Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mario Party 8 review coming

Good News everyone!

On Saturday in the Poughkeepsie Journal's Gaming page, we're going to have a full review of "Mario Party 8," thanks to our intern Travis Miller (what are interns for, right?)

Travis played the game for over four hours today, and despite sour reports from and, Travis came into the office today with a GIANT Smile on his face.

Frankly, with his description of the game, and the Wii remote functionality, I may be going out and picking myself up a copy very soon.

And what, exactly does he think of the game? Well, you're going to have to wait until Saturday to read the review in the Journal's Gaming page!

Weekly comics (late)

The Memorial Day holiday pushing back this week's comic releases to Thursday (as most major Monday holidays do) kind of screwed with my schedule. I guess the extra day caused me to forget my civic duties of posting the weekly release list, and expectations the night before the comics come out, so I apologize.

And I'm really kinda annoyed at myself for forgetting, because this is a pretty big week, as my trip to the Dragon's Den in Poughkeepsie just reminded me. What did I pick up, you ask?

Well I'm stoked to read Countdown #48 at the first chance I can get, as the New Gods hit the scene and apparently one of the more likable New Gods over the years dies (or so the cover and Lightray's broken body leads you to believe).

Part four of "The Lightning Saga" hits the scene (Wow, I just wrote the phrase "hits the scene" in two consecutive paragraphs... I was about to erase that and write something else, but I was just so shocked that anyone would use that phrase twice in a row... anyway) in Justice Society of America #6. I am on the edge of my seat with this Legion of Superheroes stuff, and it's caused me to want to go back and read as much of the old Legion stuff I can get my hands on, since I really am not well read on that team. I strongly suggest picking up this issue, and the previous three parts of this crossover.

Teen Titans #47 is also an issue of interest, as more of Duela Dent's story will be revealed when the Titans mourn her. Frankly, I am still bothered that she was the Titan we're making this whole big stink over, but I guess it's better than a character anyone cares about dying, right?

And for anyone that's bee following Target X-23, the final issue of that mini-series is out as well. If you haven't been reading, picking up the trade paperback when it comes out, or the original X-23 TPB would not be a bad idea. These two mini-series have humanized this character to a point where Wolverine has actually never gone, and has made her one of my favorite characters to read lately (and I am president of the "Who the hell cares about Wolverine" fan club). Hell, the last scene in the original mini-series damn well made me tear up, so I am eagerly anticipating reading this final issue.

Well I've wrote all of that, and I still haven't even mentioned Amazons Attack #2 or Silent War #5! What a week! Enjoy it, and I'll be back later with the ole' Buy Pile Report.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

N.Y. video game legislation

The knuckleheads in Albany are at it again. Honestly, doesn't anyone have anything better to do than split hairs when talking about how to keep "violent or sexual" video games out of the hands of minors? Here's some news from an Associated Press story:

"More than a dozen bills range from a ban, to taxing the videos more, to creating parental controls, to creating an advisory council to recommend action, to requiring warnings that the games could lead to epileptic seizures.
A Senate Republican bill, however, wants to go further than other states have been able to by creating a hardline rating system enforced by a felony charge in place of industry standards. But creating a crime out of a state rating system might not be constitutional, said Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Hours later, the Democrat-led Assembly passed its version, which would prohibit games from being sold to youths if they contained both “depraved violence and indecent sexual images.” The bill was sponsored by Silver, Assemblyman Joseph Lentol and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer — all Democrats. The measure would create a felony for violators and sentences of up to four years in prison. It also requires game consoles to have parental controls. "

That's right. The lawmakers want to make selling a violent video game to a kid a FELONY. Forget the fact that it is already against the law, they think the problem is that the high school kids working at Toys R Us selling these games don't face a harsh enough penalty! I mean, it's not like the problem is that parents nowadays are buying their kids these games without taking an interest and learning the game is bad for their 10-year-old, no it couldn't be the parents enabling the problem!

All these morons passing the buck on this "problem," when all that's needed is a parent to remind their kids that shooting hookers and policemen is wrong.

Honestly, violent movies and television have been around for years, but we're not throwing any movie theater workers in jail with a 12-year-old sneaks into an R-Rated movie, and we're not arresting cablevision when the HBO shows nudity in a movie when a child may be watching. So why is it that video games are once again the sole source of evil?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dating Lois Lane

I was watching "Superman Returns" again the other day. I know, most of you out there are not fans of the flick. Personally, I like it. For one, James Marsden's character is 10 times more like my guy Cyclops than Marsden was as the character who was supposedly Cyclops in the X-Men movies. And for two, who doesn't love Kate Bosworth?

Anyway, I'm watching the movie thinking to myself just how lucky Marsden's character (Richard White) was that he started dating Lois Lane at a time when Clark Kent/Superman was away from Earth -- because if Clark was anywhere near Earth's orbit when White first hit on Lois, you know Big Blue would have nipped that in the bud.

Sure, Supes wasn't dating Lois at the time, and she had shown no interest in dating Kent, but is he really going to let some little un-powered guy go sip on his Kool-Aid?

I mean, Superman may have super morals and super class and super compassion, but underneath all that super, he's still a man. And what man is happy to watch the girl he's after go out with someone else?

Admit it, men. We've all had that moment of watching the girl you like go out with some jerk, and you think to yourself "You know, if I was a little stronger, that guy is through the wall." Well, um, I think Superman is strong enough, don't you?

And it's not only Richard White in "Superman Returns." The character of Lois Lane was created in 1938. She and Clark, however, were not married until 1996, and didn't even start dating until the late 1980's. Are you trying to tell me there were no other guys in Metropolis looking to slip her the ole' kryptonite? Lois is quite the desirable woman, if two-dimensional drawings are what you're into.

But I would not want to be the poor unsuspecting Schlub who has a thing for the pretty girl at the Daily Planet.

Can you imagine trying to date Lois Lane with the Super-rhymes-with-sock-blocker standing in your way? The man has Super-hearing, for god's sake. When he hangs out in space hovering and listening to all the sounds in the world, you don't think he's tuned into Lois' general area half of the time? And sure, he's listening for when she gets into trouble, but also he's waiting to hear if she mentions Clark to her friends or says anything about him -- and you better believe he's going to hear it if some guy offers to show her his Fortress of Solitude.

The Man may make the date with Lois -- but if he were to, say, fall down a flight of stairs (that's the ticket!) he won't be making it to the date.

A Meteor is plummeting toward Earth? It can wait if Lois has plans to go to a sushi bar with some guy with a popped-collar named Chet. Darkseid is planning on trying to invade the planet again? Who cares? The X-Ray vision says that Lois' Ferrari-driving date, Enrico, has put the satin sheets on his bed.

And Lois' date's sudden disappearance would never even be traceable to Big Blue. Is it Superman's fault that the doorknob on Enrico's door just happened to be superheated to burn skin in an instant? Is it his fault that Chet's car just happened to get stolen by a bunch of hoodlums and left on top of a mountain 95 miles away?

Super-strength isn't the only way to wreck a date!

What's wrong with a little jealousy anyway, right? All is fair in love and war, he's just protecting his booty. For instance, it's a little known fact that Doomsday, the monster that killed Superman, was just some guy with Lois on his Speed dial.

"What is she doing in Your Five?!?"

And even if some planetary disaster has allowed the date to go off without a hitch, and Chet or Enrico have managed to seduce Ms. Lane, all Superman has to do is pull out his fail-safe of flying around the world backwards to reverse time! As time unfolds the second time, Enrico's Ferrari might just happen to overheat as he's driving through the Bad Part of Metropolis. Darn the luck, right? And I think the natives of the bad part of Metropolis might be willing to do Superman a favor or two, if you catch my drift.

No man dating Lois Lane would ever be able to get a good night's sleep again. You cannot live in a high enough building that Superman could not be waiting at your window to give the kiss goodnight.

Look! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!!! -- holding a screaming man with his pants down by the ankle!

He truly is the World's Greatest Hero.

This week's video game releases

FINALLY! After what has seemed like a dry 2 months, we finally have a marquee new release to behold. MARIO PARTY 8. And who among us is not eager for Mario Party's Wii debut? The rest of this list is pretty bad, though...

