Monday, April 23, 2018

Bad Guy Beatdown Round 12 Results

Mumm-Ra stood over his scrying pool and held his hands aloft.  “Spirits of Evil, I sense a great power coming. Show me that which I seek!”
At his command, the cauldron bubbled and swirled, purplish steam filling the air.  The water’s tumultuous surface melted away and deep in the pool a vision formed – a knight adorned in green armor with a glowing snail on his chest, lost in a forest calling out for his companions.
“A Darkling Lord on Third Earth?” Mumm-Ra mused.
“What is a Darling Lord?” Monkeyman asked, peering into the pool.
“Darkling, you idiot,” Slythe said.
“Silence!” Mumm-Ra shouted, causing the mutants in the room to flinch.  “This knight has great powers given to him by the wizard Merklynn.”
Jackal snickered. “And how do you know this stranger?”
“Even though he is not evil, Merklynn’s magic is well-known to the Spirits of Evil.  He has imbued is power to a number of people on his planet of Prysmos, and this Darkstorm was given some of the strongest.”
“But why isss he here?” Slythe asked.  
“It does not matter.” Mumm-Ra flexed his arms and began to chant, “Spirits of Evil transform this decayed form to Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living!”  In a spinning storm of frayed bandages, the decrepit mummy transformed into a giant monster, blue skinned except for the double-headed snake emblem on his chest.  “As soon as I steal his power,” Mumm-Ra shouted, “I will be powerful enough to defeat Lion-O and claim the Sword of Omens as mine!”

Darkstorm slashed his way through the thick tangles of vegetation.  His axe wasn’t meant for cutting vines and branches and it was exhausting work for the knight.  He wished he could use his totem power to turn this jungle to dust, but refused to use its limited power when he wasn’t sure what dangers this planet offered.
Damn Merklynn for sending him on this quest.  When the wizard requested him go on a mission to retrieve a sword, Darkstorm assumed it would at least still be on Prysmos.  Without his minions, it would be difficult to triumph, but on an unknown world? This would be a challenge, and the reword had better be great.
He reached the edge of the jungle and could finally see the planet’s terrain as it stretched out before him.  In the distance was a castle with a great black cat’s head atop it. Merklynn had told him he would be fighting a group of people called the Thundercats, but Darkstorm couldn’t believe they had modeled their home after a cat.  It was as stupid as if his own castle was shaped like a snail after his spirit animal. He trekked towards the castle, preparing his lost warrior needing help ploy.
Before he could reach the plane at the castle’s base, a gale wind blew into his face, forming a tornado that threatened to blow Darkstorm away.  In the eye of the whirlwind, a figure appeared and when the winds cleared, the Darkling Lord was face-to-face with a floating blue monster wearing a red cape.
“Who are you?” Darkstorm said, holding his totem staff toward the figure.
“I am Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living!  And I would have your power!”
Darkstorm pulled his totem back.  “My power will stay that mine, foul creature!”
Forming a ball of lightning in his bare hand, Mumm-Ra says, “You have no say in the matter, knight.”  He fired the blast at Darkstorm, deep red bolts of lightning coursing toward the ground.
Darkstorm attempted to deflect the strike with his axe, catching the bolt at the tip and shocking him hard enough to send him flying back.  He screamed as he tumbled to the ground, his armor smoking. He struggled to get to his feet just in time to see Mumm-Ra prepare another blast.  “I hope your shell is strong enough!” he said as the snail on his armor lit up and emerged from his chest. Darkstorm’s physical body disappeared into the shimmering mollusk, barely avoiding another blast.
“You think a slug can save you from me?” Mumm-Ra shouted.  He dropped to the ground and took a mighty swing of his claws at the mollusk’s shell.  His hand bounced off the glowing body leaving no sign of damage to it. Enraged, Mumm-Ra leapt back into the air and blasted lightning from both hands, striking the mollusk directly in the center of its shell.  
The attack didn’t destroy the spirit animal, as Mumm-Ra expected, but the snail reverted to Darkstorm’s human form.  “You thought a spirit slug could save your powers from me?”
“Perhaps not,” Darkstorm says, still disheveled from his transformation.  “Perhaps Decay will do better. By what creeps, what crawls, by what does not; let all that grows recede and rot!”  The dog-faced, winged creature on Darkstorm’s totem escaped from the crest, flying behind Mumm-Ra and latching on to his shoulder.  Decay’s wings wrap around Mumm-Ra and glows bright in green light before disappearing. When revealed, Mumm-Ra’s body was shriveled and tiny, wrapped tight in bandages and draped with the red cape he wore.
Forcibly reverted to his decrepit form, Mumm-Ra staggered and cried out.  “My powers, you’ve drained them,” he wheezed. “I must return to the Black Pyramid to recharge!”  Mumm-Ra levitated into the air, but was struck down with a swing of Darkstorm’s now powerless staff. Crawling back from the Darkling Lord, Mumm-Ra attempts another bolt of lightning, but his waning powers fizzle out.
With a single swing of his axe, Darkstorm plunges the blade deep into Mumm-Ra’s heart.  The mummy’s body turns to dust and scatters to the wind, leaving behind only a whisper. “Where evil exists, Mumm-Ra lives!”
Click here for Mumm-Ra's respect post. Click here for Darkstorm's respect post. 

