Who are the Shi'ar?


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Who are the Shi'ar?



The Shi'ar are a powerful alien empire in the Marvel Universe.  They are most known for appearing in the X-men comic stories.  The Imperial Guard attacks Earth due to the presence of the Dark Phoenix/Jean Grey.
They are currently more powerful than the Skrulls and the Kree.  X-men writer Ed Brubaker once described the Shi'ar as "smart, aggressive, and mean" like Star Trek's Romulans.


One of the distinctive aspect of the Shi'ar is their Imperial Guard.  Originally the Imperial Guard were based off the Legion at DC.  Overtime they have slowly changed and bear less of a direct resemblance.  The Imperial Guard is a group of Shi'ar superbeings who have sworn loyalty to the Shi'ar Emperor.  The guard is led by the loyal and extremely powerful Gladiator.  Gladiator is loosely based off of Superboy and basically has the same super powers of Superman.

Government:  The Shi'ar is an Empire ruled by an Emperor or Empress they are called Majestor or Majestrix.  The Imperial Guard serves who ever holds the title of Emperor.

Emperor's of Shi'ar:
  • D'ken - Obessed with power and a crytal that can bestow upon its user the Godlike power Dken ends up in conflict with the X-men.
  • Lilandra Neramani- More wise than her father Lilandra leads the Shi'ar away from conflict with Earth.  She also is a love interest with Charles Xavier.  Through Lilandra the X-men gain critical technology like the holograms they use in the dangerroom, cloaking fields on their jet.
  • Vulcan- The evil and very powerful mutant brother of Cyclops.
  • Gladiator - The leader of the imperial guard takes the role of Emperor after Vulcan is seemingly killed with a bomb full of Blackbolts energy.

Location:  The Shi'ar Empire is located between the Skrull and Kree Empires.  Their capital is artificial planet called Throneworld.

Expansion through Violence:  The Shi'ar force other worlds to join their empire.  Their advanced technology can allow them to easily take over or wipe out empires that refuse to join.

Warren Ellis described their method of expansion with a parable in his 1995 Starjammers series:

"Sharra and K'ythri are the gods in marriage. The gods who didn't want to marry, but were forced into it. In marriage they found strength and in strength they found love. That's what the Shi'ar Imperium does. It marries other cultures. Shotgun weddings."

Key Technology:  The Shiar have stargates that allow them  to travel throughout the universe, they have cloaking and hologram devices.

One key piece of technology is the Starcracker.  The Starcracker allows the Shi'ar to destroy a star.  The threat of the Starcracker is often enough to force other worlds to surrender to the Shi'ar.

Races:


The Shi'ar empire includes multiple alien species and worlds.
The main Shi'ar species is coldblooded and avian based.  They often have a patch of feathers sprouting like upward facing widows peak on their forehead.  Like a bird the Shi'ar have hollow bones.  Shi'ar are also concieved in eggs like birds. While you may not think a hollow boned alien would be very strong the Shi'ar come from a world with greater gravity than Earth.  Shi'ar are physically stronger than humans and capable of lifting one ton on Earth. 

History:
The Shi'ar end up defeating the Kree in the Kree Shi'ar war.   Leaving them as one of the most powerful remaining alien empires.


Sh'ar Art:








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Dok-Ondar's Den of Antiquities is going to steal my money


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Dok-Ondar's Den of Antiquities is going to steal my money


You can somewhat judge how successful a geeky store is by how much my wife wants me to avoid it.  She has an uncanny 6th sense or perhaps a Jedi level force attunement that allows her to sense an astroid's field's of danger coming upon my wallet.  Disney has begun to reveal the attractions and stores at its upcoming Star War's theme park called Galaxy Edge and few of the stores in particular just made my eyes pop out of their socket.  I think just looking at the pictures made my wallet get thinner.

You can see the full set of attractions at Galaxy Edge here https://d23.com/galaxys-edge-announcements/

This really should not have surprised me.  I knew that Disney would be finding ways to make money off of the Star War's franchise but I honestly did not expect anything that looked this cool.  The stores in Galaxy's Edge are not just stores but attractions upon themselves that are designed to immerse their customer'ss in the world of Star Wars.

