Month: September 2017

New campus easily accessible to southeast Lubbock residents

by MATT MOLINAR//Editor-in-Chief

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South Plains College’s newest campus location offers a workforce hub with easy accessibility to those who live in Lubbock.

The new facility, located at 3907 Avenue Q, increases student accessibility by offering a variety of programs in technical fields, including automotive technology and machinist trades, along with academic courses. The location houses more than 77,000 square feet, which will provide students with state-of-the-art equipment, multiple labs, and classrooms for instruction.

“It’s all about accessibility,” said Kevin McConnic, executive director of the Lubbock Center. “Lubbock is a population center. So by nature, having a facility here allows us to grow our accessibility. It gives folks an opportunity, who otherwise would not be able to make it to the Levelland, or even Reese campuses.”

At the Byron Martin Advanced Technology Center just down the street from the new location, SPC began offering courses in a community partnership with the Lubbock ISD. According to McConnic, the Byron Martin ATC was at full capacity, with a waiting list. The need for more space, along with the community’s need for a skilled work force, led to the planning and construction of the Lubbock Center.

“The partnership with Lubbock ISD lasted about 17 years,” McConnic said. “But, both programs were busting at the seams. Last I looked, we were at 790 students. That’s 53 percent up from enrollment at the ATC from last fall. I expect that a year from now, we will be close to capacity, which is maybe more that 400 more students. However, at this new location, we have more core offerings. The ATC was focused more on workforce development and technical fields. But here, you can get your academics.”

One wing of the Lubbock Center is where all labs and classroom for technical fields are located. The technical labs are stocked with high-tech equipment, which allows instructors to adapt to using newer technologies.

“The AutoTech program is already rockin’ and rollin’,” McConnic said. “Almost everything in here is brand new. So the instructors are being instructed. I know we have already received calls from shops in town asking if we have any students that would want to begin working in their shop. So, these guys are the experts. They will teach you everything you need to know. One interesting thing is that some of this technology is so new, that when students find a job in an auto shop, students will end up going backward in technology, because many of the shops in town just don’t have it yet.”

New, high-tech equipment, ranging in cost from $20,000 to $100,000, is also provided in the welding and metal fabrication program, which is currently at full capacity, with a waiting list for next fall.

“I currently have 16 students in class, with seven on the waiting list,” said Larry Kirk, welding instructor at the Lubbock Center. “The only issue here is that the next group of students will have to wait the whole year to enroll in the next program. This situation is high demand.”

McConnic says that around 30 instructors are currently working in the new facility, with more to come as new programs and labs are being constructed.

“Whether it’s paralegals, real estate agents, firemen, we have those experienced people here,” McConnic explained.

Kirk has been in the welding industry for 40 years. He says after he graduated with his associate’s degree in welding technology, he was able to work his way up to leadership positions. After leaving the industry, Kirk decided he wanted to teach and joined the advisory committee.

“I’ve been on the committee for about 28 years before teaching,” Kirk said. “So most of our programs have an advisory committee that does consist of people in the community that work in that specific field. They tell us what kind of equipment we need, and what skills and knowledge the students need to go and be remarkable and hirable.”

Like Kirk, McConnic was able to work his way up to a leadership position, and found himself at the Lubbock Center. But his background is slightly different.

“For most of the past 11 years, my work has been in retail,” McConnic explained. “I worked with United Supermarkets, where I started as a seafood clerk before I was able to get my degree. But I quickly moved into a leadership development role. The last position I had there was Manager of Education in Community Partnership. I was a really big part of trying to help out with our culinary arts program.”

After receiving his master’s degree in organizational management from Wayland Baptist University, McConnic worked in higher education for three years in student business services at Texas Tech University.

At the Lubbock Center, three women, who have been named “Student Support Specialists,” have been cross-trained in the three main student services, further adding to the campus’ ease of accessibility.

“If you go to Cindy, one of our Student Support Specialists, you can talk to her about financial aid, business, and registration,” McConnic said. “They have a very broad base of information they’ve got to know. There’s quite a learning curve, but they are doing a great job. We’ve got great folks here that are going to take care of you.”

[Photo by RILEY GOLDEN/ PLAINSMAN PRESS]

Ecological challenges arise as climate change increases

by MATT MOLINAR//Editor-in-Chief

Dr. Katharine Hayhoe

[Editor’s note: This story is the first part of the multi-part series “Climate Crisis” examining the causes and effects of climate change that begins with Issue #1 and concludes in Issue #6. Several staff members took it upon themselves to interview and conduct research. The results of their combined efforts follow.]

The idea of climate change has become a largely politically polarized concept. But the nation’s leading climate scientists say it’s time to make a choice.

Using tools to measure precipitation, temperature, and sea level, climate scientists have noticed that the average amount of rainfall has increased over time, along with the average sea level and temperature. However, almost half of the planet’s population does not agree with these research discoveries.

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, out of 40 nations that were polled, including the United States and Latin America, the global average of people who say climate change is a serious problem is 54 percent. Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists claim that climate is changing.

At the beginning of September, three hurricanes, Harvey, Irma, and Katia, made their way into the gulf of Mexico, while wildfires began engulfing the West Coast. The closeness in time of these events has increased the growing concern about climate change.

However, according to renowned atmospheric scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, associate professor of political science at Texas Tech University, having multiple hurricanes in the Atlantic, along with large amounts of land engulfed in flames around this time of year, is not to be indicative of climate change.

“Whenever we get so many intense events at the same time, we naturally think, ‘Why is everything happening at the same time like this?’” Dr. Hayhoe explained in an interview with the Plainsman Press. “The reality is that a lot of the timing is just bad luck. At the same time, though, we do know that climate change is exacerbating the risks associated with them [natural disasters].”

Studies conducted by climate scientists, such as Dr. Hayhoe, claim that in a warming world, forest fires in the West have claimed more land on average today than they have in the past. Dr. Hayhoe says that the same idea can be applied to hurricanes.

“For any given hurricane, there is more precipitation associated with the hurricane in a warmer world,” she said. “Sea level is higher, so storm surges are stronger. Hurricanes also get their energy from warm ocean waters. So we don’t expect more frequent hurricanes in the future. But what we do expect is that the hurricanes we get on average will be stronger from the warming ocean waters.”

According to NASA, the climate has naturally fluctuated in the past 7,000 years, when the modern climate era began, as a result of small variations in Earth’s orbit and solar energy. In 1950, carbon dioxide emission levels increased dramatically. Sixteen out of 17 of the warmest years on record have occurred since 2001. With statistics such as these discovered by researchers with the same methods that predict when the next solar eclipse will occur, Dr. Hayhoe says that denial of climate change can be associated with one’s political party.

“Climate change is one of the most politicized issues in the entire country,” Dr. Hayhoe said. “A colleague of mine did a study in New Hampshire, where they had a record warm January a couple of years ago. He asked people, ‘Was this January unusually warm?’ The further to the right on the political spectrum they were, the more likely they were to say, ‘No.’ They knew what it felt like, and they lived through January. Why don’t they think it was warm?”

According to Dr. Hayhoe, people will deny the evidence from their own lives in order to maintain the image of which political party they identify with.

“For example, if I’m a Republican, I don’t have to believe all this stuff that people are telling us,” she said. “So I’m going to deny what I see, because otherwise, I can’t be who I am. It’s important to point out that this is not a liberal or conservative thing. It’s a fact.”

There are solutions across the whole spectrum, according to Dr. Hayhoe.

“That’s where the argument should be,” she adds. “We should be arguing in politics today over what the best solutions are, because that’s not science. That’s politics.”

According to Dr. Hayhoe, it is in the best interest of fossil fuel production companies to slow the momentum of the transition into using clean energy. Making the switch to clean energy may not be expensive to the economy, but to fossil fuel production companies.

“If you look at the 10 most wealthy corporations, five out of 10 are fossil fuel companies,” Dr. Hayhoe explained. “But just look at the impact clean energy has on our economy. Here in Texas, we have over 25,000 jobs in the wind energy industry alone. In the first quarter of 2017, we got 23 percent of our energy from the wind.”

Dr. Hayhoe says that wind and solar energy are so cheap that Fort Hood signed an electricity contract for wind and solar energy in order to save tax payers $158,000,000, compared to if they had used natural gas.

“There are more jobs in the solar industry in the U.S., than there are in the coal industry,” she said. “Clean energy is great for our economy, but there are always going to be winners and losers. We’re getting around to the fact that fossil fuel industries are going to be losers.”

According to Dr. Hayhoe, reversing the effects of climate change could be a possibility, with the added benefit of sustainable construction materials as a result.

“Scientists are working on ways to suck all that carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere,” she explained. “They are turning it into blocks, baking soda, and figuring out ways to do it. The only problem is that it’s very expensive to do this. For right now, it’s a lot cheaper to replace fossil fuels with clean energy than to suck all that stuff out of the atmosphere.”

[Photo courtesy of Dr. Katharine Hayhoe]

DeMerritt named new vice president of student affairs

by TINA GONZALEZ//Editorial Assistant

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South Plains College has a new face for vice president for student affairs.

Dr. Stan DeMerritt recently was select to take the position after having served as dean of students since November 2016.

He has devoted his time and career to helping students and faculty.

“I get to improve students’ lives,” Dr. DeMerritt said. “I look forward to working with multiple departments with the college and finding ways to assist in increasing retention and completion at SPC.”

