Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Steam Holiday Sale and The Great Gift Pile

I hope everyone had an awesome holiday weekend and got what they wanted. I thought I did pretty well myself, and had a really nice time with my family and my girlfriend over the last two days. Today however, the day I'm writing this, I have been relaxing at home with nothing really productive to do. That's where Steam has come in. For those who don't know, Steam is a website and a client that allows you to download vast library of PC games for the set prices. Steam also has a history with sales... Crazy sales... Unbelievable sales...

The most insane sales they usually do are in both the summer time and the winter time, so the winter one is still going on as we speak. Just to give an example of the insanity: Yesterday, Sonic Generations (the NEWEST Sonic game) was available for a day for $10.19. Still not crazy enough? How about Indie RPG Bastion (a $14.99 game) for $5.09? Honestly, I could go on and on, but that's not what I'm here to discuss this time. Today I'm talking about their holiday achievement system.

Not only did Steam create an achievement system similar to the Xbox 360 achievement system/PS3 trophy system, but during the times of their biggest sales like this one, they have more special achievements that you unlock by completing these in-game, and sometimes from doing some simple tasks on their website. Unlike regular achievements that don't actually do anything, these holiday achievements grant you either a gift or a piece of coal. The gifts can range from coupons to actual free games, or pieces of coal. If you collect 7 pieces of coal, you can also exchange them for another free gift. They also allow you to trade these with other users, or give games as gifts. Honestly, it's a perfect setup and a great way to encourage others to play games they might not have otherwise thought of trying. I'm also happy to say the achievements are all do-able (some are very easy, while others are annoying as frack).

So far, I've gotten the holiday achievements for the following:

- Bastion: Beating the first stage. Already had the achievement before they made it a holiday one.

- Jamestown: Beating a stage using the third unlocked ship. In order to unlock this I had to replay quite a few levels after stage 2 and get about $8,000 in game to purchase. Wasn't too hard, but not too easy either. Felt just right.

- Looking in my inventory simply gave me another one.

- Joining the community group forum gave me one more.

Next, I'm going to try the game Killing Floor, which I'm hearing is a lot like if Left 4 Dead had a smaller budget, but was still fun as hell. After that, I think I'll try getting the achievement for the game Sequence (it was $1.24 today...). It appears to be a mix of Rhythm and RPG, which sounds very interesting to me. After that, I think I'll try the achievements for some of the indie games I got not too long ago (Cave Story +, ... And Yet It Moves, etc.). If anyone else is messing around with this, feel free to friend me or trade items with me if you like.

Steam ID: JDOmnislash

To sum it up, this is an awesome idea they have going, and an awesome way to spend the afternoon when you have nothing to do for the day. Go Steam! Wallets around the world hate you, but everyone else loves you, so it's cool! Haha, thanks for reading!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Been A While Since I've Updated

Life has just been one crazy spiral this month, but it's all gotten much calmer and everyone around has become better for it. My grandfather recently passed away, and wasn't doing very well all month beforehand. He was an amazing man and I know he's resting calmly now with Grandma. I'd like to get past all of this though and instead talk about what I've been up to this month.

Well, it really all started with the end of November. I'm already going to say right off the bat that I don't know if I'll be reviewing any of the games that came out these last few months (The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Gears of War 3, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Batman: Arkham City, Super Mario 3D Land, etc.). The reason for this is that there's simply been so many titles that it would actually be kind of strenuous to write them all. However, I think I will still write up a "Game Of The Year Awards" blog, as I think I could get enough of my thoughts out and still keep things going at a nice pace.

Outside of that horrible hobby that I somehow maintain a social life despite, I've also tried to remain caught up with all comics I've been frequenting (Amazing Spider-Man, Batman, Flash, Action Comics, Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Sonic, Wolverine and the X-men, etc.). I also finally got to read Joe Kelly's "I Kill Giants." What a beautiful graphic novel that turned out to be! Reading about superheros is always fun, but reading about people who are not can be just as enlightening, if not better. This book will grab you with its interesting plot, and have you wanting to cry by the end. I'm very glad Mr. Kelly was nice enough to sign my copy, as this is a story I am going to take with me forever. I'm giving this the highest recommendation I can give a graphic novel (it's seriously that good!).

Since I was fortunate enough to get off of work for the next entire week (thank you unused vacation days!), I'll likely be trying to see as many of my friends as possible, as I don't get to see all of them nearly as often as I used to, what with being so busy all the time. I'll also see if I can get to the movies at all this week, as there's actually plenty to see now (though I doubt anyone would come with me to see movies like The "Muppets" or "Hugo" (is that one even playing anymore?)), but I'm sure I could get a small group going for "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" or the new "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows." Always wanted to read the Dragon Tattoo books, as I've heard they are all very interesting in the mystery sense.

And with all of that, I hope everyone reading this has a wonderful holiday season (Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, sitting at the bar drunk, whatever you're into). And let me know if you get anything awesome, as I'll be happy to let everyone know what comes my way. Take care!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving, Black Friday, And The Upcoming

Greetings all! Hope everyone's still alive and well out there, and that you're all staying free of pepper spray this holiday season. There's been a lot of that going around recently...

Thanksgiving was very nice this year. Every year, we have it at my parents house, and most of the family comes to visit us for the big dinner. We usually all watch the parade in the morning and have made it pretty much a priority/inside joke to watch the dog show that immediately follows the parade, laugh our heads off at how silly the toy class of dogs are, and then laugh even more over the fact that we usually have nothing better to think about at that point in the day.

The dinner consists of the usual types of food you'd expect: turkey, stuffing, potatoes (sweet or baked), corn, mixed vegetables, cranberry sauce, etc. We always say a prayer before the meal, and joke till the cows come home while we eat as much as we can. It's always nice that no matter how many things may change in our lives each year, this is something that we know will stay the same.

The rest of the day consisted of my cousin and I messing around in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (I think I'm now at level 24 in the multiplayer). It was hilarious to hear him talk with his friends on his headset. One of those moments where you just had to be there, but I'd say anyone hearing their younger cousin saying something like "No, I will not tell his sister that. That's disgusting." would have laughed all the same.

I also scored a few really good online deals between Thursday and Sunday. On Thanksgiving, I managed to get Red Dead Redemption: Game of the Year Edition for $29.99 and Gears of War 3 for $28.00, both on Amazon. Then, as if Amazon couldn't get any cooler, I managed to score a few Blu-Ray deals too (Green Lantern: 2 disc Extended Cut for $9.99 and Sucker Punch: 2 disc Extended Cut for $7.99; not bad at all! I know they got a lot of crap by critics, but I didn't feel that either were nearly as bad as they were made out to be.). I've also just about got everyone set in terms of Christmas shopping. My girlfriend and most of my family are already covered and there's just a small percentage remaining.

As for life otherwise, things have been pretty good overall. My job is still my job, my wonderful girlfriend is still my wonderful girlfriend, my past times are still the same past times (Zelda: Skyward Sword, HOOOO!), and my life is still in fact my life. Good times all around.

So what does everyone have planned for the holidays this year? Any special dinners, charities, or other events coming up for you?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Deadpool's Completely Biased Review Of Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Greetings peons! As we approach the holiday season in this time of unforgiving economic climate and poverty, people look to other mediums in order to escape the harsh realities of the grapes that bring us such wrath. Don’t you all worry; I’ve got my eyes on them; those damn grapes… Look at them there, plotting their little grapey ways… Little do they know I’m on to them… What was I talking about again? Oh yes, distractions from the pathetic existence that is your life! Well there’s one thing that’s booming in that department in more ways than one. Call of motherfrackin’ Duty mother frackers! You want bro? This game is bro!

Who needs all the thought-provoking and innovative gaming ideas of the world when you can blow that smart-mouthed fourteen-year-old wannabe cool kid to kingdom come with your RPG!? Girlfriend telling you to do unruly things like come visit her or acknowledge her existence? Screw that!!! I’ve got Modern Warfare 3 biznatch! Take a numbah!

Yeah, this game’s pretty bad-ass in that sense. You may have noticed all the differences in the graphics and gameplay… You may have. If you did, could you tell me what those are actually? I’m still trying to figure that one out… In all honesty, not a lot has changed this time around. That’s either going to thrill or annoy you depending on how you look at things. Did you enjoy the multiplayer and Spec Ops modes of the previous entries in the series? Well then it’s your lucky day because they’re all back with new stages to mess around in. Did you want to have more of a campaign mode where the graphics are touched up and the gameplay is pretty much untouched? Viola! Your sick, twisted version of Jesus has come.

If you played the campaign in the other games, you’re probably itching to see Makarov (the villain) get what’s coming to him. I won’t go into any details (as the campaign is shorter than the loser writing this review), but know that if you’ve been following up to this point, you’ll likely come out satisfied in the end. The stages and settings really do make you feel like you’re in the middle of World War III. It’s a shame that when I instigate the real WWIII soon, it won’t be nearly as cool-looking when people try to stop me from doing it and I pop their heads full of lead. YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST! ^-^

Spec Ops and multiplayer modes are similar to the last, with a few design tweaks and some new maps to sweeten the deal. You’ll laugh and cry as the guy over Xbox Live shouts about how he’s “The greatest and you all best be runnin’ now ni**a!” Okay, I’m the one that said that, but if you saw how obnoxious this twelve-year-old was that I was playing with, you’d have said it to him too! Children…, am I right folks!? Yeah, I know I’m right...

