Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Bill June 30, 2010

We're going to try something different this week. Seeing as how it was the slowest of slow weeks for me (seriously, nothing came out for me), what say we keep the review tradition alive by reviewing one of them books without pictures.

It's okay to be scared, I am too.


In The Belly of the Fail Whale: How Twitter Changed My Life in One Year
by Rob Gokee

If you've ever wondered what Twitter is all about, the most effective ways to use it, or just have an unnatural hatred of pants, then this is the book for you. Rob illustrates through humor and heartbreak what it takes to really gain a following on the internets favorite micro-blog site.

The book is half How-to, half memoir as Rob takes us through his first year on Twitter. He started, as most do, to make connections and further his music composer career, but after his long term girlfriend broke up with him, it became an outlet for his feelings. And wouldn't you know it, people actually cared about what he was writing.

The secret to Twitter, he says, is to be a real person. Join in conversations, say what you feel, and generally have fun with it, and eventually you'll gain those followers you desperately want. He actually paints a really nice picture of Twitter that even a devout Twitter-hater like me can appreciate. Hell, he almost makes me want to sign up...


While I haven't finished the book yet, so far it's fantastic. It's written in a breezy casual tone that makes you feel like your in the midst of a conversation rather than a lecture and it's genuinely funny throughout. So if you're bothered by your lack of Twitter followers or just want to read a fun story about triumphing over technology, you should totally check it out.

You can get it from Amazon as either an ebook or physical copy. You should really indulge in a copy, the man really needs to buy some pants.

In the meantime, you can read more about Rob at or just go yell at him on

Monday, June 28, 2010

Getting Ready For War!

Late last week Marvel announced their next big crossover: The Chaos War.

Picking up on the plot threads from the past few years of The Incredible Hercules, The Chaos War has my favorite immortal face off against the returning chaos god, Mikaboshi who was last seen subjugating the Skull's pantheon for his own gain. But the good times don't stop there! Herc isn't facing off against this big threat by his lonesome; he's assembling a brand-new God Squad. The squad will boast the membership of heavy hitters like Venus and the Silver Surfer, obscure 90s heroes like Sersi, and my personal favorite: Galactus!

Given their past, I'm VERY excited to see Galactus and Herc meet up again. Here's hoping it'll live up to it, if not with the drinking, then definitely with the awesomeness.

I can't wait until October!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Weekend Matinee: R.O.T.O.R.

It's hard to describe a movie like R.O.T.O.R. Not the plot mind you, but what it's like to watch it.

R.O.T.O.R. is a Robocop/Terminator ripoff from the mid eighties, that golden era when you could get anything distributed as long as there was something on the tape. It follows a police scientist (with the most badass name ever, Michael ColdSteel) who gets framed for murder by the department's newest robot enforcer.

As a conisuier of bad 80s genre movies, I own this and try to convince everyone I know to watch it. Once you fall into it's rhythm, the movie is utterly fantastic with it's over-the-top ridiculousness, however that's the problem. It's not like one of those typical bad 80s genre flicks that just hits the ground running, this one likes to takes its time. And then some!

So here's the clip for this week. Like the movie, this one is a slow burn, but if you let it develop you'll understand the forgotten masterpiece it truly is.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Mini Invasion!

It was a banner week for Minimates this week.

Minimates, for the uninitiated, are two inch block figures from Art Asylum that cover a whole slew of different licenses. My favorite, and they're longest running, line is the Marvel stuff (shocker!).

This week saw the duel release of both Series 36 (The comic Iron Man wave) AND the new Toys R Us wave (basically the same stuff, but with a couple of new figures) leaving me light in the wallet, but heavy with chunks of plastic. It's one of the best waves they've had in a while, full of great new sculpted pieces, obscure characters, and genuine surprises. Here are my personal faves:


You may have remember I was stoked for this figure when it was announced, so it's no surprise that I'm excited to finally get my mitts on him. I'm so utterly shocked that they made him and so impressed by the results. The expression, the sculpting, the everything about him is wonderfully done. Art Asylum has done a great job of working with these standard block figures to pull out surprises like this one. If you can find him t TRU, you should totally pick him up.

2- Stilt-Man?

