hobo refugees as we made our way to the diner next door to wait for our ride.


After drowning our sorrows with sweet tea, and stuffing ourselves with truck-stop burgers and pie, our ride showed up and we headed back home. We still managed to have a lot of fun after getting back, and I at least have a little money to help me get by for the next few months, but the whole thing was not exactly what we’d hoped for. But still, it could have been a lot worse. The tire could have blown and caused us to have an accident going 70 on the highway. We could have stopped someplace where there wasn’t a mechanic at all. I could have been completely hosed and stuck with a truck, and the bill to tow it as opposed to finding someone that could just buy it from me outright. So things worked out in the end. But just remember…


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Rant Alert: My Star Trek Into Darkness Spoiler Counter-F.A.Q.


Star Trek Into Darkness has been a very polarizing film, more so than probably any other movie in the franchise. While critics and general audiences tend to enjoy it, fans are split down the middle. I have a close friend that is one such fan, who had a whole list of plot holes and things that kept her from enjoying the movie. I was surprised by this, because while I thought the film certainly had issues, a lot of the things she mentioned were things that didn’t bother me in the slightest and I found to be easily explainable. Then io9 did a spoiler F.A.Q. on Monday where, in a snarky attempt to be funny, he addressed many of the same issues. Well, I thought it would be fun to do a counter-F.A.Q. and give my perspective on them. I’m not saying I’m right and they’re wrong, because honestly a lot of the “issues” being talked about are things that are never fully explained in the movie. I assume for pacing reasons. However, they are things that I found to be fairly easy to explain in a reasonable way. It won’t change the mind of the people who already hate the movie, but I’m not trying to. So, needless to say, spoilers ahead! So if you haven’t seen the movie yet, avoid thine eyes!

Okay, explain to me why we’re doing this in this format again?

Because this is how the guy at io9 did it, and I thought it’d be fun.

You spelled “schizophrenic” wrong.

Just get on with it!

Okay, so at the beginning Kirk and Bones steal a scroll to lead the aliens away from the volcano. Why? Wouldn’t the volcano wipe everyone out if it erupts anyway?

They weren’t leading them away for their safety. They were leading them away so they wouldn’t see the shuttle carrying Spock to the volcano.

That makes sense, but why were they using a shuttle again? Why not just beam the bomb down?

It’s explained in the movie that the volcano was screwing up sensors and the only way they could use a transporter is if they had direct line of sight. The shuttles don’t have transporters so they were lowering Spock into the volcano to set the bomb manually.

Why not just use the ship…and why the hell was it underwater?

Starfleet has certain rules that officers are required to follow. the most important is the Prime Directive. Basically they’re forbidden from interfering with  pre-warp civilizations. Technically, the Enterprise crew was breaking the PD by saving the aliens, but they felt that they were exploiting a loophole in the directive- as long as they weren’t seen and the aliens thought the volcano just naturally stopped erupting (or their gods did it, or whatever) then it’d be fine. If they had used the Enterprise for line of sight transporter use, they’d be seen.
The Enterprise was underwater, as opposed to in orbit, because at night its possible that the ship would be seen. Just because the aliens were a “primitive” culture by our standards doesn’t mean they didn’t study/worship the heavens. The ancient Mayans and Egyptians did, and had a very detailed idea of exactly what was in the sky. A new bright satellite suddenly appearing in the sky, then disappearing hours or days later, would definitely be noticed. That’s assuming they don’t have some form of telescope. First Contact demonstrated that the Enterprise could be pretty clearly seen in orbit with one. Plus, lets be honest, it’s a popcorn movie, and if they’d just been able to stay in orbit and beam the bomb down it’d be pretty boring.

Can the Enterprise even work under water?

I’m not one of those fans with intimate knowledge of ship design, etc. but I’m willing to suspend my disbelief. As far as I’m concerned, if the ship can survive the vacuum of space and the pressures of flying at warp speed it could probably handle being under water to the depth that they were. Yes, there are physics issues with how it would work, blah, blah, but it’s a sci-fi movie, not a documentary. If you can handle Borg Queens, telepathic rape scenes, red matter, and any number of other Trek plot devices and holes, then you can handle the Enterprise being underwater just deep enough where the crew can freaking swim there.