May 28:
L.A. Street Racing (PC)
Marine Sharpshooter III (PC)

May 29:
Mario Party 8 (Wii)
Surf's Up (Xbox 360, Wii, GameCube, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS, PS3, PS2, PSP, PC)
Tamagotchi Party On! (Wii)
Codename: Panzers Commander's Edition (PC)
Monster Madness: Battle for Suburbia (Xbox 360, PC)
New York Times Crosswords (DS)
The Secrets of Atlantis: The Sacred legacy (PC)
Pony Friends (DS)
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (Wii)
Legend of the Dragon (PSP)
Shadowrun (Xbox 360, PC)
Forza Motorsport 2 (Xbox 360)
Crush (PSP)
Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm (PS2)
Tank Beat (DS)

May 31:
Halo 2 (PC)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Saturday's Gaming in the Journal

It's that time of the week once again -- I just pushed the ole' send button on this week's Gaming page (it'll be page 5D in Saturday's Poughkeepsie Journal).

I HIGHLY recommend picking it up this week. I actually had to fight with the business department for the rights to the centerpiece -- a story about how ESPN will be bringing LIVE content to all of EA Sports' games. I'm talking video highlights, scores, and things like automatically updating rosters to reflect real life.

Its a fantastic story, so give it a read. We also have a fantasy baseball column and a video game news roundup.

Unfortunately, this week's page is in black and white. So, any of you who buy it only for the bright colors, go buy a lava lamp.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Be included in "Drawn to Life"!

Remember all that stuff I've been telling you about the revolutionary Nintendo DS title called "Drawn to Life," in which you can draw your main hero and use him (or her) throughout the game? You know the one, the one that Our Lady of Lourdes High School grad Steve Chiavelli is helping to create at a company called 5th Cell?

Well is running a contest right now, that will let a character of your own design be included as a playable character in the game, when it is released in the fall. JUST GO HERE for details.

To enter the contest, you'll have to visit and, using their Nintendo DS simulator, drawn and submit a character. Even if you are not the grand prize winner, you can also win Best Buy gift certificates and/or copies of the game.

I should warn you, though, back in the second grade I used to draw a character named "Pizza Dude" that was pretty badass.

Words from Heroes' creator

Over at there is a "post-game report" with "Heroes" creator Tim Kring, covering plenty of topics. While most of this interview is kind of old information, there is one section that stuck out at me:

On Sylar's possible survival being linked to the image of cockroaches:

"So, this idea that we just watched this guy die and clearly somehow dragged himself into a manhole is exactly the signal that perhaps this character is still alive."

So, apparently Sylar is likely alive for next year. There was nobody dragging away his dead body, the blood smear was apparently Sylar crawling away. Which, as far as I'm concerned, makes the finale EVEN WORSE!

Buy Pile Report

So, I finally got a chance to read more than just Countdown... and if you missed it, check the post below this one for a full report on the best issue yet in that series.

The rest of today's buy pile was not as thrilling, but not ALL bad either...

The week's most pleasant surprise has to be Wonder Woman #9. if you've been following the blog, you know that for (admittedly) little reason I was very excited for the "Amazons Attack" event. Then, following the release of Amazons Attack #1 and accompanying Wonder Woman #8, I soured on the event quickly.

Well this second tie-in issue was much better, with a great balance of swift pacing and plenty of exposition. Not only do we see Diana's first interactions with her recently resurrected Mother, but we learn plenty of how the Amazons were manipulated into the war (still a bit of a weak reason, but I can suspend disbelief if the event is worth it in the end). And, my interest was really hooked toward the end of the issue, when it becomes evident that Wonder Woman may be faced with a "must kill mother to end the war" situation. And those are always neat.

My one concern, though, is with all of this exposition in a tie-in issue, will Amazons Attack #2 be a giant rehash? I mean, Amazons Attack #1 and Wonder Woman #8 were very very similar, I would not be shocked if it is happening again, with the amount of info in this issue. I'm hoping, though, the more I think about it, is that the Wonder Woman issues will deal squarely on the effect of the war on Diana, while the Amazons Attack series deals with the whole DC Universe. We'll see.

Another issue of note was Captain America #26, the first real issue of Captain America since Steve Rogers was killed. I had mixed feelings after reading this...

Brubaker does his usual great job of storytelling the aftermath of Cap's death through the eyes of the three new main characters, Winter Soldier, Sharon and Falcon, and its all effective. All the reactions were spot on with how I would picture the characters to act, and between Red Skull's apparent time-traveling plans and Winter Soldier's new found quest to kill Tony Stark (fat chance!), I am still hooked on this title.

Still, with such a slow and somber pace to this issue, it feels a little out of place right now, give the 2 month layoff since Cap #25 and all of the "Fallen Son" issues that have already dealt with Steve's death. I almost think this issue would have played better if those Fallen Son issues had never existed. I mean, they are really nothing special anyway.

The final issue of Dwayne McDuffie's first arc of Fantastic Four ended this week with Fantastic Four #546. Since his first issue, readers have been split down the middle regarding his stories -- some are killing him for ignorance toward continuity, while others have enjoyed a fresh take on the book.

Now that the first arc, which showed Black Panther, Storm, Human Torch and Thing fighting off Galactus, Silver Surfer and Star Dust (yes, all of them), is over, I've made my final verdict.

McDuffie brings a brand new sense of adventure to the Fantastic Four, which is dynamite. For as much as I scoff at the Black Panther's ability to have a "contingency plan for Galactus," it's all just a wild enjoyable ride. Personally, no, I don't love that this story is in continuity and doing such goofy things as teleporting through space with two magic frogs, but it definitely has imagination -- and at times, the Fantastic Four has lacked that for a long time (except for some of Waid's run). He's not the perfect FF writer, but he's good enough as far as I'm concerned.

So? Thoughts?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

No Final Fantasy 13 for a while

Over at I just read that Square Enix is openly saying now that there will be no "Final Fantasy XIII" in 2007, and they are not giving any promises that the game will be coming by the end of 2008 either.

What does this all mean? Well, the game will be one of the very few marquee titles to be exclusive to PlayStation 3... SO, by not coming out in the next 12-24 months or so, it won't be around to help sell Sony's $600 paperweight.

I'm sure the boys at Sony are happy about it. I, for one, know it's one less reason to finally buy one for myself.

First Buy Pile Report: Countdown

So, I only just now got into the office, and I've only really had time to read one issue before work must begin, so I chose to read "Countdown #49."

And while I wasn't planning on writing the weekly Buy Pile entry until after work, after reading Countdown, I could not resist. if you haven't had time to get to the store yet, since this is so early in the day, I'm warning you right now to put the ole' SPOILER Earmuffs on now.

Ready for the MAJOR SPOILER? Here goes...

Black Adam is Back. Yes, back. Already. The main villain at the end of "52," the one who was only de-powered six weeks ago (in real time) in a thrilling and original way -- he's back. Already.

Now, I know "52" took place a long time ago in DC Universe time. I know in that time frame Black Adam has probably already spent over a year wandering around as a powerless schlub. BUT COME ON! Are there really so few characters in the DCU that they have to ALREADY give Adam's powers back?

The (eventual) return of his powers was supposed to be a long-time coming revelation to capitalize on a major event YEARS down the line. It would be poigniant and meaningful -- six weeks is not years down the line.

Other than Black Adam's quick return, though, this may have been the best issue of Countdown yet. Between Jimmy Olsen's umm... condition (did he drink Gingold or something?) and the Pied Piper's deception (making that Rogues story 100% more interesting all of a sudden), I am stoked for next week already.

BUT, I do have to say, I am not a fan of cliffhangers coming weekly. Last week it was Killer Croc. This week it's Black Adam descending onto Mary. Cliffhangers are good in moderation. Just like donuts and cookies and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Now put down the Chicken and Biscuit Bowl and stop with the cliffhangers!

The rest of the Buy Pile Report is still to come later on tonight, once everyone has had a chance to read.

This week's comic expectations

So what major things are going down this week? Not too much.

It's the second part of the "Amazons Attack" tie-in with Wonder Woman #9. Frankly, I was disappointed with the first part of this crossover, as the whole thing just seems completely unsolicited. All of a sudden the Amazons decide they need to change their peaceful ways with man, just because Diana was captured for a bit? There seems like there's a whole lot more there, but unless this issue, and the subsequent second issue of the "Amazons" main title, doesn't hook me, I may be cutting my Amazon's Attack losses early.

It's also the second part of the "World War Hulk" prelude, with She-Hulk 2 #18. I was pleasantly surprised with the first WWH She-Hulk issue, and the WWH: World Breaker prologue in general, so I'm eager to see how this issue sets up the impending return of the Jade Giant to Earth. And, apparently Jennifer will be kicking some Shellhead ass...

And yes, the biggest story of the day has to be Captain America #26. Regardless of how you feel about whether or not Steve Rogers should have been killed, and regardless of how you feel toward Marvel's current practices as a whole, I'm telling you that this storyline is one you don't want to miss. Ed Brubaker is not the sort of guy that is going to go kill a character like Cap without a great reason to, and he really won me over with how he handled the death in issue #25. Now we have a great cast of heroes -- Sharon, Winter Soldier and Falcon, all looking to solve the mystery of Cap's death and avenge him, but for all different reasons. And if you read #25, how can you not be dying to find out exactly what happened with Sharon and Steve? Did she really shoot him?

