Thursday, August 31, 2017

Red Skies and Floppy Disks

As my 40th Gaming Anniversary month draws to close, I am kind of amazed at how much of it I spent talking about, and playing Superhero RPGs.

It shouldn't come as a surprise really, for as I've said, Supers is what got me into RPGs in the first place (in a manner of speaking). It's just that, with a name like 'Barking Alien' you'd think there would be a bit more Science Fiction in my celebration of the 40 year mark. 

Furthermore, when I look at the general gaming landscape, how things like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, and Numenera seem to dominate the market by leaps and bounds, I am once more reminded that is the bulk of the lot, the unifying factor, the common denominator...but it just ain't me.

This past Wednesday evening I ran the first session of my half of our Google Hangouts group's Ultra Mega Summer Super Crossover Event, DC Adventures - Crisis on Earth G+!

The first part, a Marvel Heroic mini-series, ended with a bit less bang, and a bit more whimper than we all would have liked. The Marvel Heroic system didn't turn out to be to most of the players' liking. Even, or perhaps especially the GM found the game cumbersome, and tedious, getting in the way of telling a Superhero comic book story instead of supporting, and enhancing it. 

I was personally a tad disappointed that we didn't get to 'see', or experience very much of the Marvel Universe. If I don't normally play in the Marvel milieu, and I get to for a limited run, I want the opportunity to encounter uniquely Marvel things. I wanted to feel why the atmosphere of Marvel is special - why it's not DC, or our homegrown Kapow! game. 

I tried really hard to make that a part of our DC excursion. To facilitate that, I made some tough choices. Not tough for me to make, but choices that I knew might not initially sit well with all the players. For example, I limited which characters they could choose to play, but I didn't do it arbitrarily. Rather, I did it to make the whole thing work. 

Here's what we ended up with...

The Silver/Bronze Age Justice League of America
Characters by Jose Garcia Lopez
Background by Me.

First, I told all the players that the story was set in the DC Universe in the year 1984.

Yep. 1984. The Bronze Age. Pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths. 

I opened the game saying:

"The year is 1984. 
Ronald Reagan is the President of the United States.
Footloose and Beverly Hill Cops are raking it in at the Box Office.
Dynasty and Family Ties top the Nielsen Ratings. 
Just like the rest of Earth G+, Bonnie Tylor is Holding Out for a Hero."

That right there is the key to everything. 

Any character created by DC during, or after Crisis on Infinite Earths does not exist in our game. If the character was acquired by DC Comics, and first appears in a DC book during, or after COIE, such as Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, and the other Charlton Characters, they too are not available as PCs. 

The 'Satellite Era' Justice League of America, the Teen Titans (Dick Grayson is Robin, not Nightwing), the Doom Patrol (original), the Metal Men, and a number of independent heroes are all cleared for use. 

The group eventually chose a very classic Justice League line up:

The Flash/Barry Allen (played by Keith)
Green Arrow/Oliver Queen (played by Stephen)
Green Lantern/Hal Jordan (played by Tim)
Hawkgirl/Sheira Hall (played by Mark)
Superman/Clark Kent - Kal-El (played by Carl)
Wonder Woman/Princess Diana - Diana Prince (played by Melinda)

A day, or two before the session, I posted the following image, and caption to our Event page...

'Earth Time - August 29th, 1984, 12:00 PM EST - On the outskirts of Space Sector 2813, bordering the edge of 2814, Green Lantern Honor Guard Member, Tomar-Re, detects a disturbance in the Space-Time Continuum.'

The following morning I posted this...

'A series of strange events, some clearly villainous, some merely suspicious, have kept the Justice League of America rather busy over the past 48 hours.

Flash, and Green Arrow - In the wee hours of yesterday morning, Mark Mardon, AKA Weather Wizard, somehow escaped from the Minnesota State Correctional Facility that held him. Several hours later, a sudden, terrible storm blew over Star City just as a plane extraditing Count Werner Vertaygho of Vlatava, AKA Count Vertigo, had taken off. The aircraft, as well as Count Vertigo himself, have disappeared. 