I can hear all the Thundercats fan boys crying out!  I know Mumm-ra was the favored one here, but he's got the same weakness as Darkstorm - limited powers.  Both Mumm-Ra and Darkstorm have limits to how long or often they can use their powers - Darkstorm's might be a little more by the numbers than Mumm-Ra's, but they both can summons their powers for a certain amount of time or uses.  The only problem is that once Mumm-Ra's powers are used up, he's a frail mummy, while Darkstorm is still in his prime.

The Winner

To see who Darkstorm will be facing off against in the next tier, click here.  To see the rest of Bad Guy Beatdown's fighters, click here.  

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Bad Guy Beatdown Round 12 - Darkstorm

Today's fighter is leader of the Darling Lords from the Visionaries - Darkstorm!  It's interesting to me that so many of the characters from the cartoon, all of them but Darkstorm, actually, had names that sound like Arthurian legends or Lord of the Rings.  Instead, he gets a name that sounds like it should be in the Transformers.

On to the analysis.  Given magical powers by Merklynn, Darkstorm is imbued with totemic abilities, but before we look at them, we need to look at what the man can do to see why he received his specific powers.  When Merklynn invites the Spectral Knights and Darkling Lords to come to his temple with the promise of powers, the 14 warriors went in without any real leadership.  It wasn't until entering the shrine and discovering it was full of traps did Darkstorm show his talents.  After falling into a pit, he is able to stop the descent and climb back out, and upon finding the rest of the Darkling lords hanging from a ceiling in a different room, he forced them to swear loyalty to him before he released them.  Oh yeah, and he uses a stupid Y-shaped axe thing.  It's not even worth a picture since he doesn't do anything with it.  In fact, I don't think he has any fighting ability to speak of.

Merklynn praises both acts, "For your incomparable climbing skill and overall sliminess," and grants him the powers of the Mollusk.  Having survived the travels while using a staff, he's given the totem power of Decay.  Both of these are incredibly powerful tools, but unfortunately for the tournament, they're not used very often.  Let's take a look at each of these totems.

First, the Mollusk, which is his spirit animal.  Each of the Visionaries has their animal on their chest and when summoning them, the spirit shoots out from their armor, taking the place of the knight.  Darkstorm of course works the same way, and he turns into a giant snail with a spiked shell and spindly little arms that do nothing. I just realized it looks like it's wearing a witch's hat.  Anyway, the Mollusk isn't really befitting of the leading villain until you see that it has one of the only powers of all the spirit animals - it shoots acid.  There's no real demonstration of how strong the acid is since all it does is smoke the few times he uses it, but I'd probably compare it to Miles Mayhem's Viper mask.  the Mollusk can also climb practically any surface up to a 90'degree angle, and its shell was impervious to other Visionaries' attacks.

