Sunday, July 31, 2016

Pokémon GO!

This might be everyone’s obsession at the moment. I know I’ve been anticipating its release for quite a while now, and as soon as I saw it in the App Store I had to have it.

In case you don’t know, Pokémon GO is an AR (augmented reality) game where you walk around and catch Pokémon. They show up on your phone screen like this:
Yay to actually looking like it’s there.

But sometimes they show up like this:
Krabby…I didn’t know you could fly.
As with most newly-released games, there are some kinks to work out. If you downloaded the game right when it came out, you noticed that the servers were down more than they were up. It was most likely due to the overload of people using the app, but it seems as though Niantic has addressed this issue. Which is good, because looking at this screen all the time was making me angry:
At least you have everyone there to keep you company.

Over the past couple weeks of playing, I’ve learned a thing or two about the app that I think might be useful to others:

Use your nearby menu to help you catch Pokémon. On your map screen, there’s a little icon on the right hand corner that tells you what Pokémon are close. If you touch it, it expands to a menu that shows all the Pokémon near you and how far they are. The feet show you the rough distance. One foot is within your circle, two feet is two circles away, and three feet is three circles away. If there’s no feet, chances are the Pokémon is already underfoot. (See what I did there?) NOTE: At the time this was written, this information was accurate. As of now, the Nearby menu is still there, but the steps have been removed. Now you only see pictures of what's close by, but you have no idea how far they are away from you.

Catch duplicates. This is how you evolve your Pokémon. With each one you catch, you get candy. Once you get whatever amount you need (it varies by species), you can evolve your Pokémon. You don’t have to keep them in your party. You can always transfer them to the Professor, and he’ll give you an extra candy as a thank you. So essentially you’ll get four candies for each Pokémon! Just don’t transfer the ones you want to keep in the long run, the professor won’t give them back.

Keep track of nearby PokéStops. The PokéStops are where you can get more Pokéballs without spending real money. They regenerate every 5 minutes, so hang out there for a little bit and get a ton. Just know that sometimes they can be few and far between. Bigger cities are going to have more PokéStops. Some guaranteed PokéStops are churches, college campuses, town squares, graveyards, and important monuments in your area. Plus you get to learn some local history along the way.

Have patience. The game is being released all around the world in waves; last thing I heard was that it just released in Canada and Japan. With all the new people joining the game, you could be experiencing a lot more server crashes at the most inconvenient times (like right when you’re approaching a PokéStop…not that I’ve had personal experience or anything). You have to resist the urge to throw your phone on the ground and just try again later. Most of the time the game will work out its kinks. Also, wait for the cool features to come out, like battling and trading. I'm sure that'll be in a future update.

There's an Eevee evolution trick that might work. At SDCC, John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, confirmed that if you nickname your Eevee after one of the Eevee brothers from the animated series (Sparky, Rainer, or Pyro), you would get the corresponding evolution (Jolteon, Vaporeon, and Flareon, respectively). However, my personal experience shows that this might be a one-and-done trick. Proceed with caution.

So now that the game has been out for a minute, I do have some suggestions on how it can improve:
  • Update Niantic’s site with real-time server information
  • Set up a home PokéStop so you can get more Pokéballs (it’s super frustrating when you run out)
  • Have more servers!
  • Reinstall the Pokémon Tracker on the Nearby menu

Tell us your suggestions on how to make Pokémon GO even better! Maybe Niantic is reading this and will do something about it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta catch ’em all!

The Geekcap: Killjoys "Meet The Parents"

In Old Town, Dutch and D’avin come across two scavengers for Company tools. They agree to hand over the devices in exchange for technology for their condition. Then, Dutch and D’avin reveal their identities as RAC agents and arrest the men. As they take the two down, Dutch ponders John’s mission with Pawter, questioning if things will turn out okay. D’avin reminds her who she’s talking about but doesn’t share her worry. He suggests meeting up for a drink at the Royale, leading Dutch to remark on how interested he is in the new assistant bartender Sabine.

On Qresh, John escorts Pawter to her family’s home where they meet the servant Castor. It’s John and Pawter’s hope that she can convince her mother to lift her exile ban from Qresh in order to help the citizens of Old Town. The two then meet with Pawter’s sister Louella Seyah Simms. She introduces her sister to her fiancé Hank who appears to have had a romantic history with Pawter. Regardless, they are less impressed with Pawter bringing a Killjoy escort. In the midst of the awkwardness, Pawter’s father Weyner comes to see his daughter. Despite her exile, he warmly embraces her.

