Based on a long-standing “I should probably see this, because I enjoyed the Sly movie well enough, played the RPG once, and love Karl Urban in just about anything” desire to watch this one, I was finally nudged over the edge by a recommendation on G+.

So I watched it last night.

Dredd as played by Karl Urban was a bit more multidimensional than I’d have thought. I was surprised a bit by his “be gone when I get back” line to the beggar. I also didn’t get quite the level of fear of the Judges that was conveyed to me in the RPG.

I played this once in High School, and our GM told us after a long, drawn-out shootout that had we just shouted out “OK, SKEGS! WE ARE THE LAW!! PUT YOUR FACES ON THE FLOOR OR FACE SUMMARY EXECUTION” that we could have likely bypassed the entire shootout due to pure primal fear. That was my only real exposure to the source material.

Otherwise, impressions:

I did not find any completely egregious, oh-my-god-no mistakes with firearms handling or technology. Most weapons other than the (um) LawGiver pistols were conventional. The tactics used by the Judges weren’t completely idiotic, though they could have paid more attention to Apone from Aliens (“Watch those corners!”) in the Peach Trees maze.

The basic plot – escape from a sealed deathtrap – was entertainingly simple, and gave the actors a chance to work with a known environment and explore it well. When the doors came down in the beginning, I found myself thinking – OK. That’s one way to go. But it worked for the movie, and was an important part for avoiding the usual pitfalls: why didn’t they call for backup? They tried. Why didn’t they just leave? They couldn’t. Why couldn’t they just turn off the building? It was actively under control by the Enemy. Why didn’t the bad guy magic users use their own spells against the PCs? They did. Constantly.

I found Mega City One utterly believable, in that it was not wall-to-wall dystopia and dark, and many scenes could have been (and clearly were) set in any modern-day cityscape.

There were giant buildings 2x the height of the old World Trade Center (which was 110 floors, IIRC from memory) but many times larger in cross-section. Note that the quoted population of Peach Trees was 75,000 folks. Unbelievable? Not at all. It’s only 375 folks per floor, and if the average dwelling is 3.75 occupants (for easy math), that’s only 100 units per floor, or 100,000 square feet if each unit was, on the average, a two-bedroom place similar to a NYC apartment. Seem huge? It’s only 100 yards on a side. The World Trade Center was about 70 yards on a side and was half the height.

The buildings of Mega City One seem to basically be three cubes stacked on top of each other. If a story is 10′, more or less, and Peach Trees was 200 floors high (plus some superstructure which we’ll ignore for now), that means that the sideways dimension is on the order of 665′, or 200m on a side and 600m tall. It’s hollow-core, but even allowing for that, we’re likely looking at 30,000 square meters per floor, or about six million square meters, or 65 million square feet. That’s 865 square feet per occupant, suggesting that someone did their homework here. That’s either very, very large apartments (unlikely), or a density artificially lowered by it being taken over by a horrid criminal gang.

Loved the part of rookie Judge Anderson, though there were one or two moments where I thought her powers were conveniently forgotten (but then again, distractions happen). Her plot arc was much more evolutionary than Dredd’s, of course – he’s the established character, and she’s the newbie. She gets the most room to prove herself and change, which – spoilers – she does.

Lena Heady was credibly bonkers as the primary bad guy. She showed evidence of not being stupid, which was good, and combined at least some sense of long-term planning with a “social compact” score in the negative range. Utterly amoral and vicious, and reminiscent of a female joker without the makeup (though with the bloodstained smile).

All in all, it was an enjoyable film, though not one to watch with the squeamish. There’s a lot of blood and slow-motion (or perhaps Slo-Mo?) scenes of bullet impacts and spouting squibs. I’d enjoy watching Urban and Olivia Thirlby reprise their respective roles.

My kids went to bed hard and woke up before 6am feeling like their skill in Charisma (Orneriness) was at least +8. Maybe higher. So Alina and I are both exhausted. She saw this diagram on my computer screen and just got the giggles. So I figured I’d share.

Edited to Add: I should note that this is specific to both a map and if you are using optional facing rules, where an attack from the flank or rear is considered “flanked” regardless of the number of attackers, and attacks from the front simply are not.
Using map, but no facing, the results are different With theater of the mind, different again. It was just the diagram labels, which I was using for a playtest discussion, that were (notionally) funny.

