Your Quarters Worth

THE CUT

saws

Written by John Andreula



There’s something new from 5280 GEEK for YOUR QUARTERS WORTH this week. It’s called THE CUT

All geeks have massive collections of various media, toys, and collectibles. Many of those items are get forgotten or buried. Today we are all inundated with more than we can ever hope to watch, read, listen to, or play with. Much of our collections are just collecting dust.

I am coming to terms with this fact by combing through my bookshelves, media towers, and toy bins and selecting items to evaluate. I determine which items I feel the need to keep and which I am comfortable parting with.

This process is thoughtful and time-consuming. It’s also fun and nostalgic. Feel free to play along at home.

Ladies, gentlemen, binary, and agender, without further adieu, THE CUT.

Item #1:

NEW 52 GREEN LANTERN Issues #1-20, #0, & Annual #1 (with a sweet variant cover of #4)

green lantern.jpg
Aforementioned variant cover of issue #4

I remember when Geoff Johns and the JUSTICE LEAGUE were going to resurrect DC and the whole comic book industry with the NEW 52. FLASHPOINT sure was a badass jumping off point for the resetting of the entire DC universe.

Some of those early NEW 52 comics were pretty cool and well drawn. They were decently written, but overall they were ‘meh’. I remember enjoying Action Comics, Suicide Squad, and a few others. Yet, for the life of me, I cannot tell you one useful tidbit of information about any of those stories. They obviously weren’t that memorable.

I will tell you what I remember from the GREEN LANTERN story. Please forgive the inevitable misrepresenting that will occur due to old age and an overwhelming amount of content in my life.

Hal Jordan died. He was hanging out in hell with Black Hand. They were complaining to each other about their respective lots in life. Meanwhile Sinestro felt bad about something. Possibly it was killing Hal Jordan or maybe he just has a bad attitude. While Jordan was on vacation with his new BFF, Sinestro went on to become the aggressive and brooding new Green Lantern.

Some more stuff happened and eventually DC introduced the first Muslim Green Lantern. In an ironic twist of DC trying to become more racially diverse and accepting, they introduced this new Muslim G.L. as an African American man recently released from the US prison system.

Hal Jordan eventually broke up with Black Hand and escaped hell. Him and the other two lanterns confronted the creators (who look suspiciously like Watchers from MARVEL). The creators were dead or missing and the Green Lanterns discovered they had to fight the even more aggressive and brooding first lantern.

The first lantern was about to destroy the world, a lantern solar battery, or maybe just the DC universe and then, !SPOILER ALERT!, the good guys won.

The Verdict:

Yawn. GREEN LANTERN doesn’t make THE CUT.

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Geoff Johns left GREEN LANTERN to write something else after issue #20. I was equally disinterested in whatever it was at the time, despite an approximately $40 per week comic book habit.

I cancelled my pull on the series at Time Warp Comics in Boulder before the new creative team took over. Since then the set has sat in my long boxes. I had hoped they would make another Ryan Reynolds comic book movie, so the value of my set would shoot up.

Low and behold, despite Ryan Reynolds triumphant return to the big screen as a super-hero, the set did not make THE CUT. It’s too big and too much to keep if I will never read it again.

On eBay:

One is selling for as little as $37 right now.

I have taken pictures and edited them. Like most comics I try to sell on eBay, I will ask more than anyone is willing to pay. Luckily eBay is just an automated income stream and I am patient. Hopefully one day someone will find this beautiful, but mediocre set and the value will outweigh my asking price.


Item #2:

PERSEPOLIS: THE STORY OF A CHILDHOOD

persepolis

PERSEPOLIS is the story of a young girl growing up in her native country of Iran. Through beautiful, and somewhat sophomoric art, à la Matt Groenig’s style, the young girl’s tale is told through humor, sadness, and naivety.

Imagine living in a military dictatorship. Citizens have to watch what they say and do. Family and friends frequently disappear. Then the military dictatorship is overthrown by a religious fundamentalist dictatorship. Finally, the people have to watch what they say and do, but they have to do it while donning traditional religious attire and pretending to pray.

The choices are escape, face the consequences, or drink the Kool-Aid. As I read I keep asking myself, “Why don’t they just leave?” I am about half way through. I cannot wait to see how it ends. My wife tells me the sequel is already out.

The Verdict:

PERSEPOLIS: THE STORY OF A CHILDHOOD definitely makes THE CUT.

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Again I’m only about half way through the story and I can tell it is an amazing and deep tale. It’s certainly worth keeping.

Not to mention it’s my wife’s. She hates it when I ‘cut‘ stuff that is hers.

But seriously, it’s a stellar and special graphic novel. This book is an example of a timeless and important book. Yet, it resonates today, especially considering the modern sociopolitical climate.

On eBay:

Currently the paperback is available for $5.50. That’s a steal. The sequel costs even less on the marketplace. The set may make a good Valentine’s present for someone special.