D’avin arrives at the Royale where Sabine already has his favorite drink ready: a beer. In exchange for knowing him so well, Sabine asks that after he leaves the wall of Old Town if he could pick up some peaches for the return since her family used to farm them. She then asks about D’avin’s background, leading him to reveal that he was born on Telen. Instinctively, she deduces his horrible childhood noting that he wouldn’t be halfway across the galaxy if his upbringing was good. D’avin begins to respond but then starts hearing an odd tune playing in the background. He then sees strange images of a green ooze and bright lights before finally losing consciousness.

At the same time, Khlyen links himself with the green ooze to search for D’avin’s father. Fancy tells him that the Black Root is on their trail. Using an electric weapon, he plans to fight off the people tracking them.

Pawter: There used to be a family of four in this picture. 
Johnny: Points for being thorough.

Back on Qresh, Weyner admits that he is a little disappointed that she left the protection of Spring Hill, but Pawter is insistent to speak to her mother. He attempts to offer help, but Pawter reminds him that he is a Simms only by marriage. Only the head of the house can lift her exile, and as her daughter, she reveals to her father, she can pull her weight in protecting Old Town by speaking with the board. With the help that she has done on Old Town, this can mean exponentially more. 

Meanwhile, John enjoys the comforts of the wealthy by skinny-dipping in the baptismal pool. Pawter meets up with him in order to prepare him for the traditions he needs in having a dinner on Qresh.
On Telen, Khlyen and Fancy track down D’avin and John’s father Marris and asks for a talk.

D’avin returns to the ship and recounts everything that happened between him and Sabine. When he reveals that he had passed out in the middle of the talk, Dutch grows a little worried, remembering the last time D’avin passed out for no reason. Without thinking, D’avin begins humming the song he heard, leading Dutch to hold him at gunpoint. She reveals that only Khlyen knows that song since he wrote it for her.

In the midst of this, Khlyen and Fancy continue to interrogate Marris who insists that D’avin left him for the Army a long time ago. With no clear answers, Khlyen moves on to another method of learning the truth: finding out if Marris shares his son’s immunity.

The Qreshis begin their dinner rituals, much to John’s discomfort. They welcome the rest of Pawter’s family and attempt to act naturally with Louella referring to her new interest in deep sea diving. Then, they are presented to Adeline Simms, Pawter’s mother. Weyner attempts to appeal to his wife, but Adeline is insistent that Pawter’s exile remain. Nevertheless, she allows her daughter to eat with them. Pawter leaves the table, peaking John’s attention. Hank tries to advise John on the proper tradition to exit, but John shoots him down. Since he is not a Qreshi, he doesn’t care about their manners.

In the main room, John tries to console Pawter who feels as though she has been no better than the girl she was when she left Qresh. John then reminds her about the reason she came back since she believes Old Town deserves better, but, suddenly, the two are interrupted by Castor. He walks in stilted, keeping everyone away from him. Suddenly, he warns the two about a fog and then freezes before their eyes.

The rest of the household gather together to analyze what happened. Adeline plans to study the pieces of Castor and orders everyone to stay where they are. John disagrees, believing the attack could be a part of a larger biological warfare. Nevertheless, Adeline states that she will protect the family as she has for the past twenty years. John tells Pawter that, despite her mother’s insistence, she should help while he sets up a distress signal.

Pawter enters her mother’s lab and proceeds to help analyze the frozen pieces with Adeline. In spite of the crisis, Pawter remarks on how the situation of watching her mother in the lab seems familiar. Watching her mother in the lab, she notes, is probably why she became a doctor. Adeline still shows her disappointment in her daughter even as she tries to help since, according to her, Pawter couldn’t measure up to being a household head. In order to do that, she would need to prove that she could make hard decisions. In their research, Pawter discovers that the fog is actually a pathogen.

Back on the ship, D’avin begins to experience more images of Khlyen. This time, D’avin attempts to focus on what Khlyen can see as he tortures Marris. Since Marris has proven weak against the green substance, they have found that the father apparently has no immunity. Fancy then suggests they search for D’avin’s mother, but Khlyen then begins to experience D’avin’s connection. As the men struggle, the two scavengers from the warrant attempt to escape, forcing Dutch to fight them off by herself. In the intense connection between D’avin and Khlyen, the two end up switching consciousness as D’avin faces his father and Khlyen fights off the warrants in each other’s body. The resulting fight causes Khlyen to bleed as he uses D’avin’s body.