Green Lantern, and Superman - Our heroes have been on the trail of Rudy Jones, AKA The Parasite, for at least twelve hours now. Jones recently escaped from a S.T.A.R. Labs facility attempting to cure his condition. As the heroes neared his last known whereabouts, the Metropolis suburb of Midvale, reports came through that a 'yellow-gold giant with purple clothes' had been sighted in the Delaware Water Gap National Park, about 80 miles Northeast of the city. 

Hawkgirl, and Wonder Woman - Yesterday evening, Helen Alexandros, AKA The Silver Swan, stole an ancient, Greek salpinx from the Midway City Museum (The Midway Museum of Ancient History). She was aided by a mysterious man in a blue cloak. The two individuals vanished right before the eyes of stunned security guards. Early this morning, a man wearing a cloak of the same description was spotted in the Suicide Slum area of Metropolis by Ace O' Clubs owner Bibbo Bibbowski.'

A few hours later, I posted this last, additional entry:

'Update: Additional sightings of the Parasite, Silver Swan, the Blue Cloaked Man, and the mysterious Yellow-Gold Giant have been confirmed by various sources, and complied by J'onn Jonzz, The Martian Manhunter, back on the JLA Satellite. According to his findings, they are all headed for central Metropolis, likely the borough of New Troy.

Weather patterns there have begun to change rapidly, and a particularly intense lightning storm seems to be forming. Very likely, this is a sign that Weather Wizard, and perhaps Count Vertigo, are on their way as well.

Be ready Justice Leaguers!'

The important things to note here are that I tried to make sure I had certain vital (IMO) components established:

  • Familiar super villains from the rogues galleries of the chosen PCs.
  • A few mystery villains who could not be confirmed to add intrigue.
  • Mention of key DC Comics locations related to the PCs.
  • Mention of key NPC heroes or supporting cast members. 
  • Everything culminating in the most well known location mentioned: Metropolis.

Also, I established that the Martian Manhunter was there to help in an advisory capacity. This enabled me to give exposition, helpful hints, and the like with an in-game voice (J'onn's) instead of a GM/Narrator voice.

Remember this is all before the first session. This is the prologue. It''s...

Pre-Crisis on Earth G+!

More to come...

Barking Alien

RPGaDay Challenge 2017 - Bonus Round!

The RPGaDay Challenge for 2017 is over! 


Here are some Alternate Questions I found on the blog Casting Shadows that I'm going to answer in short response form as Bonus Questions. Why? Because Gaming that's why!

Alternate Questions
  • What do you look for in a review of an RPG?

In a review? I look for someone to have read, and/or played the game who can tell me how it works, and why they think it's good, or bad. Isn't that what a review is?

  • Campaigns: do you prefer set-length or open-ended play?

I definitely prefer open-ended play. Long term because it ends up long term. 

  • How long does it take to learn to get the most out of a game?

I don't understand this question. You get what you put into it. If you're asking how long it takes to master the rules lawyer/power game bs that comes with a game like Pathfinder, it takes me exactly 0 seconds. I don't bother.

  • What do you want out of an RPG experience?

Excitement, laughs, real emotion, and a story that you'll tell each other, and other gamers you meet years done the line. 

  • What gives an RPG its ‘replay value’?

Again, I don't understand. If you can't play a game more than one time, it's not a good game. It might not even be a real RPG. 

  • What part or parts of a session do you look forward to the most?

As GM, the world building, and the players/PCs uncovering the elements I put there in order to build an interesting setting.

As a player, I like discovering those world building bits, and bobs, uncovering secrets to the universe the GM has developed. 

  • What makes an RPG book special in your eyes?

This is an interesting question. What makes it special? Wow. This is very hard to pin down. It's a combination of things. How it looks, the art, how easy it is to read, how cool the examples of play are...some many things. 

  • What would appear on an RPG book cover that would make you want to play it?

A Japanese Anime/Manga Giant Robot.

Heh, kidding (sort of). It isn't what's on the cover, it's what the game is about, and how well it handles that subject matter.

  • How far from human do you enjoy getting the chance to be in an RPG?

LOL. You are talking to the guy whose motto in high school was, 'If the game has something other than Humans, I will be something other than Human.' Jot me down for 'Real Weirdie'.

  • What is the oldest game you have played, or still play?