Okay, so lets get to the big stuff- Admiral Marcus, his daughter, and Khan.


So in this version of history Khan and his crew is found by someone else, not the Enterprise crew, right? Are they still from the 90’s?

Yes, they were discovered by someone else in this version of history. The movie doesn’t ever say (smartly), but I would assume no, they aren’t from the 90’s- that is probably something different in this timeline and the Eugenics Wars happened at a different point in our future.

So what, exactly, is the Admiral’s deal, anyway? Why thaw out Khan and go all militant?

You have to remember that not more than a year or so has gone by since Nero wiped out most of the fleet, killed Vulcan, and almost killed Earth. With one ship. Tensions with the Klingons are getting dangerous and it’s believed that war is only one incident away from breaking out. Marcus  feels that Starfleet needs to have a more militaristic focus if they’re to survive; and while the movie doesn’t specifically state how many others in Starfleet are working for him, I find it hard to believe that there isn’t at least a core group in the leadership that feels as he does. Khan was known as being a tactical genius, had an unparalleled military mind, etc. So Marcus de-thawed him to get him to help design new weapons tech for Starfleet, using the lives of his 72 crew members as incentive to cooperate.

How Could Marcus pull this off without anyone noticing? 

He already has a secret development department, Section 31. He’s also the head of Starfleet, a Starfleet that’s working hard to rebuild their fleet. I don’t think it would be too hard for him to get the “hidden shipyard by Jupiter” stocked with his people and develop the Vengence.   Materials for it could be diverted there when it’s believed that it’s for, say, two ships being built elsewhere. Sensors only work if you’re actively scanning for something, assuming he doesn’t have some sort of tech in the shipyard or something to do with where the shipyard is to block or scramble sensors. Once war is started secrecy wouldn’t be needed. He’d be hailed as a hero with the forethought to save them all with the new tech, at least that’s what he believes.

So what’s Khan’s deal?

Khan wants to escape with his people so they can pick up where they left off before being made into jerkcicles. The cryotubes are kind of hard to hide, so he hid his crew in the proton torpedo prototypes with the intention of smuggling them out, but he was caught. Khan escaped but he believed his crew was killed by Marcus, so in retaliation he attempts to take out all of the remaining high ranking officers in Starfleet. Then he uses Scotties magical transporter formula from the first movie and beams himself to the Klingon homeworld where Starfleet can’t get him.

What’s the deal with Kirk, Marcus, his daughter, and the mission? Aren’t they explorers, not assassins?

That’s the core of the movie and is intended to be a metaphor for the U.S. mindset after 9/11. Kirk is a hot head and wants vengeance for the death of Pike. Marcus sees an opportunity to use Kirk to get what he wants- take out Khan and his crew to get rid of the evidence they were connected to him, and kick off the war with the Klingons so he wouldn’t have to hide his military-focused build up anymore and they could get things cranked out in earnest. Carol Marcus knows about section 31 and knows something is up with the new torpedoes, so she gets herself assigned to the Enterprise to check it out. Scotty resigns in protest to the whole thing because he didn’t sign on to be a soldier, he’s an explorer. Spock is being Spock, disagrees with the mission and killing a man without trial, but ultimately follows orders. Kirk screws up Marcus’ plan by being swayed by Scotty and Spock’s argument and decides to take Khan alive.

Why does Khan save Kirk and Co. from the Klingons?

Sulu already sent the message to Khan that he was to surrender or he’d be bombed from space. Khan suspects that said torpedoes may be the ones that have his crew in them, because that’d be something Marcus would do. His suspicions are confirmed by Kirk when he’s told that there are 72, and he surrenders.

How is Scotty able to get on the Vengeance without being seen? Wouldn’t a secret military deal have better security?