Dr. DeMerritt has developed the interactive online Student Handbook under the Digarc’s Acalong, the same platform as the Academic Catalog. Dr. DeMerritt has improved communication with and between department leaders in his division. Also, he has coordinated with the Health and Wellness Center to increase discipline referrals related to drugs, alcohol, relationships and personal responsibility to provide a more holistic approach to student success. Dr. DeMerritt also updated policies related to parking, student sexual assault/harassment, and student travel within the past year.

“Basically, the needs of students are on my shoulders,” Dr. DeMerritt said.

For 20 years, Dr. DeMerritt served as associate academic vice president, university registrar, associate registrar, veteran affairs certifying official and coordinator of external campus registration at Wayland Baptist University.

Dr. DeMerritt accepted the position of associate registrar at Wayland University in 1996. Three years after, he became the registrar.  Then, in 2006, Dr. DeMerritt became the associate academic vice president. During his career at Wayland, Dr. DeMerritt focused on implementing accountability systems for advisors and evaluators to confirm accuracy and continuity. He has guided a committee in the development and implementation process to reengineer official degree plans for the undergraduate academic records office.

Dr. DeMerrritt earned an associate’s degree in pre-business at New Mexico State University before moving on to Wayland Baptist University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Religion. He also earned a master’s degree at Wayland Baptist. Dr. DeMerritt earned his Ph.D. in higher education at Texas Tech University.

Dr. DeMerrritt is affiliated with Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education (NASPA), along with the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers Board of Directors (AACRAO). Dr. DeMerritt was the Vice President for Finance from 2013 to 2016 and a part of Texas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (TACRAO). Dr. DeMerrritt has served as vice president for several boards and has been a chairman in multiple associations, including Member Services Committee, Annual Program Committee, and Professional and Management Development Committee.

Dr. DeMerritt received a Staff Award for Community Service in May 2004 and the Outstanding Performance Award in September 1998, both at Wayland Baptist University.

He increased student, faculty, administration and staff approval ratings of the Office of University Registrar from below 75-percent approval on all measures for the 1999-2000 year to 95-percent on all measures. Also, Dr. DeMerritt established a transcript request audit to assist in determining the production time and institutional accountability.

[Photo by MATT MOLINAR/PLAINSMAN PRESS]

Campus carry law now applies to all colleges

by BRANDI ORTIZ//News Editor

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Concealed firearms are now legal to carry on South Plains College campuses.

Any student or faculty member who has a licensed to carry (LTC) or a concealed handgun license (CHL) is now able to carry handguns on campus.

Senate Bill 11, also known as “campus carry,” went into effect for community colleges on Aug. 1, and allows any individual who has a LTC or CHL to carry a concealed handgun on a college campus. To be eligible to carry a handgun, a person must be a license holder, and the handgun must remain concealed at all times.

According to Chief Nickolis Castillo, director of Campus Police at South Plains College, “before this law you could not bring a firearm on campus. It was a federal offense. Now as long as you have the license, you do so if it is concealed.”

The Campus Carry bill does not specifically state what is considered “concealed.” But as long as the firearm is “on or about” the person and the license holder has full control over the weapon, it is considered concealed.

If a student is living on campus, he or she will still be able to carry a firearm. When a firearm is not carried on or around the person, it must be locked inside a personal vehicle or locked inside a gun safe. Gun safes must be able to contain all firearms and equipment. The exterior must be made of a minimum of 16-gauge steel, and have a mechanical or biometric lock. A key lock will not be allowed.

Though the bill allows concealed carry, an institution can create further rules and regulations that restrict license holders from carrying on certain areas of the campus.

“On the Levelland campus, [the campus carry committee] has decided to permanently ban only one facility, the Natatorium,” says Chief Castillo.

South Plains College has a list of other locations and events that will be “Exclusion Areas” online at the SPC website. Some of those include UIL activities and meetings of the Board of Regents.

Campus carry allows handguns, according to Chief Castillo, which are “any gun that is designed by its manufacturer to be fired with one hand.” The bill does not allow rifles or shotguns to be carried on college campuses.

Any student or faculty member who may feel anxious about others carrying firearms on campus should have confidence that any LTC or CHL holder is statistically less likely to use a gun to promote violence, according to Chief Castillo.

“Nationwide, we have a very, very low statistic on violent incidences involving somebody that is a license holder,” says Chief Castillo. “In fact, anybody that you could see a problem from, is from somebody that does not have a license and they can’t legally carry.”

If a student or faculty member sees a handgun on campus, they may contact the SPC Police Department and they will conduct an investigation.

Students who have a license to carry a handgun are not required by law to disclose to the college or any other people. If a student is carrying and somebody sees it, he or she is not required to tell the person if they have a license. The only person a CHL or LTC holder is required to disclose to is a law enforcement official.

If a student or faculty member would like to carry a handgun on campus, he or she must obtain a LTC. To get an LTC, a person must be 21 years of age or older and submit an online application at dps.texas.gov or go to the local Department of Public Safety office to get an application. Applicants must also complete four to six hours of classroom training, pass a written examination and pass a proficiency demonstration.

Chief Castillo said he believes that there are benefits to Senate Bill 11.

“There are many pros and cons,” he said. “The biggest benefit that I see is the knowledge that Texas colleges are now concealed carry campuses leaves me to believe that a violent intruder is less likely to act in one of those schools. I think it brings a lot of people some peace of  mind that they are able to take their survival into their own hands.”

New Texas law ends texting while driving

by NICOLE LOPEZ//Sports Editor

Imagine being on the scene, looking at a wrecked vehicle belonging to a loved one.

Visualize hearing the heartbreaking news that one you love has been killed due to an accident because he or she couldn’t put their phone down.

This incident happened to Jeanne Brown, a mother who lost her teenage daughter to a texting and driving accident.

Alex 031Last year, there were around 10,000 traffic crashes caused by distracted driving, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. The Texas Legislature has decided to limit the amount of car accidents and death totals by passing a new law. The law is called “The Alex Brown Memorial Act,” in honor of Alex Brown, who lost her life to texting and driving on her way to school. The law went into affect on September 1. The new law focuses on the use of messaging applications, which include reading, writing, or sending text messages while driving.

This new law has hit close to home, especially for Brown, who is a teacher at Brownfield. Brown, her husband, and her two daughters used to reside in Seagraves. Brown taught business, while her daughters attended school. In November of 2009, her oldest daughter Alex, who planned on attending South Plains College to become a broadcast journalist, was killed in an accident because she was texting and driving on her way to school.

“Alex went off the road and rolled her truck,” according to Brown. “When we lost our daughter, my husband and I felt we needed to share our story to people. We had to let them know it was dangerous to text and drive.”

Brown and her husband dedicated the next three years to sharing the story of their daughter. Brown’s husband shut his business down and Brown resigned from teaching at Seagraves, where she had been teaching for 12 years.

“Alex died in November,” recalls Brown. “So, in December we went to our first school, and it was kids who knew Alex. We felt we needed to talk and tell them this can happen to you if you don’t stop texting and driving.”

According to Brown, from Dec. 1, 2009, her family traveled to different places in Texas, sharing their story. Sharing the story of their daughter didn’t go unnoticed. In April of 2010, they were guests on the Oprah Winfrey show. Later in the fall, “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” was wanting to build a house for someone who has been affected by texting and driving.

“The people who we met from the Oprah Winfrey show said they sent our name in,” says Brown. “In June 2010, we were contracted by the “Extreme Makeover” producers, and they asked us to send in an application.”

In November 2010, “Extreme Makeover” built Brown’s family a house, and the show aired in January 2011. From the exposure of being on the Oprah Winfrey show and school publications writing about the family, opportunities were presented to the Brown family to travel and share their story with the world.

“With ‘Extreme Makeover’ working with us, they told us if we were selected for the house, we would have so many offers that I wouldn’t be able to continue teaching,” Brown explains. “So, I resigned in July 2010 from my position.”

According to Brown, her family had several events in the fall of 2010. When “Extreme Makeover” aired, the family kept getting calls to speak, which had them on the road for two years.

“We’ve been to almost every state,” says Brown. “I tried to keep a list at first. But we got so busy. We drove a lot because we had Alex’s pickup on a trailer. We had to end up flying most of the time because we were so busy. We still have Alex’s pickup. It’s currently behind our house.”

Brown has been back teaching for five years, and she said she still takes days off and shares their story with people. Even though she likes the law, Brown thinks it could be a little more restrictive with regard to what people are able to do with their phones while driving.

“I feel like the law is going to help,” says Brown. “We’ve shared our story for the last eight years, and I feel we’ve done everything we can to help people realize how dangerous texting and driving is. There has to be discipline somewhere. I’m just thankful we are starting somewhere.”

Brown encourages South Plains College students to think before they pick up the cell phone, because you don’t know what could happen.

“I know when you’re young, you think you’re invincible,” explains Brown. “because I remember thinking that when I was in college. It’s not true, and I hope all the students at South Plains College know how valuable their life is.”

[Photo of Alex Brown Courtesy of Jeanne Brown]

New director of student life strives for diversity, community involvement

by STACY JOHNSON//Editorial Assistant

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The Student Life Center has a new director who plans to bridge the gap between community and community college.

Miranda English officially began her new role as director of student life on Sept. 11.

A Levelland native, English worked as an advisor at South Plains College for two years before becoming the director of student life. She fills a void created by the departure of Ann Epps during the summer.

English earned an associate degree from SPC before attending West Texas A&M University, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education.

“My favorite part of being an advisor has been to help a student that has fallen onto probation or suspension, and provide resources, and watch them come out of that, and watch them grow and understand that we all fall, but what really matters is how we rise,” English said.

