The Daily Pulse 09.13.04

Well it’s been a long week for me. As you saw in last week’s column, I’ve been doing a lot at the page. Besides the Silent Hill 4 Review which will be up tomorrow, I’ve done reviews of two of the biggest RPG’s of the fall, Phantom Brave and The new Pokemon game. Man, I must be in a really good mood, or this fall is just full of good games because I haven’t given a score lower than 6 since the first review I did for Inside Pulse, Echo Night Beyond.

As you can imagine, I’m tuckered out. But because I love you guys I’m here to kick off your week with a Daily Pulse, and an Advance Guardian Heroes, Fable and probably either a Bubble Bobble GBA or Gradius V review. But trust me when I say this is a one month special where you’re getting the Sub-Cultural Icon 3-4 times a week. So appreciate it before I burn out.

Comics
Over at the Nexus, we’ve seen Jim Trabold issue an Avenger’s Challenge. Although I haven’t read comics in a long, long time I know that “Avengers Disassembled” is the a major story arc killing off tons of characters and also starting fresh with a new team of super characters in Marvel’s attempt to be like the JLA. Wolverine, Spider Man, Captain America, all on the same team. Odd, isn’t it?

Jim’s issued a challenge to readers to come up with an Avengers team of their own and some readers have responded. Now, although I’m no Marvelite, (DC baby!), as Captain America is my favorite hero, and I sat through the last terrible Avengers breaking up forever storyline (Black Knight, Dr Druid, She-Hulk, Nebula = CRAP CRAP CRAP), I thought it might be interesting to do.

Theory:

The Avengers were at their best when they were Government sponsored. Back in the day they got 1,000 dollars a week and free room & board, food, etc etc. It was a sweet gig, except for the saving the world all the time part.

I figure let’s go back to that. Let’s bring Henry Gyrich back as liaison to the Avengers and have them be a UN sponsored organization. Let’s double the amount they make up to 100K a year, and let’s take heroes that are quite good in their own right, but aren’t Main Event caliber guys. Let’s make the focus on not only super hero interactions, but also how they deal with being a regulated organization. Show politics at its best and worst and subterfuge from their would-be sponsors as well as villains. More realism for a comic series, akin to something as if Moore and Geffen wrote it together, blending the best of both their styles. I’m also tried to avoid all mutants. Except for Marvel’s first ever one…

Here’s my team and hopefully the comics guys can comment as I have no idea what has happened to any of these guys since umm…1993-1994.

1. Nova. Nova rocked. I loved him in the 1970’s, marked out when the New Warriors debuted in a comic pitting Thor vs the Juggernaut and laughed at the Kid Nova references up until when the Sphinx saga happened and Nova was treated seriously again. I figure Nova, who has been worked (last I saw) as a delivery boy and engaged to a Harvard Law student would be happy to take on the extra cash. He’s probably in his late 20’s/early 30’s now, and he has more experience than a lot of the main Marvel Roster. Sure he’s hot-headed, but with that experience comes Wisdom and if he could go a few rounds with Gladiator (last I checked the most powerful character in the marvel universe)

2. Moon Knight. Hey, I love the guy. Moon Knight is one of my favorites. I can’t believe the guy isn’t schizo from all his pseudonyms outside the cowl, but his costume rocked and when he joined the West Coast Avengers, I ate it up big time. His reason for signing on? Konshu, god of the moon said so. What more of a reason does he need? Moon Knight however, is not thrilled about being here, but he knows there’s a darker reason for why he’s been recruited to join the team.

3. Darkhawk. He was super popular when he debuted. Then well, it plummeted as quickly as it spiked thanks to one of the worst origin stories ever in regards to his powers. Again, like Nova, we take a hero who has a niche but fanatical fan base and we bring him to the forefront. Darkhawk is of course the son of a murdered cop who was falsely set up to appear on the take. I figure Darkhawk joins up to repair his father’s legacy and also he could use the paycheck for his single mother mom and sibling. As well Gyrich knows his past and feels Darkhawk, being young and impressionable can easily be molded into the kind of Super Hero HE wants the team comprised of. Then he can slowly replace the current Avengers for ones that fit his own ideal.

4. Hawkeye. The leader of the team. No super powers, just a human with a lot of heart and will. Hawkeye and Captain America are the heart and soul of the Avengers. You don’t need Hank or the Wasp or Iron Man or Thor. You need those two. However, Capt will not be part of this story as quite rightly he doesn’t like Gyrich or the idea of a regulated Avengers. As well, Capt feels for an Internationally sponsored team, he would automatically be placed as figurehead and due to how the US is currently perceived internationally, he’d rather not have the team appear to be American dominated.

