Sunday, July 28, 2019

Swashathon - Pirates of Dark Water


When I saw Movies Silently was running a pirate-themed Swashathon, my mind went immediately to the Pirates of Dark Water.  I've never been a huge fan of pirate stories, but one set in such a fantastical world is right up my alley. 

Pirates of Dark Water is set on the alien planet of Mer, a world besieged by a thick black ooze that is spreading over the oceans and threatening to devour everything.  Only bringing together the Thirteen Treasures of Rule could destroy the plague, but they have been spread to the far reaches of the globe by King Primus.  Just before his death, he tells his son Ren to collect them, but the pirate overlord Bloth is after them as well.  Ren enlists the help of Ioz, one of Bloth's former minions; Tula, an ecomancer; and Niddler, a monkey-bird with a ravenous appetite.
The story had it all, with Ren and his companions racing across the seas, searching for each treasure aboard the Wrath, pursued the whole time by Bloth's Maelstrom, a ship so huge it's a sailing fortress with its own dungeon.  The history and breadth of the world are massive with many fantastical creatures, including the aforementioned monkey-birds, dagrons (that's not a typo), and a massive, multi-mouthed worm-like serpent in Bloth's dungeon called the Constrictus.  People have incredible and varied powers, like Bloth's super-human strength and Tula's elemental powers and animal telepathy.  It even has some of the best curses in it with an original language, particularly Ioz's "Noy Jitat." (I can't find a reliable spelling of the quote, unfortunately) 

The character and ship designs are creative, the wide sails on Ren's ship allowing for short bursts of flight while Bloth's Maelstrom and it's smaller ships all looking like they're assembled from of leviathan skeletons.  And in the middle of it all, the living ooze Dark Water, which engulfs anything it touches.  I loved every aspect of the world of Mer.

Behind the scenes, the show was just as impressive with a fantastic cast including George Newburn (Batman: The Animated Series), Jodi Benson (The Little Mermaid), Brock Peters (Galtar and the Golden Lance). Tim Curry (Gargoyles)and Roddy McDowall as Niddler (later replaced by Frank Welker).  The cartoon had an ongoing storyline, unlike most episodic cartoons at the time, who maintained a status quo.  Ioz slowly grew to like the idealistic Ren, while Tula discovered her magic abilities. The storyline was also dark and bleak, and it had some of the only cartoon deaths at the time - a guard died by being devoured by Dark Water and a witch aging quickly by a misfired spell until she withered away. 

Unfortunately, as with many of the best cartoons, the show had its problems.  The original 5-episode miniseries, called Dark Water was bleaker than most and the rest of the series, under the full Pirates name, lightened its tone a bit.  It might not have been enough though, because the show only lasted twenty-one episodes, ending abruptly before the Thirteen Treasures of Rule could be gathered.  It's been said that the cancelation was a result of animation problems making the final four episodes miss its scheduled airdates.  They were shown six months later, but most of the crew had already moved on, so the show never continued.  It's such a shame, because Pirates of Dark Water had so much promise and will always be remembered fondly.

This post was made as part of Movies Silently's Swashathon.  Make sure to check out the rest of the swash-buckling, booty-plundering posts there.

Top 5 Fan Theories


I talked last year about how much I loved the idea of crossovers between the various cartoons I used to watch.  While the Revolutions comic event by IDW comics is far removed from the actual cartoons and the quality of the crossover can be debated, there was already something that linked the shows during their original run.  Hector Ramirez.

The news reporter made appearances in GI Joe, Jem and the Holograms, and most notably in Inhumanoids. Transformers had a reporter matching his description, though he wasn't named.  By showing up in all these cartoons, it conceivably connects all four shows in one universe.  Obviously there are a lot of things keeping them from taking place on the same planet, but still, it's pretty cool to figure out how some shows could share a world.  So I'm looking at a few other odd connections that could be made between completely different cartoons.


1. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe/She-Ra and Starcom - Queen Marlena was in the US Space Force.
Prince Adam and Princess Adora's mother, Queen Marlena is shown through the series to have been an Earth astronaut whose ship went off course and caused her to crash on Eternia.  It's not a far reach to make a connection to Starcom, which focuses on space travel and exploration.  While Starcom does have a main villain in the Dark Emperor and his evil empire, many of episodes centered around the Starcom pilots flying to different planets and just kinda looking around.  Marlena could easily have fit in with their crews and during a solo mission, her ship could have been damaged, leading her to crash on Eternia.