Classic Traveller I would think.

  • Describe a moment of wonder that arose in play.

So many. I wouldn't know where to start, or rather it would take a whole post to describe anyone of them. I am trying to give short response answers here. Please go back and read various entries on my blog. There are some real doozies. 

  • Have you learned a skill because of events in a game? Tell us about it!

I am awful at math. I always have been, and probably always will be. It's almost a learning disability. Not quite, but my mind just doesn't grasp numbers and their relationships very well. The one area of mathematics I can understand is probability and percentages. That is solely due to playing RPGs.

  • What section do you read first when you get a new game? Why?

Character Creation. I always want to know how to build a character. Oddly, as a GM, Character Creation is not my favorite part of the gaming experience. Often, I actually find it tedious. That's why I look at Character Creation first. If I find Character Creation enjoyable, it is very likely that I will like the rest of the game. 

  • Suggest an RPG with engaging solo play. Do you mean One Player, and One GM, or no GM? Why would you do that? There are video games for that. Go play Mass Effect. Better yet, play World of Warcraft or something. That way you can play alone, but with people. 

  • Which RPGs facilitate running very large groups enjoyably?

I may be biased here, as I prefer running for fairly large groups. I find many games that people view as cumbersome for large groups to be pretty easy to run. I've run FASA Star Trek for 7 or 8 players at once, WEG Star Wars for 7 or 8 on average, and a Mutants & Masterminds campaign with between 7 and 11 people per session. Any game with rules that a both simple, and straightforward work well with large groups. 

The RPGaDay Challenge for 2017 is over! 

Well that's that! Challenge excepted and overcome! Feeling pretty good about myself. 

Until next post...

Barking Alien

RPGaDay Challenge 2017 - Day 31

This is it people of Earth, the last of the RPGaDay Challenge questions for 2017!

Well...not really. It is that last of the questions on that big ol' question board, but there are some alternate questions provided by the gaming blog Casting Shadows that I am going to answer as Bonus Round questions.

Go Me!

Last things first however...


Tough one.


I am not really anticipating anything in particular industry-wise. 

I am curious to see how Modiphius handles the Star Trek Adventures line of course, and there are a few books announced by them that I may pick up and convert their useful ideas, and info to Last Unicorn's game. 

It would be nice if Fantasy Flight covered the new Star Wars films, but that mean having to get a dozen more books, since they seem to make a separate game for every Star Wars idea that comes out. The new, post-Return of the Jedi trilogy alone would require three new, completely distinct rulebooks if you go by FFG's logic. (Have I said FU to FFG here before? No? Well FU FFG.).

I wouldn't mind checking out the upcoming new edition of Villains & Vigilantes, mainly because of nostalgia. That should be out soon though I would think (before the new year).

I have my eye on Japan's Wares Blade Reboot project, but current information seems to suggest that a new RPG is low on the list of their priorities. Rather, they want to use the property to make an Anime, Light Novels, and possibly Manga. A new RPG is probably a bit more complicated give the original publisher may not have an interest in that right now. I will hope for the best, and keep you all posted.

So...anticipated, let alone most anticipated, isn't a phrase I would use I the moment. 

From my own gaming things are different...

I am hoping to continue, and maybe even expand my My Hero Academia: American Ultra game. It's working really well, and having other players/PCs drop by on the main three every once in a while would be really cool. 

I figure we will continue on with our Wednesday night Google Hangouts Kapow! Superhero RPG, with occasional breaks to try out other things (we did that a few times this year, and I really enjoyed some of them. Just taking a break every one in a while is nice.).

My Friday night group is going to go through a change, as one of the players is moving out of New York (Take care Erick! Good luck my friend!). We will likely continue on with our Hogwarts/Wizarding World game, and I aim to give Ars Magica a good run, though definitely a finite one. Long, ongoing games are not as effective with this particular group as are short, concise ones. 

Ooh, Tales from the Loop! I totally need to run Tales from the Loop at some point.

Beyond that, who knows?

There are games I am itching to get back to after having not played them in a while, such as the aforementioned Star Trek (LUG), Star Wars (WEG), and Wares Blade (Hobby Japan).

