Posts Tagged ‘nubile Twilek hottie’

Half Time

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

I have a new weekend ritual. As The Clone Wars airs on Cartoon Network in America on Friday evenings, some bright spark has usually put them onto, uh, a popular video sharing website that sounds like Boocube by Saturday morning.

As the series is airing on the pay to view channel Sky Movies in the UK, Spewlube is the only option for the obsessed fan who is not only a tightwad, but cannot wait until the DVD release. I imagine these episodes will look great on DVD, as they have been created specifically for HD televisions, but they lose something of their visual excitement on a small fuzzy, flash video screen. This is a shame, as the crisp imagery and adrenaline fuelled pace is clearly their strongest point, certainly more than the storylines and characterisation that have so far been a bit of a mixed bag.

The “movie” – actually the first three episodes edited together to be shown in cinemas, was mostly notable for its heralding of the TV series and the potential for further, ongoing adventures, rather than its by-the-numbers plotting. It has been easily outclassed by many of the episodes that followed it.


Yoda plus homies

Yoda plus homies

The first, Ambush, featured Yoda and the last three clones of his battallion surrounded by the Separatist army, yet winning out with a combination of jedi philosophy, creative strategy and midichlorian fuelled ass kicking. This was followed by a rather?drawn out?trilogy of episodes based on an ion cannon toting Separatist flagship The Malevolence, that ended wonderfully with Anakin, Obi Wan and Padme (not to mention Threepio and Artoo, doing their double act schtick) attempting to escape from the ship in swashbuckling style particularly reminiscent of A New Hope

Rookies was a one off tale in which a handful of “Shinies” (clone slang for inexperienced soldiers, so named for their pristine armour) are trapped on an isolated outpost, (once again) surrounded by Separatist troops. This episode scored on several counts. Firstly it didn’t feature any jedi, instead focussing on the clones who are often relegated to cannon fodder. Secondly they were set against some kind of ninja droid commandos rather than the inept and ridiculous standard issue Trade Federation battle droids. Crucially, though, we had seen none of these characters before, so we genuinely didn’t know who would survive (and there were some particularly gruesome deaths).


Is it wrong to fancy fictional cartoon aliens?

Is it wrong to fancy fictional cartoon aliens?

All too often The Clone Wars follows the adventures of Anakin and Obi Wan, or background Jedi generals from the films, such as Plo Koon (inexplicably supervising director Dave Filoni’s favourite character) and fanboy pleasing nubile Twi’lek hottie Aayla Secura. Trouble is, we know what is going to happen to every one of these characters – ie. Order 66. Of course, some character development on the lesser known characters is welcome, but so far the series has been more about incident than any character’s internal life.

I suspect one of the aims of the series is to rehabilitate Anakin as a character (as opposed to the films, in which he is petulant, arrogant and generally unsympathetic). The two part Downfall of a Droid/Duel of The Droids made Anakin’s attachment to Artoo the focus (a neat bit of continuity with the novelisation of Revenge of The Sith that tells us that the droid was a wedding gift from Padme), and foreshadows his inability to let go of things. The creators would do well to continue along this road if the series is to be anything more than some awesome lightsaber duels and shit blowing up. Duel also features another gruseome death, this time an execution by cyborg psychopath General Grievous. For a series that’s aimed at kids, there are some nasty moments, which I thoroughly approve of.

Controversially, a couple of episodes have featured the return of Jar Jar Binks to centre stage. Roundly despised by fans, if anyone needed rehabilitation it’s this guy. Bombad Jedi (written by Troops creator Kevin Rubio) wasn’t a bad episode, just a little undistinguished (its best moment was a subtle reference to Anakin and Padme sneaking off together for clandestine sexy times). Jar Jar was shown to be exactly as he was in The Phantom Menace, good hearted, clumsy and borderline retarded. However, if there’s one thing worse than bringing back an unpopular character, it’s changing his voice, as was done in the later Gungan General.


I wouldn't rate this guy's chance of survival

I wouldn't rate his chances of survival

Other episodes include the atmospheric Lair of Grievous, in which the titular General has some much needed backstory hinted at. However, the troubled Mon Calamari ex padawan may as well be wearing a red shirt, his death is so obviously telegraphed throughout the episode. A few more new characters need to be created, but also developed over the space of more than one episode. This way we can have a few characters who can be put into genuine jeopardy. Luminara Unduli pops up in the terrific Paul Dini scripted Cloak of Darkness, but, while I don’t recall seeing her killed during Revenge of The Sith, I’m sure her fate has been marked out in some spin off novel.

At its worst The Clone Wars is at least good brainless, forgettable entertainment (as in Dooku Captured, a fascinating premise that just doesn’t ring true, with innumerable plot holes and a baffling, seemingly unfinished script). Every episode has some exciting battle scenes and badass moments, and is so far never boring. But it has a great deal of potential, and much of the series has hinted at something much bigger and better than crashing spaceships, whirling lighsabers and somebody saying “I have a bad feeling about this”.


