Retro Game Review: Ebola Monkey Hunt

By Rodger Moss

 

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    In 1998 a small game company named Placebo Press released a small game named Ebola Monkey Hunt and my life was changed. The back story to this game was simple Ebola infected monkeys have escaped and are hidden in a office complex, you job is to get them back. There is a catch though the boss of the CDC has offered a giant promotion to the one who brings them back the fastest. Sounds simple enough grab the monkeys, get to the cool zone, and get that job. One problem Steve from accounting wants that job as well and he has more tranquilizer darts than you.

 

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       Ebola monkey hunt was a game for 3-6 players the object is to collect one monkey from each of the four monkey spots on the board and get them back to the cool zone. This game took a page out of Cheap-Ass games and used paper and index card stock to manufacturer. Counters, tokens, and figures were up to you to provide, but hey this game cost five American dollars back in the day. Most games lasted around 30-45 min depending on how aggressive the players are.

 

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        Movement was done with a die roll and a 1-2 got you a special card, the map was a grid and littered around the map is special squares such as health and oxygen. Attacking a fellow player was something you did before or after movement and you counted the spaces between you and them roll a higher number. Boom a knocked out CDC agent with a punctured suit no less. Certain monkeys have powers and hindrances like the dreaded Reese's pieces monkey which you had four turns to get him back to the cool zone, if not there is not enough monkey left. This is one of the highlights of what would other wise be a simple boring game, using the monkey powers as a weapon will keep you entertained for hours. Another shining piece of this game is the action cards you get after a bad movement roll. With the cards you can make the virus airborne, or just make your opponent miss a sure shot.

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       After you collect a monkey from each spot you win! This game was a staple for Sunday gaming growing up. An expansion Power Monkeys was released the following year and another game E3 a few years later this one had a D&D feel to the game. This is a beer and pretzel game done at it's finest not to hard but just the right amount of options. I recently had a chance to play this game after 12 years, I was worried that I was looking at this game from the memories I have and not the game. I was wrong Ebola Monkey Hunt still holds strong, if you can find a copy of this game and Power Monkeys it's well worth the investment.

 

Stay Geeky!

Doctor Who Profile: Matt Smith

Jason O’Toole

Credit: BBC

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As someone whose favorite Doctor is David Tennant, the tenth doctor, I was not excited to see him replaced by Matt Smith, the eleventh. However, I will be the first to admit Smith was a fantastic addition to the many great actors to play the titular time traveler over the years. His opening episode, The Eleventh Hour,  takes away the TARDIS and the Sonic Screwdriver to show us that the Doctor is more than just tech. Without his tools, he still manages to save the world from total annihilation. A prisoner has escaped from an alien prison and fled to Earth. The jailers, the Atraxi, order him to surrender, and if he doesn’t they will destroy the planet. The Doctor manages to trick the prisoner into revealing himself to the Atraxi with his brains and help from his new companions, Amy and Rory. The final moments were when I was completely sold on Matt Smith’s take on the Doctor. He is calm, confident and embodies the very thing we have come to expect from the time traveling hero. When it comes to aliens, getting them to leave is good, showing them why they should never come back is better. He shows us why he is the right man for the job, while still paying homage to all those that have come before. Check out this amazing moment in the video below.

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During his three seasons playing the Doctor, Smith was joined by amazing companions Amy Pond and her husband Rory Williams, Clara Oswald and occasionally another time traveler River Song, who would later go on to be the Doctor’s wife, yes you read that right. Amy and Rory had a fantastic story arc that leads them to their wedding day and beyond as they travel the stars with the Doctor. Eventually, they have their first child, a girl they name Melody. She was conceived in the TARDIS and is thus granted the regeneration powers the Doctor also possesses. Along their journey it is revealed that Melody Pond is actually River Song. River was conditioned from birth to kill the Doctor, which she eventually does. This breaks her mind conditioning and she ends up giving up all her regeneration's to save his life. She realizes that she had taken from this universe a great man, and it is in this moment that she falls in love with him. Their relationship continues to evolve as we say goodbye to the Ponds and say hello to Clara Oswald, the impossible girl. Clara, as it turns out, has actually been a part of the Doctor’s entire 900 year life. Her destiny is to always point the Doctor in the right direction, essentially acting as a guide to him throughout his many adventures. Clara would stay with Smith all the way through to his regeneration.