What about you? Do you know any games you think are worth watching out for? Let me know! Please! I'm always up for being impressed by a new game. 

Well, that about does it. I sometimes rib these questions, and I do honestly think they could sometimes be better, but I must also thank RPG Brigade for making them each year. The Challenge as a whole is fun, and it always gets me posting right after my usually dreadful summers (dreadful business and posting wise).

Thanks RPG Brigade, and The RPGaDay Challenge!

See you here next year,

Barking Alien

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

RPGaDay Challenge 2017 - Day 30

The end is near...

OK, I can answer this...but I'd first like to say that I really don't want to see 'genre-mashups'.  Not when there are so few genres with a decent headline game.

If there a definitive Wild West game out there? A 60s Spy game? How about a Fantasy Folklore game, huh?

Yeah. Don't go putting your chocolate in my peanut butter until you can make really good chocolate.

That said...I wouldn't mind seeing a Medieval Fantasy/Mecha game that doesn't fall into the typical American default of making the mechs Steampunk contraptions, or regular Science Fiction robots. I want that mix of magical item, and fantasy engineering you see in Japanese TRPGs like Wares Blade, or Anime like Knights & Magic.

While I am not a big fan of traditional Fantasy settings, adding a giant robot makes anything better.

Barking Alien

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

RPGaDay Challenge 2017 - Day 29

Close to the end my friends. What the heck will I talk about next month?

I haven't backed very many projects on Kickstarter. Funds for me are often tight, or practically non-existent during certain stretches of the year, and I simply can't afford to spend money on a thing that might not happen. 

Of the ones I have backed, I think only two have come to fruition so far.

That sucks, and makes me less likely to join a Kickstarter in the future.

Conceptually, it's a great idea - Fans of a concept give money to the concept's creators before any product has been produced so that the product can be produced to the best of the ability, and available funds of those working on it. 

Cool. Awesome. And, if you don't reach the desired goal, or you do and nothing comes of it, what then? I'm looking at you Mekton Zero.

Golden Sky Stories, and Spirit of '77 are probably two of the few I've sponsored, and the only ones to put a book in my hand. That's it. Just two.

Bleh. Kickstarter.

Just make a game. If you already made it, and it sounds cool, and isn't super expensive, I'll buy it. 

That's what I did for The Googly Eyed Primetime Puppet Show. 

I didn't want to make a site for maybe making the book. I wanted to make the book. So I did. Perfect? Maybe not, but done and the price? I like to think so. 

Barking Alien

RPGaDay Challenge 2017 - Day 28

A day late and a dollar short. Story of my life. Oh well, let's try to catch up shall we?

Huh. OK, cute question. Not hard-hitting journalism by any means, but easy to answer.

With my groups it depends more on the games we're playing. 

Sure, everyone quotes Star Wars, and Monty Python, but we quote Star Wars a lot more when playing Star Wars, and Galaxy Quest a lot when playing Star Trek, and Traveller. 

As a matter of fact, I'd say it goes by genre...


The Dark Crystal
Lord of the Rings [Movie Trilogy]
Monty Python and The Holy Grail
The Princess Bride

Science Fiction

Galaxy Quest
Red Dwarf
Star Trek [TOS and TOS Motion Pictures]
Star Wars [All Movies]


Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies
Superman [Movies I and II]
The Tick [Comics]

These are the most common references based on subject, but of course there are things that are quoted regardless of what we're playing. Chief among these are Monty Python anything, Looney Tunes cartoons, The Muppet Show, and Muppet Movie, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, and even previous games.

Yes, we self quote. There are some in-jokes that have stood the test of time, and still pop-up now and again. Some have even crossed groups, having been repeated during play with different people over the years. 

Among my favorites...

"At this range, I seldom miss."

Originally uttered by my friend Nelson when attacking an opponent at point blank range. In games where you still have to roll to hit when you're practically touching your weapon to your enemy, this line takes on a very literal meaning.

"I am Winspector, and I will kill you."

I said this while watching a Japanese live action 'Sentai' type show. An actor from the previous show (Winspector) guest starred on the current show at the time (Rescue Man? I forget), as his previous character (which is very rare). He gets into a fight with one of the current heroes, and not only kicks his butt, but he does this reverse spin-kick that I found out he really did - no fancy camera tricks, one take.

