Eight Geeks

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Hellboy: Makoma Review

Mike Mignola continues to ease back into Hellboy duties with the two-issue mini Makoma, or A Tale Told By A Mummy In the New York City Explorers' Club on August 16, 1993.

Quite the title, that.

The action of Makoma takes place mostly as a dream/flashback. We learn that Hellboy has a strange history with the continent of Africa, and has only been there once in his distant youth. While in the Explorers' Club , he encounters a recently acquired mummy. While examining it, it speaks to him, relating the story of Makoma.

Makoma, it seems is an epic hero from the beginning of time, seeking strength and wisdom in a trek across the land. He is very strong, carrying an epic hammer of stone with which he pummels the giants and demons he encounters.

See any parallels? Good, then. Let's move on.

Hellboy is absorbed into the telling of Makoma's story, and is in fact cast in the lead role in the retelling. Makoma eventually becomes the herald of the birth of a new world, sowing life and land from what he has acquired. He is, in essence, a creator deity, whose death gives all else life.

Mignola provides a great deal to work with and think about in these two issues. The comparisons between the myth of Makoma and Hellboy's own traits is drawn clearly and obviously, but you aren't beaten over the head with it. It is also well contrasted with Hellboy's given destiny as a world-ender. Is this an indicator that we choose our own destiny, or that Hellboy is a deific figure? Perhaps he is being shown that he has turned through the wheel more than once. Given that the last Hellboy mini, The Island, gave us the history of the Right Hand of Doom, Hellboy's own "stone hammer", perhaps it shows us that destinies can come full circle, from creator to destroyer, and perhaps back again.

All in all, Mignola's attention to his storytelling is as great as ever, blending his characters flawlessly with legend, mysticisim, and the Lovecraftian mythologies that make up the core of his books. Hellboy: Makoma is highly recommended.

Good Advice

I found out about this guy over on the James Randi forums. He's one of the most insightful people I've come across in a long while, and he has a blog. Recently, he was asked for some advice he'd give to someone making their way out into the world. Here's what he came up with, and I can't say I disagree with a bit of it. What do you think of it, and what would you add?

Fresh Meat Morphs Into.....Morpheus?!?

Heh. I'm trying to entice my new lab partner, who insists I refer to him as "Morpheus" on my blogs, into joining us here on Eight Geeks. He said he would like to get back into writing, and I jumped all over him! We need more content!


Edit: I just had him take the Sci-Fi quiz and he came up the Matrix! Just goes to show that this test is pretty cool.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Yes! Mal, Here I Come!

You scored as Serenity (Firefly). You like to live your own way and don't enjoy when anyone but a friend tries to tell you should do different. Now if only the Reavers would quit trying to skin you.

Serenity (Firefly)


Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)


Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)


Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)


Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)


Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)


Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)


SG-1 (Stargate)


Moya (Farscape)


Enterprise D (Star Trek)


Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)


FBI's X-Files Division (The X-Files)


Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com

Now, I'll admit that I took this twice, but the first one was late last night, and I was only half paying attention. There were little ones around to coo at, play with and corrupt after all. When I took it the first time, I came out Farscape. But in the cool light of the afternoon sun, away from the mellowing effect of children, my results came out much more realistic.

I find it interesting that my top four crews are actually my top four Sci-Fi favorites off all time. And since the first three are off the air, I'm a Battlestar Galactica junkie right now. Speaking of which, I need to get those DVDs......


Friday, March 03, 2006

"Watch On The Rhine" review


I have to say it again.


I just finished Watch On The Rhine by John Ringo and Tom Kratman, and I gotta say, it was an amazingly cool book. The concept of Germany having to revive the SS to fight off an alien invasion, combined with all the moral quandries involved, was pretty gripping. As usual, of late, John Ringo's (and I presume, Tom Kratman's) politics came through pretty strongly. Making the European Greens one of the human villains was maybe a bit over the top, but at least the one true, unrepentant Nazi gets his just desserts.

And lets be honest, pick a direction, throw a rock, and you'll hit a political villain, in either Europe or here in the good ol' USA. All in all, I completely enjoyed this book, and the politics, where distasteful, were at least "overlookable".

