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Podcast: NP19 – Space Karate

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Nostalgia Pilots Episode 19: Space Karate

Welcome to Nostalgia Pilots! This week, Hugh and Jason tackle Gundam Wing episode 19, “Assault on Barge!”

In tonight’s episode, Zechs encounters an unfamiliar ceiling, Heero gives up piloting his giant robot in favor of cabbage, and Trowa is too lazy to do anything this episode. Plus, Lady Une has fabulous space hair, and Wu Fei makes one hell of an exit.

Promo: Geek Radio Daily

Thanks for listening!

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Podcast: CCR51 – Alexander the Great

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Tonight your hosts, Hugh of HughJODonnell.com, Rich the Time Traveler, Opopanax, and Jurd, Shatner double-chop their way through ALEXAAANDER!

Click HERE to download the podcast!

And HERE to watch the film on Youtube!

Chrononaut Cinema Reviews is presented by http://skinner.fm and http://hughjodonnell.com, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

 

Hugh Likes Comics: X-23

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X-23 #1
Written by Mariko Tamaki
Drawn by Juann Cabal
Colored by Nolan Woodard
Lettered by VC’s Cory Petit
Published by Marvel Comics

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The Skinny: Laura and Gabby are back in a new comic with an old name.

I fell in love with Tom Taylor’s take on Laura Kinney, and was sad when All-New Wolverine ended, only to be rebranded with the character’s original hero name, X-23. I picked up the first issue with a bit of apprehension, but Mariko Tamaki’s story is still character-focused and full of heart, and it is going in some very interesting directions.
Laura is the clone of Logan, the original Wolverine. She was created to be a weapon. Recently, she met her sister Gabby, a younger clone of herself created for the same purpose. Now they’re out in the world, hunting down the rogue operations like the ones that created them. But their operations may put them into conflict with Laura’s old acquaintances, and fellow clones, the Stepford Cuckoos.
Stories about clones are stories about what it means to be human. They are also often, in the case of movies like “Blade Runner,” about people forced to deal with things that they are not prepared for, children in adult bodies. Tamaki has this down pat, picking Laura and Gabby up where Taylor left them and putting them in a situation they can’t cut their way out of. She very elegantly shows her understanding of the two leads personalities and puts her own spin on them. Taylor’s Gabby was light, silly, a spot of comic relief with the barest hint of the shadow a comic like “Wolverine” calls for. Tamaki carries all that over, but also zeroes in on the concept of Gabby as a child, and Laura as a young woman, barely out of her teens, thrust into the role of caregiver. It leads to some really nice moments that deepen both characters.
Juann Cabal, who worked on All-New Wolverine, does a great job on pencils, and Woodard’s coloring is excellent. Particularly the way he colors Gabby, with little cartoonish spots of color to highlight her changing moods. I also liked the conceit that the art hanging in the X-Mansion is all based on classic X-Men covers. It added some fun little background details for long-time fans.
X-23 #1is on sale now at your Local Comics Shop or available digitally from Comixology. It’s a great place to jump on if you missed All-New Wolverine, and a welcome return for fans of Laura and Gabby.

Hugh Likes Theatre: Six Stories, Told at Night

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Six Stories, Told at Night
Directed by Blair Haynes
Written by KT Bryski
Starring Blythe Haynes, Alexandra Milne, and Isaiah Kolundzic

The Skinny – KT Bryski and Blythe Hayne’s award-winning audio drama shines as an independent theatrical production.

I wrote about Six Stories, Told at Night when it was first podcast back in 2016. Since then, it has gone on to win a Parsec award, and is now a black box theatre production in this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival! The conversion between one-woman audio drama and stage production is outstanding, and the work blossoms under the talents of not one, but three amazing actors.
The story remains largely the same. When Sam’s childhood friend Joelle disappears, she resolves to find her. But Joelle hasn’t gone just anywhere. She’s gone to Elf Land, the world all stories come from, and it will take a very special story for Sam to follow her there. Along the way, Sam examines their relationship and the stories they grew up sharing, a series of French Canadian folktales that are the only clues she has to finding her friend.
“Six Stores” stars Blythe Haynes, the original actor from the audio drama as Sam, and Alexandra Milne as Joelle. They both trade off parts in the stores as well, shifting seamlessly as the present to the past and from Sam’s Imagination and memory to the folktales themselves. Isaiah Kolundzic rounds out the cast as Coyote, as well as any additional male parts as required. The benefit of seeing the drama as a play is seeing the actors bounce against one another, and watching as they slide from role to role, from story to storyteller. Each of them inhabits the stage differently, and the tension, dramatic and personal, sparks off of them.
Haynes, as Sam, is a coiled spring, all still nerves and unspent energy. Milne practically dances across the stage, all grace and calculated action, while Kolundzic is pure chaos as he shifts from Trickster God to werewolf to other, more terrifying monsters.
“Six Stories, Told at Night” is presented at the Theatre Passe Muraille as a part of this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival through July 15th. If you can get to Toronto to see it, go check it out!