It is now uttered by players whose PC is about to open a can of whoop-ass on an opponent who really has it coming. 

"I Can't Move!", and "I have The Speed of Miyuchi!"

Ugh. In this one Sentai campaign run years ago, the GM [in what was to be the epic finale] kept throwing obstacle after tedious obstacle in from of my friend Phil's character, Director Miyuchi, the chief of the heroic forces. Phil got so frustrated he yelled out, "I. Can't. Move!", sending everyone, but the GM into a fit of laughter.

Hours later, during the same game, my pal Nelson left the area he was in, and made a mad dash for his super vehicle/giant robot. As round after round went on with him asking if he had gotten there yet, and the GM saying, "Almost, but X is in your way", or "You're nearly there, but Y condition is impeding your progress", Nelson turned to the rest of the group and said, "Oh no! I have The Speed of Miyuchi!"

If it's ever taking the GM an unrealistic amount of time to allow a player to enact their move, my players will sometimes claim they've been afflicted by 'The Speed of Miyuchi". 

"Must be the Puppy Chow."

My ex-wife quoted this Purina Puppy Chow commercial, in which a dog does something amazing/impossible, when I described a hellhound attacking in a D&D game. From that point on, anytime a dog - ally, enemy, PC with wolf/dog attributes - does something really cool, some player will likely say this particular refrain. 

Only a few questions left!

Almost there...Stay on target...Almost there....

Barking Alien


I know I'm a day late with this, but the hands of destiny did a check up of my private parts, and I found her hands much too cold!

Yes, I swam for the surface of justice, came up a little short, and took a mouthful of salty villainy. Nonetheless, I've since spit out the waters of evil, and I'm ready to freestyle swim to the shores of heroism to give you my opinions on...

(WARNING: Possible Spoilers)

I loved this! No, not loved - LOVED!!!

Where to begin?

I could easily do a Thorough Thursday entry about The Tick, who I've been a fan of every since his comic book first debuted in 1986. I collected it thoroughly for a while, but eventually lost track of it when I stopped buying comics regularly during the 90s.

I was/am a fan of the animated series, and enjoyed the first live-action sitcom featuring Patrick Warburton in the title role. 

This series is a very different take on the Tick, and his world, though at the same time it doesn't feel wrong. It feels like the Tick grew up, put on his big boy blue pants, and said, "Hello Today! I'm back, and better than ever!" It's the Tick we all know and love, augmented with a new, fresh, lemon scent of righteousness. 

The series' strength comes from two main sources:

First, it has purposeful world building that feels incidental. What I mean is, the world building isn't particularly subtle, but it doesn't get all up in your face, and tell you it's there either. It just happens. It happens in the foreground, and the background, but it doesn't get in the way of the characters, or the story.

Superian being interviewed by Whoopi Goldberg.

Yes, there is obvious exposition, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about how some of the characters have an implied past together beyond the past we know about. I'm talking about how Superhero genre things just sort of happen in the world, mentioned nonchalantly on the evening news. Sometimes those background elements cross paths with the story itself, sometimes they don't. That's awesome! That reminds me so much of my buddy Will's Champions campaign. It was one of my favorite features that few GMs manage to pull off. 

The second major thing the show has going for it is the casting. 

Griffin Newman is fantastic as Arthur, though it is a somewhat different Arthur from what we've seen in the past. While neurotic, he is a nerd, not a nebbish, and is almost manic in his desire to either get out of the situation he is in, or to pursue his beliefs. He reminds me of Elijah Wood's Todd Brotzman in last year's 'Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency' series from the BBC. That's a compliment, because although they are similar characters, you expect Elijah Wood to pull it off. I was not familiar with Newman before this, and he's good at the part. Really good.

In fact, this is an Arthur who is clearly the real star of the show. The Tick is a plot device, and side character who sets the tone, and gets things moving, but the depth of the story, and the way it is told owes everything to Arthur. 

That said, Peter Serafinowicz is AWESOME as The Tick. It's like watching Patrick Warburton play Adam West playing The Tick. Additionally, there are some subtleties in his facial expressions that convey a great deal of characterization and humor that are all his own. I was really impressed.