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After his three season tenure as the character, Smith’s run came to a close in two fantastic specials, The Day Of The Doctor and The Time Of The Doctor. The former served as the 50th anniversary special, airing 50 years to day from the first episode of the series back in 1963. This special brought together Tennant and Smith along with a previously unknown regeneration, the War Doctor, played by John Hurt. Hurt’s version, it turns out, fought in the Time War, a great war between the Time Lords and the Daleks. The War Doctor is the version that wiped out his people to save the universe. This episode changes the history of the series without changing anything. The universe will believe that the Time War claimed both species and Gallifrey will be saved and hidden in a pocket dimension. The thing that makes this all work is one simple moment where they all realize the only version that will remember this is the eleventh. The War Doctor and the tenth are out of sync with their timelines, preventing them from retaining the information that Gallifrey has been saved. This plot point carries over into Smith’s final episode as the titular character, The Time Of The Doctor. He finds himself on the planet he will die on, Trenzalore. The Doctor is out of lives and has to stay here to defend a crack in reality that turns out to be Gallifrey trying to return to the universe. All the Doctor’s enemies unite to make sure that when this happens they can once again destroy them. It appears the Doctor is out of time until Clara pleads with the Time Lords through the crack to help him saying, “If you love him, and you should, help him. Help him change the future.” The Time Lords decide to help him and give him a new regeneration cycle. From the first episode to this last, Smith does a fantastic job bringing the time traveler to life. Matt Smith’s final moments as the Doctor brought a tear to my eye. He leaves us with a touching reminder of why he deserves his spot among the greats. Check out this beautiful scene below and check out my profile on Peter Capaldi here.

Stay Geeky!

Star Wars Legion Thoughts

By Rodger Moss

Fast paced squad combat from a galaxy far far away! Fantasy Flight gives as Star Wars Legion the first Star Wars miniature game since WOTC and boy is it deep. Ditching the space combat that X-wing and Armada have given us Fantasy Flight turns to the other side ground combat. This is no pre- painted Wings of war re-skin in the vain of Tanks but a full one mini game in the likes of Warhammer.  The battle between the Rebels and Empire has never been so fierce. 

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    The miniatures are a plastic mold the do require some assembly, with a little experience and work it should take about an hour or two to have the starter set assembled and ready to paint. These are beautiful molds as one would expect from a Fantasy Flight game. Painting is always the fun part of building miniatures and this is no exception. Storm troopers held the most fun for me as I could do some small scuffs on the armor and really let my imagination go. You could always go for the clean look that they show in the movies but I felt that if dirt and blaster bolts are flying the white might get a little dirty. The Rebels are no holds bar when it comes to painting remember this is a rag tag underground that doesn't have the money for uniforms. Luke looks amazing in his Cloud City outfit and I cant wait for a Jedi mini. 

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    One of the biggest problems with this game is the rule booklet. Fantasy Flight always does a great job designing a game but not so much when it comes to the lay out of the rules. The best way to learn this game is to play two or three practice games with a friend or alone. After you do get used to the rules this game flows like a river. Movement, Cover, and Line of site are extremely easy to work with something Warhammer can take note of. As with most Fantasy Flight games this system uses special dice and markers that come with the starter set. Another issue with the game is it takes two stater sets to really field an army and have enough markers and dice to make the game run smooth. But with the price being under $100.00 it's am easier investment to get your hands dirty while learning the game than others on the market. 

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    Overall Star Wars Legion is a good game and with a little work could be a great one. If you have a chance to catch a demo at your local game store check it out. Another option is go in with a buddy take one side and have them take the other for adventures that we used to have as children.

    Stay Geeky!

Dark Nights: Metal Review Part 3

Jason O’Toole

Credit: DC Comics

We have arrived at last to the finale of my review of Dark Nights: Metal. For this final part, we will be covering the main series 1-6. The heroes of the DC universe have been pushed to the absolute limits of their abilities by the dark multiverse and the nightmare Batmen. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have brought their epic story to an explosive conclusion that will leave the Justice League, and the entire DC universe forever changed. Spoiler Alert for Dark Nights: Metal 1-6. You have been warned. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 here.