She said she believes her previous job as resident coordinator at Portfolio Resident Services Inc. prepared her for her work at SPC. The nonprofit organization operates community centers. There, she ran a center that helped Levelland students prepare for college.

Though she is no longer an advisor, English expressed plans to work actively with the Advising Center to bring beneficial college preparation activities to students through the Student Life Center.

“We say we meet students where we’re at, and we have to do that literally as well,” she said.

“I’m hoping that I can pull that collaboration together so that we can bring advisors to meet students in the dorms for a workshop, or in the Student Life Center, so we can host some more of those events from this office,” she explained.

According to English, one of her primary goals is to hold more weekly activities and events on campus.

“We’re hoping to bring about some exciting things like art walks, and concerts, and things that we can get coming up on a regular basis,” she said.

Awareness and support of cultural diversity on campus is something that English expresses as an important goal, which she plans to make a reality.

“We’re hoping to expand and bring some activities that really help students immerse in activities that allow them to experience different cultures and come to understand a lot more cultural diversity,” she said.

English discussed upcoming plans for Student Life, including a Hurricane Harvey relief benefit concert.

“We just want to make sure that we’re providing exciting, safe, culturally diverse activities for students to be a part of,” said English. She emphasized the importance of student interaction and community involvement.

According to English, developing and maintaining a strong sense of community is central to the aim of Student Life.

“We want students that are living on and off campus to know that this is a community here, and we want them to interact not only with other students, but within the Levelland and Hockley County communities as well,” she said.

Another priority for Student Life will be showcasing the talents of SPC students within the larger community.

“We want to have the community exposed to what our students are doing here as well,” English said.

English expressed a desire to get students involved by supporting causes such as Child Abuse Awareness Month, back-to-school supply drives, and Hurricane Harvey relief efforts around town.

“Community is my favorite part about Levelland,” she said, “and we want to bring that back to South Plains College.”

[Photo by STACY JOHNSON/PLAINSMAN PRESS]

Freshman keeps positive attitude despite her adversities

by AUTUMN BIPPERT//Editorial Assistant

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Abby Rodgers has overcome physical challenges she has been living with all her life by keeping positive and working towards her goals every day.

Rodgers is currently attending the South Plains College Levelland campus to pursue an associate’s degree in education. She found her passion for teaching after participating in peer buddies, a program where students help their peers who have special needs in class, at Georgetown High School. She plans to transfer to Texas Tech University after two year to reach her goal as a special needs teacher.

Rodgers was born two and a half months early due to a placental abruption from her biological mother’s drug’s use while pregnant with her. When Abby was born, the doctors discovered she was not fully developed.

Rodgers was born without a developed bottom jaw bone, no arms and no legs. She was admitted to the NICU for 30 days until she was released to her biological mom, Tori. At 5 months old, Rodgers was taken by Child Protective Services from her biological mom.

After a month in Child Protective Services, Rodgers was placed in a foster home that later she would call her forever home. Originally, Rodgers wasn’t supposed to stay with her foster mom, Angela Rodgers. The plan was for her birth mother, Tori, to get her back. But she did not follow through with the plan set out to her by Child Protective Services.

After being with her foster mom, Angela Rodgers, for two years, Angela decided to adopt her. On Sept. 21, 2001, Abby was officially adopted.

Later, her family grew when her mother married Jacob Lester. Rodgers is very grateful to her mother and her father who have helped her through all the hard times and have taken care of her.

“I know I’m extremely lucky to have ended up where I did,” Rodgers said, “my life would not be anywhere near as good if I had not ended up with my mom and dad.”

“I just have to keep positive. There are two things I can do. I can joke about it and stay positive, or I can lay in bed and cry about it, which isn’t going to get me anywhere in life. So I stay positive”

Growing up and going to school was a hardship on Rodgers.

“There were a lot of times I got made fun of in school, or people told me I was abusing my accommodations,” recalls Rodgers. “I don’t really know how I dealt with it. A lot of the time I just internalized it. I realized that wasn’t healthy. I guess another way I dealt with it was, I wasn’t social. I’d have one or two close friends to talk to and deal with it.”

Even though Rodgers has gone through a lot in school with bullying, she keeps a great sense of  humor about her situation. She often jokes about her lack of hands or about popping off her legs and throwing them.

“I just have to keep positive,” Rodgers explains. “There are two things I can do. I can joke about it and stay positive, or I can lay in bed and cry about it, which isn’t going to get me anywhere in life. So I stay positive.”

The majority of the time Rodgers leans on her family or her close friends in trying times.

“Some of the hardest times have been after I have had surgery and can’t eat solid foods, or even get out of bed on my own,” Rodgers said.

Rodgers has had more than 26 surgeries on her face alone, as well as many more on her legs. Most of her surgeries have been Distractions Osteogenesis to fix her lower jaw bone. Distraction osteogenesis is a way to make a longer bone out of a shorter one. The surgery consists of breaking the current jaw bone in two places, and then placing a device called a distractor, which has two screws coming out from under the chin, that needs to be turned two times a day to create a centimeter-wide gap for new bone to grow into.

Another major surgery was a bone graft. Normally with bone grafts, live bone is taken from the tibia or the scapula. But in Abby’s case, the bone had to come from her femur. Two weeks before doctors took live bone from the femur, they stretched the muscles from the bottom jaw so that there was room for the new bone to heal properly. After she healed, doctors took 11 centimeters of bone from both femurs to place in the jaw bone.

Although Rodgers has no hands or legs, she still functions independently, using prosthetics. She takes care of herself like any young adult would. She has her driver’s license and can drive a car without any special modifications. She can do a wide range of things, from putting in and taking out contacts, to tying a tie and texting.

“I’m excited to go start school here, because it’s a good place to start out,” Rodgers explains. “It’s a small place where you can get hands-on help from professors.”

“This is where my whole family started out, so I’m happy to be close to them this year,” she adds.

[Photo by AUTUMN BIPPERT/PLAINSMAN PRESS]

Alum uses degree to chase dreams, travel world with U2

by NICOLE LOPEZ//Sports Editor

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It’s not every day you get to live out your dream.

But South Plains College alumnus Anne Butt is doing just that.

Butt attended SPC in the fall of 2011 and majored in general studies. A year later, she switched her major to sound technology. She was also crowned Miss Caprock in 2014, before graduating in December of that year.

“I took a year to get those basics out of the way, just in case I wanted to transfer and get my bachelor’s,” according to Butt.

Moving from New Jersey to come to Levelland wasn’t a huge transition for Butt. Her mother grew up in the surrounding area and also attended SPC.

“I knew I wanted to do sound, and SPC was one of the schools that had a sound program,” says Butt. “I still had family that lived in Shallowater, so it was a little familiar and cost effective.”

Butt said she knew she wanted to work in sound ever since she was younger. Her father was a musician, so she was always around live music. Then, in the seventh or eighth grade, her class was running sound waves, and she remembered what was said in one of her textbooks.

“In one of our textbooks, there was a little blurb about being an audio engineer, and working in concerts,” Butt recalls. “I thought that sounded like the coolest job ever, because it involves math, science, and you get to travel. That sounded perfect. I decided to do that.”

Butt is currently working as a touring audio technician for a company called Clair Global, which is one of the biggest sound reinforcement companies in the world.

“I fly the speakers that are up in the air and do the cabling, and stuff like that,” explains Butt. “I also plug all of the equipment and make sure everything is working. I help out whoever needs help, like patching the stage, or helping our crew chief.”

According to Butt, the hiring industry for sound can get complicated. The reason is because many touring technicians are contract laborers and not full-time employees, so it’s harder to get your name out there.

“There was a previous student who went to SPC about five years before I did,” recalls Butt. “I reached out to him and got the ball rolling. Maybe a month after that, they put a listing up on their website, which doesn’t happen often. I sent in my resume and I didn’t hear anything, so I sent a follow-up email as a last attempt for them to notice me. Soon after that, I got a phone call to set up an interview.”

Butt resides in Pennsylvania, but is on the road most of the time. She says Clair Global makes sure a road staff member has 200 days on the road yearly.

“In October, which is when I’ll go home for about a week, I’ll have worked 268 days on the road this year,” says Butt.

Butt is currently touring with U2, a rock band from Dublin, Ireland. The tour started in April, and they’ll be finishing up in North America before travelling to South America in October.

“I’ve been all around the United States,” Butt explains. “I’ve been to Hawaii and all the way up to Canada. This summer, I did my first European tour. We travelled to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Spain, Rome, and Brussels. I did a gig in Mexico City last year too. In October, we’re traveling to Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia.”

Some days Butt can’t believe she’s doing what she really enjoys. She likes to look back and see how far she has come. She said she believes everything boils down to hard work.

“You’re like, man, the really crappy gigs I did, and now I’m here,” says Butt. “At the time, those gigs were challenging, but they were fun too. It still blows my mind sometimes. I’m like ‘Oh my god, I graduated three years ago, and it’s only been three years and I’m out on tour with my company’s greatest bands.’”

Even though Butt has a blast and loves what she does, every job has its challenges.

“There are definitely hard days for the nature of touring,” explains Butt. “We had one show in Europe and I almost went 48 hours running on four hours of sleep. If you really do something you enjoy, then those days feel more worth it. I had a friend tell me you’re going to have to work more than you sleep. You might as well choose something that you enjoy.”

Butt can’t wait to see what else the future holds for her. She always enjoys working with the crew because she gets to be part of a great team.

