PCR past banners Now in our fourth calendar year
PCR #174  (Vol. 4, No. 30)  This edition is for the week of July 21--27, 2003.

"Webb's City, Inc. - - The World's Most Unusual Drug Store"
by Will Moriaty
"Bad Boys II"
by Mike Smith
and who owns television and more by Vinnie B.
Ashley answers her critics...again!
 Ashley Lauren
by Brandon Jones
HeroClix, New movies, and Comics
by John Lewis
80s horror films are over-rated?
by Matt Drinnenberg
Webb City revisited...Ashley...Happy Birthday...By Your Command...Passing On
by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
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Creature's Corner

Many of those who reside within the "Castle's" humble walls have been suggesting all kinds of things for me to talk about. Sometimes the flood of topics is so ominous that I find myself scratching my head wondering what to talk about first. Do I talk about comics, toys, collecting trips, movies, life experiences, classic monsters, U.F.O.'s, writing, making movies, the supernatural, book reviews, Bigfoot, Lake Monsters, games, Etc., etc., etc...

Well, I've made my decision. Drum roll please. Little "Gorblie" came up to me with this great idea. Clutched in his little tentacled hand was a little figure mounted on a base. He handed (?, he has no hands, only tentacles) me the piece and asked me if I could write about it. I regarded the tiny figure and recognized it immediately. It was a Batman figure from Wizkids amazing game system called HeroClix. Both DC and Marvel have given Wizkids Games the license to create an incredible line of gaming miniatures based on characters from their respective companies. Last spring saw the first release, a set of Marvel heroes called "Infinity Challenge." It was followed a couple months later by an expansion of DC figures called "Hypertime." Then came two more sets from Marvel (I think they decided to hit with Marvel twice because of the flood of movies based on Marvel's characters), "Clobberin Time" and "Xplosion. Now in the last couple weeks they have released the much anticipated second DC set, "Cosmic Justice."

During "Free Comic Book Day" small Hulk "Hero Clix" were given out in many stores. These little miniatures are catching on in a big way so I felt I owed it to the PCR family to let all of you know of their existence.

The game is rather interesting and can be quite fun to play. Each miniature is mounted on a base that contains a movable dial and a clear viewing window. Figures with flight capability are on bases with a clear flying post to mount them on. In the window is a set of characteristics and values unique to that particular figure. Some of these values are highlited with various colors which give the character bonuses for that statistic. Also printed on the base is the name of the figure (as if we don't alrready know who they are), the collector number, and the points value. For the standard figure there are three different bases; blue, yellow, and red. (Gee, the primary colors) The colors are presented as rings around the pereimeter of the base. A yellow base is the lowest and is called a rookie. A blue- ringed base is an experienced piece and a red-ringed base represents an experienced figure. Each figure in the basic set has a rookie, experienced, and veteran representative. This is a smart marketing tool because the three figures are the same, only the bases are different (and the combat dial). Set completists must have them all. In addition to the regular figures each sey also comes with 10-12 "unique" figures. These are mounted on bases ringed with grey. The uniques are harder to find and average 0ne in every six boxes. By the way, all of the figures are randomly packaged four to each booster box. (Gamblers Beware, ripping till you hit uniques can be addictive, and expensive)

Now comes the fun part, playing the game. In a standard game a player sets up a 300 point army consisting of whatever figures he/she wants to use that will add up to the point alotment. Long time comic fans can set up their "Dream teams," characters they always wanted to see work together. Hero Clix makes it all possible. The only thing you cannot do is put rival enemies on the same team. Characters that have rivals have a colored outer base covering. Rivals, obviously have the same colored base cover. Here are some of the rivals that have been produced so far; Superman and Doomsday, Flash and Gorilla Grodd, Mr Fantastic and good ol' Doc Doom, Iron Man and Mandarin, Batman and the Joker, etc, etc... You get the idea. Once your teams are set you hit the field of play and begin bashing each other. As a result of battle a character can have wounds inflicted on it from a character on another team. Combat is resolved by clicking the base the amount of "click damage" inflicted, hence the name. This causes a new set of values to pop into the window, values which are generally weaker than the ones before. That, my dear friends, is what makes Wizkids product so unique. All of a figures stats are located on the combat dial built into the figure's base. No paperwork full of stats equals more playtime.

If all this sounds complicated, it's not. The most complicated part of the game is building the right team. That's right, strategy. Some character abilities can be shared by others in the team, thus boosting their stats. Finding the right combination takes some experience in order to match up the "perfect team."

The revolution has just begun people. Hero Clix is just over a year old now and there's lots more to come. Miniature's based game systems are popping up all over. Though not a new concept (Warhammer, Battletech, and historical wargaming have all been around for years) the idea seems to be catching on. Wizkids has several gaming systems to choose from. It all started with Mage Knight, then Hero Clix, and then Mech Warrior. Now there are several other games popping up from them like Crimson Skies, and The Shadowrun Action Figure game. So grab your surfboard and catch the wave, it's gonna be a fun ride. Whether you just want to collect the pieces or play the game (or both) Wizkids has alot to offer. By the way, next up on the Hero Clix plate are the "Indy Clix," due out in december. These will include figures like Judge Dread, Kabuki, Arwynn, etc, etc. So go out there and start buying and soon you to will be "Clicking With Power."

