Presenting... Issue 19... AND Issue 19!

This week is a double-shot of Issue 19 releases!

Yes, that's right, a DOUBLE-SHOT!

First out of the gate, released on November 29th, was "Guardians of the Dawn Spotlight" Issue #19...

This is the continuation of the "Time and Changes" storyline, this time featuring the history of Icon Powers, the older "Powers" family member that came to Paragon City from another universe. He's been on the sidelines for a while now, and if you read Issue #0 then you'd know PART of the reason why. But there is another part to the story that explains why he needs a tech-based suit to augment his abilities, and it ties into events shown as far back as Issue #1!

Then the next day, November 30th, Paragon Studios unleashed their own Issue #19... ALPHA STRIKE!

And boy did they come up with some SERIOUS changes!

First, we have the start of the Incarnate System, the FINAL evolution of a hero or villain (or those in between). This is a ten-level journey (with the first being ALPHA) that will expand on ALL of your powers to a level unheard of before. You will eventually be on the same level as Statesman or Lord Recluse.

Then there is the merging of all transport systems. The Paragon Transportation Authority has merged its Green and Yellow monorail lines to create ONE transportation system that takes you anywhere you have an active monorail service. Likewise, the Ferry system is merged so you can go to any ferry port and go to anyplace that has such a port.

The same applies to the Rogue Isles, including the Black Helicopter system provided by Arachnos.

Also anyone that can create Praetorians

We have more power customization, with alternate animations for more abilities. We have free auras (snowflakes and fireflies). A rather significant change is that the "Fitness" Power Pool is now an inherent power at Level 2. (You will be given TWO power respec tokens so you can fix this if you have already slotted Fitness powers. The first was given with I19's release, the second will be given on December 8th, so don't delay in re-doing your abilities!) Also, Kheldians will now have access to the Fitness power even in their alternate cosmic forms. (This was something not possible when it was a Power Pool.)

This is just SOME of the various changes being made, and I haven't even mentioned the changes in Praetoria! The only thing really missing here is Quality-of-Life changes for supergroup bases, but I hope that will be sooner rather than later down the line.

So be sure to check out Issue 19 of "Guardians of the Dawn", and then log in and take part in all of the fun stuff for Issue 19: Alpha Strike!


Paragon Pundit Hero Movie Review #22

Paragon Pundit Hero Movie Review
#22: Fantastic Four

In the world of comic, the “Fantastic Four” are dubbed “The First Superhero Family”, although in many instances they are the “First Dysfunctional Superhero Family”. Created in 1961 by comic legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the “Fantastic Four” focus on the quartet team of Reed “Mister Fantastic” Richards, Susan “Invisible Girl” Storm, Johnny “Human Torch” Storm, and Ben “The Ever-Loving Blue-Eyed Thing” Grimm. It was the first team series published by Marvel Comics, and it would also be the series that would introduce some of Marvel’s signature villain, including Victor Von Doom (aka “Doctor Doom”) and Galactus. It would also introduce notable cosmic beings The Watcher and Silver Surfer.

The quartet roster would change over the decades as Reed and Susan got married and had children. Temporary members include She-Hulk, Storm (from the X-Men), the Hulk, Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, and Wolverine. This was also a rare superhero team that did not have secret identities, as their lives were as about as public as Hollywood celebrities, and even their Baxter Building stood out in the New York City skyline.

Needless to say, Marvel Comics desperately wanted to do a movie featuring this team, and in the 1980’s they gave the rights to Constatin Film.

Unfortunately those rights were set to expire in 1992 unless filming began before then. Determined to keep the film rights, the studio hired famed B-movie director Roger Corman (of “Battle Beyond the Stars”, “Death Race 2000” and “Galaxy of Terror”) to direct this on the cheap. Production was finished in 1993 and was given an “official” release date for 1994. The cast and crew were all supposedly led to believe that even if the movie would not be released, their work would be used at some point as a pilot for a TV series. The studio then announced that the movie would never be released EVER, all copies were destroyed, any mention of the movie was purged from the books, and all participants were then shipped to undisclosed locations to have their memories wiped by Charles Xavier. (Okay, I’m kidding about the last two parts.)

Bear in mind that the first rule of denying the existence of a movie means that it WILL show up as bootleg releases at comic and fantasy conventions, which is how THIS reviewer knows that the original movie exists!

But with Constatin Film keeping the rights of the film, they were eventually able to raise the money needed to come up with a proper major studio production and release of the “Fantastic Four” movie.

“Fantastic Four” (or “Fantastic 4” as it was alternatively titled) was released by 20th Century Fox for Constantin Film in 2005, directed by Tim Story. It stars Ioan Gruffuld, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, Chris Evans, Julian McMahon, Kerry Washington, and Laurie Holden, with special cameo appearance by Stan Lee.