Been quiet this week, so I apologize for that. The cause? My wife is in Italy for the annual Hwa Rang Do world tournament and black sash seminars – in addition to being a PhD in Wastewater Treatment, she’s also a martial arts instructor. 

Yes, she’s a badass.

What that means, though, is I have the 2yo and the 6yo for ten nights, and much of the time, I’m keeping them occupied. The eldest has camp from 9a-4p, and the little one gets daycare three days a week, but Tu/Th and the weekends it’s keeping her entertained. And since she dropped both her naps, but still gets cranky as all get out when she’s tired, afternoons get rather interesting. Yes, this is what my wife has to deal with every single day. I get that. We usually trade duties so we can each get some free time. Mine is usually used for blogging, gaming, and working on Dragon Heresy. Hers is training at the dojang at night.

But it does mean that my time is limited, and I am using that time to go nose to the grindstone on Dragon Heresy. I have basically four things left to do.

  1. I need to finish the subclasses. There will be, I think, 37 of them, which of course includes a whole bunch of divine domains, a few flavors of paladin, and less-evil pact lords for Warlocks. Plus four categories of Wizard. The hard part for me is getting the level boosts right. 
  2. Once those are done, I will whip up about a half-dozen “explicit multiclass” options. These will likely look fairly familiar, such as a Fighter/Bard, Fighter/Wizard, Rogue/Wizard. Plus three more. They will be thematic for the game, borrowing from stories and character types common to the legends I’m pulling from.
  3. I need to come up with a short set of rules for spells – one of the “features” of the game rule design for Dragon Heresy is that I’m looking at Wounds and what I’ve called “stress” in a prior post, but has since been renamed as vigor. But some spells go right to wounds, others go to vigor, and wounds are far nastier than vigor because they don’t go up much with level. But once I get the if/then done for how to determine spell effects, my playtesters and I can rip through this. Tedious, but should be very programmatic.
  4. Finally, the fun part – the setting. A lot of worldbuilding has been going on as part of the writing of the subclasses. Who you are is very much a product of where you grew up, after all. But this can just be “Doug writes stuff,” and doesn’t have the rules mechanics “must check to see it’s all not insane” parts of it in the same way. Sure, I can do stupid stuff, but it’s not stupid stuff that will break game play.
Is that all I have to do? No. But other than monsters/foes and a bit of careful selection of magical weapons and effects, and probably a bit on treasure and rewards, the major game stuff will be written.
Then it’s finish the work with the cartographer I hired, and start pulling the Black and White version of the game into shape. I’ve got some donated art, and the rest will be public domain until I kickstart. Then, I’ll pay for editing and indexing, both B/W and Color art will hopefully be commissioned, and depending on interest level, we’ll see about how the book gets to customers. Oh, and I’ll need to spiffy up the website domains I bought, one for this blog’s eventual relocation, and one for the game itself.
But if I’ve been quiet, and very, very non-GURPSy this week, now you know why.

Two things are taking my blogging time right now.

First is that +Jeffro Johnson is helping me get acquainted with the PERL script we use to get the GURPSDay thing going. His ownership and authorship of the script was always supposed to be temporary, but he’s just so efficient that we never really completed the knowledge transfer. We got 35 of 37 blogs pulling properly, but two outliers will take more wrestling.

The second piece is the D&D project, on which I made ridiculous progress and then last week hardly any. That’s not a slow-down in intent and commitment – I still know mostly what I want to do with it, and in a few more days, if I don’t hear from one guy, I’ll start with the “what do I do on X and Y” final commits. I’m planning on staging some test fights this weekend, too. Once I settle a few “what do I do” questions, it’s a matter of pounding it out.

I’ve been getting great advice, too. And help with still more. I chose better than I knew when I picked my playtesters, too.

The guy who runs/owns/started Great Northern Games is a friend of mine from work. His first Kickstarter, Noble Treachery, was carried off quite well, and followed what I have to imagine is the pattern for successful crowdfunding efforts.

He and his team of playtesters designed, tested, revised, and finalized the game. Then he sourced the initial physical copy, and Kickstarted the improved art, higher-quality pieces and cards, and basically creating a high-quality boxed set. No design or play work remained to be done.

