The Fly (1986)

fly1986Screenplay by: George Langelaan & Charles Edward Pogue
Directed by: David Cronenberg

I really dislike Jeff Goldblum.

There were two reasons I wanted to watch this movie: 1) it is a classic sci-fi/horror film, and I couldn’t call myself a true fan of either genre if I didn’t watch it; and 2) it involves someone undergoing a monstrous transformation, which I tend to enjoy.

I didn’t know Jeff Goldblum was in it, and if I had, I might not have watched it.

I have no great issue with the premise of the film, or the writing. The “romantic” relationship between the two main characters is a bit awkward and forced, but that’s my only big issue in that area. But my dislike of Jeff Goldblum is so strong that it leaves me with a not-very-favourable impression of the film. I didn’t think it lived up to its hype, but that again could be because of my bias against Jeff Goldblum.

It’s a shame, because in theory I should have really enjoyed this film. But that damned Jeff Goldblum…

Avengers & X-Men: Axis #6

axis6Writer: Rick Remender
Penciler: Terry Dodson
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Sometimes, there are comics that are so good you just can’t wait for the next issue.

Then there are the ones like Axis #6.

This issue was horrendous. Very little actually even happened, but that’s been a problem since #3. The dialogue was terrible – I’m not sure Rick Remender has ever read a comic in which Quicksilver, Daredevil or Sabretooth have had any dialogue. Or even Steve Rogers, which is weird since Remender has been writing (a terrible) Captain America for a few years.

I couldn’t even tell what was happening in the Iron Man / Daredevil fight. Was Stark in the armour? Did he summon it from somewhere? No idea.

There is nothing redeeming about this issue at all. I’m only reading Axis at this point because I’ve passed the half-way mark – I may as well finish it.

Also, and this isn’t the fault of this book’s creative team, but one of the in-house ads is written in a language barely recognisable as being related to English. Appalling.

Guardian Force Roboman #8

logo#8 – “Keeping Secrets”
Component 03.2

Elsewhere

Jinsei pushed open the heavy metal door to the dark cell in which he held Nagura Scott, the former base administrator of Blizzard Base Zero, captive. The cell was dark; its stone walls contained no windows or other openings, and there was no source of artificial light. Attached to one wall of the chamber was a metal bar, to which Dr. Nagura was handcuffed.

The doctor struggled against his bonds, but despite his best efforts to wrench the bar free from the wall, he succeeded only in sending a loud clanging sound echoing around the room.

“Stop that, Nagura,” Jinsei said. “You’ll do yourself an injury.”

“What do you… want?” Nagura asked.

“The master will be ready to utilise your skills soon,” Jinsei explained. “Miko is out collecting the last of the items you asked for. At least… she will be, after she takes some ‘Miko time’. It seems she really hates you and would like to see you linger here as long as possible.”

“I’m not… her biggest fan… either.”

“You’re a funny man, Nagura.” Jinsei stepped further into the room and allowed the door to slam shut behind him. “There you are, locked up and at our mercy. You know there is a control bug inside your head and that I can make you do anything I wish as well as cause you extraordinary pain – yet you still try to keep your dignity.”

“It has nothing to do with… dignity,” Nagura said. “It is… hatred.

Jinsei raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”

Jinsei took a moment to consider the situation. He served a master possessed of incredible power, but Jinsei had a number of powers of his own, including the ability to control and speed up the evolution of all living things. If you wanted a rabbit with wings, or a rose with teeth, Jinsei was the person to go to.

But his powers were not without their limits; he had found that every living thing contained certain potential evolutionary branches, which changed only with breeding and the process of natural evolution. There were things he simply could not create – or, if he did manage to create them, things that would not actually work.

Despite those limits, Jinsei’s powers were incredible. Still, he could not hope to compete against his master; so he was always on the lookout for new opportunities to advance and increase his own strength – he was always looking for ways to evolve.

“See,” he said, “I know you and Miko have a history, but I don’t know what it is. What did you do to her, Nagura?”

Dr. Nagura shook his head.

“Oh, come on,” Jinsei told him. “Avoid the pain. Tell me willingly.”

Dr. Nagura turned his head and spat at Jinsei’s feet. For a moment, Jinsei was filled with absolute rage. He was too ‘cool’ to admit it, but he hated Nagura almost as much as Miko did – for months, in order to carry out his master’s plan, Jinsei had been forced to disguise himself as ‘Doctor Smith’, an assistant to Nagura on Project: Roboman at Blizzard Base Zero. He had struggled to maintain the facade of an educated bioroboticist, but had struggled even more greatly maintaining an existence in the wholly unnatural environment of the Antarctic base.

Someone like Nagura, so determined to develop technology which could be used in place of – or even to change – natural processes absolutely disgusted Jinsei, and it was all he could manage not to horribly torture the man while he had him at his mercy.