The film starts with Reed Richards (Gruffuld) and Ben Grimm (Chicklis) arriving at the door of Von Doom Industries to convince Reed’s old MIT classmate Victor Von Doom (McMahon) to finance his experiment. Reed believed that life on Earth came from a wave of cosmic energy that was set to make its return, and he planned on measuring its effects in space. But when NASA said no to the idea, Reed turned to Victor for help. Victor agrees to the project, provided he goes up to the station with them along with his girlfriend, Dr. Susan Storm (Alba), and her brother, thrill-seeking pilot Johnny (Evans). Reed looks forward to working with Susan again, although Ben objects both to Victor’s presence and to Johnny piloting the shuttle.

In the private space station, Reed discovers that the cosmic wave would reach them sooner than earlier predicted, and it sweeps the station before they could retreat to join Victor in the safety of the shielded sections. They find themselves back on Earth in quarantine, unsure of what the cosmic radiation would do to them.

Sure enough, they each discover the radiation had changed their bodies. Johnny found out his body could generate heat and fire without burning him. Susan’s body could turn invisible and project invisible waves outward. Reed could stretch any part of his body to seemingly infinite lengths. Ben, however, suffers the worst of the changes as he becomes a rock-skinned creature with a deep gravely voice. His changes are so dramatic that his fiancĂ©e Debbie (Holden) wants nothing to do with him. Depressed, Ben finds himself on the Brooklyn Bridge and inadvertently causes a scene which has the police and fire department rushing over. When a traffic accident knocks a responding ladder truck over the bridge, the others quickly move to contain the damage and save lives, with their actions being broadcast on TV around the world. The media dubs them the “Fantastic Four”, and Reed takes control of the team and announces they would retreat to the Baxter Building for further study. The change of scenery allow Reed and Susan to get closer, and Ben even ends up with a new girlfriend, in the form of blind artist Alicia Masters (Washington).

The news of the “Fantastic Four” along with the disaster of the space station bankrupts Doom’s business and his investors quickly abandon him. But Doom was also changed from the cosmic wave, and soon he develops electro-magnetic powers as well as taking on a metallic appearance. Reaching for a metallic mask that was once a gift, Doom vows revenge on Reed Richards and his new “family”.

I’m going to leave the rest for you to discover, but sufficient to say the rest of the film does both the characters and their creators justice.

The movie is a welcomed break from the original comic origins, which involved the Mole Man and one of his giant creatures. It provides an easier explanation for their powers, as well as the “unstable molecules” idea that would become key to explain how they could use their powers without ending up naked (something that Alba’s Susan Storm found out the hard way on more than one occasion). I do, however, have to balk at it used to justify Reed’s sudden “touch of grey”.

The casting was top-notch, especially with Chicklis and Evans. Chicklis lived up to the character both as Ben Grimm and as The Thing. Sadly, McMahon’s character of Doom, although narcissistic and sociopathic in nature, was a little wooden… or, in this case, mechanical. Overall the story jumped a few places, but not in crucial ones. I’m surprised that for someone who couldn’t afford to pay his bills, Reed could somehow get funding for the equipment they used when they moved into the Baxter Building. Where was all this equipment at Von Doom’s undisclosed hospital? Or did they blow the money on restaurant settings, helipads, and hot escorts doubling as nurses?

There are multiple versions of the DVD release, including an expanded version that incorporated some of the deleted or alternate scenes. Get them if you wish, but the movie enough is worth the purchase.

Having seen both this version and the original Corman incarnation, I have to say that the executives at Constatin Film redeemed themselves with this release, although it still does not justify the level of duplicity they used surrounding the 1993 production.

Capes: The heroic qualities of the film gave it four capes out of five.

Sadly, a lot of sharp cheddar (3) cheese, mostly by Evans’ hammy performance and the montage of Johnny’s various pranks and jokes at the expense of Ben.

Books: Good story, but lacking in a few areas. It only gets four out of five books.


City of Heroes Origins Pack

Once again, Paragon Studios has released a "goody" package. This time around, instead of lame dance moves and "sports" poses, we have tangible goodies. COSTUME PIECES!
This is the ORIGINS PACK.

Looks nice, huh? Capes and auras... each based on a character's power origin. And supposedly you can access these at Level 1 - which is important, because normally you can't access capes until you pass a special trial at Level 20, and you can't do auras until you pass that special trial at Level 30! Also, just because the costumes and auras are designed for specific origins, that doesn't mean you're restricted to those origins.

Okay, they look nice, and I would even be interested in getting them... except for one thing.

The price.

They want $9.95 for this goody pack! That's about two-to-three dollars too much.

