Andi Mack Recaps: An Introduction

Long overdue, don’t you think?

It’s been over a year since Girl Meets World left ended. But while it still lives on Netflix, and late-night reruns (for now), it’s abilities to tell stories that doesn’t talk down to children, has lived on in the show Andi Mack.

Brought to us by Terri Minski, creator of another popular Disney Channel sitcom, Lizzie McGuire, the story follows our title character (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) as she navigates her life as teenager. But learns a shocking secret that turns her world upside down.

After GMW ended, I didn’t think the old House of Ideas would be willing to do another sitcom like it again, and then they post the first half of the pilot on YouTube and the first thing I was instantly hooked, though I had my reservations. The show has alot going for it, overarching storytelling, great acting, well paced twists and turns, and a subject matter nobody saw coming.

So join me, as we dive into the world of Andi Mack with the  first half of the pilot.

Also, if you haven’t watched the show on TV or on the Disney Now app, do so soon, because theirs going to be spoilers abound.

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Archie Sonic The Hedgehog Review (5th Anniversary Part 3)

All-New, Not Very Different Sonic

For those of you that came in late, Robotnik and Snively ruled over Mobius, Sonic and Princess Sally lead a group of Freedom Fighters to stop Robotnik and free their planet. After 50 issues (51 if you count issue 0), Sonic was successful in defeating Robotnik, with some unexpected outside help from Snivley. And now…

When we last left off, Sonic had just defeated Robotnik once and for all. So where do the Freedom Fighters go from here. Well, after spending an issue celebrating there greatest victory. The next two years of Sonic Comics were spent showing the Freedom Fighters reclaiming Mobius. During that time Knuckles go his own solo comic series, after the success of his own miniseries. One thing I like about the comics, is that some the cover of some issues would form amazing poster showing of Knuckles, his family, their allies, and whoever they were fighting. There’s really not much to say about the comics, it mostly follows Knuckles’ duty to guard the sacred island, finding out about his parents. The comic also features the Chaotix, and a pink Echidna named Julie Su.

Around that time the comic just did its own stories with the characters for a while, but things, started to change once Issue 71 was released (The comic is told in reverse order). A laser hits Knothole causing time to run backwards, Sonic (while using a special emerald) Sonic runs around and goes through several transformations, until he undergoes a permanent transformation, taking on his Sonic Adventure appearance. Around this time Knuckles’ comic was cancelled, after 32 issues, all of his adventures and subplots being reincorporated into the main comic.

By Issue 74, the Freedom Fighters decide to go to space, and investigate the laser from Issue 71, fearing Robotnik might be alive. And in issue 75, the mastermind turned out to be Robo-Robotnik. After a short fight scene the Freedom Fighters escape RR’s space station, as it explodes. RR downloads his consciousness into a new robot body, the body he ends up choosing, Dr. Eggman (He also starts referring to himself as Dr. Eggman). Game storylines like Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 were adapted, introducing Shadow the Hedgehog as a recurring character. After issue 100, The series kinda got boring after awhile. They also started formatting the covers to look like tabloid magazine covers, which was weird to me. After a while, the higher-ups at Archie seemed to think the comics were getting boring too, so they fired the head writer, Ken Penders (more on him shortly), and replaced him with Ian Flynn. Ian Flynn really turned things around for the Sonic comics. There were also other comics, like Sonic Universe, which expands on the other characters in the comics aside from the main ones, a Sonic X adaptation, and Sonic Live, a comic Linkara reviewed for his 100th Episode.

In the 200th issue Sonic and Eggman have yet another final battle, but after destroying his latest mech, Eggman has a mental breakdown due to his failed attempts to control the planet, allowing Snively and the Iron Queen Regina Ferrum to take over his empire, leading to a lengthy war against the Freedom Fighters. Naugus comes to rule New Mobotropolis as king due to a deal Sally’s father made with him. Eggman returns to power, unleashing a weapon called the Genesis Wave, altering the world, but Sonic reverses it. Like all good things people love, there’s always something good, then there’s always something bad.

Let’s talk about Ken Penders. A writer and artist for Sonic, he was hired back when the comic was catching steam, and as the years marched on, he started getting more control, which lead to the comics having an ongoing storyline, and he created the Knuckles spin-off using ideas and concepts from from his own comics that never got published. After both issue 50, and the cancelation of the Knuckles comic, things just went downhill from then on, eventually the higher-ups at Archie fired Penders,and replaced by Ian Flynn. This lead to Penders suing Archie and Sega for the rights over the Sonic characters he created like Geoffrey St John, Sonic and Knuckles’ families, etc, and surprisingly won the case, leading to the ugliest thing anyone has ever seen.

