Sunday, February 10, 2019

Bad Guy Beatdown Round 17 - Skeletor vs. Tex Hex

It's the battle of the Filmation Villains!  I know the usual villain face-off would be Skeletor and Hordak, but seeing two magic-based bad guys fight is super interesting.  Besides, we've seen Skull-Face fight his mentor before, who wants to go over that again?

Before we get to the powers, let's recap how they got here.  In Round 1, the Queen of the Crown kidnapped Evil-Lyn and Skeletor came to retrieve her.  Even though the Queen was able to hold him off with her telepathic abilities, Skeletor was able to dispell them and then trap her with his control over the elements, trapping her in a metal cage.  Even though he stole one of her Psychocrystals to amplify the power in his Havok Staff, he isn't able to keep it for this fight.

In Round 2, Cy-Kill crashed on New Texas on the way to Gobotron and Tex Hex mistook him for Bravestarr's new steed.  Tex Hex's ability to turn into smoke made him untouchable to Cy-kill's energy beams and being able to create monsters form the sand overwhelmed Cy-kill, allowing Tex Hex to crush his humanoid brain.

As for powers, I've got Skeletor's down as he appeared in all 13 episodes I watched for Round 1 and you can check them out here.

For Tex Hex though, he only appeared in 9 of the first 13, so I had to go back and watch more, but here's what I had before them. I found a few more examples of creating creatures out of sand or dead trees or whatever.  There was one new power that was absolutely crazy - he shot giant horseshoes out of his blaster and if he hit a person with them, it would spin around them and turn them into stone.  Obviously, it doesn't happen any other time in the episodes I saw (although the gun did make a cage materialize in the air) so I'm not keeping it in there.  He did change into a big lizard/bull in one episode, making his shapeshifting powers official and usable in the fight.

So we're going into this fight with some awesome powers and I can't wait til next week to see how they clash.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Bad Guy Beatdown - Tier 2 Introduction

It's been a long time coming, but Bad Guy Beatdown is finally out of the introductory tier, shaving off the worst of the bad guys and leaving us with a group of winners, ready to take on their next fighter!

Things are going to be a little different in this next tier.  Originally the rules limited the amount of source material I could use to the first 13 episodes of a series.  This was done to make it fair to some villains whose cartoons only lasted 13 episodes, or even less.  However, if they won their first round, that advantage is no longer necessary.  However, there are a few villains that didn't make appearances in all 13 episodes, like Mumm-Ra and Mon*Star, usually being replaced by random bad guys or just starring their lackeys. So now, I'll be watching extra episodes so those villains get all 13 appearances they're due.

Respect posts will be shorter now as well.  They will now feature a short recap of their powers (and any additional powers gleaned from additional episodes) and their first battles.  Because most of the posts will just be restating previous posts, there should only be one week between fights, barring any personal distractions.

If you want to see how each fighter arrived at this level, please check out the Bad Guy Beatdown page here! And come back next week to see our first fight, my two favorite Filmation big bads, Skeletor v Tex Hex!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Bad Guy Beatdown Round 16 - Results

“You have something of mine, Warlord!” the voice boomed from outside Tormack’s fortress.  “I want it back now, along with the weapon he stupidly came here to retrieve.” Tormack looked to his advisor and to the prisoner at his feet.  The ox-like robot, chained and kneeling, snorted smoke and shied away from Tormack’s gaze.
“You thought you could sneak into my castle and steal the Sacred Shield?” The Gerza leader slammed the tip of his halberd into the ground at the robotic creature.  “Krimm, who calls for the release of this metal bandit?”
The old wizard waved his hands in the air creating a cloud of smoke which shimmered into an image of the outside of the castle.  Above the fortress floated an orange armored and tentacled beast. “What sort of creature is that?” Krimm asked.
Tormack rubbed his chin.  “Something that could aid me in gaining the Sacred Lance from that accursed Galtar. Gerzas, bring down that monster!”
The gate of the fortress burst open and a torrent of warriors flowed through.  Six of Tormack’s mightiest Gerzas rode horseback, each one pointing a spear into the air and shooting beams of energy at the flying creature.
The rider of the flying mount guided it higher and through each of the beams, avoiding them with surprising grace for such a large creature.  “Enough!” he shouted and the stead flew down quickly. With each of its tentacles, it grabbed one of the Gerzas and yanked them off their horses.  Flying in a circle over Tormack’s fortress, the beast through each of the Gerzas one by one over the surrounding cliffs.
Tormack watched the defeat of his best soldiers, pathetically easy which infuriated him more than anything.  The Gerzas were a force to be reckoned with, having taken over most of the world. This interloper had shamed Tormack, and though he had hundreds of more warriors to draw from to destroy this foe, Tormack felt the need to handle this one himself.
“But sire,” Krimm protested as Tormack took the Sacred Shield off the mount on his wall.  “Allow me to use my magic so that you’ll be safe.”
“No, Krimm,” Tormack scolded, arming himself with his laser halberd.  “Whoever this intruder is, he’ll fall at the leader of the Gerzas and this world’s strongest warrior.”