Return of the Fanboys

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Here is a heads up to let you know that we have reposted the most viewed comic we have ever done. A dubious honour, seeing as it piggybacks on the interest in Fanboys, a movie which itself piggybacks on the popularity of Star Wars. Our pageviews went through the roof for a few days, thanks to TheForce.Net, Digg and StumbleUpon.  It was almost like being genuinely popular, although it’s a good job we didn’t let it go to our heads and rush out to buy that speedboat.


6 Degrees of Francis Bacon: Day 1

Friday, July 17th, 2009

In the interests of drawing a broader range of subjects than I would ordinarily (my comics generally consist of people wearing t shirts swearing at eachother) I am embarking upon a project that I have given the  unwieldy and slightly nonsensical title of 6 Degrees of Francis Bacon. This is inspired by various Facebook groups where artists have drawn an illustration for each letter of the alphabet,  taking suggestions from groupmembers, blogreaders and twitterers (notably Neill Cameron’s A-Z of Awesomeness and Garen Ewing’s A-Z of Comic Strip Characters).

6 Degrees of Francis Bacon

I’m not going to tackle an A-Z (because that means I would definitely have to do 26 pieces, and this way I can pretend that I was only ever going to do three pieces if no one’s interested), but I am taking my cues from The Chain, a regular feature on Mark Radcliffe & Stuart Maconie’s BBC Radio 2 show, a “never-ending list of records, with every new track somehow connected to the last”. And like The Chain, your connections can be as direct or convoluted, as clever or stupid as you like, as long as it’s an interesting character from the world of Movies, TV, books, comics, music, art etc.

I suspect the vast majority will be from the area of Sci-Fi/Fantasy, as most people who read this, like me, are undoubtedly geeks (I have a theory that everyone has a geek inside them – you can write your own punchline to that). So with the geek centric nature of this project established, here is 6 Degrees of Francis Bacon: Day 1 –


Bossk is a reptillian bounty hunter, briefly seen in The Empire Strikes Back, hissing irascibly at Admiral Piett, hired, among several others, to find and capture the crew of The Millennium Falcon. He’s probably better remembered for his action figure, back in the days when being immortalised in plastic was an honour only afforded to a (relative) handful of background characters. Now of course even Ackmena has one. Obviously common sense suggests that I should have started this with an interpretation of one of the paintings of the eponymous intense and cage obsessed Irish artist, but my initial plan was to do an A-Z of minor Star Wars characters. I scrapped this when I a) kept mucking up “A” for Aayla Secura, and b) realised that there’s a gazillion pieces of Star Wars fan art out there (and even some pretty damn impressive A-Zs too).

So where do we go from Bossk? It could be anything, from Masters of the Universe character redesigns, to an hilarious mashup of Hellraiser and Archie Comics,  or Flowers For Algernon fanart. The possibilities are endless, well, not that endless, I won’t draw that Twilight shit. Stay tuned. And be sure to make your suggestions, along with your connection, for future pictures in the blog comments, on my Twitter feed, or at the Facebook Group.


One Season More…

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

After an inessential movie, and a patchy, but sporadically impressive first run, Clone Wars returned for a second season and has vastly improved (and also managed to cram in fan pleasing appearances by Bossk and Boba Fett).

While being ostensibly aimed at a younger audience, and certainly having plenty of fans among the Ben 10 constituency, it seems the Star Wars saga just can’t get away from a (mostly) healthy seam of nastiness. Most startlingly, we have our central character Anakin Skywalker playing bad cop and secretly torturing information out of insectoid Seperatist bigwig Poggle The Lesser, in a clear foreshadowing of the monster he will inevitably become. In another episode, Duchess of Mandalore, he impales some dude through the back with his lightsaber. Hardly the actions of your average protagonist in a kids’ cartoon, and it’s played for laughs too.

For the most part, it’s a regular kid’s show with regular kid’s show plots. The Zillo Beast and Brain Invaders employ standard tropes for pulp space opera, that shift the series away from the source movies, but closer to the original inspiration. Formulaic and familiar they might be, but they look great, and have a wide eyed, “everything but the kitchen sink” charm.

A common discussion point on the Star Wars movies is in which order should they be first viewed (the obvious answer being the release order. Duh!). However we now have fans of the TV show who have seen none of the original movies. As long as they don’t push the foreshadowing too far, or ever employ flashbacks/forwards, the series could be watched as a prelude to the movies, as they would not reveal any of the saga’s pivotal plot points. Anakin would merely be the brave (if rash and occasionally troubled) hero of The Clone Wars, with Obi-Wan as his loyal friend and brother in arms. When the series was over the films could be watched, with the appropriate backstory told, but with none of the characters’ fates revealed.

The central problem of creating tension in plots that centre on those whose fates are known (at least by older audiences) remains, but has been somewhat minimised by concentrating on new or marginal characters. In Weapons Factory and Brain Invaders, padawans Ahsoka Tano and Barriss Offee, seem to be genuinely in peril. Ahsoka in particular, originally loathed by fans as a hybrid of Wesley Crusher and Hannah Montana, is coming into her own as a worthwhile addition, and Anakin’s (negative) influence on her is revealing itself. I still don’t know about her outfit though. She’s supposed to be a Jedi warrior, not Christina Aguilera.