“I’m really grateful for SPC, especially Matt [Quick] and Jeremiah [Denning], and all the other teachers that are there,” says Butt. “It’s a great school. I can’t thank them enough.”

Lubbock Downtown Farmer’s Market offers variety of merchandise

by ADÁN RUBIO//Staff Writer

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Fresh produce, savory meats, and handmade crafts are a few of the goods sold at the Lubbock Downtown Farmers Market.

Now active for its fourth year, the LDFM brings in many local farmers and small businesses to sell their produce and wares for the Lubbock community. The market will be held at 19th Street and Buddy Holly Avenue every Saturday until Oct. 28, from 9 a.m. to whenever the vendors have sold out of their products.

If the LDFM is not a viable choice, there is also the West End Farmers Market at West Loop 289 and 34th Street. It is open every Saturday this summer from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Even the community of Levelland can access fresh produce from the new Farm Fresh Levelland Market on Houston Street and Avenue G, which is open from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. every Saturday until Sept. 24. The opportunities are endless when it comes to events like these.

This annual Lubbock event is known for its quality produce, meats, and dairy products. Additionally, the market has been known to showcase many homemade wares such as art, crafts, jewelry, and flower arrangements. But there are many other perks that people can gain from the market.

One thing that many people consider when purchasing an item is the vendor. The vendors of the LDFM work hard to prepare their products for the public.

The compassion the vendors show their customers and products can easily be seen through the amount of preparation and dedication the vendors undertake throughout the market. Ann Warren, owner of Holy Cow Beef, says getting to the site early is part of the preparation to consider when selling at the Farmers Market.

“We sell hot products that we have to get in the ovens at 5 a.m.,” said Warren, “and we get down here around 8, and it takes us 35 to 40 minutes to set up.”

Warren said she feels that a vendor should work not only to sell exceptional products but also to give the customer a sense of security.

“I didn’t want to make a single purchase unless I had a relationship,” said Warren, “I need a relationship with someone telling me about their product and where to get it.”

These vendors strive to create an experience for the community that people cannot get in a typical grocery store. Whether it is the type of products or the festive atmosphere, people are drawn to this event for many reasons.

“The culture, the friendly faces, the local produce, the good quality products everyone is selling,” are all reasons that Angelique Reimer, a vendor for Reimer Farms, believes that people are attracted to the market.

Through her experience as a vendor, Reimer said she believes that one should relate to the community before they start selling. Reimer feels that the Farmers Market is beneficial for the residents of Lubbock, as there are a variety of healthy options to choose, and people get the opportunity to feel open with one another.

“It gets them connected with their community,” Reimer explains, “and nutritionally, it’s better to buy local.”

Through the LDFM, vendors can make ideal social interactions a priority and can create lively relationships with their customers. These connections that surround the livelihood of the market grants the vendors much support but also gives the buyer something to look forward to as they purchase produce and other items.

Miles Condon, a regular visitor of the market, regards the accessibility of the local farmers and their input on the produce that is sold.

“Being able to get the local food, talk to the actual growers,” are factors that Condon stated to be reasons why he has revisited the market. The access to the farmers of the products has even impacted Condon’s thought process toward the source of his food.

“I’m definitely more cognizant of it being local and thinking about where the food actually comes from,” said Condon.

The LDFM makes it possible for people who want fresh food and handmade crafts to obtain what they desire while also creating a deep relationship with the vendors of the market. The appeal of genuine products and their unambiguous sources are traits that many people of the Lubbock community look for in their selection of groceries.

The market attracts many visitors, young and old, to take part in the festivities. Kathryn Parsley, a local college student and frequent market visitor, said she believes the LDFM offers many advantages to people of all ages.

“It introduces college students to the idea of taking better care of their health,” said Parsley. “The older crowd can reconnect with their past.”

This niche of the Lubbock community is for anyone interested in buying local and willing to experience new and fresh options while creating relationships with idealistic people.

The Lubbock Downtown Farmers Market is an event that offers so much more than fresh produce. The market holds many opportunities for everyone despite age or interests in agriculture. This community-driven market serves not only as a source of quality products but as a source of unity within the Lubbock community.   

“The LDFM is one of the few events that is the great equalizer,” said Parsley. “Everybody has got to eat.”

[Photo by TINA GONZALEZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS]

Tomorrow’s Leaders transforming lives of Lubbock children

by TINA GONZALEZ//Editorial Assistant

Four men are on a mission to impact lives, make a difference in their community, and build relationships.

Nine years ago, Noe Brito, Mark Cavazos, Michael Goen, and Eric Strong came together for lunch to create an organization that would eventually grow to be something that will help and alter kids’ lives.

“Building strong youth rather than repairing broken adults” is the motto of Tomorrow’s Leaders, an organization that takes 40 to 50 boys and girls who are in 5th grade from Title I schools in Lubbock to mentor them for a whole school year. Volunteers do as much as they can in one school year to help motivate and sculpt these kids into becoming something bigger.

“I kind of wear several different hats”, said Cavazos. “I helped create the Facebook page, website, and brochures.”

Being a part of Tomorrow’s Leaders has given Cavazos a perspective on life. Cavazos, along with other volunteers, has spent their time mentoring kids, teaching them life and organization skills. Almost being kind of a parent figure for these kids has helped Cavazos realize the importance of education and life values for them.

“Exposure,” Essie Alvarado, the organization nurse, said. “The kids get exposure to a stability and support.”

For a whole school year mentors get assigned four to five boys or girls from Irving, Guadalupe, Ramirez, and Alderson Elementary schools in Lubbock. Most of the 5th graders participating have never seen anything other than the four walls of their home. By being a part of Tomorrow’s Leaders, he or she gets a year of exposure, such as seeing college campuses and meeting with college professors, attending Texas Tech sports events, going camping and having various talks about finance, sex, and life.

“We are impacting lives”, said Cavazos, “seeing the change.”

After the year is over and each student has participated in the activities and kept up their grades, those kids in the Tomorrow’s Leaders program get to travel to New York City and Washington, D.C. to tour monuments, museums and tour the cities.

“They completely forgot about all their fears,” said Cavazos.

Tomorrow’s Leaders focuses on education, health, and wellness for kids who may or may not have parents there for that.

“We have become more recognized and more organized,” said Cavazos.

Through the years, Tomorrow’s Leaders has been able to make more of an impact in the kids’ lives. They also have established partnerships with Texas Tech University and Alliance Federal Credit Union.

“One thing that makes us stand out is we are 100-percent volunteer,” said Cavazos. “We don’t even have a building.”

Tomorrow’s Leaders are pushing the focus for kids to take education seriously and to set goals, because education can make your life go a long way.

“We’re stressing better behavior, pushing more education,” said Cavazos.

The organization gets different kids but the agenda never changes, nor does the heart of the volunteers. The founders have high expectations for this year and years to come.

  “We are hoping to create new partnerships and for the organization to become self-sustaining,” said Cavazos.

The organization is focused on getting more grants and more partnerships for the future,  which will help with funding.

The organization was created for the sole purpose of mentoring and altering lives of kids who need it most.

“For the first time, later this year, we will have an etiquette dinner,” said Cavazos “We want our kids not only be prepared for high school but for the real world.”

Art professor uses passion for comics to create teaching aids

by DEZ MENDEZ//Feature Editor

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Living two lives, Marc Watson doubles as a beloved comic book creator and professor.

Watson moved to Lubbock in 1999, having grown up in El Paso. Watson has always been focus on his art since he was younger, although his medium has changed a lot since then.

“The combination of extreme unchallenging boredom at school, with the inspirational awesomeness of Sonic the Hedgehog and The Simpsons, had me doodling all the time,” said Watson.

Drawing fan art was an obsession of Watson’s, but that all changed when he picked up a copy of “Sonic the Hedgehog #10” from a gas station during a family trip. That issue is what inspired Watson to start creating his own ideas. It helped Watson express ideas to others and to make a difference.

“Art can be the purest form of an expression of who we are,” said Watson. “ By creating the works, I am giving life to my ideas and beliefs, as well as my greatest passions.”

Watson has showcased his art work in varies countries such as Australia, Germany, Italy, France, England, Spain, Brazil and many more. Watson’s art is also in some private collections from around the world.

“I have been showcased on MilkTv in Victoria, Melbourne, Australia,” said Watson. “ I have also done various album cover designs.”

Recently, Watson has been focused on creating graphic novels as tools for education.
“ I have released several books, with the latest being a comic that teaches one point perspective,” explained Watson.

Watson’s comic is now in the hands of most Lubbock area art teachers from grades K-12, some teachers in the Houston area, as well as in a high school in Germany.

Watson’s earliest involvement in the art community, started in 2002 as Vice President of the National Art Honor Society at Coronado High School.  For the last 10 years off and on, Watson has been involved with the First Friday Art Trails and local art shows in Lubbock.

Lubbock-Con is another great community that Watson is strongly involved in. The newest roll that Watson has is as an administrator and moderator for Lubbock Artist Collective, which is a group of artists working together toward shared goals.

Watson participates in the Pokémon Go art drop in Lubbock, also run by the founder of the Lubbock Artist Collective. This event is free to the public and is put on by local artists. They draw the characters and place them around town for people to find.

“First off, I play Pokémon Go regularly, so no shame there,” stated Watson.

Watson’s latest creation is “Meteors ‘n Milk,” a story of an alien and cow that fall in love while trying to survive a post-apocalyptic world.

The characters come from various events and concepts in Watson’s life, as well as influences from specific people. His characters are a unique existence, so he writes and illustrates them as he feels they are portrayed.