Among the stores I noticed were Savi's Lightsaber Workshop and Dok Ondar's Den of Antiquities.  These stores are designed to be like going into a real Star Wars antiquity dealer who had been collecting artifacts from the Jedi and the Sith. 
Meanwhile, at Savi’s Workshop, guests are given the opportunity to draw upon the Force as they build their own elegant lightsaber. At the heart of every saber is a kyber crystal, and during a guided tour, each guest will have four options to choose from: Peace Justice (modeled after Jedi from the Republic era); Power Control (a nod to the Sith); Elemental Nature (harnessing air, earth, fire, and water); and Defense (shrouded in mystery). Will you embrace the light side of the Force, like Luke Skywalker, or the dark side of the Force? 
Inside Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, visitors will find a selection of mysterious and rare items for sale representing different eras of the Star Wars galaxy, including ancient Jedi and Sith artifacts, holocrons, lightsabers, and more. As they explore the shop’s nooks and crannies, they will find Dok at his desk, checking his inventory, taking calls, and barking orders at his assistants.
The lightsaber workshop that lets you customize them with their own Kyber crystal sounds amazing.

The artifcats are freaking amaze balls and they feature kyber crytals and the holocrons from both the Jedi and the Sith.  Yeah I may need one of these to chill on my shelf.  I even love the books.




Sith artifacts including a bust of Darth Maul


The statues and busts all look really cool covering the major Jedi and Sith.   Looks like they got all the major Darths.   There is even what looks like a wall of Jedi ruins.

The blue Holocron of the Jedi and the Red Holocron of the Sith hold information for both of the respective groups.



Yes that wooshing sound you hear is money leaving my wallet.



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Rise of the Drow Collector's Edition Kickstarter


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Rise of the Drow Collector's Edition Kickstarter

Some of my favorite villains are the Drow Elves.  Their intelligence makes them great masterminds but they can also be fiercsom fighters, malevolent wizards and horrifying clerics.  Soon as Drow are even hinted at players begin to stand on edge as the shadow come alive in danger.  With that in mind its of little surprise that I have been waiting for the Rise of the Drow Kickstarter that promises to bring the Rise of the Drow (2014) to 5th Edition with style.

 I think Dungeon Masters all over should check out this Kickstarter.  Its called the Rise of the Drow Collector's Edition and can be found at:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adventureaweek/rise-of-the-drow-collectors-edition-for-dandd-5e-a/?fbclid=IwAR2YzA_e3yzMyn-AwziX9k354LmH9BofYNB5JA5ePCLBa2Yc6LlnQMl0bFI

It offers a massive amount of Underdark adventures, places, creatures, encounters and maps.  With over 600 pages of content and an adventure that can take players from Level 1 through Level 20!  The cost of the kickstarter $59 for a PDF version and $99 for the hard back book version.  It is definetly not cheap (Few things in the D&D universe are).  The sheer quanity and quality of content here though makes this book cheap on a per page basis.

There is one official 5e D&D adventure book that focuses on the Underdark it is called Into the Abyss.  I know many people like it.  You can see it below on Amazon.  Into the Abyss has also been critisized for needing reworks in its encounters to sync to the party difficulty challenges and also requiring a lot of updates by the DM.  That generally does not bug me, though I myself have not run it to know.  However, that adventure also does not offer the amount of content that is in this particular Kickstarter.  Still its worth considering if the cost of Rise of the Drow is prohibitive but you still want to bring the Drow to life for your gaming group.



The Kickstarter includes multiple books combined including: Rise of the Drow: Player's Guide, The Darkness Arrives (Prologue), Descent into the Underworld (Trilogy book 1), Scourge of Embla (Trilogy book 2), Usurper of Souls (Trilogy book 3), Rise of the Drow (expanded version), The Commander of Malice (Epilogue).

The bulk of the Rise Drow Collector Edition Kickstarter material comes from the similarly named Rise of the Drow from 2014.  That epic book has taken on something of a Legendary status and many have been using it and updating for Underdark adventures.  Many like myself have been waiting for an update to 5e.  Well the update is now here.

To see why I am excited take a look at what the original Expanded Version offered.

The original Rise of the Drow (Expanded) 2014 can still be purchased on DrivethruRPG.  
The prices for the expanded version is about $50 for a softcover book depending on what deals are going on.