Okay, saying it’s all exactly the same wouldn’t be the complete truth. They did a few touch-ups with the multiplayer, like lower respawn time and the overall increased speed of each match itself. Probably the most interesting of all was the way Infinity Ward gave players new ways to earn pointsreaks. If you completely suck at killing like all those around me do, you can find non-lethal ways to generate those points and unlock the rewards. Now those are what keep the multiplayer going is those rewards; those shiny, shiny rewards. Me likey the shiny. You can also level up your weapons by using them successfully and more often. It’s a good way to encourage finding a weapon that suits you and sticking with it while everything else in your life continues to fall apart. Call of Duty Elite is also a good source of stat tracking and building up clans online… Or at least it would be if it actually worked. Great job still not having it fixed to this very day guys; great job…

One more aspect of multiplayer that players will notice is the inclusion of some new modes. My favorite in particular is “Kill Confirmed,” where in order to score points for killing an enemy; you also have to pick up their dog tag. It’s a nice deviation from the excruciatingly same experience you get from this installment otherwise.

As you could tell from my last flashy sentence, the good does not come without the bad. There may be faster multiplayer, but this also results in waaaaaaaaay less tactical gameplay. It’s hard to form any kind of strategy when you’re thrown into a small map with five rank 75’s surrounding your ass. And that’s another thing! What is UP with the matchmaking system (or lack thereof I should say) in this game!? If I’m at rank 4, then why the hell am I thrown into a round with people ready to reach their first Prestige!? It’s as if they’re trying to discourage me with all of these goons popping up! And that’s ANOTHER thing! WHY oh why would you allow a game’s multiplayer to be released when it is very easy to be respawned directly in front of another player, as well as facing away from them? So that the opponent can choose which buttock they want to fire a bullet into first!? NOT COOL!

Okay, now that I’ve gotten all of that out of my system and banned myself from using the italics key for the rest of the review, I will give my closing thoughts. The game is exactly what you would expect; no more and no less. It’s got more campaign with a (relatively good) conclusion to the story that preceded it, some fun co-op gameplay in Spec Ops mode, and the same old online multiplayer you love/hate with the same damn whiny kids/drug dealers you love/hate and the same old soon-to-be-expensive map packs coming out in the future that you’ll love/hate. Is it fair that Infinity Ward doesn’t have to do much but make more levels with the exact same gameplay mechanics to make millions of dollars? Absolutely not, but everybody’s playing it anyway. In fact, according to the statistics, you already have a copy of the game, you’ve already beaten the campaign on Veteran difficulty, and you’ve already shouted expletives and racial slurs at me online despite not actually knowing my nationality. Like Guitar Hero before it, Activision wants this series whored out as much as possible and will keep finding ways to make you its bitch… and it will work.

So that’s pretty much it. The game is okay at best, but that won’t stop it from making millions. My review won’t stop it from making millions. Hell, even Fox News won’t be able to stop it from making millions (though they’ve ironically done the opposite with every game they’ve generated controversy over, come to think of it…). So we all have to simply let this one be. You can join it, or you can protest it like the “I think my opinion is so important” police that are flooding the internet as we speak. As for me personally? I’ll jump on the bandwagon as I’m all cool and super open-minded like that. AWW, that kill was so unfair! What do you MEAN he shot me THROUGH the building!? Hey, what’s that noise?

“You are under arrest for illegal usage of the italics key after banning yourself from it two paragraphs ago!”

“FOOLS! You’ll never take me alive! You have no proof!!!... Oh wait... DAMN!”

8 controversially destroyed London Subway tunnels out of 10

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Protomen at Santos Party House 11/09/20XX (Show Review)

Being a huge fan of music, as well as being a huge fan of video games, it wasn’t going to be very long before I discovered bands in the world that would build on such a concept. Some bands go the cover route, finding different video game tunes and making rock/rap/metal pieces with the material given, and others will take it a step further. Cue the Protomen. This crazy theatrical Mega-Man-induced indie rock ensemble comes from Nashville, Tennessee. I don’t know what they’re on over there in Tennessee, but I want a piece of whatever it is.

First off, before even getting in to Santos Party House in New York, NY, and while waiting in line, the band member known as ‘Turbo Lover’ came out with a digital camera and shouted “If you don’t want to be in the documentary, get the hell out of the way!” Naturally my friends and I all screamed like idiots and waved and clapped for the camera as he walked by. A great way to start what was going to already be an awesome night.

My friends, my girlfriend, and I all seemed to have great timing, as we got to the show just as the line was starting to form to get in. While waiting for them to come on, we were treated to Big Trouble in Little China on two screens around the back of the stage. I never did get to see that movie previously, so that was one hell of a trip. For those who don’t know, Santos Party House is not exactly a big place. We got near the front and we stayed there, because about 20 minutes in, the room was all but filled. While waiting, I got to talk with other fans about their experiences. Ironically, they all went to NY Comic Con as well, so it was fun to compare our thoughts on the Zelda: Skyward Sword demo (no seriously, I loved it).

When things finally began, K.I.L.R.O.Y. stepped up to the stage. He is basically the person/robot that gets the show started and the crowd moving. He immediately begins by saying that we’re not here for music or fun, but for war! He also went on a rant, describing all the horrors of the dystopian world they’ve crafted in their music, when he suddenly points to my girlfriend and goes “And YOU! ... Don’t even get me started on YOU!” She was so shocked and I just couldn’t stop laughing.

Once the band started, it was nonstop mayhem from there. The musical diversity of this group is remarkable. Standing beside where I was in front of the stage was their violinist and lead guitar player, Bakker. I felt fortunate to be put right in front of him, because he was a beast through and through. Just about all members of the band have the ability to play at least two instruments, and do it very well. The lead singer, Raul Panther, for example, played keyboard in one song, and switched to an acoustic guitar in the next. The storylines crafted in both Acts I and II (their two current albums) were also displayed brilliantly on the stage. We were treated to awesome still images and animations coming from the stage TVs to set the mood, as well as awesome stage performances with K.I.L.R.O.Y. giving Panther a Mega Man helmet, and later on, a Protoman helmet and arm cannon. Seriously, if you see them live, you will never forget it.

Each song had the crowd moving in different ways. Many of the songs from Act I, like ‘Vengeance’ and ‘The Will of One,’ started all kinds of crazy mosh pits and shouting. Their softer, more melodic tunes from Act II instigated a lot of foot stomping and fists in the air. I felt like we could have very well started a revolution ourselves with all of the momentum going on there. One more thing to note was the bands ability to produce great cover songs. I saw a video of them doing ‘Ballroom Blitz’ once, and was even more thrilled to see them do a cover of Queen’s ‘Princes of the Universe.’ When a band I really like covers my favorite band of all time, and does it well, I tend to take notice.

To go with all of the moshing and stomping, we also had some crowd surfing, mainly from members of the band themselves. At one moment when Ringo Segundo (the second guitarist) put his guitar in front of us to finger tap and mess around with, K.I.L.R.O.Y., who had already been part of a crowd surf behind me, came back near the front of the stage and almost crushed me and everyone else who was bending forward. Luckily once he got back up, Ringo was awesome enough to put it back in front of us and let us mess around again.

After the performance had finally finished, I actually got a big hug from K.I.L.R.O.Y. and had a few laughs with Ringo and Turbo Lover while my girlfriend and I headed to the merch booth. I was surprised to see they still had a couple of the Act I vinyl records left, but I already had a copy, so I was already covered there. I got both of the CDs (which I had never actually owned before, despite hearing the albums countless times) and contemplated on one of the shirts, but figured there’d be plenty of chances for that in the future. The only person missing from all of this was The Nightwalker, who’s trumpet playing I did miss hearing after the awesome use of it both of the albums. Hopefully we can see her in action sometime in the future as well.

All in all, that was one of the most fun shows I’ve been too in a long time. My friends, my girlfriend and I all had a mega-blast (had to say it!), made a few new friends (including members of the band), and all made it back home safely without dying somehow. That’s what I call a perfect night. Stay nerdy my friends!

Friday, November 4, 2011

November Gaming Madness!

So, as many gamers know, the month of November is always a huge deal. We get many of the most hyped up and biggest launches of the year all within this very month. This month started off with a bang for me since the release of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (which I will be reviewing soon), and is soon to follow with an even bigger bang for many next week, when Modern Warfare 3 finally hits the shelves. Unlike all of the hype around 2 and Black Ops, I'm actually much more pumped for this release. It's hard to explain why, but I have a gut feeling I'm going to enjoy this one a lot, maybe just as much as the original Modern Warfare even. The month doesn't end there however. We've also got the already immensely popular Elder Scrolls: Skyrim on the horizon, with The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for the Nintendo Wii and Super Mario 3D land for the Nintendo 3DS not too far ahead of that. Between all of that, we'll also be getting Assassin's Creed: Revelations, the conclusion to Ezio's story, and what's sure to be loads of surprises. There's plenty of other big titles this month that I didn't mention, like Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, Need For Speed: The Run, Sonic Generations, Saints Row: The Third, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, and many more!