2. Inspector Gadget and COPS - Inspector Gadget was either a predecessor or successor to COPS.
Considering the wide array of abilities throughout the COPS characters and Inspector Gadget's own enhancements, it's pretty easy to make the connection between them.  I think Inspector Gadget could be the first prototype of a cybernetic officer, but it was determined his gadgets worked better split up among multiple officers.  On the other hand, he could be the natural progression of cybernetics, an officer loaded with every conceivable modification available.


3. Bravestarr,  Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, and Silverhawks - Planetary Marshalls and the Silverhawks all fall under the Galaxy Rangers.
Okay, so this one is pretty tenuous - I'm just basing it off of looks.  Bravestarr and the Galaxy Rangers are both cartoons based on space cowboys.  Bravestarr says he's a Planetary Marshall, so I see that as the assigned arm of the law vs the traveling role the Rangers played.  I'm including Silverhawks in here as well because of Lt Colonel Bluegrass, who's a cowboy at heart.  Not to mention, he probably played his guitar with Shane Gooseman.


4. Dino Riders and Sectaurs - Sectaurs learned to communicate with other creatures.
Let's look at the similarities here: you had people who possessed telepathic powers to create a bond with unusual mounts.  the Sectaurs took place far in the future, and Dino Riders started there before going back in time to prehistoric Earth.  Granted, Sectaurs takes place on another planet, but I consider it really Earth since they look so much alike.  Anyway, the Sectaurs regain technology, try space travel, go back in time and are able to apply their telebonding to another species.  Besides, Questor and Dargon look almost the same (minus the antenna) and are both performed by Dan Gilvezan.  They could even be ancestor/descendant.


5. Challenge of the Go-Bots and Transformers - The Transformers caused the Go-Bots' shift from organic to cybernetic.
I'm taking this from the IDW comics.  Before I get to that though, I need to say it here since I forgot it mention it in Cy-Kill's Villain Retrospect post and barely touched on it in his Bad Guy Beatdown fight - Go-Bots have organic brains.  They originally were fully organic beings called GoBings, and after the destruction that split Gobotron, they took on robotic bodies to keep themselves alive.  Now for the IDW comics - during the early days of IDW, there was s story about a crew of ancient Transformers lead by Nova Prime who found a planet called Gorlam Prime, populated with organic beings.  Because of Nova Prime's manipulation of the planet, the population slowly became technological, and transformable, beings.  It's a huge stretch and takes inspiration from a different medium, but considering how close the two concepts are - robots that can turn into vehicles - it doesn't take much to bring the two stories together. 


Bad Guy Beatdown Round 22 - Darkstorm vs. Metlar


Looking at both of these cartoons, I noticed that neither of the villains appeared in all 13 episodes I watched for Bad Guy Beatdown.  Luckily, both cartoons didn't go beyond 13 episodes so there's nothing more I need to watch.  Huzzah!  Let's get to it.

We'll start with Darkstorm and you can read his original post here.  He's the leader of the Darkling Lords from Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light and has two main powers (like almost all the visionaries); changing into a spirit animal and summoning a totem with a special power. 

Firstly, Darkstorm's spirit animal, which resides in his chest, is the mollusk, a giant shelled snail with little spindly arms.  It has a few abilities of its own, too.  It can climb sheer surfaces, withstand some incredibly strong attacks, and spit acid, though I don't have a good demonstration on how strong it is.

Secondly, Darkstorm's totem is Decay, a winged rat-like creature that can age summon or something with just a touch.  Using a special summoning verse (which sound freaking awesome, Darkstorm calls it out of his staff and can command it how he sees fit.  The victim becomes incredibly old and by using another verse, Darkstorm can command the totem to reverse the effects.

Both powers can only be used once before needing to be recharged (for the Mollusk, once it's been attacked, he'll revert to human form). Oh, and he has a dumb axe that didn't come into play at all in his first Bad Guy Beatdown fight, which you can read here.  As a reminder, he fought Mumm-Ra, surviving the Ever-Living's attacks in mollusk form and reverting Mumm-Ra to his smaller form with Decay before whapping him with his staff.