Looking at what was included in the Original Expanded Rise of the Drow gives you a fairly good idea of what will be in the Collector's edition.  The Collector's Edition promises to offer even more that the original Rise of the Drow expanded edition which is crazy.  Just look at all of this:
  • Brand new illustrations by Mates Laurentiu, Rick Hershey, Jacob Blackmon, Jen Page, and Satine Phoenix
  • New and revised maps by 3x ENnie award winning cartographer Todd Gamble
  • Beautiful page design by Rick Hershey of Fat Goblin Games
  • The dwarven trade city of Embla fleshed out in even greater detail
  • A fully expanded Fungi Forest spanning over 50 pages with new spells and items
  • Three main paths for the PCs to explore with options to take your adventures even farther
  • The dwarven capital of Stoneholme by Kevin Mickelson author of Mask of Death adventure
  • Jorumgard the Deep Dragon Lair by Owen KC Stephens of Rogue Genius Games
  • Vethin's Hold, a new underground city of trade and treachery by Jason Stoffa of Fat Goblin Games
  • The foul drow House Invidious by Brian Berg of TPK Games
  • Holoth, the mighty drow city of the Underworld completely revised and expanded by Christina Stiles of Kobold Press, Rogue Genius Games, and Christina Stiles Presents.
  • The gargantuan Temple of the Spider Goddess by Joshua Gullion of AaW
  • House Gullion’s home, Tolgorith Tower which spans across 6 maps and includes over 30 different locations for your PCs to explore
  • Supplemental histories on each member of House Gullion
  • The demiplane of Venom
  • Multiple ways for the PCs to end the adventure and many more ways to continue with the Rise of the Drow Epilogue: The Commander of Malice or new adventures in the Underworld!
  • New artifacts like the powerful soul-stealing Vidrefacte
  • New Traps like ochre jelly dust
  • New Special Abilities such as the third eye of fear
  • New Feats including Fused Weapon Fighting
  • New Items like giant green-spored parasol mushroom poison and Fungi Forest kombucha
  • New Magical Items such as the coin of singing and mycelosuits
  • New Mushroom and Drow domains
  • Loads of new spells perfect for adventuring underground
  • New Monsters, too numerous to list
  • and much more!
Here are some review of the original Rise of the Drow from 2014.






Check out the Kickstarter page for the Rise of the Drow Collector Edition let me know what you think.


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X-Men Dark Phoenix Trailer - Sansa Stark is messing everything up......AGAIN



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X-Men Dark Phoenix Trailers, News, and Images

X-Men Dark Phoenix is set to be the last and final film in the Fox X-Men Universe.  The long running set of films predates the MCU and helped establish the superhero genre as go to blockbusters for the film studios.  After this film the rights for the X-Men and the other Fox mutants will return to Marvel/Disney and the characters will reemerge there in that universe.  The Fox films have been hit and miss but even the most die hard MCU fans must admit that they have had some major successes.  I think the most impressive part of the Fox X-Men was its juggling of two different generations of actors and attempts to use them both in the same film.

The X-Men franchise's next generation now takes on the fabled X-Men story of the Dark Phoenix.  The ground of this story was tread in the film X-Men 3 The Last Stand.  That film shied away from much of the original stories extraterrestrial roots and is one of the most poorly reviewed X-Men films.  This film though promises to go a bit more purely into the Dark Phoenix mythos than that film did.  For one thing there are characters rumored to be Skrulls in this film.  This could point toward a more cosmic story than its X-Men 3 predessor.

Synoposis:
Jean Grey begins to develop incredible powers that corrupt and turn her into a Dark Phoenix. Now the X-Men will have to decide if the life of a team member is worth more than all the people living in the world.

Release Date:  Feb 14, 2019

Trailer

Official Trailer-





Teaser Trailer-
The first trailer for the Dark Phoenix out the night of Sep 26, 2018.




A couple of thoughts:
This film is still not going to close to the actual Dark Phoenix Saga story.  However, that story involves a lot of elements that I think would be hard to put into a film.  They have plucked out threads from that story though and woven them in with the last previous installments.  We get a further of the conflict between Xavier and Magneto but this time with his all powerful pupil in the middle.  This time the pupil is so powerful that their conflict may very well end up taking a back seat.  I like what I see, I am curious how the Agent Smith fits into this.  Is she Shiar?  Is she a Skrull or is she completly something else.  Very little clues are shown that reveal what that twist may be.