Second is his totem, Decay.  The Visionaries with staves were given an extra power that they could call upon, which would summon a creature to fight for them.  Unlike the spirit animals, these creatures did not take the place of their knight, but would follow their orders.  Each of them would have a specific magical ability, and would need to be summoned through a rhyming incantation, which were all awesome to hear.  They could only be used once before needing to be recharged by Merklynn.  Darkstorm's totem creature was a weird winged creature, summoned by "By what creeps and crawls and by what does not, let all that grows recede and rot!" 

It only had to touch another creature to wither it, turning a young man into a geriatric.  Darkstorm was able to return the victim's youth with a second incantation, "Power of rot obscuring truth, what once was old, restore to youth."  Just like the other totem creatures, the Decay-beast was only able to use its power once per appearance, which usually allowed it to turn something old, then revert it (touching the target for both parts).  Once, it was able to touch three giant plants in a row, withering each of them, before being struck and disappearing - which meant it wouldn't have been able to return their youth. 

That's actually a common limitation to the spirit animals and totem creatures - one hit from just about anything would either return the knight to their human body or banish them.  Even the biggest one - the Destroyer, a giant beast with a blazing sword - would disappear after one strike.  There doesn't seem to be a time limit to the shape-changing power though.

So let's go over his abilites again:
1. Mollusk spirit animal lets him spit acid, climb any surface, and has an impervious shell, it's just not fast.
2. Decay summon can age something with a touch, and can revert it, but is a one-shot ability.
3. Has a stupid axe.  Seriously, it's so dumb looking.

To see Darkstorm's opponent Mumm-Ra, click here. If you want to see the rest of the fighters so far, click here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Wednesday Wrap-Up - 4/11/18

Man, I am so stoked that I finally have a date for my book release. I know it's about 2.5 months late and still a few weeks away, but I picked April 30th because it's far away enough to get everything done, but it's close enough that I can't forget about it. 

So on my list if stuff to do before then:

  1. Make final edits to the book based off my editor's notes. Should only take a few hours since most of them are grammatical. Also adding something to the end of the book to the it in with the character changes.
  2. Format the manuscript to ebook and pdf versions. Scrivener does both of these pretty well, so it shouldn't take more than a day to figure out. This includes picking fonts and editing two insignias to look good in the book. 
  3. Extend the cover to include the back for print versions, which will be similar to the front with a little blurb.
  4. Figure out how to upload both versions to Amazon and Createspace, which in going to get a lesson in tomorrow from an experienced independent author in my critique group (which I'm also submitting a chapter to for Old School Evil 2).

That seems to be the gist of everything on my plate, in addition to the normal Bad Guy Beatdown and semi-regular list posts. Stressing of that, my Truth about Bionic Six post from the other well is my highest viewed post ever! As for Bad Guy Beatdown goes, the lastest fight, Mumm-Ra vs. Darkstorm, will be posted the Monday before launch, but will go on hiatus for a few weeks as I focus on that, but it will continue in May.

Anyway, I gotta get back into figuring out Createspace, but I'll be back next week.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Old School Evil - Coming April 30, 2018

I am so glad to finally be making this announcement - I finally have a date when Old School Evil's first novel will be going live.  Over the next 20 days, I'll be busting my ass to get everything ready - making the last few corrections, formatting the book for Kindle and paperback, tweaking the insignia that will be displayed, and making up the back cover of the book.  I've also updated the blog, my personal and professional Facebook page, and Twitter feed with the dates and cover mock-ups.

Along the way, I'll be posting a lot more updates as I work on it, along with little teasers from the book, just like this one.

I can't think of a better way to introduce the main character of the book than just throwing this out there.  Jayce was just like me as a kid, just like many of the readers I hope to attract to the book.  He loved cartoons and toys, and he could not wait to sit in a theater and see them fighting on the bog screen.  Was he ever able to?  Was it the life-changing event he thought it would be?  

Guess you'll have to find out at the end of the month.

Bad Guy Beatdown Round 12 - Mumm-Ra

I've been waiting to get this this big bruiser for weeks; it's Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living!  The 1000-year-old mummy has come to the arena, but what all can Mumm-Ra actually do?  One thing we need to figure out is what powers are his to command, and what does he depend on the Spirits of Evil to do for him.  Who are the Spirits of Evil, you ask?  Are they anything like the Specters of Darkness from Wildfire?  I mean, pretty much, except they're not stuck in an urn. 