Well, he’s coming around for a second try with Council of Blackthorn. He invited me to go see the pre-production copy at his desk, so once again the only thing he’s really Kickstarting is the mass production of a high-quality physical copy.

The teaser video is well done: it’s clear Jay learned a lot from his first effort (which was a stalwart effort in itself), and his efforts to source quality pieces and art have been further refined.

Check out the teaser video:


More evidence that the game is basically done – here’s a photo of the already-sourced physical pieces. You can even download the rulebook.

Go to his Kickstarter page, listen to the pre-release reviews, and consider supporting his efforts.

And as always, if you’re even feeling neutral about this, share it around, because networking only works if you cast the net wide!

Well, here we go, Last day of the year.

So, where did I go in 2015?

Volume

I wrote 211 posts in the last year, or about one every 1.75 days. That’s about on my dsired pace of 4 posts every 7 days, so mission accomplished there. 

Content

I only got one or two Firing Squad videos out, and those early on. I had made arrangements to get two more and utterly failed to deliver my usual and desired pace of one every month or two. So that was a miss.

I started playing, and blogging about, D&D Fifth Edition in 2015. Unsurprisingly, these posts utterly dominated my “best posts ever” list due to the huge player base in D&D. My post on the probabilities and math behind The Standard Array rose to become my highest-viewed RPG post. The next-best? Exploring the Advantaged/Disadvantaged mechanic. Two more D&D-themed posts, one on grappling and another using my Horcpower calculator, round out my top 10. The rest are Firing Squad interviews, and the top is a comparison of two real-world pistols on a real-world range. Yeah, there are GURPS stats there, but I think I drew in a lot of people deciding between a Walther PPQ and a Springfield XDM. To quote Tony Start: “Is it too much to ask for both?”

I started to get tired in a blog sense in about June, and I even wrote about it. My daughter was just getting over (or in the middle of?) colic about then, I was travelling a lot, and generally having a rough time. So volume started to decline a bit.

I published a few articles in Pyramid this year – only three, though. They’re fun – Dire and Terrible Monsters was co-authored with Peter. On Target might be my favorite rules hack ever. And Schrodinger’s Backpack was a rare “let’s do less with specificity, rather than more.” I’ve got one more article in the slushpile, but nothing after that, though I’m starting to write a novel alternate set of rules for damage and injury, but I suspect it’ll be quite a while before I up my efforts there. 

I did, however, write 13 posts on comparative RPG design that seem to be well thought of. They were a bloody ton of work to complete, but they helped me flesh out my thinking on RPG combat mechanics, to see where rules matter, where they help, where they hinder, and what works for me from both a design and play perspective. 

I still didn’t get around to finding a Fate, Night’s Black Agents, or Savage Worlds game to try out, which means that some of the writing above was just theoretical.

2016


I’m currently either playing in, or about to play in, two GURPS games and one Basic D&D game. 

I would love to get in on another D&D5 game. I enjoy that system, and the Majestic Wilderlands game that +Rob Conley was running was great fun. Real Life killed that one for many of the players, and we’ve not made the effort to restart it.

The GURPS Castle of Horrors game is struggling a bit. The game is very house rule intensive, and some of the mechanics (Path/Book Magic, a new system for determining number of hits for high-rate attacks, Technical Grappling) require a certain amount of mastery to pull off smoothly. Plus the interface (combo of MapTool and Skype) often leaves something to be desired, and a lot of silence due to lack of clues. And we rarely finish a combat – we tend to call it as “the tide has turned.” This can be frustrating, and we’re in the process of figuring that out. 

Plus,  more philosophically, I think I have an issue with “fish out of water” campaigns in general. I designed my own character, of course, but I made a fairly mundane former special ops, SWAT, private investigator type. He’s got some melee skills, is very, very good with a rifle, and he’s one of the few with Tactics (which we always forget to roll). But this makes for very bimodal fights. Three 7d6 attacks against any mundane creature is pretty much “deader than hell in one round.” Any non-mundane creature tends to be immune, and that puts me in the “flailing around with limited armor – though we fixed that recently – and a sword that I’m not great with.” 

The upcoming game will be +Christopher R. Rice running a Supers game, also in GURPS. This is going to be very eye-opening for me. The highest point totals I’ve played or GM’d with in any GURPS 4e game top out in the 250-400 point range. As a player, I think Cadmus the Warrior Saint was the highest. 