Because of this, Archie had no choice but to create the Super Genesis Wave plotline. Dr. Eggman formed a plan called Operation Clean Sweep, a plan that would alter the fabric of space-time and counter Sonic’s “chaos factor”. This plan would create a brand new Mobius that would leave it ripe for roboticization. He succeeded, but his new reality was unstable, luckily Sonic reverses it. Eggman busts out a new superweapon, the World Roboticizer, Sally sacrifices herself to stop the superweapon, and ends up becoming a robot. The Freedom Fighters reform as Team Freedom, Team Fighters, and the Secret Freedom Fighters to combat Eggman and Naugus. Eggman activates a second Genesis Wave, transporting himself, Sonic, and other characters into the world of Mega Man, leading to the crossover Worlds Collide. A second crossover Worlds Unite happened in 2015, featuring characters from other Sega and Capcom titles.

The original multiverse ceased to exist when Dr. Eggman launched the Super Genesis Wave in conjunction with Dr. Wily, causing the Prime Zone (Sonic’s Universe) to be irreversibly rewritten and the multiverse surrounding it to collapse in on itself, destroying every prior known reality (with the exception of the Special Zone and the Sol Zone, Blaze’s World Dimension, the latter due to the Jeweled Scepter) and creating new ones in their place.

Sonic and Dr. Eggman maintain their memories of the original continuity, which are then shared with Tails, Sally, Rotor, Antoine, Bunnie, Amy Rose, and Naugus when they make contact with Nicole. However, this world is altered by the second Genesis Wave and Earth is split apart, awakening Dark Gaia, leading to the events of Sonic Unleashed. The comic also introduces Naugus’ sister Wendy, a witch who pledges allegiance to Eggman and plots to gain the Cacophonic Conch.

In the summer of 2017, after a lengthy hiatus, it was officially announced that Archie lost the license to Sonic, and the series was effectively cancelled. The reasons for the abrupt cancellation varry between the lawsuit mentioned above, or that Archie most likely couldn’t afford to keep the license after investing a lot of money on the TV show Riverdale.

A few weeks later it twas announced that IDW Comics has acquired the rights to Sonic The Hedgehog, and that head writer Ian Flynn serve as head writer for the new series. The series will start with the first four issues being relesed on April 4th, and the following issues being released sometime in May.

REVIEW

These comics were amazing, I just wish I could’ve seen how they would’ve ended everything, if they didn’t lose the license. The artwork, and storytelling was great, the storylines had some of the best writing (especially once Ian Flynn took over) I’ve ever read. Though I’ll admit the comics do have its flaws, mostly they came from the trades I bought over the years (post-lawsuit), where most of Penders’ characters were either removed or replaced which messes up the impact of some stories. The cover art (or lack thereof) of the post-“Rise of Eggman” arc almost ruined it for me, but thankfully the art and writing saved it for me. Overall, Archie Sonic was one of the best comics I’ve read during and after High School. I wish I could thank Ian Flynn, Evan Stanley, Tracy Yardley, Ben Bates, and yes even Ken Penders, for their hands making such an enjoyable comic book. I can’t wait to see what they (minus Penders) bring to the table at IDW.

RANK: 5 out of 5

Next we jump into a different comic universe, and talk about other characters that could possibly show up in it.

Happy Late Birthday, everyone.

Update on The 5th Anniversary

Hey everyone, sorry for the long wait, but a few weeks after posting part 1, and working on part 2 my computer was running slow. Since then, I’ve had it fixed, and resumed working on the review of the Archie Sonic comics.

Speaking of, since there was a lot to go over, the Archie Sonic review, will be split into 2 parts, thus making the 5th anniversary post three parts now. The first part of the review (Part 2), which looks at the first 50 issues will be up shortly. The other half (Part 3), will be up, eventually.

Stay tuned for more.

Sonic The Hedgehog SatAM (5th Anniversary Review Part 1)

No other Sonic Cartoon will live up to its legacy.

January 15, 2013 – I wrote my first review, on the live-action Sonic fan film. Five years later I’m still talking about everyone’s favorite blue hedgehog, but this time I’ll be tackling the show that aired concurrently with Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog… Sonic The Hedgehog, more commonly referred to as Sonic SatAM, as it aired on Saturday mornings, rather than weekday afternoons (or mornings, depending on where you live).