“Mon*Star grows impatient!  Return to me what is owed! And don’t forget the interest!”  Skyrunner floated above the fortress, bobbing up and down in the winds as if they were the currents of the sea.  The creature let loose a trill as its tentacles weaved through the air.
Below them, a lone figure road out of the gate that the unfortunate warriors had exited earlier.  He was bigger than the others and held on his arm a shiny Sacred shield, no doubt the weapon Mumbo Jumbo was searching for.  It would be worth a pretty credit, but no way could it stand up to the might of even Skyrunner’s laser cannon.
Mon*Star shot off a volley of laser fire from the turret mounted on the underside of Skyrunner’s armor.  While most of the blasts missed the rider, the final shot hit dead center. To Mon*Star’s surprise, the blast bounced off the shield and nearly hit Skyrunner’s tail.  Another valley of beams garnered the same result - any shot that hit the shield was deflected with no harm to the wielder. Perhaps it was a special weapon after all; it could conceivably deflect that blasted Bluegrass’s musical attacks as well.
“I will have that shield, warrior!” Mon*star yelled.  
“None but Tormack will possess the Sacred Shield’s powers!” the man replied, hefting his halberd into the air and shooting a torrent of energy blasts from the tip.  The warlord’s aim was truer than any of his minions’ as the blast struck Skyrunner and destroyed its turret.
Skyrunner bucked, flying backward and nearly sending Mon*Star into the air.  “You’ll pay for that!” he yelled, pulling out his star-tipped rifle and setting his sights on Tormack.  He pulled the trigger and shot a massive bolt of red lightning at the mounted man.
The shot struck Tormack’s shield, and, though the attack’s strength was great, Mon*star saw that Tormack wasn’t affected at all by it, casually batting the energy away as if it were a ball of yarn.  The cackling bolt returned a moment later, striking Mon*Star in the face and throwing him off his mount, tumbling toward the ground below.
He righted himself and held his arms to his side, the rocket thrusters in his elbows lifting him back to his precious Skyrunner.  He rubbed his metal face to clear the haze of the attack and steered Skyrunner away from another hail of lasers from Tormack’s halberd.
“A lucky shot,” Mon*star shouted, the star over his left eye glowing red, “but nothing can protect you from the Light Star!”  The glow on his eye flared, launching a disk of energy, the six points spinning like a saw blade. It buzzed through the air towards Tormack, who braced for the attack.
Right before the Light Star could touch the shield, Mon*star controlled the star to stop and circle around to Tormack’s back.  The projectile dodged around Tormack, cut a arc around him and struck the middle of his spine. The pain was instantaneous, throwing Tormack from his mount and causing him to writhe in pain on the ground.  
Mon*Star brought Skyrunner to the ground and caught Tormack as he tried to stand, each appendage in a tentacle and the shield in another.  Flying him high in the air before pulling Tormack to pieces, Mon*Star gloated, “Nothing stands in the way of the Planet Master!”
Click here for Tormack's respect post and here for Mon*star's.

This battle was a lot closer than anyone really considered.  Yes, Mon*star has a clear advantage with Skyrunner, which had a lot of offensive abilities along with flight.  Taking out a group of ordinary Gerzas isn't too difficult for a giant space squid to take out, but I think a single enemy with better aim, which Tormack shows off, could keep Skyrunner at bay.  And with the Sacred Shield, none of Skyrunner's or Mon*star's basic attacks could touch Tormack.  If Mon*Star didn't have complete control of the Light Star's trajectory, I could see this fight taking much longer without any clear winner.  Even with it, if Tormack could expect it to move at Mon*star's whim, I think he could have held the Light Star off pretty well, but that might have made him vulnerable to Skyrunners arsenal.