“You can not say, ‘Oh, so this is you and that is her, because the truth is they are their own identity and that is important to me,” said Watson.

Watson wants the readers to be able to connect with his characters, as they would know them personally and feel what they would feel.

In 2002, Watson decided to attend Texas Tech University. He began working on his Bachelor of Fine Arts. Watson found himself teaching others how to do certain techniques and concepts.

Watson began to attend the Lubbock Sketch Club, founded by Warner Brothers character designer Will Terrell.

“Working with Terrell, I ended up doing a lot of events where I drew with children and adults,” said Watson.

After receiving his BFA, Watson then later went on to pursue a Master of Art Education degree.  This past August, Watson graduated with his masters and took a teaching position at SPC as Professor of Art Education.

“I love teaching and it is truly a passion of mine,” said Watson.

Watson’s passion is to be able to give children a better and more accessible world.  Watson also believes in transcultural education that places no child or student at a disadvantage.

“I am teaching not only students but the future teachers as well,” said Watson. “ I am inspired by the abilities of art and teaching that I possess to make a positive difference in this world.”

Watson’s advice to other artist is to remember that you are always learning, and that no one is better than anyone and you can learn from one another.

To check out Watson’s work visit: http://www.meteorsnmilk.com

Facebook.com/meterosnmilk, Twitter.com/meteorsnmilk, tumblr.com/meteorsnmilk, Instagram.com/meteorsnmilk.

[Photo by DEZ MENDEZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS]

Professor turns love of personal narratives into fulfilling career

by STACY JOHNSON//Editorial Assistant

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Whether she is taking on the roles of coach and tour guide, or entrepreneur and metaphorical gardener, Wanda Clark has worked to help students, professionals, and the community blossom.

A central Pennsylvania native, Clark has taught behavioral science courses at South Plains College for 20 years and has lived in Lubbock for nearly 30 years.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in comparative religion from Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

“I was just fascinated with people’s belief systems,” Clark says.

She then went on to earn a master’s degree in English and American literature from Texas Tech University in Lubbock. After studying anthropology at the University of Washington in Seattle, she returned to Texas Tech, where she completed a Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy.

Clark says her degree in marriage and family therapy led her to begin teaching psychology at SPC. But education did not stop with college for Clark, who describes herself as a “perpetual student.”

“As long as I can keep learning, I kind of feel like that’s contagious, and then students keep learning, too,” Clark says.

Clark says she considers her work to be interdisciplinary, and she recognizes that her passion for behavioral sciences stems from her interest in people.

“The theme that draws all of my coursework together, though, is I love people’s stories,” she says.

“My mother taught me to read when I was 3 years old,” Clark recalls. “I was reading before I went to kindergarten. I was such an avid reader that that idea of stories started very, very young and has never stopped.”

Clark says the most exciting thing about teaching is seeing students make educational breakthroughs as they learn to apply classroom knowledge in meaningful ways.

“When I see students connect things that they haven’t connected previously, I find that to be the most fascinating and most interesting thing,” she says. “When I can learn from my students, that’s really exciting too,” she adds.

Clark says her favorite things about teaching at SPC are the way the small class sizes allow her to get to know her students, as well as the sense of community.

“There really is a family atmosphere,” she says. “People care about each other.”

Clark says metaphors and language are of great interest to her. For her Ph.D. dissertation, she investigated the language that therapists used to describe their work.

“It’s very revealing, very quickly, about where people are coming from,” she says. “I think it gives you a snapshot view of who that person is.”

Clark uses many frequently changing metaphors to describe her work as a professor. This week, Clark says she would describe herself as a coach helping her students practice for game day.

“Sometimes, in World Cultures, I feel kind of like I’m the tour guide, and that we’re kind of going on a trip together,” she muses.

Clark says people describe her as a “workaholic,” but she does not see it that way.

“When you love what you do, that doesn’t feel like work,” she says.

When she is not teaching, Clark says she prioritizes fitness and physical activity. She describes her interest in family genealogy as a hobby she could spend hours on.

According to Clark, her fascination with genealogy began with that of her own family. However, it eventually broadened to a new way of understanding more about history.

“When you have an ancestor, for example, who was like a Civil War veteran, all of a sudden the Civil War becomes very interesting,” Clark says. “You can invest in it in a different way.”

Clark says she has always been active in LGBTQ causes. In 1990, she and her partner opened Ellie’s Garden, a small gay and lesbian bookstore that operated in Lubbock until 1994, when Clark closed Ellie’s Garden to pursue her postgraduate education and subsequent career as a professor.

Named for her grandmother, Ellen, who enjoyed gardening, Clark describes Ellie’s Garden as a place where people could gather without fear of discrimination.

“That was at a time when there really were not safe spaces for LGBTQ people to go,” she says, “and that was one of our goals, to try to establish a place.”

While Clark’s experience running Ellie’s Garden was not without challenges, she says she was pleasantly surprised by how many supportive people she met along the way.

“I expected a lot more resistance or pushback, and was kind of mentally prepared for that,” she says. “And there were certain other pockets or communities that were very supportive in ways that I didn’t expect, which sort of renewed my faith in people in general.”

The transition from entrepreneur to professor was a natural one for Clark.

“When you’re a good sales person,” she says, “it doesn’t make any difference whether you’re selling books or magazines, or ideas. It’s all the same skillset.”

Pattinson delivers powerful performance in ‘Good Time’

by TYLER YORK//Editor-in-Chief

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The bond between brothers is one worth fighting for.

But as the Safdie brothers’ “Good Time” illustrates, tirelessly defending familial love can sometimes cause us to destroy ourselves in the process.

“Good Time” follows brothers-in-crime duo Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson) and Nicholas Nikas (Ben Safdie) as they prepare for, carry out, and subsequently attempt to outrun the consequences of a nonviolent bank robbery.

Continuing in the tradition of many of A24’s films that preceded it, “Good Time,” bathed in a comforting neon glow and scored with the hums of unsettlingly cheerful synths, manages to walk a confident line between playful mischief and mortal terror, sometimes within a single blink of a dilated eye.

Even with the quality of the music and the wonderfully stylistic visuals, the obvious standout in this movie is the incredibly nuanced acting.

First and foremost, Pattinson’s portrayal of Connie is transformative to the point of almost being unrecognizably Pattinson. To think that this is the same actor who once brooded, pale and sparkling, in the “Twilight” series is beyond comprehension.

It’s clear from the first moments we see Connie on screen that Pattinson can put everything he has into a role, and, in doing so, raise a story to transcendent heights. Pattinson conveys Connie’s love for his mentally challenged brother Nicholas—played with incredible care and truth by Ben Safdie—with a subtlety that is as foundational and indestructible as the bond between the brothers themselves.

Connie is obviously a criminal, but he has an uncharacteristic compassion that helps him keep sight of what’s important. Nobody can get hurt if they rob a bank without using a gun, but can the same be said for going up face-to-face against actual drug dealers in broad daylight?

All the main cast is just as believable and raw, with other prominent—if brief—performances by Jennifer Jason Leigh as Connie’s travel-obsessed girlfriend, and Taliah Webster as an unwitting teenage accomplice. Even Academy Award nominee Barkhad Abdi, best known for portraying the Somali pirate ringleader in “Captain Phillips,” makes a far-too-brief, almost unintentionally comical, appearance as an amusement park security guard.

Likely the biggest fault this movie could be branded with is the short appearances of some of its bigger name actors. But the intensity of the rest of the film makes it, pardon the pun, a lesser crime.

The Safdie brothers seem to have a definite love for a specific time and place in young adulthood. It’s a time when walking around the city with a tough crowd doing things of questionable legality was just a way to pass the weeknights, along with a place where being showered in the aura of bright, warm neon lights is a regular occurrence.

The Safdies’ New York isn’t reflective of grandeur or big-city dreams. It’s dark, it’s backlit, and it thrives on its own seediness. But it’s home to these characters, and they fit right in.

The beginning of the movie especially paints a very different picture of a crime action setting, with many of its shots taking place in claustrophobic, stabilized close-ups. The same unnatural stabilizations occur anytime a character gets in a car—they’re followed from above, as in an aerial news chase shot, and the footage is sped up almost imperceptibly, giving the sequences a hyper-real feeling of suspense and anticipation of something about to happen.

The film wouldn’t be complete without the score. To simply say “it works well with the movie” would be an injustice.

The vibrancy and almost ’80s-callback quality of the music perfectly acts as the electric glue tying the film together, teeming with nervous energy while almost always managing to sound unnervingly happy and upbeat. In many moments, the score will be gently pulsing underneath, then suddenly unleash an onslaught of jarring sound, which matches the utter confusion and panic that permeates many of Connie’s decisions he is forced to confront.

The score was written by Oneohtrix Point Never—also known as Daniel Lopatin—and from top to bottom, it feels just as purposeful and dripping with atmosphere as other big-name composers’ works in similar movies such as Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” and “Gone Girl.”

There are drugs. There is crime after crime. But there is also a brother who cares so deeply he’s willing to throw caution to the wind in order to rescue the ones he cares about. It’s a disquieting film with incredible chameleon-like acting and dreamy visuals. Anyone watching would almost be guaranteed to have a good time.

I give “Good Time” an 8.5 out of 10.

8.5/10

 

Empty thriller ‘Kidnap’ bores audience with unrealistic scenes

by NICOLE LOPEZ//Sports Editor

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A lovely day at the carnival with her son turns into a nightmare for a single mother.