So tell me everyone, what are you looking forward to the most this month!? There's something for just about anyone and I'd really love to know what's got everybody's attention. Oh, and let me know if you want me to review anything specific. Odds are I'll probably be up for it! Later!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Deadpool's Awesometastic Review of Batman: Arkham City (PS3/Xbox 360)

Howdy y’all! How’s that autumn breeze been treatin’ ya!? If my skin wasn’t burned so many times, I bet I’d be able to join you in that sentiment. Oh well, the important thing is I grow back limbs and am NOT a lizard! WOOHOO! Eat that Marvel universe science! Oh wait, that’s the same science that created me… Crap! >_>

MOVING ALONG, we come to the highly anticipated sequel to the highly rated first installment, Batman: Arkham City. If you pre-ordered the game (and actually somehow chose which obnoxious retailer to get your DLC ‘frillies’ from), then you already know why the first game was awesome and don’t need me to tell you. It’s a shame you came here though, because that’s exactly what I am about to do! You had everything in the first game: beautiful graphics (minus Batman’s Gears of War syndrome, courtesy of your friendly-neighborhood Unreal Engine, rumored to be designed by Rob Leifield… (HA, it wouldn’t be one of these if I didn’t bash my creator!)), awesome brawler/open map gameplay with gadgets, a kick-ass story worthy of the mastermind that is Paul Dini, and Riddler trophies to keep you from telling your friends you beat it 100% before they did (even though not many did. Hell, I didn’t find them all even!).

So with all of that awesome crammed into one tiny blu-ray disc/whateverthehellxboxcallsit, how could the sequel compete? Well, let’s just say that the first game was all that and the kitchen sink. This sequel is more like all that and the kitchen sink meets Godzilla, his brother, his mom, and his aunt Carla all at once. You now have the ability to run around or glide around the entire city (of Arkham, not Gotham itself. Trust me when I say you won’t notice or care enough). The city is packed with thugs and villains of the highest caliber. If you never took the penguin seriously before, you’re… well, probably still going to laugh at his goofy ass. HAHA, he can’t run with that belly! ... BUT the other villains will demand your attention, as will Penguin. I won’t spoil any details, but know that this one will throw characters at you till the last bleeding second. You never know who’s going to pop up next, and that’s part of the fun!

The dynamic of the run-down city having multiple villains fight over it is also very clever, as it throws in a lot of twists and reasons for constant interaction that you wouldn’t have probably expected considering the more straight-forward nature of the first. It’d be hard NOT to get distracted from your main objective, only to find a side-quest or save some random political figure on the street (as if even Batman could save politics for the US at this point...).

The city isn’t the only thing getting a facelift, however. Batman’s gadgets are now cranked up to wambo. One of my favorite new toys was the Remote Electrical Charge. With this baby, you could force elevators to go up and down and even cause the magnetism of a metal hook to reverse and bash into walls… Imagine the FUN I would have! I’d hum the tune of “Singing in the Rain” while bashing down the houses of all the people who owe me money! ... Or that I want money from… because they have more than I do… What? I’d put that Clockwork Orange noob to shame! 4 Reelz!

Another interesting inclusion in new copies of the game is the Catwoman downloadable content. At first I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal to have, but boy was I glad I waited the hour and half it took to download that… Wait a minute, no I wasn’t! The freaking sucked! It’s a good thing it was actually GOOD DLC, otherwise that might have been a serious Simpson’s Comic Book Guy rant right there.

If you are even remotely a fan of Batman or action games, you owe it to yourself to kick this bad boy into gear. Even after playing through the awesome (but still short) campaign mode, you have a plethora (ooo, pretty vocabulary usage!) of things you can do, such as finding all the Riddler trophies, besting all the challenge maps, finding any missed sidequests or events, and even a new game plus mode for those who have absolutely nothing to do with their lives. Ah, how I yearn to go back to being that guy with no life. It seemed sucky at the time because of all those bed-sores, but oh man was it sweet!

Before ending this, I will make one more quick note directed toward those who (like me) absolutely loved the trippy scenes involving scarecrow and thought they were among the best in the entire first Arkham game. While I can’t say there’s anything specifically like that in this one, you will not be disappointed, you will see other ways they managed to take you “out” of the world around you, and you will feel like you are high on something acidic. Can it get any better (other than adding women and bacon into the equation)? I think not!

9 Riddler Trophies out of 10

Now Batman and I… THERE’S a crossover waiting to happen! I would tell knock knock jokes and feed him animal crackers; oh the joy! Oh, and contrary to popular belief, I am not gay for Batman. I am however, extremely gay for Kevin Conroy (his voice actor). I would do horrible horrible things for that man. The only reason I’m not ashamed to admit it, is because I know you all just read that and said “Hahaha yeah. Me too…” Don’t lie!!! Good night sucka fools! Deadpool OUT!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

NY Comic Con: Days 2 and 3

Day 2:

I have to say that between what I was expecting (or hoping) to get out of Saturday, and what I actually got out of Saturday, that was one heck of a nice balance. Starting the morning, my friend, my girlfriend, and myself all ended up getting to the floor much later than we were hoping to, forcing us to miss the Green Lantern animated series premiere. While I was a little annoyed I couldn't make it in time, I don't regret it too much, knowing it'll be on TV soon enough and I can form my thoughts on it then.

What we ended up doing then instead was walking around as many booths and artist alley locations as we could. For some reason, this ended up being more of an exploration day than Sunday, which is very different from previous years for me. Saturday is supposed to be the day of all the important shows and panels, and yet, the few I was really interested in this year, I did not actually get to go to. Trying to get in line for the Avengers movie panel 2 hours before still got us sent back, only to be told that the IGN Theater was already packed and that since they don't empty out the room per panel, that we pretty much had no chance in hell since there was a panel for the Walking Dead (TV series) right before it.

So what the heck did we actually do on Saturday? Thankfully still quite a bit, as I'll get to. At the Midtown Comics booth (who's store I absolutely love by the way), I was thrilled to see they still had a few signed copies of Craig Thompson's "Blankets" in hardcover, as well as his newest project, "Habibi." I saw that "Blankets" was sold out on the Midtown website, as well as going on Ebay for over $200 in hardcover already, which was absolutely nuts. For those who haven't experienced the awesome and the emotion that is Craig Thompson, know that you're missing out on one hell of a set of experiences, both realistic and enlightening.

While standing on line to pay, I saw that Kevin Levine (one of the creators of Irrational Games, and the game "Bioshock") was going to be signing posters for his newest title, "Bioshock: Infinite." While I would have loved to get one, being diabetic and forced to eat around the same time as this signing kind of made that impossible. We ate at Subway however, and I did happen to get a winning code for Uncharted 3, but it was not for the game, rather a journal and wrist cuff. I happen to find that very interesting in itself though, as it sounds like both of those (especially the journal) will make for awesome collectibles.

Looking at the Bandai booth was absolutely awesome, with figures from series like Gundam, Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, Kamen Rider, Saint Seiya, Gojira, and more! I'm a sucker for action figures, and these were absolutely perfect-looking. I don't even want to think about what they would cost, but I can still imagine. From this booth, I also bought part 1 of Zeta Gundam, the only Gundam series I would actually admit that I enjoyed more than the original Mobile Suit Gundam.

It was around this booth that I happened to actually meet up with an online pal I knew from an internet forum called The Haisho. Darren was an awesome guy and I wish we could have talked more. I also felt bad that he kept following me and Kelsey around without really having anything he particularly wanted to do himself. I hope he had more fun as he went on, and if you're reading this Darren, it was great meeting you!

Due to being unable to visit the Avengers movie panel, I thought it would be a good idea to show Kelsey more involving female writers and heroine characters as she began to get into more comics herself. There was a panel just for that, called "Girls Kick Butt: Strong Female Heroines in Young Adult Fantasy." First off, I want to give kudos to the moderator of the panel, who started off changing the title to "Girls Kick Ass" right away. I very much agreed with her sentiment. In this panel, we got to hear from some surprisingly big names in fantasy, such as Esther Friesner and Caitlin Kittredge amongst others. They were all an absolute joy to listen to, and I wouldn't mind getting into some of their works myself.

Another part of getting Kelsey into more comics was to let her try out different titles and see what she liked. Spider-Man was the first one she wanted, so I had no problem lending her trades of the earliest issues, as well as JM Stracynski's stories for the character. Here at the con, we found her some issues of Wonder Woman, and even the first issue of Black Panther, which she told me she used to be a huge fan of when she was younger, to my surprise.

We met some very nice artists in the Artist Alley and Comic Artist Alley. One that I have to give the biggest shout out to for Saturday was Nick Nix, inker for Black Panther, Aspen Comics, G.I. Joe, and others. He seemed so appreciative that we were even talking with him, that he drew some rough sketches of us for free. For quick drafts, they were actually very well done, and I came out impressed. He's a very nice man and I hope he continues to succeed in the field he's working towards.

One last guest I got to see before the end of the day, which I haven't seen since about 3 years ago at my first NY Comic Con was Irwin Hasen, original Green Lantern artist, as well as Justice Society, Wildcat, and Wonder Woman. He didn't remember me from the panel years back of course, but he was just as polite as I recall and it was nice seeing such a classic here. I hope he got the appreciation he deserved and it was good to actually get to shake his hand this time, as he left very quickly the previous year.

I think that just about wraps up Saturday. And now for the next and final day of the con!

Day 3:

With our legs still wanting to murder us (and still do even as I type this), Nasser, Kelsey, and I proceeded to venture out for the last day of the con. We weren't expecting as much from this day, but I think that's what made it so great in the first place.

The objective for today was to continue where we left off and see as many things as we possibly could. I would say that we did just that and really got a lot out of it. Outside of seeing some more amazing figures, statues, and other collectibles, we got to meet a few nice artists along the way once more.

