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I'm a geek working as a distance learning specialist for a large corporation.

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If you thought he was gone, you weren't paying attention. He's back! He's opinionated! He's Australian! He's spent more time thinking about pop culture than is probably healthy! And that last bitTIDBABSH 2: Part 2: Return of The Australian

I've got a problem. There are multiple layers to this thing. And it's all George Lucas' fault. Well, maybe I have some part to play in it as well. But it'sThe Star Wars Conundrum

This is quite simply one of the best Star Wars trailers I've seen. The problem is that it's the cinematics associated with the game, and no in-game footage, so the actualIf only the Star Wars films were like this...

I'm reading a lot more comics/graphic novels now than I ever have. Sadly, that's not saying much, since I only read individual unconnected issues at a time - I neverAn attache case, an underground government, and a Spider-Man on the edge

J. Michael Straczynski - B5:TLT Pre-Production - Babylon5scripts.com Babylon 5: The Lost Tales, Disc 1 has now finished principle photography. B5:TLT is a series of Direct-to-DVD stories that focus on aNew Babylon 5 finishes principle photography

Slice of Scifi - Science Fiction TV & Movie News, Interviews & more » SCI-FI to SCI-FACT: Plasma Converter Sometimes I wonder where all the really good inventions are. Breakthroughs likePlasma Converter - the ultimate waste disposal

Just in case you missed it, the direct-to-DVD continuation of the Stargate SG-1 Ori storyline, "The Ark of Truth," is to be released next Tuesday, March 11th. You can apparentlyStargate: The Ark of Truth

To continue with the theme of my last post... Clark Aldrich talked about the similarities of video games and training simulations in one of his blogs for ASTD's Learning Circuits: Computer gamesVideo games and simulations

Well, this week was the one to launch three shows I'll be following this year (Heroes, FlashForward, and Smallville) and close out the opening season for a summer series IPremieres/Finales Fall 2009

Facebook is a place where absolutely nothing of importance happens. But you do get to see some funny, or at least interesting, posts from time to time. Here are someFound on Facebook

SCI FI Wire | The News Service of the SCI FI Channel The latest info coming out about Heroes just bolsters my impression that this is going to be a goodHeroes - the dark side

http://www.chucknorrisfacts.com/ I haven't laughed this hard for a while. I fell off my brother's couch with tears streaming down my face as I tried to read these out loud to myChuck Norris will know if you read this

Free Online Conference - Corporate Learning: Trends and Innovations : eLearning Technology I am impressed. This is a great example of putting your money where your mouth is. Tony Karrer andFree Online Corporate Learning Conference

Joe Mack owns HostPC, the company that hosts this site. He just started a new venture, called Yareo, that will become the parent company for HostPC and other internet serviceCongratulations, Joe

In the e-Learning Guild's discussion community, the concept of using stories for training is being covered. At one point, Christy Tucker noted that at a previous job she had workedInterviewing for creativity

The Colors of Control: Ex Machina

Ex Machina coverAn extremely long time after I started it, I just finished Ex Machina‘s 50 issue run. Brian K. Vaughn puts on a heck of a story.

This is one of those stories that I think would work well as a TV series. It would be a bit different than most series, in that it covers two time periods at once, but that’s part of what makes it compelling. The basic structure of an issue is that it starts in the past, and then moves into the present.

The story in the past covers the origin and selected high points of Mitchell Hundred’s career as “The Great Machine” – a flawed superhero with the ability to listen to and command machinery. For example, he can command a gun not to fire, a truck to drive away, or a bomb to not explode (for a while). He can have a cell phone tell him where it’s been… or tell it to shut-up. We see the “accident” that gives him this power, and watch as he learns to fight crimes, petty and large. We meet his nemesis, Pherson, who has the ability to command animals (excluding humans), and uses this power to cause destruction and death. And we see him in his final act as The Great Machine: stopping one of the planes on 9/11.

Each story in the past, however, quickly gives way to (and informs the plot of) the present. Mitchell has parlayed the popularity of his time as The Great Machine into a run as the mayor of New York City. Here we see him dealing with many social and political issues, intertwined with resurfacing issues from his super-heroic past. He’s vowed to put his past behind him, but can he ignore the ramifications of what he’s learning about himself and the true source of his power?

The government is watching him. His police commissioner is watching him. One of his ex-partners wants him back on the job as a super-hero, even if that means destroying his political career. The other will protect him with his life. He’s having dreams of his future – and visions of pain.

Can he single-handedly stop the destruction of the world, or is he fated to be the architect of its demise? Or maybe it’s somewhere in between?

It’s pretty cool stuff!

Excerpt from issue #1 - and more foreshadowing than I realized, despite its bluntness

Color plays an important role in the books. Those gifted with powers are scarred by lines on their faces that look like wire leads. Mitchell’s scars glow green. Pherson’s glow purple. White plays an important role later. Each color is part of the spectrum of control. Green for control over machines, purple for animals, white for … well, that’s a spoiler.

Even the final word in the entire series is a color: black. And it’s layered with self-reference, not to mention a kind of breach of the “fourth wall.”

Really well done. I recommend it as one of the better comics I’ve read. It’s for adults, though – graphic language, themes, violence, and visuals do appear. This one isn’t for kids. The themes explored about the nature of corruption and man’s motivations, hero worship and disappointment are pretty seriously tackled. (For more, with spoilers, about that, check out the view “from the gutter.”)

If you want to see Issue #1, DC Comics has made it available online.

Have you read it? Any thoughts?

(Btw… just because I avoid spoilers in the post doesn’t mean they aren’t in the comments.)

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