The Unique and the Useless, dose #3!

Puck

puck

  • Alter ego:                                 Eugene Milton Judd
  • Affiliation:                                Alpha Flight
  •                                                     Beta Flight
  •                                                     Gamma Flight
  •                                                     X-Force
  • Powers:                                    Superhuman strength
  •                                                     Agility
  •                                                     Reflexes
  •                                                     Durability
  •                                                     Skilled fighter
  • Species:                                    Human
  • 1st Appearance:                     Marvel Age #2             (Marvel)

Judd was a soldier of fortune, who traveled the world looking for adventures.  In one of those adventures, Judd tried to get the “Black Blade of Raazer.”   An evil spirit, Raazer was accidentally released from the blade.  In trying to defeat Raazer, Judd had to absorb him into his body.  This caused Judd to shrink from 7’0 to 3’6.  He still retained the strength of a 7’0 man but in a 3’6 body.  Containing Raazer in his body caused him to become immortal and in constant pain.

So Puck is the epitome of half a man, since he is half as his original size.  His signature move is to cartwheel around hitting people.  Hopefully he doesn’t get dizzy.  There has to be a better way to use superhuman strength other than cartwheel around.

Red Bee

red bee

  • Alter ego:                                 Richard Raleigh
  • Affiliation:                                All-Star Squadron
  •                                                     Freedom Fighters
  • Powers:                                    Carries a special “Stinger” gun
  •                                                     Uses trained bees
  • Species:                                    Human
  • 1st Appearance:                    Hit Comics #1              (DC Comics)

By day an Assistant District Attorney in Superior City, Oregon.  By night or whenever needed a welder of trained bees.  Trusty “stinger gun” by his side he lives to fight Nazi’s and gangsters.  His secret weapon, his favorite bee Michael who lives in his belt buckle, only to appear for special circumstances.  I am not sure how you would train a bee,  Bee’s live about 6 weeks, sting once then die.  Maybe these are special attack bee’s.  Born with the innate ability to listen to a guy in red and yellow spandex.  They don’t have to sting after all that is what the “stinger gun” is for.

Cypher

cypher

  • Alter ego:                                 Douglas Aaron “Doug” Ramsey
  • Affiliation:                                New Mutants
  •                                                     Hellions
  •                                                     X-Force
  •                                                     X-Men
  • Powers:                                    Omni-lingual
  • Species:                                    Human
  • 1st Appearance:                    New Mutants vol. 1 #13           (Marvel Comics)

Cypher can translate any language, written or verbal, human or alien, even computer.  During fights he would hide behind a tree or whatever was around.  He considered himself useless as a mutant.  He was most unpopular mutant.  Even the guys that did wrote and illustrated the comics didn’t like him.    He did have nice hair (I had to say one nice thing about him).

Hindsight

hindsight

  • Alter ego:                                  Carlton LaFroyge
  • Affiliation:                                 New Warriors
  • Aliases:                                      Hindsight Lad
  • Powers:                                     None
  • Species:                                     Human
  • 1st Appearance:                     Avengers West Coast (Vol. 2) #46       (Marvel Comics)

Hindsight can research and analyze events in hindsight.  So after it has happened this guy can do research and tell you what went wrong.  Ok, so can everyone else.  Not sure this needs much more explanation.

Jubilee

Jubileedecimation

  • Alter ego:                                 Jubilation “Jubilee” Lee
  • Affiliation:                                Forgiven
  •                                                     New Warriors
  •                                                     X-Men
  •                                                     X-Corps
  •                                                     Generation X
  •                                                     Xavier Institute
  • Powers:                                    Ability to project brightly colored pyrotechnics from her
  •                                                     fingers.
  • Species:                                    Human
  • 1st Appearance:                    X-Force #116 – Exit Wounds               (Marvel Comics)

Jubilee can make fireworks from her fingers.  She is great to have around during parties and especially the 4th of July.  She could control the fireworks through mental control.  Direct them where to go, how to form and when to detonate.  Jubilee has gone through several remakes, from mutant to de-powered human and finally vampire.  Now as a vampire she can be pretty powerful as long as it is a night and no garlic, silver or crosses are around.  I wonder if the brightly colored pyrotechnics of her former self would damage her current self.  That would be irony at its best.