PLOT

Just like in Adventures, the show takes place on the planet Mobius, where Sonic has to fight Dr. Robotnik, but there’s one major difference, Dr. Robotnik rules over the planet with an iron fist, alongside his nephew, Snivley, and Sonic has a team of Freedom Fighters, led by Princess Sally Acorn, and their friends Bunnie Rabbot, Rotor Walrus, Tails, and Antoine D’Coolette to help save the planet. Another major difference between SatAM and Adventures is the tone, while Adventures was light and silly, SatAm was far more serious, and at times pretty dark, with Robotnik turning the citizens of Mobius into robots through Roboticization, grief, etc. But once Season 2 came around, ABC ased the shows head writer, the late Ben Hurst to add more humor to the show, that season also saw some changes like Sally wearing a vest, and Rotor’s design.

Unfortunately, like most TV shows with a developed plan, it gets canceled before any of its plot points were solved, sort of. Without giving too much away, Sonic and the Freedom Fighters do defeat Robotnik, but a much bigger threat arises. Had there been a third season, we would’ve seen them fight the new big bad.

SatAM has a massive amount of talent attached here, you have Jaleel White playing Sonic, and Jim Cummings playing Dr. Robotnik, a role he would’ve played in Adventures, as mentioned last year. You also have voice acting vets like Charlie Adler, Kath Soucie, Rob Paulson, Cree Summer, even Tim Curry made an appearace.

While the show never had a proper ending, the fans of the show created a web comic, introducing new concepts and ideas that the show never had a chance to tackle, like the cancelled arc mentioned above, the Chaos Emeralds, Knuckles, more details Robotnik came to take over Mobius, etc. There are also plans to make a fan made animated season, with casting, and test footage. While there’s no news on fan series, the comic is still going, I recommend recommend checking it out.

REVIEW

Sonic SatAM was an great show and I hate that I never saw it when it first aired. The plot was amazing, Jaleel White is still amazing as Sonic, Jim Cummings made for an excellent villain, speaking of, Robotnik was a great villain, and actually has character, aside from being a bumbling villain. I also liked the show had a subtle environmental message, which I’m not sure if it was Ben Hurst’s intention, but he pulled it off masterfully. Overall, I enjoyed the show, and I’m sure you will too, fan or otherwise.

RANK: 4 out of 5

The fifth anniversary celebration isn’t over just yet, come back for a look at Sonic’s second greatest outing, you know what I’m talking about.

Tomb of Marvel Month: Blade: The Series

Not even Blade is safe from being Darren’d

PLOT

In the pilot, Krista Starr returns from military service in Iraq to learn that her twin brother, Zack, has died under mysterious circumstances. Her investigation reveals Zack had been a “familiar” – a kind of indentured servant of vampires, who agrees to do their bidding in the hopes his “master” will eventually reward him with eternal life. Krista’s search for her brother’s killer leads her to face Blade, as well as Marcus Van Sciver; Zack’s killer. Marcus is a powerful vampire and high-ranking member of the House of Chthon. Smitten with Krista, Marcus decides to turn her into a vampire by injecting her with his blood. Krista is then approached by Blade, who injects her with the same serum he uses to control his own vampire instincts, and offers her a chance to help him avenge her brother’s death and bring down Marcus and the House of Chthon, and revealed that Zack was trying to do a sting operation with Blade. The two form a reluctant partnership.

The remainder of the season follows Krista’s attempts to maintain her cover in the House of Chthon, all the while struggling with her growing predatory nature, and Marcus’s (supposed) efforts to develop a “vaccine” that will render vampires immune to all their traditional weaknesses; sunlight, silver, garlic, etc. It is later revealed that Marcus’s true purpose is to create a virus called the Aurora Project that will specifically target “purebloods”, the ruling vampire class, and leave the turnbloods (normal vampires like Chase and Marcus, who were once human) unscathed. He eventually unleashes his weapon in the series finale, surprisingly enough with Blade’s help.

REVIEW

When the show first came out I avoided it like the plague, due to my experiences with Blade Trinity, and I regret making that decision, as this was a pretty good show. While I prefer Wesley Snipes (he was even offered to reprise the role, but declined), Kirk Jones a pretty good replacement for Snipes in the role. So was Jill Wagner, as Krista. I would’ve loved to have seen what would’ve happened if the show kept going, there was a shout-out to Moon Knight, so we could’ve seen him at some point, I’d even like to see them tackle the Deathstalkers, but gradually build up to them, not throw them at us all at once like in Blade Trinity.

Overall, I wished I could’ve seen this when this was on TV, this is a good show, and I’d love to have seen this go somewhere if it wasn’t canceled.