Anyway, as I said, it's not the biggest week but it's a solid one, and I'm eager for it.

Wednesday's comic release list

Lots of decent second-tier titles out this week, but the only real blockbuster I see is Captain America #26, the first actual issue of Cap since the assasination.

DC Comics:
American Virgin #15
Birds Of Prey #106
Cartoon Network Block Party #33
Countdown #49
Hellblazer #232
Ninja Scroll #9
Robin #162
Shadowpact #13
Spirit #6
Supergirl And The Legion Of Super Heroes #30
Superman Batman #35
Testament #18
Wetworks #9
Wonder Woman #9


Captain America #26
Criminal #6
Daily Bugle June Newspaper
Fantastic Four #546
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man Annual #1
Heroes For Hire #10
Iron Man Hypervelocity #5
Irredeemable Ant-Man #8
Marvel Adventures Iron Man #1
Marvel Spotlight Fantastic Four Silver Surfer
Newuniversal #6
Red Prophet Tales Of Alvin Maker #7
She-Hulk 2 #18
Wisdom #6
X-Men #199


Archie #575
Archie Double Digest #179
Chucky #2
Death And The Man Who Would Not Die #1
Devi #11
Dynamo 5 #3
Elephantmen #9
Futurama Comics #31
GI Joe Special Missions Brazil
Godland #18
Gutsville #1
Hard Bullied Comics #4
Haunted Mansion #6
Highlander #8
Madman Atomic Comics #2
Noble Causes #28
Outer Orbit #4
Pvp #33
Savage Dragon #133
Snakewoman #0
Star Wars Legacy #12
Superior Showcase #2
Superpatriot War On Terror #4
Unique #3
Walk-In #6
Wizard Magazine #188

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Heroes Report on the finale

Maybe I just built the final episode of "Heroes" to be more than it could hope to be. Maybe the finale was simply not as good as it could have been.

Either way you slice it, Monday night's season finale of "Heroes" was a major disappointment to me.

I'm sorry,
there were positives, and we'll get to that later, but I just didn't buy the ending.

And it shocked me, since the writing up until this point has been flawless. It felt as if the writers were suddenly frightened to pull the trigger on any major developments to round out the year.

And no part was more disappointing than the climax. the entire climax -- not a single part of it was right. For one, once again there was NO REAL FIGHT between Peter and Sylar!!! How can you have two characters that powerful and not show them off??? Instead, We have Hiro running his sword through Sylar, and I mean literally, running right up to him from 15 feet away and stabbing him. I would have been alright with Hiro killing Sylar, if Hiro teleported directly next to him and stabbing him without warning. With the time Hiro gave Sylar to react, Hiro should have had no chance. I mean, Damn, a minute before Sylar was able to turn his head and stop speeding bullets! SPEEDING BULLETS!

But my biggest problem with the ending was Nathan's sacrifice. And I know, that was one development I predicted and said I wanted to see -- and I did want to see it, if it was the last resort. Follow me on this. If Peter was shot in the head, he would "die" and stop blowing up. Why wouldn't they just be able to pull the bullet out of his head afterwards? Wouldn't he have been fine? Just like he was with the glass, and Claire was with the sharp piece of wood? Wouldn't that have been a perfectly foreshadowed shocking ending?

The whole climax just seemed so forced. And the aftermath was equally as confusing to me. Do you realize how many loose ends there are that all the characters forgot about? Let's list them, shall we?

1) Mr. Bennett (or should we call him Noah -- what an unfitting name that is) is suddenly unconcerned with Molly falling into the wrong hands. She's just as dangerous now as she was last week!
2) If Peter is alive, he can still blowup again! Ted Sprague didn't run out of explosion, why should Peter?
3) Nobody followed up on Sylar? Plug him in the head? Stab him a time or two more? Everyone forgot about his dead body? Nobody noticed it is GONE?
4)The police and E.M.T.s that showed up did not hassle everyone on the scene, wondering why there are so many people with weapons and injured? Seriously?

And by the way, Where is the Haitian?

The ending was way too fast and way too convenient. I felt like that was the first act of a two act ending, with the biggest battle around the corner. But no, it's just done for the next 4 months. Still, there were some good parts...

The Good:

1) Candice's fight with Nikki: It was the perfect way to round out Nikki's character arc, making her physically fight what she thought was Jessica. And while I'm still not sure of whether or not this whole time Nikki has been just insecurely insane (I'm thinking she was), it seems after the fight she has come to be at peace and is not bothered by Jessica anymore. I'm also hoping we don't have to spend much time on this whole group of characters in Season Two.

Oh, and the fact that Candice is still alive makes me hopeful for next year. Although her bosses are all dead, Candice's power is too damn cool to not be in this show.

2) Claire jumping out the window: Honestly, I cannot get enough of this tiny little blond girl throwing her body around like a maniac. Just like when she walked out of her house as a charred corpse and when she intentionally smashed her car, Claire still has no visible way to die.

3) Ando's brain: When Sylar was about to kill Ando he asks him, "What would I want with your brain?!?" Don't try and tell me that wasn't foreshadowing. Next year, Ando is going to somehow have a pretty badass power of his own. In fact, he may already have it and he's been keeping it concealed for some reason...

4) Sylar's missing body: At first this seemed like an incredibly cheesy "guess-the-badguy-got-away!" moment. But suddenly it makes sense. Sylar did not crawl away. His body was dragged away by somebody -- somebody that wants to know how his powers work and replicate them. Hell I want to find out how his powers work! At least I hope that this is what happened, because if Sylar is still alive then that is some really cheesy storytelling.

And could the person who dragged Sylar away be that even-worse guy Molly spoke of?

5) Nobody learned of the "heroes": The writers managed to have this whole big climax (if you can call it that) without the general public learning about the people with special powers. That means that the plots from here on out won't have to be bogged down by all that humans vs. special people junk that's been done to death by other comics and shows.

That's about it from me, but I will leave you with this, one theory I read on a message board a few weeks ago, regarding Nathan's powers... If when he's flying he is going as fast as he looks like he is going, then his power would also have to have some sort of force field to protect him. If he has this force field, then may he possibly be able to survive Peter's explosion?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Heroes finale pregame

Finally tonight, the bomb goes off.

Or it doesn't.

Honestly, other than those viewers who have read spoilerish interviews or watched spoilerish clips, how great have the writers been at clouding everything so that tonight's final chapter is a complete mystery to the entire audience?

And more than that, who even knows who will survive tonight and who will die? Already last week we had several major characters die — or at least it appears they've died — and with this new "Heroes: Origins" series out next year introducing several new characters, room needs to be made, right?

I have a feeling that some people won't be happy with what happens tonight and who dies... but other than that I am honestly as clueless as anyone else.

So, instead of giving a list of predictions for tonight, I'm going to list a few of the things I really want to see happen. Feel free to list your own hopes in the comments section.

1) I want to see Mr. Bennett survive. This isn't just because he's one of my favorites (as he is for many viewers) but because, amidst all these super-powered types, he is a heroic character with nothing but his wits and courage. And every team needs someone like that. In fact, in many teams the lesser-powered but couragous and brainy type is the leader. I am dying for more scenes like when he mentally guided the escape plan out of the Company stronghold a few episodes ago. I also don't mind seeing his father daughter moments with Claire.

That said, if he dies saving Claire or a whole bunch of people, it would be fitting.

2) I want to see the Eclipse mean Something. All year, the eclipse has been the image in the beginning of each and every episode, and the eclipse is the image on the cover of the Season One DVD — and does anyone have a clue as to what it means? If we don't receive some sort of payoff by the end of this year — a self-contained year, according to creator Tim Kring — then I'll be disappointed.

My prediction? The eclipse is no eclipse at all, but rather the bomb going off IN SPACE. How is it in space, you ask?

3) I want to see Nathan use his "harmless" power. How can he do this, you ask? I would love to see Nathan be presented the choice, between fleeing and becoming this all-powerful congressman and President, and saving the city. He can lift his brother out of the city and into space where he can explode "safely."

Of course, could Nathan survive this? Probably not... And I would hope that Peter cannot survive it either because...

4) I want to see Peter Die. Don't get me wrong, I like his character. What I don't like is a Hero who is far too powerful. Can there be anyone stronger than Peter? By now, he can explode, and read minds, and tell he future, and dream the future, and go invisible, and become invulnerable, and travel through time, and he picked up telekinesis from someone, and who knows how many powers he absorbed from Sylar? I don't think a show like this can have a good guy be this dominant.