Dose number three of the utter absurdity lambasted upon us by those who felt we were inane enough to buy into this insanity.  I am sure there will be more.  There is a lot of WTF out there.

S.H.E.I.L.D.

With the upcoming debut of the television series, Agents of SHEILD, maybe we should take a look at this Marvel group.

S.H.E.I.L.D.

  •                                    Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage,  Law-Enforcement
  •                                    Division (original)
  •                                     Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate (1991)
  •                                     Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division
  •                                     (current)

1st appearance              Strange Tales #165

MarvelShield comic

S.H.E.I.L.D. is a fictional intelligence agency in the Marvel Universe.  First introduced in 1965 in Strange Tales, Nick Fury Agent of S.H.E.I.L.D. made his debut.  S.H.E.I.L.D. was Marvels attempt to stay competitive.  Secret fictional intelligence agencies were popular on television and in the movies, Marvel wanted to make sure that they also had something to offer.  For the last 48 years, S.H.E.I.L.D. has made appearances in the Marvel universe.  They have had their ups and downs; executive directors have come and gone.   Agents have joined, quit, and died but it has never been dull.

S.H.E.I.L.D. was the brainchild of Nick Fury.  As WW2 came to a close an idea was born to form a secret organization that would protect the world from terrorism and superhuman threats.  A draft was formulated but Fury decided that the US government would not approve that type of a clandestine group.  He locked his draft away and that was that.  Or so he thought, the UN had different ideas.  When HYDRA came calling the UN implemented Fury’s’ plan and S.H.E.I.L.D. was born.  Fury had no idea this was happening.  Colonel Rick Stoner was the first executive director of S.H.E.I.L.D. but his tenure was short lived.  When HYDRA assassinated Stoner, Colonel Nick Fury was recruited to become the second executive director of S.H.E.I.L.D.  While Fury was the executive director of S.H.E.I.L.D., he actually reports to a mysterious 12 member board that gives him his orders.  It is up to Fury how those orders are implemented.

S.H.E.I.L.D. eventually grows into the world’s most powerful covert organization.  Able to work covertly with governments and superhero’s and still maintain deniability.  While at inception this was suppose to walk on the right/moral side of things and for a time it was.  All good things come to an end and it was discovered that S.H.E.I.L.D. and HYDRA had fallen into the hands of the LMD.

So now a small detour into the LMD.  Life Model Decoy, LMD, was designed by S.H.E.I.L.D.  LMD are extremely lifelike androids that take the place of a person. Developed to protect people that were in imminent danger.  That person can speak thru, see thru and completely control the LMD.  If you have seen the movie Surrogates, that is pretty much it except, somewhere along the line they became sentient.     The group of sentient LMD’s became known as Deltites.

S.H.E.I.L.D. is taken over by the Deltites and hunt Fury.  Eventually, it is shown that many of the agents had been replaced by Deltites, but the damage was done.  S.H.E.I.L.D. infrastructure and personnel were destroyed and as a result Fury disbanded it.  Fury felt in its current configuration it was too easy to subvert from within its own ranks.  Fury did rebuild S.H.E.I.L.D., but as a smaller more manageable, streamline agency.  After overcoming several skirmishes, included his death, or more specifically the death of his LMD, at the hands of Punisher.  Fury was able to rebuild his alliances with the super hero community.  Together they launch a covert assault on Latveria.  Latveria reciprocates by attacking back which results in Fury’s removal as director of S.H.E.I.L.D.  Since Fury uses the Infinity Serum, he still has ties to S.H.E.I.L.D. and currently is the only “33rd degree” S.H.E.I.L.D. officer.  In other words, he knows more than everyone put together has forgotten or will ever know.