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Next up, after seeing the epic "Pirates Of The Caribbean" (which has brought in 133 million in twelve days) I finally got to see the other movie I've been waiting to see, "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," starring Sean Connery. I don't know what to say. I liked it but it was not phenomonal. I think I likes the Moore comic series better. There were several things I did like about the movie like the old style WW1 tanks but other things like the "Nautilus" were lacking. The submarine was so narrow and the interior seemed like you were inside the Tardis (you figure it out). Also the characters didn't seem to mesh all that well.

Enough bashing. I did like Mina Harker and her unique, "vampiric" abilities, one of the highlites of the movie. I also loved the character of Mr. Hyde. Now that creation was truly a cinematic original. Ang Lee should have taken some notes, I think the Hulk might have turned out a little differently. (Maybe more than you think! I'll be writing more about this behind-the-scenes tidbit soon--Nolan) Something to think about, the mysterious "M," Professor Moriarity. HM.

Anyway, I enjoyed the movie, just maybe not as much as I thought I would. I give it two and a half SCREAMS!!!!!!!! on the Creature Scale.

Finally, what would a Creature column be without some comics thrown in for good measure. Here we go. One in particular I'd like to mention is a new ongoing title from DC Comics, "Fallen Angel." The story takes place in the town of Bete Noire (great Name) and features the adventures of a newcomer to the town, the enigmatic figure Lee, known by others as "The Fallen Angel." The first story sets the dark tone of the series. An elderly woman arrives in town searching for her missing son. A private detective has reported that he is frequenting the town but wants nothing to do with entering the town's jurisdiction to pinpoint the young man's whereabouts. The elderly woman seeks help and is led to a meeting with the cloaked female figure, Lee. A fee is settled on and The "Fallen Angel" goes to work.

This story was very interesting and kept my interest. Some plot twists make for some interesting reading. As busy as my life is I managed to enjoy the story twice.There is a bit of mystery surrounding Lee which I'm sure will be revealed as the series continues.

One of the things which drew me to the series was the fact that it is written by Peter David, one of my favorite writers of "Modern Day" comics. The art chores are in the capable hands of David Lopez (artist) and Fernando Blanco (inker). The book has a good look and a nice Brian Stelfreeze cover. This one looks like it might have a bunch of surprizes folks so go out and get a copy (or two).

And in conclusion...
Finally I'd like to tell you the recent story of the one that didn't get away. A couple months ago a long time friend of mine invited me to go fishing with him. Well, I hadn't been fishing since the last time I went with him in the summer of '96 so it didn't take much prodding to talk me into it. (On that trip I saw something really weird. I'll tell you about it at another time.) Besides, I've thought about going several times but most of the people I "hang out" with have no interest in such activities. Fishing is a very relaxing pastime.

I am basically a catch and release kind of fisherman though on rare occasions (2-3 times) I have kept a couple fish. Usually I release whatever I land. I have been fishing maybe five times since my return to the sport and have caught about twenty fish (most were Channel Cats). The other day I caught something really weird. I cast the line out and let it settle to the bottom. I had already caught two catfish earlier in the evening and was expecting to catch another. The bait sat on the bottom for several minutes with no activity. Suddenly I felt something nibble at the bait but not enough to set the hook so I left it alone. After another minute or so I felt no further activity. I began reeling in the line, having figured that whatever nibbled at the shrimp had succeeded in removing it from the hook.

As I reeled in the line I felt some resistence but no tugging on the other in. The more I reeled in the heavier the resistence was. Still no tugging on the other end of the line. I figured I had hooked into a rock or some seaweed though it was kind of strange that whatever was on the other end of the line continued to add to it's bulk. By this time the bending of the pole attracted some attention from the people I was fishing with. They looked over and asked if I had something. Again, I felt no tugging, so I told them "No."

Whatever it was it continued gaining weight. I had reeled in so much line that the revelation of what was on the other end of the hook would be revealed in a matter of seconds.

As The mass on the end of the line reached the surface I was surprised to find out that I had hooked a huge Porcupine Puffer about 18" in length. As I pulled him/her out of the water I noticed how distended the body was. Once on the seawall I held the fishes tail in the air. Out of the mouth poured about a half gallon of water. It appeared the fish continued to "gulp" water as I realed it in, thus making it heavier. The fish had swallowed the hook so I had to cut the line. His hardened beak continued gnashing down on the line making a grinding sound. Pity the poor inexperienced fisherman who sticks his fingers in a Puffer's mouth. They can crush barnacles with their mouth. Human skin would offer little to no resistance.

Once the fish was free from the line I threw him back in. He/she laid on the top for a moment before flapping his pectorals and heading back into the intracoastal waterway. The gliding movemen of the fish as it swam away was effortless and soon it was out of sight.

Anyway, that's all for this week. Hope you enjoyed it. Have a Great Week.

The "Creature"
P.S. Next week; 3.5 and Arrowsmith (no, not the band). C-Ya!

(Okay Gorblie, you can have the Batman Hero Click back.)

"Creature's Corner" is ©2003 by John Lewis.  Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova.