Friday, August 03, 2012

The Ziggurat

You know those times when you're stumbling along in a rainforest expedition, where you just might be lost, but you're not sure because your GPS isn't working, and suddenly you blunder into a ziggurat in a clearing, and kick yourself because your iPhone's dead and you can't snap a picture?

Boy, don't we all!  Well, if so, then this one's for you:


Now, before someone corrects me, this is very technically not a ziggurat, but rather a step pyramid (because it's in a jungle somewhere, rather than in the Middle East). But "The Step Pyramid" is not a cool name for a Heroclix map, and "The Ziggurat" is.

The Ziggurat Map takes advantage of a rule change from several years ago that allows for up to seven different levels of elevation on a Heroclix map.  The jungle floor is Level 1 and the other six levels are the successive tiers of the ziggurat.  I didn't mark the levels with the usual numbered triangles for elevated terrain because, well, if you can't perceive the levels of terrain on a ziggurat just by looking at it, then numbers probably aren't going to help you.

The map is quite simple in layout and feels very open; but the ziggurat in the center tends to break the play down in several smaller areas rather than one big clusterbust in the middle of the board (because I hate when that happens).

Do not go into this map with out flyers and leap/climbers on your team, or you're going to get a serious thrashing.  But deploy your Bronze Tigers and your Cheetahs and your Detective Chimps and this will be a fun map, indeed.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

CW misses the target

Curse you, CW Network!  Curse you for putting me in the worst of all possible positions with the worst of all possible duties, specifically:

Defending Green Arrow.

As long-time readers know, Green Arrow is, well, not my top favorite hero.  He's not in my Top Ten.  Or Top 100.  In fact, he falls somewhere between and the Bloodlines characters and Arms-Fall-Off Boy.. 

Hm. Perhaps I need to re-evaluate Arms-Fall-Off Boy's ranking.

However, he is high on the CW's list of heroes, thanks to his breakout appearances on Smallville, the CW's 27-season bastardization of the Superman mythos.  The series took place on a world SO far removed from the DCU ones we all know and love (Earth-[some unspecified Knuth number]) that Green Arrow is the mature, accomplished superhero who mentors young Clark Kent.  Kind of makes the Ellie Wood Walker thing seem reasonable by comparison, doesn't it?

Therefore it should come as no surprise that, with Smallville (finally!) over, the CW is

---really, I can't believe I'm typing these words--

actually giving Green Arrow his own television series, which is one of the seven signs of the oncoming apocalypse.

So both of Smallville's surviving fans are apparently having a hissy fit because "their" Green Arrow (actor Justin Hartley) isn't going to be in it. He's been succeeded in the role of Green Arrow by a Stephen Arnell, mostly because Arnell can do many of his own stunts.  Anything to cut costs, I guess, since Arnell couldn't look much LESS like Green Arrow if he tried.

Hey, I remember this pic from your on-line profile during the Mid-Atlantic Leather Convention: 
"Meaty cub seeks papa bear for cuddling and tough love."

At least he's got plenty of meat on him, so he looks like someone who could actually be pulling a bowstring frequently.

 I mean, Justin is certainly sexy and shapely and all, but he looks more like a violinist than an archer.

 Hey,  weren't you in Riverdance at Wolftrap? I'm sure that was you...

Jeremy "Hawkeye" Renner, for example, looks like he could not only shoot arrows with the massive guns of his, but like he could just walk right up and shove one through you with his bare meaty hands.

 "I'm a love-god and if I shove this arrow through your heart, you'll love me. Briefly, at least."

All of this, of course, misses the point.  What is distressing about the CW's announcement is not that Pretty Actor Y rather than Pretty Actor X will be playing Green Arrow (oops, sorry, just "Arrow", because apparently the "green" is what makes him silly, not the whole "fighting crime with arrows" thing). What's is distressing is that they are having Ollie KILL PEOPLE.  

"Though Guggenheim made the comparison to Batman, one notable difference between the two comic book characters is that Green Arrow deliberately kills bad guys (pretty tough to use an bow and arrow and always aim for the leg)."

Um... but Green Arrow IS good enough to aim for the leg; even I know that's part of the point of Green Arrow.

"“The Arrow always gives the bad guy the opportunity to do the right thing … when he kills, he kills for necessity … it’s not just random violence."

Ollie gives the bad guy the chance to become good... RIGHT BEFORE HE KILLS HIM.  Um... if these bad guys were people who took the opportunity to do the right thing....they wouldn't be bad guys.  WTF?  And what kind of moral turnaround is it really when a bad guy is told, "Pick up your used soda can NOW, Mister, or this arrow goes right through your left ventricle."

"We’ll face the issues of his morality head on…that’s part of the fun quite, frankly, when telling a story about a vigilante.”

Yes, having a hero kill  is all part of the fun, people! C'mon, don't you know that?  Isn't killing what we want our heroes to do?  Isn't that why THE PUNISHER is everyone's favorite hero?

Look, I can respect the artisict decision to tell the story they want to tell.  But I can't respect using Green Arrow to do it.  Green Arrow deserves better than that.  

There are a bunch of kids out there who grew to like Green Arrow as he was portrayed on the Batman: Brave & the Bold animated series, and frankly I don't want them tuning in to watch their childhood hero intentionally shooting arrows through people's necks and hearts.  Now, you may counter that young adults have to expect that the "adult" versions of their childhood heroes are going to be darker and more mature.  Fair enough.  However.... the Batman in Brave & the Bold and the Batman in Dark Knight Rises aren't all that different.  Sure, the tone's a little different, but they are very much the same kind of person with the same kind of morals.  This is not a matter of tone; it's a matter of substance.

Ladies and gentleman, behold the face of a killer.

Just as I complained when DC decided to take Ollie off the deep end and having him turn murderous, I complain now when CW does it.  This is not the Green Arrow who had a crisis of conscience when he accidentally killed someone with one of his arrows.  This is not the billionaire philanthropist Ollie.  This is not the happy go luck Brave and Bold Ollie, the responsible Smallville Ollie, the JLA Satellite era Ollie -- this is not ANY version of Green Arrow.  

And I don't WANT it to be.

Green Arrow deserves better.