Maria Hill takes over S.H.E.I.L.D. after Fury is removed.  This was done for two reasons.   First to keep people loyal to Fury out of power since Hill was not close to Fury.  Second, since Hill was American, she would be loyal to USA even though S.H.E.I.L.D. is a UN entity.  It was later revealed that she was only chosen so she could fail.  This is also the time of the passage of the Superhuman Registration Act and subsequent Civil War.   Not only was S.H.E.I.L.D. the enforcer of the Act, they were also tasked with accepting registered super humans as operatives.  As Civil War ends, Tony Stark becomes director.

This pretty much brings us to where we need to be as S.H.E.I.L.D. relates to the movies and ultimately to the TV series.

Agents_of_SHIELD_logo tv

There have been 9 directors of S.H.E.I.L.D.

  • Colonel Rick Stoner
  • Colonel Nick Fury
  • Timothy “Dum Dum” Dugan
  • G. W. Bridge
  • Sharon Carter (Agent 13)
  • Maria Hill
  • Anthony Edward “Tony” Stark (Iron Man)
  • Norman Osborn
  • Captain Steve Rogers

As you can see by the directors of S.H.E.I.L.D., the majority of S.H.E.I.L.D. agents are human. That is not to say that S.H.E.I.L.D. does not use or included super humans in their ranks.   There have been a few attempts to form teams of superhuman agents.  They did not meet with great success.  S.H.E.I.L.D. does have a team of Psi-Division, that uses telepathic agents to deal with the psi threats they encounter.  S.H.E.I.L.D. is very closely tied to the super hero community.

Originally S.H.E.I.L.D. was organized in an eight tiered structure:

  • technician
  • administrator
  • field agent
  • regional officer
  • special officer
  • regional director
  • special director
  • executive director

Currently S.H.E.I.L.D. is organized into Level One to Level Ten.  However, that really isn’t the whole thing, there are special people that may have a special designation of Champion Status.  This allows them the right to assemble a team to carry out any mission they believe necessary.

S.H.E.I.L.D. is headquartered in a Helicarrier.  A massive flying aircraft carrier that is kept airborne at all times.   A flying city that functions both as a home and a headquarters.

How Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. will fit into the S.H.E.I.L.D. universe is anyone’s guess.  The series centers around a group of human agents that deal with superhuman issues.  There are none of the staple super heroes in the show, although it does tie into “The Avengers.”  So it seems this will be a new branch on the S.H.E.I.L.D. tree.  Only time will tell how good or bad the series will be and how many artistic licenses are used.  That Agent Coulson is still alive after being killed off by Loki leads one to believe that nothing is off limits.

Agents_of_SHIELD_logo tv2

The Unique and the Useless, the next dose!

Color Kid

color

  • Alter ego:                                Ulu Vakk
  • Affiliation:                              Legion of Super Heroes
  •                                                  Legion of Substitute Heroes
  • Powers:                                   Change the colors of people and objects
  • Species:                                   Lupran
  • 1st Appearance:                       Adventure Comics #342         (DC Comics)

Color Kid was struck by a multi-color beam of light from another dimension.  This gave him the ability to change the color of just about anything.  Little is know about the limits of his power or how permanent it is.  There can be a case made for a temporary use of this power IE changing a color to confuse an enemy: reverse the color of the sky and the ground.   This would have to be limited to a very specific area.  If it were allowed to be used over a large area, the bad would far outweigh the good.  Think, planes.

He did have one stellar moment in comic book history when he changed the krypton cloud surrounding the earth from green to blue.  Allowing Superboy and Supergirl to return to earth and wrecking havoc for the Bizarro clan.

Doorman

doorman

  • Alter ego:                                DeMarr Davis
  • Affiliation:                              Great Lakes Champions
  •                                                   GLX-Men
  •                                                   Great Lakes Avengers
  • Aliases:                                    The Living Portal
  • Powers:                                   Portal generation
  •                                                    Ability to bring souls to the afterlife
  • Species:                                   Human
  • 1st Appearance:                   Avengers West Coast (Vol. 2) #46     (Marvel Comics)

Doorman allowed a person to teleport from one room to the next.  He did this by pressing himself against a wall creating a portal to the next room.  If you need to enter the room next door and happen to not have a key, then Doorman would be really handy to have around.  However, explaining how come this guy is hanging around all the time in case you need to make a quick escape could provide arduous.