Dark Nights: Metal #1

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Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have bee working on Batman together since the start of the New 52 relaunch way back in 2011. Many fans regard this as not only one of the best modern Batman runs, but the best the New 52 had to offer. Metal represents the finale of all they were building to during the 52 issues and three annuals of Batman. The finale shows us right away that it has much larger implications for the DC Universe. Issue one introduces us to the concept of the dark multiverse, a dark reflection of the matter and anti-matter universe where worlds are born into existence. Some world rise and become part of the known multiverse, while some dark worlds are broken down and returned to the world forge. Kendra explains all of this to the Justice League and tries to capture Batman as she believes he is the doorway to darkness. Obviously, this doesn’t work and Bruce gets away with the metal he has been searching for, Nth Metal, a substance that has some connection to the dark multiverse. The final pages of this first issue introduce us to the journal of Carter Hall, Hawkman, which he left hidden in Wayne manor. Carter knew if anyone would be able to solve this mystery it would be Bruce. In the final moments, Bruce gets help form an unlikely ally, the Dream of the Endless, who tells Bruce that things are much worse than he thinks.

Dark Nights: Metal #2

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The second issue opens with the Justice League and their allies trying to locate Bruce and stop him before the prophecy comes to light. Batman’s allies do their best to distract the League, but ultimately Superman catches and confronts Bruce. This turns out to be Clayface in disguise, but he does explain the connection to Snyder’s Batman run. Barbatos, the dark bat god, has been watching Bruce since he went back in time during Grant Morrison’s The Return of Bruce Wayne mini-series. Bruce is being prepared for something called the mantling, which involves him being exposed to five heavy metals. This connects back to the New 52 as Bruce has already been exposed to Electrum, while he was lost in the Court of Owls labyrinth, Dionesium, when he fought Joker to the death, Promethium, when Bruce got his memory back and Nth Metal, when he attempted to see the dark multiverse. Kendra proves that she will do whatever it takes to protect this universe as she allies herself with what can only be called the Legion of Doom, as it is being led by Vandal Savage. Batman believes the way to stop this involves going back in time with the help of baby Darkseid’s omega beams. It turns out to all have been a trap set by the Court of Owls to lure Bruce to the tomb of Hath-Set and expose him to the final metal Batmanium. Batman is taken away and returned in his place are Barbatos and his seven nightmare Batmen who immediately take down Superman and Wonder Woman.

Dark Nights: Metal #3

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Superman thinks that Bruce is reaching out to him through a series of musical notes he hears in a vision. An alphabetical trinity, B-C-D, Bruce, Clark and Diana. Clark has his first confrontation with the dark Batmen and finds out very quickly that he is no match for villains that have the intelligence of Bruce Wayne but none of the morals. Ultimately, Clark and several other heroes are whisked away by Doctor Fate to the Oblivion Bar, an outpost hidden in a pocket dimension. There, they discuss the fact that they need the various metals to have any chance of fighting the darkness. Since Challenger’s mountain has appeared in Gotham, the metals have been vibrating at a frequency that the magical attuned characters, like Doctor Fate, are able to pick up. Fate believes these frequencies point to locations where the metals will be found, Atlantis, Deep Space and the center of the Multiverse. Mr. Terrific say that the loudest frequency is coming from the darkness, which Superman thinks means they need Bruce, who they believe to be trapped in the dark multiverse. Flash is able to vibrate at different dimensional frequencies and believes he can get Clark to the darkness. The teams are set, Diana, Kendra and Fate will head to the center of the multiverse, Lantern, Terrific and Plastic Man will explore deep space and Aquaman and Deathstroke will head to Atlantis. In the closing pages of this issue we see that all of these vibrations are leading back to darkness as Superman walks right into a trap. The servants of Barbatos were waiting for Clark, who they need to sink the Earth into darkness. The notes that Clark though were a plea for help from Bruce were actually a warning to stay away.

Dark Nights: Metal #4

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The fourth issue of the story finally gives us answers about the true purpose of the dark multiverse. We know that two universes exist, Matter and Anti-Matter, and that the monitors were birthed to watch over them. A third called the Over Monitor would watch over what was yet to come. This monitor presides over the world forge where the hopes and fears of all living things give birth to many new worlds. Stable worlds would rise while twisted unstable worlds were destroyed by a great dragon. The dragon, Barbatos, killed its master and began letting worlds that should have been dissolved live on. This darkened the forge and gave birth to the nightmare Batmen. Dream has a vested interest in helping stop this as it has started to burn the library of dreams, which will ultimately consume all of reality. The rest of the issues shows the traps that Barbatos has led the League into and the betrayal of Kendra Saunders. The villains have struck a deal with Barbatos because they believe he can’t be stopped. The last chance the heroes have to stop all of this is at the world forge. Unfortunately, the forge has darkened and is guarded by Carter Hall, the former Hawkman, who is now a slave to Barbatos. As the dark god says, “All roads lead back….to darkness.”

