Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater documentary premieres next week

A documentary about the beloved Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series of video games, made by a former producer of the franchise, will premiere next week at the Mammoth Film Festival in California.

Pretending I’m a Superman is the film’s title, taking that name from Goldfinger’s “Superman,” a memorable track from the first game’s soundtrack. Ralph D’Amato, a Neversoft producer on the first game through 2006’s Tony Hawk’s Project 8, teamed up with Swedish filmmaker Ludvig Gür to create the documentary. It premieres on Feb. 29 at Mammoth Lakes.

The film was first announced back in August; it began as an unsuccessful Indiegogo campaign in 2017. Mic reported on Wednesday that Pretending I’m a Superman ended up getting independent financing. Mic said the film “tracks how the broader skateboarding industry was in a perilous place in the early 90s,” and that the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games were a big part of mainstreaming the sport and lifestyle.

The documentary features extensive interviews with Hawk and fellow skateboarding pioneers Rodney Mullen, Steve Caballero, and Chad Muska, all of whom co-starred in several versions of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series. Hawk and Mullen will join the fillmmakers for a panel discussion after the screening.

Source: Polygon.com

Baldur’s Gate 3 releasing in 2020 on Steam Early Access, says Hasbro

Baldur’s Gate 3 will launch in Steam Early Access, and it’s coming sometime later this year, according to a Hasbro representative speaking to investors at a Toy Fair 2020 event this weekend.

First reported by Dark Side of Gaming, Baldur’s Gate 3 will also get a gameplay reveal on Thursday, Feb. 27 at PAX East 2020. Larian Studios will air that footage at 3:30 p.m. EST.

Baldur’s Gate 3 was formally announced the week before E3 2019, with Larian, makers of the Divinity: Original Sin series, in charge of development. The game is being made for Windows PC and Google Stadia.

It’s the sequel to Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amn, which launched 20 years ago. A third game has been discussed for at least that long. The Baldur’s Gate series is an adaptation of the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms campaign, originally developed by BioWare and published by Interplay and Black Isle Studios.

Black Isle was said to be developing Baldur’s Gate 3: The Black Hound shortly after Shadows of Amn launched in 2000, but that was canceled in 2003. Development on Baldur’s Gate 3 is ongoing while Larian and co-developer Logic Artists have delayed Divinity: Fallen Heroes, which was originally due in November 2019.

Hasbro, the parent company of D&D owner Wizards of the Coast, told investors at Toy Fair that it has seven Dungeons & Dragons games in the works, DSO Gaming reported. Baldur’s Gate 3 and Dark Alliance, a reboot of the 2001 action RPG announced at The Game Awards 2019, will launch this year; then, plans call for one D&D game per year through 2025.

When Baldur’s Gate 3 was announced last June, Google listed it as a “launch window” title for Stadia. Larian’s announcement billed it as that studio’s “biggest production ever,” and said Baldur’s Gate 3 will feature co-operative multiplayer as well as single-player modes.

Source: Polygon.com

In Transformers: War for Cybertron trailer, Optimus Prime weighs suboptimal choices

Transformers: War for Cybertron is a three-film trilogy coming soon to Netflix, and chapter one got the first teaser trailer this weekend. Titled Siege, it takes us to the closing hours of the Autobot-Decepticon civil war, with both sides considering some rather desperate choices.

Megatron is on the hunt for the Allspark, the Cybertronian MacGuffin that is capable of “reformatting” the Autobots. Optimus Prime must marshal his troops to thwart the Decepticons’ evil plans, using tactics that some find extreme, and extremely risky. It comes down to a fateful call: Should the Autobots destroy Cybertron in order to save it?

There’s no release date yet for chapter one (nor two, titled Earthrise, so you can probably guess where this is headed w/r/t Cybertron). This is the inaugural production for Rooster Teeth Studios, with Polygon Pictures (no relation) serving as the animation studio. F.J. DeSanto, of Transformers: Titans Return and Power of the Primes is the showrunner, with Gavin Hignight (Transformers: Cyberverse) and Brandon Easton (Transformers: Rescue Bots) on the writing team.