The Spirits of Evil are what Mumm-Ra calls upon to change from his decrepit form to that big bruiser.  Mumm-Ra can call on them to do some other stuff, like seeing visions in his scrying pool, but those powers are mostly limited to his Black Pyramid.  Luckily, his transformation isn't limited to just the pyramid, as he can change forms anywhere he wants, as long as he can speak the incantation "Ancient Spirits of Evil, transform this decayed form to Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living!"  He's also shown to change into other forms, including a fake Thundercat name Pumm-ra (how did Lion-o and his friends not see through that?) and a beautiful maiden.  So, we can see that Mumm-Ra can change shape, but what else can he do?

In either form, Mumm-Ra is able to fly, teleport (usually to escape), and shoot lightning or energy beams from his hands.  In his larger form, he's incredibly strong and fast, able to hold his own against Lion-o.  In his first fight against Lion-o (played without any music for some reason which made it kinda boring), a tree fell on him and he blocked it with his forearm, even if the tree hit hard enough to break in half.  He threw half of the tree at Lion-o and blasted another tree in half with his energy beams.

Unfortunately, this is the best example of Mumm-Ra's powers.  He's one of the unlucky villains in this tournament that don't appear in all thirteen permitted episodes - in fact, he's only in five of them!  There's a three episode stretch where he didn't show up at all, even though the Mutants do. 

But that's okay, because he does show a few other abilities.  In two episodes he summons insectoid allies, and since one of them is outside of the Black Pyramid, I'll allow them.  The first time he summons a swarm of locusts, and in the second, he calls upon a giant moth.  I mean, it doesn't really do much besides fly around and chase Panthro, but it's scary enough, and it shows what the Spirits of Evil are capable of. 

Mumm-Ra does have a few weaknesses, though.  As a decrepit, 1000-year-old mummy, his stores of energy are low - he can only use so much power or stay in the ever-living form for so longer before he needs to return to his sarcophagus to recharge.  He's also shown once to be terrified of his reflection, forced to return to his withered form and seek refuge in the pyramid again.  I thought maybe this was a one time thing, since the reflection only shows up in Lion-o's glove and it later is shown to reflect lasers, but it's a documented weakness, so I'll keep it.

I forgot about this in the last few respect posts, but I'm going to list his abilities and weaknesses again for clarity.
Strengths: flight, teleportation, energy and lightning blasts, an enhanced form with superhuman strength, and can assume other forms of disguise
Weaknesses: limited time and energy before he needs to recharge, afraid of his reflection, some powers are only available to him within the Black Pyramid.

Friday, March 30, 2018

The Truth about Bionic Six (It's better than you think)

If you've been following me on Twitter, you've no doubt seen the feud between me and Banzai Retro Club about Bionic Six. What started out as a discussion on the best theme songs turned into a huge debate, most often comparing the cartoon to MASK. It's been a lot of fun arguing which cartoon is the best, and a lot of other people have out in their two cents and chosen sides, but it's time to set the record straight - Bionic Six is a really good show.

For the uninitiated, the show follows Jack Bennett and his family, all augmented with bionics, as they protect the globe from threats, mainly from Dr Scarab and his henchmen. Each of the 6 family members has a different Bionic skill set, but all their bionics do grant them enhanced speed and strength.

Looking at the picture above, from left to right, is Bunji/Karate-1, whose bionics have him lightning quick reflexes and the highest agility in his family. He was adopted into the Bennett family.

Next is James/IQ (the only member of the family whose codename isn't something-1). He's also adopted, obviously, and is the smartest and strongest of the family.

Third, we have the patriarch of the family, Jack, also called Bionic-1. His enhancements are based on his senses with telescopic and x-ray vision and enhanced hearing. His Bionic eyes are also capable of shooting energy blasts and can disrupt electronics.

Fourth is Meg, Rock-1, and Jack's biological daughter. Her abilities give her superhuman speed, and she can shoot Sonic beans from blasters installed in her shoulders.