A valid point, but there are a few things to consider: Taking the Vengeance out after the Enterprise was not a planned operation. The Enterprise was supposed to bomb Kronos, have a warp drive failure and be stuck in Klingon space, and then get decimated by the Klingons. When Kirk sent a message to Marcus that he’d captured Khan, Marcus had to quickly get out there and wipe them all out before they could fix their warp core. Scotty joins the flotilla of shuttles going to prep the ship. It’s a massive ship and they’re working with a skeleton crew made up of hired security/merc types, not Starfleet personnel. It’s Scotty. It wouldn’t be hard for him to hack his way in and stay hidden while everyone ran around like chickens with their heads cut off. Does it take some suspension of disbelief? Absolutely. But so did Kirk just happening to find the same cave old-Spock was haunting in the first one.

Let’s address the mirror to Wrath of Khan ending and the magic blood.

Here, for me, is the biggest problem with the movie. Not that the blood could heal Kirk. They established from the very beginning that Khan’s blood could do that kind of stuff. It’s a huge convenient plot device, but it was needed for the movie because there’s no way they could get away with killing Kirk and leaving him dead until the next one like they did Spock in WoK. Which is exactly why they shouldn’t have done this storyline in the second movie. The biggest problem with Into Darkness wasn’t the plot, though the plot could have used tightening, obviously, it was the lack of emotional connection and impact that the story had. The ending, with Spock going all pissed off Batman on Khan, just came off as silly because they’ve been friends for what? Two years? Barely? Had they saved this kind of story for the third movie and used this movie to further establish the bond between the crew it would have been much more effective. Wrath of Khan had three seasons of a TV show and another movie to establish those relationships. This had one movie where Kirk and Spock spent 90% of the time at each other’s throats. I understand the appeal of using Khan, and Cumberbatch was freaking awesome in the role, regardless of what else you may have thought about the movie, but it just wasn’t the right time for this story.

Why are fans upset that they lied about Harrison being Khan?

Because in this modern internet world where spoilers leak immediately and movies are completely ruined months before they’re released, fans have developed a false sense of entitlement that they are owed answers about movies in development. The crew lied about Khan, even though everyone knew it was probably Khan, because they didn’t want to completely spoil the movie they’d been working two years on before it was even finished being developed. If fans are pissed about that I think they need a reality check.

So there you go. That’s my take on things with the movie. Again, I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind here, I’m just explaining things in the way that I saw them as I watched the movie. STID isn’t a perfect movie, it has issues. Some fans are just not going to be happy with it regardless of what they did. Others do have legit complaints and just can’t turn off their brain or suspend disbelief enough to enjoy it for what it is. The fact of the matter is this isn’t the old Star Trek and it will never be. Yes, it has less of a scientific, intellectual focus, and is more focused on action and being fun. You can either just accept it for what it is and enjoy it, or not. Either way, it doesn’t change or take away the ten other movies and 5 TV series that came before it. You can always go back and revisit them whenever you want.

J.R. Broadwater is the author of the non-fiction book Down with the Thickness: Viewing the World From a Fat Guy’s Perspective, the sci-fi detective novel You Only Die Twice, the fantasy novel The Chosen: Rebirthing Part 1-, and the superhero tale Just Super, all available now in digital and paperback formats. Sample chapters and more information about these books can be found here.  Check back each Sunday for a new chapter in the ongoing serial Moving On!

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Rant Alert: Anonymity Does Not Equal Blameless


I spend a lot of my day on the internet. As I write, I take frequent breaks to mull stuff over or just to get away from what I’m working on for a few minutes to come at it a little fresher later. (Read: I goof off.) Because I spend so much time online it’s hard to not let the crushing weight of negativity that permeates things start to get you down after a while.  I try to avoid comments sections on fan sites in particular because nothing of substance generally comes from them, and they generally only end up ticking me off. Still, like a sickness, I find myself drawn to looking at them anyway.