“Fine,” Jinsei rolled his eyes. “We will do it the hard way. Tell me what happened between yourself and Miko.

“N…no…!” Nagura struggled to speak. The moment Jinsei issued the command, Dr. Nagura felt intense pressure against his right temple. He immediately tried to resist the impulse to respond to Jinsei and ease the pain – but the more he resisted, the stronger, the more intense, the pain became.

“Tell me,” Jinsei repeated.

“No!” Dr. Nagura shouted.

Tell me!

Ack-k-!” Dr. Nagura slouched forward and started to cough violently. He pulled hard against the handcuffs attaching him to the wall, but had no more success than when Jinsei first entered. He continued to cough, and in the darkness of the cell Jinsei could only hear the dark blood spill from the prisoner’s mouth and splatter on the ground.

“Hmmmm…” Jinsei rubbed his chin. “If you keep resisting, I think you might just die. Whatever Miko did… is keeping it a secretthat important to you?”

Dr. Nagura spat again, but it was not an act of aggression. With his mouth free of blood he swallowed loudly before speaking: “Miko… the witch… Miko killed my son!”

Science Island

Rose Brachis frowned as she approached the office of Satoshi Kakeru, the director of all operations on Alpha 7. She had never been a fan of the man, his goals, or his methods – in fact, she downright despised him, but she could never totally escape dealing with him. As Head of Security on the artificial island, Dr. Brachis had to report to him every second day, and it never became any less of a struggle.

She knocked on the door to the director’s office and waited for a response. She had found that he never answered immediately, even when she knew he had nothing else to do – and that annoyed her even more.

“Enter.”

She pushed the door open, stepped through, and closed it quickly behind her. The office was bare, decorated only with a black desk and two chairs in its centre and one artificial light directly above the furniture. Despite his responsibilities, Satoshi never seemed to have a need for paperwork, files, or even a computer – but it was not Brachis’ place to question him.

“Sit down,” Satoshi told her.

“I’d rather stand, sir.”

Satoshi smiled. He had heard Brachis’ deputy speak the exact same words only a few minutes earlier, and he finally understood why Brachis thought so highly of him – he was her.

“I insist,” Satoshi said. Dr. Brachis nodded and took the only empty seat in the room, facing Satoshi across the desk. “I have made my decision regarding Operation: Guardian.”

Brachis smiled. “Oh?”

Satoshi nodded. “I will be moving ahead with Damien Sinclair.”

Brachis scowled. “But Sinclair has failed on every mission I have given him! Even yesterday, in New Orleans – !”

Satoshi raised a hand to silence her.

“Don’t even try it, Dr. Brachis,” he said sternly. “We both know you have deliberately set him up for failure so that you could freely promote your deputy. I have overlooked it for this long because Senshi has performed so well since his arrival on Alpha 7, but I can overlook it no longer.”

Brachis opened her mouth, closed it, then opened it again. “I… admit that I have favoured Senshi for a number of reasons… but even so, Sinclair is not the best candidate. I am concerned that by selecting him you are setting yourself up for failure.”

“The choice is mine,” Satoshi reminded her. “I agree that Sinclair is not as ideally suited to Operation: Guardian as Senshi, either physically or mentally, and that factored into my decision – after all, we would not want to risk losing our superstar security operative.”

Sir – !”

No,” Satoshi interrupted. “The decision has been made, and the Earth Defence/Leadership Directorate notified. Sinclair will be the Guardian operative.”

Brachis did not reply.

“You may go, Dr. Brachis.”

New Orleans

Sei stepped through the plastic flaps separating the back rooms of ‘Hey, Pizza!’ from the main restaurant and returned to his friends. Kiko sat at the counter where he had left her, slowly picking at a pizza, while Ikku assisted the store owner, Trick, with washing dishes in a basin within the food preparation area. He had asked Kageki to remain by the television at the back of the store, leaving him to speak freely:

“Miss Sato, Ian,” he said. “Sorceress Miko is in New Orleans. She is in the process of robbing a bank.”

Kiko quickly slid off her stool and rushed to Sei’s side. “This is our chance! We can find her, and make her take us to Dr. Nagura!”

Sei nodded. “We will need to move quickly. Sorceress Miko has at least two pixies with her. We will be in for a fight.” He looked at Ikku, who had not responded. “Ian?”

“Ikku!” Kiko called out. “Are you coming?”

Ian slowly put down his dishcloth and leaned against the edge of the basin.

“Hah!” he laughed.

Kiko frowned. “Ikku…?”

Ikku turned quickly, winked, and vaulted over the shop counter to stand beside Kiko and Sei. “Of course I’m coming! I was just waiting for you two to get the talking out of the way. Let’s go squish some pixies!”

They ran out the front door of the pizza shop a moment before Kageki emerged from the back room of the store and approached Trick. He saw the front door swinging and raised an eyebrow: “Where did Sei-tachi go?”