Item #3:

PAPER MARIO

paper mario

PAPER MARIO was originally released as a cartridge in the United States in 2001 for the NINTENDO 64. This was the spiritual sequel to SUPER NINTENDO’s SUPER MARIO RPG. It is a first cousin in the vast family of games featuring NINTENDO’s leading protagonist and the world’s best known Italian mustachioed plumber, Mario.

I own a NINTENDO Wii. When I used to use it regularly I discovered PAPER MARIO on NINTENDO’s online marketplace. I had previously played SUPER MARIO RPG on a PC emulator and thoroughly enjoyed my experience. I decided to give PAPER MARIO a whirl.

Paper Mario stood our as the best game I purchased on NINTENDO’s marketplace by far. The game was the stuff of nerd legend. Players would travel around an open world, à la ZELDA or FINAL FANTASY, and interact with familiar characters from the annals of SUPER MARIO history.

PAPER MARIO uniquely retells the same old SUPER MARIO story. Bowser kidnaps some star spirits. He uses their powers to forge a star rod that is basically steroids for his lame-ass magic. Bowser then transplants Princess Peach and her castle into space. Mario is then tasked with traversing the Mushroom Kingdom to save the missing star spirits and his girlfriend.

There are towns of friendly goombas, koopas, boos, and toads and you can talk to and interact with each of their denizens. Each town has their own unique characters ready to divvy out quests or items to be used in battles or on mini-quests.

At times the script writing is just plain lazy. The playable ba-bomb is named Bombette and the playable goomba is named Goombario. Additionally the NPC depth is lacking. Yet, the game is entertaining, engaging, and engrossing.

Although similar stories have been told throughout the years, this one is told with a unique lens and style. It sucks players in. There are elements of traditional Super Mario game play used throughout the open world environments, i.e. jumping on enemies, going down green pipes, collecting coins, and breaking overhead blocks. The use of traditional turned-based RPG battles is what makes the game-play truly unique to the SUPER MARIO universe.

The battles and in-game action require more than the typical old school RPG select-a-skill and press the “A” button. For example, when a player chooses “jump” for Mario, they can tap “A” again just before landing on a foe’s head to repeatedly jump and drain away the baddie’s life points. I maxed out at fifteen bounces…so far.

The Verdict:

PAPER MARIO makes THE CUT.

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First and foremost, it is a digital download. I don’t even have to store a cartridge or its game case. Unless I am really hard-pressed for some space on my Wii’s external SD card memory, I will not be deleting this game anytime soon.

Obviously I won’t be selling it either since it is a digital download, so there’s that.

Even if my PAPER MARIO was a physical copy, it would stay indefinitely in my collection as long as I have a console to play it on. It would probably even sit in the same cabinet with its cousins SUPER MARIO WORLD and SUPER MARIO ALL-STARS that I have kept over the years for my dusty old SUPER NINTENDO.

On eBay:

One PAPER MARIO cartridge sold for $83 a couple days ago. Another went for $125. Both included the box and manual. If you still have an N64 you can get the cartridge only for around $22 right now.



Item #4:

JADE EMPIRE LIMITED EDITION

jade empire

JADE EMPIRE was a BiOWARE RPG release for the original Microsoft XBOX in 2005. It was a near perfect game, for its time. When RPGs were all about fantasy worlds, JADE EMPIRE came onto the scene with something different.

The LIMITED EDITION copy that I own featured an extra playable character. There was also an additional weapon as well as some making-of bonus videos I probably have never watched.

Multiple versions of games were not common back when JADE EMPIRE was released. This became a common trend shortly thereafter. This tactic is used garner additional gamer excitement and bolster release day sales numbers.

JADE EMPIRE included amazing ancient Chinese culture inspired characters, magic, and fights. It had the standard semi-linear role playing game rails and questing, but the combat resembled more of an action game. EMPIRE had a feel somewhere between DYNASTY WARRIORS and Baldur’s Gate.

Gamers could choose to play from an evil or good perspective within the story. How you interacted within the world would determine the powers, rewards, and reactions you would unlock from the NPCs and in-game quests.

Serious scenes and plot-lines were intermixed with the silly. Just after thwarting bandits you may find a scorned lover deep in his cups hiding out in a bar. You would attempt to “encourage” him to go back to his partner. He would offer to buy you off or possibly attempt to pay you to slay his lover. The choice with how to proceed was entirely yours.

Much of the story took a long time to progress. JADE EMPIRE shares this in common with PAPER MARIO. There was also a lot of on-screen reading.

It is easy to get lost trying to do and acquire everything within the game. This is also similar to PAPER MARIO, or any other RPG for that matter. Attempting the elusive 100% completion would exponentially increase a player’s game time. But that’s how I used to play games like this. (see FINAL FANTASY VII in The 10 Best Video Games of All Time Part 1)

The Verdict:

JADE EMPIRE doesn’t make THE CUT.