My PC in the upcoming game is just shy of 900 points before he straps on a powered armor suit that adds about 300 more. I’ll probably write more about him in the future, but I want to play a few games and let that settle out.

The final Basic D&D game is with +Jonathan Henry, and it’s got a strong nostalgia factor. Basic D&D has few hard-and-fast rules, so there’s a lot of GM arbitrage. Characters are very fragile, which is part of it. So that one’s just like buttered popcorn to me.

I hope to get my daughter into RPGing this year. Maybe a Fate superheroes game, which would give me a chance to play/run Fate, and the rules-light nature of the system should allow her age group to rock out. More boardgames with her as well – she’s taken to Pandemic like a fish to water, and we were gifted with King of Tokyo, Rampage, and Castle Panic for Xmas this year. Maybe get her into X-Wing Miniatures, since she loves Star Wars too.

Looking back at 2015, it feels like it was worse than it was. I mean, +Jeffro Johnson hit me with the #3 spot in his Blog-olympics for the year (I was #1 in 2014 on the strength of the Firing Squad interviews, and #3 for Violent Resolution), so there was something valuable there. I had some of my most widely-read posts as well, thanks to branching out into D&D. 

But with a severe injury setting in for the last quarter (I blew myself up on Oct 6, 2015), sitting at the computer has felt like a chore. I did write 37 posts in that time, or about 2.5 days between posts. But that’s why it seems slow, I guess – that’s a significant slowdown from my usual pace.

I think I need to return to my prior habits. Two gameplay writeups a week, and two or three RPG content articles. The Melee Academy and GURPS 101 (maybe expand that to Gaming 101?) series were quite fun and popular, and those haven’t seen real attention for a while.

So, 2015 felt like a loss of focus. 2016 needs to get it back.

Challenge accepted. Happy New Year!

A bit of post-Christmas fun, occasioned by a list of Marvel movies ranked in some sort of order that seemed to me to bear no resemblance to anything I’d ever write down. That’s cool – taste and enjoyment are subjective. 

Still, here’s how I’d order the movies, from least favorite to most. 

Again: highly subjective, and I put a lot of value on repeat viewing as a “turn my brain off and just have fun” activity.

So, here we go. There are twelve Marvel Movies. And I’m going to split the voting up into three tiers.


The Bottom Tier


The good news for Marvel (at least from my perspective) is that these are all watchable. The not-so-good news is that for some of them, once they’ve been seen, you’re quite done with them.

12. Iron Man 3 – This one I saw once, and I own the Blu-Ray but I don’t think I’ve ever re-watched the movie. It just never really grabbed me. That being said, there were some fun bits in it, including Tony struggling with his post-Avengers brush with death.

11. Iron Man 2 – The highlight of this one was really the introduction of Black Widow, and the spectacular fight scene with her beating up, well, everyone. They played up Pepper’s role a bit, which was good, and Tony gets his new element to help power his suit. The interaction with War Machine was a fun scene, but still overall not enough to lift it out of the top.

10. Thor: The Dark World – Also known, I think, as Loki 3 (the first two being Thor and Avengers). Tom Hiddleston is such a compelling Loki that it’s worth watching almost just for that. Plus, the pageantry of Asgard is something I love watching. Objectively, I should put this one lower than 10, but I will rewatch this one before the 2nd and 3rd Iron Man movies, so it moves up in my book. Plus: Zachary Levi as Fandril. Boom.

9. Hulk – This one is a good movie, but it’s basically a stand-alone, and the fact that Edward Norton was replaced by the excellent Mark Ruffalo in Avengers and Avengers 2 means that it tends to stay on the shelf. Still, as a self-contained story, it does very well. Norton is a good Banner, and the Hulk is, of course, the huge green rage-monster we’ve grown to know and love.

The Middle Tier


Neither my favorite nor least favorite, these are solid hitters for me. The closer you get to 5 and 6, the less real distinction between them in terms of enjoyment.