Sport-1 is next. Megatron biological brother, Eric has magnetic implants in his arms that allow him to attract or repel metal objects. 

Lastly, we have Helen Bennett, Jack's wife and Meg's and Eric's biological mother, also known as Mother-1. Her bionics are all mental, giving her telepathy, telekinesis, and ESP, seeing her to see glimpses of the future.

Together, they are there "super future family" with the help of Dr. Amadeus Sharp, the creator of the bionics that power the Bennetts.

I've already covered their villain, Dr. Scarab, in my villain retrospect series, and his minions aren't really worth going over. They all have their own Bionic powers, but they're not as specialized or interesting as the Bennetts'. Glove is your typical Starscream, wanting to overthrow Scarab, and the rest are just big dumb oafs. 

Lastly, there is F.L.U.F.F.I., the Bennetts' robotic gorilla housekeeper. Honestly, he's the only part of the show I really dislike, as he's just there for kid appeal and comic relief. Anything he can do to help the Bennetts, they could do on their own.

With that out of the way, I'll say I really enjoy this show and I'm sad I never caught this as a kid. The different powers that each of the Bennetts have are awesome, and they have some real interesting uses for them. 

For instance, Sport-1 uses his magnetic powers to use a steel girder as a baseball bat and knock an asteroid away from a city.  The relationships between the characters are good, like Dr. Scarab being Dr. Sharp's brother and Bunji's disappearing father.

I'll even admit the theme song is catchy as hell. It's currently stuck in my head and I doubt it'll go away any time soon.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Bad Guy Beatdown Round 11 Results

Krulos watched proudly as the Monoclonius army cleared the rock from the lava tube.  He turned to his snake-headed lieutenant, Rasp. “Progress report,” he croaked, the words echoing in the glass dome that covered his head.
“The dinosaurs are making short work of the obstacle, my lord,” Rasp said, lashing his tongue.  “We should reach the Dino-Riders camp in just a few hours.”
“Excellent.”  Krulos looked at his other subordinates and snarled, his wide mouth in a sneer.  “You two should take a lesson from Rasp’s motivation.”
Antor and Hammerhead glanced at each other and glared at Rasp in unison.  “Yes, my lord,” they said simultaneously.
A rumble shook through the lava tube, shaking many of Krulos’s Rulons off their feet.  Rocks showered them from the ceiling and the river of magma flowing at their feet lapped over its banks, forcing the dinosaurs back to safer land.  A stalactite hanging over Krulos’s head cracked and a moment later its mount shattered, the sharp pillar of earth plummeting toward the frog-faced alien.  
Antor tackled Krulos from behind, throwing him out of the path of the stalactite right before it struck the ground, digging deep into the tunnel’s floor where his emperor stood.  Krulos flipped over and shoved the bug-eyes minion off him. “You dare touch your master?”
“But sir,” Antor said, getting to his feet, “You were going to be crushed!”
“What caused that tremor?” Krulos said, instantly forgetting the slight while ignoring his near-death experience.  He turned to Rasp and grabbed him by the throat. “Your moronic dinosaurs did this!”
“No!” Rasp hissed, pointing to the river of lava.  “Look!”
Krulos dropped his minion and turned to the river – or the empty lava tube through which it had once flowed.  A fissure had opened through the tunnel growing wider the further down it went. The room in front of Krulos split in half, exposing the tunnel to the sky above, and creating a massive chamber that sunk down hundreds of feet.  Krulos hopped on the back of one of the Monoclonius, throwing its pilot to the ground, and lead it to the edge of the chasm.
“What is that?” Hammerhead said, kneeling down at the cliff.  Deep under the surface, in a pool of magma, sat a giant monstrous red demon.  It looked as if it were just sitting in a hot tub. As the rocks showered down upon it, the creature got up from his lounge and surveyed the new skylight.
It wailed, shielding himself from the sunlight streaming down into the chasm.  Under the unobstructed light, the creature struggled to climb back into the shadows.
“What kind of monster shies away from the sun?” Hammerhead asked as it crawled out of sight.
“One easily cowed to my whim,” Krulos answered.  “Fetch my steed! We will capture that creature and use its immense size to crush the Dino-Riders for good!”