The series was released on DVD, and it’s available for streaming. However, since the show is owned by both Disney and Warner Bros. (via New Line) it can be viewed on both Marvel’s website and the CW Seed.

RANK: 4 out of 5

And that was this year’s longer-than-usual Marvel Month, come back soon for an explanation, and a surprise later.

The 200th Post Part 1: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers The Movie

They should ditch the visors and mouthplates. Really show us their emotions, you know?

PLOT

The Power Rangers participate with Bulk and Skull in a charity skydive for the Angel Grove observatory, in anticipation of Ryan’s Comet which is scheduled to pass by in two days.

Bulk and Skull miss the target landing zone and accidentally land on a construction site where a giant egg has been unearthed. Lord Zedd, Rita Repulsa, Goldar, and Mordant arrive at the construction site and crack open the egg, releasing Ivan Ooze after 6,000 years, a morphological being who ruled Earth with an iron fist before he was overthrown by Zordon and a group of young warriors. Ivan lays siege to the Rangers’ Command Center and incapacitates Zordon, robbing the Rangers of their powers. As the Rangers return to the Command Center, they find it destroyed and Zordon dying.

Zordon’s assistant Alpha 5 sends the Rangers to the distant planet Phaedos to obtain the Great Power and save Zordon. On Earth, Ivan usurps Rita and Zedd, trapping them in a snow globe. Ivan sends his Tengu warriors to Phaedos and begins building an army. He uses his ooze to hypnotize the adults, forcing them to be his workforce to dig up his Ecto-Morphicon Titans, twin war machines built during his reign. When Fred Kelman, a friend of the Rangers’, discovers his father missing, he finds him working at the construction site and discovers Ivan’s plans.

On Phaedos, the Rangers are almost killed by the Tengu, but are rescued by Dulcea, Phaedos’ Master Warrior. After hearing of Zordon’s plight, she agrees to help them and takes them to an ancient ruined temple where the Rangers will have to overcome obstacles to acquire the power of the Ninjetti. Dulcea awakens each Rangers’ animal spirit: Aisha is the bear, Billy is the wolf, Rocky is the ape, Kimberly is the crane, Tommy is the falcon, and Adam is the frog. The Rangers make their way to the Monolith housing the Great Power, defeat its four guardians, and retrieve the Great Power.

On Earth, Ivan’s Ecto-Morphicons are completely unearthed, and he unleashes them on Angel Grove, ordering the parents to commit suicide at the construction site. Fred, Bulk, Skull and other students head to the construction site to save their parents. The Rangers return with their new animal-themed Ninja Zords and destroy one of Ivan’s Ecto-Morphicons. Ivan takes control of the other and battles the Rangers himself. The Rangers lead Ivan into space right into the path of Ryan’s Comet, which destroys him. His destruction breaks the hypnosis and the parents are reunited with their children. The Rangers then use the Great Power to restore the Command Center and resurrect Zordon.

In a mid-credits scene, Goldar briefly lounges in Zedd’s throne being served by Mordant only to panic when Zedd and Rita appear having been released after Ivan was destroyed.

REVIEW

So after all these years, this movie doesn’t really hold as well as it use to, but I still enjoyed watching it. The effects are obviously dated especially when you take into account that this was out six months before Toy Story, the dialog is corny as all get out, the plot holes, and then there’s all the behind-the-scenes issues that plagued the movie. I’m not sure if the video still exists, but try and find Linkara’s Introduction to The History of Power Rangers, which briefly touches upon the issues about the movie, or see his review of the comic adaptation which goes in better detail behind the movie. Problems aside, I still enjoy watching this movie, and I especially enjoy the villain Ivan Ooze. He’s corny and quotable as all hell. Overall, while it’s not a great movie, it’s still very fun to watch from time to time, if you have the time I recommend seeing it for yourself.

RANK: 3 out of 5

Next is their canonical trip to the big screen with Turbo’s glorified pilot episode.

Dead Television: V.R. Troopers

We are VR!
We are VR!

After Power Rangers became a breakaway success, Haim Saban and Shuki Levy decided to make another Ameri-toku series, this time, adapting three shows from the Metal Heroes series, Superhuman Machine Metalder, Dimensional Warrior Spielban, and Space Sheriff Shaider (in season two). Together these three shows would make up the basis for VR Troopers.