Store:
Get geared up for the final flight of the Black Bird!  Show your love for your favorite X-Men with cool t-shirts from Amazon!




Cast:

Directed by Simon Kinberg


  • Evan Peters ... Peter Maximoff / Quicksilver
  • Jennifer Lawrence ... Raven / Mystique
  • Jessica Chastain ... Smith -(Potentially a Skrull)
  • James McAvoy ... Professor Charles Xavier
  • Sophie Turner ... Jean Grey / Phoenix
  • Michael Fassbender ... Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto
  • Nicholas Hoult ... Hank McCoy / Beast
  • Tye Sheridan ... Scott Summers / Cyclops
  • Kodi Smit-McPhee ... Kurt Wagner / Nightcrawler
  • Alexandra Shipp ... Ororo Munroe / Storm
  • Evan Jonigkeit ... Mortimer Toynbee / Toad (rumored)




Dark Phoenix Posters, Pictures and Concept Art:










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Who is Max the Punisher's dog?


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http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/scale_large/6/67663/3243766-59.jpg 
Who is Max the Punisher's Dog?
 Max is a Marvel character who is the dog of the vigilante the Punisher.

First  Appearance:  Punisher War Zone #37

Species:  Canine ( Rottweiler)

Bio:
Max is an guard dog that was rescued by the Punisher, Frank Castle and used as a guard dog of his safe houses.  The dog is massive and violent and terrifies almost everyone but Frank.  The dog was initially a guard dog at Empire Check Cashing but a group of punks killed the stores owner.  Max chased down the punks for blocks and through buildings.  The dog kills almost the entire group with only two left alive, but before he can take him down the roof of the building he is on collapses.  Max is injured and trapped beneath debris.  The Punisher sees this kills one of the last punks, then knocks the last one to Max who quickly ends him.   Max has greatly endeared himself to Frank Castle for basically being a canine version of himself.  As the dog had gone to the "Maximum" to take down the punks, Frank names him "Max".

Frank sets up Max as a guard dog of one his safe houses.  The dog has a collar that unlocks a doggy door specially designed for him.  The door will not open for any other animal or person.  

In Punisher Armory #7, Frank still must be careful around Max, something that he elaborates on:
"Max started off our relationship by tooth-testing my arm and leg. Luckily, we'd both had our shots. After we became more friendly, he still tried to get me; which makes me think he acquired a taste for me. You never quite knew where his rough-housing ended and his lethal attack began. ....Micro had a theory that I got him all these chew toys 'cause I liked him; Naaah, I was just hoping to tire his jaws before he got to me."
The Safehouse Max is in is entered by George Wong an agent of the Kingpin.  The two fight, and both break apart baddly wounded.  Frank finds him and in a controversial panel pulls out a knife.  It is unclear if in the panel he was putting down Max or performing surgury on him.  Later, it is revealed that the dog is alive and Frank performed surgery on him. 

http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/marveldatabase/images/0/00/Max_in_The_Punisher_War_Journal_Vol_1_59.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20150731001413  


Max appears again in Punisher, Warjournal.   Frank brings a police detective Lynn Micheals to one of his safe houses.  There he shows the extensive level of booby trapping that goes into one of his homes  the final guard of the house is Max.  A gang called the Ghetto Rangers learns that the Punisher has entered in the house and decide to invade it.  They hope to either kill the Punisher there or wait for him.  The gang is largely decimated by a claymore, electrocuting light switch and other traps, the final few members are attacked and killed by Max.  Max tackles the last one through the window.  Biggs, the leader of the Ghetto Rangers gang is waiting outside and is impressed by Max, he knocks him out and kidnaps him.

When Castle returns to his safe house at the end of the comic he proclaims:
"They took my dog. I can't make them dead enough."

Castle tracks down Biggs but learns that the gang leader was unable to train Max and traded him dog fighting operation in Jersey.  A man named Billy began using Max in fights.  He used a taser to keep the dog incapacitated when not fighting.  Castle begins cutting his way through all of the dog fighting operations in Jersey. Castle breaks into a fight shortly after Max kills a dog in the fight.  He shoots through the various dog fighters.  The trainer Billy falls into the arena where Max attacks him and kills him.  Max and Punisher both covered in blood reunite in the arena and Castle brings the big beast home.