Despite their spot-on voices, that’s not Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime or Frank Welker as Megatron. It’s Jake Foushee and Jason Mamocha, respectively. The rest of the voice acting credits name-checks Autobots Bumblebee, Ultra Magnus, Jetfire, Wheeljack, and Ironhide, with Decepticons Shockwave, Soundwave, Starscream, and Skywarp also mentioned, so look for your favorite to show up.

Source: Polygon.com

MLB The Show 20’s minor leaguers don’t have to be paid for their names. Here’s why.

Last week, Sony San Diego Studio announced that MLB The Show 20 would include full minor league rosters — that is, real-life players, under their real names — for the first time in the game’s history. I assumed that, to make this happen, something must have changed within the licensing agreements that usually govern such things.

Turns out, Sony Interactive Entertainment has had the rights to do this all along.

Earlier this week, Baseball America reported that the 1,500 or so minor leaguers who make up the Double-A and Triple-A rosters for MLB The Show 20 won’t be paid for the use of their name, image, and likeness, a concept lots of sports video gamers are familiar with since the cancellation of the NCAA Football series seven years ago.

But these minor leaguers don’t have to be paid, and it’s all fair and legitimate; the uniform player contract every minor-league ballplayer signs expressly say their “name, voice, signature, biographical information and likeness … may be used, reproduced, sold, licensed or otherwise disseminated or published by [their] Club or its licensees … (including but not limited to … electronics, audio, in video or in connection with any media).”

Sony Interactive Entertainment has paid for Minor League Baseball (MiLB) licensing since MLB 06 The Show, so this language pertains to them and their video game. I reached out to an MiLB spokesman, who told me that this part of their uniform player contract has not changed recently.

“MiLB’s licensing agreement with Sony has always provided them the right to use player names and likenesses,” he said. “You’d have to speak with Sony as to why they just started using them this year.”

So, I did. Per a Sony Interactive Entertainment rep:

The addition of full Minor League rosters is something we’ve been looking to incorporate for some time. The team decided this was the year to make it happen and it’s been a true collaboration across multiple departments and our community. We’re really excited about this as it adds another layer of depth and authenticity to the game.

That’s nice, but it doesn’t really answer the question. The assumption has long been that minor league players were off-limits until their first day of Major League service, which made them members of the Major League Baseball Players Association and therefore covered by the group license Sony also pays for, which allows them to put real big leaguers in the game.

That assumption wasn’t just mine alone. In years past, big-time prospects like Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper or Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. all had to reach the bigs before they showed up in this game, or in 2K Sports’ defunct Major League Baseball 2K series. Here’s a clip from 2010 at Kotaku in which I talked to an SIE rep about their plans to add in Aroldis Chapman following his major league debut, for example.

Is it possible that Sony or its studio didn’t know they had the rights to these players until now? I can’t say for sure. (And I did ask that question of Sony, directly, getting only that statement above in reply.) A cottage industry of civilian roster editors has filled in over the past decade or so, creating and sharing full minor league rosters using just a DualShock controller. They’ve usually been able to do the job within two weeks of the game’s launch.

I don’t deny that tripling the roster size, rating it, and giving players faces and animations, is a big job for developers, (and for announcer Matt Vasgersian, assuming he recorded any new names joining the game). But the fact fans were able to pull it off in a couple of weeks every year suggests to me this wasn’t a prohibitively large task. In fact, Scott “RidinRosters” Spindler, the leader of the roster-editing effort over the past several years, was brought in to collaborate on the official version for MLB The Show 20, with some of his collaborators pitching in, too.

In the end, this is all hot stove talk that doesn’t really amount to much. As I said last week, you’re talking about 1,500 players, most of whom will make only the slightest of cameos in your created player’s journey.