On Qresh, the family gathers together as the fog begins to gather closer to the house. Louella suddenly remembers about the ship crew on the yacht and runs to try and warn the others. The family attempts to stop her, but she reaches the door as her arm touches the fog. Her hand begins to freeze over without signs of stopping. Thinking quickly, Pawter takes a decorative axe and hacks her sister’s arm to stop the pathogen, much to the shock of her family.

On Telen, D’avin attempts to fake his way as Khlyen, but he is quickly found out by Fancy. The two fight off with Khlyen’s enhanced strength playing in D’avin’s favor. He defeats Fancy by knocking him out with the electrical weapon and attempts to wake up his dad to save him.

On Qresh, John tries to develop a plan as Weyner breaks apart a chair to provide heat. In that moment, Weyner reveals that he used to be a carpenter before he married into the Simms family. In fact, he and his family helped to build the Simms family home. He and Adeline fell in love, despite her family’s objections, and the two married following Adeline fighting for their relationship. John fires back at him, questioning what he did when Adeline called for the exile of their own daughter. Weyner explains that when you love two women equally, you chose the path that makes you a better man. John simply calls him an asshole, since he of all people knows about asshole fathers. Weyner just replies that John does not know what’s best for the Nine or his daughter. In his research, John discovers an alpha barrier surrounding the building, one that keeps everything except light and air trapped in the area. All he needs to do now is destroy it.

Back on the ship, Dutch demands to know what happened. Khlyen explains plainly that his and D’avin’s consciousness were switched, but now, he needs to message Fancy before the Black Root can track his body on Telen. Dutch remarks that the Black Root seems to be the only thing she’s seem him to be afraid of something, but Khlyen states that they ordinarily report him. The wounds on D’avin’s body keep bleeding, however, so Dutch proceeds to staple the area, despite helping Khlyen.

John goes to the lab to demand that Adeline explain why she didn’t reveal she had an alpha shield on the building. Unfortunately, she reveals that she has infected herself with the pathogen in hopes of inspiring a cure. John correctly deduces that she created the pathogen in the first place, but Adeline admits that this is otherwise an attack on the family as someone has stolen it. John believes he can stop the spread around the area by planting a bomb at the power line of the shield, destroying the barrier in order to let them escape. Adeline, however, argues that the barrier is what keeps the pathogen from infecting the planet. When John states that the water will help disperse the toxic, Adeline reveals that the pathogen would actually replicate and spread until it reaches the rest of the planet.

Pawter then arrives to see her mother being infected with the pathogen. In spite of being infected, Adeline remarks that she was impressed by Pawter’s quick thinking with her sister. She then reveals to her daughter that Qresh is under a ticking bomb, and the pathogen was a method to make the planet uninhabitable for anyone who would want to take it. While some members of the Nine have accepted it, others have not. Pawter doesn’t understand what her mother is saying, so Adeline gives to her the pathogen formula to figure out a new cure. In spite of her daughter’s fears, Adeline insists that this is what it takes to be the head of the family, something Weyner never wanted for her. Adeline then freezes from the pathogen.

Adeline: To protect those you love you must become something you hate.

Dutch finishes stapling D’avin’s wounds as Khlyen explains that he is interested in D’avin’s immunity to the green substance. Dutch questions what the substance is, but Khlyen only responds that it is the beginning or the end, depending how one looks at it. Rapidly, however, D’avin’s body starts shutting down, unaccustomed to the change. The only way to save either of them is to switch back, something that even Khlyen is unsure how to do.

D’avin continues to try and move his dad, but Marris refuses to listen to him. D’avin then recounts a time when Marris forced him to sleep in a cave for a summer as a child, and Marris recognizes his son. As Khlyen, D’avin helps his dad escape the room before Fancy can reawaken. Marris attempts to apologize to his son for his actions, but D’avin refuses to listen to him. D’avin then fights a renewed Fancy, but the stress of the switch finally knocks D’avin unconscious.

Khlyen reawakens in his ship with Fancy. He reveals his new knowledge on D’avin’s experimentation based on the military, providing a new angle to discover his immunity.