But before that...

5) I want to see Peter and Sylar throwdown!!! Both of these two guys are too powerful for the show's good. But when you have two God-like characters, THEY NEED TO FIGHT! I know there is a time restriction involved with a finale this big, but if this show lets either Sylar or Peter die without a fight lasting at least 7 or 8 moves (unlike the 2 move fight in Mohinder's apartment), then they have not served their audience. For a show about superpowers, they have done a surprisingly little amount of powers vs. powers fighting — this is the chance to make up for that in a big explosive (no pun intended) way.

Those are the major things. I'm also hoping to find out where the Haitian has been, I'm hoping Candice survives, and I'm hoping that somehow the general public miraculously still doesn't find out about the existence of these superpowers, but those are all lesser things.

Enjoy the show! By late tonight I'll have a full recap.

The 4400 campaign begins

The 4400 (You remember, I told you about this show last week that fans of "Heroes" would love) has launched a monstrous campaign to promote its season premier on June 17th at 9 p.m. on the USA network.

Using marketing company 'Campfire" the show has turned its Season 3 finale (where a drug was distributed around the globe that can either kill you or give you superpowers) into a real-world debate.

In all, Campfire is planning six promotional sites (in addition to the show's homepage) through this season where you will be able to access over 70 web videos by year's end.

The first three of these sites was launched today: a Promicin (the name of the drug) informational site (, an anti-Promicin site ( and a pro-promicin site (

In the next few days while suffering from your "Heroes" hangover, and subsequent "Heroes" withdrawal, check these sites out!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Anthony Michael Hall in Batman?!?

If you check out Monday's Poughkeepsie Journal and look at Marilyn Beck's Hollywood Column on page 3D (the Life section), you will find news that Anthony Michael Hall is not only going to be in "The Dark Knight," but he is not allowed to say what role due to a confidentiality agreement.

You know Anthony Michael Hall, he went from holding up panties in the boy's room to wearing bras on his head while conjuring fantasy women with his computer in the 80's.

He said "I can't say what part I'm playing because it affects the story."

The actor also said he is shooting scenes with Morgan Freeman, who played a Wayne Enterprises executive in "Batman Begins."

My only question is, with the Joker and Commissioner Gordon and Alfred and everyone else already in place, what pivotal role could be left? The only guess we in the office have for now is a Mr. Edward Nigma...

Marvel creates Latino team

Marvel is starting to get publicity for its first all-Latino superhero team, which debuted in Joe Quesada's "Daredevil: Father" and could be looking at its own title as soon as next year. Quesada created the characters, which derive their powers from an "Afro-Caribbean religious ceremony."

Check out this Associated Press story:

" NEW YORK — Like many who become superheroes, Nestor Rodriguez’s transformation is rooted in loss: His father, a civil rights activist and New York City councilman, is murdered in front of him.
Yet unlike other superheroes who gain their powers through the bite of a radioactive spider or through birth on an alien planet, Rodriguez is changed through an Afro-Caribbean religious ceremony.
The unusual twist is thanks to Marvel Entertainment Inc. editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, who in his seven-year tenure has shown an ability to push forward comic book tradition by encouraging controversial changes to characters and taking risks on portraying diversity.
“One of the things I don’t do here is publish in fear,” Quesada said recently, sitting at his desk at Marvel’s midtown Manhattan headquarters, a day after attending the red-carpet premiere of the Spider-Man 3 movie.
Under his stewardship of Marvel’s marquee characters, Captain America was assassinated, Spider-Man’s identity was revealed and Rawhide Kid came out of the closet.
And then there is Eleggua, the character that Rodriguez becomes. Quesada says Eleggua and the team he leads, the Santerians, are the first all-Latino comic book team whose powers are derived from the Afro-Caribbean religion of santeria.
His drawings and sketches of the team from their cameo appearance in “Daredevil:Father” are currently the subject of an exhibit at the Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute in Manhattan through July. He said he would return to the Santerians’ story in its own series as early as next year.
Quesada writes of the Santerians in a statement for the exhibit that he hoped they would reflect “a more modern and accurate representation of the contributions Latinos from across the spectrum are making in our world today.”
The idea of representing diversity has had a contentious history in comics. “Superhero fans are very conservative in their likes and dislikes,” said Matt Brady, editor-in-chief of, a popular comic book Web site. He said attempts to bring greater diversity to comics have often been met with skepticism. "

This is a new idea, for sure, as normally ethnic characters are singular parts of mostly white teams. Whether Quesada can turn this team into a popular title is still to be seen.

This week's video game releases

Some GREAT games coming out this week... Of course, I only know they are great because they've already been released months ago for other platforms... so I guess it's another ho-hum sort of week...

May 21:
UFO: Extraterrestrials (PC)

May 22:
Diner Dash (PSP)
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, PS2, DS, PSP, PC)
Major League Baseball 2K7 (Gameboy Advance)
Halo 2 (PC)
Death, Jr. and the Science Fair of Doom (DS)
WarTech: Senko no Ronde (Xbox 360)
Naruto: Ninja Council 3 (DS)
Odin Sphere (PS2)
Brooktown High: Senior Year (PSP)
Dawn of Mana (PS2)
Legend of the Dragon (PSP)
Marvel Trading Card Game (DS)
The New York Times Crosswords (DS)

May 23:
Diner Dash (DS)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The 4400 called me

So, the USA Network has a promotion for most of their shows, where you sign up to be text-messaged with news about a certain show. Since the service is free and I was really curious as to what these texts were like, I signed up last year.

So, through last year, I would get a text whenever the show was about to come on (reminding me to watch), a text midway through an episode with some goofy character banter, and then a text midway through the week from the psychic kid character Maia with teaser information for the next episode.

Well I had forgotten all about these texts... until today.

Driving in to work, I heard that I had a text. Naturally, I assumed it would be some friend telling me about something going on tonight that I would have to decline (since my annoying friends never remember I'm stuck working most weekends!)... But no, it wasn't.

It was The 4400. And they were inviting me to join "The Battle for Promicin," which is I am guessing the slogan for this coming season. (Promicin is a drug that has a 50/50 chance of either killing you or giving you a superpower).

It was goofy, it was cheesy, it was childish. What grownup gets excited to get a text message from a show full of superheroes?

This grownup, that's who.

Believe it or not, this goofy text did get me even more stoked for the start of the new season (June 17th at 9 p.m.)... there really was no point to this whole blog post, just that I'm a loser and I'm pumped for mid-June.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Saturday's Gaming in the Journal

I just clicked the ole' send button and Saturday's Gaming page is headed to the printing press.

Well, actually that's not how it works... see, first it runs through Ad Services, when there are ads on the page, then it goes to Pre-Press for transferring over from a computer file to a big metal plate, then it heads to the printing press to wait for all the rest of the pages in the paper.... BUT I digress.

I was able to make both types of fans reading this blog happy this week (video game fans and comic book fans) by centerpiecing a review of the "Spider-Man 3" video game. Lots of nice big colorful art for the kids.

There is also a roundup of the past week's video game news and a fantasy baseball column on how the new rules regulating how the baseballs are being stored has effected the season.

So there you have it, pick up page 5C in Saturday's Poughkeepsie Journal for all the goodies.

Heroes Season 1 on DVD

I won't be in the office on August 28. I'll be planted on my couch unshaven, unwashed with potato chip crumbs on my chest, watching "Heroes" All Day Long.

That's because Universal announced today that the DVD release of the first season of "Heroes" will hit stores on August 28th!

And, from the sound of it, there's going to be plenty to watch in addition to the episodes. Special features include an extended 73-minute pilot episode, mini-documentaries on the making of the show, the music on the show, the stunts, the special effects and a look at the show's artist (it's not actually Issac) Tim Sale. Oh, and by the way, 50 deleted and extended scenes.


And while the listed retail price for the seven-disc set on Universal's press release is $59.99, Amazon already has the set listed at $41.99.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Fantastic Four 2 runtime

So, here's some news... Sony announced today that "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" will be allowed to have midnight screenings in theaters (yay!)... however, in that same breath, Sony also said that the runtime for the movie will be 95 minutes.

For those of you mathematically impaired, 95 minutes equals 1 hour and 35 minutes.

For a movie that is supposedly expanding upon the first movie, with such a better story and much more action -- they give it 95 minutes.

For a movie which is not only introducing the Silver Surfer but also includes a new-and-improved Dr. Doom and introduces Galactus (apparently) -- they give it 95 minutes.