But it is a huge step toward delivering greater immersion in the big-league fantasy MLB The Show delivers. When big-time phenoms have been added mid-season in past years, many players would restart their career modes so they could play with or against them. Immersion and realism have always been top-of-the-list goals for The Show, or any other sports video game. So it fairly raises the question of why it took until now to see these official rosters.

Roster File is Polygon’s news and opinion column on the intersection of sports and video games.

Source: Polygon.com

Red Dead Redemption 2 gets a ‘Hot Coffee’ mod

Someone made a “Hot Coffee” mod for Red Dead Redemption 2, and the creator says Rockstar Games almost instantly sent them a demand to cease and desist with the callback to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas’ AO-rated scandal from 15 years ago.

“Hot Coffee” is, for now, still available on Nexus Mods, and while I’m obligated to flag that page and its highlights video NSFW, be aware that everyone is gettin’ it on fully clothed, like this is Cinemax circa 1988 or something. But the dry-humping is rather deliberate about what’s taking place, and Arthur Morgan and his consort do a fair amount of grunting and groaning in flagrante delicto.

This was still enough to get Rockstar’s legal team on the case. YouTube’s Swegta called attention to the mod and the dustup in a video on Monday, and spoke to one of the modders, Unlosing. The modder responded to the takedown demand by asking what policies they had violated, as the mod doesn’t use any external assets, and every animation and sound clip comes from content still in the game.

“Frankly, it is the sexual content of the Hot Coffee mod that is causing particular concern here,” said the response, according to Unlosing (at 6:32 of Swegta’s video), “and the main reason why the mod needs to be taken down and disabled immediately.” Hey, at least they were straight up about it.

PCGamesN also followed up with Unlosing, who said he has no plans to take down the mod any time soon. Unlosing pointed out that the mod has no nudity, uses assets still in the game, their sounds are actually a standard response to injury, and the mod is only available for the game’s single-player mode. “To answer your question: no, I don’t think it’s fair,” Unlosing said.

Still, poking fun at Hot Coffee is probably the bridge too far. Although most who remember it laugh today, it was a no-joke crisis for Rockstar Games back in 2005. That was no mod, either; developers left in code for a kind of sex-act minigame between C.J. and his various dates (who invite him in for the titular coffee). Someone discovered it, surfaced it, and the fact it was still part of the game meant the ESRB re-rated the title to the kiss-of-death Adults Only.

Retailers had to remove the game from sale and re-sticker it with the new rating, or return their stock to Take-two Interactive. Rockstar announced a product recall, patched the old game to keep Hot Coffee from playing, and then published a new edition of the game with the offending code stripped out. The Federal Trade Commission still brought a suit against Rockstar, which was settled a year later. In a wide-ranging interview with the Guardian in 2012, all that Rockstar Games co-founder Dan Houser would say about the matter is that it was “draining and upsetting — a tough time in the company.”

Anyway, it’s still available for now. It allows Arthur to hire an escort at any of three locations, the Valentine Saloon, the Saint Denis Saloon, and the Strawberry Hotel.

Source: Polygon.com

After getting ‘laid off,’ Animal Crossing’s ornery Mr. Resetti has a new job in New Horizons

Well, well, looks like Resetti has a job again.

When last we heard of Animal Crossing’s peevish mole, the Nintendo Switch’s autosave function was going to moot his job in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Since the first Animal Crossing in 2002, Resetti would oversee players resetting their games and cast a suspicious eye upon those doing so to exploit the game. Lead developer Aya Kyogoku said straight up last year that Resetti had been let go: “He was laid off from his position,” Kyogoku told Mashable. Cold blooded!

But Kyogoku promised to find Resetti another job, and it seems he kept that promise. Thursday’s Nintendo Direct demonstrated New Horizons rescue service (timestamp 10:55). Players who get stuck (or are simply too lazy to walk back home) can be picked up by a helicopter, whose whiskered nosecone and hard-hat rotor assembly look suspiciously like Resetti.

He’s not the pilot though; when you call the rescue chopper, the dispatcher sounds rather like Resetti (timestamp 11:13) It’s good that they found the old-timer a gig; I’d hate to think he was going to lose his pension or something.