Trolling is nothing new. For longer than there has been an internet there’s always been “that guy” or “that girl” that just can’t wait to pee in someones Cheerios, or just generally be a total jackass to people because they get a kick out of getting a reaction. But now that the internet has become such a staple of everyone’s lives, trolls are no longer the little jerks you’d run into every once in a while, and silently (or sometimes not so silently) you wish someone would just come along and beat the stupid out of them. Now you can find entire swarms, like locusts, that invade message boards and comments sections and feed off of each other. Online bullying has become a real serious thing. Kids have committed suicide over it. It’s becoming ridiculous.


I think a large part of the problem is because of the anonymity that the internet brings. You can say anything you want and, outside of the online environment, you don’t have to pay any consequences for it or see the real world affect it may have on people. I think to a lot of these negative people it’s become an escape from their normal lives. They’re able to say and do things they just can’t in the “real world”. Additionally, because it’s online it feels less real. The other people commenting don’t feel like real people. They’re screen names. They’re digital voices in the internet ether. It’s all a game and it’s no big deal.

Until it is.

Those are real people behind those screen names, and many of these people have no separation between “reality” and “online”. For many of those who have grown up with the internet their online persona and their real life persona are one and the same. When people say nasty and hurtful things, it has a real world impact. it goes beyond just making some random person explode on the internet. It could have serious ramifications, depending on what was said and the subject matter. Ask any of the families who have suffered through the loss of a family member because of online bullying.

For any of you who are into gaming at all or are big on watching YouTube videos you’ll probably at least recognize Francis. He’s known for being “the fat guy that freaks out about stuff.” As an example, here is a video he posted today giving his reaction to Microsoft’s reveal of the new X-Box console. The ending made me laugh out loud.

What many people may not realize is that “Francis” is actually a character that the guy plays on his YouTube videos. He does this for his job. He gets paid to act like spaz for a few minutes at a time. Living the dream. But earlier this year Francis made a different kind of video in which he talks about his real life, the stuff he’s gone through, and where he is now. It’s a sad story, but it’s not played for sympathy. He tells us this story to let his audience know how much he appreciates them, so that people who watch his videos can see that just by watching him act silly for a few minutes at a time it’s completely changed, and in this case it’s helped to save, his life. He wanted to say thank you, and he wanted everyone to know just how serious he was and what it means when he says it. I don’t normally watch his videos too often, but I admit this hit me where I live a bit.

So I watch this video and come away from it feeling all the feels that I’m sure if you watched it you are feeling right now too. Against my better judgement I scroll down into the Kotaku comments section and this is what I find:

Yeah, it seemed more like “I am pretty good at html, but as times changed, I didn’t keep up. Now I can’t make any money!” Well, hate to be this much of an ass, but dude, get some literature on modern web design, stop being so lazy, and also, lose some weight killer, it is very bad for your health to be that heavy.

No I am one of those people who think that you should take good care of yourself and never end up at that weight. Which of course, would put me in the small minority of this overweight, obese, “it’s not my fault!!” country.

And I don’t see how this relates to starving children in Africa, their plights can be traced back to European colonization, not some lazy white guy sitting at his computer and taking down a whole case of Mountain Dew and Fritos.

That’s fine, but I just don’t feel bad for people who make their own problems and refuse to deal with them.

Depression is a hell of a thing, I know from first hand experience, mostly because I was one of those people who made my own problems, refused to deal with them, and sulked and whined that the world had it out for me, that is what this video screamed of to me. Sorry to be so blunt, but I am tired of the bleeding hearts when a little bit of “shut the fuck up and get on the damned exercise bike” would do the trick.

I win the “Not Obese Award” it comes with a lifetime free of diabetes.

Too Soon?

It gets progressively worse from there from this commenter and a couple of others. For those of you who did not watch the videos, the guy in question is a really big dude. He came from an abusive home and was constantly sick as a kid and ended up with a few medical conditions that only added to his not being able to exercise/eat right, including depression. As a result he ended up getting bigger, and then more depressed, and eventually became a shut-in for 7 years and almost committed suicide. This guy has opened up, stepped away from his online persona, and talked about what I’m sure are things that were extremely hard to speak about, not only as a thank you, but also as a means to help others. As a result he gets crap like the above back. While yes, it’s just a vocal minority, and some people are just know-it-all jackholes, crap like this can seriously do harm, especially to someone with a history of serious depression and suicidal tendencies. Sure, you could argue that when he put himself out there he knew that would happen, but that’s not the point. The point is these are real people, and anonymity does not mean you get to be blameless for the crap you say or do. It doesn’t mean there are no consequences for your actions. It isn’t harmless.