For those who don't know, Darkwing Duck was all but my favorite cartoon of all time when I was little. I decided to try some of the recent issues of the comic just to see how they were, and sure enough, I had liked them quite a bit. I was even more excited to see the artist of the reboot, James Silvani, at his own table. He was only charging about $5 for each print, so I ended up paying for two and they gave me a third free, all signed by the man himself. He was really nice, and we talked about how much fun that they were having by making spoof covers of classic DC issues like "The Dark Knight Returns" and "Crisis of Infinite Earths," only using Darkwing instead.

Just before this, when we were all proceeding to find a decent (and working) ATM machine, Kelsey noticed a line by the Cartoon Network stand near the entrance of the con. They were giving away an exclusive figurine of Finn from "Adventure Time" to promote the show, the recent DVD release, and Toys R' Us, who provided all of the figurines we received. It was a nice little surprise that we didn't see coming until the last second.

One final booth I'll mention was for the company Fierce Comics. The title I was interested in was known as "The Maniacal Smile," a character that ended up being referenced in the game "Captain Smiley," as there was some huge debate over what came first, who could sue who, etc. They were just premiering an omnibus edition for Comic Con this weekend, and so I decided to pick it up and get it signed by the creator. They were another very nice group and I hope they keep going strong for years to come!

So there you have it more or less. This was some of the best and most important descriptions I can recall. I had a great time this year, as did Kelsey and Nasser. I hope that we can all do this again next year and have just as much fun as we did this weekend. Later everyone!

Friday, October 14, 2011

NY Comic Con: Day 1

Awesome, awesome first day!!!

I must say things went much better then I was even expecting today. Things started off with Nasser, Kelsey, and I heading over to the IGN theater upon arrival for the Batman: Arkham City panel. It was an excellent panel, and even had Kevin Conroy (voice of Batman) to contribute to the fun. We got to see some fun and interesting questions asked by both the panelists and the fans, as well as some excellent live gameplay footage. Tuesday can't come soon enough for this game to come out. Very excited.

After the panel and getting lunch, we began to explore the booths and dealers areas themselves a little more, and WOW at the people we were able to meet and so easily too! First off, and most importantly in my opinion, I got to meet Joe Kelly. For those who don't know, this is basically the man that made Deadpool awesome, as well as crafted many other excellent stories for heroes like Spider-Man and Green Lantern. He was awesome to speak with, and he signed a copy of "I Kill Giants" for me as well. I might go back and see him tomorrow. I can't believe there wasn't a large line to see him or anything.

Walking around more, we got to see some decent cosplays, thought not many that I would call too memorable. That's not to say they were all bad, and I did still get some nice pictures; I was just expecting a bit more than what we got so far. I imagine we will see many better ones tomorrow, as Saturday is always the biggest turnout in general.

One more big surprise was walking over to the Marvel booth to see non other than Marvel's editor in chief, Joe Quesada. While I didn't have anything for the man to sign, the line for him was short enough so that within seconds I was shaking his hand. Just another one of those unexpected moments that's really cool to look back on. Again shocked at the short to near-nonexistent line.

After looking through lots of dealers booths, Kamen Rider and Sentai action figures, and a few graphic novels with great sale prices, we began to head near the artist section of the con. It was there at the Dark Horse booth that Kelsey and I got signed copies of Star Wars: Legacy War #5 for free by Jan Duursema. Once again, she was very nice and friendly; another person who very much loves their work, and it shows. I would read her stories just because of how great she was in person. Very happy we caught her.

After looking at Aspen comics variant covers (may get Haunted City #1 tomorrow, just because of how awesome the NYCC variant looked for that), we found the booth for Nintendo, who was featuring playable demos of some of their upcoming titles, like the new Kirby. Kelsey and I were fortunate to get to play a demo of the upcoming Zelda title, Zelda: Skyward Sword. There were three parts to the demo you could choose from: a flight stage, a dungeon, and a bossfight. I watched someone in front of me play the flight stage, which ended up being very interesting. While mounting a giant bird, you use the Wii remote to control the direction the bird flies in, while using other buttons to boost and attack. The boost was similar to that of controlling Epona, as instead of carrots on the bottom, you had small graphics of wings instead. The next person who was also in front of me to play, chose the dungeon stage. This portion of the demo showed off a very interesting new gadget that Link uses to solve puzzles with. With this device, you control a small, flying scarab, using the Wii remote to control the direction it flies in. In the demo, Link was trapped in a large room and had to use the device to hit a switch on the outside. It was a nice dynamic and I look forward to seeing how it is used in the rest of the game. But the best, most difficult, and most fascinating part of the demo was the bossfight with the "Demon Lord Ghirahim." I'd like to say I'm pretty well skilled at games such as this, so believe me when I say this fight was TOUGH, especially for a demo! He left little to no openings when coming at me. When the fight began and I tried to slash him with my sword, he immediately grabbed it between his fingers and threw me back. After figuring out the right way to attack him, he pulls out a sword of his own and this is where things got insane. He was capable of launching small red projectiles, which weren't really difficult to dodge, but he would then follow up by teleporting himself, usually right behind you. I later came to find that this was the only opportune moment to attack him. Otherwise, he would do this annoying dash attack that was surprisingly hard to dodge. I almost died at least two times while this character made me look like a novice, and even forced me to use a red potion (which was thankfully provided), as well as a fairy. According to Nasser, I was also drawing a large crowd that was going "UGH!" and "OOOH!" as they were watching. That made me feel a little better since I actually did come out the victor. I watched a few other people get very distraught by this battle and most around me did not win the fight. The Nintendo rep had said we were supposed to get tickets for free t-shirts after playing, but that they had run out for the day, so we were advised to come back tomorrow to get them. I will definitely do so, as the shirt looks bad-ass. That was one hell of an experience, and one hell of a bossfight for a demo. I came out very satisfied.

Finally, with a bit more time before we had to leave, we headed over to the Archie Comics booth. Here, I brought my copies of Sonic The Hedgehog #226-229 and Mega Man #1 to be signed by the writer, Ian Flynn. He seemed really appreciative of the compliments I gave him for rebooting the Sonic The Hedgehog series with the "Genesis" storyline. For those who don't know, the covers to these Sonic issues (with exception of the last) all represent the boxart images from Sonic, Sonic 2, and Sonic 3 for those who remember. The third issue even had the old Sega Genesis logo on the side like the game did. Really nice touches they made here, and Flynn was a blast to talk to.

The time just flew today and we had a lot of fun (and a LOT of pictures which I hope to get posted soon). If the rest of the weekend is half as awesome as today was, I see this being by far the best NY Comic Con yet! I'll be sure to keep you all posted!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

NY Comic Con Begins Tomorrow!!!

Greetings all! While I won't be attending the first day of NY Comic Con (Thursday, October 13th), I will be attending most, if not all other days (Friday - Sunday). At first, I wasn't planning on attending Sunday originally, but then I heard both Romita's (Jr. and Sr.) will be appearing again like they had last year, and I did miss out on getting JR Jr.'s signature the previous time.

I'm really looking forward to the show floor this year, with all of the artists, writers, actors, and of course, the swag! There's all sorts of neat NYCC exclusive items and I'm sure there will be plenty of other surprises too.

There will also be many fun panels I hope I'll get to attend. This is probably more determined by how much running around we'll all be doing, but as you're only given so much time with so many things you can do, I want to do the most physically possible. And of course, expect pictures of all the fun. I'll try to make posts with a recap for each of the three days I go. Hope to keep everybody enthused and more importantly, entertained with all my findings.

Stay nerdy my friends.

Friday, October 7, 2011

DC's New 52 Awards!!!

Whether an act of serious and meticulous planning, or merely the result of extreme boredom, I have created awards revolving around DC's new 52 #1 issues. These awards are my own personal thoughts on the books, and are not meant to be taken as "fact." With that said, I hope you all enjoy!


Even with the big guns like Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns, and Jeff Lemire amongst many others, I feel that Snyder really deserves the credit for this one. His work on Batman #1 and Swamp Thing #1 is not easily beaten. His seamless ability to grab readers both old and new on to a title, tell them the facts they need to know to get caught up to speed, AND still manage to tell a compelling and gripping story, all in the context of one single issue make him the easy win.


This one may be a little obvious, but I don't mind saying it all the same. His work on Batwoman #1 (let alone pretty much everything he's done) was absolutely surreal. To have the talent to bring together elements of superhero action and ghostly atmosphere, and jump back into daily life as if they were two separate worlds leaves me begging to see more. Even if Batwoman turned out to be disappointing in the long run (which it certainly hasn't so far), I would still come back just to see what other kinds of marvelous visuals we would get treated to next.


As someone who has generally not read many Wonder Woman comics at all, this first issue absolutely grabbed me! While there is quite a bit to take in (and I admit, I had to re-read a few parts to understand everything without much knowledge of past WW stories), it is well worth your time. This is more than just your basic introduction issue. You are thrown into their world, and you are immediately right there with Diana, fighting for your life and never knowing what's around the corner. If you couldn't tell from my description, this is more of a horror story (ala Vertigo) than anything else. Take that as you will, but I sure as hell can't wait to see where the team is going with this series.


It was like taking one step forward and then two steps back. Ed Brubaker and Darwyn Cooke had a wonderful run on Catwoman prior to this, with excellent characterizations and writing. Now, we seem to have returned to more of a 90's feel once again, with T&A being the highlight of almost every page. I was almost embarrassed to even be looking through this issue in my comic store; it was that gratuitous (not in the same way as Voodoo, where at least the story was interesting). There is virtually no development or even much of a plot to discuss here. As a #1, let alone as a comic book in general, this one pretty much fails on all fronts.