The Winner

Click here to see Mon*star's opponent in the next tier, Nemesis from Robotix. 
Click here to see the rest of the first tier's battles.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Bad Guy Beatdown - Round 16 - Mon*Star

I'm feeling a little rusty getting back to this.  Today we're looking at the maniacal mob boss Mon*Star from Silverhawks.  Much like his Thundercats counterpart, Mumm-Ra, Mon*Star (it's already getting annoying having to type it like that), has two forms and calls upon an outside force to change between them.  Unlike Mumm-Ra however A) both of Mon*Star's forms are hulking brutes and B) neither of them look good.

We'll start with his looks first.  In his first form, Mon*Star looks like a Thundercats reject.  He's got the furry body and that wild mane that just screams "Lion-o's evil uncle."  In this form he's already pretty strong, able to punch a metal bar in the first episode and bend it and split the seems in his prison's outer paneling, although that could be attributed to the indirect light of the Moon-Star hitting him.

The Moon-Star is a celestial body, red in color, that emits a certain light or energy which powers Mon*Star's transformation.  In the first episode, while he's in space prison, even a sliver of direct light from the Moon-Star is enough to allow him to change to the Planet Master form.  This is the only time he's shown (in the first 13 episodes at least) to change outside of his transformation room at his lair. I don't think it's necessary though as his lair just allows him to move within the Moon-Star's rays.

In Planet Master form, Mon*Star gets an upgrade into a doofy-looking metal body, his head covered in spikes and his mouth a big sneer of fangs or bars, it's hard to tell.  He gets rocket booster in his elbows that let him fly, and it's the first time I've seen them in that location. He also has a star-tipped rifle that only shows up in this form.  It's your standard laser rifle that was strong enough to disable the Silverhawks' ship.

Besides the rifle, Mon*Star has an even more powerful attack - the Lightstar.  It's a red star that is shot out of his left eye.  Instead of a laser effect, the star flies out like a disk that Mon*Star can control.  In one instance, it's even able to split into two and each could be controlled independently.  When hitting a target, it has the power to paralyze, cause a lot of pain, and possibly even render one under Mon*Star's control.  He's not the best at controlling it though as it misses its target half the time, usually hitting one of his minions.

Besides those two attacks, Mon*Star also has under his power Skyrunner, an armored flying space squid.  Skyrunner has a few offensive abilities, like shooting a laser from a turret underneath it and shooting energy beams from his tail.  It's not particularly durable, losing in a game of chicken with the Silverhawk's mascot, Tallyhawk, which is like a fraction of its size.  In one episode, it's also hit with a disintegration ray, which caused the armor to fall off (the blast also forced Mon*Star to revert to his normal form, the only time I saw him do that in the episodes I watched).

Lastly, Mon*Star's Planet Master form is insanely durable.  He's shrugged off attacks from Skyrunner without any harm, and resisted blasts from three Silverhawks at once for a short amount of time, though he did seem to be in pain.  In one instance, he reflected laser fire back at the shooter.

Mon*Star's main weakness in the episodes I saw is not wearing a seatbelt - he's knocked off Skyrunner all the time, mostly by Bluegrass's music beams.  It shouldn't really bother him since they're in space (something the writers forgot since he always falls down off his ride instead of just away) and he has his elbow boosters anyway.  But it just happens so often and is how they beat him in half the episodes.  It's almost infuriating.

One last thing and I'm not sure if it means anything or not, but since it applies to Mumm-Ra, I thought I'd mention it here.  The Planet Master form is about twice the size of the rest of the show's characters, easily over 10 feet tall.  There's only once instance of being strong, when he peeled open a metal panel in the first episode, but I would suspect that with his size, he's got some superhuman strength.  I don't think it'll come into play in this fight, but it's something to consider.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

SepTMNTber - Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Before I dive into this show, let me just give you a hint of my thoughts – I stopped the show halfway through the 3rd episode.  I made it through two Michael Bay movies and a Power Rangers-esque series, but this show is the one I couldn’t watch anymore.

Rise of the TMNT is Nickelodeon’s second series, going back to traditional animation, and I can’t tell you how glad I am to see it return to that format.  The animation in this show is so crazy and smooth, it really is the best part of it.  It’s got a real anime vibe like Teen Titans before it, and is just straight up gorgeous.