After the bright light of the sun burst forth into his throne room and the shower of rubble fell from the cavern above him, Metlar was in a foul mood.  True, Metlar was always in a foul mood, but waking up to that made it so much worse. He escaped into the adjacent tunnel and immediately switched his mind to thoughts of revenge.  He clawed his way up through the top of the cavern, digging towards the surface tunnels where he’d seen those tiny figures. He had not seen creatures like those in his conquests, and the noises they made were more than the roars and growls of the giant lizards scurrying around on the surface.
He burst into the empty lava tube to find himself facing a number of those dinosaurs, covered with shiny metal coats, and mounted by a number of humanoid figures.  “You will die for attacking me!” Metlar shouted. “Whoever you are!”
The figures jumped off their dinosaur mounts and dashed down the tunnel, with one of them yelling something at the others.  The remaining humanoid stood his ground atop one of the largest dinosaurs and turned his steed to face Metlar. It shouted something else and two beams sitting on top of the lizard’s head flashed bright and suddenly Metlar felt the sting of a giant insect in his face.  
Metlar rubbed his hands over his face, clearing his eyes from the bright light and flaming strike of the dinosaur’s head.  Another beam of light shot out and hit Metlar in the chest, but the sting was much less intense. He climbed the rest of the way into the lava tube and faced off against the dinosaur, which stood only a third of his height.  He held a hand up to block the bright strikes against him and swiped down towards the lizard.
The rider deftly steered his dinosaur away from Metlar’s attack, bringing his steed behind the giant’s back, hitting it with fire blasts all the while.  Another swing of Metlar’s fist barely missed his attacker combined with a mighty blast from two bigger beams from the dinosaur’s torso, knocked the giant onto its face.  
Metlar slowly climbed to his knees, while taking a number of fiery stings to his side.  Two small metal claws underneath the dinosaur’s tiny natural arms stabbed into Metlar’s torso, trying to break the giant’s scaled skin.  Metlar shifted to face his attacker, taking a number of hits near his face. He held up one of his massive hands, trying to catch the dinosaur’s bright stingers.
The blast of light reflected off the palm of Metlar’s hand, striking back at the dinosaur.  The small hexagonal plate on the lizard’s lower body fell loose and the metal arms tumbled to the ground.
The rider brought his mount behind Metlar again, hitting him with both small and large stingers.  As Metlar attempted to get to his feet, the dinosaur grasped his foot in its huge jaws and yanked.  Metlar toppled back to his front, nearly crashing through the floor and back to his lava lounge. Seeing the magma, Metlar realized he needed to strike back.  He reached into his mouth and pulled forth a massive handful of molten earth.
With a swing of his arm, Metlar threw the fireball at the dinosaur rider, catching the beast in the middle of its torso and instantly reducing the giant lizard’s body to a puddle of goo.  The rider leapt away before its mount had perished and the charred remains teetered over and landed on him with a satisfying thud.
Crawling out from under the dinosaur’s head, the figure croaked, the dome on his head leaking water.  He struggled to his feet, but could not stand. He grasped the metal apparatus on the lizard’s skull, hefting it off the corpse and aiming it towards Metlar.  Another beam of light struck Metlar’s torso, but the Inhumanoid’s rage was too strong for the stings to register. Metlar brought his foot up and with a mighty stomp crushed the figure and its weapon into the tunnel floor.
Click here for Krulos's respect post and click here for Metlar's.

When looking at the two fighters, there's really no way for Krulos to have won this battle.  Metlar's got a massive size advantage, being three times bigger than the already monstrous T Rex.  He's shown to be immune to practically any weapons fire.  The only weaknesses he has is sunlight and magnetic fields.  While Krulos could possibly open up the tunnel to sunlight, it doesn't immobilize Metlar like th emagnetic fields do, and Krulos has no way of replicating that or even knowing that weakness.  Krulos's T Rex also shows some immunity to weapons fire, there's no way it could defend itself from Metlar's fireball attack.
The Winner

Make sure to check back next week when we start looking at Metlar's possible opponent in the second tier of Bad Guy Beatdown.  Click here to see how the rest of the battles have gone down.