Next is Metlar, leader of the titular Inhumanoids and you can read his original post here.  Metlar's main advantage is his immense size.  While the cartoon wasn't very consistent with his scale, sometimes looking only as tall as 40 feet while in another episode had him as tall as the Statue of Liberty.  Since that's really the only scene I can correctly gauge his size, I decided last time to say he's about 100' tall. 

Before I get into his powers, because there's a lot of them, I'm going to his biggest weakness - magnets.  Originally, he was held in the Earth's core by another giant creature, who split himself into the two magnetic polarities.  He's still able to talk and everything, but he just can't move at all.  A second weakness, which affects all Inhumanoids, is sunlight, which causes them to weaken and run away from it. 

For his powers though, he's incredibly invulnerable, immune to Earth Corps lasers, even able to reflect them with the palm of his hands and enjoys hot lava baths.  He gargles magma and can pull fireballs out of his mouth and throw them.  He can bring statues to life (including Lady Liberty, which becomes his nagging wife) and also hypnotize humans by looking at them.  Not to mention, of course, that a creature of his size would be immensely strong.

Metlar, as expected, defeated his original combatant and you can read that fight here. In summary, he took a lot of attacks from Metlar's quicker T-Rex, which just seemed to knock him down.  Eventually, he counter-attacked, throwing a fireball that melted the dinosaur in one hit.

So how is the fight going to go down between Darkstorm and Metlar?  Check out the fight next week! 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Bad Guy Beatdown Round 21 - Results

Shredder waited, hiding behind a secondary computer mainframe, for Krang to finally leave the dimensional  portal room. The little pink pussbag had conferred with General Traag for nearly an hour about this forces in Dimension X, and every moment made Shredder fume.  He has control over an entire army of rock soldiers, yet he never gave Shredder even one to throw at the Turtles. Shredder shook his head. It didn’t matter now - there had to be hundreds of dimensions out there, with warriors stronger than those granite goons.
Shredder snuck out, vigilant for that giant robot body he built Krang to come back into the room, but it never happened.  While Shredder had never trained to use the dimensional portal (no matter how many times he’d begged Krang to show him), he had gleaned enough from Krang’s use to figure it out.  He toggled the switches, turned the dials, and everything set, he finally pressed the power button. Energy cackled around the edges of the giant screen, spreading to the middle until the enrity looked as if it was alive with coursing power.  He watched as another world materialized right in front of him, hoping to find the ultimate weapon for disposing of those mutant freaks once and for all.
“What sort of magic is this, Vizier?” Overlord shouted as a hole in reality opened before him, brimming with elemental power.  “What are you doing?”
Overlord’s wizard looked flummoxed.  “I do not know, sire. I didn’t do anything!”
The towering purple man stepped closer to the discharge and watched as something appeared on the other side.  It was a metal room unlike any he had seen on Sagar. Standing in the center was a masked, metal man, beckoning Overlord through the portal.  
“Yes!” the man called, “I believe you’ll do nicely!”
“Who are you?” Overlord asked, hefting the Power Sword and pointing its tip at the man.
“I am the Shredder,” he answered, “but you will call me Master.”
Overlord chaffed.  “No being calls me master!”  He stepped through the portal, the point of his weapon remaining on his summoner.  “I do not know where you have brought me, Shredder, but I claim this land in the name of Overlord!”  With a mere thought, the Power Sword came to life in his hand and a blast of energy bolted toward Shredder.
Shredder rolled out of the energy’s path, which struck a secondary computer and demolished it into molten metal.  “Impressive, though I see you’ll need to be trained to actually hit your targets.” Shredder pulled a pistol from his belt and squeezed the trigger.  The blasts struck Overlord’s sword and were deflected back into the room, destroying more equipment. “Krang won’t be happy about that,” Shredder muttered loud enough for Overlord to hear.  
“And I shall destroy him as well, fool!”  He fired a barrage of shots at Shredder, who artfully dodged each, the final blast avoided by a well-timed backflip.  
Shredder continued his acrobatic leaps, jumping at the corners of the dimensional portal machine, chopping through its mounts on the wall with his claws.  The massive screen tottered forward, falling directly onto Overlord. “After my Foot Soldiers dig you out of there, you’ll be at my mercy, Overlord.” Shredder said with a sneer.  “And once you’ve defeated the Turtles for me, I planned to send you back home. But now, I think I’ll dump you into the wastes of space!”
The remains of the machine stirred and slowly rose, forcing Shredder to take a step back.  Underneath, Overlord struggled to lift the massive portal before tossing it off him. Before Overlord could fully recover, Shredder leapt at him, bringing his katana down.  Overlord quickly pulled the Power Sword up, barely parrying the attack. Overlord swiped his weapon at Shredder, but so slow enough for Shredder to duck away and kick Overlord’s wrists. 
The Power Sword flew from Overlord’s hands and clattered to the floor underneath the rubble of the dimensional portal machine.  Shredder delivered two more kicks to Overlord before he could recover, throwing him to the ground as well. Overlord held his hands out to the Power Sword, levitating the weapon and bringing it towards him.  Just as the sword was about to touch Overloard’s fingers, Shredder brought his katana down into Overlord’s back. The Overlord gasped before dropping his head to the floor with the Power Sword crashing beside it.
Click here for Shredder and Overlord's respect post. 