Dark Nights: Metal #5

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All the Justice League’s plans have failed, and everything they’ve done has only helped the dark Batmen succeed in their plan to bring the Earth down into the dark multiverse. The penultimate issue does a fantastic job setting up the finale. Clark and Bruce continue to search for a spark of light in the forge. Bruce finds that spark by reminding the dark hawk that Carter Hall was a hero that dies a valiant death. This reminds the monster that deep inside is still that great hero igniting the forge. Superman and Batman dive in seemingly to their deaths in a last ditch effort to save the universe from the darkness. A face from the past comes back to help Lantern and Terrific escape from Starro’s dungeons on Thanagar, Martian Manhunter. Unfortunately, this rescue comes to little, to late as the Phoenix Cannon on Thanagar that should raise the Earth has been reversed by Barbatos’ minions to sink it instead. A small bit of hope arises in the form of Hawkman’s mace, now claimed by Wonder Woman, who uses it to knock some sense into Kendra. They return to earth just in time to see it sink and be invaded by the denizens of the dark multiverse. With a mighty war cry, Diana and Kendra prepare to face this threat head on.

Dark Nights: Metal #6

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The finale opens with Wonder Woman and Lady Blackhawk (Kendra) facing the darkness head on. Diana unites the heroes that are left and Plastic Man makes his triumphant return and turns the tide of the battle. While the rest of the heroes distract the dark reflections of themselves, Wonder Woman and Blackhawk head to the forge. Kendra reminds the dark hawk of who he really is and a battle ensues between him and his master, Barbatos. Wonder Woman wastes no more time and dives into the world forge. This gamble pays of as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman emerge from the forge wearing armor made from the tenth metal, the metal used to forge the worlds, and quickly give armor to the other members of the League. The tide is turned and Barbatos tells the Batman Who Laughs to enact the final plan. That plan consists of using the Anti-Monitors astral brain, the life of the Over-Monitor and the life of the Batman Who Laughs to destroy the multiverse leaving only the dark matter universe. The confrontation we have all been waiting for finally happens as Batman confronts the dark laughing reflection of himself. He seems to be no match for the Batman Who Laughs until he does something unexpected, teaming up with the Joker. Joker and the Batman Who Laughs continue to fight as the cavern collapses around them, seemingly burying them alive. The Over-Monitor tells the heroes how to use the tenth metal to reach out to every living thing in the multiverse and raise the Earth. This much power has a terrible side effect as the source wall, the barrier surrounding the multiverse, is shattered, opening up the universes to the dangers beyond. Once again Barbatos is imprisoned in the dark realm, serving the purpose he was made for, destroying worlds that should not exist. Bruce assembles the League at Wayne manor to discuss the plans for the future. Those plans include rebuilding the Hall of Justice, which will lead right into Scott Snyder’s new Justice League book coming later this year. This story, and the 52 Batman issues that preceded it, will go down in history as a defining moment in Batman’s history.

Stay Geeky!

Infinity War Theatrical Trailer Breakdown

Jason O’Toole

Credit: Marvel Studios

A full theatrical trailer for Avengers: Infinity War has hit the internet. Along with it came a whole slew of new theories about the films plot. We finally get a better look at Thanos and his Black Order as well as some new footage of our heroes. As always, let’s take a look at certain parts of the trailer and try to discern their meaning. If any of these things turn out to actually be part of the plot, a SPOILER ALERT may be in order.

While the trailer does give us a new look at Thanos in his armor, most of the footage appears in a flash back sequence on Gamora’s home world. This appears to be the moment when Thanos first took Gamora away from her home and made her the sole survivor of her race. It is quite possible we will get to witness firsthand the extinction of her people as we see Thanos’ soldiers holding her people at bay. The Russo brothers, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, spoke of how this film will serve as an origin for the Mad Titan, and go to some dark places telling that story.

We finally get our first footage of the Black Order, Thanos’ generals, Corvus Glave, Proxima Midnight, Ebony Maw and Black Dwarf. Even though it is brief, a major plot point from the Infinity crossover from Marvel Comics may be making its way to the big screen. In the comic, the Ebony Maw took control of Doctor Strange to find the Infinity Stones on Earth, and sent him in as a sleeper agent who would eventually betray the team. These shots definitely seem to be in direct reference to that part of the comic. It seems that at least in some ways this movie will take its cues from the comic.