In his defense, his power did evolve into something quite a bit more useful.  Doorman sacrificed himself so Mr. Immortal could fight Maelstrom.  In doing so he gained the ability to take souls to the afterlife.  This power is quite a bit better but has not really been explored.

Stone Boy

stone boy

  • Alter ego:                                Dag Wentim
  • Affiliation:                               Legion of Super-Heroes
  •                                                    Legion of Substitute Heroes
  • Powers:                                   Ability to turn his body into stone
  • Species:                                   Swenian
  • 1st Appearance:                   Adventure Comics #306         (DC Comics)

Stone Boy can turn his body into stone.  At first glance that sounds like it could be good, except and this is a big except, while he is stone he cannot move.  So he makes a good anchor or something to drop on people.  He did eventually learn to turn only pieces of himself into stone but it was not reliable.  His ability to transform into stone can be traced to his home world’s where he had to hibernate to survive the six month long nights.

Squirrel Girl

Squirrel_Girl

  • Alter ego:                                Doreen Green
  • Affiliation:                              Great Lakes Avengers
  •                                                  New Avengers
  • Aliases:                                    Rodent
  • Powers:                                   Squirrel-like abilities
  •                                                   Superhuman agility and strength
  •                                                   Prehensile tail
  •                                                    Ability to communicate with squirrels
  • Species:                                   Human
  • 1st Appearance:                   Avengers West Coast (Vol. 2) #46     (Marvel Comics)

Squirrel Girl’s ability to call squirrels to aid her isn’t exactly the coolest power but it could come in handy.  With an army of squirrels, enemies can be overwhelmed by sheer numbers, think Ben (rats …. squirrels not too much difference).   She did defeat Deadpool.  So the sheer number of rodents she is willing to sacrifice does allow her to come out on top.  She does have some skill at martial arts due to her squirrel like reflexes.  So she can be formidable if there are a large number of squirrels around.  Hopefully, she carries a lot of flea spray.

Gin Genie

gin

  • Alter ego:                                Rebecca “Beckah” Parker
  • Affiliation:                              X-Force
  • Powers:                                  Attractive Female
  •                                                 Blast Power
  •                                                 Earth Manipulation
  •                                                 Vibration Wave
  • Species:                                   Human
  • 1st Appearance:                      X-Force #116 – Exit Wounds             (Marvel Comics)

Gin Genie can cause the ground to shake with seismic vibrations, which would be good except…why is it that all the excepts usually turn a decent power into something useless.  Now back to the except….she must drink alcohol to make the seismic vibrations powerful.  So a drunk super hero that makes the ground shake.  Doesn’t the ground usually seem to be moving when you are drunk?  So there it is an alcoholic superhero.  How did that ever seem like a good idea.

So there is the next dose of the utter absurdity lambasted upon us by those who felt we were inane enough to buy into this insanity.  How many doses there will be is up in the air, about the time I think that has to be it, I find something else and think WTF.

Batman/Man of Steel

Henry-Cavill

As announced at Comic Con, there will be a Batman/Superman movie due out summer 2015.  When they announced it, we knew that Henry Cavill would play Superman.  We thought Christian Bale would play Batman.  If you had paid attention to all the Easter Eggs thrown into Man of Steel by director Zack Snyder,  you would have a pretty good idea that the Caped Crusader would appear in the next Superman movie.  The biggest clue was the Wayne Enterprises logo on the side of the satellite.  There was also a “Keep Calm and call Batman” poster when General Zod was destroying a building with his heat vision.  So the announcement was not unexpected.  What they didn’t announce at Comic Con was  that Christian Bale was going to play Batman and what the name of the movie would be.

