Comic: Parental Expectations

It’s Monday. People are back at work or at school, the weekend is behind us.

But that doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun! Charlie’s drawn you a comic to pick you up from the lul that is Monday.



Heroes Mini Series, Heroes Reborn, Official Synopsis Releases

The saga behind the 2006 breakout series Heroes will continue as creator Tim Kring returns to the fold and develops new layers to his original superhero concept. This highly anticipated 13-episode miniseries will reconnect with the basic elements of the show’s first season where ordinary people were waking up to the fact that they had extraordinary abilities. This series will be preceded by a new digital series that will introduce audiences to the new characters and storylines that will take the Heroes phenomenon to new places.

I recently sat down and watched all of the first two seasons of Heroes in a combination of binge watching and Trials Fusion playing. Now anyone playing Trials Fusion will know that for background watching you need something not very intense or distracting and I thought Heroes would be a great idea.
I forgot how well written a lot of the first season was, especially any scenes with HRG, who was a great addition of mystery to the show.

I wasn’t the most enthusiastic when I first heard that NBC’s Heroes, which I’d given up on after a bad third season, and only heard worse things about the fourth, but considering this new official synopsis claims to ‘reconnect with the basic elements of the show’s first season’. I have to admit I’m a little more inclined to be excited.

Add this to the fact that we’ll be getting a new cast of characters (Thank god, no more overused Nikki or overpowered Hiro) I’m actually pretty psyched for this.

But I’ve been wrong before.

Anyone can wear spandex: The expanding Marvel Universe and Superheroes of the female persuasion

In Axby’s first ever Lazy Sunday List, Charlie lists his top five female candidates to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Spoilers for Marvel’s Phase 2 from here on in, you’ve been warned.

By Charlie H.

Enforcing justice, saving civilians and generally kicking evil’s ass has been showcased in many forms in the marvel cinematic universe. The citizens of earth are protected by those donning high tech armour, wielding magical hammers and even simple medieval weaponry. With its variety of characters and story styles Marvel studios has created a truly engaging cinematic universe. However, in the name of variety, one must ask ‘where are all of the female superheroes?’

The marvel cinematic universe has really progressed with stage two, exhibiting some of the best movies in the franchise yet. ‘Ironman 3’ had the feel of a full-circle fulfilling end whilst leaving enough loose ends for interesting progression. ‘Thor: The Dark World’ gave us more Asgard, more ‘magic’ (In Midgard we call it science) and more Loki. ‘Captain America: the Winter Soldier’, possibly the best of the three, had the chops of a political thriller with plenty of ‘feels’ thanks to Cap’s returning best buddy turned Nazi robot Bucky Barns. All along it maintained its identity as a superhero movie; them explosions probably did it. However, disappointingly this stage did not progress much in the representation of female characters.

Whilst Pepper pots kicked some ass at the end of ‘Ironman 3’,’ Thor’s mother fought to her tragic death and Black widow continued doing her trademark secret agent flip-de-doos, none of them felt like characters in their own right. Even lady Sif, who was shown to be utterly and entirely awesome in episode ‘Yes Man’ of ‘Marvels:Agents of Shield’, exists in ‘Thor 2’ only to pine over her lost love.

Including more significant female roles is necessary for two reasons. The most obvious reason is representation of sexes. And it doesn’t hurt that there’s a veritable buttload of amazing female heroes whose powers and stories are awesome!

So who would be interesting to see? Who would fit best into the universe as it expands?

She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters)She Hulk

Now bear with me. Some find this hero a little tacked on to the Hulk’s story, If not just plain tacky.

She-Hulk originates as Bruce banners cousin, who after sustaining a mortal wound requires a blood transfusion to survive. Now even if you haven’t read the comics you miiight be able to guess what would happen if the Hulk gave somebody his gamma irradiated blood.

So Jenny recovers newly imbued with super hulk-like (not hulk equivalent because c’mon) strength and green skin (cuz science). Best part, she’s doesn’t have to ‘hulk-out’ to use her powers. She ain’t all ‘hulk smash’ and ‘GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH’. I for one would like to see some sensibly directed super strength, thank you.

Take it a step further and you’ve got a standalone She-Hulk movie. ‘Oh no the Hulk is smashing again! Who can we get who is also big green and strong and will be emotionally conflicted enough to make the movie interesting?!’. (No, not you Shrek.)