Finally, we come to a tense standoff between Captain America and Thanos. It is very likely that Cap will lay down his life in defense of Earth, but he will definitely get a few good licks in before that happens. This is also a moment when we see Thanos look worried and a bit confused about how this human man is able to match his strength. The Mad Titan has no reason to think these people will be able to stop him, but coming up against Cap is where we see him begin to doubt that fact. This seems like the setup for what will be an amazing brawl between the pair. Leave us a comment with your thoughts on this latest trailer and we’ll see you April 27th for what is sure to be an epic movie.

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What are the must read comics?

Being the geeks that we are we have poured hours into comics and characters and watched the ever evolving expanse of different universes end and be reborn. If you are new to reading comics, trying to figure out where to start can be as daunting as coming face to face with the Mad Titan himself. This should help not only the noobs but the seasoned readers who are set in their ways to break from tradition and pick up a rival publisher's book. So whether you're into the big guys like Marvel and DC or something more independent like Dark Horse, Image or Boom there is plenty here for you to consume. These are not being listed in any particular order.

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We will be starting in a place called Lovecraft... Not that Lovecraft, but it is a tipping of the hat. In this series we follow a family who's lives have been touched by tragedy. IN an attempt to escape their misfortune and start life a new, they move to an old family house, where adventure and danger lurk behind every door. Locke and Key, written by Joe Hill and published by IDW, will take you to another world. On a side note there have been rumors surrounding a Locke and Key TV series, the most recent of which was said to have been picked up by Hulu. After reading it, its hard to not be excited by the prospect of an ongoing TV series, especially since Danny Glover is said to have a lead role. Getting the first trade paperback is worth every penny.

 

 

Image by IDW Comics

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The folks at Image Comics take us on a journey, well more like a every parent's worst nightmare in Birthright, by Joshua Williamson. In this series a strange barbarian claims to be a boy that has been missing for about a year. In this series fantasy meets reality and the fallout will keep you reading on. With the first trade only costing around $10 this is something that everyone should have in their reading arsenal. 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                     Image by Image comics

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In a crime filled Gotham a tired 55 year-old Bruce Wayne, haunted by the death of Jason Todd (Robin) is once again called by the cape and cowl to fight for the innocent, and in doing so learns of a plot that is sure to bring the entire city to it's knees. This classic was written by the great Frank Miller in the          Image by DC Comics                                           80's and has withstood the test of time. Rumor has it that Ben Affleck attempted to call on this version of Batman when he took on the role. If you are a fan of the caped crusader or if you're just looking for a great story this is sure to tickle your fancy.

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Another Batman tale that is sure to grab you is Hush. This storyline originally ran from issue 608-619 and has the Caped Crusader overcoming a traumatic brain injury sustained while pursuing Catwoman who stole the ransom that would rescue a child from the clutches of Killer Crock. I’m sure the suspense is killing you. Get a copy of this classic at your local comic shop.

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In a world where super heroes were superheroes surfaced in the 40’s through the 60’s everything was changed. The US won the Vietnam war and the Watergate Break-ins were never exposed. A third world war is edging closer and closer as tensions between the US and the Soviet Union reach a breaking point. Freelance vigilantes have been outlawed so former heroes were forced to retire or work with the government. Watchmen is a comic classic that everyone should read.

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In brightest day, In blackest night… As the war between the Green Lantern and Sinestro Corps reaches its climax, the four Green Lanterns of Earth—Hal JordanGuy GardnerJohn Stewart, and Kyle Rayner are told by the Guardians of the Blackest Night prophecy. According to the prophecy, the two existing Corps would be joined by five new ones, leading to a "War of Light" that would bring about the destruction of the universe. Guys, come on… Get your hands on a copy of this and read it!

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Few stories can tell a tale of division quite like an X-Men story. X-Men Second coming is the final chapter in a three part that is sure to captivate you. In this story Cable and Hope are put in a sticky situation when The Alpha team and Wolverine come to their aid. As anyone would hope there are portals and loopholes throughout the story that will leave wanting more.

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If you are looking for a Spider-Man tale that is sure to turn your world upside down, direct your attention to Superior Spider-Man! Peter Parker is a memory in his own body after Doctor Octopus has managed to take over Peter’s body and assume the role of Spider-Man. This turns the Spidey world upside down and should be read by any and everyone.