Of the other characters, all are cool, but I am totally in love with the villainous villainess Ms. Lint. Portrayed with incredible talent by the absolutely beautiful Yara Martinez, Lint is terribly evil, and at the same time very Human, and funny. Kudos to Ms. Martinez for getting this character to really come alive. 

I don't want to keep gushing, but really the only complaint I have about the series is that it's only 6 episodes in length. I was crushed when I realized I had just watched the last episode.

How much did I like this show? Well...I've mentioned before that I don't binge watch shows like many people do. I can't. It just isn't in me. I watch a few, then a few another night, then skip a day, and watch the rest. The more I like a show, the more episodes I can watch in one sitting of course, but I still space them out.

Watched The Tick in one day. All of it. Amazing. I am amazed at myself. I really liked it. Last show I even came close to do that with was Stranger Things, and that still took me a few days (granted it's a much longer series). 

OK, one tinsy, weensy, minor complaint. The Tick never yelled out his trademark battle cry. Boohoo! I bet he will next season.

Until then...SPOON!

Barking Alien

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Heroes for Hire

Have I mentioned how Superhero-y August has been? 'Cause it's been DAMN Superhero-y.

Oops! Real Superheroes don't say damn. 

This month, in addition to all the Supers gaming I've been doing and working on, two Superhero programs came out on two different internet streaming services no less! 

Netflix released Marvel's Defenders, and Amazon Prime released The Tick. Two very different takes on the genre, with - IMHO - two very different executions and results. 

Well's start with...

(WARNING: Possible Spoilers)

Marvel's Defenders is the culmination of the various Netflix series they've produced so far, featuring Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, teaming up together to battle an evil that effects them all, and the city they love.

Um...sort of, but we'll get to that.

Each individual character, and their shows, had their specific strengths, and weaknesses, with some having more than others. 

I really enjoyed The Defenders, but because all the characters were not created equal, or at least written, acted, and produced equally, their flaws really show when they are combined together. In a nutshell, the fact that Daredevil, and Luke Cage are so awesome makes the already weaksauce Iron Fist look even worse by comparison. Jessica Jones is a special case for me, and I will go into her dynamic more as I go on.

Daredevil/Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox)

While the story of Matt Murdock seems to take a time jump, resulting in a bit of viewer disorientation continuity-wise, I found Cox's portrayal of the blind, martial artist vigilante, The Devil of Hell's Kitchen, to be as on-point as ever.

So compelling is Daredevil that he creates one of the key issues with the series. We find Matt Murdock, his enemies, supporting cast, his world, to be the focus of what should have been more of a team/ensemble cast series. 

Although allied with three other individuals, it is his enemies they are fighting (The Hand), his mentor that provides assistance and exposition (Stick), his ex-girlfriend who is the x-factor (Elektra), and even his friends who are the most competent normal people we see (Karen Page is a better detective than any of the cops. Foggy gives some of the best advice, personally, professionally, and for the plot). 

Daredevil is also clearly the most interesting combatant to watch in a series with a lot - sorry, A LOT - of fight scenes.

The problem here is we end up with a show that could have been called 'Daredevil and Friends - And also Iron Fist'. Daredevil's cool factor is higher than his co-stars by a good deal - a great deal if you count Iron Fist. 

I am far more jazzed to see a Daredevil Season 3 then I am a Defenders Season 2 and I liked Defenders. I just feel like I liked it for two of the characters and there happened to also be two others for some reason.

Luke Cage (Mike Colter)

I loved the Luke Cage series, warts and all. It wasn't perfect by a long shot but it was good, classic 1970s comics meets modern storytelling and it worked for me. The music, Harlem, they were all characters in the show as interesting and alive as Misty Knight and Cottonmouth. 

The King of Coffee returns here, with his stint in jail behind him, and his desire to help people fully intact. If any of the characters in this series could be called a Superhero, it is Luke Cage. He is the good guy trying to do what's right. He doesn't want to kill the bad guys unless he has no choice and he will not endanger civilians. Honestly, he's almost on the wrong show.