The second thing you’ll notice is the changes to the Turtles’ look.  Like the Next Mutation, the Turtles are definitely not blood brothers.  In fact, they’re not even the same breed of turtle.  Raph is a spike-covered snapping turtle; Donnie is a soft-shell turtle and wears a backpack to protect him; Leo is a red-eared slider like what the turtles were originally based on; and Mikey is a box turtle.  While Raph is a hulking brute, the others being closer to their original sizes.  All the small ones end in O, I guess.

For some reason I don’t understand, they’ve made Raph the leader of the group.  Well, okay, I’m sure it’s because he’s the most popular, but it’s a change that doesn’t offer anything to the team, because now Leo is treated as the rebellious one and team jokester.  Donnie and Mikey don’t get much of a change besides Mikey becoming an artist, a trait I’m surprised hadn’t been assigned to a turtle before.  The biggest problem for me about their new portrayals though is that I can barely tell them apart.  Sure they look different, but all of them sound the same voice actor-wise, and they’re all spouting so many jokes all the time that their practically indistinguishable.  If I was just listening to the show, I might be able to pick out Raph, but that’s it.

Lastly, the turtles receive new weapons.  This series takes a huge turn into the mystical, including the Turtles replacing their tried-and-true ninja weapons with some magical implements.  Raph changes his sais for tonfas which amplify his strength, Leo’s got one big sword now which opens portals, and Mikey has a magic yoyo thing that has a fire spirit living in it.  Donnie refuses to replace his trusty bo, having upgraded it with all sorts of powerful devices.

The Turtles aren’t the only ones to change though – April O’Neal is now a black girl working at a Chuck E. Cheese-type pizza place.  Honestly, I don’t care that much about this though as her job hasn’t even been that integral as long as she's still hostage bait, and if the Turtles can be different breeds, surely she can be a different race as well.

We’re not done with the changes yet – the format of the show itself has changed, adopting the two 11-minute episode plan which is so popular among cartoons these days – even Transformers has started using it in their Cyberverse series.  I don’t understand why that has become so common, but I can only imagine producers think the kids of this day have so little attention span a 22-minute episode is too long for them to process.  It’s such an unnecessary thing considering other fantastic shows don’t need to split their episodes up to tell interesting stories.

The biggest change for me though, the one that had me turning off the show, is the enemies they face.  The premier episode introduces this big bad that wants to mutate everything in New York, Draco something, I can’t remember.  But every episode following that have new enemies they fight.  Two of them look like they could be Foot Clan so maybe they’ll show up again later, but when one episode introduced a talking caterpillar newscaster, I just couldn’t keep watching.  Maybe if it was a human-sized caterpillar, mutated to look like a person, I could understand it, but he was just a caterpillar with glasses and John Michael Higgins’s voice.

And that’s it – I’ve gone over every iteration of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that has reached film or television.  There have been some wonderful shows and those that were lacking, some incredible feats on the Silver Screen and a few less-than-stellar offerings.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has certainly withstood the test of time, remaining one of the most popular and bankable properties to crawl its way out of the ‘80s where so many others had perished.  I have no doubt that the Turtles will continue to flourish – no matter what gets thrown at us, we’ll love it, as long as we get Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, Michelangelo, and a hottie named April O’Neil.

Thank you so much for joining me for this trip through the Turtles’ history.  It’s easily one of my absolutely favorite properties if you couldn't tell.  It was a real labor of love to go through each series, and if you're interested in going back through them with me, click on the following links.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1986)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Secret of the Ooze

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003)


Top 5 TMNT Rip-Offs

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012)

Turtles Forever/Trans-Dimensional Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Old School Evil TMNT Rip-Offs

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Bonus! Rank 'Em Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Rediscover the 80s!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

SepTMNTber - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

On paper, this movie tried really hard to correct the mistakes of the previous movie.  Shredder is the main villain without question, he makes a connection with Krang, he’s got Baxter Stockman working for him, and he mutates Bebop and Rocksteady with their correct animals.  So how did they still screw it up?!

First of all, they try cramming so much into this film that each plot point is only given a few seconds; When Shredder is teleported away from his police escort, Krang highjacks the teleporter and brings Shredder to him, what follows is a few minutes of exposition crammed down our throats, with Shredder blindly agreeing to Krang’s plan.  I don’t understand why Shredder just takes Krang’s offer on faith, but there’s no time for him to even question in.