Overlord is a pretty powerful villain - strong, invulnerable, and has a bunch of other powers - but his main problem is that he's not very good at using any of them.  His aim using the sword's energy blast is good, but against someone as nimble and acrobatic as Shredder is useless.  Unfortunately for him, he's terrible as a swordsman - every time he went close-range with Blackstar, he lost, which is even worse considering he's fighting a ninja.  While Overlord does have a few powers of his own, like levitating the Power Sword to his hand, most of his abilities are a result of hold the sword, which makes him very vulnerable without it.  That gives Shredder, who's also got some big strength feats himself, a definite advantage.

The Winner

Click here for the last fight and here for the rest of the Bad Guy Beatdown fights.

Bad Guy Beatdown Round 20 - Results



“By the power of the Black Light, I go.”
With the incantation spoke, the Monster Mind headquarters blinked out of existence on the planet it sucked dry of resources.  Across the universe it flashed, its course set by Saw Boss on the way to another world ready to be conquered – Earth. Before it reached its new destination on a southern continent flush with vegetation, the home of the Monster Minds was yanked off course and brought to an entirely new dimension.
“What happened?” Saw Boss boomed to the assembled Monster Minds.
“We were trapped in a dimensional vortex, sire,” K.O. Kruiser answered.
“We cannot find the planet’s location on any star charts.”
“Send out the troopers to scour the land,” Saw Boss ordered, standing from his throne and pointing forward.  “We must find the source of the vortex and break it if we’re going to leave this planet.”
“Yes, Saw Boss,” the Monster Minds replied in unison before turning to leave the throne room.  As the troopers left the headquarters, Saw Boss telepathically watched their progress, taking in the strange surroundings.  Across the first wave, he watched as his troopers were attacked by the strangest of creatures – living elements, giant winged creatures, ghostly figures.  But none stood in the way until a unit reached a massive citadel and was struck down by a blinding energy bolt hurled by a figure robed in black and red.
Saw Boss commanded another trooper to follow the defeated’s path, yet it met the same fate. Before the life left the second trooper, Saw Boss witnessed the figure mount a horse and took to the sky, flying on wings on the figure’s back.