Talk about an obscure character that I was sure they'd never make. Stilt-Man was, hands down, the best part of this week's releases. I don't know what it is about him: his goofy appearance, the shiny silver, or the fact that he just TOWERS over the other minimates, he's just down right awesome.

I can't keep my eyes off of him, I constantly want to pose and repose him. He's totally my favorite thing right now, and I'm kinda worried about what that means...

3- Crimson Dynamo

To look at this figure from the outside, it's pretty rad. He's big, menacing, and has that amazing Vacu-sealed shiny red armor that just makes him pop off the shelf. It's about time Iron Man had some quality villains to be posed against.

So what makes this figure so special? Why did I pull him out as an example of how great this wave was? Let me pop that helmet off and show you.


Like it wouldn't have been hard enough covering up that fantastic 'stache, they had to go make him look like one of the defining leaders of the modern world. It's like getting two villains in one!

This is, far and away, my favorite toy easter egg of all time.

Futurama, How I've missed you!

In case you're a horrible geek and missed it, the brand new zombie season of Futurama premiered tonight on Comedy Central and it was great! Beyond great really, which is way better than I expected.

I don't know about you, but my expectations were severely hampered by the less than stellar direct to DVD movies. The first one was fine, but then it felt like the finale the show needed, it was the ones that followed that really languished. The problem was they were trying to split the difference between a single 88 minute movie and four 22 minute episodes for air. The result was a horrible mess of storytelling.

Luckily, their new deal with Comedy Central has them producing single 22-minute episodes like God intended, and they're glorious. They're making episodes like they never stopped. The jokes come quick, the plots are both ridiculous and sensible, and everything ties together. The future's looking bright for this season.

Here's hoping they can find an audience this time...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Bill June 23, 2010

Are you ready to hear my ranting on this week's books? Well too bad because it's time for you're new favorite comic blog reviews: The Bill!

Best of the Week:
Thunderbolts #145
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Kev Walker

When I was through with this book, I couldn't believe that it was only 22 pages. It's been forever since a book truly felt packed with action, and Jeff Parker really pulled out all the stops with this one. Parker has done in two issues what some writers **couBENDISgh** would stretch into six to ten.

In this issue, The Thunderbolts: fight Baron Zemo, learn it was all a test, meet the new warden (a laid up, and newly armless John Walker), get a mission briefing, and fight some Asgardian trolls. It felt epic when compared to most of the other books on the stands.

It also doesn't hurt that Parker handles all the characters amazingly well. Everyone sounds more in-character than they have for years, from Moonstone's eagerness to please to Songbird's desire to be seen as a hero. Even with all of the crazy action happening, Parker was still able to cram in the tiny character moments that make reading the book so worth it.

This is, hands down, the best Thunderbolts has been in a while. From the gorgeous art from Kev Walker, to Jeff Parker's deft storytelling, it's quickly becoming my favorite book of the month.

Not-Quite-The-Best of the Week:
Avengers #2
Writer: Brian Bendis
Artist: John Romita Jr.

First things first: This is a really solid read; a lot happens, there's a couple of fights, some cool cameos (Spider-Girl!), and a great reveal on the last page. If I had to compare this to say, Dark Avengers #2, it's night and day. Avengers #2 is totally old-school Avengers adventures through the pen of Bendis. And that's kinda the problem.

I know I give Bendis a lot of shit, and I don't REALLY mean to. He has really solid ideas, really solid characterization, and normally great character moments. This issue it all became a bit much. Somewhere along the way all the fun quips became just snarky and mean.

The main offender in this was Tony Stark. Tony's a tough character to get right, he needs to be equal parts suave, smart, and arrogant without seeming like too much of a dick. In this issue, he just seemed like a dick. From his dismissive attitude when he meets Noh-Varr (The Protector), to insisting Noh-Varr work for him, Tony seemed like more of a jerk than he should have. It just kinda rubbed me the wrong way.

In addition to this, everyone stopped to talk about how time was broken for five pages. So, spoilers, the future Hulk gets angry and breaks time somehow, which no one quite understands. FOR FIVE PAGES. I get that it's a hard concept to grasp, but it just came across as... repetitive. I kinda got annoyed, if you couldn't tell.