That's the same price as a Super Booster pack. Those packs have costume pieces, auras, and special features. This is just capes and auras. No additional features.

As I mentioned in an earlier review, the "Party Pack" costs $7.95, and that was far too much for a bunch of lame emotes.

I won't go so far as to say that NCSoft/Paragon Studios dropped the ball like they did with the Party Pack, but I will say they're asking more for this kind of pack than what they should be worth. I think I'll probably wait until the price on these go down before I consider it.


Issue 19 pre-loading now

Okay CoH/CoV/GR operatives... you may have noticed a little "update" slipped in after you logged off of the system.

Yes, Issue 19 is pre-loading.

Which is strange for me because when I think "Issue 19", I'm not thinking "Alpha Strike". I'm thinking "Guardians of the Dawn Spotlight". Both of these WILL be out this month!

Oh, and don't tell anyone this (*wink-wink*) but here's the cover to the GotD Issue 19...

Looks good, huh? Yeah, it's "Phase 2" of the "Time and Changes" storyline, and this one will have some surprises you won't expect! Some names and faces from "Issue 0" will be returning.

Anyway, back to "Alpha Strike"...

For those who are not familiar with the pre-load, this is a way for the developers to get most of the big changes put in without being TOO much of an inconvenience.

So, for instance, you have 100mb worth of changes you want to put in. You COULD load them up before the game starts, like all of the other updates... but this would take a lot of time, especially for those who don't have high speed cable access.

OR... you could load the bulk of the changes after the player exits the game. So all of the maps, characters, mission data, sound files, additional features, will all be there prior to launch, and then on the day of the upgrade launch, you just send a small file with what few bug fixes need to be made and a code to switch the data. It saves a lot of time and hassle.

Plus the pre-load lets you know that the developers are REALLY CLOSE to releasing that new update, because they wouldn't be doing this if they weren't confident in about 95% of the material (giving that extra 5% for bug fixes and tweaks).

SO... next time you log off, give the devs those few minutes to pre-load Issue 19. You'll thank yourself later.

AND for the COMIC Issue 19, also due out in the next few weeks, check out the OFFICIAL Guardians website at:




This is a public service message brought to you on behalf of Vanguard, the United Nations Defense organization.

From this Thursday, November 4th, 9am ET until Monday, November 8th, 3am ET, all citizens in Paragon City and the Rogue Isles need to be on the lookout for extensive Rikti incursions.

Vanguard operatives believe that this will be the peak period for Rikti forces to attack Earth.

All citizens both powered and non-powered need to be prepared for probable Rikti incursions in their area.

Vanguard will try to give each area five minutes notice before the attack is believed to begin, followed by a warning that an attack has begun in that area. All citizens not engaged in the defense of this planet are urged to seek shelter immediately when they hear these warnings.

The most telltale sign of a Rikti attack will be the change in sky color to a sickly brown-green color, which is the main mothership approaching that area. Do not attempt to engage the main mothership as Vanguard forces will keep that ship from further approaching. Paragon City residents will also see the Rikti War Walls in their area power down. This is a necessary evil as most of the Vanguard resources will be employed to keeping the main mothership from approaching Earth.

Rikti forces attack in two waves. The first wave will consist of drop ships dropping bombs onto the area. Citizens are strongly urged to NOT approach any unexploded Rikti bombs as they are set to detonate later for maximum effect. Leave the bomb disposal to registered operatives and stay as far away as possible from such unexploded devices.

Also, DO NOT ATTEMPT to approach or engage the drop ships directly. Rikti drop ships will attack any being within range of their weapons, no matter if they are provoked. Drop ships can be defeated, however it will take extremely large numbers of experienced operatives to do so, and often at the cost of further damage to the area.

The second wave consists of ground forces being teleported directly from the mothership. These consist of Rikti soldiers, automated drones, and Rikti monkeys, and they will attack anyone they see, civilian or otherwise. Additional forces will be teleported in if they encounter resistance.

All operatives engaging in the defense of our planet are strongly encouraged to seek teams to combat this threat. By working together and utilizing all resources, you will survive. However, if you should succumb to the overbearing force of the Rikti, you will be allowed to use nearby medical services without incurring experience debt for the duration of the incursion.

The Rikti are aware of the time required before Vanguard heavy weapons are able to come to bear against their mothership and they will terminate all attacks and teleport all remaining ground forces prior to that point. Vanguard will notify you when this occurs.

Advance notice has been very helpful in the minimization of casualties, and Vanguard will continue to give the citizens of Earth as much advance notice as possible.

The Rikti may have advance technology and superior numbers, but they do not have our heart or our determination. We HAVE survived their assaults and with the help of brave operatives, we WILL continue to survive their assaults.