Spiderwoman (Jessica Drew)
SpiderwomanThis has only been a relatively recent development in the comic universe, but Spiderwoman has been part of some huge story lines for the Avengers.

Though there are many different Spiderwomen, Jessica Drew originates as a super-agent of Hydra, later turning to Shield after a failed attempt to kill Nick Fury. She often displays a dry, ‘let’s get business done’ attitude which would be fun to see in the current character mix.

Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers)Ms Marvel

With the dimensions of the cinematic universe ever expanding, (hey there talking raccoons) we are sure to see threats to earth reaching galactic proportions. For this I’m afraid some heroes will just not make the cut. It’s not that you don’t have the soul Tony, it’s just your suit can only do so much.

Ms. Marvel is marvel’s Superman, but with more powers. If future Marvel story lines point to the inclusion of the Skrull, this hero is what we need.

Mockingbird (Barbara Morse)Mockingbird

Non-super heroes have been well received when portrayed on the big screen. Black Widow and Hawkeye kick ass in spite of being cape-less and Mockingbird comes along with the same charm. Also, as the wife, and subsequent ex-wife, of Clint Barton (Hawkeye), the inclusion of Mockingbird in later films could be helpful for fleshing out both of their characters.

Also, for those who aren’t a fan of the regular human Avengers, in the comics, after suffering a near fatal wound, Mockingbird is injected with a some science which is a mix of the super soldier serum (Captain America) and the Infinity formula (Nick Fury) to keep her alive (and give her super strength and whatever).

Side note: Mockingbird fights with two batons which can be formed into a bo staff! Bo staffs are cool!

Elastigirl (Helen Parr)Elastigirl
Totally kidding, but can you imagine?

It’s clear that Marvel is not without options for expanding its hero universe; the female superhero movie has been tried, but not very well tested. Sure we’ve had Electra and Catwoman, which only proves that crappy scripts or direction can be attached to big project names. Need we mention that there’s a plethora of male hero flicks that have been disappointing? Daredevil, Hulk, Ghostrider and, somehow, Ghostrider 2.

Female superheroes haven’t had much of a chance, partly because the right franchises haven’t been chosen. But with Scarlet Witch partaking in the Avengers 2, it’s hopeful that we will see more developed female roles. Also, with the confirmation of a stand-alone Black Widow movie we’ll finally be able to see more depth to a character that has up to this point been (as suits her role) an enigma.

So what do you think? Agree with my list? Did I miss our some of your favourite super heroines?

Tomodachi Life – Nintendo’s Unfortunate Situation Regarding Same Sex Marriage

By James Sweeting

Over the last week since the launch of the Miiquality campaign, the press surrounding Nintendo’s forthcoming release of Tomodachi Life has exploded.

This large amount of mostly negative press has been due to game not including same-sex marriages. The vast majority of videogames do not include or make reference to same-sex marriages. So why is it a problem with this particular game?

Tomodachi Life is essentially a mix of Animal Crossing, The Sims and irreverent Japanese TV; but with The Sims allowing same sex-marriages since 2009 many people query why a game where, supposedly, anything is possible excludes a similar feature.

People have been discussing the absence of this aspect since the game launched in Japan last year. Especially after a glitch was found which allowed for same-sex Mii’s to get married and have children. The actual situation was corrected by Nintendo explaining that the pictures were actually displaying female Mii’s in male clothing, and that the subsequent patch was to fix a save breaking glitch associated with all of this.

When it was announced the game was being translated and released in the west many were excited, especially after the release of the absurdly brilliant Nintendo Direct showing off the game. After the initial excitement calmed down, some began to question whether Nintendo would bring same-sex marriages to the Western release. After silence on the issue from Nintendo, a campaign was started called Miiquality.

Miiquality’s objectives were perfectly rational; they wanted same-sex marriages to be added to the game, but were under no assumption that they should be added for the launch. Instead, knowing that the translation process has already been completed, they asked for the possibility of a patch to be created adding the option at a later date. But the more realistic option they asked for was for it to be added in a potential sequel. Towards the end of the video the statement is made that they are not calling for a boycott, realising that to do so would like contribute to future sequels not being localised and the prospect of same-sex marriages having even less chance of being added.

However, since the movement began getting traction the press had begun twisting the aspirations of the movement and turning it into attacks against Nintendo. This ultimately caused Nintendo of America to respond, stating that they were ‘not trying to provide social commentary’. This incensed many, but the unfortunate reality is that as a whole, the main country Nintendo is trying to market this game in, the United States, is not ready for same-sex marriages.