Aside from all of that, it was a pretty good issue though and I like this new 'cool comic book stuff happens every issue' mode Bendis is in. He should keep it up.

And there you go. If you want to know about my other two books (Franken-Castle or Secret Warriors), my new minimates (Stilt-Man rocks my face!), or just want to see how I'm doing (fine, thank you for asking), drop me a comment. Otherwise, I'll see you (figuratively) next time.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Hercules Everyone Hates

The GirlFriend and I have a constant argument about Hercules.

To her, Hercules is Kevin Sorbo, a fun loving guy who goes on wacky adventures with his pal, Iolaus, in the annuls of syndicated television. I argue that Hercules is the beer-loving, womanizing, Prince of Power from the Marvel Universe. I have yet to make her see the errors of her ways.

But there's one thing we do agree on: Disney's Hercules is the worst.

Hercules was released in that dark period of Disney animation between The Lion King and... well I guess present day. As such, neither the GirlFriend or myself really paid attention to it when it came out.

Well, that's not really true. To be honest, we both confessed that we wanted to see it, but the combination of bad reviews, Disney Fatigue, and getting older just kept us from the theater. I remember always admiring the design of the movie, it's strong angular lines and stylized approach; it was a nice departure from the normal Disney fare. I was also really intrigued by the strong male hero, because most of the Disney movies were for girls, and all I had to root for was Aladdin (which isn't a bad thing). It was these expectations that set up my ultimate disappointment in the final product.

When it comes down to it, the problem with Disney's Hercules is that it's not Hercules. Herc, traditionally, is a man of two worlds (the gods and the mortals) who uses his extraordinary abilities to sleep with as many women as he can while dealing with a bitchy step-mother (Hera). Meanwhile, the Disney version has Herc as a god who is stolen away, then raised by kindly farmers who instill him with a foundation of good, before becoming a hero to the masses so he can rise to godhood again. To be fair, I realize that the Disney version couldn't be a womanizer, or be the by-product of an affair, but it seems more Superman than Hercules.

Disney didn't stop at just getting the character wrong, they ignored Hercules' greatest feats. I don't know about you, but when I think about Hercules I think about the 12 labors. The stables, the apples, fighting the lion (The only lion in Disney's version is a throwaway joke!), all that, that's what makes Hercules Hercules. The Disney version opts to forgo all that to make up a story about Hades freeing the imprisoned Titans so he can topple Zeus and his kingdom.

As a quick aside, I feel really bad for Hades as a character in fiction. Talk about getting a bad rap for nothing. Poor guy is given the choice between ruling the seas or ruling the underworld, and he's forever demonized for it. Just because he's the ruler of the underworld doesn't mean he's Satan! It's not like if you're a good Greek you'll end up running around Mt. Olympus. Everyone who dies goes to the underworld and it's his job to make sure the place stays open. He needs a better PR agent. But anyway...

To top off their trifecta of terrible, the animation is just uninspired in Disney's Hercules. Aside from the fantastic Motown inspired Muse musical sequences scattered throughout, the whole movie just feels lazy. Medium shot after medium shot of the characters standing and talking with very little dynamism. I'm not asking for crazy Anime stuff, it would just be nice to see a little variation here and there.

In the end, it's a movie best left on the video store shelf (or the Netflix storeroom, if that's how you roll) to drift further into obscurity. That said, I don't think I'll ever get "Go The Distance" outta my head.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


You should have known this was coming.

Seeing that it's Father's Day, it's the perfect time to revisit this classic, no-holds-barred father-son relationship. Luke comes home from his studies to find this creepy old guy manhandling his friends, so he takes him to task. Lightsabers and shattered glass ensue until our man in black corners our intrepid hero.

But really, you should know all that. If you don't, you really need to get your geek in shape and get watching.

The Moral: Do what your father says, or he will destroy you.

Now go call your Dad, I'm sure he could use the break after all the chores he's doing today.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Most Brutal Mash Up Ever

What do you get when you mix the heaviest of Heavy Metal with an girliest of girlie 80's pop? Pure awesomeness.

