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. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Wednesday Wrap-Up - 3/21/18

I'm finally getting back to making progress on Old School Evil the novel. I am so excited that something's finally coming together. I'm working on the cover at home and writing on the second draft of the sequel at work, so this is probably the most productive week I've had in months.

I think the cover is looking pretty good so far and leagues above the blog title image. I'm thinking I'll make some changes to the paper rip here to show more of the second sheet and possible another top under it to show a third. I worked on upgrading another model, Lead Tentacle, with a higher resolution like I did for SawHorse above, and I could have sworn I saved it on Google Drive but I can't find it. I'll post it tomorrow though.

I have no idea when I'll actually be ready to publish, but I hope it's soon. Anyway, I've got to get back to working on it, I need to do some research before I can get anything in stores.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Bad Guy Beatdown Round 11 - Metlar

Today we're looking at the leader of the monstrous Inhumanoids, Metlar.  Trapped at the Earth's core within a magnetic field, this behemoth was busted free by a corrupt politician and set loose on the world once again.

First off, let's talk size - Inhumanoids are all giant creatures, but cartoon scale - especially Sunbow's stuff - varies a ton from episode to episode and sometimes scene to scene.  Metlar often holds a person in his hands just like the image above and because of the humans' size inside the hand, we can estimate he's about 75 feet tall (about 1-12 times larger than whoever he's holding, similar size to me holding a 6" Transformer figure).  But later in that same episode, he catches a jet in that same hand.  The jet looks similar to a Cessna Citation Encore 560, which measures almost 50' in length.  I can't even guess how big that would make Metlar.  It's so inconsistent that I'd decided to gave him a height based one one very specific scene.  After being doused with some kind of love potion, Metlar and his Inhumanoids go after spouses.  Who does Metlar chose?  Why the Statue of Liberty, of course.  From here we can estimate he's about the same height as the Statue of Liberty from foot to crown, which is 111 feet and 6 inches.

Now, to be fair, I forgot to do this for Krulos, so I'm going to go ahead and estimate him and his T Rex's height now.  Modern science has determined that the T Rex's body was held in a horizontal position and was about 12-14 feet tall at the hips.  But back in the day Dino-Riders was made, paleontologists believed T-Rex's walked upright, head in the air and tail dragging on the ground, which meant form head to toe, the T-Rex was about 18 feet tall.  
Here's where Dino-Riders goes totally bonkers.  Krulon is shown in the cartoon to be a pretty big dude, so I'm going to estimate he's a little over 6" tall.  So he's be about a third the height of a T-Rex, right?  Hell no!  Do you see that tiny red guy on top of the T Rex?  That's Krulos!  He's maybe 1/6 the size of that dinosaur, so that would put the T Rex at about 36' tall.  Still, that's only about 1/3 the height of Metlar!  

Anyway, back to the Inhumanoid.  Metlar's right at home in the core of the Earth, capable of swimming in molten magma pools.  Metlar's typical attack is reaching into the fiery lava of his throat, pulling out a massive fireball, and flinging it at his enemies.  That's incredible - not only is he a vessel of molten rock, he can grab handfuls of it to throw.  He's also immensely strong, capable of breaking off giant stalactites and throwing them or crushing tanks or helicopters in his grip.
Metlar's shown to be invulnerable to all of Earth Corps lasers, even reflecting laserfire in his hand back to at his enemies.  Another power introduced early on in the series is having hypnotic eyes capable of putting humans into a trance.  Even if it didn't show up later, it was shown in two episodes in the 5-part premier so I'm leaving it in there - but who knows if it'll work on a frog-faced creature like Krulos.

Metlar does have one glaring weakness though - he's paralyzed by magnetic fields.  Originally he was trapped by two of the Mutores (elemental Inhumanoid fighters), Crygen and Pyre, who could create magnetic fields between them when not merged into Magnokor.  A human that knew of Metlar's weakness was able to build a suit that projected magnetic fields similar to MAgnokor's halves, and was even able to control Metlar by manipulating the field.  Even more than that, when Magnokor's halves boosted their power with galvacite to destroy Metlar, they reversed the polarity of the Earth's entire magnetic field, which changed the Inhumanoids' and Mutore's personalities, making Metlar a good guy, wanting to help save the Earth.

To check out Metlar's specs, click here.  Make sure to check back next Monday to see which prehistoric titan takes the crown.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Wednesday Wrap-Up - 3/14/18

So I'm about a month behind my initial plan to publish Old School Evil, but I'm still plugging along and hope that maybe in two weeks I can get it out there. I sketched out a mock up if the cover I'm planning to do and here it is:

As you can see it'll mostly be a rearrangement of assets that are in my blog title image, so nothing new really needs to be made up except for the paper rip in the bottom right corner that is partially revealing another image. I'm also going to be redoing the title image to put in the book cover and a brief description. 

I've also written a little bit more on book two. It's not much and by how slow it's going Old School Evil will be out for ages before the sequel comes out, but in not giving up on it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Bad Guy Beatdown Round 11 - Krulos

Today we're looking at Krulos, the leader of the Rulon Empire.  While chasing the peaceful Valorians, he was sucked into a time warp and ended up on prehistoric Earth.  Both sides took to working with dinosaurs to build and defend their bases - while the good guys used telepathy to talk to their dinosaurs and became friends with them, the Rulons used "brain boxes" to mentally enslave their dinosaurs.  The main conflict in the show was Krulos's gang trying to steal the STEP (Space and Time Energy Projector) crystal so he can go back to his own time and rejoin his empire.

As a leader, Krulos is your typical 'yell at your minions as the top of your voice no matter what' kinda guy.  It's no wonder he's voiced by Frank Welker.  He generally relies on his three generals to do a lot and often beats them up when things go wrong.  On one occasion, he picked up one minion in each hand.  As far as his own feats, that's about it.  He got one major weakness as well - the glass dome over his head.  Being some sort of frog alien, he's got to keep himself wet and that bowl on his head is filled with water.  As soon as it's cracked and the water spills out, he starts drying out and is incapacitated. 

Seeing as the show is called Dino-Riders, what kind of dinosaur acts as Krulos's mode of transportation?  Why the most powerful dinosaur there is - the Tyrannosaurus Rex.  Granted, it took him about 3 episodes to actually catch the T Rex, and half the time he rode a Monoclonius instead.  Let's look at the T Rex's loadout.  The Brain Box, installed on the dinosaur's head, has twin blasters.  The biggest piece of armor is on the dinosaur's back and includes two armor-piercing cannons on the side, two rear-facing blasters and a stand for Krulos to command from.  On the front of each leg is a piece of armor that has saw blades on them.  Lastly, there's a tiny breastplate on the T Rex's front that has a pair of "Death Grip Claws" that are controlled by a second pilot half the time, and are automatically controlled the rest of the time.

The blasters are pretty powerful most of the time, blowing up trees and holes in mountains over the course of the series.  The saw blades can cut through a large wooden wall with ease and the claws were strong enough to lift the cut section out and throw it.  And let's not forgot all this is on a T-Rex, which somehow took a lot of laser blasts to the face and torso without any kind of damage.  Not that the armor was so impenetrable - the armor straps and Brain Box were easily blasted or knocked off the dinosaur, rendering it uncontrollable again, usually chasing Krulos away. Another drawback that the T Rex has is that it can be easily knocked over by another dinosaur or a tremor.