I mean, the previews have been spectacular -- but am I the only one that sees a problem here?

And Fox is NOT my favorite superhero movie creator to start off with...

Buy Pile Report

Yes, late on Thursday afternoon I finally have a report on Wednesday's releases... It's not my fault for the tardiness, honest, I came home last night to find the storm had fried my cable modem, so for now the only place I have to blog is at my cozy little desk here at the PoJo...

So what was I reading yesterday, you ask? Let's start with "Countdown #50," an issue which both made me hopeful and made me nervous in one quick motion. For some reason, I am liking the semi-cheesy feel to it all. I don't mind that Jason Todd's character is being bent in this series, since he was never a very balanced character to start off with. I like how they showed Jimmy Olsen to be a semi-fearless nerd of a character, because after all these years hanging around super-types, he should be used to it all. It was an enjoyable read, which makes it easy to want to buy 4 times a month...

But it had plenty of downside. For one, I did not like how 4 pages were wasted going over moments that were already featured in "Justice League #7" (Batman's fight with Karate Kid). It makes me wonder if a good portion of these stories each week will be just copied from other DCU titles, and frankly, for $2.99, that's not gonna cut it. The other thing is, it seems like they are going to make this multiverse reveal REALLY REALLY slow... which, on the one hand is logical, but on the other hand is just torture to readers who had this reveal at the end of #52 already.

"Uncanny X-Men #486" also kind of annoyed me. As I said last month, I LOVE that Vulcan is in control of the whole Shi'ar empire. This sets the stage for dozens of more great X-Men vs. Shi'ar stories... But what annoys me is, as Vulcan retreated and now there is a whole new team of Starjammers, this 12-issue arc is reduced to nothing more than a scene setter. And I would be OK with that if we were staying with the Starjammers in the next few issues. A team comprised of Havok, Lorna, Rachel, creepy Phoenix guy and whoever else they have (I don't have the issue in front of me), that team hunting down Alex's brother and Rachel's uncle excites me.

What doesn't excite me is the team left on Earth teaming with Storm for this next few issues, and then drudging through this "Endangered Species" crossover before we can go back into space. What is the point of a 12-issue scene-setter if you don't stay with the scene? Can you imagine the original Phoenix saga if, right after Jean saved with universe, she wasn't in the book for a year?

"Justice League #9" was just as solid as ever, and if you are not reading this "Lightning Saga," you go buy this, the last issue of JLA and the last issue of JSA and JUMP ON NOW. The Legion of Superheroes (the old-school favorites of the LSH) are reunited, and apparently they have a death wish. These first three issues of the five-part story have gotten them all together, while displaying some character moments of the JLA and JSA meeting face-to-face. Meltzer continues to make Roy a fantastic character, and his interaction with Powergirl is fantastic. Meltzer and Johns have me salivating to find out where this story is headed.

Anyway, that does it for the highlights of my buy pile. If anyone else has thoughts, especially on "All-Star Barman and Robin" or "The Ultimates," please be my guest and post!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Drunken Adam West Batman talking trash

My Buddy Phil Strum (not to be confused with the My Buddy doll from the 80's) has a YouTube video on his Pro Wrestling blog ( of Adam West from the 1970's, wearing Batman's cowl, and talking trash to the wrestler Jerry "The King" Lawler... or as Batman calls him "SuperKing."

AND, Phil and I both think Adam West is trashed in this video... Funny Stuff!

Smash Bros. Tournament at Dragon's Den

I just got into the office after stopping by the Dragon's Den to pick up the weekly goods. And while I don't have anything read yet, I can tell you that there is a signup list at the store (located inside the Poughkeepsie Plaza on Route 9) for a FREE "Super Smash Bros. Melee" Tournament, that will be held on Saturday, May 26th, at 5 p.m.

A few of my former roommates from college are going to be VERY excited. Personally, still a little sick of the game from the amount of time that they all wanted to play it.

Either way, go and signup so that there is a nice turnout and the store will be encouraged to hold more video game tourneys and less card-battling tournaments. Not that there is anything wrong with card-battling... it's not boring AT ALL...

By the way, on an unrelated note, I also noticed the store has a Nintendo Wii for sale IN STOCK... the price tag on it is $349.99, but still, if you need a Wii, it's there...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

This week's comic expectations

Thinking about what I would point out in this post, it occurs to me that there is simply too much going on this week, and too many diverse events to single out just a couple.

If you've been loving Millar's "Ultimates 2," then you get to read the conclusion this week (finally!) So why am I not singling this out? Because if you haven't been following, then you should wait for the trade... and yes, you should buy the trade.

If you're loving Frank Miler's "All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder," you finally get a fifth issue! And I'm not singling out this one either, since, as good as the title has been, I really don't recommend jumping on board of this three-hour tour. Sure, the Minow provides a nice ride around the ocean, but then you get shipwrecked and have to wait 4 months for the Professor to fix the hole.

The third "Fallen Son" is out, and this one features THE fallen son, Captain America. So why am I not recommending this? Because I'm not even sure I want to buy it! The first was all right, the second was awful, there's no reason to believe this is going to be any better. Unfortunately, I'm a glutton for punishment.

The final issue of Ed Brubaker's Shi'ar Uncanny X-Men arc is out this week too. And while I am optimistic for an exciting ending (especially after last month's revelation that Vulcan is now the Shi'ar emperor), this is the 12th issue of the arc! If you're not reading it already, then screw it.

The second issue of "Countdown" has me eager as well... and I WOULD single this issue out as something to buy, if I had any clue of what was going on in the first issue! I am still optimistic for the series, but I really could not explain it yet.

So, as far as I am concerned, the only must-buy book this week is "Justice League of America #9," since it is the third part of a five-issue crossover with another must-buy book, "Justice Society of America."

But, yeah, a whole lotta stuff going down on Wednesday. There's something for everyone, even if everything is not for everyone.

Wednesday's comic release list

It's a solid week with a few heavy hitters coming out. In addition to the second issue of "Countdown," the third issue of "Fallen Son" comes out, the 13th issue of "Ultimates 2" FINALLY comes out and, oh yeah, a little title by the name of "All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder"... and that isn't even half of my buy pile for the week...

DC Comics:
Action Comics #849
All Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder #5
Aquaman Sword of Atlantis #52
Army @Love #3
Batman #665
Catwoman #67
Checkmate #14
Countdown #50
Ex Machina #28
Fables #61
Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #12
Justice League of America #9
Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #2
Scooby Doo #129
Spirit #6
Supergirl #17

Cable Deadpool #40
Exiles #94
Fallen Son: Captain America
Marvel Adventures Avengers #13
Mighty Avengers #3
Moon Knight #10
Orson Scott Cards Wyrms #4
Ultimate Spider-Man #109
Ultimate X-Men #82
Ultimates 2 #13
Uncanny X-Men #486
X-Factor #19
X-Men First Class Special

City of Heroes #19
Conan #40
GI Joe Special
GI Joe Storm Shadow #1
Heroes By Night #3
Highlander #7
Jughead #181
Red Sonja #22
Sonic the Hedgehog #175
Star Wars Rebellion #6
Tales from Riverdale Digest #20
The Super Naturals #2

Thomas Jane won't do Punisher 2

Ain't it Cool News (at THIS LINK) is claiming that Thomas Jane, who starred in "The Punisher" (as well as "61*," and, umm, he was a skeevy guy in "Boogie Nights"... and, he did a funny cameo on "Arrested Development"... what else has he been in? ANYWAY...) Thomas Jane doesn't want to reprise his role as Frank Castle.

I'm bummed about this, as I was one of the few people who LOVED the first Punisher. I mean, you don't get dialogue as good as what it offered ("God's gonna sit this one out"). So, it looks like this sequel, which was stuck in development hell for a while anyway, is probably not going to happen.

Somebody play Taps!

Heroes Report on "Landslide"

And finally, at 4:45 a.m., I've finished watching "Heroes" and can report on it. Thank God for VCRs (remember, TiVo's older brother?) for allowing us to have a life and not miss great TV.

Anyway, where to begin?

It looks like we are finally full-speed ahead on the big final showdown, with every Hero in N.Y. at the start of the episode. And, it looks like the end of the year deaths have already started adding up. I had a feeling that we would see a lot of death in by the end of the season, just to make room for next year.

Let's count the deceased, shall we?
1)Ted Sprague had his head cut open by Sylar (giving Sylar the ability to blow up). 2)Thompson was shot by Mr. Bennett (serves him right for constantly showing too much chest hair). 3)D.L. put his fist through Linderman's head (Kitty Pryde, eat your heart out!) 4)And D.L. was shot in the stomach, presumably killing him (though he is pictured in the preview of next week's finale).