Something that has always bugged me about The Clone Wars is that so far everything we have seen of it has been a war, (singular), between The Republic and The Separatists. Calling them “Wars” always implied that there were several separate conflicts going on. During the Mandalore trilogy of episodes, we see a gathering army of the Boba Fett armour wearing mercenary badasses. This is exciting to aging fanboys such as myself because Fett’s initial backstory, sketchily intimated the the Empire Strikes Back novelisation, was that the Mandalorians were warriors that fought The Jedi during The Clone Wars. Could there be a a separate conflict within the larger one in the coming seasons? Yes please!

Some fans were not happy about The Mandalorians showing up, as it didn’t quite jibe with some of the existing spin off novels, which is a bit like being upset that Owen Lars turns out not to be the brother of Obi-Wan Kenobi after all, but I see their point. Lucasfilm has always been cagey about the place of the old Marvel Comics in the current continuity, and who can blame them when you consider it involved six foot tall green rabbits, telepathic pink hamsters and the invasion of the manga goths. But I have a lot of affection for some of those stories because I grew up with them, so when I see an episode like The Deserter, it takes me right back to The Alderaan Factor. This, and light hearted one off stories like Lightsaber Lost, remind me of some of the issues of that series, as well as the slightly grungier videogames but truthfully, they’re much, much better.

A common discussion point on the Star Wars movies is in which order should they be first viewed (the obvious answer being the release order. Duh!). However we now have fans of the TV show who have seen none of the original movies. As long as they don’t push the foreshadowing too far, or ever employ flashbacks/forwards, the series could be watched as a prelude to the movies, as they would not reveal any of the saga’s pivotal plot points. Anakin would merely be the brave (if rash and occasionally troubled) hero of The Clone Wars, with Obi Wan as his loyal friend and brother in arms. When the series was over the films could be watched, with the appropriate backstory told, but with none of the characters’ fates revealed.

May The d4s Be With You

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

My journey back through the mystical labyrinths of Role Playing Games led me to the most predictable point possible – The Star Wars RPG. We played quite a lot of this as teenagers  and my memory is that the books published by West End Games were always really well produced and entertaining. This game actually created a lot of what was later to become known as The Expanded Universe. Prior to this, we only had those jokey nicknames like Hammerhead, Squidhead and Motorhead (One of these may be falsified). I still love the fact that there was a character whose given name (or the name of his race) was Snaggletooth. Actually maybe it was both: Snaggletooth The Snaggletooth. Who has a snaggle tooth.

Other stuff from that original RPG that was ace:

  • Anyone can fly any ship – this is quite an important distinction from things like the Star Trek game in which you could only do something if you’d spent a couple of years at the Academy taking exams – here, like in the movies you can just just leap into some bucket of bolts, start flipping switches and be doing The Kessel Run in an unspecified amount of time and/or distance
  • One of the starting “character templates” was called “Quixotic Jedi
  • It taught me the meaning of the phrase “In Media Res” – According to the rulebook, all Star Wars movies start in the middle of the action. Except they don’t – only Star Wars (and, later Revenge Of The Sith)  actually do.
  • It was more about heroically doing faintly ridiculous things, rather than collecting gold pieces and +2 Vorpal Swords
I guess if I’m going to run any RPGs, that’s the one, right? I mean I’ve spent the last 36 years filling my head with made up space nonsense, I may as well put it to some use. So, after a quick trip to eBay I bought up a bunch of the more recent (but now over a decade old) Wizards Of The Coast published RPG books. I think the edition I have is officially called “The One with Episode 2 Shit In It”. Since then my internet research has told me that the later “Saga Edition” (aka “The One With Episode 3 Shit In It”) is better, but even that’s been replaced by Edge Of The Empire published by Fantasy Flight. Even though this brings out a primal urge in me to get back on eBay and spend a ton more money, I suspect it doesn’t matter what system you use. With the old West End Games version, after a while you used to have to throw a bucketfull of d6 dice to do anything at all and I don’t recall anyone complaining.
For a scenario I bashed together a bunch of bits of the movies, along with references to some of my favourite stuff from the Expanded Universe (Purely for my own amusement, there is a casino on Nar Shaddaa called The Kopa Khan). I had a out-of-time Jedi that had been frozen in carbonite since The Clone Wars, a starship chase through the aforementioned cityplanet, Trandoshan Bounty Hunters and a sneaky doublecrossing Duro. Everything came to a head on the Moon of Sulon, purely because I liked the old Dark Forces/Jedi Knight games. No “Grave Tuskens” though – that’s the beauty of this shit – you can ignore anything you don’t like. Now, roll for your Midichlorian count…
Seeing as the game was relatively well received (ie. no one fell asleep, set fire to their character sheet or punched me in the face) now I’m continuing a campaign for these characters – luckily, there are a ton of published adventures out there on the web. Next up is Dawn Of Defiance, a ten part adventure, that I’m not sure we’ll get all the way through, but I’m going to have fun redrawing all the characters from it. And also my own. I guess doodling the most obscure characters I could find from the Star Wars Universe wasn’t quite niche enough – I eventually had to start making them up.