Before we get into the Man of Steel sequel, let’s talk about Man of Steel  for a moment.  Man of Steel was unlike any other Superman movie.  The fact that it wasn’t called Superman is kind of telling.  It is not the typical feel good type of Superman we are use too.  This Superman was much darker, much more violent.  This Superman isn’t really worried about the consequences of his actions.  In his mind why should he be, this world doesn’t appreciate him.  This Superman walks a fine line between hero and villain.  A villain in the sense that he is driven by demons more than by morals.  General Zod on the other hand, is the villain but in this movie he is not the evil monger that we have learned to despise.  He is a soldier that is driven by his desire to save his race.  His reasons are valid and somewhat noble.  The way he goes about it pushes him into being the villain, maybe a better way to look at him is as the antihero.  Lois is a cross between Scully and Fox from the X-files, come to think of it the whole Kryptonian mother ship conspiracy sounds just like an episode of X-files.   The relationship between Lois and Clark/Man of Steel is nonexistent.  Is that important, I am not sure, but it is one less reason for the Man of Steel to care about  the outcome.  Then there is the 40 minutes of death and destruction leveled by General Zod and the Man of Steel.   Did no one notice how much of the city was leveled? How many people were killed as General Zod and the Man of Steel leveled building after building?  I can understand General Zod not giving a second thought about thousands of people dying after all he is trying to rebuild Krypton, humans are just in the way.  The Man of Steel on the other hand, is suppose to care what happens to the people of Earth.  It is hard to believe he does with this much destruction going on.  Then to top it all off, with the government looking for him, Clark shows up at the Daily Planet, becomes a reporter (not sure how he pulled that one off), pretends to not know Lois and things are just fine. The government can’t figure out that Clark is who they are looking for and everyone lives happily ever after.  Until the sequel that is.  This was a different Superman movie.  It seems people either loved it or hated it.  Personally, it had its moments both good and bad.  What it did do was make a lot of money and in the world of movies that is all that really matters.

ben-affleck

Now back to the addition of Batman into this mix.  When they announced that there would be a Batman/Man of Steel movie what we thought we knew about who would play Batman turned out to be what we didn’t know about who would be Batman.   We know now, it I will be Ben Affleck.  When this was announced Social Media went wild.  Warner Bros choice for Batman was not a popular one.  So unpopular that 76% of the tweets during the first hour were negative.   There are petitions, with 1000’s of signatures, being circulated asking Warner Bros to reverse that decision.  Why was this such an unpopular decision?  Maybe because Ben Affleck’s  previous foray into the super hero genre was an abysmal failure.  Ben Affleck was Daredevil.  Daredevil was one of Affleck’s  not so successful moments, the acting didn’t work, the relationships didn’t work, it just missed the mark on a lot of planes.  It is a tossup whether Daredevil or Gigli was worse.  What Daredevil was, was dark and gritty, so maybe that is why they picked him.  Based on what we have seen from Man of Steel, the Batman/Man of Steel sequel will follow in that dark and gritty vein.   Affleck will be older than the other actors that have played Batman and older than the Man of Steel, does that hurt the character?  As Bruce Wayne that may be a plus and make him a more believable playboy millionaire.  The difference between an older wiser Batman and a younger relatively inexperienced Man of Steel may make for a better story line. As Batman, well that might be a different issue, humans don’t get faster and stronger as they get older.  The exception to that would be if he was using  the performance enhancing drugs that have plagued professional sports.  I would hate to think they are going to go down the PED road with Batman.  Maybe it will just be labeled as new technology, after all Wayne Enterprises seems to be able to invent whatever Batman needs.  One thing is certain, Affleck is going to have to get a trainer and seriously buff up, it can be done, look at what Hugh Jackman did for Wolverine.  He can act, we saw that in Argo.   So for now we can agree or not agree with Warner Bros decision, only the people in the room where the decision was made know the reasons behind choosing Affleck.  The only thing left is to wait and see what happens.  Ben Affleck may be the best Batman or the worst Batman, it will be in his hands which one he becomes.  It will be interesting to see where it goes.  Superman has started the transformation from Superman to Man of Steel.  Maybe Batman has a similar fate in his future.

The Unique and Useless

When you hear superhero you immediately think of Superman or Batman or any number of other heroes with cool super powers.  There are a lot of those out there:  super strength, spidey senses, indestructible bones and claws, alien rings, and good old human technology.   But have you ever thought that ripping your arms off to use as weapons or being able inflate your body so you can bounce like a ball would be a good super power.  Someone has and not only did someone think of them but thought it would be a good idea to make a comic about it.  So let’s take a look at some of these unique and useless super powers.