Hawkeye however, with Capt’s blessing, becomes the leader of the new avengers. After all, he led the West Coast Avengers for nearly every single issue of that series and proved himself to be quite possibly the best Avenger ever. Hawkeye is like the Martian Manhunter of the Avengers. He does need to be on the team. In every incarnation. Or they just aren’t truly Avengers.

5. Namor. If you’re going international, why not the Prince of Atlantis himself? The Bub-Mariner was always one of my favorite characters. He’s also another classic Avenger, but not a main caliber one. He creates a great tie between the old classic avengers, and this new team. Namor joins to again give the team a true international feel, and also as the prince of an entire (underwater) nation, helps to legitimize the Avengers in the face of the world.

6. Black Panther. Well, I love the character. Always have. He’s a great avenger, and I’d put him on the team for the same reasons as Namor. I’d also be tempted to have some friction between these two characters in the same vein as the 1960’s/70’s Hawkman/Green Arrow squabbles.

7. USAgent. Captain America may have refused, but John Walker sure doesn’t. Sure the US’s handpicked Captain America is someone a lot meaner and brutish than Steve Rogers, but he makes more sense that Capt, especially with the Republican in office. Not a knock, but in Cap’s old book Gruenwald (and pretty much everyone except for the Ultimates version of Captain America) has portrayed Steve Rogers as a liberal and John Walker as a conservative. I’d just see Bush, Rove and everyone else using US politics to get him a spot on the team.

8. The Crimson Dynamo. No Iron Man for this incarnation of the Avengers, but instead a Russian replacement. Not only is he known as a super villain to long time marvel readers, this gives us a chance to again see what politics in a UN sponsored team does. I’d have this be a new fresh Crimson Dynamo, possibly even a girl under the armour. She’s new, but highly trained in the use of the armour and will create again, a great contrast to USAgent. I’d say for the quite some time, she leaves the armour on in front of the other Avengers, intimidated by their legend. Plus I always loved that armour. Plus Black Widow as a Soviet defector wouldn’t work as the Russian member of the team. Too Americanized.

9. Silver Sable. As she’s very much as alpha female, she will have huge conflict with Hawkeye telling her what to do. She’s also from Symkaria, so we get another international character. Spider-Man fans should know her pretty well too. She’s also another non super-powered character, but probably the most violent and ‘by any means necessary’ character on the team. I think just by her personality alone, there is room for a lot of inter-character stories to tell.

I think the first issue would be nothing but forming the team. And I wouldn’t even have a villain until the third issue. However the first opponents for Avengers UN would be a very big challenge in Shuma-Gorath and Fin Fang Foom (although not at the same time. Sheesh!). Just the fact that the team would have to use their brains over brawn to defeat these guys would be a great story to tell, as well as make these Avengers believable to readers and to the Marvel Universe itself.

I’d also have a guest appearance from Man-Thing and Ghost Rider. Possibly Night Thrasher as well, to gauge readers opinions as to having someone that unlikely as an Avenger. Can you imagine Man-Thing and Gyrich? Comedy waiting to happen.

And that would be my team. I’d also have it eventually revealed that the people behind the formation of the Avengers and also the reason Shuma-Gorath and Fin Fang Foom were awakened were by one specific character: Doctor Doom. But not the original Doctor Doom, oh no. Kristoff Vernard, the child Victor Von Doom BRAINWASHED into believing he was the true Doctor Doom, but trapped in a child’s body. He’s obviously older now, and the ruler of UN member country, Latervia. Doom has his own reasons for these new Avengers; mainly to ensure they are kept blind to his own personal plans, and also manipulated into taking out his own enemies. I believe the real doom is lost/dead/whatever so this would be interesting. Especially when he comes back for his own country. How would the UN handle this? And what would the Avengers have to do/side with. A civil war in Latervia where the Avengers have inter-personal conflict on which Doom they should side with would be some great story-telling.

Of course, being out of the comic loop, this has already probably happened in some way or another. Pity.

Plugs

Yeager reviews the new WWE game.

Misha is still writing even after ECTS is done.

Sara Quigley and Beth Gottfried take away Gloomchen’s title as only girl writing for Inside Pulse.

Scott Keith reviews a new DVD on Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog.

Ben Morse talks about Moon Knight as well. That’s a weird f*cking coincidence. But he does love Guy Gardner, so maybe we share a bond with comic book characters.

Jesse Baker reviews the new Green Lantern comic. But there’s no Guy or G’Nort, so I don’t care. However Jesse does agree Guy is the one true GL and so he gets plugged.

Laflin is THE reason to read IP sports.