Power:
Much like his owner Frank Castle, Max has no super powers.  He is just big, stubborn, vicious and all around mean.

MCU:
New pictures from JustJared a battered Frank Castle confronts a pair of thugs.  Some have speculated they may have stolen a dog.
Could this dog be a version of Max?








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Detective Pikachu - Trailer, News and More


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Detective Pikachu - Trailer, News and More

Detective Pikachu is the first live action Pokemon film that will feature animated Pokemon along with live actors.  In some sense this will be a modern Pokemon version of Who Framed Roger Rabbit.  The film stars Ryan Reynolds who lends his voice to Pikachu.  While most Pokemon can only verbally say variations of their name, the Detective Pikachu main character in the film will be able to talk.  This fact is suggested to be a mystery in the trailer.


Release Date:  May 10, 2019


Synopsis: 
“The story begins when ace detective Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu: a hilariously wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to communicate with one another, Tim and Pikachu join forces on a thrilling adventure to unravel the tangled mystery. 
Chasing clues together through the neon-lit streets of Ryme City—a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world—they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon characters and uncover a shocking plot that could destroy this peaceful co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe.”
Detective Pikachu Pokemon Store:



Official Trailer:


From Warner Brothers:
The world of Pokémon comes to life! 
The first-ever live-action Pokémon movie, “POKÉMON Detective Pikachu” stars Ryan Reynolds as the titular character in the first-ever live-action movie based on the iconic face of the global Pokémon brand—one of the world’s most popular, multi-generation entertainment properties and most successful media franchises of all time. Fans everywhere can now experience Pikachu on the big screen as never before, as a talking detective Pikachu, a Pokémon like no other. The film also showcases a wide array of beloved Pokémon characters, each with its own unique abilities and personality. The story begins when ace private eye Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu: a hilariously wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to communicate with one another, Tim and Pikachu join forces on a thrilling adventure to unravel the tangled mystery. Chasing clues together through the neon-lit streets of Ryme City—a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world—they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon characters and uncover a shocking plot that could destroy this peaceful co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe. 
“POKÉMON Detective Pikachu” also stars Justice Smith (“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”) as Tim; Kathryn Newton (“Lady Bird,” TV’s “Big Little Lies”) as Lucy, a junior reporter following her first big story; and Oscar nominee Ken Watanabe (“Godzilla,” “The Last Samurai”) as Lt. Yoshida. 
Directed by Rob Letterman (“Goosebumps,” “Monsters Vs. Aliens”), the “POKÉMON Detective Pikachu” creative filmmaking team includes two-time Oscar nominated director of photography John Mathieson (“The Phantom of the Opera,” “Gladiator”), production designer Nigel Phelps (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Lies”) and Oscar-winning editor Mark Sanger (“Gravity”). Visual effects are by Moving Picture Company (“Wonder Woman”) and Framestore (“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”). 
Launched in 1996 to overwhelming response, the Pokémon brand is a global sensation that now encompasses a robust video gaming fandom with over 300 million units sold worldwide; the Pokémon Trading Card Game available in 11 languages with more than 23.6 billion cards shipped; an animated television series in its 21st season that is available in more than 160 countries; and over 20 animated films; as well as books, manga comics, music, toys, merchandise, and apps, including the wildly popular Pokémon GO, that has been downloaded over 850 million times and is enjoyed across the globe by fans of all ages. “POKÉMON Detective Pikachu” is set for release on Friday, May 10, 2019. The film will be distributed outside of Japan and China by Warner Bros. Pictures, in Japan by Toho Company, Ltd. and by Legendary East in China.
Directed by Rob Letterman

Cast

Ryan ReynoldsRyan Reynolds...Detective Pikachu (voice)
Suki WaterhouseSuki Waterhouse
Kathryn NewtonKathryn Newton...Lucy
Bill NighyBill Nighy
Karan SoniKaran Soni...Jack
Rob DelaneyRob Delaney
Justice SmithJustice Smith...Tim Goodman
Ken WatanabeKen Watanabe...Detective Yoshida
Rita OraRita Ora
Chris GeereChris Geere
Omar ChaparroOmar Chaparro...Sebastian

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