Arms-Fall-Off-Boy 

arms

  • Alter ego:                                Floyd Belkin
  • Affiliation:                               Legion of Super Heroes
  •                                                  Heroes of Lallor
  • Powers:                                   Detaches limbs to use as clubs
  • Aliases:                                    Splitter
  • 1st Appearance:                     Secret Origins Vol. 2 #46       (DC Comics)

Even though he is affiliated with the Legion of Super Heroes, he was never really part of the Legion of Super Heroes.  Floyd was an applicant twice and rejected twice.   Now let’s think about this super power for a second….you rip off your arm and hit someone with it, giving you only one arm to work with.  So while you are swinging your arm the villains pummel you with their fists, seeing as they have two arms.   Maybe they will fall over laughing, smack their head on the concrete giving them self a concussion and pass out.    No wonder he never made it into the Legion of Super Heroes.

Matter-Eater Lad 

matter

  •  Alter ego:                                 Tenzil Kem
  • Affiliation:                                 Legion of Super Heroes
  • Powers:                                     Able to bite thru and consume all matter
  • Species:                                     Bismoll
  • 1st Appearance:                       Adventurer Comics #303        (DC Comics)

Matter-Eater Lad, as well as all natives of Bismoll, can eat all matter, including those that are indestructible.  Bismollian’s developed this ability due to microbes that made all food inedible so they evolved to be able to ingest anything and everything.  Maybe they possess goat DNA, goats seem to have the same ability.  I don’t even want to think about how they would get rid of all of the matter that they ate, since he eats super speed.  One has to wonder and all I can say is just EWWWW.   Matter-Eater does not appear very often, how to make his power useful is a challenge and back to EWWWWW.

Matter- Eater does have one shining moment.  In Superboy and The Legion of Super-Heroes #25 he consumes the indestructible Miracle Machine and saves the universe.  The machine makes him insane but fear not he is cured by Brainiac Five.

 Bouncing Boy

bouncing

  •  Alter ego:                                Charles Foster Taine
  • Affiliation:                                Legion of Super Heroes
  • Powers:                                    Inflates body and bounces like a ball, resistant to injury,
  •                                                   Invulnerable to electricity while bouncing
  • Species:                                    Human
  • 1st Appearance:                       Action Comics #276   (DC Comics)

Bouncing boy is an accidental super hero.  He drank what he thought was soda but was actually super plastic formula.  Since they weren’t too many applications for this power they made him a teacher.  He spent the majority of his time training recruits at the Legions Academy.  Can you imagine hearing this:   “Stop or I will bounce on you.”  or “Come BOING catch me BOING, I can BOING bounce circles BOING around you.”  Couldn’t the villains just pop him like a balloon?   As George Bernard Shaw wrote:  He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.  Lets leave it at that.

Jazz

jazz

  • Alter ego:                                 John Arthur Zander
  • Affiliation:                                Legion of Super Heroes
  • Powers:                                    Blue skin
  • Species:                                    Human
  • 1st Appearance:                       District X #2   (Marvel Comics)

I don’t even know what to say about this.  Blue skin as a super power, oh wait he is also an aspiring rapper.  If his rapping is as good as his super power he has a serious problem.  There is nothing that I can think of that would make blue skin a useful super power.  Time to move on.

Danny the Street

danny

  •  Alter ego:                                None
  • Affiliation:                                Doom Patrol
  •                                                   Teen Titans
  • Powers:                                    Teleportation
  • Aliases:                                     Danny the World, Danny the Brick, Danny the Island,
  •                                                   “Danny the Alley”
  • 1st Appearance:                       Doom Patrol vol. 2, #35          (DC Comics)

Danny is actually a street.  He serves as a home and haven to the outcast and strange.    He can integrate himself into a city without causing damage or disturbance.  The city just makes room for him.  He does this when no one is looking so no one will notice.  So not only do we have to believe that there is such a thing as a sentient and sapient piece of road but that cities are cognizant enough that they just move out of his way and allow him to join in.  Now if this wasn’t enough, Danny is a transvestite street.  His street is lined with hyper masculine stores decorated with pink curtains and lace.  He communicates by signs placed in his windows, type-written messages and letters formed out of manhole vapors or broken glass shards.  So if you can get someone to walk on him while discussing some super secret plan for world domination, it is possible he can teleport away and get …insert favorite super hero here… and give him a message spelled out in manhole vapors and save the world.   Yea, we will all believe that scenario.

