THE GANG OMEGA’S PICKS OF 2012: Rendar Frankenstein’s Rumination Frenzy!!

It’s with a tearful eye and a hyper-extended thumbs-up that I bid farewell to 2012.

The last twelve months have been some of the finest of my entire life. And I’m not exaggerating. Unlike those saccharine slobs who always clamor about the present hour being their finest and the preceding moments nothing more than the bliss-steps to their existence plateaus, I have no illusions about the fact that I’ve chalked up some miserable years. I’ve anguished through entire calendars, burnin’ `em up with fuel of the most incendiary sort.

Self-doubt! Resentment! Apathy! Vitriol! Cynicism! Sally forth towards the mire!

But 2012 was a whole different beast. Sure, there definitely some moments when my nostrils were assailed by the wispy vapors of the aforementioned propellants. But repugnance was ultimately cast aside, overpowered by the surfeit of wonder! It’s almost as though entertainment and art and love formed a giant sword-wieldin’, monster-destroyin’ mech, and I got to pilot the son-of-a-bitch!

If only!

Anyways, it looks as though every crew member of Spaceship OL is delivering their year-end highlights, so I’m going to join the party. But since I’ve garnered a reputation as being the erratic, currently-undiagnosed-but-we’re-working-on-it, hack-writin’ resident of the crew, I’m going to switch things up a bit. Each of my highlights will be paired with an Ultra-Dimensional Portal! By clicking on any UDP, a hole will be punched in space-time, and your consciousness will be projected astrally.

Got it? Okay, here’s one last look at 2012!


Lived Up to the Hype: The Avengers. There were a number of movies released in 2012 that I’d spent years anticipating. And while I enjoyed most of the movies I was looking forward to, none of them lived up to my expectations quite as well as The Avengers. Joss Whedon managed to take a bunch of different properties, throw `em together in the mixing bowl, and bake a nerd-cake that everyone enjoyed snackin’ on. Seriously, if you didn’t enjoy seeing the Hulk and Captain America and Thor and Scarlett Babe-spy and Arrow-Man and Samuel L. Jackson working together, then you probably don’t like entertainment.

It’s not a perfect movie, and I’m not even comfortable saying that it’s my favorite of the year, but I never thought that the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes would ever be represented so damn well on film. [UDP]


Unexpected Favorite: Cabin in the Woods. I went into this movie with the barest of expectations – I knew that its release had been delayed for years, and I suspected that it was only being pushed out because Thor is finally famous and co-writer Joss Whedon’s summer blockbuster was on the horizon. And there might be some truth to that. So I went to the movies to see a mindless horror-flick about dumb kids getting murdered in the woods, and that’s what I got.

And much, much more.

Cabin in the Woods is one of the smartest, funniest, most self-aware movies I’ve ever seen. With Goddard’s superb direction, this movie masterfully dances across the top of the fence dividing the backyards of Father Horror and Uncle Satire. In fact, the only viewers I’ve personally come across who haven’t appreciated the movie are those without a working understanding of the history of horror movies. Not infrequently, I find myself exasperatedly trying to explain how the movie is a commentary and that it’s not supposed to be taken exactly at face value, and then I realize my lack of articulation and walk away to find a Pepsi.

Cabin in the Woods is a love-song to the horror genre, and I love every minute of it. [UDP]


Mind-Blowin’ Album: The Parallax 2 – Future Sequence. When Between the Buried and Me made their Metal Blade Records debut via an EP, debate was fomented amongst fans. On the one hand, it seemed kind of bogus for an official release of such magnitude to consist merely of three songs. On the other hand, the three songs racked up nearly a half-hour worth of music, the material presented was some of the band’s most ambitious ever, and it was being touted as the first part of a two-part concept piece. As such, the fan base devoured the hors d’oeuvre known as The Parallax – Hypersleep Dialogues and then began awaiting the pièce de résistance.

It arrived in October under the moniker The Parallax 2 – Future Sequence.