Some thoughts on the fallout from the death: 1) With Linderman and Thompson both turned into worm food -- who is running the company now? Momma Petrelli was a friend of Linderman after all... 2) If Mr. Bennett somehow finds out that those two are dead -- is there a need to kill Molly? 3) With Linderman dead, does Nathan and family have a way to escape the city? It would kind of be hard for Nathan to let the bomb happen if he and his family are there, wouldn't it?

Meanwhile, the other big development was Hiro's Dad revealing himself as a special person, and revealing that he supports Hiro's "destiny." In one afternoon, Hiro's Dad (we might as well just call him Mr. Sulu, right?) teaches him how to be an expert swordsman... Riiiiiiight. I love this show and all, but COME ON! Why couldn't Hiro have teleported him and his father to the past, where they would have plenty of time to train (just like in "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey!")?

Some other random thoughts:
1) I'm predicting a few more deaths in the finale... in fact, the only person I think has no chance of dying is Claire, only because the show has no other young female heroes (and only two youngsters total, counting Micah)
2) And speaking of Micah, I think Jeb Bush employed him in 2000...
3) This is the first episode that shows a kinder side to Candice... which is either setting her up to be a good guy, or to have a more compelling death...
4) And speaking of Candice (who I only love more now for her taste in comics), she's on Micah's good side now... I'm thinking Micah is going to get his Mom to spare her life...
5) And Speaking of Nikki/Jessica, her line to Parkman "Didn't I throw you out of a window?" has got to make the list of top ten quotes of the season.
6) Rena Sofer can walk! Which, like Candice, either sets her up to have a bigger role in season two, or could give her a more compelling death...
7) I literally cheered out loud at 4:25 a.m. when watching Mr. Bennett off Thompson
8) Where has the Haitian been for the last few episodes???
9) I'm starting to think Nathan is going to sacrifice his life to stop the bomb, as penance.
10) And speaking of the bomb, with so many cast members in New York right now, is there any shot at all of this thing going off? I say No Way.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Extra Heroes Series on NBC

NBC announced today that, in addition to a 22-episode Season Two of "Heroes" next year, they will be airing an additional eight-episode "Heroes: Origins" series, during weeks that "Heroes" is on hiatus throughout the year.

Apparently, each one of these "Heroes: Origins" episodes will introduce a new character to the show, and one of these characters will even get to be chosen by the fans by voting on the Heroes Web site.

Frankly, I'm torn on this news... one the one hand, we all want more "Heroes," right? The show is darned-near flawless. And also, origin back-up stories are a 30-year-old convention in the world of comic books... so why am I hesitant?

Because, this stinks of publicity stunt. NBC has been hemorrhaging ratings, and it seems like this (especially with the fan-chosen episode) may simply be milking the "Heroes" brand.

Does anyone think that "Heroes," up until this point, has needed special "Origin" stories? Could these stories potentially handcuff the main series down the road? I mean, I've been happy with how the current characters' back-stories have been slowly revealed up until this point -- would a "Origins" series change that?

And if these episodes are up to par with the main series, then why not simply extend "Heroes'" season to 30-episodes? I'm hoping it is simply a contractual thing, and not a quality of show thing.

I'll be watching, but I am hesitant... By the way, don't forget to check the blog late tonight, or real early Tuesday morning, for thoughts on Monday night's new epsiode of "Heroes" (the main series!)

The 4400 -- Try it!

There's a reason why I've been so exhausted lately. You could tell I was exhausted, right? See, I knew you cared. I've been so exhausted because on Tuesday, Season Three of "The 4400" came out on DVD So, every night after getting home from work at 1 am, I've been watching 3 or 4 of the hour long episodes.

Why am I mentioning this, you ask? Because you should be watching "The 4400" too! Or you should at least know about it. The Official show site is Here.

If you're a fan of "Heroes," you may just like this show. The jist of it is, for decades people had gone missing, and one day in 2004, all 4400 of these people were instantaneously returned to Seattle. These people have no knowledge of where they had been, and now they each have a specific special power (and yes, this show began before "Heroes!")

Some of the powers range from the conventional (healing, telekinesis, premonition,) to the unconventional (the ability to incite insanity, the ability to make someone thinner).

In the first season (which was actually a 6-part mini-series) it was very much an "X-Files" style "you have two government agents that investigate new super-powered people each show."

But, in the past two seasons, the show has evolved into a full-on drama. Nowadays, instead of having a new super-power to investigate each show, these new people show up effortlessly as part of the story.

As it turns out, these people were abducted by the Future and given these powers so they would be able to prevent a Great Disaster -- unlike in "Heroes," however, nobody knows what this disaster is going to be, and there are several different groups all acting under different pretenses.

There is a fantastic tension among the groups, especially at this point in the series, because more and more the line of who is on who's side and who's right and who's wrong is being blurred.

And if none of that intrigues you, then consider this: continuing from a storyline that ended Season Three, as Season Four begins (on Sunday June 17th on USA) drugs that can give ordinary people special abilities are circulating across the globe. The tension may just be getting a bit heavier, don't you think?

Anyway, there is a lot more to "The 4400," I tried to simplify it as best as possible, but I strongly recommend renting the DVDs from Blockbuster or buying them off Amazon (Season One and Two are kinda cheap!) and giving this show a try.

If "The 4400" had the budget of a "Heroes" it may be just as popular and just as good. Even without the budget, it's still pretty darn close to being as good.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

This week's video game releases

Again, not too much this week... I mean, other than Dream Day Wedding! Move over Jennifer Lopez, I'm going to be the best wedding planner yet!

May 14:
SpellForce 2: Dragon Storm (PC)
Concentration (PC)

May 15:
MLB 07: The Show (PS3)
Shrek the Third (Xbox 360, Wii, PS2)
FreeStyle Street Basketball (PC)
Etrian Odyssey (Nintendo DS)
Resident Evil 4 (PC)
Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Moon (PSP)
Nanny Mania (PC)
Dream Day Wedding (PC)
Touch the Dead (DS)

May 16:
Soltrio Solitaire (Xbox 360)
Taito Legends 2 (PS2)

May 17:
Taito Legends Power-Up (PSP)
Major League Baseball 2K7 (GameBoy Advance)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Buried Treasure

Inspired by DC's rash of universe-shattering events, with Infinite Crisis, 52 and now Countdown, I felt the urge to dig up the company's Zero Hour crossover and re-read.

The only problem is, my collection is not as organized as you might think... everything is pretty much in order, bagged and boarded, for the most part... the problem is, there is a definite divide in where they are. The newer stuff -- say, the past 3 years or so since College -- is on top of everything basically just in piles.

The older stuff -- everything before College -- is underneath everything. And what is everything you ask? Well, there is a box full of random crap, a box full of action figures (I think that specific box is from my DragonBall Z toy phase), a box of video tapes, some books, my old CD drive from a really old Gateway computer, some more books, a Ninja Turtle Techodrome Module toy and a stack of Newspapers with stories I've written in them.

Still, I needed to read Zero Hour. So I carefully removed each and every piece of crap guarding entrance to my two giant boxes of old comics -- making very sure to remember the order which I moved them so that they would all fit back together later. I searched through the first box of comics, finding my old issues of Louise Simonson's X-Factor (my personal favorite series ever), mid 1980's to early 90's X-Men, and a bunch of old Ninja Turtles and Thundercats issues. NO DC.

I pushed a giant heavy white box over so I could look through the second box of comics. I found all of my Supermans -- the Death of, the Funeral of, the Reign of, the return of -- as well as my Batmans, Flashes, Blue Beetles, Booster Golds, Justice Leagues, Legends crossover -- I took that out to save for later reading -- I even found some issues of Captain Adam. But NO ZERO HOUR.

Sweating and exhausted, I could not figure out where Zero Hour went... and then I realized I also had no clue of where my post mid-1980's Justice Leagues went... they all had to be somewhere, right?

After putting everything carefully back into place, I realized, I had no idea of what was in the really really really heavy White Box I was only pushing around... I opened up the box and found All my Justice Leagues, complete with the crossovers like Millennium, Invasion and, yes, Zero Hour, all put in order.

I then remembered -- not too long ago I had a similar urge to re-read all my Justice Leagues, only after going through all the effort to find them, and organize them with the crossovers in order, I was too damn tired to start reading them, and forgot all about it.

The moral of this story? Poor organization will lead to manual labor instead of reading fun. Bet you thought there was gonna be a punchline there, huh? Well searching through so much crap for no good reason is no laughing matter!

Friday, May 11, 2007

In Saturday's Gaming page

OK, good and bad news on the Gaming page front (page 5C in Saturday's Poughkeepsie Journal)...