Recipe Time

This is actually a recipe I printed from January 19th, 2002 and it’s probably the most anal retentive recipe that I do. It’s because I am an INSANE Chili freak and I’ve been doing a search for the most perfect chili recipe since I was in my early teens. Here now is the recipe I finally have stuck with.

I love a good bowl of Chili. But in MN, you can’t get ingredients that are up to my level of quality. But I try to have a “bowl of red” whenever I get the chance. Usually at restaurants I am left very disappointed. The meat to sauce consistency is very crucial, although I know it makes me sound anal.

Anyways, for those of you in a better climate, here’s the personal recipe I use for homemade Chili.

Ingredients

6 dried red New Mexican chilies. Make sure stems and seeds have been removed.
3 cloves of garlic. I actually use about 6 or half a bulb, which ever is less, but when I make this for others, I know they tend to like a LOT less garlic than I do. :-)
1 teaspoon ground Mexican Oregano. Make sure it really is Mexican Oregano. There is a very distinct taste difference.
1/2 pound of pork. Make sure this is from a roast or chops, and that the meat is something you’d be willing to eat in a separate dish. You’ll see why later.
1 to 1 &1/2 pounds VERY lean ground beef. Fat ruins the chili consistency.

You’ll notice I SPECIFICALLY state New Mexican chilies. Why? Because they are simply the best on the planet. If you want me to be EVEN MORE specific, make sure they are from the Northern part of the state. Be warned that these are spicier and the taste is far more concentrated than normal chilies. Just buying chilies in your supermarket lack the total flavor one finds in these.

You might notice I left out beans as well. Beans aren’t in REAL chili. That’s an Americanization. But if you want beans in your chili (And I do usually put them in) you want very dry pinto beans. DON’T buy canned beans. They need to be dry. The best pinto beans come from Colorado and you should try and get beans 2-3 months after they have been picked, as they have the best flavor and coloring.

Speaking of coloring, you can tell how could pintos are by their coloring. They should be light in color and have light spots. The lighter the spots the better the beans are. If a bean’s spots are dark they are old. YEARS old. Don’t eat them and yell at the supermarket for carrying them.

Final tips on beans. Don’t soak them in water. Don’t get them near water. Water destroys the flavor of beans. They should only encounter water when you wash them quickly and when they are to be cooked. Soaking beans in right out.

Anyways, I’m sure you want the recipe now right?

Start by putting the chilies in a very small pot that has just enough very hot (not boiling) water that it covers the chilies. But no more. After 15-30 minutes (the chilies should be limp and look somewhat hydrated now) take the chilies out and place them in a blender. The container should be nearly full, about 3/5th of the container. Drop in the garlic and sprinkle in the Mexican Oregano.

If you’re a salt person, here’s where you put a pinch in, but I think you’ll find the meal delicious without it.

Blend the mixture until you have an orange-red mixture. This should take 2-3 minutes.

Pour the mixture into a saucepan. Slowly add the pork now. Cook the concoction covered on low heat for 2-3 hours. You can also cook it uncovered if you prefer. If you do this however, remember to add water every now to the mix so the consistency stays correct. The mix should always look thicker than soup, but thinner than stew.

At this point, remove the pork and save it for another meal. The pork is simply to add its flavor to the broth. (The Emeril fan in me showing I suppose). The pork will also be infused with the chili broth’s flavor and will make an excellent meal on its own.

Now comes the part that may throw you for a loop. Put the sauce you have made in the fridge and let it cool. Check often and as fat begins to congeal on the top, scoop it out. Removing the fat is a huge part of not only making this meal healthy, but making sure the flavor isn’t ruined.

While this is going on, you can start to cook the ground beef. Season it to your liking (I mainly use red and black pepper, a little garlic and some oregano.) and saute it until there is no pink left.

Combine the sauce and beef and let it simmer covered for 30-45 minutes. This allows the meat and sauce to blend flavors together properly.

You’ll know your end product has come out perfect by the consistency. It should appear as a medium thick soup, but the concoction retains it’s form and flavor. If the sauce has gotten too thin, the meat will be strong. If the sauce is too thick, you will be overpowered by the strength of the chilies.

Now you’re ready to enjoy an authentic bowl of Southwestern style chili. Feel free to do so…but don’t let me know. Damned Minnesota and its lack of adequate produce distresses me enough as it is. :-(

Okay. That’s now 30 pages I’ve written for InsidePulse.com this week. And I have two or three more reviews to write this week.

Next week I’m going to be focusing on movies with a review of the Documentaries Outfoxed and Uncovered, two Documentaries from the latest craze of “Holy Crap! These things actually make money now!!” thanks to Michael Moore and the “Supersize Me!” guy.