8. Ant-Man – This was a heck of a lot more fun than I thought it would be, and a better movie in many respects than my choices for 9-12. I liked the old/new continuity with Michael Douglas as Pym, and the new actors for Ant-Man and Wasp. The Tommy the Train scene (not a spoiler – it was in the trailer) was and is laugh-out-loud amusing, especially for a parent. The interactions with Falcon at the Avenger’s base were well played, and proved Ant-Man can be a serious player, as well as played for laughs. 

7. Thor – A controversial choice, I’m sure. Most people didn’t care for it. I, however, never get tired of it. Chris Hemsworth owns the role as Thor, and I’m not sure it was Anthony Hopkins playing Odin so much as it was Odin playing Anthony Hopkins – he’s just that good in the role. Loki gets a smaller but still critical role here, and the tale of the arrogant boy becoming a man – proving his worth by realizing how unfit he is to rule – is enjoyable as hell to me. The movie is simply gorgeous as well, and while Academy Award winner Natalie Portman is underutilized (as she was in Thor 2), she doesn’t make me want to take a screamin’ leap off a cliff by playing scientist. This one moves way up as a movie I will pull off the shelf and just watch. Bonus awesome: Idris Elba as Heimdall? Brilliant.

6. Guardians of the Galaxy – I didn’t really groove on this one personally, but I can see that it’s a good movie, with an interesting plot and characters, each played well. The overall movie is deliberately much more shades of grey (something good? something bad? bit of both?) than the rest of the movies, but that’s not always a selling point for me. I rewatch Thor more frequently than GotG, but I can also see that for most, it’s a better movie. 

5. Avengers 2: Age of Ultron – The opening battle sequence, Hulk’s rampage and fight with Veronica, and the final battles are great film-making. The focus on Hawkeye and his vulnerability relative to the other Avengers – plus his hidden home life – is a nice touch. Still, I heard that the movie lost something like 20-40 minutes on the editing room floor, and it shows. Rewatching the movie last night was still fun, though – the interaction between the characters, especially Steve Rogers and Tony Stark, sets up both this movie and Civil War quite well. 

The Top Tier

These are my top four Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, which means they’re some of the best superhero movies ever made, in my opinion. For me, there are two groups of two movies, the merely awesome lower half and the ‘best movies ever made’ top two.

4. Iron Man – What? Fourth? Well, yeah, for me. This was, for a while, simply the best superhero film ever made. The introduction and construction of the first suit was a fantastic beginning, and while Don Cheadle is a great actor, Terence Howard did a great job in this one as Rhodey. The only thing that makes this one fall down a bit is that Jeff Bridges really does chew the scenery in the final confrontation. Oh, sure, the battle itself rocks on toast. But “My suit is more advanced in every way!” is just arrogant crap, delivered badly. And frequently. But overall, Iron Man was the foundation of the entire line of movies, giving the runway – deservedly – to some of the blockbusters that followed.

3. Captain America: The First Avenger – This one ranks among my favorite movies of all time, and it’s only number three on my list. I enjoy every moment of this film, from Steve’s recruitment and training, to his first moments as a super-soldier, to his eventual adoption of the Howling Commandos and the fight with Red Skull, and his eventual sacrifice. The movie also gave us Peggy Carter, a wonderful heroine who deservedly got her own TV series. Solid entertainment that was deeply respectful of the patriotic themes of WW2 America, portraying them in a way that could have been corny, but was not.

Truthfully, Iron Man and Captain America could go either way. I find Cap a bit more compelling as a hero than Tony, but Robert Downy Junior and Chris Evans both utterly own their roles. And i truly, deeply respect the work both have done bringing the joy of their characters to fans everywhere – especially their work with sick kids. Chris Evans (and Chrisopher Platt) have both travelled to children’s hospitals in costume to spread cheer, and of course RDJ donned his Tony Stark persona to gift a boy with a missing arm with a new Iron Man-themeed prosthetic. Chris Evans has said that Captain America is the kind of man he has always wanted to be – and apparently he’s taking that up as a challenge.

2. Avengers – This is a real candidate for #1, actually. It has the highest rewatch value of all of these movies, and if a brilliant ensembe piece that takes the best from each character. Plus, of course, Loki being so delightfully Loki. From start to finish, this movie defines the superhero ensemble piece. 

