Review: "The Nobody People" is like a literary X-Men novel for the Trump era

The X-Men are often cited as a pop culture metaphor for the struggles of persecuted peoples in the face of bigotry. But the allegory is far from perfect. It's barely even present in the foundational DNA of the earliest comics. The idea of "mutants" was initially just an excuse to skip over the origin stories and get straight to the super-powered superhero antics. These days, we commonly hear comparisons between Magneto and Professor X to Malcolm X and MLK. Even though it's, erm, not quite accurate. And even though Magneto started out by literally calling his team "The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants."

But Bob Proehl's new novel, The Nobody People, takes the opposite approach. Proehl is a friend of mine — I even wrote a song to help him promote the book, before I actually I read it — and he'll pretty openly admit that he envisioned it as a sort-of love letter to the X-Men. Whereas the X-Men began as pulpy superhero comics that eventually mutated into a political metaphor, The Nobody People starts with the metaphor, and mutates into a powerful personal drama. Here, the super-powered individuals are known as Resonants, and at the start of the novel, their presence is largely hidden from the modern world. The first part of the book mostly follows war correspondent Avi Hirsch, an amputee who learns that his biracial daughter is one of those powered Resonants; once they're outed, the book shifts into a sort of Bildungsroman, with a series of episodes that follow the logical progression of what always happens when a marginalized group tries to claim their own tiny corner in a world full of ignorance of hate. Read the rest

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 coming to the Nintendo Switch

I've always had a soft spot for Marvel Ultimate Alliance and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. They were met with middling enthusiasm from critics, but they served up a whole lot of what I wanted: the ability to build my own team of Marvel heroes to open cans of whoop ass on the forces of evil. Long before Diablo 3, the Ultimate Alliance games allowed me to scratch my "quest for gear" itch, without having to log on to World of Warcraft and deal with other people. Providing me with juuuust the right combination of mindless button mashing, light tactics and story to keep me coming back, they used to be among my favorite games to turn to when I needed to switch my brain off for an hour or two.

Soon, there'll be a new addition to the franchise for me to play.

From The Verge: Nintendo has announced Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order exclusively for the Switch. The game was announced through a trailer shown off at The Game Awards, which are currently in progress; it’ll be out in 2019. Team Ninja, the studio behind Ninja Gaiden, Dead or Alive, and Nioh, is on board as developer, marking its first Nintendo collaboration since Metroid: Other M.

I'm curious about how it'll work for the Switch. The PSP version of the first installment in the series was playable, but often felt cramped on the portable console's tiny display. I guess I'll have the opportunity to find out in 2019. Read the rest

M. Night Shyamalan's Glass is looking pretty good in this new trailer

It's taken M. Night Shyamalan close to two decades and three films to fully realize his vision of a world full of super-powered heroes and villains, but here we are! Eighteen years after Unbreakable popped and close to two after Split was released, Glass is here. Well, almost. It'll be hitting theaters on January 19th.

I know that M. Night Shyamalan's plopped out a few turds over the years, but I have faith in his vision as a filmmaker and as a writer. Fingers crossed that Glass is just as good as it looks. Read the rest

Captain Marvel's first trailer is here and it looks promising

It's been a decade since Marvel launched their shared cinematic universe with the first Iron Man movie. In all that time, they've never had a film with a female lead. That's about to change. In 2019, Captain Marvel will be coming to theaters. While this trailer only gives a quick taste of what we can expect, it's enough for me to feel hopeful for a great movie. Read the rest