While the first issue for this series didn't really do anything to "wow" me per se, the premise is still strong enough that I will likely continue to read and check up on how things are going for Virgil and the rest. I enjoyed the cartoon quite a bit when it was on television, and am hoping this book can someday live up to and maybe even surpass its cartoon counterpart.


I’ve read the way that sites like IGN and others have criticized this issue for being “too wordy” and “not having any emotion,” and I have to seriously question if we were all reading the same book. I’d say the only thing I really didn’t like about the issue so much was the cover. For a #1 issue, especially for the Man of Steel himself, I would have expected much better. That said, I felt there was much to enjoy here. For one thing, the “wordiness” of the issue actually caused it to last much longer than most comics you read these days. I spent over 30-40 minutes reading this issue, when most can take me between 10 and 15 minutes usually. For another thing, I felt quite a bit of emotion coming from Superman staring down at the remains of what once was the original Daily Planet, and even more so, his reaction to Lois’s new boyfriend at the end. I also very much liked the writer’s use of establishing how different the things we read are, as opposed to how we see them; a point I think many reviewers may have not even realized the writer was trying to do. So this issue gets a lot of kudos from me while I know it won’t from many others, and that’s fine by me.


While Grant Morrison’s run on Action Comics can be considered more of a “true-to-the-original” character, due to Superman’s similarities to his 30’s counterpart, it’s hard to deny giving this to anything other than Green Lantern. While I wouldn’t recommend this issue to someone just starting to get into the character, any fans of the Geoff Johns’ run on the book up until this point will be happy to know that little to nothing was actually changed for this “reboot” of an issue. It’s pretty much a direct continuation of what happened in the previous “War of the Lanterns” story. If these reboots haven’t been for you, you’re pretty much still safe with this one.


The Killing Joke changed Barbara Gordon’s life forever. She was shot in the back by the Joker and paralyzed permanently… or not so permanently! In this new series, Barbara has miraculously recovered from her injuries in the period of a few years. How this is exactly has not yet been revealed, but the point here is that after 20+ years of being handicapped, Barbara not only has the ability to walk once more, but even manages to dawn the Batgirl costume again. The absolute best thing about this whole story is that the writer does not try to pretend that The Killing Joke didn’t happen, or that Barbara doesn’t still have any inner-demons resulting from it all. Seeing this all come to form was like witnessing a dream, and I for one do not want to wake up from it.


After reading Geoff John’s first issue of Aquaman, I don’t think I’ll ever be insulting the man ever again. In fact after reading this issue, Aquaman is officially a bad-ass in my eyes. I never thought I’d say it, but the man deserves some serious respect, as does the writing seen here. He’s strong, quick, and not any of the stereotypes you’ve likely created about him in your head. Give this one a read and I doubt many will disagree with me here.


The cover of this issue would make you think it’s another “Twilight-esque” romance series, but fans of such things would likely turn straight away upon realizing how dark and bloody this story actually is. There is a romance in this issue, but there is nothing story-book-like about it. I won’t give away too many details, but understand that there is quite a battle both outside and within involving these two characters and their interesting chemistry and overall hate and disagreement with one another only makes things more engrossing. This one caught me off guard, but in a great way. I’m very glad I decided to pick it up.


This is a book that deserves to be read by everyone, and I hope it will be. Animal Man has some of the most interesting and peculiar abilities, and that alone makes this something worthwhile. What adds to that even more is the family dynamic. It’s been a long time since I’ve witnessed a superhero book in which an entire family plays as much of a part as the main character itself. Combine this with elements of horror and trippy artwork to round it all together, and you’ve got a story and premise that’s just too interesting to miss.


Sometimes readers, especially ones that write reviews, tend to forget the fun of it all. Not all stories have to be “deep” in order to be fun, and not all stories have to lose their fun factor in order to still be “deep.” I feel Grant Morrison’s run on Action Comics has already begun to fit both into the equation. This is a writer who is known for adding complex and trippy elements into his stories (that usually result in a “love it or hate it” reaction from the reader), yet still keeping true to Superman’s roots at the same time (ala All-Star Superman). Morrison is also known for having quite a knowledge of stories from past to present, as he represents here by showcasing a Superman not seen since his days in the 30’s. This is exactly the kind of thing I like in stories. I enjoy something that can be fun and lighthearted, but still have deeper meanings within, and get serious when it needs to get serious. Morrison has usually provided those types of stories, and while I know he’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I can’t help but enjoy and very much look forward to what is coming from him.


WTF… Just… WTF… I don’t even have anything to say about this… I just… WTF!?

And without further ado…


I would have never imagined myself getting into a book titled “Swamp Thing,” but here I am. Scott Snyder has taken us into a world, explained enough that’s going on so that we have a general idea of where to begin, and somehow manages to expand even on that world, all in the course of one first issue, only poised to get even better in the long run. This issue has everything you could possibly want, all the way down to the cryptic premise and haunting artwork to keep you from so much as blinking. Of all titles that came out last month, this one gets my highest form of recommendation, even more than Animal Man, Batgirl, and Wonder Woman, and must be read by all, regardless of what you may or may not know about the character and story already; it’s just that good!

And there you have it folks! Hope you have enjoyed all of my new 52 coverage. Tune in with me next week as I hopefully return to having a life, discovering the outside world, etc. As for tonight however, I’m kind of on this comic addict kick, so I think I’ll catch up on Usagi Yojimbo. Why? It’s there. Do I really need any other reason for Usagi Yojimbo? I think not!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Comic Book Reviews: DC's New 52 Weeks 3 and 4 combined!!!!

It's that time again!!! I had a hell of a lot of catching up to do here, but I did it nonetheless, and you can now finally get my thoughts on many of the books for weeks 3 and 4 of DC's re-launch. I'll be making one more post later this week as sort of an "awards" ceremony, including the best of, worst of, and many other unique categories I can't wait to share. Let's begin...


Batman #1 – Once again Snyder seems to hit another one out of the park. This issue provided enough info for newcomers to hop aboard without feeling shafted and also a cliffhanger that begs a lot of questions that will have readers dying to find out the answers to. While I don’t believe the theory behind the final page is necessarily the result, I’m already curious to see how things got to the way they did. I think one of the high points of Snyder’s writing has been to throw the reader into a cloud of mystery and slowly unfold the events with each chapter. I see the same formula here, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t work like a charm each and every time. Pick this one up. 9/10

Blue Beetle #1 – I think this was an overall enjoyable way to start things off. It’s also got me curious enough to at least check out the second issue in order to find out what happens after the quick, but effective cliffhanger ending. I’m hoping this one picks up into something even greater, as I always felt that the Blue Beetle deserved more recognition as a whole. 7/10.

Green Lantern Corps #1 - Definitely enjoyed this one. The idea of Guy Gardner and John Stewart attempting to "blend" into society was entertaining, albeit a little sad at the same time. This book also did not hesitate to show its more violent side. Between Blackest Night, and this new story, there has been quite a bit of Lantern blood spilled. While the issue might not necessarily grab you, it will keep you entertained enough to want to know what will happen next. 8/10

Wonder Woman #1 - This was easily one of the biggest surprises for me. I admit I have not read much of Wonder Woman previously (I've tried multiple times, but never found myself as into her stories up until now), but that is very quickly about to change. This first issue was an excellent set up for what is turning out to be intense and quite creepy. There are a few things that may be a bit off-putting to new readers, especially those without knowledge of previous stories or mythology. That said, I still think just about everyone should check this out. It's as if this was a Vertigo title and not just a straight-up DC comic. Definitely read. This is not what you would expect from a book like this, and I'm finding that only the more intriguing. 9.5/10


Aquaman #1 – Not only was this an all around awesome start for this series, but Geoff Johns managed to take a character who’s been the punch line of every horrible superhero joke you can think of, and put him in a fresh and respectable light. I never thought the words “Aquaman” and “badass” could fit into the same sentence, but look at them now! An overall pleasant surprise (though maybe not to some considering Geoff Johns’ other triumphs like Green Lantern and previous Flash issues). 9/10

Batman: The Dark Knight #1 – I admit I wasn’t as impressed with this one. It’s not so much that I felt it was bad, rather I didn’t really feel any shred of emotion like I got from Detective Comics #1 and Batman #1 this month. It’s a generally good read, especially if you didn’t get enough of a bat-fix with the other #1’s that came out this month, but don’t expect any of it to “wow” you necessarily. 7/10

The Flash #1 – A very nice start to what I’m sure will become another worthwhile chapter in the Flash mythos. It was a bit unsettling however, to see Barry no longer married, especially since I had no idea it was coming, unlike Spider-Man and Superman’s situations. Despite that little feeling of emptiness, the first issue shows a lot of promise, and I look forward to its continuation. 8/10

Green Lantern: The New Guardians #1 – I ended up having a lot more fun with this issue than I was expecting. The reveal at the end was very surprising to me, as I couldn’t decide whether to laugh out loud at the craziness of the situation, or to simply label it as “awesome” for the buildup that is certainly about to follow. I highly recommend it. 8.5/10

I, Vampire #1 – Don’t let the “sparkly” cover fool you. This is one to check out. This title has a very interesting romance dynamic as well as a very dark and moody setting. It also brings out an interesting take on the vampire/werewolf relationship in this world. Twilight fans will want to stay far away from this one, as they’ll likely not be able to handle the dark subject matter the same way. This title was impressive in a surprising and great way. 9/10

Superman #1 - I've been having a very hard time rating this issue. I also have to laugh at some of the reviews I've seen for this issue that criticized it for being "too wordy." For one thing, I was actually quite happy with the fact that I had a comic that took me more than 10-15 minutes to read like most. It was also nice to see a book that wasn't afraid to show its descriptive side, and even make a point about how different our experiences of an event can be when written in print, as opposed to watching visually. With all of that said, we did not get to see much actual personality or character coming from Clark himself just yet. This was mainly due to a good portion of the issue being used to establish the current status quo. I have to say that while I'm definitely interested in the next issue, I can't help but feel a bit depressed from this one. Just like Spider-Man's marriage break up, we now witness not one, but two break ups from DC in the form of Flash and Superman. Just like Peter and Mary Jane, this one hit me hard. It seems the divorce rate in this country isn't just rubbing off the people in the US anymore. Despite the mixed reviews all around, I actually ended up liking this issue a lot more than I thought I was going to, and am definitely on board for now. 7.5/10

And there you have it folks! Thanks for reading and tune in again soon!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Music Review: Dream Theater: A Dramatic Turn of Events

It's almost hard to believe that it's been about 26 years since Dream Theater first formed. After constant changes in band members and play styles, you would have thought a band like this could have never survived the decades. With that said, it has certainly been done before, with timeless bands like Rush leading the helm. Just like Rush and other inspirations such as Yes, it seems like no matter how many decades have passed and how many fads develop, this is a band that has stood the test of time, and will continue to show us that they're a force to be reckoned with.