The commenter above is obviously a jackass that makes a lot of assumptions and knows nothing about what clinical depression, or this man’s life, is really like. He’s just one example, and it’s not just the internet. There are a lot of people like this jerk in the “real world” too. I’ve had to suffer them for 32 years, and assumptions are a large reason why I’m in the medical position I’m in right now.

I know there’s nothing I can really say that’ll make a difference to these hurtful people. I know I can’t change the internet. I guess the whole point of this is to hope that someone might read it and it might make them stop and think before they respond the next time, both online and in real life. Just remember that it is human beings (most of them) on the other end of these digital devices, and those people have feelings just like you do. And if you realize that and just don’t care, and continue to be hurtful to people just because it’s fun and you have nothing better to do with your time or your life…well, that just makes me feel really sorry for you.

J.R. Broadwater is the author of the non-fiction book Down with the Thickness: Viewing the World From a Fat Guy’s Perspective, the sci-fi detective novel You Only Die Twice, the fantasy novel The Chosen: Rebirthing Part 1-, and the superhero tale Just Super, all available now in digital and paperback formats. Sample chapters and more information about these books can be found here. Digital copies on sale for a limited time for $0.99. Check back each Sunday for a new chapter in the ongoing serial Moving On!

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Rant Alert: Iron Man 3 & Star Trek Into Darkness


I have the best girlfriend on the planet, and last night we went and saw Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness back to back in a mini geek movie marathon. Now you get to hear me rant about both of them! I’m going to do a short spoiler-free review of each for those who haven’t seen them, followed by a spoiler-filled rant on both for those who have and would maybe like to discuss. So, reviews ahoy!

Spoiler Free









Iron Man 3 has been doing freaking awesome at the box office but has been taking some heat from the fan community, which has affected some reviews. Personally, I liked the story and how everything played out. It was probably the most “comic-booky” of the three movies, story-wise. However, it also felt slower paced and more of a character drama than the previous two, which I think has a lot to do with the disappointment that many have felt. This is very much a Tony Stark story, not Iron Man; just as it is very much a Shane Black movie, not Jon Favreau. I saw one commenter compare this to Skyfall, and I think that is a pretty apt comparison. Iron Man 3 is for Tony Stark what Skyfall was for Bond. It was better than the last one, but the original Iron Man is still my favorite.










Star Trek Into Darkness was just fun. From beginning to end, it was a blast to watch. I felt it was a much stronger story this time around, and it was fun to see the cast play off of each other now that they have a foundation. It’s not as cerebral as Old-Trek, but it’s not meant to be, and it certainly isn’t as brainless as a lot of other summer blockbusters either.  I think they’ve found a good middle ground between appealing to the fan base of the previous incarnation and casual audiences that might not have cared for Trek before (like my girlfriend). Basically, if you liked the first one, you’ll enjoy this.

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t seen the movies, turn away now!