Halle Berry stars as single mother Karla Dyson in the abduction thriller film, “Kidnap.” Karla takes her 6-year-old son Frankie (Sage Correa) to a carnival one afternoon, and it’s a day they both will never forget.

Karla leaves Frankie on a bench for a quick minute to talk on the phone with her divorce lawyer. When Karla comes back, Frankie is nowhere to be found. After shouting her son’s name and looking everywhere for him, Karla sees her son being dragged into a car by a woman. Attempting to stop the vehicle, Karla clings to the car. She fails to hold on and immediately goes to her van and chases after the car.

The car chase scene is lengthy, but it does have some suspenseful moments.

Karla is hot on the abductors’ tracks and tries to grab the attention of other drivers by driving radically. By coincidence, a police officer comes up behind Karla and notices her driving. The officer pulls up next to Karla and she rolls down her window, explaining to the officer that the car in front of them has her son. When the conversation is over, the abductor’s car pulls over, waits for Karla and the officer, and wedges the officer between the two vehicles. The police officer flies off the motorcycle and gets thrown to the side of the street.

Karla is hysterical, and the abductors lead her to a grassy field. A woman named Margo (Chris McGinn) gets out of the car and tells Karla her and her husband Terry (Lew Temple) won’t give her son back unless she pays them a $10,000 ransom. Karla agrees to give them the money, and, for reassurance, Margo rides with Karla while Terry follows them.

When reaching a tunnel, Margo fails to kill Karla. Karla ends up throwing Margo out of the van, while tricking Terry into thinking his wife is driving the vehicle. The rest of the movie is kind of bland. It involves more car chases and uninteresting dialogue.

“Kidnap” was released on July 31 and has received good feedback. Berry starred in a similar film four years ago, and she did great in that one as well. She portrayed a single mother desperately trying to get her son back realistically. Her acting didn’t seem fake, but genuine.

One thing I didn’t like about the film was that some parts didn’t seem realistic. There was a scene where Berry is driving her mini van and the speedometer read an unrealistic speed for a mini van. Also, I think there was too much car chasing in this film. There wasn’t enough action during the car chasing either.

Another problem I had with the film was that the abductors never explain why they were abducting children. There was a scene where McGinn speaks to someone on the phone about having the child. But, the film never explains why they were doing it. That really bothered me. I hate it when films don’t tie up loose ends, or they don’t explain things that need to be explained.

Overall, “Kidnap” is a good movie, but it’s not great. It could have definitely been more suspenseful and more action packed.

I give this movie 6 out of 10.

6/10

 

Black Sabbitch rocks Lubbock crowd

by DEZ MENDEZ//Feature Editor

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Black Sabbath fans gather inside of Jake’s Backroom on Sept. 6 to hear the all-female tribute band Black Sabbitch.

The Los Angeles based tribute band consists of Angie Scarpa on drums, Blare N Bitch on guitar, Melanie Makaiwi on bass, and Aimee Echo supplying vocals.  Black Sabbitch is the brainchild of Scarpa and Blare N Bitch, who both share a love for Black Sabbath.

They started Black Sabbitch because they thought the name was funny, and Black Sabbath is Scarpa’s favorite band. Makaiwi had asked Scarpa if she wanted to do a Sabbath band, so they started. Five years later, they are touring all over the world.

All the women had already been in the music scene before forming Black Sabbitch, so they were all already considered to be the best at what they do. Blare had led the all-girl band “Betty Blowtorch,” and Scarpa was drumming for post punk thrashers, “The Art of Safecracking.”  The two have been friends for than a decade, they decided to get together and play some Sabbath.

Makaiwi was their first choice to play bass.  She had been in “The Art of Safecracking” with Scarpa and also led her own band, “ Penny Dreadfuls.”   

When they began searching for a lead vocalist, they knew they would need someone with strong vocals. That is when they turned to their long-time friend, Echo, a legendary front woman for alt-metal band Human Waste Project.

Echo sings Ozzy Osbourne’s parts with a howling authenticity that gives them the ability to play Sabbath songs that other guy groups do not do, such as “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.”

Black Sabbitch was even asked by Sharon and Ozzy Osborune to open up at the inaugural Ozzfiesta in 2015.

Black Sabbath brings to the stage a heavy metal band with a heavy blues tune with a swing drummer that has a jazz feel.

“It’s the understanding of that you are playing in a heavy blues band with a jazz feel, and not heavy metal,” said Scarpa.

Black Sabbitch opened the set with “War Pigs,” one of Sabbath’s classic tracks. Echo’s vocals rocked the crowd, as they went crazy with applause and cheering.

Black Sabbitch not only was able to wow the crowd, but gave a true Sabbath feeling to the night. The crowd was approving of their style and sound.

Jake’s Backroom was the final Texas stop for the women, having just gotten back from Houston. They were advised not to go down to Houston since Hurricane Harvey had caused so much damage there.  But they didn’t want to cancel, as they felt that the city needed something to look forward to.

Black Sabbitch gives a true experience to fans who have not been able to see Black Sabbath.  From the wicked left-handed guitar playing of Blare, to the insane drumming of Scarpa, the talented bass playing Makaiwi and the howling vocals of Echo, if you closed your eyes, you would think you were listening to Sabbath.

To check out Black Sabbitch, visit http://www.blacksabbitch.com

[Photo by DEZ MENDEZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS]

‘Batman and Harley Quinn’ pays homage to ‘Animated Series’

by RILEY GOLDEN//Entertainment Editor

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The earth is being consumed by climate change, and Poison Ivy and the Floronic Man have decided to reverse it by turning every living creature into plant hybrids.

In the animated movie, “Batman and Harley Quinn,” Pamela Isley, Poison Ivy, and Jason Woodrue, the Floronic Man, break into Star Labs for information about Swamp Thing, to help them create the formula to turn living organisms into plant hybrids.

Batman, billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne, and Nightwing, Dick Grayson, the original Robin, meet the police on the scene after the break-in and begin to devise a plan to track down Ivy and Woodrue. Nightwing realizes that looking for Ivy is going to involve talking to none other than Harley Quinn.

Nightwing tracks Harley to a restaurant called Superbabe’s – a Hooters-esque restaurant with a superhero theme – where she is hiding in plain sight as a waitress.

When Nightwing confronts Harley, there’s a surprisingly good fight scene between the two that ends with Nightwing being knocked out.

Harley ties Nightwing up in her apartment – on her bed – and Nightwing wakes up to her trying to figure out what she’s going to do with him. Harley has gone straight, so she decides not to kill Nightwing and starts changing clothes in front him. She turns around to see that he has “something” she wants, and she tells him she has something he wants.

At this point, if you’re thinking that this movie is very sexual, I was thinking the same thing when I was watching it.

While Nightwing and Harley are obviously hooking up, Batman visits the crime scene where Dr. Harold Goldblum, a specialist in biological warfare, went missing and finds a leaf that fell off the Floronic Man.

Batman hasn’t gotten word from Nightwing, so he goes to look for him and finds Nightwing and Harley playing around in Harley’s bed. Afterwards, Batman and Nightwing try to ditch Harley to follow their new lead. But she demands to tag along to talk her BFF, Ivy, out of sparking the plant-pocalypse.

Batman deduces that Ivy and Woodrue want to synthesize the formula that created Swamp Thing and turn it into a virus.

Harley doesn’t know where to find Ivy, but she takes Batman and Nightwing to a bar where a lot of criminals are hanging their hats right now. This leads into about two to three minutes of twin brothers singing a number, which then leads to Harley performing a two to three-minute number. Honestly, this is not just the worst scene of the movie; this is just a terrible scene altogether.

Harley’s contact at the bar, Shrub, one of Ivy’s lieutenants, leads her and the Dynamic Duo to the location where Ivy and Woodrue are holding Dr. Goldblum and making him work on their formula.

When the three vigilantes step on the scene, one of the coolest animated fight scenes I’ve seen breaks out between Batman, Nightwing, and Harley Quinn vs. Poison Ivy and the Floronic Man. The villains flee and the heroes follow them to Slaughter Swamp, which leads to another fight scene with an awesome appearance from Swamp Thing that ends the fight and the movie.

The style of this movie is extremely reminiscent of “Batman: The Animated Series” (1992-1995), and I love it. Not only is the style aesthetically pleasing, but I grew up watching “The Animated Series,” which remains the best animated material to come out of DC Comics.

Part of that show’s success is thanks to Kevin Conroy, the voice actor of Batman who returned for “Batman and Harley Quinn,” which makes it all the more awesome.

I also love how Ivy and Woodrue’s motivations are that climate change is getting out of control, and they think they need to reverse it. Harley’s response to Ivy when hearing this is “vote Democrat,” which is true and funny.

It isn’t the only funny part in the movie, either. There are a few jokes that fall flat, but the movie is actually quite funny if you’re a Batman fan.

If Conroy’s voice acting didn’t make this movie great, then the art style would. I appreciated most of the humor, however, I did not like the five-minute-long musical number. I give “Batman and Harley Quinn” a 7.5 out of 10.

7.5/10

 

R&B sensation releases impressive debut album

by DOM PUENTE//Staff Writer

Can We Talk 1

Tone Stith has broken through the R&B world, creating a following of young and old listeners with his first album, “Can We Talk.”

Many R&B singers entering their careers having recently incorporated auto-tune or a type of rap style into their songs. They categorize themselves as both a singer and rapper.

Stith, a young and talented R&B singer, has stuck to the category of only singing in R&B, and I enjoy the type of songs he has released on his album. His smooth voice and ability to hit high notes with ease are a nice change of pace from other male singers of his genre.