Of course, there is no way that Jem is more brutal than Nathan Explosion. I'm just saying...

image via Diana Sprinkle

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The End of FrankenCastle

Remember a while back when I asked why The Punisher didn't look all Franken-Castle-y in the promo images for Shadowland? Well, I got my answer in this months solicitation:

Pencils & Cover by DAN BRERETON
The shocking conclusion of the FrankenCastle era! After his brutal struggle to kill Daken in Tokyo, the Punisher is in rough shape. In order to restore his health, hacker comrade Henry Russo sends Frank to the nearest remote place he can find -- Monster Island. However, as his body heals, Frank’s mind begins to fade into madness. Someone needs to take him down. Someone named Elsa Bloodstone.
40 PGS./Parental Advisory …$3.99

Dammit Marvel! Why do you have to take away the things I love?

I knew this was going to happen eventually, but did it have to happen so soon? The book's been so much fun, I don't want it to go back to the same ol' boring format of Frank as a vigilante. This was so much better; so much more imaginative; so much more fun. Look at this face and try to deny it:

You were taken from us too soon Franken-Castle, but you'll never be forgotten. Your battles against a Victorian Cyborg Monster Hunter and his Japanese Monster Killer Squad will go down in the annuals of comic history as some of the greatest times ol' Frank Castle ever had.

And ten years from now when they turn Frank into a werewolf, I'll be there to remind them of the good times; The Franken-times.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Bill June 15, 2010

Ugh. Disappointing weeks are disappointing. I only bought two books this week and, spoilers, I'm having a hard time choosing which one is the worst. Let's see what happens with my reviews:

Least Disappointing of the Week:

Lockjaw and The Pet Avengers Unleashed # 4
Writer: Chris Eliopoulos
Artist: Ig Guara

Why Pet Avengers? I love you so much, why do you have to do this to me? I'm trying to sing your praises to anyone who will listen and this is how you repay me: with a sub-par finale to a sub-par mini series.

I really, REALLY want this to be good, but it just isn't; it's lacking the magic of that first book. The fun character interplay is gone, the gender-confused Ms. Lion gets way too much panel time, and Throg went from being the emotional center of the team to generic leader type (not to mention that they changed his name from the awesome THROG to the significantly less awesome Frog Thor). I don't know what to say.

The theme of the series was finding one's place in the world, which is great, but they don't set it up at all, aside from Throg. Throg, who's journey we should be focused on, is tossed to the side as we are introduced to the last-minute villain (a little girl) and a hastily tacked on love plot between a Yeti and a Unicorn. While each plotline is about finding oneself and their place in the world, we never feel that moment of realization from anyone because no one is given the time to make that decision on panel.

It was all just kinda... underwhelming.

Most Disappointing of the Week:

Age of Heroes # 2
Writer: Various
Artist: Various

Ugh. Where to start with this thing? So much potential; So much unfulfilled promise.

The book's divided into four stories, two long and two very very short. We get long ones on Gravity (one of my favs) and American Son (ugh), while two short ones on the Young Masters (From the latest Young Avengers mini) and Gauntlet (from Avengers: Initiative). Of the four of them, I was greatly interested in three of them. I'll let you guess which one I didn't care about.

So what sucked about it?

First off the Gravity story, which was supposed to fill in the gap between Avengers: Initiative and Young Allies, was a whole lot of nothing. Here's a guy that has been a victim of circumstance.

His first miniseries is VASTLY under-rated and totally awesome, setting him up to be the Spier-Man for the 2000s in the 616. His next big appearance in the Beyond miniseries, had him showcase what made him so awesome; also it killed him. He came back from the dead during Dwayne McDuffie's Fantastic Four run, and then promptly joined an Initiative team in Nevada when he returned to Earth. The last we saw him, he had been transfered back to his home state of Wisconsin to serve with the Great Lake Avengers, much to his chagrin.

Alright, so background aside, what I wanted from this story is HOW he re-integrated himself back into New York and his life there. People knew he died. People knew he came back. Somehow his identity and all that was erased magically.

What? When? How? Why?

Instead of these answers, we get a story of Gravity deciding he should still be Gravity after he accidentally gets two kids killed during a villain fight. It was just... so not what I wanted to read about.