My big disappointment with Luke in this series isn't really with Luke Cage at all. It's the characters around Luke Cage. Claire Temple, 'The Night Nurse' is great, played with real humanity by Rosario Dawson. She could read a computer programming instruction manual and it would seem heart felt and honest. You read that manual girl. Keep it real. 

Everyone else...ehhh. Misty Knight is still not the Misty Knight I was hoping for, though she comes close a few times. Mostly, lazy writing gives her little to do but make you wonder why she hasn't been fired. I was expecting more drama, more...something...between Luke and Jessica Jones. Luke and Danny...ugh. They have just about one moment, maybe two, but the chemistry just isn't quite there. The Danny Rand of Netflix is not ready or worthy to form Power Man and Iron Fist. 

Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter)

OK, I know I am going to get flak for this, but I didn't like the Jessica Jones series. 

My favorite part of it was the villain and Luke Cage.

She's here, in this show, because...because...she had a show on Netflix. I don't feel she served any purpose being there. She had a case that connected to it (thank the writers!) but she didn't believe anything super-normal was going on up to and often after seeing it in action. She wasn't connected to any of the villains personally, didn't have chemistry with Danny (but seriously, who could?), and seemed only roughly aware she'd previously had a relationship with Luke. She did interact well with Matt, which was nice.

I like the actress a lot. I like the comic book version of the character. The Jessica Jones of Netflix is an unlikable person, who isn't a hero, and isn't trying to be. Sorry, but I'm an old school Silver/Bronze Age guy. That's not what I want from my supers. 

Iron Fist (Finn Jones...ugh)

The weakest link in the Marvel Netflix shows is without a doubt the character of Danny Rand, the Iron Fist. He remains the weakest link here as well, as he brings the show down every time we are forced to focus on him as if he is important or something. 

Even if the actor weren't so flat, the character so poorly written, his martial arts so awkward and slow, he would still be the low point of the series. Why? Because everyone is better at what he does than he is. 

Daredevil is a far superior fighter, Luke Cage often seems stronger and Jessica is way smarter. All of them have more emotional range and are more believable in their parts. Even Colleen Wing, who is an odd character in her Netflix incarnation, is more compelling when she emotes. She takes this all personally in a way that you believe, unlike Danny's lip service about his duty to K'un Lun.

Danny, you left, it fell, everyone's dead. You are a loser Danny Rand. Stop saying you're the Immortal Iron Fist to everyone. You're not. You're the latest one, so they're not immortal. You are also REALLY bad at it.

Now, remember how I gushed over the awesomeness of Cox and Matt/Daredevil? Well, the biggest problem with Iron Fist in the Defenders isn't that he sucks (though he does). It's that he sucks at everything Daredevil is great at. This makes Daredevil look cooler than he already is and Iron Fist look even worse. 

The enemy of the series is The Hand. The Hand is the enemy of K'un Lun and the purpose of the Iron Fist is to defeat The Hand. The Hand destroyed K'un Lun and all the monks and their students are now dead. Why then is this a primarily Daredevil driven show?

Why? It's because we like Daredevil and Daredevil is enjoyable to watch. The focal points of this type of series, such as the main villain, the mysterious ally, the history - as I noted before, that's all Daredevil's. 

Side Note: I was really hoping that Stick would reveal the reason he and the Chaste wanted Matt to join them so badly is that they were going to send him to K'un Lun to fight the dragon and take its heart. Basically, why is Daredevil so much better than Iron Fist? Because Matt was supposed to be the Iron Fist. (Hmm. Cool alternate Marvel universe idea - Matt Murdock - The Immortal Iron Fist!).

In conclusion, I'm not the biggest fan of street-level superheroes. As a kid, I never read Daredevil, Punisher, and only read a few Power Man and Iron Fist comics. That said, the two season's of Daredevil and the first season of Luke Cage were so good I got excited for this. As it turned out, I liked, quite a bit. I would have liked it more if they had left out Iron Fist and done a Daredevil and Power Man team-up show. Still and all it was fun, had some cool fight scenes, and I'm interested in seeing more from Marvel Netflix in the future.

Except for Iron Fist. No more Iron Fist.

Boy I don't like [the Netflix version of] that character.

Barking Alien

Next Up: The TIck!