Through the course of this album, BTBAM uses mindblowing musicianship to weave a narrative about space-travel and love and humanity itself. The experimental story is mirrored by the wide musical palette utilized on the album; although Future Sequence is definitely a metal album, there are striking passages in which jazz, fusion, surf-rock, and neo-classical are featured. I have no doubt that there’re fans of BTBAM wishing for a return to the incipient, metalcore days. There’re fans that just want Tommy Rogers to growl. Fans that demand constant blastbeats from Blake Richardson, and skip past Dan Briggs’ bass features. Hell, there may even be fans that don’t like it when Dustie Waring plays clean chords so that Paul Waggoner can solo.

I’m not amongst these fans. Long live the new kings of progressive metal! [UDP]


Song of the Year: Grace! After the Devin Townsend Project released GHOST, no one was really sure what was to come next; after all, that Enya-soundin’ album was originally branded as the capstone on a four-album project designed to provide Hevy Devy the freedom and catharsis he needed to keep rockin’. But with so much artistic success under his belt, it made sense for the crazy Canuck to keep writing, recording, and touring.

And thus, DTP released a fifth album: EPICLOUD!

Now, I love this album through and through. It’s a collection of hard-rockin’, anthemic tunes that’re filled to the brim with melody and guaranteed to get you shouting along and pumping your fist. But to me, the highlight of the disc is Grace! This track is almost a microcosm of the entire album, as Anneke van Giersbergen’s beautiful vocals give way to doomsday rhythms, and Devin’s ultra-positive lyrics give the listener plenty of reason to sing along.

I often get goosebumps when listening to Grace. [UDP]


Comic Books: Image Comics. Why do I love Image Comics? Is it because their publisher did an interview with us back in April? Or is it the fact that one of their top talents gave us some words back in March? Maybe it’s the fact that Image is a company that cares about the comics medium more than superhero schlock?

Yes. And more.

Not only do I admire this company for its philosophical stances and its creators’ willingness to give us interviews, but at the end they make the best comics. Boom! The truth! When I think about the comic books that’ve really inspired my Wednesday pilgrimages over the last couple of years, the vast majority’ve been published by the Third Superpower. Here’s a small selection of such choice titles: Choker, Cowboy/Ninja/Viking, SAGA, Prophet, Fell, Butcher Baker, Orc Stain, and Red Wing.

Oh, what’s that? You mean to say that Paul Pope is re-releasing The One Trick Rip-Off through Image ? Oh snap!

I don’t hate Marvel or DC. Not by a long shot. But I’m in love with Image Comics. [UDP]


Book of the Year: GUN MACHINE. Believe it or not, there are some perks to being a hack-writer for an entertainment blog with a modest but steadily increasing readership. One incredible perk that revealed itself to me was the opportunity to read a galley proof of the second novel by Warren Ellis. Now, I had hoped to write a review of this book, but I resisted the urge because the publisher never gave me the green light and I don’t want to inadvertently crimp the beard of my personal Internet Jesus.

Uncle Warren is not to be fucked with.

But I will say that Ellis’ GUN MACHINE is not only a fascinating detective story, it’s also a wonderful examination of the ways in which cities shape cultures, cultures shape cities, and both are capable of drowning individuals in that warm, fuzz-covered pond known as insanity. [UDP]


Best City Award: Toronto! Spaceship OL landed in Toronto for FanExpo, and quite a time was had. Chaperoned about by the ever-mighty Budrickton, we got a look at the wonder that is Hollywood North. Every goddamn thing about this city was awesome, constantly making me wonder about a relocation above the border. The citizens are friendly, the architecture is utopian, the babes are beautiful, the food is tasty, the beers are a’plenty, and hockey is appreciated.

What a great city. [UDP]


Biggest Bummer: Bradbury’s Passing. Not going to dwell on it, but the world lost one of its most inspiring storytellers when Ray Bradbury died. [UDP][UDP2][UDP3]


A Newer Hope: Star Wars VII! Not going to dwell on this one either, but let’s remember what transpired this year. George Lucas gave up Star Wars. It was announced that more Star Wars movies are going to be made. People who are not George Lucas are now working on Star Wars movies.

Oh, to hope again!


Moment of a Lifetime: Got engaged! On a Boston street in the middle of the day, I hit one knee and asked a babe to marry me. Against all common sense, she accepted my proposal. Shit got real! [UDP]


Adios 2012! You were a goddamn beauty, and I’ll always remember you! Have fun slippin’ around in the time-stream!