Using her mother’s research, Pawter delves deeper into the pathogen, discovering it to be a hybrid of a virus. One of its fatal components is heat. If they can find a way to create a devastating heat, they could destroy the pathogen. Dutch then calls John and asks, on the hypothetical notion, on how to switch two people’s brains. John responds that with the right electrical jolt she should be able to produce a change. He then asks her, on the hypothetical notion, of how many explosions would it be necessary to disrupt a power system. She gives him the idea that if he goes after the main line he would only need one clear shot. He reiterates this plan to the others, but Pawter reminds him that the main line is located outside the house in the fog. Fortunately, Louella reminds him of her deep sea diving hobby. She lends him a diving suit to move through the fog untouched to the main line. Once he reaches the power system, he confronts a vengeful Hank.

John learns that Hank was the one to set off the pathogen, and now he is willing to let it kill of the family to collect the bounty. Weyner, questioning the time John is taking, decides to go after him. Pawter and Louella protest since he has nothing for protection against the fog, but Weyner is determined to save his family.

On the ship, Dutch prepares to shock D’avin’s body, though she has no full idea if it will work.
Weyner arrives just in time to save John, but their time is almost up to blow up the main line. With no other solution, Weyner orders John to evacuate the system so that he can set off the explosion to the main line. John protests, but Weyner admits that he will be killed by the pathogen anyway. His last request is for John to take care of his daughter as he gives the younger man two minutes to return to the house. John leaves with a deeper appreciation of Pawter’s father.

Meanwhile, Dutch’s electric treatment is proving unhelpful, though she remains desperate to have D’avin return. Khlyen asks if she has any last words for him before he goes, and she reveals that things have changed. She used to hate him, which was simpler than things are now. Now, she feels as though she is floating. Khlyen then notices D’avin’s readings and realizes what he wanted to know all along. He asks Dutch who had experimented on D’avin before him, to which Dutch responds the army. Khlyen then admits that his last transmission from Red 17, the one they have not yet decoded, will provide her answers. Before she shocks him one last time, Dutch asks why was she on Arkyn. Khlyen responds that it wasn’t her before shocking himself.

Weyner sets off the explosion to the main line which disrupts the barrier and disintegrates the pathogen. Unfortunately, when John returns to the house, Pawter and Louella face the fact that both of their parents are dead.

Pawter is then sworn in as the Lady of the Land to represent her family. Although she still has many opponents in the Nine, she is now in a position to fight for the people in Old Town. Despite his neutrality as a Killjoy, John encourages her to keep to her plan to help the people in Westerly. Pawter questions his devotion, but John admits that he prefers giving a shit, believing she is the one who reminds him to give one. Unfortunately, Pawter advises John to keep their plan hidden from Dutch and D’avin, but John responds by kissing Pawter.

Back on the ship, John asks D’avin what it was like being Khlyen and seeing their dad. Surprisingly, D’avin remarks on how small their dad looked now. Dutch then arrives to alert that the Level 2 warrants have been secured. D’avin leaves the two to talk, but Dutch immediately hugs John. She tells him that she has realized something. While so many things have made her feel distant, John remains her gravity. She asks him to reassure her that things will not change between them. Despite his own word to Pawter, John assures her that things will be fine.

Level 6 Notes

  • The episode title "Meet The Parents" refers to the 2000 movie by the same name.
  • Based on Adeline's pathogen and Delle Seyah's preparations, a war may indeed be coming to the Quad.
  • Could the Army have had something to do with D'avin's immunity?

Photo Credit: Syfy

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Characters We Love: Luke Skywalker


With the newest installment in the Star Wars Universe coming to theaters later this year, we thought it'd be appropriate to cover a character that everyone knows and loves. Many call him annoying, whiny and downright obnoxious, while others call him a hero. His name is Luke Skywalker. Despite his criticisms, Luke actually has a lot going for him. Raised on the remote desert planet of Tatooine by his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru on a moisture farm, Luke never really knew anything about his parents other than what his uncle told him. Luke grows tired of working on a farm while his friends join the Rebellion to fight the evil and ominous Empire looming over the galaxy and threatening their way of life, but his uncle refuses to let him leave. 