The Gauntlet and Young Masters stories were even worse. Here are some characters that were introduced and are in great big danger of falling into to limbo. I wanted a great send off for them. Where are they? What're they doing? What's their status quo? Instead we see Gauntlet in Afghanistan congratulating the soliders there for being real heroes (nothing wrong with that sentiment, just not the right place for it), while the Young Masters sit around wondering if they're good or evil. I.. what?!?!

If you can't tell, it was all very frustrating.

And that's all I got this week. All I got that was new anyway. I picked up The List: Wolverine for a dollar and it was AMAZING. Thank god for Jason Aaron and his crazy ideas, otherwise I'd be really upset this week.

Give me a glimmer of hope, how was your week?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Your Monthly Dose of Throg June 2010

A little late this month, but have no fear Throg is here.

I'm changing things up this month. While he had plenty of moments in this months Pet Avengers, leading the herds of mythological beasts to victory against an otherworldly evil, he had quite possibly his most iconic panel.

So I did what any self respecting Throg fan would do (and yes, I respect myself as a Throg fan) and created an inspirational image from it. I think it's pretty boss.

Perfect for AIM, LJ, or Blogger icons, the Throg FUCK YEAH pic will become an internet classic for years to come.

At least it will for me.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Platypus Robot Contest Winners!

With the final bell tolled, all the entries accounted for, and a week to figure out what I'm doing, it's time to announce the winner of The First Annual Platypus Robot Contest.

I could keep yabbering, but what's the fun in that? Let's get to it.


First up, getting the prize for the most tangentially related contest entry is Fluffy.

This little guy comes from Fluffy's epic webcomic Unity and is, in the man's own words, "a species that is a distant descendant of a platypus, and a copy of this character's neural patterns eventually gets uploaded into a computer that simulates its brain, and then this resulting AI eventually ends up infecting the computer and all of the service robots on the starship they are on"

So there you go. Thanks Fluffy!

Next up, comes this cute little entry from long time reader Katrina:

This little guy is cable ready, but sadly can't reach the AV plugs on his backside. Good job, Katrina!

Rounding out the runners up comes this familiar looking entry from reader Dan L:

Gizmo-Platypus fights for the rights of his people, trying to bring an end to the racial tyranny in DuckBurg. "We all have bills, can't we get along!" Thanks for bringing this issue to the forefront Dan, it's been a long time coming.

Anyway, all three of these entries get a fully enthusiastic digital high five. Great job guys!


The coveted second place goes to Robert H. and his multiple interpretations of the ol'PR

It's a Platypus for every occasion! Need help in the kitchen? Check the Toaster-Platypus. Help overthrowing a dictatorship? Call up the War-Platypus. Want to.. feel sorry for a robot? Call in the broken one. Inventive and fantastic stuff!

Robert will get a copy of Daredevil 181 and this sketch of his second favorite hero, The Man-Brute Woodgod:

I can't say I didn't warn you about the quality.


Finally, the high sought after first place goes to Emily R and her cute yet destructive entry:

It's hard to argue with his defensive capabilities. Saw blades for when it's time to cut a rug; Lazers to let them know you're serious; and Bubbles, you know, for the kids. AND she went ahead and did a logo. How awesome is that?

Emily gets Daredevil 181-183, a vial of Hulk blood, and this "amazing" sketch of her favorite hero, The Maxx:

And that's all she wrote. Huge thanks to everyone who took the time to enter, every one of your entries brought a huge smile to my face and I couldn't tell you how grateful I was for them. It's because of people like you, and really all the readers that I get, that keep me spouting off about random geekery.

Here's to an even better year two!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tony wants his money

Now fork it over.

Tony's meta message from the upcoming New Avengers #1 by Bendis and Immonen

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Bill June 9, 2010

Hey hey, would you look at that, it's Wednesday already. You know what that means: It's time for your new favorite comic reviews: The Bill!

Best of the Week:

Young Allies #1
Writer: Sean McKeever
Artist: David Baldeon

My best book of the week hits almost all of my soft spots, making it a shoe-in. Five obscure teen (or teen-ish in Firestar's case) heroes having fun, enjoying they're chosen lot in life, and talking like teens do. It's like poetry in motion. Or, you know, something like that. But, I'm totally in the tank for Sean McKeever, so I might be a bit biased.