My only hope is that the more and more a player uses the rescue chopper, the more and more pissed Resetti is when he answers the batphone. In previous games, Resetti couldn’t stop players from resetting, but he could make the process miserable as hell, with longwinded, all-caps tirades and threats to bring in Vinny, a relative who’s in the mob. Resetti’s haranguing has been so severe that 2008’s Animal Crossing: City Folk needed a note to parents advising them that young children might be upset by Resetti’s scoldings.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is coming March 20, 2020 to Nintendo Switch.

Source: Polygon.com

Modern Warfare February 21 Community Update

Infinity Ward has released the latest community update for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare on their blog giving fans a look at what’s to come to the game over the next week.

The post recaps what changed this week and previews some new playlists that are to come with the next playlist update for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Bazaar Gunfight map is also deploying this week.

Here’s the full details:

Let’s take a look at what happened at the studio this week and what’s coming next week!

This week we added NVG Reinforce to the playlist along with combining Rust and Shipment 24/7 into one playlist (who doesn’t love a little Flotation Oxidation?). We also gave you an opportunity to get back your street cred with our 1v1 Me Bro playlist.  

Lastly, we deployed two small patches across all platforms during the course of the week. Patch notes for both are below:

GENERAL FIXES

  • Fix for Regiment tags appearing incorrectly
  • Fix for some players being unable to claim existing Battle Pass tokens
  • Fix for players receiving the “Jockworth” error while in Gunfight Tournaments
  • Backend fixes
  • Fixed a bug where numbers on the team roster and number on the COD Caster minimap did not correspond
  • Fix for a CDL Gunsmith exploit
  • Pointman: Fix for an issue where Kill Chain scores were being given for Killstreak kills without having Kill Chain equipped

Want to see the latest updates with known issues we’re tracking and bugs we’re looking into? Be sure to bookmark our Trello board so you can stay up to date! Check it out HERE!

What’s Coming Next Week?

We’ve got some 3v3 Snipers on Rust action coming your way, along with Infantry Ground War, a tweak on regular Ground War where there’s no tanks/APCs. We’re also adding a new map, Bazaar, into rotation! And to make the weekend even better, we’ll be turning on 2XP starting Friday.

SOURCE: Infinity Ward

The post Modern Warfare February 21 Community Update appeared first on Charlie INTEL.

Source: CharlieIntel.com

8 trailers that have us hyped this week: Westworld, The Secret Garden, and more

A million movie trailers drop online every week, which can make it hard to keep track of what’s actually coming up in theaters and on home screens. To help parse through the endless stream of upcoming movie and TV releases, we’ve assembled a list of the most exciting (and in some cases, weirdest) trailers that came out this week, along with a hype level rating, tracking whether these particular trailers actually excited us about the upcoming product. Afraid you might have missed something? Fear no more.

This week features one of the most hype-worthy trailers yet as we get a look at the next season of Westworld. There’s also a more concrete look at Netflix’s I Am Not Okay With This, along with a few other new HBO and Netflix series coming down the pipeline.


I Am Not Okay With This

Sophia Lillis of It fame stars as angry 17-year-old Sydney, who grapples with the pain of growing up, the death of her father, and the fact that she may have explosive superpowers. Is it just puberty? Everyone feels like a freak sometimes, someone tells her. Then a grocery aisle explodes!

Release date: Feb. 26 on Netflix

Hype level: 7. Totally here for a coming-of-age tale where it seems like superpowers are a metaphor for those big, ugly teenage feelings.

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden is a beloved staple of children’s literature. (With unfortunate colonialist vibes throughout, but then again, what art wasn’t unfortunately tinged with colonialism in 1910?) The plot follows sickly, unloved 10-year-old Mary — this is literally her character description — who was born in India to wealthy British parents, and is sent to live with an estranged uncle after her parents die of cholera. The book focused on snobby, obnoxious Mary as she learned to be less snobby and obnoxious while exploring the moors and making friends. This movie, however, really plays up the adventure and mystery parts of the plot. What else would you expect from the producer of the Harry Potter movies?