So as not to make your eyes bleed with the utter absurdity lambasted upon us by those who felt we were inane enough to buy into this insanity.  It will be broken up into small doses.

League of Legends

League-of-legends-logo

For the first time a gamer has been recognized as a professional athlete and granted a P-1 visa.  P-1 visas are available to athletes who compete at an internationally recognized level of performance.  Think baseball, basketball and hockey.  The obstacle they had to overcome was proving that playing in this league was a profession.  Lots of professional gamers are allowed to come to USA to compete in tournaments under a B-1 visa.  A B-1 visa allows an athlete who receives no salary or payments other than prize money to compete in a tournament as a business visitor.  These types of athletes are expected to have a residence outside of the USA and return home after the tournament.

This was not the case with Danny “Shiphtur” Le, a Canadian.  He plays a game called League of Legends and gets a salary. This makes him ineligible for a B-1 visa.  League of Legends is a multiplayer battle arena type online game.  Teams of 5 compete against each other to reach and destroy the other teams’ nexus.  This is an online game so one would think that it wouldn’t matter where the team members played from.  That is the beauty of the internet, you can be anywhere in the world and connect with people from every country.  The problem in this case is that this game requires that the team be together physically while they compete.  So this maybe a completely unique problem that only exists with this particular game.

Le needed a visa to live, practice and compete with his team in the USA.  He has tried other options to compete, but was unsuccessful.  Riot, the games’ developer, came to Le’s aid.  Riot contacted immigration attorney Jeptha Evans.  Riot and Evans went to work to prove that eSports was a profession and that League of Legends pro met the government benchmark for a professional league, like the MLB or NHL.  The benchmark for a professional league is:

1.            clear rules

2.            at least 6 teams

3.            a combined revenue of at least 10 million dollars

Showing the government that it was a professional sport was no easy feat.  It had to be proved that it was a viable and consistent career.  This meant they have to find people who actually made a living from playing video games, get proof of those claims and submit the proof to the US government. .  Finding people who have made money from playing video games was the easy part, finding people who have made a living  from playing video games was not.  Video games have gone from a simple game of a ball and lines to fully immersive 3D rendered lands.  A generation of kids has grown up playing video games.  The gaming industry is a multi billion dollar industry.  It is not unusual to see video game commercials during prime time television programming.  It is only natural that there would be competitive leagues associated with online gaming and that these leagues would be sponsored.  The prize money and sponsorships can be substantial.  With Riot games willing to help and the resources they possessed.  They were able to get US Immigration officials to certify it as a professional sport.  This allowed for league professionals to apply for a P-1 visa.   While League of Legends pro has been certified that does not mean all video games are certified.  Each game must be certified separately.

Now what does this mean?  First, it lends some legitimacy to eSports.  I am sure there will be arguments about whether online gaming is a sport.  That same argument has been going on with golf for years.  With the US government officially recognizing League of Legend players as professionals, the implications of that could be far reaching.  Professional athletes, teams, and leagues are highly regulated.  As eSports become more main stream will they come under more and more regulation.  Will we end up with a professional division and an amateur division or a major league and a minor league?  Will gamers get called up to the Bigs?  College already has competitive leagues of gamers.  They do not have a governing body, think NCAA.  Will we have an army of scouts out recruiting gamers?  Then there is the question of coaches, trainers, and support personnel.

The door is open, we will have to see what comes through.

Envelope please………..

Annnnd the next  Doctor is………………..(insert drum roll)……………… Peter Capaldi.

Peter Capaldi may have been destined to play the Doctor, in World War Z he plays a W.H.O. Doctor.  Coincidence or destiny, who knows.   Interesting, very much so.