During a droid sale on the farm, Luke's Uncle buys two new droids, R2-D2 and C3PO, who just
recently crash landed on the planet after escaping the clutches of the Empire. After spending some time with them, Luke discovers that R2-D2 is holding important information for the Rebellion regarding a princess named Leia and one General Obi-Wan Kenobi, piquing Luke's interest. When R2-D2 goes missing, Luke searches for him in the wilds of Tatooine, only to run into old Ben Kenobi, a hermit living away from any and everyone. Ben reveals to Luke that he is Obi-Wan Kenobi, the one that this Princess Leia seeks. Obi-Wan teaches Luke that there is a powerful element known as the force and that his father was once a Jedi, who was slain by the evil Darth Vader.

 When Luke returns home, he finds that the Empire has destroyed it and killed his aunt and uncle in search of the droids. Luke now has one choice: train with Obi-Wan to become a Jedi and fight the Empire. Over the course of three films and many conflicts, Luke slowly becomes more mature and aware of himself and the power behind the force. As he progresses, he comes face to face with the very Darth Vader that killed his father, as Obi-Wan told him. In a lightsaber duel against the Sith, Luke learns that Vader did not kill his father, but is his father.

This leads to the conclusion of Luke's arc in the next film, Return of the Jedi. Luke's goal is not to destroy Vader, but return him to the light side of the force. When facing against his own father, Luke becomes tempted with the dark side when promised the galaxy by the emperor. Here, Luke makes an incredibly bold decision. A decision that completes his arc and makes him one of the strongest and most pronounced characters in the Star Wars Universe. When Luke has a chance to kill his father, he goes against the urge, not wanting to become the very thing he's been determined to fight against. At this point, Luke knows who he is and what side he's on. He successfully turns his father to the light side just before he dies. Luke becomes the only Jedi Knight in the galaxy, for now.

Years later, Luke attempts to start a Jedi academy to train those that are force sensitive in the ways of
the light, but falls prey to a massacre led by Kylo Ren, one of his own trainees who has fallen to the dark side. Luke goes into hiding as a new evil, the First Order, grows and attempts to overthrow the new galactic senate. Not long after, Luke meets Rey, a strong force user who seeks his help in taking down the First Order. Will he train her in the ways of the force and bring back the Jedi order? Unfortunately, we will have to wait to find out next year when Episode 8 makes it's debut in theaters.

 Why We Love Him: 

1. He has a pronounced character arc: Over the course of several films, Luke's attitude, physicality, and maturity all change for the better. He comes a force to be reckoned with by the beginning of Return of the Jedi and only gets stronger from that point. Once he discovers that he really is a Jedi and that he would never join the Dark Side, he then becomes one of the strongest character in the universe.

2. He's personal: Unlike the original Jedi order, where getting too close to others was seen as a distraction, Luke grows close to those around him. He makes a lot of friends along the way and refuses to ditch them for his newly found beliefs. Yhough this gets him into trouble in some cases, it does not stop him from caring for others.

3. He's compassionate: In Return of the Jedi, Luke cares only to reconcile his father back to the Light Side. He cares deeply and believes in others when they cannot, especially Darth Vader, who believes it's too late to leave the Dark Side.

4. He's conflicted: this makes Luke easy to relate to for anyone watching the SW series. He's constantly at war within himself about his emotions and the opposing sides of the Dark Side. He's tempted to join his father in taking over the galaxy, but after much internal warfare, Luke is able to make a clear decision about who he is and where he stands.

If you weren't convinced that Luke was a respectable character in the SW universe, hopefully this article curbed that. If you go back and watch the original trilogy, keep an eye out for some of these character details and let us know what you think.

By David White

Friday, July 29, 2016

Geekified Indie Feature: Eliosi’s Hunt

Geektified Indie Feature: Eliosi's Hunt

Eliosi's Hunt is a scifi top-down shooter and platformer where you play as Eliosi, a young Zelicyan who wants to be a bounty hunter. But to do that he has to actually complete his first bounty assignment, which turns out to be significantly harder than expected. He must battle through legions of blood-thirsty animals, killer robots, and heartless mercenaries before he can even get close enough to smell what his mad scientist target is cooking. 

Eliosi, unlike many famous bounty hunters, comes from humble beginnings and isn't naturally a master of his trade. He is quite small, so he must depend on his intellect, blaster, and other inventions to help him become a bounty hunter extraordinaire. His primary weapon is a custom made blaster that will fire as fast as he can pull the trigger, while his personal robot gives him the ability to dash around his enemies and deploy a shield when he's feeling less mobile. 