Okay, so a lot of the fan-bitching has been aimed at the Mandarin and the “plot twist” regarding his character. I understand fans wanting to see the hardcore villain from the comics on screen, but lets be realistic- that was never ever going to happen. One, because he’s a racist stereotype that just wouldn’t play. Two, because as cool as the ten magic alien rings are, it just doesn’t fit in the cinematic Marvel world…yet. That said, I didn’t have a problem at all with the “twist”. I felt like Sir Ben Kingsley was freaking amazing both as Mandarin and Trevor (which was hilarious). I thought it was a smart plot, well executed. I loved the comic easter eggs, like AIM and Roxxon. I caught the Fin Fang Foom deal with the “real Mandarin,” though I thought the breathing fire thing was a little goofy. I think the problem is people are going in expecting one thing and they’re getting another. This wasn’t as fast paced and fun as the first, and to a lesser extent, the second. Like I said in the spoiler free section, this was very much a character drama focused on Tony Stark, where Iron Man was more a background aspect. It had a totally different feel than the previous two and Avengers. Hell, they didn’t even play ACDC, unless I missed it. But it was still a good movie. I still enjoyed it. To be honest, my biggest gripe with the movie was the ending, as I wanted to know more about what was going on with Pepper after he “fixed” her, and I was really disappointed that they didn’t show signs of extremis in Tony after his surgery (because you KNOW he had to play with it, like in the comics). I even would have been happy with a little blue glow in his eye at the end when he says “I am Iron Man.” But they didn’t go there, which disappointed me. I also thought the stinger at the end, showing that he’d been telling the whole story to Banner the entire time, was fun. Overall, it was a good movie, just different.









Star Trek was fun, plain and simple. If you approach this as the “ultimate” version of the Trek we all know and love, you’ll enjoy it a hell of a lot more, because that’s exactly what this was. This was their “Ultimate” version of Wrath of Khan. (For those who have no idea what I mean by “Ultimate”- Marvel has a line of comics, the Ultimate Line, which is basically an alternate version of the mainstream Marvel universe, where characters can be portrayed in different, more modern, takes; popular or classic storylines are re-imagined and told differently, etc.) We all knew John Harrison was Khan. It was a given. I mean, how could they not use Khan? A lot of comments sections on fan sites have enraged fans frothing at the mouth because “they lied to us!” People, get a fuggin grip. Why the hell would they ruin their own movie by telling you everything about it? If you had stayed away from fan speculation and had no idea that Harrison might be Khan, the revelation would have been great. Plus, the cameo by Old-Spock was great. The plot and how they incorporated Khan was well done. Is it as good as the original? Of course not. Does it feel like a more dumbed down, action-focused version of Trek? Yep! But it’s still fun as hell! At the end of the day, I had a lot of fun watching it, and that’s what’s really important. I am a huge Trek fan. Always have been. I was raised on it. My dad used to record the original run of the original series on cassette tapes as a kid so he could listen to them again later like a radio show. I still have those tapes, and used to listen to them myself as a kid. I grew up on TNG and DS9. I own all the movies and have seen them each countless times. But it’s time to face it kiddos, old-Trek had to evolve or die. It just wasn’t putting butts in the seats, or in the case of the TV shows, getting the ratings it needed. I think this new alternate universe was a smart, fun way to reboot without throwing away everything that came before. The 2009 movie had it’s issues, but I think they vastly improved on those issues with this one.

Okay, lets address it: Lens flare. yes, it was a problem on the first one. They obviously dialed it down a ton on this one, except for one scene. That one scene with Carol talking to her father had a lens flare covering the entire shot, blinding everyone where you could hardly see a thing. It was ridiculous and I have to believe it was done on purpose as a “screw you!” to all the folks that ragged on the lens flare in the first one. It was just so gratuitous it had to have been purposeful.

However, the movie was really entertaining and I can’t wait until I can see it again. Like I said before, if you had fun with the first, you’ll enjoy this one.

Agree? Disagree? Just want to geek out about these movies? Feel free in the comments section.
J.R. Broadwater is the author of the non-fiction book Down with the Thickness: Viewing the World From a Fat Guy’s Perspective, the sci-fi detective novel You Only Die Twice, the fantasy novel The Chosen: Rebirthing Part 1-, and the superhero tale Just Super, all available now in digital and paperback formats. Sample chapters and more information about these books can be found here. Digital copies on sale for a limited time for $0.99. Check back each Sunday for a new chapter in the ongoing serial Moving On!

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.!!!!!

Update: Full 30 Sec Teaser Below:

wOOt! They’re saying the guy jumping out of the window at the beginning may be Luke Cage… I could not be more pumped for this show!

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Thank you to everyone who took advantage of our digital sale this week. We hope you enjoy your books. Please feel free to write a review on amazon and goodreads!

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