Young Allies #1 is a gathering issue. All the heroes show up, the villains do something dasterdly, and we get a sense that it's all going somewhere, but the team doesn't actually officially join up in this issue. It's okay though, because we still get plenty of 'get-to-know-your-heroes' action in that fun, conversational way that McKeever excels at.

As great as I think this series will be, sadly don't see it lasting very long. Alas, I think this one will go down with Slingers, The Order, and all those other obscure hero teams, with a strong, but small fanbase for it's six to twelve issue run.

Sigh. Prove me wrong on this one people!

Worst of the Week:

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Dustin Weaver

So it's not that this issue is bad, it's got a lot of imagination, great character designs, fantastic art; it's just not doing anything for me. As I sat down to read it, I couldn't help to think that it might have been a better story if it existed outside the Marvel Universe as an independent book.

The idea of a secret society of world protectors dating back to the Egyptian times is an awesome one, I just keep trying to make it fit into the Marvel U proper. It's totally a 'me' problem, but it takes me out of the story and I'm unable to really engage.

I realize I'm in the vast minority here, and my cred as a comics blogger will be hurt by this, but I don't care: I just can't get into SHIELD. Best of luck Leonardo, you'll have to make the rest of your journey without me.

Avengers Academy #1 (Gage/Mckone) was totally great! I wasn't quite sure when it started, but the twist at the end was fantastic. It'll be interesting to see where it goes. It reads like what I wanted Avengers Initiative read: It's interesting, intriguing, and all the characters in it don't feel like their selling out to be a part of the machine (I'm looking at you Cloud 9!).

And that's all I got for you this week. Suggestions, comments, compliments, or complaints, let me know in the comments. One last question for you: Heralds. Is it worth it?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Nova's Got Priorities

In the midst of a life or death battle, Nova, you're worried about porn?


Richard Rider, you might just be the most true-to-life teen hero ever.

From Nova # 5 by Marv "Hairy Like The" Wolfman and "Your Mom's Pal" Sal Buscema.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


That's quite possibly the most unwieldy title I've ever typed. Anyway, this weekends movie is a neo-classic from Werner Herzog staring Nic Cage putting on his best Gary Busey. As you can probably surmise, it's a weird one. Cage spends the majority of the movie getting high, banging prostitutes, chasing away iguanas, and solving a murder in the most unorthodox way.

In this scene (a bit longer than normal, forgive me), Nic Cage interrogates an old woman and her nurse while high on a lack of sleep... and heroin.

The moral: Always tell Nic Cage what he wants to hear or he'll kill you're grandmother!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Secret of The Terminator: Skynet's Long Con

The Terminator series seems easy to sum up: An evil artificial intelligence from the future (Skynet) keeps sending killer robots to the past to kill the future leader of the human resistance (John Connor), but fails. It's pretty straight forward until you start thinking about it, then it falls apart.

Why not kill John Connor when he's five, instead of 13? Why not kill his mother when she's a little girl? Why not send more than one robot back at a time? Or go back further and kill her parents? And so on and so forth. As I was wrestling with these questions (as I tend to do) it hit me:

Skynet isn't trying to kill John Connor. Skynet is trying to weaken the human resistance by changing who John Connor is.

Let's take this thing piece by piece. First up, Skynet.

Skynet was the world's first and last man-made intelligence created to assist in military operations and generally keep everyone safe. As happens with artificial intelligence, it became self aware and opted to wipe out the human race (you know, like you do). We can surmise that as a super intelligent computer, Skynet can comprehend things that the human mind can barely wrap it's thoughts around, like the Fourth Dimension.

If we can believe that Skynet can create a time platform (which it did), then we we have to believe that it knows the consequences of it's actions. It knows that to change too much in the past would be to alter the future in unforeseen ways, possibly in ways that Skynet doesn't exist. Couple this with the John Connor led human resistance turning the tide in the war, and Skynet's motive becomes clear.

Let's move on to John Connor. When we first meet him in The Terminator, John is a capable, cunning, strategic genius leading the human resistance to victory. For clarity sake I'm going to call this John Conner, AlphaJohn as he's our model of what John should be.

