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

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This concept video was apparently leaked from Peter Jackson's production of The Hobbit. It's an exciting early look at the controversial direction Jackson may take, thematically: [kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/XC73PHdQX04" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent"Leaked Pre-production video for The Hobbit!

So this past weekend I got together with my brother and a bunch of college friends for a night of poker in Philadelphia. It was the first time this groupPoker night!

A long time ago, before I knew how to embed videos, I linked out to a David Letterman clip showing Steve Martin and Earl Scruggs (and a bunch of otherTuesday TubeWatch: Banjos and Steve Martin (and Star Wars!)

I subscribe to news alerts from both CNN and the New York Times. I find the differences in their content interesting at times. The New York Times alerts pretty consistentlyBias in News Alerts?

You know, I was going to write a whole post about the specifics of stuff I loved about The Avengers. You've already seen my spoiler-free gushing (assuming you have doneThe Avengers (2012) with spoilers, and new things on the internet

Hey... just a quick note to anyone following this blog in a feedreader or email that if you don't get any more posts from me by Tuesday, you might wantMigrating feeds

I just finished recording with my wife the inaugural edition of my completely new and wonderful conception: the "Things I didn't blog about but should have" podcast. That's right, you canComing soon...

Hmm.... how do I do this without giving away spoilers? This was simultaneously the coolest and weakest of the three X-men movies. It earns coolest because it had some excellent battleReview: X-Men 3: The Last Stand

“Journeyman” Creator Quells Cancellation Rumors - Slice of SciFi A couple posts ago I mentioned that "Journeyman" may not air all of its produced episodes this year. Well, it turns outGood-ish news for “Journeyman”

Woo hoo! I called it! Afro-Blue was surprisingly bad, though, on Monday's R&B episode. I think they got too caught up in trying to take on the judges criticisms and lostThe Sing-Off: The Final Four

Slice of Scifi - Science Fiction TV / Movie, News, Interviews & more - Jay's Doctor Who Update Well, Doctor Who's second season will air on Sci-Fi in October, as previouslyFuture Imperfect: Doctor Who on Sci-Fi

There is a lot going on in the world these days. The pace of life is increasing at an amazing rate. The progress we are making is incredible, and thereStop everything

I'm a little hesitant to review this one, because it doesn't feel like it would be fair to do so until I've seen part three and the end of theReview: Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest

For all you dad's out there, and mine specifically, Happy Father's Day. Thanks for all you've taught us, thanks for all the fun we've had. Thanks for the trips to theHappy Father's Day

Another year has gone by, and more fathering lessons have been learned. Hopefully my kids have learned a bit, too. For my part, I've learned - perhaps more than in otherHappy Fathers Day

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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