From Wikipedia:

Peter Dougan Capaldi (born 14 April 1958) is a Scottish actor and film director. He has played numerous roles in film and television, but is best known for his role as Malcolm Tucker, a spin doctor in the BBC comedy series The Thick of It and its follow-up film In the Loop. In 1995, his short film Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life won the Academy Award for Live Action Short Film. From 25 December 2013, he will portray the twelfth incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who.

So now that all those rumors have been put to rest, not a woman, not a ginger, not black, not an American, and not young.  The 12th Doctor, will be tied for the oldest actor to play the Doctor with William Hartnell, the 1st Doctor, at 55.  So we have gone from the youngest Doctor to the oldest Doctor.

  1. William Hartnell                                January 8, 1908                                 55
  2. Patrick Troughton                            March 25, 1920                                  46
  3. Jon Pertwee                                      July 7, 1919                                         50
  4. Tom Baker                                          January 20, 1934                               40
  5. Peter Davison                                    April 13, 1951                                     29
  6. Colin Baker                                         June 8, 1943                                       40
  7. Sylvester McCoy                              August 20, 1943                                44
  8. Paul McGann                                     November 14, 1959                         36
  9. Chris Eccleston                                  February 16, 1964                            41
  10. David Tennant                                   April 18, 1971                                     34
  11. Matt Smith                                         October 28, 1982                              27
  12. Peter Capaldi                                     April 14, 1958                                     55

Now that we know who the new Doctor will be, we are left with a multitude of new questions.  Who will this Doctor be?  Can a new Doctor breathe new life into a series in a slump?   When he regenerates in December what kind of Doctor will he be, serious, angry, grumpy, funny, all of these or none of these?  We know he will be kind, compassionate, moral and brave as those are traits that all of the Doctors share.    How will he shape the Doctor and make it his own and what trait will he adopt as his unique signature?  Who will his companion or companions be?  Is there going to be a new production team?  Are we going to continue down the same path?

One thing is certain over the last 50 years we have seen Doctor Who remake itself numerous times.  It can be anything in any time it wants to be.  It can replace the characters at will.  Even the main stay, the TARDIS, has been missing.   Doctor Who is different it does not have to follow the traditional rules of television series, because it can take place anywhere at any time it can be changed at will.  While it must be true to continuity when dealing with past and present characters . Nothing is out of the realm of possibilities.  They can complete a  story arc in one show or stretch it over several.   They can travel to a distant land or a distant planet in the blink of an eye.   The Doctor is for all practical purposes immortal.  Time is irrelevant, after all he is a Time Lord, he appears where he is needed to fix an insurmountable crisis, with the wit and panache only the Doctor can muster.

What it cannot do, is continue with convoluted badly executed storylines.  Doctor Who is currently suffering from what plagues all long running series.   They fall apart.  They fall apart for any number of reasons.   Most cannot be fixed, they have no place to go.  With Doctor Who if something isn’t working, they can write in a new enemy, a new world or a new timeline.  They  can kill off the main character and regenerate him.   They are not stuck following a linear path.  At its core Doctor Who is a science fiction super hero show.  But to make a successful hero series, there has to be a balance between how important the hero is and how important the cause is.  The cause has to be something that has the audience thinking “there is no way he is going to be able to fix this,” and when he does they have to believe that his solutions are realistic enough they don’t over think it.  While the hero in all of this is important, the series cannot revolve completely around the hero.   Doctor Who has become the show where everything revolves around the Doctor.  Things happen because of the Doctor, characters exist to serve the Doctor.  The more the show goes down this road the more things happen because of the Doctor, the more the Doctor changes from hero to villain.  The question becomes is it the Doctors fault the problem exists?  We expect the Doctor to make a difference, to fix the universe and make the guilty pay.   To appear and surmount the insurmountable.   Has the Doctor hit the point of no return?   Has the Doctor become an egotistical manic?    Not yet.   The Doctor is being regenerated maybe they can pull him back from the precipice he is standing on.  As Uncle Ben, by way of Voltaire, stated “with great power comes great responsibility,”  seems the Doctor has forgotten that.