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To wrap up our list, we will step into the world of The Sandman. In this story, Dream the master of dreams has been imprisoned for a good while, and has spent some time thinking about how to right his wrongs. When he sets out to do so, the consequences are massive. The original series ran from 89-96 and is comprised of 75 issues of pure gold. Do yourself the favor of getting a copy to feast your brain on.

Now we understand that there are 100’s if not 1000’s of series and stories that have been told that are worthy of recognition. There is no way we could list it all here. So we must now ask our listeners and readers to continue the conversation and let us know what your favorites are in the comments section. Thank you for reading and Stay Geeky!

Avengers Infinity War EW Coverage

Jason O’Toole

Credit: Entertainment Weekly

Entertainment Weekly will be releasing an issue covering the upcoming Infinity War. Ahead of that release has come a whole slew of production photos and a look at the 15 covers, yes you read that right, for the upcoming issue. Rabid collectors, like myself, will naturally have to pick up every one to complete the picture, yes that’s right they connect to form one single image. Let’s break down these images to see what we can see.

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This first image appeared in the footage showed off at San Diego Comic Con last year. The location has been confirmed as Titan, Thanos’ homeworld, one of the moons of Saturn. Thanos is using the power of the Infinity Gauntlet to rip another moon out of the sky to hurl at our heroes. The article has promised that we will finally get some backstory on the Mad Titan.

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One thing we have seen is that the heroes will be split into different teams for the majority of the film. This next image highlights the team of Iron Man, Dr. Strange, Bruce Banner and Wong. It appears the Russo brothers have done this because of the sheer amount of characters in the film. I would imagine Spider-Man will probably be part of this group as well since these scenes seemingly take place in New York.

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Rhodey is back and seems to be walking around just fine, thanks to his bionic legs. He has apparently buried the hatchet with Captain America and his team of outlaws since the events of Civil War. Aliens invading Earth was always going to be the catalyst that brought our heroes back together. This grouping appears to be one of the teams that we will follow as well.

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Shuri is back! Let’s just let that sink in for a minute… Assuming the climax of the film takes place in Wakanda, we will likely see all our favorite characters return to the screen sooner rather than later. She appears to be conversing with Bruce Banner and Wanda Maximoff. It’s going to be amazing seeing all of these characters, old and new, reunite to defend the Earth.

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This next image seems odd to me. We have seen in the teaser that Spider-Man notices the alien ring in the sky while he is on the school bus. Does he immediately spring into action revealing his secret to his classmates? Unlikely, but this image definitely raises more questions than it answers. April 27th can’t get here fast enough.

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We know from the ending of Thor Ragnarok that Loki once again gets his hands on the Tesseract. In the teaser we saw him passing it to an unknown off screen. Presumably this is Thanos, who is probably none too happy with Loki having lost the Mind Stone. This shot appears to be during that same scene we saw in the trailer. What role could Loki have in all of this. Will he stand by his brother and the Avengers or take Thanos side and try to destroy them once again?

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We come now to what is very likely another team that will split off from the rest and head out into space. Thor, Rocket and Groot will most likely be off searching the cosmos for Thor’s new hammer, Stormbreaker. In the comics, that hammer belonged to Beta Ray Bill, an alien horse man whom we saw carved into the Grandmaster’s tower in Thor Ragnarok. Will he finally get his MCU debut? Only time will tell.

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Finally, we come to a shot we have seen in trailers. Our heroes gathering in the river lands of Wakanda, ready to face down the horde of Outriders. If this is indeed the climax of the film, I can think of no better place for it than Wakanda. In the background we also see M’Baku, who is one of many great Wakandans the will return for Infinity War. Captain America and Bucky are present as well.

Check out the gallery below for all the awesome connecting covers of the upcoming issue of Entertainment Weekly. Leave a comment with your thoughts on these latest developments and we’ll see you on April 27th.

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MCU Phase Three: A Retrospective

Jason O’Toole

Credit: Marvel Studios

As we approach the release of Avengers Infinity War and its as of yet untitled sequel it is a good time to look back on the movies that have led us to here. Each piece of the cinematic universe has helped build the ongoing narrative that has followed. It is interesting to look back and try to understand how each film has helped shape the story thus far. If you missed out check out the Phase One Retrospective and the Phase Two Retrospective.