According to the game's creators, Eliosi's Hunt is "inspired by Crash Bandicoot and Metal Slug. We wanted to capture the essence of older action games we love and present it with a modern approach, creating a unique universe, challenging gameplay and beautifully crafted graphics." With gameplay they also note the sheer number of creatures you will be fighting and that some react to Eliosi differently. For example, some monster will try to anticipate your movement and throw bombs in front of you, while others will try and use weapons Eliosi would pick up against him. You will always have to be on your guard for the next challenge, and always be learning about your enemies while they're learning about you.

The levels for Eliosi's Hunt are are versatile as the enemies. Throughout the game you will pick up new and exciting weapons, like the rocket launcher that allows you to blow through walls, thus clearing paths to new rooms or around difficult enemies. The level itself will also be working against you at times. For example, there will be moving plant roots that will try to crush the player as he goes by. Truly, everything from the dandelions to the birds want Eliosi dead, but with his ingenuity, equipment, skill, and spirit, nothing will stop him from finishing his contract and become the best bounty hunter in the universe. Sorry, not sorry, Boba Fett.

The game is currently on Kickstarter and a demo is released on Steam. The links are below.

No Man's Sky: Before You Buy


By: Jessica Dillon

No Mans Sky is an upcoming exploration/survival game by Hello Games Studio. It is being released August 9 for both PC and Playstation 4. This game is highly debated thanks to the studio's lack of a track record and the possible hiccups that a procedurally generated survival game could have. This article will hopefully help you decide if this game is worth your hard earned money, or if it needs to take a price drop to get you cash.
Do you like Multiplayer only?
No Man's Sky technically is multiplayer, but you can't invite your friends into play. The No Man's Sky universe is procedurally generated and appears infinite. There will always be other players roaming around, but chances are high that you will never encounter them. Even if you tried to meet up with friends, the game has walls you will hit that will keep you from successfully getting to them in a timely manner. But yeah, it is possible you can run into a stranger, so technically it's multiplayer. What you need to ask yourself is, will you feel lonely while playing a game this vast?
Are you into Survival?
The Survival genre is a less touched-on marketplace in gaming. The problem being that it's not a game type that you can prepare for all the time and that ship you spent 30 hours building isn't immune to everything in the universe. There is also the constant fact that luck plays into a procedurally generated open world exploration game. Anything can happen at any time, and no matter how carefully prepared you are, it can be downright unfair. So are you the type of person who finds that extra challenge invigorating, or will it just send you into a fit of rage?
Do you need goals? 
People love goal-oriented games and quest lines that give them creative spins on the game. No Man's Sky, however, is a very player driven game. While the main point is for you to get to the center of the universe, everything else is on you. Everything from how to make money to what direction to go in is left up to you with no help from the game itself. The closest thing you may find is achievement hunting, which could prove hard due to the random factor mentioned above.
No Man's Sky Overall 
If your answer to any of these questions is currently no, you may want to sit back and let the reviews roll in. It can be really tough when a fresh IP by a newer studio comes out, especially at full price. If this is the only thing bothering you though, remember that even Naughty Dog and Bethesda started out small. Be sure to check out the 4 part video series currently out on youtube about No Man's Sky titled “Explore, Fight, Trade, and Survive.” The game world is yours for the taking, so find something you will love.

*All images are taken from No Man's Skys official Gallery.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Red Hood and the Outlaws: Rebirth #1: Review

Review: Red Hood and the Outlaws: Rebirth #1
Submitted by: Theresa Stier, Comic News Writer
26 July 2016

“Red Hood and the Outlaws: Rebirth,” by Scott Lobdell and artist Dexter Soy, gives the reader backstory about Jason Todd. I have never read a Red Hood comic, but this one has made me want to read more. We see the first time he meets Batman, when he's given his Robin attire, when the Joker kills him, and, of course, present day. The writing flows nicely and it feels like that this easily could be how a Jason Todd movie could start out (hint hint DC). When the reader is introduced to Red Hood in the present, we see that he is obviously not Robin anymore. Bruce tries to stop him from “killing” the mayor (spoiler: the mayor is alive), but fails.

Later, we see that Jason only “killed” the mayor in order to get information on The Gotham Underground. Bruce is not happy about this, but he's willing to give Jason a chance. However, Batman warns Jason that he'll be watching. If Jason kills anyone, he'll be stepping in.