Good news is, there is some fun content on the page. In addition to the weekly fantasy baseball column, there's a column (not written by me) on the spring/summer gaming drought. There's also a small review of "Virtua Tennis 3," and a roundup of this week's video game notes.

The bad news? Our friends in the ad department didn't allow me to use color on the page. It's a money thing. So, black and white Gaming this week.

Either way, enjoy!

Hopefully for next week's page I'll have some interesting tidbits on the upcoming game "Drawn to Life," the game that Our Lady of Lourdes High School graduate Steve Chiavelli has been working on for 5th Cell.

First official Halo 3 video

Apparently Bungie and Microsoft loved a video that one of their Halo 3 beta testers made so much that they released it as the first official Halo 3 video on the Internet.

Click This Link for it!

The video was made by a guy named "Mr. Jukes" (which is why you see that name, or a version of that name, on the screen a bunch, and the version of Halo that he used to make this video is apparently a slightly older Beta version than the upcoming downloadable.

This video is so gorgeous that if Halo 3 were in a bar, you could go up to it and say "Is your name Halo? Because you look like you're from Heaven."

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Rock as Captain Marvel?

So, here's the latest Superhero movie rumor out there: is spreading the news that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is in talks to play Captain Marvel in an upcoming Shazam! movie.

Are there any movie executives that are really dumb enough to think this would be a good fit? What am I saying? Of course there are! But still, can you really see Billy Batson giving anyone "The People's Eyebrow?" Captain Marvel (or as Guy Gardner called him, Captain Whitebread) is a bright-eyed bushy-tailed happy-go-lucky boy scout!

What I could see — and now I am hoping to see it and am hoping Superherohype got this story a bit wrong — is that the Rock would play BLACK ADAM. Think about it, the body type, the attitude. It would be perfect.

I wonder what my buddy Phil Strum would have to say about this on the Journal's pro wrestling blog, "Under the Ring"?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Lourdes grad's game featured!

How many of you loyal Gaming page readers remember Our Lady of Lourdes graduate Steve Chiavelli?

Back on November 4th I profiled the former Hopewell Junction resident, as he had just helped create the award-winning downloadable game "Toblo" (downloadable HERE). He told us that he took a job at a game designing company named 5th Cell, and gave us an extremely early look at a game called "Drawn to Life."

All these months later, having heard no updates, I unfortunately began to believe that a publisher had yet to buy "Drawn to Life," a game specifically designed for the Nintendo DS. Well Just now I saw that "Drawn to Life" is now the centerpiece on! To read the story, click here. As it turns out, THQ announced today that it came to an agreement with 5th Cell to publish the game, and will release it in September.

I could not be happier for Steve, and for the fact that we now will actually get to play this creative game, which will allow you to draw your own hero. Steve lives near 5th Cell's homebase in Bellevue, Washington, but his parents Gina and Richard are still living in Hopewell Junction.

Buy Pile Report: Countdown

I really did not have any expectations heading into this first issue of Countdown (#51). That is, until I looked at the first page and saw DeSaad. Suddenly I knew this was going to be one great series. I mean, where there is DeSaad, Darkseid is not far, and where there is Darkseid, great stories are not far.

That said, this first issue was not really about Apokolips' master. It was about, well, confusion. As we saw at the end of World War III, the Monitor is not only back, 51 of his friends are too. And apparently their job is to keep the 52 worlds safe. Where they were during that whole "Mr. Mind is trying to eat existence" thing, I don't know.

How are they keeping the 52 worlds safe, you ask? Apparently by purging all of the characters that don't belong in certain universes. Think of what that means — the Justice Society, the Marvel Family, the Freedom Force — they are all from other Earths, right?

But, haven't Geoff Johns and Mark Waid and the rest of the 52 guys just started going around saying that there are duplicate characters out there? How come the universe crossers are so dangerous if there are duplicates in other worlds? As I said, I was a bit confused by this issue.

The other question I am left with is, is Duela Dent really the big Teen Titans death we've been waiting for? Seriously?

As I said, I'm optimistic for this series to be fantastic — for now, though, I'm just confused... good thing issue two is only a week away!

China is building a super-villain fortress

OK, first we had the story a few weeks ago stating that China was going to control the weather in the days prior to the 2008 Olympic Games, in order to make it rain and insure sunny skies for the games.

Now comes a story that states during the games in Beijing, the only place you will be able to find safe drinking water from the tap is Olympic Village!

Check out this from the Associated Press:

" 'The quality of the water provided by the water plants is safe enough,' said Bi Xiaogang, vice director general of the Beijing Water Management Bureau. 'The water is contaminated during the secondary supply process, in the transfer of water. Therefore it is not safe to drink from the tap. We are still working on upgrading the secondary facilities. But in the Olympic Village we will provide safe drinking water from the tap.' "

Is is just me, or does this sniff a whole lot like China is building a Super-Villain fortress? I mean, is Egg Fu behind all of this? Is the compound secured by The Great Ten? Is Will Magnus inside there building a Plutonium Man?

Scary stuff, friends. Scary scary China.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

This week's comic expectations

As I said in the last post, there's not much to this week, other than Countdown #51 (the 52 issues are counting down to Zero, if you didn't know).

I'm looking forward to New X-Men #38, the series is hit-and-miss each issue, but with this "Quest for Magik" arc underway, I'm optimistic. The kids have been sucked into Limbo, and Belasco wants to get to them... I'm still torn over whether I want Magik to comeback for good, as I was a real big fan of the original character. Still, it might be cool to have the "House of M" Magik, because it would bring Illyana back without ruining her past stories -- much like how DC has several Flashes and Blue Beetles.

Also, New Avengers #30 is out this week, and there is talk that the big "Who is Ronin?" reveal is coming in this issue. Frankly, I could give a damn. If Ronin is really so tied to this big Marvel 2008 event, then I'm not too excited for this 2008 event. Still, the six-page preview from the issue was pretty good, as it brought up the question of, What exactly are the New Avengers trying to accomplish?

But yes, the story of the week is Countdown #51. To be perfectly honest, the several storylines that have been mentioned thus far -- with Ray Palmer and Jimmy Olsen and Mary Marvel -- I am not too interested. But who doesn't trust DC's "Weekly Comic Machine" at this point? DC has also claimed that, unlike "52," which was dealing with the story of what happened in the lost year, "Countdown" is the story of what is currently happening. I like the idea of a weekly book serving as the place to go for current events.

As always, the Buy Pile report will come by Thursday night, and your thoughts on what you read are welcome!

Wednesday's comic release list

The countdown to "Countdown" is over! Yes, I know, cheap pun. Not much else... Some "Initiative" titles too, with Thunderbolts and New Avengers... nothing too special, though, other than Countdown...

Batman Strikes #33

Countdown #51
DMZ #19
Friday The 13th #6
Gen 13 #8
Green Arrow #74
Green Lantern Corps #12
Grifter Midnighter #3
Jack Of Fables #10
JLA Classified #38

Mystery In Space #8
Nightwing #132
Outsiders #47
Stormwatch PHD #7
Tales Of The Unexpected #8
Y The Last Man #56

Amazing Spider-Girl #8

Amazing Spider-Man #540
Black Panther #27
Blade #9
Ghost Rider #11
Hulk And Power Pack #3
Immortal Iron Fist #5
Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four #24
Marvel Tales Flip Magazine #24
Marvel Zombies Dead Days
New Avengers #30
New X-Men #38
Nova #2
Punisher War Journal #7
Secrets Of Spider-Man Revealed
Spider-Man Fantastic Four #2
Thunderbolts #114
Ultimate Power #5
Wolverine Origins #14

Battle Pope Color #14
Blade Of The Immortal #125
Blood Nation #4
Bomb Queen III #3
CVO African Blood #4
Desperadoes Buffalo Dreams #4
Invincible #41
Noble Causes #29
Phonogram #6
PvP #32
Samurai Heaven & Earth #4
Secret #4
Star Wars Dark Times #3
Star Wars Legacy #11
Strongarm #3
Transformers Cover Gallery Book 2
Transformers Spotlight Target 2006 #2

Heroes Report on "The Hard Part"

One of the things that has made "Heroes" such a fantastic show is the director's and writers' ability to make big moments happen in the right way -- the realistic way.

Late in "The Hard Part" we're given a perfect example of this, in the way they handle Peter's first contact with Ted Sprague. It's so nonchalant that it was easy to forget that moment NEEDED to happen in order for the whole exploding-man thing to happen. And seconds later that understated style pays off, when Peter's hands slowly start to glow and the little light bulb goes on in the heads of the audience. My own personal realization moment went something like this: "OH shit, That's right, those two never met!!!"