Captain America Civil War (May 6th, 2016)

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Kevin Feige said in an interview, “We know they’re (the Avengers) gonna face Thanos, we’ve been setting that up since Avengers 1. How do you do that in a way that is unexpected, that pits the Avengers against somebody who is more powerful than anyone they’ve faced, and yet make them completely unprepared to face him? Well, tear them apart. Which is why we did Civil War before Infinity War.” With Infinity War being the movie that will unite all our heroes in one single film, we see that the only way phase three could have begun was with Civil War. The Russo brothers show us here why they are the perfect directors to take on the finale. They manage to balance all the previously seen characters, and a couple new ones, in a narrative that is still very focused on Captain America’s relationship with Bucky. If what Feige said means anything, this film does more to set up Infinity War than any other phase three film. Its post credit scenes set up two of the biggest films of this phase, Spider-Man Homecoming and Black Panther. The first of the two gives us our first real look at Wakanda, as Bucky is being put back into cryogenic stasis while the Wakandans try to find a way to rid him of the Hydra mind control. The second scene gives us one more quick look at Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, which was one of the highlights of this film.

Doctor Strange (November 4th, 2016)

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Like Ant Man, we get introduced to another character that will carry us into phase 4 and beyond. Benedict Cumberbatch plays world renowned surgeon turned sorcerer Dr. Stephen Strange. As we come to the close of many of the actors contracts, Marvel had to set up some new Avengers to carry the mantle into the future of this franchise. The sorcerers have protected the world for thousands of years going all the way back to the mighty Agamotto, the first sorcerer supreme, who could manipulate time itself. The artifact he passed down to subsequent sorcerers accomplished this because it actually contained the fifth infinity stone, the time stone. Doctor Strange uses this power to defeat Dormammu, an inter-dimensional being and ruler of the dark dimension, who wants to conquer all realities. This film also introduces the idea of the Marvel multiverse, which will likely be a big deal in phase four. Thor makes his first appearance in a post credit scene that sets up his sequel, and the fact that Doctor Strange will cameo in it. Thor clearly underestimates Earth’s sorcerers, calling them wizards, but nonetheless need their help. The second post credit scene sets up Mordo as the villain for the sequel. Mordo comes to believe through the films story that Earth has too many sorcerers breaking the rules of reality. He takes it upon himself to fix this problem.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5th, 2017)

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The sequel to James Gunn’s smash hit also marked the start of Marvel releasing three films a year. Gunn continues to be Marvel’s go to guy for building the galactic side of the MCU. This movie doesn’t do much to set things up beyond its own story. Within that narrative, however, it brings in several concepts that will be essential to the cosmic side of things in the future. This film seems to confirm the existence of the Watchers, a group of inter-galactic scholars who in the comics document the great events that shape the multiverse. The scene also confirms a long held theory that Stan Lee is one of them. He appears to be telling the Watchers of his cameos throughout the many MCU films. We get introduced to a group of Ravagers that Yondu used to run with before they banished him for breaking the rules of their order. This team represents the original Guardians of the Galaxy led by Sylvester Stallone as Starhawk, Michelle Yeoh as Aleta, Michael Rosenbaum as Martinex, Ving Rhames as Charlie-27 and  Miley Cyrus as the voice of Mainframe. They reunite in one of the post credit scenes. Another fantastic post credit scene introduces us to Adam Warlock, a new life form created by the Sovereign. Warlock, like Thanos and the Guardians, is a huge part of the galactic universe in the comics. In the books he is most often associated with the Soul Stone. In the aftermath of Infinity War, something will have to be done with the stones, and it very likely will involve Adam Warlock. The rest of the post credit scenes are just various jokes.

Spider-Man Homecoming (July 7th, 2017)

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Spider-Man, having made his glorious return to Marvel in Captain America Civil War, gets his solo outing, and brings us the best film we’ve ever seen from the wall crawler. Marvel shows us immediately why they should be the ones to bring their characters to the screen. Tom Holland does a fantastic job bringing the high school version of Peter Parker to the screen. This film was obviously heavily influenced by the Ultimate Spider-Man comic by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, which spent its time with Peter and his friends in high school. Tony Stark becomes a father figure and mentor to a version of Peter that wants nothing more than to be an Avenger. This film, like Guardians, spends most of its story just setting up future Spider-Man films. It introduces us to the Vulture, played excellently by Michael Keaton, and the possible team up that will become the Sinister Six, a villain team that unites to take down Spider-Man. In addition to the Vulture, we are also introduced to the Tinkerer, the Shocker and Scorpion in a move that proves you can introduce a bunch of villains without detracting from the narrative. It also seemingly confirms the existence of Mile Morales in the MCU. A move that has had many fans speculating about whether or not Miles will replace Peter in the future. Not too soon though, as it looks like we will follow Peter through high school over the course of the next two films.