While listening to the album, I was not concerned with the technical portions of his songs. What brought me in were his lyrics and his soft voice.

Lyrically, his songs were simple and easy to listen to without having to wonder why he said that to begin with. A few songs do have a sexual encounter within them. But the majority stray away from portraying sex and focus on love or the beauty a girl has.

I noticed that even though every song may switch topics about a girl, the main idea is loving her more than anybody while showing his affection to her every second of the day.

The album begins with “Oh My Gosh,” which I found to be my favorite song of the album. This song does use a sexual encounter as the basis of the song, but Stith puts the qualities that he admires in a girl while displaying affection for her in any way into the song, which flows well.

While I did not focus on the technical aspects of the album, I noticed how well it was produced with the mixes, beats and vocals being added. For some first-time artists, I have noticed that the producing of an album might not be great in all aspects, but I enjoyed all areas of the album without questioning anything.

Another favorite of the album is “Get It Right,” which is a song describing how far he will go to make things right with a girl if something is wrong. The overall message of the song is something I can relate to, and it grabs my attention.

The overall messages within the songs really appeal to me, because not every song is about sex or the visual of having so many girls or relationships. I can respect Stith for creating an album that is built on taking care of a woman and showing her love in many aspects in a relationship.

I don’t have a song that I dislike. But there is one song that is more of a non-traditional song and almost a throwback for me.  The song “Every Hour” carries a Michael Jackson-esque feel to it. The track has a upbeat hip-hop feel that you could find on an ‘80s track or just a Jackson song.

Even with a different style of song such as “Every Hour,” it sounds great, and the singing blends well with the beats used. It is different seeing that variation of beats and singing style in songs these days, but it presents a nice change of pace for me.

Throughout all the songs, I was pleased with Stith’s work for a first album, and I anticipate he will continue to get better from here. As long as he heads in this direction with his music, I will continue to be a fan. I give this album an 8 out of 10.

8/10

 

Tattoo expo ‘draws’ in large crowds

by ANNIE GOLDEN//Editorial Assistant

tat guy

Tattoo enthusiasts come to Lubbock to satisfy their craving for more of the culture.

The first Tornado Alley Expo was held Sept.8-Sept.10 at the Clarion Hotel in Lubbock. People from across the country flocked to the event, including more than 100 artists who came to enjoy the experience and provide a good time for those attending.

It was a whole new level of portraying tattoo culture, including a wide range of entertainment all weekend. The event featured tattoo contests, vendors, a pin-up pageant, comedy shows, and a DJ.

When entering the Clarion Hotel, ladies at the front desk were handing out wristbands and telling guests to have a good time. The energy at the event was instantly welcoming, but also edgy and daring.

People were laying in booths getting tattoos. Some were walking around with bandages over their fresh tattoos, and many had fresh piercings as well. Overall, those in attendance seemed to be having a great time. The booths provided free stickers, temporary tattoos, and knick-knacks that you could buy.

Tattoo culture is a whole different way of life, which is why it is important to learn from the experts.

“I was 17 when I got my first tattoo,” said tattoo artist Jon Miller. “My first tattoo was a [expletive] cartoon duck that I tattooed onto myself. It is terrible. I created the tattoo because I used to have a pet duck when I was growing up, whose name was Alfred. My favorite tattoos ever are sacred-geometry themed tattoos.”

“Also, I will never be satisfied with the number of tattoos I have on my body,” he added.

The Tornado Alley Tattoo Expo was Miller’s first tattoo expo. He said he produced many tattoos at the event throughout the weekend.

“My favorite tattoo that I did this weekend was on a girl’s back on Friday,” said Miller. “It took me about five hours.”

Miller has been doing tattoo art for almost seven years. He said a tattoo artist named Yogi Berra from South America is the one who inspired him. He describes his personal work as “enlightening.”

Lizzett Vargas also was attending a tattoo expo for the first time. She got her first tattoo at the Tornado Alley Tattoo Expo.

“I am from Plainview and got my first tattoo here today, at 21 years old,” Vargas explained. “I also got my nose pierced today. My first tattoo was inspired by the idea to commemorate my uncle, and I would like to get more tattoos eventually.”

The next tattoo expo in Lubbock is scheduled for Feb.2-Feb.4, 2018 and will be the fourth Lubbock Tattoo Expo. The second Tornado Alley Tattoo Expo is expected to return next year.

[Photo by BRANDI ORTIZ/ PLAINSMAN PRESS]

‘The Defenders’ satisfies Marvel fans with exciting team ups

by RILEY GOLDEN//Entertainment Editor

defenders elevator

The underground criminal ninja organization known as the Hand is after the Immortal Iron Fist, and they are willing to level New York to get him.

“Marvel’s The Defenders” is an eight-episode series on Netflix that sees Charlie Cox, Finn Jones, Mike Colter, and Krysten Ritter reprise their respective roles as Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones in the culmination of what their individual series’ have been approaching for the past two years.

Matt Murdock (Cox) was blinded as a child and developed super hearing abilities that allow him to pinpoint things better than those with sight. Now he is a lawyer by day and Daredevil by night. Between “Daredevil” seasons 1 and 2, the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen stopped Madame Gao’s (Wai Ching Ho) underground Hand operations, confronted and defeated Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio), and encountered the Punisher (John Bernthal).

The other individual Defenders’ series are good, but Charlie Cox does an incredible amount of justice to the role of Daredevil. Sseasons 1 and 2 of “Marvel’s Daredevil” are arguably the best material to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date.

  Jessica Jones (Ritter) is an alcoholic private investigator with superhuman strength. In “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” season 1, Jessica takes a case that leads her to Zebediah Kilgrave, or Purple Man (David Tennant), who she kills. Jessica also meets and hooks up with Luke Cage (Colter).

“Jessica Jones” season 1 is kind of boring, but Cage’s presence is great for the dynamics of the series and Kristen Ritter plays a perfect Jessica Jones.

Luke Cage was in jail when he was beaten within an inch of his life. A doctor at the prison did an experiment on Cage that gave him unbreakable skin and super strength. In season 1 of “Marvel’s Luke Cage,” Cage encounters Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali), Black Mariah (Alfre Woodard), and Diamondback (Erik LaRay Harvey) and comes out on top. That is, until the prison he broke out of years ago comes looking for him. The stakes never really feel too high in “Luke Cage” like they do in “Daredevil.” The action is cool, and Mike Colter fits the role extremely well.

When Danny Rand (Jones) was 10 years old, his parents’ plane crashed with him on and his parents on board. He was the only survivor. Danny was rescued by some monks from a different dimension, known as K’un-Lun. He was trained by the monks of K’un-Lun and became the Immortal Iron Fist.

In “Marvel’s Iron Fist” season 1, Danny meets Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick), and encounters two of the leaders of the Hand, Madame Gao and Bakuto (Ramon Rodriguez), who also trained Colleen. Danny’s one responsibility as the Immortal Iron Fist was to protect K’un-Lun, and he failed. His guilt from this will follow him into “The Defenders” series.

At the beginning of “Marvel’s The Defenders” season 1, we meet Alexandra Reid (Sigourney Weaver), the leader of the five founders of the Hand, who is dying of cancer.

Luke is getting out of prison when he’s met by none other than Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), who is there to let Luke know that the law firm of Hogarth, Benowitz & Chow are at his disposal, should he ever need them. Seeing Foggy, Daredevil’s best friend, greet Cage in the second scene of the series is so cool and delivers a solid foreshadow of how awesome it’s going to be to see these heroes and their supporting characters meet each other.    

Cage couldn’t care less and immediately goes to Harlem in search of Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson), the nurse who also gave medical aid to Matt Murdock. Luke and Claire hook up, and afterward, Detective Misty Knight (Simone Missick), a friend of Cage’s, comes looking for him to update him on what’s going on in Harlem and to let him know how he can help.

Matt is working as a pro bono lawyer, trying hard to keep his feet on the ground and off the rooftops, and letting the NYPD do their job. After he finishes the case he was working on, Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), a close friend of Matt’s, asks if she can get a statement on the case over a bite to eat.

“But when we first see Daredevil, he’s questioning White Hat, and there’s no doubt that this is the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen”

Jessica is still drinking out of contempt for her powers, and she meets up with her friend, Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor), on her way home. When she gets to her apartment, there is a mom and a daughter waiting for her so they can ask her to look for their husband/father. Jessica begrudgingly accepts the case, only to be told by her “friend,” Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss), of Hogarth, Benowitz & Chow, that she should drop it.

After a brief stop in Cambodia, where they may or may not have encountered Elektra – yes, the dead one – Danny and Colleen meet an ally just in time for him to die, but he tells them to track the Hand in New York.

Alexandra is sitting on the roof of a high rise when Madame Gao approaches her and tells her “it’s ready.” New York then experiences a massive earthquake. Right before the earthquake, the husband that Jessica was tracking killed himself in her apartment. After the earthquake, Misty takes Jessica in for questioning.

Some kids break into someone’s store, and the owner tries to shoot them when Matt saves them, telling the owner that they’re just kids. Later, he meets up with Foggy, who tells him his knuckles “speak volumes” about what he has been doing. Matt gets upset when Foggy calls him out, but Foggy tells him he’s there to help. He offers Matt some pro bono cases that he doesn’t have time for, one of which involves Jessica Jones.

Jessica is being questioned by Misty when Matt bursts through the door and tells Misty she can’t question Jessica anymore without him present. This scene is cool because it’s basically Daredevil and Jessica Jones in the same room together, although Matt is the only person in the room aware of it. Jessica doesn’t know who he is and doesn’t want his help.