Anyway, the movie kinda follows a string of episodes from the second season of the original cartoon – three pieces of a device must be collected and assembled which will allow Shredder and Krang to rule the world.  Baxter Stockman already has one piece, which enabled him to teleport Shredder earlier. The two other pieces just amplify the teleporter, I guess, which will allow Krang to pull the Technodrome into our dimension.  To help Shredder fight the Turtles, he gives him a vial of mutagen to create his own mutants.  Here’s another part that they just rushed through – Bebop and Rocksteady became a warthog and rhino respectively because of an ancestral genetic animal?  What the heck does that even mean?   How hard would it be to say Baxter was also working on mutants and had these animals’ DNA available?

We also get Casey Jones in this movie, but the character is totally wasted, being a police officer transporting Shredder when he got away and wanting to clear his name.  He wears the mask for one scene, beats up a few Foot Clan ninjas, then gets recruited to the Turtles’ team because April.  And April, ugh… I can’t even go into it here.  It’s Megan Fox, what else do I need to say that I haven’t already?

So the Turtles have a few existential crises – first is that the purple ooze can somehow make the Turtles human and the Turtles can’t fight as a team.  I honestly hate the first one – after coming off the movies that repeated “I love being a turtle!” it sucks seeing half the Turtles wishing they could became ordinary humans.  Secondly, the not fighting as a team thing only came up in the second half and was resolved just because it was time to be.  Literally, they put their hands together, called out each other’s personality trait, and that was it.

Honestly, if they were going this route, they could have taken a lesson from Bebop and Rocksteady who were great friends and worked perfectly together.  The main problem with that though is the Turtles only fought them once in a horrible looking CGI fest where they didn’t even have any fun banter.

In the end, Shredder betrays Baxter Stockman then is immediately betrayed by Krang in the same fashion, and the Turtles fight Krang on the flying Technodrome that mirrors the finale of the last movie down to the same drab color palette of the final enemy.  The Turtles even get some recognition from the police for saving the city by – what the hell is Laura Linney doing in this movie?!

Overall, this movie tries to correct the flaws of the previous movie, but in doing so cram way too much stuff in so that almost everything suffers.  If they split this into two different films, I could see it working out better, but as it is, it’s a complete mess with a few positives that fails in everything it sets out to do.

Monday, September 24, 2018

SepTMNTber - Old School Evil's TMNT Rip-offs

Last week I talked about some pretty shameful cartoons that borrowed the TMNT formula - Biker Mice from Mars, Road Rovers, Street Sharks, Bucky O'Hare, and Wild West: C.O.W.Boys of Moo Mesa.  Each of them centered around either people turned into half animals, or animals turning into half human and took on a different kind of theme - westerns, space, superheroes, etc. Though none of them came close to the magic that had made TMNT a raging success, each of them had at least one good quality, be it character design, story, or a catchy theme song.

When I was creating the cartoons that existed within Old School Evil, there was no way I could resist making up my own TMNT clones.  In fact, the primary cartoon conflict in Old School Evil is a pretty close facsimile of the Turtles - The Hurricanines. 

In it, a mutagen mixed with the main characters' canine mascot and turned the central characters into half human/half dogs, kinda like the Road Rovers in reverse.  The Hurricanines split and half became the Muttants, a terrible pun, I admit, and it never quite sounds right when I say it.  While all of the characters have dog traits, the good guys are pet breeds, while the bad guys are wild dogs and similar animals (hyenas, jackals, etc). Since it also takes a few cues from GI Joe, the characters are your usual military forces.

There are two other TMNT clones I made up, one of which is a spin-off of the other.  The stories are pretty different from the Ninja Turtles, but their designs are spot on.

Defenders of Diamond City is the first series with Defenders of Diamond Valley being the sequel.  Both stories center around a team of evolved reptiles and amphibians that are called upon to defend mystical places from outside forces.  These Defenders come from all corners of the globe and are imbued with elemental magic.  In the second series, three of the four Defenders are replaced and the fourth one relocated to Central America, gaining three new local teammates.  One character from each show is even a Turtle!  I went in a mystical direction here since none of the other TMNT clones has taken a magical turn.

Just like all the other cartoons I made up, I took certain aspects of the shows I watched and squished them together.  In the case of the Defenders cartoons, the Turtles were mixed with Bravestarr and the Thundercats respectively.

If you want to learn more about each of these cartoons, consider picking up Old School Evil on Kindle or paperback and help support the blog.  You can get it here.