Nintendo is in the unfortunate position where they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t, with the latter being the current reality. There are two main negative outcomes that are possible if they had add same-sex marriage. The first is the likely increase in age rating from the ESRB which would likely, though this is not certain, raise the age rating from E (for everyone) to T (for Teen).

The second, and more prevalent, outcome is the potential outlash from the American conservative right. Same-sex marriage is still a highly contentious issue around the world and in the US especially. Nintendo does not want the highly detrimental negative publicity that these groups can generate.

Does that make it right? No, but it also doesn’t make it wrong. Whilst The Sims 3 included same-sex marriages, it was an established franchise, able to take risks and is also backed by a large American corporation that has a history of promoting LGBT rights. Tomodachi Life might be a success in Japan, but that is in part because it is a very Japanese game and is highly influenced by the country’s culture. Now Nintendo are taking a risk releasing this unusual title in the West, and instead of one country it is now being released to a dozen countries all with subtlety different cultures.

Since initially writing this article Nintendo have issued an apology, in their apology they express regret for disappointing people but explain that it is not possible to change the games design at this stage, nor is it possible to accomplish this change via a post-ship patch. They then go on to make a pledge (although this is by no means binding but is a good gesture) that if they do create a next installment that they will strive to make it even more inclusive.

As far as I am concerned Nintendo have now done all that they can, this was the only realistic option for them, but it was also the right option. Will this appease everyone? No, as one LGBT group has stated that Nintendo still needs to do more, and others still wrongly argue that a patch is a legitimate option and argue how Nintendo “patched out” same-sex marriages, when they were never properly in there in the first place.

For now all everyone can do is put this whole affair behind us, buy the game, enjoy the wonderful absurdity it provides and wait for the next videogame drama.

Villain Overload

Written By; Joe

This might be something I approach later on in a bit more depth, considering that I have a lot to say on the Superhero movie subject (granted, most of that is fanboy squees about Hawkeye), but having seen this comic on the ‘Mathmatical Law of Superhero film villains‘ drawn by the guys over at Dorkly, I thought I’d vent a bit now.

It’s pretty established that one of the main failings of Spiderman 3; the Boogie Night Rises, was the over saturation of villains.

You had Sandman, the misunderstood criminal who was just trying to help his little girl, the new goblin, who was himself brought about by the ghost of the villain from the first film, and the mistreated Venom who felt the need to open up his otherwise terrifying face to give Topher Grace a bit more screen time. Add this all to the fact that for half the film Peter is kind of a sap, and an abusive boyfriend and you’ve got a molotov of antagonistic characters

And we can all agree that more isn’t always better, The Avengers (that’s the Marvel franchise, not the 60’s BBC series) only had one main villain in the show stealing Loki. Sure you could argue that the Chitauri were a few hundred villains, but they were really only Hulkfodder.

That was one of the things I was worried about in the most recent Spiderman film, a lot of the promo material involved the Rhino, but well, if you’ve seen it you’ll know that not all the villains had the same amount of focus.

So less is more, right? Or since the Avengers; Age of Ultron, will be including Strucker, Ultron, Vision and with talk of the Maximoff twins messing with the super team, will the MCU prove that it’s all in the execution?

Welcome to Axby!

Well hello there.
Welcome to Axby Magazine. I know it doesn’t look like a lot now, what with it being pretty empty, and there’s some unpacked boxes in the corner and we haven’t found the kettle yet. But if we had I would promptly offer you a cup of tea.

So what is Axby? I hear you ask between my panicked searching for a clean mug.
Well it’s a media centred site made by some friends who really like films, Television and Video games. Our hope here is to cultivate Axby into a site full of opinions, discussion and passionate writings, artwork and, eventually, videos.

We’ve started as a small team with one big thing in common; we all like to escape reality. Whether that be from playing games, watching films, reading books or even submersing ourselves in the airtight submarine that is a new album. But sometimes it’s not enough to just escape, sometimes you want to bring back your experiences, to talk about them. That’s what we’re all about here.

At least, we will be once we get all this bubble wrapped tidied away.

So keep checking back here if we’ve piqued your interest, and if Axby sounds like the sort of thing you’d like to get involved in, check out our Contact Us section.

For now, I’ve got some pictures to hang and some furniture to drag around.

Oh, and I’ve been Joe. You’ll be hearing a lot from me.

Because Escapism is Underrated