Venger followed the stream of moving flower pots back to its source, finding a giant vine-covered metal ball.  The steady flow of creatures stopped spilling out, as if awaiting Venger’s response. From one of the larger beings, a burst of light shot out and became an illusion of a purple man with a bulbous blue head.
“Hear me, stranger,” the man said.  “You may have the power to destroy my troopers, but nothing you do can save you from the Monster Minds.  Your world will belong to Saw Boss before the day is done.”
“Spare me your false bravado,” Venger replied and with a wave of his hand, he shot out a dozen bolts of energy, each scoring a hit on a trooper and destroying them.  “Send as many of your overgrown weeds as you wish, Saw Boss. I’ll destroy them all and rid this valley of your rotten garden.”
“Perhaps you need a bigger opponent,” the illusion said before fizzling out.  The crowd below at the entrance of the steel base split and the man, a few times Venger’s size strode out. Before his eyes, thee being morphed into one of the metal and plant fusions.  It dwarfed the others as it rolled down the entry way, a massive vine on the back holding a blade spinning at a high speed. Two barrels tilted up towards Venger and energy beams at him.
Venger scoffed, catching both blasts in the palm of his hand and reflecting them back down at the ground.  He followed that up with an attack of his own, creating a ball of fire in his hands and tossing it below.
The ground around Saw Boss exploded into plumes of dirt, but the sturdy metal vehicle remained while the flailing vegetation regrew around it. His voice came out of the hideous face on front of the vehicle. “Come down off your steed and we’ll see how you fare against the King of the Monster Mind.” Two vines shot out from the back of the vehicle towards Venger and latched onto two of his steed’s hooves.  
As they were being dragged down towards the spinning saw blade, Venger shot a pair of energy bolts that torched the vines, burning all the way down to Saw Boss’s back.  The Monster Mind grunted in pain as the plant was scorched away. Venger struck on an idea – he created a ball of fire in one had and pulled it apart with the other, turning it into a flaming ring.  He held it over his head and threw it towards the ground.
The fiery circle flared to life surrounding Saw Boss.  The vines surrounding the living vehicle withered to ash.  The saw blade, just moments before spinning with a wild fury, fell free of the dying plant and clanged on the vehicle’s roof.  Saw Boss howled in pain as the organic portion of his body was blown away by the intense heat. The blasters on his back fired wildly without any discernable target.
Outside of the ring of fire, the Monster Mind troopers slowly dissolved, metal and plant fiber melting together into a pool of black liquid.  When Saw Boss’s laser fire halted, Venger mentally commanded the fire to diminish. Inside the smoldering ring, the metal casing of Saw Boss was all that remained, a smoking shell devoid of life and power, the saw blade scorched, dull, and partially welded to the vehicle's scarred face.
Click here for Venger's and Saw Boss's respect post. 

Saw Boss's tactics for beating General Spidrax in his last fight weren't going to work here.  If Venger had enough power to kill off a regular Monster Mind trooper, he could easily burn away any vines sent to him by Saw Boss, which kept him out of range of Saw Boss's most powerful attack.  Saw Boss's blasters aren't shown to be particularly powerful either, so Venger should be strong enough to reflect his blasts.  In the end, it was just a matter of Venger sending down an attack powerful enough to roast Saw Boss alive.

The Winner
 Click here for Venger's opponent in the next tier and here to see the rest of the Bad Guy Beatdown fights.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Bad Guy Beatdown Round 21 - Shredder vs. Overloard (Blackstar)


Welcome back to Bad Guy Beatdown!  We’re back with another lopsided fight in a couple different ways.  First, I’m way more familiar with one of these fighters than the other one. Secondly, one fighter only showed up in 8 of his 13 episodes, and the cartoon didn’t last any longer than that.  Lastly, one has a lot more actual powers than the other one.  Do any of these differences balance out the others?  We’ll find out.
First off, we’re taking a look at the Overlord from Blackstar.  You can check out his full respect post here but let’s summarize it a bit.  Overlord wields the Power Sword, half of the PowerStar, an unbelievably powerful weapon.  Even with only half of it, Overlord is granted superhuman strength and invulnerability.  The sword lets him shoot and deflect energy rays and can create a blinding flash of light.  Overlord himself has the ability to fly, levitate the sword to his hand, and hypnotize people with rays from his eyes.
Overlord’s previous battle can be read here, but to sum it up, he faced off against the other Overlord, the leader of the Black Widows from Spiral Zone.  Upon coming to Earth, he resisted the effects of the Spiral Zone and repelled all attacks from his opponent, finally slicing him in half with the Power Sword.
Next up is Shredder and you can look at his full accomplishments here.  Real quick, Shredder’s a top-notch ninja, capable of taking on multiple Turtles at once.  He’s also incredibly strong, able to chop through thick wood or bend steel bars and quick enough to kick a sandbag into the air and slice through it twice.  To top it off, he’s got his own personal army of expendable robot Foot Clan soldiers, sometimes armed with lasers.
Shredder defeated General Plague in the last tier here.  To keep it short, Shredder avoided Plague’s attacks while severing each of Plague’s ziplines.  With his emergency line snipped, he fell into the Phaeta 7-infused water below.
Make sure to come back next week and see which one of these bladed bad guys comes out on top.