Release date: April 17 in theaters

Hype level: 5. Maybe I’d be more excited if I, too, were a sickly, unloved 10-year-old girl.

Children of the Sea

A gorgeous animated tale featuring a boy raised by dugongs, mysterious humpback whale songs, and worlds beyond this one. There’s also a catchy theme song!

Release date: In US theaters April 20 and 22

Hype level: 8. I love whales, I love oceans, I love mysterious connections to other human beings and a world just beyond our own.

Beforeigners

Think reverse The Leftovers plus reverse Outlander. The present-day world is shaken by a sudden influx of visitors from the past, who are treated as refugees (with all the attendant political strife) as they attempt to deal with their unintentional displacement. Part of that assimilation means that one of these “beforeigners,” as they’re called, joins the police department, helping solve crimes and bridge the gap between communities.

Release date: Feb. 18 on HBO

Hype level: 6. Time-travel shenanigans are always fun!

Halston

Ryan Murphy continues to do pretty much whichever projects he wants with Halston, a Netflix series about the fashion designer of the same name, who rose to prominence in the ’70s. Ewan McGregor stars in the title role, with Rebecca Davan co-starring as Elsa Peretti, Krysta Rodriguez as Liza Minnelli, and Rory Culkin as Joel Schumacher.

Release date: Not yet announced, on Netflix

Hype level: 7. Walk, walk, fashion, baby.

Big Time Adolescence

Pete Davidson stars as a college dropout loser who takes a high-schooler under his wing. It’s a raunchy, coming-of-age comedy for the streaming era! Expect lots of weed, of course, and Davidson’s pretty awful bleached hair.

Release date: March 13 in select theaters, March 20 on Hulu

Hype level: Eh … a solid 4. Haven’t we seen this plot before? I’m all for reimaginings of tried-and-true stories, but Davidson’s really bad hair is just such a turn-off.

Run

Take Hulu’s The Act, about a real case of Munchausen by proxy, and combine it with every season of American Horror Story where Sarah Paulson screamed, and you get Run. This horror movie follows a very overprotective mother and her sheltered daughter.

Release date: May 8 in theaters

Hype level: 6. Don’t get me wrong, I love Sarah Paulson, and she can scream at me any time she wants, but I feel like I know how this one ends.

Westworld Season 3

Westworld’s back, baby! After almost two years of hiatus, the hit HBO show about the robot revolution is returning. Last we saw, the robots populating the Westworld parks as glorified NPCs had finally started taking matters into their own hands, rebelling against their makers and breaking out into the real world.

Release date: March 15 on HBO

Hype level: 10. Unfortunately, I will watch anything that includes Ed Harris saying, “I’m gonna save the fucking world.”

Source: Polygon.com

Follow Rainbow Six Siege’s canon with this Operator chart

Rainbow Six Siege may be a multiplayer-only game, but it has a canon, too, just like another multiplayer-only first-person shooter. If you’re familiar with your character icons, one fan whipped up a chart to explain how all the Operators get along or, in many cases, don’t.

Redditor Spirit_of_Stupid (who, like me, mains Recruit) delivered this map yesterday (full size version at bottom). If nothing else, it’s fun to trace the lines (assuming you care about Siege, of course) and see that, yep, Thatcher’s friends with the most Operators, probably owing to a biography that has him in a mentoring role to newcomers.

Then there’s Mira, who is the only one who hates Warden (who evidently keeps bothering Mira for a new look for his glasses gadget). And Ash has beef with a lot of Operators, but not fellow American Castle, who is also Rainbow’s peacemaker.

The chart takes its info from the official biographies on Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Siege site as well as the Fandom.com wiki. In the comments, fans expounded on what all of this really means, coming up with Ash, Valkyrie and Montagne in tactical leadership roles, given their all-bidness approaches that leave little time for pleasantries.