1. Captain America: Winter Soldier – Simply brilliant, and to bring such moral and ethical complexity to a red-white-and-blue hero that is Captain America was a deft touch, well executed. The big reveal of the movie rippled through the MCU, and Captain America, Black Widow, and relative newcomer Falcon carried the movie quite well. The reintroduction of Bucky as the Winter Soldier was very well done, and the film manages a level of tension that is visceral. So much so that it’s rewatch value is lower than Avengers, but overall it’s the better movie.

Parting Shot

For me, I’ll gladly re-watch any of my Top 7 at any given moment. The jury is still out on Ant-Man for me, but I’m sure it’ll make it’s way into my collection.

I love superhero movies. Great fun, good effects, and a sense of escapism and fantastic immersion that is hard to beat. The best of them have, in the past, made me “believe a man can fly,” and with some of them, can inspire one to better things like the modern Gods they are. 

In particular, the pairing of Tony Stark and Steve Rogers stand out as well acted, supremely well cast, and flawlessly executed. Tony, other than his origin story, seems to require the others around as a foil to his gigantic personality. I can watch Captain America – and have – in anything he’s in. 

In fact, I’m about to play in a GURPS Superheroes game, and my character, Commander Samurai, is accurately described as Captain America Lite. Oh, sure, some differences, because if i’m going to play Cap I’ll actually make and play Cap (though he’d be hard in GURPS; I might have to do that just to see if I can).

But I started off with “I want to play a character like Captain America” for a reason. And I simply cannot wait for Captain America: Civil War.

Ok, so it’s pretty well known I’m a big Superman fan. Super-anything, really. Especially with my daughter devouring every animated film, TV show, comic book, or movie about the House of El. Sniff. So proud.

I was . . . deeply torn about Man of Steel. Henry Cavill was very convincing in the Big Blue Suit. Well, the muted blue suit, due to color palette tuning – and you really need to see The Color Version of the movie to understand how deeply it was cranked to the dingy grey. But the point is that while I found MoS a very watchable movie, I didn’t find it a terribly high-fidelity Superman movie. 

Of course, one can easily say it’s not a Superman movie – after all, it’s called Man of Steel, not Superman. And that was deliberate, I think. He’s not Superman yet. He starts to get there at the end of the film, and I suspect we’ll see more and more of that through Batman vs. Superman.

OK, enough prolog



So I just saw the new trailer. It confirms a lot of things that I’d seen speculated about in the past. 

So let’s get started.

The first bit is some sort of gala that frames the central conflict of the film (well, one of them, probably), which is the views of Clark and Bruce regarding their respective roles.

It also features a very . . . animated?  . . . Lex Luthor. I’m not a huge Affleck fan a priori, but give the man credit – the tired-sounding “Lex . . . ” given when Luthor interacts with Clark for the first time (and the presumption that these guys (Bruce and Lex) run in the same circles? A good one – like the Batman/Superman Lego movie, where Bruce/Lex are both in the running for Man of the Year.

Anyway, Lex as ferret-on-crack is going to have to take some getting used to.

I strongly suspect that the initial conflict between our polychromatic capes will potentially be resolved in the first half of the film. We clearly have a lot going on, just between the first few trailers. 

Things we can expect to see?


Superman rescuing people and being heroic


While there’s a good point to be made that Clark saves all of humanity about three times over during the course of the movie, the kind of up close and personal heroics we saw in Superman Returns (much maligned, but I like it well enough) were absent. At least once he donned the cape. 

The early clips and trailers show him, at the very least, saving the crew/payload (probably crew) of a rocket launch, rescuing people from a flood, and likely other things.

Some serious issues with cult followings


It very much looks like the initial issue between Batman and Superman will revolve around a cult following that has sprung up around the Man of Steel. Based on the initial image, complete with Nazi helmets, someone’s taken Nietzsche’s Ubermench quite literally. 

Not sure where in the world it happens – we see Bruce/Batman decked out in desert gear – so it could be Africa or many places in the American Southwest (I find that particularly likely for several reasons) – but Batman thinks it enough of a problem to intervene directly.

The shots of Superman walking past kneeling . . . Nazi-menchen? Uber-Nazis? Meh. Superfans? . . . is interesting, because again it highlights that he doesn’t seem to deal with such threats one-on-one. Beneath him, maybe? Perhaps it’s like the recent episode of Supergirl: there’s no percentage to be gained by a Kryptonian twisting the arms off of a human, no matter how much he deserves it.