It's classic Batman: the Caped Crusader believes that killing is not the answer and there are other ways to stop the crime in Gotham. The writing also captures Jason well. He's a smart ass and doesn't necessarily play by the rules. This comic is a great introduction and it made me want to read the second book right after I finished the last line. It is definitely going to be an action-packed adventure, but that is exactly what you expect with a Red Hood comic! 

 The Verdict: This is a comic that serves as a great introduction and makes you want more right after reading it.  It also makes you wish DC was making a Red Hood movie.

Future Quest #3: Review

Review: Future Quest #3
Submitted by: Theresa Stier, Comic News Writer
26 July 2016

“Future Quest,” by Jeff “The Boss" Parker and artist Steve “The Dude" Rude, has two mini stories in it: “Birdman in: The Deadly Distance” and “The Herculoids in Mine- Crash!” The first part of the comic deals with Birdman traveling to Utah to find, and help, Deva Sumadi. Unlike some heroes, these two are glad to work with each other. It's different to see a partnership right away and it's a bit refreshing, since no one is trying to be better than the other. They're both trying to defeat the vortex, which they do. It's short, but it tells the story where the reader doesn't feel like they have been cheated out of anything. It ends with Birdman and Sumadi getting another mission, so the reader is left excited for what is to come.

Moving on to Herculoids, Tarra and Zandor are up against mining robots. Dorno doesn't understand why these robots are attacking the creatures (like Igoo), so his parents later explain to him why the robots are here and that their family is not from the Herculoid's world. This is of course shocking to him.

Like Dorno, we want to know more about Tarra and Zandor’s life before, but even comic book characters have bed times. Both Tarra and Zandor know that there is going to be a battle tomorrow and they're ready for it. With their team, they defeat the robots… but the battle is far from over, it has just begun.   

The Verdict: Both are short, but they don't leave anything out. If you're looking for a quick read and more than one story, this is your go to. Both endings leave you wanting to know what happens in the next one.

Nightwing #1: "Better Than Batman, Part One" Review

Review: Nightwing #1
Submitted by: Theresa Stier, Comic News Writer
26 July 2016

“Better Than Batman, Part One,” by Tim Seeley with artist Javier Fernandez, takes the reader through the start of Nightwing's next journey. Being a fan of Nightwing, I was excited to read this and it did not disappoint. We are shown Nightwing in Greece, attending a council of The Parliament. He is told that he has to work with The Raptor, but right away declines in a classic Nightwing fashion. He goes back to Gotham to ask Bruce for advice (which he doesn't get) and to say goodbye to Barbara before leaving for Moscow (on another mission). While speaking to Barbara, they hear something on the scanner that interrupts their meeting. It wouldn't be a comic if the two heroes that have a love interest were interrupted.

After his mission in Russia, Nightwing goes to Fallen Monument Park and keeps his guard down.....which is a big mistake. This is where he meets The Raptor for the first time and it's not a friendly meeting. The Raptor brings up Barbara, which causes Dick to fight him. The Raptor, clearly, knows about Dick Grayson and the people in his life (which we know is usually not a good thing).

This comic is a great start to a series. It gives the reader a little backstory on Dick, so a first time reader will not be left in the dark. For long time readers, it gives a sense of familiarity: this is the Nightwing we know and love. I always felt like Nightwing was one of those characters that DC could have done a lot more with, so it was a pleasure reading this comic.   

The Verdict: This is a comic that either a first-time or a long-term reader will enjoy. It gives a nice introduction to what is coming for Nightwing.

Ecto-Cooler Comparison: Re-released Classic vs. Homebrewed Concoction

By: Patrick Hawes-DeFrias

Ecto-Cooler is beloved by many children of the ‘80’s. I never had the opportunity to try it though, which is a shame because according to the Ghostbusters Wiki, the formula has actually existed in some form up until 2007, though under different names and brandings. However, as a promotion for the new Ghostbusters film, Hi-C released the classic flavor again! But as it so happens, a recipe for homebrew equivalent has been floating around for quite a while- originally invented by the Ghostbusters: Chicago Division fan site, it aims to recreate the classic drink as closely as possible. I recently got ahold of a case of the newly re-released, official Ecto-Cooler, in the very same week that I was planning on whipping up some of the homebrewed version for a party. So, why not take the opportunity to try a little taste test- how does the homebrewed version of Ecto-Cooler hold up when compared with the Hi-C version? Will it be a suitable replacement for when real Ecto-Cooler is inevitably gone once more, like a spirit on the wind?
Oh, and full disclosure- the recipe I used is a modified version made by FWx, which I found to be an easier mix.