Rainbow Six Seige’s two newest operators, Oryx and Iana, are even on the chart, a week after being introduced. They’ve been on the game’s public test server (on PC) since Monday. The launch date for Year 5 Season 1 hasn’t been finalized, but with things on the PTS most folks expect that in a couple of weeks or so.

map showing relationships of operators in Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege Image: Spirit_of_Stupid/Reddit
Source: Polygon.com

Hunters is basically The Boys with Nazis instead of superheroes

David Weil, creator of Amazon’s Nazi-hunting thriller Hunters, says the show came out of his own family history: he contextualized the stories his Holocaust survivor grandmother told through the lens of comic book morality. The idea of World War II as a battle between grand heroes and villains is clearly expressed in Hunters — available to stream on Feb. 21 — when teenage Jewish comic-book nerd Jonah Heidelbaum (Logan Lerman of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and the Percy Jackson films) compares the Nazi-hunters he’s working with to Batman, Spider-Man and the Punisher.

But the show has more in common with a different comic book series: Garth Ennis’ The Boys, which was adapted as an Amazon series last year. Both are built around ensembles rather than individual heroes, with dweeby newcomers as audience stand-ins. The Boys’ Hughie Campbell is motivated by a classic case of fridging, vowing to take vengeance on superheroes after one of the world’s most famous and powerful heroes accidentally kills his girlfriend. But by creating a wholly original work rather than adapting a nearly 15-year-old comic, Weil freed himself up to borrow tone and tropes as he sees fit, dropping and inverting some of the genre’s worst elements.

Jonah’s defining tragedy is more akin to Peter Parker’s. He’s avenging his grandmother after she’s killed in what the police are quick to assume is a robbery gone wrong. But Ruth Heidelbaum (played by Jeannie Berlin in the present of 1977, and Annie Hagg in flashbacks set during the Holocaust) isn’t a victim, she’s a soldier, a Holocaust survivor who helped found an elite squad of Nazi-hunters, and is killed in the first episode by one of her targets.

Ruth wanted to keep Jonah innocent, but when he gets in trouble investigating her murder, he’s initiated into the cause by Ruth’s partner in vengeance and fellow Auschwitz survivor, Meyer Offerman (Al Pacino). Jonah refers to Meyer as Professor X, but he’s more like the group’s version of The Boys’ Billy Butcher, a charismatic leader filled with a deep anger that occasionally wells up in ways that threaten the mission and his team. Pacino does an excellent job with as Meyer, projecting a gentle grandfather exterior as he lectures on chess or the Jewish law dictated by the Talmud, before demonstrating the fearsome menace that’s given him a long career of playing mob bosses. As with Billy, the team wouldn’t work without Meyer, but it’s also unclear whether anyone should trust him to make decisions about who deserves to die.

Joe (Louis Ozawa) and Roxy (Tiffany Boone)  Joe (Louis Ozawa) and Roxy (Tiffany Boone) Photo: Christopher Saunders/Amazon

Also in the vein of The Boys, the Hunters team includes an intimidating crew of characters with personal motivations for the collective hunt. The supporting cast is introduced in Hunters’ second episode, “The Mourner’s Kaddish,” with a bizarre sequence that combines a bat mitzvah candle-lighting ceremony with a comic-book splash page. Those characters get precious little development over the first half of the 10-episode season, though a few standout moments hint at their potential.

Josh Radnor played the classic sitcom protagonist as Ted Mosby, the least entertaining character on How I Met Your Mother. But he shines in Hunters as Lonny Flash, a recovering addict and has-been actor who uses his performance skills with all the subtlety of Gary the Actor in Team America: World Police. The gadgeteer weapons experts Murray (Saul Rubinek of Warehouse 13) and Mindy Markowitz (Carol Kane) have the same dynamic of Agents of SHIELD’s Fitz and Simmons, except they actually are an old married couple. Unfortunately, the MI-6 connected nun Sister Harriet (Kate Mulvany) just comes off as selfish and shady, and Roxy Jones (Tiffany Boone) and Joe Mizushima (Louis Ozawa) aren’t characters so much as stand-ins for the Black Power movement and Vietnam War veterans that can’t readjust to civilian life, respectively. Hunters devotes multiple flashbacks to Ruth and Meyer’s shared history, and the rest of the team could use similar treatment.