*

Kiko and Ikku followed Sei as he led the way through the darkened city streets. As they put some distance between themselves and the pizza store, they began to hear the sound of police sirens and shouting through a megaphone and knew they were heading in the right direction. They rounded a corner and saw, at the end of the street, six police cars parked outside a bank, where two pixies hovered in the air, one on each side of a tall, slender woman in pink and white tights.

That’s Miko?” Kiko whispered to her allies. “I could so take her.”

“We will wait for the police to make their move, then assess our options,” Sei told her.

“Hey!” Ikku protested. “Who died and made you leader?”

Sei closed his eyes, took a deep breath, turned to Ikku and opened his eyes again. “What would you have us do, Ian?”

“Henshin, grab our weapons and hit her until she falls down!”

Sei turned away.

“I think you just made him leader,” Kiko whispered.

Ahead of them, the police kept their weapons – a combination of small-calibre handguns and shotguns – trained on Miko, who smiled seductively at the officers as she stood, unguarded, on the steps outside the bank. The two pixies flickered out of view momentarily, and when they reappeared – surrounded by a dull blue glow – each carried a beige sack bulging with money. The sacks were larger than the pixies themselves, and Sei realised that meant they were supernaturally strong.

One police officer raised a megaphone to his mouth and spoke loudly into it. “Drop the money and put your hands above your heads!” he demanded. “The Black Battalion is on its way! We will not hesitate to fire on you!”

“We cannot wait,” Sei whispered. “We will need to get to Miko before the Black Battalion arrives.”

Kiko and Ikku nodded in agreement.

“So what do we do, boss?” Ikku asked.

“We henshin and move quickly. The two of you will deal with the pixies while I confront Miko. We will need to strike before the police have a chance to react. I am not sure how well the robosuits will protect us from shotgun blasts.”

“Okay!” Ikku said. “Let’s do it!”

“Let’s go, Robo!”

Energy crackled around their bodies as the already-familiar sensation of their transformations began. They felt the circuitry embedded beneath their skin pulsate as it sent the signals instructing the robosuits to allow metal shards to pierce the thin fabric and re-form as shiny silver chestplates, gloves and boots.

They were not concerned as the same metal covered their faces and the back of their heads to form thick but malleable helmets. Commands came into focus on the inside of the two-way mirrored visor that opened in the front of the helmets.

It surprised Sei how easily his two teammates had come to accept their transformation. Only a day and a half earlier they had been simply a developing scientist and the son of a scientist, respectively. In that short time, they had adapted to their new powers; they certainly weren’t experts when it came to using the robosuits, but they had learned far more than he ever imagined they would.

“Electro Blaster!” Kiko shouted. She ran forward and jumped onto the back of a police car before the officers surrounding it could stop her. Blue mist fell around her right hand as the handgun-sized weapon took shape, and she lifted it quickly, aimed it at one of the two pixies and fired. A burst of jagged yellow energy arced from the barrel of the gun and struck the pixie’s chest, causing it to freeze in mid-air.

“Yes!” Kiko cried.

Sorceress Miko turned to her remaining pixie and began to speak. “Go, now, bef – “

“Chaos Sword!”

Ikku pushed two police officers aside as he charged the steps of the bank, his black-and-silver hilted, translucent-red-bladed sword in hand. He swung it upward at the still-moving pixie, which tried to fly to safety – but as the sword moved, it seemed to everyone present that there were several Ikku’s, each with a sword of their own, attacking from different directions. The pixie dodged one illusory strike after another until, finally, the true Ikku struck. The blade passed through the pixie easily and it exploded into blue dust.

“You monster!” Miko shouted.

She turned her attention to Ikku and raised her right hand to strike – but paused as silver-gloved fingers wrapped around her wrist. Sei stood behind her and held her tightly; he had no intention of letting her escape.

Miko kicked her leg backwards and struck Sei’s left knee, and he reflexively released her arm. She jumped down the remaining steps as the police began to fire on her – yet as she fell toward the pavement her body was consumed by the blue energy cloud Sei, Ikku and Kiko knew preceded any attempt at teleportation, and by the time the ammunition of the police’s weapons reached where she had been standing, she was already gone.

Sei had to think quickly. He could teleport as well; what’s more, if he moved quickly enough, he could follow Miko’s trail. However, he knew he had only enough power remaining to teleport one more time – could he risk becoming stranded?

He rushed forward to stand where the energy left behind by Miko continued to fall toward the ground and closed his eyes. He concentrated, and the same blue energy poured from his hands and washed over his entire body; a moment later, he was gone.

Elsewhere

Sei reappeared in a dim, deserted corridor that seemed familiar. It was deserted, and a very thin layer of dust and grime suggested it had been for some time. Light fittings were set into the wall at regular intervals, but the lights were switched off.

He had been there before.

I know this place, Sei thought. This is… Science Island!