Power Corrupts, and Absolute Ultimate Power is Kinda Neat


I’ve noted before that the clash in Metropolis and Smallville between Kal-El and Zod was akin to several events the size, scope, and nature of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. One estimate I’ve seen before pegs physical damage at 750 billion and total impact at $2 trillion. 

The hyping of the “Superman is an illegal alien” thing, while done for both true impact as well as a decent pun, makes no small degree of sense here. You can’t send him a bill. The damage and dead are real. There’s nothing, or at least very little, that anyone can do about him.

So there are hearings and tension between Superman and the government. If Clark maintains his “you won’t control me, but you can’t get any more American than being raised in Kansas” position, this is guaranteed to Not Go Over Well.

Certainly you’re going to have factions. And some sort of program that says “we need a way to control/deal with this guy” is going to happen. 

I have to wonder if Cyborg is the US government’s answer to that, while Lex Luthor’s answer is . . .

Doomsday. Why’d it have to be Doomsday?


Yep. Confirmed, I think. He grabs Zod’s body, and creates something terrible. This will obviously be the final (and likely epic) conflict of the film.

We have also seen an image of Lex with Kryptonite  So I have to wonder if one or more of the following will occur:

  • Lex uses Green-K to mind-control or influence Superman
  • Lex uses Green-K to create Doomsday from Zod’s body
  • Both A and B
  • Lex and Batman both use Green-K for various purposes in the film

We’ve Seen Three. We will see more.


The highlight reel shows Superman, Batman, and Gal Godot’s Wonder Woman facing off against a very angry, very powerful Doomsday in the final clips. But we also know that Aquaman, Cyborg, and The Flash have been cast. That’s six major heroes, some of which are almost always considered part of the founding seven of the Justice League, some not so much. The one that’s usually there is Green Lantern, and there’s a “Carrie Ferris” cast in Man of Steel (and BvS) with a highly suspicious last name

Parting Shot

There’s absolutely no question in my mind that this is an ambitious film. It’s a Superman sequel. It introduces the entire Trinity in one film (though Wonder Woman looks to only show up in costume at the end – though more scenes could happen that we’ve not seen yet, of course). It borrows heavily from Frank Miller’s excellent The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel, including, word-for-word, one of the juicy bits of dialog from the Batman v Superman fight in that book.

We will see Superman’s role in the world and with the US government (not to mention its people) evolve. We’ll see the emergence of no fewer than six, and maybe more, heroes. We’ve got Lex Luthor. We’ve got Kryptonite. We’ve got Doomsday – and let me tell you, the decision to combine the Doomsday figure and the Dark Knight Returns and maybe some of Justice League:War (in that the good guys all band together vs. a major threat, Doomsday instead of Darkseid) all in one movie means that as much as I noted that the Supergirl pilot jumped from high point to high point with breathless pace, this movie could feel equally rushed.

But perhaps not. Certainly, it’s possible that this movie, with all the seeds of awesome liberally sprinkled throughout, will deliver its full potential. As a fan of all three of the main characters (and Green Lantern is growing on me), I certainly hope so.

And a Better Version!


Someone has already re-cut the trailer to be more suspenseful and reveal fewer plot points.

The lorica proect is completed.

Good: definitely doable, and the pattern works out ok. The insertion of coat hanger wires to make the cardboard hold its shape works great.

Mediocre: really need the system of hinges, pins, and ties that the actual romans used. I tried to “simplify’ with velcro, which ironically means that you need flush-fit for all the connections. Pins and ties bridge gaps better. Also, elmers glue is ok for gluing the ribbon for the inner harness, but hot glue gun? Works wonders.

Bad: you really need to make these to fit. I cut the original to fit the typical smallish person, and that was too large for my slender girl’s neck and shoulders. i had to buff out the shoulder guards, and she’ll need to wear a shirt with shoulder pads (historically accurate!) to make it hang right.

The inner harness/ribbon is very important, and while ribbon works, you really want the hot glue gun to secure it to the cardboard rather than the elmers, which isn’t tenacious enough to manhandle.

I finally embellished it a bit. The originals have brass hinge-work, so I figure it’s legit.

Final product and larger pix after the break. Hey, maybe next time I’ll take the time and make some for myself, too . . .