The show largely follows a Nazi-of-the-week format, using flashbacks to showcase each one’s crimes. The writers make it clear that the heroes aren’t pursuing mere soldiers who were following orders; they’re after sadists and profiteers. Weil avoids the pitfalls of exploitation by again cleverly giving agency back to the victims. The Nazi atrocities are often paired with small, stirring acts of resistance, like a group of musicians being forced to play the works of the anti-semitic German composer Wilhelm Wagner, then bursting into a rendition of “Hava Nagila,” a folk song played at Jewish celebrations. These moments of defiance almost always end in tragedy, but they provide a throughline for a show about underdogs taking on powerful, evil people at great personal risk.

The vigilantes in The Boys risk the wrath of superheroes and the powerful corporation that they work for. While the Hunters are largely pursuing old men and women who were active during the war, many of them are still capable of striking back violently. But the real risk comes from their connections, as the former Nazis have acquired significant wealth and indifference within the United States. Meyer and Ruth first attempted to work within the law, and only became vigilantes after meeting resistance and indifference. There are obvious parallels to the current political climate in plotlines like a disciple of the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels serving as a political strategist advocating “America First” policies, or a community of Nazis cozily ensconced in Alabama, where they proudly fly the Confederate flag.

Murray (Saul Rubinek) and Mindy Markowitz (Carol Kane) stand next to car Murray (Saul Rubinek) and Mindy Markowitz (Carol Kane) Christopher Saunders/Amazon

In true comic book form, Hunters also delivers some worthy supervillains. The neo-Nazi enforcer Travis Leich (Greg Austin) is chilling, whether he’s monologuing about eugenics or bursting into brutal violence. His hands-on approach allows the mastermind known only as the Colonel (Lena Olin of Alias) to keep her aloof detachment as she weaves a conspiracy involving secret radio messages and blackmailing politicians so they’ll fall in line with her schemes.

But the real star in the rogues’ gallery is under secretary of state Biff Simpson, played by Dylan Baker with the same oily charm that he brought to the wife-killer Colin Sweeney in The Good Wife. Like The Boys’ primary villain, Homelander, Biff has a hokey, all-American exterior that conceals a horrifying capacity for violence, powerful ambitions, and an absolute lack of moral compass. He has no direct interaction with the heroes in the first half of the season, but the coming confrontation is likely to be thrilling.

Hunters also gains strength by including a classic comics trope not found in The Boys: the good cop. The writers have set up a three-way conflict between the Nazi hunters, the Nazis, and FBI agent Millie Morris (Jerrika Hinton). Tough, smart, and sharp-eyed, Millie pushes Jonah to question his methods and work with her to fight evil the lawful way. But as a gay black woman, Millie is often ignored by her superiors, especially when she’s bringing accusations against people with significantly more clout. It’s a strong conflict, the type that eventually led the likes of James Gordon or Misty Knight to acknowledge that some crimes can’t be solved by people who wear badges.

One of the central questions at the heart of many revenge stories and superhero adventures is whether the hero is doomed to become as bad as the villains they fight. Both The Boys and Hunters try to mitigate that risk by giving their protagonists strong moral compasses. Jonah’s best friend sings Robin’s praises, calling him “the most needed superhero of all time” for his role of keeping Batman from falling too far into darkness — a nod to Jonah’s role doing the same for Meyer. But the biggest argument for the justness of the good guys in Hunters is that they aren’t facing off against mentally ill or morally compromised people in costumes. They’re fighting Nazis, and everyone should agree that’s the right thing to do.

Season 1 of Hunters is now on Amazon Prime Video.

Source: Polygon.com