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I used to love this game. JADE EMPIRE featured impressive graphics for its time. The story truly was unparalleled. Throughout the years BiOWARE has churned out many high quality games, so this is no surprise.

(Here comes the “but.”)

But, I won’t have the time to play through this huge game again anytime soon. It will also be too dated to feel the need to share it with my daughter in seven or ten years when it becomes age appropriate for her.

On eBay:

I currently have this game listed for $9.99 without the manual. When it sells I will be about four or five dollars richer after fees and shipping. I’ll also have one less game cluttering up my house.


Item #5:

DOMINO

domino

Let me start by saying Keira Knightly is really hot in DOMINO. And if dudes are your thing Edgar Ramirez is pretty hot as well. I can admit it.

DOMINO was directed by Tony Scott. A quick IMDB search will tell you that in the eighties and nineties Tony Scott was the man. He directed DAYS OF Thunder, TOP GUN, TRUE Romance, and THE LAST BOY SCOUT. And that’s just naming a few of his greatest hits.

DOMINO is a 2005 movie supposedly based on a real life female bounty hunter named Domino Harvey. Knightley plays the titular character that throws knives, swings nun-chucks, and gives lap dances to gangsters.

The story takes twists and turns. It transforms from a Hollywood reality show movie into a Las Vegas mafia heist movie. There are awesome explosions including an RV and a helicopter each getting blown to smithereens. There’s also Keira Knightley in her undies and a bikini.

Did I mention Keira Knightley is prominently displayed in this film? Mickey Rourke and Christopher Walken are also basically playing themselves in the movie as well, albeit very well. Ian—pronounced I-an—Ziering and Brian Austin Green, of BEVERLY HILLS 90210 fame, are also in the film, literally playing themselves.

The Verdict:

Even though Keira Knightley is hot and swings nun-chucks, I’m not sorry to say DOMINO did not make THE CUT.

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I sat down with my family and watched Domino the other night. It was agreed that there was no need to retain the movie in our collection immediately after the completion of the credits.

DOMINO is an entertaining movie, but it’s not a keeper. It’s too Hollywood. It tries too hard. And truthfully, I just have to choose some of my many DVDs to part with because I am neurotically trying to reduce the unnecessary clutter in my life. DOMINO has been chosen.

On ebay:

One sold two days ago for $3.70. I’ll be trying my luck at 2nd & Charles the next time I go. I have a feeling this one will end up in a donation bin at some point. Leave us a comment if you want it.


Item #6:

ÆON FLUX

aeon flux.jpg

ÆON FLUX is also a Hollywood movie from 2005. It features sexy male and female leads wearing next to nothing and acting in inappropriate ways. Both compare nicely to DOMINO. Charlize Theron plays the lead and is oft barely clothed and very flexible in this bleak look at the distant future.

Human beings cannot naturally procreate—that old story. Despite this minor inconvenience, humans are also technologically and scientifically enhanced, genetically and otherwise. There’s a character that has hands for feet. It makes it pretty easy to drink coffee while holding a newspaper if you have hands for feet. That didn’t happen in the movie, but that’s what I’d do if I had hands for feet. Imagine all the possibilities.

The basic premise of this live action telling of ÆON FLUX is that the citizens of the community disappear for questioning the status quo. ÆON FLUX’s own sister gets abducted. The disappearances cause ÆON to question said status quo and eventually revolt.

!Spoiler Alert! ÆON finds herself in the midst of society-wide conspiracy. She learns the genes of the disappeared are reintroduced through test tube fertilization. These become the future generations of citizens in an effort to maintain the population numbers and productivity within the society.

All this science takes place in a jellyfish-like blimp floating above the city which Charlize deftly leaps onto.

I don’t even know if I’m explaining the plot properly, but if you’ve seen this film the plot was only a small component of the relative quality of the movie. The sexiness, action, and inventive tech were the real bread and butter of this live-action telling of the ÆON FLUX story.

I did have a few complaints about the movie. Like DOMINO, this movie was trying very hard and, like DOMINO, it was also very Hollywood. There wasn’t enough angst between Trevor Goodchild and ÆON, as shown in the earlier MTV cartoon. However, for what the movie failed to convey from the original MTV series it made up for in style and technology.

The Verdict:

ÆON FLUX makes THE CUT, but barely.

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It’s a sexy and entertaining dystopian movie. Even though the MTV anime/cartoon was better and more uniquely done. The movie still stands on its own very well.

Additionally, I already have the box set of the cartoon. So I’ll keep this live-action ÆON FLUX in case the day comes when I decide to sell the cartoon series. I expect including the movie in the sale may increase the value of the set somewhat, maybe.

On eBay:

The going rate seems to be just over $3 on this one. If I decide to part with it, it will likely end up in a donation bin with DOMINO.



That’s THE CUT. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Stay tuned for future editions where I’ll wax on other random nerdy media and whether it’s worth keeping or getting rid of.

Feel free to leave a comment below if you would like to share your own stories of THE CUT.


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