The Real Ecto-Cooler

So as a first-time drinker of Ecto-Cooler, hearing about it now and then as a fan-favorite soft drink, I was very excited for this little project of mine. And did Ecto-Cooler live up to the hype?
Not really, truth be told. Don’t get me wrong, it is DELICIOUS. Definitely the best flavor of Hi-C in my opinion. But…

Listen, Ecto-Cooler was first released in 1989, that means that the drink has had 27 years of hype. Anyone who’s ever played Duke Nukem Forever knows that nothing can live up to that much hype. But hey, it’s still a fantastic drink, and I’m going to savor every last box of the stuff I have.
But enough about that- you want to know how it tastes, right? That way newbies to the drink like myself can get an idea of its flavor, and so that fans of the drink from ’89 can tell if the classic taste has been faithfully recreated, in case you can’t get any yourself. Well, it’s…
Citrusy. VERY citrusy, in a general sense, like you’d expect a “citrus fruit drink” to be, though it’s clear that the predominant flavor is tangerine. And if you like citrus as much as I do, you’re going to fall in love with this. It’s easy to see how it got so popular back in the day. HOWEVER- I understand that some people react very poorly to citrus, in which case STAY AWAY. Other than that, it’s very sweet, in the typical artificial way that Hi-C products tend to be.
And, of course, you can’t talk about Ecto-Cooler without mentioning the color. It’s a neon transparent green, clearly trying to mirror the ectoplasm effect from the classic Ghostbusters movies. The closest thing to the color I can think of would be the G2 version of lemon-lime Gatorade, but perhaps a bit darker.
The Fan-made Blend
The fan-concocted Ecto-Cooler is noticeably… less sweet? Or perhaps sweet in a different way? Allow me to explain- the recipe I used contains the following: tangerine juice, orange juice, Country Time Lemonade, sugar, water, and… well, the recipe called for orange drink mix, but unfortunately there was none at the time, so I replaced it for an equivalent amount of Tang-brand liquid flavoring. So, there’s actually very little artificial sweetener (compared with real, factory-made Ecto-Cooler, anyway). That makes the real version seem a bit sweeter, because artificial sweeteners tend to have a bit more kick to them. This can have mixed results for whoever’s drinking, but more on that later.
In terms of fruit flavor, I think it’s spot-on. The various citrusy flavorings added, especially the tangerine juice, definitely recreate that uppercut of tangy sweetness to the face that the Hi-C version provides.
But, the color… There’s not a chance in hell that you will be able to recreate that Slimer green with this mix. You can get it green, sure, but the problem with the coloring is, ironically, the strong point in its fruit flavoring- the juice. The simple fact is that natural juice is, by its nature, cloudy. I have no idea what Hi-C has to put into the drink to get that kind of flavor and still keep it transparent, but the average Joe just doesn’t have access to that. Instead, it comes out as… well, have you ever seen one of those green health drinks, full of wheatgrass and so forth? It looks a bit like that.
The Verdict:

Is the homemade Ecto-Cooler a suitable replacement? Will it keep the memory of Hi-C’s classic formula going on for years to come, like a specter taking residence in an old New York building?
Yeah, I think so! It’s not as sweet as the real stuff, but unless you own a food product factory, you’re not going to be able to do so anyway, at least not without making it overpoweringly sugary. In fact, during my taste testing, I came across something quite interesting indeed- some of my friends actually PREFERRED the batch that I made over the official version! Some mentioned it as being “watered down”, but in a sense that the sweetness wasn’t too strong for them, and that they could better taste the fruit flavor. Personally, I prefer Hi-C’s Ecto-Cooler, but I can see where they’re coming from. Ecto-Cooler is QUITE sweet, and I imagine that if I could go and get a jug of the stuff at the store, some of my friends would throw some ice in it just to kill the sweetness a bit.
So there you have it- not only is Ecto-Cooler easily recreated fairly well with a trip to the local grocery store, it actually can be BETTER than the classic, depending on your personal taste!
And you know, the fact that the homebrew looks gross actually works, thematically speaking.