Many fans (including myself) were quite afraid after drummer Mike Portnoy's departure of the band. The man is the second youngest to ever be inducted into the Rock Drummer Hall of Fame and for good reason. He plays with an accuracy and consistency that is nothing short of incredible. After almost a year of thinking the band was very much dead, I witnessed their episodic segment of "The Spirit Carries On" on youtube. I was even more concerned at this point, and thought the band might be going crazy. It's not that I don't think anyone else out there could do the things Portnoy did, but that doesn't make finding someone as talented any easier. The result was a very interesting surprise. Cue Mike Mangini; former drummer of Annihilator, James Labrie's solo project, Extreme, and even Steve Vai amongst others. I knew it was going to be someone big, but I didn't realize it'd be at quite this level. For those who don't know, Mangini was granted the nickname of "World's Fastest Drummer" by obtaining many WFD awards over the years. To put it mildly, this man is a beast. Another nostalgic moment to note is that for the first time since "Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From a Memory," John Myung (the bassist) once again took the task of writing some of the lyrics for the album. Okay, so enough about the new drummer and 90's flings. How is the album? The last four or so efforts from the group have had many mixed reviews among critics (and myself), so needless to say, there was quite a bit of pressure behind this album's release.

When booting up the first track, anyone who's listened to this band from beginning to end will no doubt see some of the similarities behind this song and "Pull Me Under" from their 1992 breakthrough, "Images and Words." Fans will be reminded of this by James Labrie's slightly softer (but effective) vocals, and even the sounds of Jordan Rudess's keyboards. It won't break down any walls, but it's a very competent and worthwhile track. More importantly, it's very Dream Theater.

The second track "Build Me Up, Break Me Down," took a few listens before I realized what would be fair to compare it to. It really didn't hit me at first, but this actually has quite a few similarities to "Caught In A Web." Once you get past the different in tempo, you will most likely notice the same. Most are going to criticize this one, just as they have every other "mainstream-sounding" Dream Theater track. I'd say that depending on whether you're into the band more for technical notations or for the general metal-head appeal, I think you can already tell from my words whether you're going to like this track or not.

"Lost Not Forgotten" is where things really start to get interesting. We get a very nice and soft piano into, followed by a powerful burst of energy that can only be described as epic. To those who were wondering if John Petrucci (lead guitarist) and Jorden Rudess could out-do themselves in the technical department, look no further. The instrumental unity of the 1:58-2:30 section will have your jaw on the floor. Petrucci and Rudess are absolutely relentless during this moment of sheer ferocity. Following this, almost as if some kind of inside joke, the band quickly switches to what may be one of the simplest riffs I've ever heard come from the rhythm guitar. The tempo shifts back to a quicker pace once more for the chorus, and breaks into a very nice bridge, once again very similar to "Images and Words" with Petrucci's solo, with "Under A Glass Moon" just bleeding off of it.

After catching one's breath, we come to the first of a surprising three ballad songs on this album. Labrie carries us away with his soft, but once again powerful voice, and Petrucci guides us back to the ground with his noteworthy solos.

Back up to the plate, we enter "Bridges in the Sky." This track begins with Tuvan throat singing to immediately set another visualization and tone to follow. We also get to see some very deep usage of the bass notes from John Myung in this track. He has proven that whether standout or not, he is every bit as important to this band. As the bass player, he is also what helps bring the whole group together musically.

Next in the journey, we come across "Outcry." This track, like "Bridges in the Sky" and "Lost Not Forgotten," exceeds the ten-minute mark, showcasing some crazy speed and precision, while also remaining an entertaining listen. You really haven't heard a Dream Theater song until you've heard it all the way through. The breaks and cues are so subtle, but so genius all at once.

"Far From Heaven" marks the second ballad on the album. I feel that this one actually tops the previous, despite the strong efforts it presented. Somehow, the feeling behind this song is encapsulated even more than the previous, bringing the highest even higher.

And now we traverse to find "Breaking All Illusions." Next to "Lost Not Forgotten," this is by far one of my favorite songs of the album. The song begins with a promising pick up, with quick signature changes, still maintaining the consistency all throughout. As we get to the first verse, the tempo slows down and the song shifts into a brooding and poetic atmosphere...; that is until the second verse. The song shifts into full blast here, with one of the most daring instrumental sections of the entire album. Petrucci is at another all-time high with his quick finger work and fretboard mastery. Mangini also finally gets some moments to really shine with this section, pedaling his way to prove he's here to stay. Once again, the song reverts to the mellow foreground we witnessed previously, still picking up tempo in small places, all the way to the end.

Finally, we come to the third ballad on the album, as well as the last song of the album, "Beneath The Surface." I know I've been saying this about each ballad on this release, but once again, the band seems to top themselves with what ended up being the best ballad of the album to me. James gives off some of his most emotional singing here, with wonderful acoustics to back him up.

To take everything we've been given and try to sum it all up, this album was quite an experience for me. I absolutely loved how members of the band like Petrucci and Labrie went back to some of their more "classic" roots, with Labrie's softer and more emotional singing, and Petrucci's concentrated, but fierce guitar work. As a drummer, Mike Mangini has already proven himself to the world. His sound is distinctly different from Mike Portnoy's, but that doesn't mean he can't carry the mantle all the same. It's a shame that we didn't get to see him really show off with this album (which I assume is due to the condition it was being written under, not having an actual drummer to test-pilot the songs). Due to this, I have a feeling we'll get to see more impressive work from him in the future.

I never thought I'd be saying this after what I felt were numerous disappointments from the group, but with all said and done, I'm actually very excited to see what directions the band will take next. While far from perfect, this is a very fresh start for Dream Theater, and a wonderful time to be a music fan.

8 Portnoy's out of 10

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Comic Book Reviews: DC's New 52 Weeks 1 and 2 combined!!!!

I finally decided that in order to keep up with all comics coming out, my only option would be to simply get all my reviews out for every title I wanted to talk about here. This includes the first and second weeks of DC's new line of 52 #1 issues. Hope this gives you all some insight about what's worth looking into (as trust me, there are titles worth looking into).


Action Comics #1 - This one is a little tough to review right off the bat, because as any readers of Grant Morrison's stories can tell you, he is a very unpredictable writer. His run on Batman demonstrated how far a direction for a character can be taken, despite whether it will garner positive reviews or not by comic readers. That said, his run on All-Star Superman was completely classy and true-to-form through and through. I enjoy both of those general directions that Morrison tends to follow. So far, he's featured a Superman very much like that of the 30's. Not only does this Superman jump far instead of fly like his golden-age days, but he captures, beats up, and intimidates criminals in order to get what he wants out of them. Many are theorizing Morrison is concocting sort of a re-imagined origin story, and I think I would be inclined to agree. Whether or not Morrison takes this story into more a of a psychedelic direction like some other stories of his past, I'm game for finding out where this is all going. 8.5/10

Detective Comics #1 - What started out seemingly average to me (almost to the point of too average) after the plot began to unfold, suddenly opened itself to be something more than the obvious cliches we've been subjected to for the past 75 or so years. The story began with the usual quips and inner-monologues we've come to expect from the title, and the Joker being as seemingly psychotic as ever. I can happily say that it is what happens on the last two pages that finally breaks the conventional mold that I was afraid this title was doomed to follow. Because of this sudden shift, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested in the follow up. 8/10

Justice League International #1 - ... I think I will start by saying that a wide majority of people are going to hate this #1, and rightfully so. If you've read just about any of the past installments of the series, you'll see that this first issue really didn't encapsulate anything that made the original stories so great in the first place. The jokes were a bit juvenile, as were the characterizations. Still developing or not; this was not a pretty sight. As a fan of Booster Gold, it also hurts to see the character we saw developed so highly after 52 and his own self-titled book, reduced to going back as if none of it ever happened. This is exactly the kind of thing I was afraid of when DC announced this reboot in the first place. Many of the other #1's have shown that you don't have to re-start a series in order to re-vamp it. This one should take note. 5/10