The information that Misty gave Luke led him to some 18-year-old kid getting mixed up in something bad. So Luke followed him to a warehouse where he sees a man they call White Hat, one of the five founders of the Hand.

The sword wielded by the ally Danny and Colleen met in Cambodia leads them to the same warehouse as Cage. When Danny goes after the kid that Luke was following, Luke steps in to protect him, and a fight breaks out between Luke Cage and the Immortal Iron Fist. This is just so cool. Cage brushes off every attack and throws Danny around until he unleashes the power of the Iron Fist on Luke’s face and sends him flying.

Claire and Colleen bring Luke and Danny together to talk to each other, and they realize that they’re on the same side and can work together to fight the Hand.

Alexandra brings Elektra Natchios (Elodie Yung), Matt’s ninja girlfriend, back from the dead and calls her the Black Sky. Bringing her back to life used up the last of the Hand’s life-restoring substance, which seems to be their largest motivator in this series. Alexandra plans on using the Black Sky to get the Iron Fist, the only thing that can unlock the door to their substance. Alexandra is holding Stick (Scott Glenn), Matt’s and Elektra’s mentor, hostage when he cuts off his hand to get free.

Danny’s and Luke’s investigations lead them to Midland Circle Financial – where Daredevil had his showdown with the Hand – while Jessica’s investigation and Matt’s history with the Hand lead them to the same place.

Danny calls out Alexandra, who’s having a meeting at Midland Circle, and she sicks her ninjas on Danny for an awesome conference room fight. When Danny starts getting pinned down Luke shows up just in time to help. This makes for some sweet tag-team action when Jessica and Matt – with Jessica’s scarf tied around his head – show up to join the party for one rad fight scene that leads them into hiding in a Chinese restaurant.

Danny writes the restaurant owners a nice check so they can stick around, and the restaurant owners insist that they prepare food for them. So the Defenders sit down for a late-night meal and to get to know each other when the Hand comes after them with full force, which is when Matt finds out that Elektra is alive.

As cool as this show is, we don’t get to see Matt suited up until the fifth episode of the season, which is kind of a bummer. But when we first see Daredevil, he’s questioning White Hat, and there’s no doubt that this is the Devil of Hell’s kitchen. The Murdock boys have the devil in them, and the first appearance of Charlie Cox as Daredevil in this series had me on my toes. It was brutal and left no questions about who Matt Murdock is.

Fast forward a little bit and the heroes have gathered all of their friends at Misty’s police station. Danny has been taken by Elektra, and the other Defenders are stuck at the police station, brainstorming how to get out and save Danny.

In the middle of this, Foggy brings Matt a “change of clothes,” his Daredevil suit. This scene is so cool, because it shows Foggy taking steps to accept who Matt is.

So, the drunk private investigator with super strength, the unbreakable man, the Immortal Iron Fist, and the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen go to stop Elektra and the Hand in what is an awesome fight scene between the Defenders and the three remaining leaders of the hand.

Madame Gao was one of the cooler enemies in this series, but Sigourney Weaver’s Alexandra was a weak villain and pales in comparison to Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk from “Daredevil.”

“The Defenders” is a decent culmination of events for these four heroes with super cool team-ups and fight scenes. But it lacks a true villain.

I give “Marvel’s The Defenders” a 7.8 out of 10.

7.8/10

Comic Corner: Aug. 30-Sept. 6

BOOM! Studios

Go Go Power Rangers #2

Power Rangers #2

“Go Go Power Rangers #2” is following the teenage Rangers a short time after they became the Power Rangers. They’re all struggling to balance being a Ranger and a high school student.

Trini, the Yellow Ranger, and Jason, the Red Ranger, start testing their powers and abilities as Rangers and they develop a nice sense of chemistry.

Rita Repulsa, Alpha, Zordon, and the Rangers triggered my nostalgia. The pages of this comic are colorful and beautiful.

Red Hood and the Outlaws Annual #1

Red Hood and the Outlaws AnnualIn “Red Hood and the Outlaws Annual #1,” Red Hood — Jason Todd, a former robin — and the Outlaws — Bizarro, a faulty Superman clone, and Artemis, a renegade Amazon — team up with the original Robin, Dick Grayson, Nightwing.

The Outlaws track the Russians to a circus and are blending in as acts to follow the investigation.

The fact that Dick grew up in a circus makes him kind of vulnerable during this mission, which opens the door for him and Jason to reconnect.

 


Dark Horse Comics

Halo: Rise of Atriox #1

Rise of Atriox #1

‘Halo: Rise of Atriox #1” follows a squad of United Nations Space Command Marines who are stranded on a planet. They could leave the planet if it weren’t for Atriox and his Brutes.

Beatrix, the A.I. personality in this “Halo” comic, tells Sergeant Kress that it’s “safe to assume” that the Brutes just want the Marines dead.

Beatrix proceeds to inform Kress as the Marines’ numbers dwindle, which adds a real sense of drama and peril to the comic.

 


Marvel Comics

Astonishing X-Men #3

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In the first two issues of “Astonishing X-Men,” the reader learns that Professor Charles Xavier is alive in the astral plane and being held captive by the Shadow King.

Psylocke sends Logan, Gambit, Rogue, and Fantomex into the astral plane. In “Astonishing X-Men #3,” the reader gets a glimpse into the mind of former Wolverine, Logan. He feels unworthy and irredeamable as his insecurities cause him to fall under the Shadow King’s control.

Generations: The Iron #1

the iron“Generations: The Iron #1” follows Ironheart, Riri Williams, to the future, where former Iron Man, Tony Stark, is now the Sorcerer Supreme.

 

Riri meets the kids of some the Avengers, and Sue and Reed Richards’ son, Franklin.

Tony shows Riri a beautiful future that she will one day help build. “Generations: The Iron #1” brings Tony Stark and Riri Williams together in a beatiful spin of colors and panels.

 

Iceman #5

iceman #5 fixedIn the first four issues of “Iceman,” Bobby Drake, Iceman, has been struggling with reconnecting with his parents who don’t approve of his powers or him being a part of the X-Men.

On top of that, Bobby is gay and in “Iceman #5,” the reader gets a glimpse of what it might be like to come out to unnacepting loved ones. Bobby’s struggle of coming out to his parents adds an incredible dynamic to the pages of these comics, and gives him the anger to demolish Juggernaut in a fight.

Venomverse: War Stories #1

543162-_sx1280_ql80_ttd_In the Venomverse, all of the heroes possess the venom symbiote. In “Venomverse: War Stories #1,” the reader sees Dr. Stephen Strange and Captain America talking about losing a war and needing more recruits. To get these recruits, Dr. Strange pulls whoever possesses the symbiote in that universe, to the Venomverse.

In “War Stories #1” the venom symbiote bonds with the Black Panther, Dr. Doom, and the Punisher.

The Punisher is by far the most stirring (anti) hero that I’ve seen bonded with the venom symbiote.

Star Wars: Mace Windu: Jedi of the Republic #1

mace windu #1“Mace Windu #1” takes place during the Clone Wars, when Master Windu takes Jedi Knight Kit Fisto, Jedi Master Prosset Dibs, and Jedi Knight Rissa Mano on his covert mission to a jungle planet in the outer rim called Hissrich.

Kit Fisto, a Nautolan, has the apptitude for surviving harsh environments. Prosset Dibs is blind and has an intense connection with the Force, and Rissa Mano is a young Jedi Knight and an amazing pilot. Mace Windu and Kit Fisto are my two favorite Jedi, and their purple-and-green lightsabers swinging gracefully through the pages of this issue is beautiful.

 


DC Comics

Batman #30

6040278-30In “The War of Jokes & Riddles” series, Joker and the Riddler have assembled different villains from Batman’s rogues gallery to fight each other over Gotham.

Batman has joined the Riddler’s side and fights Kite Man. Batman repeatedly tells Kite Man to stay down because Batman doesn’t take pleasure in fighting him.

The story of this issue is followed by a conversation that Kite Man has had with his son about his son’s mom calling Kite Man a joke.

The Black Racer and Shilo Norman Special #1

the black racerIn “The Black Racer and Shilo Norman Special #1,” Shilo Norman is Mister Miracle, a man who can get out of any trap. While performing a challange for some playboy, The Black Racer, the herald of death for the New Gods, appears to kill Mister Miracle.

“The Black Racer and Shilo Norman Special #1” is a fun, refreshing, actionpacked cosmic thriller about Jack Kirby’s New Gods.

Darkseid Special #1

Darkseidjpg

In the pages of “Darkseid Special #1,” readers see a side of Darkseid rarely seen — a vulnerable one. Darkseid is the ruler of Apokalips for several reasons, but one more than any other: fear. Then, a group of teenagers broke out of the orphanage and started a rebellion, encouraging people not to fear Darkseid. At the end of the issue, he reveals to one of the rebels that every night he dreams horrible visions that people will stop fearing him.

Green Arrow #30

green arrowIn the first four issues of “Hard Traveling Hero,” Green Arrow, former billionare playboy Oliver Queen, teamed up with the Flash, Wonder Woman, Superman, and my favorite, Batman, to take on the Ninth Circle, a criminal organization that controls corporations by means of blackmail. In “Hard Traveling Hero Part 5,” Green Arrow teams up with Green Lantern to go to space and find the Ninth Circle’s satellite, their “eye in the sky.” Lantern gives Arrow a sweet space suit, and the issue overflows with emerald.