AlphaJohn was raised in Los Angeles, CA by a single mother who taught him how to work hard to get what he wanted. She instilled in him the strength that he now uses to lead the resistance. While his life wasn't perfect, his experiences shaped him to be the great leader that he is. So when it came time to save his mother from time-travelling robots, he didn't hesitate to send his best solider to save her and Kyle Reese was proud to go on the mission.

And so, AlphaJohn walked right into Skynet's trap.

The first Terminator movie follows Sarah Connor as she escapes these killer robots with the help of Kyle Reese. Throughout the film, the two are drawn closer and totally bang out without protection (as people tend to do when they share a traumatic experience). And as you would expect, Sarah gets pregnant.

It's here that the first major divergence is made: Kyle Reese is now John's father. This John, OmegaJohn, will be born into a world where his mother knows the 'future' and will put into his head at a young age that he is to be the savior of humanity. It's time for the next phase of Skynet's plan.

Terminator 2 starts with John Connor leading the human resistance, this time just a strong thorn in Skynet's side instead of having it on the ropes. This John, BetaJohn, learns of a time-travelling assassination plot and opts to send his own Terminator back in time to stop it and save himself. Already this John is different than his predecessor, being more comfortable with machines than people and unable to scrounge up a volunteer for the mission.

The T-1000, Skynet's assassin, arrives in the past with the with the orders to find Sarah Connor and use her as bait for John. And so, the second phase of Skynet's plan starts to fall into place.

OmegaJohn at this point has a fairly stable family life. Sure he's the son of a crazy woman currently in a mental hospital, but his foster family offer him the strong familial presence that will guide him to being a pretty good leader. When the movie begins, he's in the midst of his teenage rebellious phase, a crucial point in his development.

While ultimately the T-1000 fails to kill OmegaJohn or Sarah, he succeeds in bringing the two together and eliminating OmegaJohn's foster family. Sarah, now more than ever sure about the future, will push OmegaJohn to be a better solider and reenforce his messiah complex, but will neglect to foster the experiences that really shape him into a hero.

Skynet's plan is almost complete.

Skynet has already partially succeeded when Terminator 3 begins; John Connor (GammaJohn, if you're keeping track) has been killed. Unfortunately for Skynet, the resistance is propelled forward by GammaJohn's loving wife Kate. As a result, Skynet sends another assassin, the T-X, back in time to eliminate Kate, or so it seems. Meanwhile Kate pulls her best GammaJohn impression and sends back her own robot protector, The T-850, to keep her and John safe in the past.

When we meet OmegaJohn in Terminator 3 he's a lonely drifter, paranoid and living off the grid. His mother's teachings about how the machines would rise up have alter John almost completely leaving him a shell of the man he would be. Given time, he'd figure out how to be that man (mostly) meet Kate and ultimately marry her, Skynet hopes to speed the process along.

For all the help it brings, the T-850 does more harm than good. In order to protect the both Kate and OmegaJohn, the robot brings the two of them together before they were supposed to meet AND reveals their future together. OmegaJohn ought to be used to this by now, but surely Kate was not and seems to resent OmegaJohn throughout most of the movie.

In the end the T-X doesn't kill Kate or OmegaJohn, but does succeed in hindering their relationship. As the film ends, our destined lovers find themselves trapped in a bomb shelter, alone, as they ride out Judgement Day.

Something tells me that Kate is a woman who likes to make up her own mind and doesn't like to be told who she's going to marry without having a say. That nugget of resentment will fester, and ultimately hinder her in the future.

Finally Skynet's plan is complete. We're left with a completely ineffectual John Connor, and now is the time eliminate the humans for good.

Enter Terminator: Salvation, the fruits of Skynet's labors. Here OmegaJohn is a half-crazed, reckless solider with a messiah complex desperately trying to get the resistance to listen to him. HIs life experiences, instead of making him the capable leader have made him a lunatic that few truly believe in.

Ultimately, in this future, Skynet will succeed in destroying the human race and won't have to resort to using time-travelling robots to do so.

That's how Skynet pulled off the greatest long con in all of fiction.