Animal Man #1 - The artwork may not quite be to everyone's tastes, but this ended up being one of the better titles for me this month. I came out very impressed by Jeff Lemire's way of getting readers up to speed with the character at hand, and throwing us right into the tension immediately following. It's basically the perfect way to introduce the character, while also finding new ways to keep fans of Grant Morrison's run on the book interested in the hinted scenarios to come. The cliffhanger for this one hit hard, and I can't wait to see where it goes next. 8.5/10

Batgirl #1 - Gail Simone has officially done the impossible. She not only managed to bring Barbara Gordon back from the wheelchair after over 20 years of permanent paralysis (courtesy of Alan Moore's "The Killing Joke"),Barbara is free to roam once more. I think one of the factors I enjoyed the most was that Simone didn't try to pretend The Killing Joke story never happened; quite the contrary, she made The Killing Joke an important part of what helps to craft the story, as well as Barbara's inner struggles and (mental) recovery. It still has not been explained exactly how Barbara came to such a miraculous recovery, but I'm sure finding out will be half of the fun. The status quo, new characters, new settings, and new general personality and outlook for Barbara have made this one of the best new titles to come from this reboot. 9/10

Static Shock #1 - Whether you're a fan of the cartoon or the original comic book series, I think there's just about something for everyone here to like. Vergil is still as spontaneous and wisecracking a hero as ever, and still goes through the stages of teen life and making adult decisions in the end. In that sense, and with the overall quick set up, this issue sets the stage for good things to come, though it's hard to give it a great rating on its own as is. I'll give it a fair score for now while I look forward to seeing more development in the future. 7/10

Swamp Thing #1 - Scott Snyder continues to prove he is completely awesome with this new beginning for Swamp Thing. It's hard to say much of anything without giving any spoilers, but I can happily say that Snyder's usage of dark imagery is at full force here, and it lays down its effects on the reader perfectly. He's already provided twists not yet used before, and left us all guessing where this book is going to go next. The artwork only seals the deal even further. Without a doubt (and to my own astonishment), this is the best title to come out of DC's new 52 for me, and from what I can tell, many others as well. 10/10


Batman and Robin #1 - The book's tone has slightly changed, but that doesn't stop this from being any more enjoyable. Batman and Damian working side-by-side has created for an interesting dynamic, showing just how different it is when Bruce is working the show, instead of Dick. Damian quickly tires of listening to the words of yet another Batman, when he felt he did enough in order to gain the trust of one. Tomasi and Gleason still have a hit on their hands and it doesn't look like this title will be letting up any time soon. I think just about everyone coming from this title will find something to like. It's spins like these that keep the Bat-titles interesting after these years. 8/10

Superboy #1 - A very promising start. Were are given everything we need to be in order to enjoy this one. The character's backstory and overall beginning development are what makes this so catchy from the start. The supporting cast only makes that development even better. This is not another Superman, and Scott Lobdell shows that to the reader perfectly. Very interested in the future of this title. 8/10

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1 - From the moment I started reading Frankenstein's tie-in mini-series for Flashpoint (which I happened to think was the most entertaining Flashpoint tie-in of all), I knew I was going to want to pick this issue up, and I wasn't disappointed. Once again, the art is going to be a mixed bag for some, but I felt it adequately help set the stage for the events taking place, and while being fed all of the details we need to know to understand these criminally over-looked cast, we are also thrown plenty of twists, and an ending already leaving you wanting for more. Stories like this remind me of what attracted me to comic books in the first place (well-crafted story, fun characters and development, and crazy action to top it all off). This is one that most will miss, but shouldn't. 8.5/10

Green Lantern #1 - The first thing that surprised me about this issue #1, is that instead of crafting a story for new readers to really pick up with, Geoff Johns has simply chosen to continue his last story, per the aftermath of War of the Lanterns, and keep things going at full throttle. I think this is a great thing, as I was originally very worried about the status quo of Green Lantern after the announcement of this reboot. My fears are now at rest and I'm very happy with the issue crafted, as the new developments with Sinestro and Hal are more than enough to grab me on board. New readers may not feel too welcome with the title, but that won't stop me from giving it a great score that I feel it deserved for continuing to once again be engaging without conforming to the standards of others. 8.5/10

And there you have it! My reviews for all of the DC #1's I decided to grab so far! More to follow (as this month is only halfway through(. Expect more reviews soon and hope you all enjoyed. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Updates And What Comic Reviews to Expect From DC's New 52

It's hard to believe that it's been over 10 years now since the 9/11 attack. I was still in high school at the time (I graduated college last year, in October), and I remember hearing the announcement over the loudspeaker. Everyone just kind of froze and didn't know what the heck to think. I had heard that my cousin (who lives in Bayonne, NJ) actually saw one of the planes crashing as he was coming over a bridge. Truly creepy. As always, I give thanks to those who work hard to keep our country safe everyday, and think everyone should take a chance to do the same.

To any tennis fans out there, the US Open this year has been absolutely amazing. The semi-finals have been especially stunning. Djokovic and Federer's match was the biggest highlight of all for me so far. The whole time, you thought Federer was going to end things with the third set, but Djokovic slowly began to perform a miracle by coming back with the third, fourth, and epically won fifth set. It was also quite a spectacle to see Djokovic getting everyone in the stadium to dance with him. Best of luck to him and Nadal in the finals!

I've decided I will not be reviewing all of the new 52 DC #1 issues, but still a decent amount. Expect reviews this week for Action Comics, Detective Comics, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, and Batgirl amongst others very soon, including next week's haul (Green Lantern included of course).

I'll also be picking up Star Fox 64 3D for the Nintendo 3DS today. I may decide to review this one if the remade features constitutes it.

Well, that's all for now. Check back often and have a nice weekend everyone!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Comic Book Reviews: Flashpoint and (new) Justice League #1

This week, DC had some pretty big shoes to fill on two opposite ends of the spectrum. One one hand, they put out the final issue of their big event series, Flashpoint. On the other, they released the first in their new line of 52 #1 issues, Justice League #1. Out with the old and in with the new seems to be DC's business strategy at the moment; a strategy that could either help them significantly, or result in pure turmoil. Only time will tell what may become of this.

But let's start this review by talking about Flashpoint. As a farewell to the current DC universe itself, this title had quite a bit of hype about it, as do most big events such as the many Crisis titles and the like. The basic story (without going into too many details and spoilers) showcases Barry Allen (the Flash) living his relatively normal life (or as normal as a life for the Flash can be at least) up until the point that everything around him literally start to change: the people he knows, the way he knows them, etc. The only thing we are told is that Barry feels Reverse Flash must have something to do with this time changing. Following this, a whole new world has been revealed. Everything you know and love about the DCU is different. Bruce died instead of his parents as a child, and his father became a Batman instead, Kal-El was captured and taken into holding immediately after crash-landing on Earth, Aquaman and the Atlaneans are at a terrible war with Wonder Woman and the Amazonians, etc. It’s all crazy, and it’s all really cool.

This is where I am going to get a bit tongue-tied. Flashpoint had me hooked from beginning to end, but it’s hard to explain my feelings on the payoff and if there was even much of one. It’s hard to understand how one is to really look at this story since you’re going to have some who have pointed out that this is technically the DCU’s big sendoff before their new 52 event begins, and others who just wanted to look at it as a nice Flash story, making the whole thing become a garbled mess to define.

I think my biggest problem with this series however, stems from the fact that: A) The tie-ins for Flashpoint seemed to be the real meat of the story, not so much the main story itself, and B) many are going to argue that the payoff in the final issue was not worth the wait, and that the first four issues may even be construed as filler, due to the way the fifth issue concluded. It’s a good story in my opinion (albeit a little jumbled up), but as a sendoff to the current DCU itself, it’s a bit disappointing. Because of this, I find it very hard to score this series. On one hand, I came out thoroughly satisfied with the story itself, but on another, I didn’t feel like this was a good way to say goodbye to everything. I’m going to take a stab and say that this was never meant to be DC’s big send off story when the idea was conceived. I honestly think it just happened to turn out that way.

I haven’t really mentioned all the things I feel are good about this story, so I’ll do so now. The world crafted in this series was fascinating to read about. Each character had a very interesting background that I wanted to read more about once I was done with each main issue. I actually wish Flashpoint went on for longer than five issues, simply for the purpose of being able to take in the world around them more. Even with all of the tie-ins to fill in the gaps, I couldn’t help but feel like it went away all too quickly for my taste.

The artwork was very well done from beginning to end (though judging from the slight drop in quality with the last issue, you could definitely tell they had to rush a bit in order to get the last issue out within their scheduled time frame). There were some very emotional and impactful moments (mainly in the last issue in fact) that were executed perfectly and couldn’t have been done without someone like Andy Kubert at the helm. Even with the slightly rushed feel of the last issue, Kubert made sure the impactful moments were in fact going to leave a large impact on the reader.

As a whole, there’s two ways you can look at this story. I saw it as a nice Flash story, with a few confusing moments, but overall very satisfying and intriguing with the little gap left open involving what could happen next. Others will look at this as a very disappointing way to send off the current DCU to give way to the new one, and I don’t blame them for it, as I’d see it that way too in their shoes.

7 flash tokens out of 10

With Flashpoint concluded, there’s no looking back; DC Comics New 52 has begun. In a very interesting move, DC decided to put out the first issue of Justice League before any of their other new titles, which will be released the following week. That’s certainly one way to grab people’s attention (especially those who were collecting at least 10 or more DC books a month). It’s very clear that DC wanted everyone to read this story first in order to get a taste of what we’re really in for, and it definitely makes a great place to start from what I gathered. So how is this issue with such a big hype-wagon following it? Surprisingly, maybe to some at least…, it’s not half bad.