Until the last page of the Afterword. In just one page, the authors turned a good political/military sf thriller into a huge pile of political commentary dreck. Allow me to quote:

Right now, Western Civilization, however much many of its member may refuse to admit it, is involved in a world war.
Ummm....how can you watch the news and not know this?

No, it has seen no entire cities destroyed; no trenches have drawn their scars across entire continents.
Ask the Iraqis about city destruction, there, boyos. They may disagree. But you're right about one thing. That outmoded military model, trench warfare, hasn't been reinstituted.

It is a world war all the same. Moreover, it is a world war that is putting to the test every notion of individual liberty, freedom of conscience, and rule of law that the West prizes. And should we lose we will see, or our grandchildren will, the erasure of all that is good in Western Civilization.

We cannot afford to lose.
One wonders how they would define "losing the war". American cities captured by the Taliban? British metropoli gutted by nuclear weapons? Or perhaps *gasp* getting the hell out of an area where we're despised.

Yet winning will have its price, too.
It always does. And in the name of Western-style freedom, it has usually been a price well worth paying, in blood and steel. I've never been forced to face that price directly, but a quick glance through a history book shows where the West could be, and I've gotta tell ya, Fascism isn't for me.

Just as the invasion John described is ordained to change humanity into something that one of Hitler's Waffen SS would recognize and call home, so too will this war change us.
It doesn't change humanity, you twits! It brings to the for something that has always lurked within the human soul. Call it strength of will, bloodthirstyness or bravery, it is there, within our race. I'll admit that not every person has the steel to blow a bridge with non-combatants on it, even if it means military defeat. But then, neither does one of the author's brave young volunteers. Maybe it's because he's French. I don't know.

Because side by side with the virtues of Western Civilization are paired by vices that may destroy us: a narrow legalistic mindset, an emphasis on form over substance, and an unwillingness to do the ruthless and violent things we must if we are to survive.
Note the two-facedness of this. They are, in essence, saying "Danger, Will Robinson! The terrorists are going to rob us of our Western goodness!" and then, in the very next paragraph, saying that we have to be ruthless and violent to ensure victory over those terrorists. At what point do you stop fighting the enemy, and become him? At what point is that acceptable. Which is more important, raw survival or survival with some sort of ideals still in place. Look to the German people. This book implies a deep-seated national guilt over the Holocaust. That's the outcome of a loss of Western ideals, a descent into savagery that only a thorough military savaging in return can stop.

I know that this is the dichotomy of war, that to stop the barbarians, we have to, at least in part, think like the barbarians. And that makes us, in part, barbarians, too. They preach about "form over substance", but then advocate abolishing both! I just don't understand that mindset.

This list is not exhaustive. Perhaps worse than these things, however, the West has nurtured at at its own breast a set of execrable, vile, treacherous and treasonous villains that seem to seek at every opportunity to do all they can to ensure its destruction.
This I can agree with. At least, I could if I thought they were only talking about the Rumsfeld-courted Saddam Hussein or the American military-trained Osama bin Laden. But somehow, I get the feeling that a certain New York Senator is included in that list, if only because I know where John Ringo leans politically.

I wish the authors had just left the Afterword out and let the book speak for itself, which it does quite eloquently. They didn't have to beat us over the head with their points. Despite what they may think, we're not that stupid. At least not all of us.

(cross-posted to Revolvo Inritus, due to excessive political commentary)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

New Witchblade Art Team

According to the Top Cow newsletter, there's going to be a new art team on their hottest title, and my personal favorite comic book of all time: Witchblade! And my oh my, is it unorthodox, to say the least. Starting with issue #99, and then taking complete control on issue #101, here's the new line-up.

Artist: Adriana Melo (Star Wars: Empire, Birds of Prey)
Inker: Mariah Benes (Superman)
Colorist: Sonia Oback (City of Heroes)

Yup, that's right, an all-female team is going to be creating one of the hottest female leads of all time! And from the teasers they've been sending out, it's going to be a new, but nice, change of pace.