Thor Ragnarok (November 3rd, 2017)

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Chris Hemsworth returns as the titular hero in what will possibly be his last solo outing, and it proves to be the best yet. At its core, the Thor universe has more in common with Guardians of the Galaxy than it does with the earth dwelling heroes. Taika Waititi embraces this concept and brings us a grand galactic adventure with a fantastic Planet Hulk story right in the middle of it all. Like Civil War before it, Ragnarok does its best to set up the forthcoming Infinity War. Ragnarok is an ancient Asgardian prophecy about the end of their world. When Asgard falls, this changes the status quo of the cosmos forcing our heroes out into the universe where they will likely meet up with the Guardians and return to Earth to face Thanos. During the events of this film, we finally say goodbye to Anthony Hopkins’ Odin, giving rise to Hela, Thor and Loki’s long lost sister. She claims the throne by force and plans to take over the universe. Thor and Loki once again team up to save the day. Thor realizes along the way that his true power lies within, and he uses this newfound realization to take down his sister by bringing about Ragnarok. Thor, as the new ruler of the Asgardians, is forced to lead his people across the cosmos in search of a new home. The post credit scene shows them running into trouble in the form of Sanctuary II, the flagship of Thanos fleet. This leads right into what will likely be the opening scene of the forthcoming Avengers film. Loki once again gets his hands on the Tesseract, which we’ve seen him passing of to a mystery figure that is likely Thanos in the Infinity War trailer. This will finally close a story thread that dates all the way back to the first Avengers film. Loki has been trying to outrun Thanos since failing to procure the Tesseract for him. In the process he also managed to lose the Mind Stone, which was the only Infinity stone that Thanos had in his possession at the time. Time will tell if Thanos decides to forgive this transgression or destroy Loki.

Black Panther (February 16th, 2018)

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We come to it at last, the final film before the Infinity War. Ironically, this movie does nothing to set up the ongoing story, and instead focuses entirely on its own. This is not a bad thing, as Black Panther might be the finest film that the MCU has ever made. We do know from trailers for Infinity War that a massive battle will take place right on Wakanda’s doorstep. This has led many to speculate that the meteor that carried the Vibranium to earth also contained the Soul Stone, the sixth and final infinity stone. T’Challa and Killmonger both take a trip to their own versions of the afterlife. These distinctions between the two trips have got many fans, myself included, to think that this is the stone connecting them to their dead loved ones. It is quite possible that the Wakandans are not even aware of this connection. Also, when it comes to the ongoing MCU narrative, the first post credit scene has the nation of Wakanda revealing itself and its technology to the United Nations. This could lead Wakanda to become a central location in phase four and beyond. The second post credit scene gives us a callback to Civil War. Shuri, T’Challa’s younger sister, has finally eliminated the mental conditioning in Bucky’s brain and unfroze him. The local Wakandan children are calling him the White Wolf, who in the comics becomes Wakanda’s head of security. Black Panther brings us full circle, and finally concludes the journey to Infinity War that Marvel began back in 2008 with Iron Man. It has been a long road and if the trailer is to be believed we have an amazing finale to look forward too in Avengers Infinity War. As the most recent film in the MCU, you can read my review of Black Panther here.

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Superhuman: Broad horizons

By Chris Parsons

 

As we have been going through this series progression has been the constant. The things that we do should contribute to a goal. As we move forward we need to be of a mindset that change is the only constant and that we have to be able to adapt or become extinct. Do not become overly attached to a particular method or a single plan. Be open to the possibility of change as long as it doesn't compromise your integrity. This is where we need to understand where our ego ends and begins.

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Ego will tell you that you are good enough, it will make excuses for you and will be the downfall of any man who lives by it. The fact of the matter is you have to be willing to sacrifice who you are today for who you can be. Everyday be willing to accept the death of who you have been so that you may become who you were meant to be. I can assure you, none of us are good enough as we are and if you continue to get better each day, you will not be the same person after just a little time passes. Take time to recognize your ego so that you may dismiss it as it becomes dangerous.

I will be ending this series by encouraging you to try new things and pursue those which you love with intensity and passion. Be someone worthy of notoriety and respect as you continue to sculpt the new you. If you ever want more detail on a particular section of this series, post a comment and perhaps we can visit it in another article. If you have stuck with me through this series, I want to thank you for reading and encourage you to stay geeky!