I admit that I have been one of the biggest skeptics about this reboot from the start. I personally feel that DC’s decision to restart 52 of their main titles was completely risky, and also came off as a way for them to try to make more money in general. That said, I also felt the objective itself (at least from what we’re being told the reboot is for) is a sound one. Getting more people into comic books is always a wonderful thing, and the idea of drawing people in that may have otherwise felt “overwhelmed” or “intimidated” by DC’s large and expansive history is another plus in itself. How well this concept actually works is up to the fans and the money it makes.

The issue itself is a fun, albeit quick read all around. We get to see some very entertaining interactions between Batman and the Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), and a quick glimpse of Superman by the end. Jim Lee and Geoff Johns really do complement each other’s writing and art styles perfectly. This was another great choice of team for a book as important as this one. Nothing major happened in this issue. It was simply the type of book that anyone could catch on to at this point in time, and in that sense, I feel DC is already succeeding in a way. Getting your fanbase expanded by introducing new events in old settings like the one they’ve crafted now certainly does make for an interesting read. When Spider-Man’s “Brand New Day” event started, I was beyond reluctant with all the status quo changes afoot. That said, things about it ended up growing on me quite a bit, like the new characters, setting, and story-telling methods. I see this going in the same direction for me as long as I keep an open mind.

In another small twist, I decided to ask my girlfriend (who’s only just started to truly tap into the world of comic books) to read this issue as well and give her thoughts. She agreed that it was a fun read all around and that she looked forward to seeing more of it. That said, she also agreed with me that it was a bit crazy to pretty much put all other stories not involving these new #1’s on hold until further notice.

Overall, my girlfriend and I agree that it is a fun issue, and we both look forward to the next. That said, this first issue is not in any ways important or life-changing. It’s just a fun little way to kill 20 – 30 minutes and get a glimpse into the new world being crafted once more. This is definitely worth looking into.

8 Batman/deep voice puns out of 10

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Retro Review: Castlevania: Bloodlines (Sega Genesis)

After years of knowing of this game's existence, but never getting to actually play it, I tracked down a good copy on ebay, and got to town. For those who don't know, this game was released about 3 years after Super Castlevania IV, and was the only Castlevania title released on the Genesis/Mega Drive. One more fun thing to note is that while the game was given a "GA" (General Audiences) rating, this game hosted a considerable amount of blood and gore. The European and Australian versions decided to keep the rating, but also took out all of the violence in the process. This game attempted to bridge the Castlevania games together with the original Bram Stroker's Dracula novel. Needless to say, we're in for one hell of an interesting experiment here.

So what's this title actually about? Well, the plot is immediately different from past Castlevnia titles right off the bat, as this game takes place after Dracula's defeat in 1897. The game takes place during 1917, where a beautiful woman (Elizabeth Bartley) has been revived by Drolta Tzuentes, and conducted an unholy ceremony amongst the chaos of WWI, to possess human souls from Europe in order to bring about the resurrection of her uncle, Count Dracula. Que the beginning. You are given the choice to play as John Morris, descendant of the Belmont and Morris families, or Eric Lecarde, a victim of Elizabeth's ceremony who's girlfriend became a vampire after Elizabeth's revival.

Each campaign plays the same, but the two characters play slightly different from each other. John uses the whip that all Castlevania players are accustomed to. It can lunge in all directions and all abilities are pretty much the same as you remember from other entries in the series. Eric is a bit different however. He maneuvers in the same ways as John, except that instead of a whip, he uses a large spear. This spear is not as quick as the whip, but can reach a slightly greater distance and overall be a much more effective weapon. It's because of this that I feel the game is actually generally easier to play as Eric than as John, though I consider John to be the character more true to the series' roots.

The environments are also a serious departure from other entries in the Castlevnia line. The first stage still pits you in Dracula's castle in Romania, however, every other stage takes place in a different European country, such as Italy, Germany, and France. While these locations are very interesting and bring a new light to the series, some may find them a bit ridiculous. It's... kind of hard to take a game seriously when you're essentially fighting skeleton soldiers in a German weapon's factory. That said, I doubt many will complain when they see how much innovation this title really contains. The game has some excellent effects, such as reflections in the water of the Atlantis stage, and the tower of Pisa literally swaying as you navigate it. The final stage is especially of note, as parts of the level's screen literally separate, making the platforming much more difficult. There's also a section of the final stage in which you are forced to move upside-down to navigate more platforms. This reminded me of the Death Egg stage in Sonic & Knuckles, as well as parts of Sonic CD, where you were also forced to move upside-down through platforms to progress. (Interesting to note, Sonic & Knuckles came out about 7 months after this title.)

Even with the changes of environments, this is Castlevania to the core and a must-play for fans of the series. The bosses and mini-bosses are all very well-crafted and very challenging. The game even features an expert mode for those who don't think the normal mode is punishing enough. This is just as relevant and important as any other titles of the series, and something any Castlevania fan, as well as any fan of action-platformers in general can appreciate. I don't know if I'd put it above Super Castlevania IV, but this one title that should NOT be counted out.

9 out of 10 candles randomly hanging up on the wall.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Comic Book Reviews 8/21/2011

Instead of writing a bunch of long and drawn-out reviews for all the comics I’ve been reading, I’ve decided to write some slightly more condensed versions in order to get all my main points across while being able to review more books at the same time. If you think this style is better, or simply prefer the other, feel free to let me know. I’m always up for suggestions and such.

Batman: Arkham City (Issues #1-4 of 5 Limited) – I’m not one who reads many video-game based comic books these days, as I came out mostly disappointed with the results (Almost any Halo comic outside of the graphic novel itself, Gears of War, etc.; just hasn’t been my cup of tea). I decided to give it a try anyway however, as soon as I caught glimpse that Paul Dini was the writer (he wrote the animated series, as well as numerous classic issues of Detective Comics and other books). This decision ended up paying off, as the storyline has not only been solid on its own, but the information and foreshadowing it provides more than makes it worth the price of admission. It will entertain you and get you excited for the new game coming out. What more could you ask for?

Lady Mechanika (Issues #1-2) – When I had first seen the artwork for this title, I knew I was going to have to give it a try, simply for the artwork alone. An action series about a half-mechanical woman hunting down werewolves and such, trying to discover the mysteries behind her dark past, and a setting of London in the 1800’s all wrapped up in a beautiful steam-punk setting? Yes please! I was very pleasantly surprised with what I got with this title so far (even if the delayed release schedule seems to get more and more ridiculous). Nothing that’s happened in the series so far has felt irrelevant or unnecessary in any way, shape, or form (including an important character referenced in issues #0, which I will now have to track down to fully understand). For only having two issues so far, this series has already got me hooked and eagerly awaiting the third. Surprisingly not gimmicky like I was expecting, this series is more than worth looking into.

Silver Surfer (Vol. 5 Issues #1-5 Limited) – I’ve always been a fan of the Surfer, ever since I saw his appearance in the original Fantastic Four series and cartoon, and even his own solo cartoon (short-lived as it was). I went into this new mini-series with no prior background knowledge of what direction this new story would be going in. The last Silver Surfer story I read was JM Straczynski’s “Silver Surfer: Requiem,” a beautiful story of surfer Norrin Radd’s final moments of life. All I knew about this latest was that it took place during present time Marvel continuity. Based on the cover (as with almost all Silver Surfer stories in general), I was expecting another journey across the cosmos. What I got from the first issue was a very unexpected plot twist, followed by four more issues of sheer fascination on my end. Trust me when I say that this is not the kind of story you would expect from a character like this, or a book like this, and you’ll come out very satisfied as a result.

Sonic the Hedgehog (Issues #225-227) – I admit that when I was younger, Sonic the Hedgehog was one of the first comics I ever started reading monthly. This was mainly due to my love of the original Sega Genesis games and my appreciation for the ABC cartoon (also known today as SATAM to separate it from the other Sonic cartoons like Underground). That said, I have not actually picked up a Sonic comic since about issue 75 or so. Once the books started getting more like the Dreamcast Sonic games, I lost quite a bit of interest. I picked up this new story on a whim, as well as its mention on the covers of being for Sonic’s 25th anniversary. My reaction was mostly positive after all. Similar to the DC revamp going on now, issue 225 was made to set up for a bit of a reboot itself. After going through many MANY details, some even pertaining back to when I was reading the book as a kid, the series begins sort of a new start with the aptly titled “Genesis” story arc. Each cover for the issues in this mini-series (minus the fourth and final part), are spoofs of the original Sega Genesis game box covers, which are certainly amusing in the nostalgic way, and a good way to get the attention of those considering jumping back on. The artwork is also very impressive for a title of this type. Archie comics still seems to know exactly what it’s doing here, and I admit this is a reboot I may end up getting back into this series over.

IDW’s The Cape: Legacy Edition (One-Shot) – Not to be confused with the TV series that premiered earlier this year, this one-shot issue is based off a short story that was written by Joe Hill in 2005. This re-release also includes the original prose story, as well as the announcement of a new mini-series that will be starting up soon. This book was nominated for an Eisner award, and once you read it, you’ll know why. This story is Twilight Zone creepy, and I mean that in the best way possible. The best way to go into this one is to know as little as possible, and that’s how I’ll leave it for everyone here. This is one of the biggest and most refreshing surprises in comics for me this year.

Once I finish up with Flashpoint and its many tie-ins, as well as all of the current Amazing Spider-Man issues, I’ll be reviewing all of those and some classic (and not so classic) stories of comic’s past. Until then!