ORIGIN

VR Troopers began life as a starring vehicle for Jason David Frank called Cybertron. It pretty much follows the same plot as VR Troopers, but it just focuses on the Metalder footage, JDF would’ve played Adam Steele, the Troopers martial arts instructer Tao Chong would’ve helped train Adam to become Cybertron, he also had a daughter all of Grimlords minions were called War Drones, Karl Ziktor was called Cyrus Riktor, he also had a son Percy, and for some reason Jaime Kennedy was part of a Bulk and Skull-like duo. The pilot was reworked and renamed Psycon, most likely to avoid a lawsuit from a certain toy company, who just happens to own the term Cybertron.

The world got its first official look at VR Trooper in the form of a trailer that played before or after various Mighty Morphin Power Rangers VHS’, and while some things carried over from Cybertron, like Tao and Grimlord, once again there were some differences between it and the final product. For instance, Adam is now called Ryan, Kaitlin’s last name was Hall in the trailer, but was changed to Star in the series. The most notable difference, is the Troopers’ mentor Professor Horatio Hart, in the show he was an black, but here he’s caucasian, and rocking the Einstein look, and Jeb, Ryan talking dog, doesn’t sound like he’s impersonating Jack Nicholson as he does in the show.

Once the final changes were made, the show officially aired in syndication from September 3, 1994 to February 21, 1996

PLOT

The show focused on three young adults in their late teens, Ryan Steele, Kaitlin Star, and J.B. Reese, living in the fictional West Coast town of Cross World City, California. They regularly attended and were teachers at “Tao’s Dojo”, a karate studio. Ryan was the most focused martial artist; J.B. was the computer wizard; while Kaitlin was a photographer & budding reporter for the local newspaper, the Underground Voice Daily. One day, Ryan’s search for his long-missing father led him and his two friends to a strange laboratory. Inside, a digitized head of Professor Horatio Hart, a friend of Ryan’s father, Tyler, explained the truth about his life’s work of having developed extremely advanced virtual reality technology in secret. “VR” is a dimension existing alongside our own; within it lie mutants bent on conquering both worlds. The main ruler of these is a creature known as Grimlord, who, unbeknownst to anyone on Earth, has a human identity as billionaire industrialist Karl Ziktor. As Karl Ziktor tries to overcome the barriers of the true reality to allow his armies easy passage from virtual world, the responsibility falls to Ryan, Kaitlin, and J.B. of defending the planet on both sides of the dimensional barrier. They have assistance in the form of armored bodies having incredible firepower. This included eventual additions to their arsenal, such as a Turbo Cycle, Techno Bazooka, VR Troopertron, VR Shoulder Cannon, VR Battlecruiser/Interceptop and a flying, laser-blasting Skybase.

Other regular characters on the show included Zeb as Jeb, Ryan’s hound dog, who, after an accident in Prof. Hart’s lab, was now capable of human speech; Woody Stocker, Kaitlin’s wacky hat-loving boss at the Underground Voice Daily; Percy Rooney, the local mayor’s nephew and Kaitlin’s bumbling rival reporter; and Tao, the wise martial arts sensei who owns the dojo and a family friend of the Steele Family. Recurring villains include General Ivar, Colonel Icebot, Decimator, the Skugs, and more throughout.

During the second season, the show changed format very slightly. Ryan’s father was finally found and restored to normal. Then, he quickly left to help the government research further Virtual Reality based technology. With him came Ryan’s new V.R. armor and an upgrade to his powers. Grimlord’s base of operations switched from the virtual dungeon to a massive spacecraft, and added new Generals such as Oraclon, Despera, Doom Master and his Vixens. The Skugs now had the ability to become more powerful in the form of Ultra Skugs.

Like Masked Rider, V.R. Troopers never had an official ending due to the stock footage from all Metal Heroes shows running out. There were plans to use the footage from the series Heavy Shell Beetle Fighters, and use that as the third season, but the plans were scrapped, and retooled to become another show that I’ll look at in the future, Beetleborgs.

REVIEW

The show is pretty decent. Like Power Rangers, it pretty much made me an instant fan of the Metal Heroes franchise, while it’s pretty corny and cringe-worthy at times (which is pretty much par for the course in most Saban productions.), it’s still fun to watch from time to time. With the advent of new V.R. technology in the real world, I could see this series making a comeback, as either a new series, or even a movie akin to the Power Rangers movie (though that seems a little unlikely since the movie kinda bombed). Overall, while corny, and may or may not have single-handedly killed the Missing Father cliche, I still think it’s worth checking out.

RANK: 3 out of 5

Next, something.

Oh! And check out this hilarious fan dub of the show, performed by the cast themselves.