Podcast: CCRC40 – The Third Man

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Tonight your hosts, Hugh of HughJODonnell.com, Rich the Time Traveler, Jurd, and Opop, gather for a brief detour into quality cinema

Click HERE to download the commentary track!

Sorry, no Youtube link this week, but this classic movie is well worth hunting down on your own!

Chrononaut Cinema Reviews is presented by http://skinner.fm and http://hughjodonnell.com, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Hugh Likes Comics: Plastic Man

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Plastic Man #1
Written by Gail Simone
Drawn by Adriana Melo
Colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick
Lettered by Simon Bowland
Published by DC Comics

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The Skinny: Simone and Melo breathe new life into a Golden Age hero.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect opening Plastic Man #1. The character is one of those ones that has been bouncing around the DC Universe forever, but that I haven’t read much of. Purchased under one of DC’s buyouts of their rivals after the end of the first great wave of superheroes, he faded into their ever-growing C-list bench for me, although he did go on to have his own cartoon in the 70’s.
The story is still very golden age, but this remixed origin has some nice modern touches. Eel O’Brian was a safecracker until a job in a mysterious chemical factory left him shot, doused with something caustic, and left for dead by the rest of his gang. But in the classic tradition, what should have killed him in fact gave him super-powers, in this case, the ability to stretch and change his shape. But coming back from the dead with powers just leads him to a whole new set of problems as he tries to piece together what has happened to him.
Simone (Deadpool, Domino) is perhaps the best possible choice for a book like this. Her mastery of the different story elements lends a subtlety that is indicative of her style. She invokes crime elements without being salacious, even with a scene set in a Justice League-themed gentlemen’s club. She invokes pathos without being schmaltzy, and the humor of the character doesn’t quite cross the line into goofy. She nails the balance. Her Plastic Man is a criminal with a conscience, a hero with a healthy distrust of the forces of law and order, and a goofball struggling to stay this side of sane. It’s territory she’s explored before, and she hits all the markers beautifully.
Melo’s art and Fitzpatrick’s colors are also well suited. Melo’s expressions are spot on, and she keeps up with Simone beat for beat. Fitzpatrick’s colors do just as much work, with characters in too-bright suits popping against the brown and gray of a crime-ridden urban blight. It’s all delicately done, and I want to see where this team takes them in future issues.
Plastic Man #1 is a modern-day reinvention of some classic comic book characters and tropes, and it’s a heck of a good time. You can find it on Comixology, or at your local comics shop.

Hugh Likes Video Game: Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Published by Nintendo
Played on Nintendo Switch

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The Skinny: I don’t know what to tell you. if you haven’t heard of it by now. It’s really good.

So, yeah, Zelda Breath of the Wild has been out for a year, and praise has been heaped upon it. And it is well deserved. Like most of the core Nintendo franchises, Zelda games tend to iterate on a formula. Installments have stayed closer or farther from this formula, but in general, the pattern of travel around a persistent map and complete X number of elemental dungeons before fighting Gannon persists. Breath of the Wild reduces the dungeon count and instead focuses a bit more on the sprawling map, that is none-the-less filled with things to do.
Zelda BotW takes several design cues from Western RPGs like The Elder Scrolls in that there is always something interesting around the next corner. It also follows the design choices of A Link Between Worlds in that it gives the player his tools up front, and lets them tackle the game’s challenges as they wish, although there does feel like an ideal path.
While the game doesn’t offer the robust character development you typically see in Western RPGs, it does have a huge map full of things to do. Breath of the Wild replaces the hidden heart containers from previous games with Shrines, little formalized puzzle rooms scattered throughout the map, which also function as fast-travel points after you activate them. There are lots of mountains to climb, stuff to collect, and monsters to fight, and it rarely feels like a chore.
The four main quests do feel somewhat repetitive, as they each have the same basic structure, although the design for the dungeon-sized Divine Beasts are quite cool. The game has a very aggressive weapon and shield durability system, which will mean you will be spending a lot of time collecting replacement swords rather than relying on the familiar Master Sword. Fortunately, there is a huge variety of new ones to collect, so it does add some variety to the experience.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a huge, beautiful adventure with a new surprise over every ridge. It brings back a refreshing sense of freedom to the series, and is a must-play, in my opinion. You can find it for the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Wii-U.

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