Overall, I felt this was a well-paced scene-setter sort of episode. And while you may knock it for a lack of major events, I'm willing to bet Mohinder's whole part in this episode, curing this girl "Molly" who can find ANYONE, will turn out to be a major part of season two. Mohinder has to win the dunce cap this week for doing so, though. Yes, I know he's eager to stop Sylar -- but how does he not realize he just gave the bad guys a way to located ANYONE at ANYTIME???

And speaking of Sylar, the other thing this episode accomplished was rounding him into a more complete character. I really believed his tone of voice when he spoke of reforming and simply wanting to be like everyone else. I don't know if he would have ever stuck to that thought, but when he realized just how dangerous he was, I really believed that character could be feeling remorse. Unfortunately, watch boy has a Mommy-attention complex...

Other thoughts:
1) I have a bad feeling for my girl Candice... not only does she have DL and Nikki/Jessica coming after her, but Sylar does need SOME way to look like Nathan in order to "become President," right?
2) It looks like my wish of Micah becoming an evil genius is not going to happen.
3) It never occurred to me that Eric Roberts makes contact with Nathan... it should have been obvious, but I never realized it... and is it just me or does Eric Roberts' wardrobe make him look like Ming the Merciless from the "Flash Gordon" movie?
4) I would guess that Nathan is going to swoop in and have a part in stopping the bomb at the last minute, only that is starting to look too obvious...
5) Sylar painting with blood was GENIUS! He needs his own PBS painting show... I can see him now painting 'happy little trees' along a river... in blood...

Monday, May 7, 2007

Rumored Spider-Man 4 villains, already

As the rumored "Leak" goes at THIS LINK, the bad guys in Spider-Man 4 will be The Lizard, Carnage and the Black Cat.

I will now go out on a sturdy limb and tell you that this isn't going to happen.

Sony wants Sam Raimi back in the worst way -- because only Raimis presence can bring back Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, who Sony want back in an even worse way. Sony is not going to force any story or villains down Raimi's throat while they are begging him to return. They would more likely simply say "OK Sam, pick your villains." After all, they were wrong in strong arming him into taking Venom.

And despite all this money Spider-Man 3 made, I am hoping hoping hoping they've learning their lesson about the number of villains in one flick. Focus on Lizard in this next one ONLY! Lay the seeds for the others, like making Felicia Hardy a character and Cletus Kasady a character without their bad personas.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

This week's video game releases

Really not too much worth noting here... Command and Conquer 3 on the 360... yeah, you can see for yourself...

May 7:
Taito Legends Powerup (PSP)
Taito Legends 2 (PS2)

May 8:
Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars (Xbox 360)
Shrek the Third (Xbox 360)
Hot Wheels Ultimate Racing (PSP)
Dream Day Wedding (PC)
Loco Mania (PC)
Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam (PS2)
Heatseeker (PSP)
Driver 76 (PSP)
CellFactor Revolution (PC)

May 10:
Circus Empire (PC)
Sam & Max Episode 6: Bright Side of the Moon (PC)

Saturday, May 5, 2007


It's 4:06 a.m. and I've just returned home from South Setauket on Long Island, the Girlfriend's hometown, where we watched the 9:30 p.m. showing of SPIDER-MAN 3. I tell you all this to both explain why the review is being posted so late at night and to excuse myself if there are any typos I miss -- I'm sure by the time I'm done writing this, proofreading won't be prominent in my mind.

I'm going to try to avoid including spoilers in this, and when I do post spoilers they will be clearly marked, for those of you yet to see the movie.

Let me begin by saying this: I will be going to see this movie at least once more before buying it when it comes out on DVD. It is too visually stunning not to be enjoyable. The fight sequences were spectacular, and as far as I am concerned, the fight between Peter and Harry (I'd call it a spoiler, if not for all the trailers) near the beginning of the film is the TOP FIGHT in the Spider-man Trilogy. It's jaw-dropping.

That said -- this was far and away the weakest of the three Spider-man films. It was a collection of spectacular clips, all strung together by very thin string.

There was plenty to like. As I said, the fights were great, Harry's new Goblin look is much better than his Dad's, and Mary Jane was incredible. But, the movie is plagued by three major problems...

MAJOR PROBLEM #1: To put it simply, there was simply too much to fit into one movie. Spider-man 3 suffers from what I call "Trilogy-itis." Trilogy-itis is what happens when actors and producers decide that the third movie is going to be the final one -- only they still want to do SO MUCH. So the producers go to the writers and say "We want to do this and this and this and this and this and this -- oh, but you still only have two and a half hours to work with."

This time, they wanted to include the Sandman for visual pleasure. They wanted to include Venom and the black-suit story because fans were dying for it. They wanted to culminate the Harry Osborne story to round-out the "Trilogy." Oh, and they wanted Mary Jane and Peter's relationship to still be the central idea. That's a bit more than the past two movies were dealing with, with only one villain in each!

But this was not inherently a bad script -- it just was executed much too fast. As a result, there was no slow build to anything. Everything just happened, and we are expected to accept it.

Remember how in Spider-man 1, we slowly see how Norman Osborne is driven to becoming a psycho? Remember how we see Doc Ock as a three-dimensional character before he became Doc Ock in Spidey 2?

Well in this movie -- SPOILERS HERE -- the black suit symbiote randomly lands as a meteorite near where Peter and MJ are hanging out, and Flint Marko randomly falls into a molecular sand experiment, which isn't mentioned before he falls into the experiment, and is not mentioned again afterward. Oh, and Eddie Brock just happens to be in the same church that Peter is in when Peter gets rid of the symbiote. IT ALL JUST HAPPENS. -- SPOILERS OVER

And Flint Marko could have been a solid villain onto himself. He has an emotional reason for becoming a bad guy, and if that was actually developed, then he would have been an emotional character -- but he is not developed at all. We see him fight a few times, but there is no return to his emotional story. So by the end of the movie, when the movie wants the audience to be feeling sympathy for him, it just isn't there.

What Sandman is reduced to is a Plot Device. He is there to be an example for the rage Peter is feeling, and a metaphor at the end of the movie. How such a potentially great villain was so underused is beyond me.

On the other hand, I thought they nailed the character of Eddie Brock. His "I'm such a victim" attitude was perfectly acted out, and it was enough to show why he would want to become Venom. However, again, because there is so much to show before Venom even shows up, we don't get enough of Venom.

Because of this, I really think this movie could have been PERFECT if Sandman was simply not involved. Harry's Goblin was more than enough to add to the black suit/Venom stuff.

As long as we're talking characters, though, I should mention that Kirsten Dunst steals the show as Mary Jane. Nothing goes right for MJ in this one, as she is the brunt of Peter's rage and used as a pawn by others -- and Dunst makes the audience feel every last bit of sympathy she can. I absolutely love her mixture of hurt and jealousy in the dinner scene.

Her acting and ability to interject emotion into a story that just jumps from moment to moment way too quickly saves the movie.

MAJOR PROBLEM #2: One of the aspects of the first two Spider-man movies that has made it so successful is that, while it is located in a comic book world, it is grounded in reality. This one? Not so much.

It's not terribly noticeable -- but everything just seems a caricature of itself. Everything is taken to the absolute outlandish extreme. For example: J. Jonah Jameson is said to have high blood pressure, so on his desk they put at least a dozen different types of pills and ant-acids, just sitting there. They then proceed to do a comedy bit pointing out just how many he has. Funny, sure. Realistic it is not. Most of the film is similar.

There are several times during fight sequences, when certain people are in peril and the villain is not in sight, that instead of leaping up to save them, Spidey stops to banter and tell a one-liner. At one point I wanted to just yell out "Swing up there, you moron!!!" And when you have one of these moments near the climax of the movie, it can be jarring.

And on this same note of being outlandish -- I mentioned Mary Jane's tough luck in this movie -- well much of it seems pretty outlandish in itself. You know, the bad luck NOT super-villain related.

Now, to a certain extent you can say "Well, it's a comic book movie, it's allowed to be a bit outlandish." I agree. All I am saying is that this third Spider-man movie is more goofy than the first two combined.

The movie was way too aware of itself. Stan Lee makes a cameo, and actually said the phrase " 'nuff said!" Sure, as a comic book geek, it was great to hear. It just didn't have the realism.

MAJOR PROBLEM #3: This is a superhero movie in which the main superhero is unlikeable 95% of the time. I am not exaggerating. Because even before Peter gets his Black suit (which increases aggressiveness and anger and whatnot), he is set up to be VERY self-absorbed.

To an extent, that is good writing -- I mean, this is a nerd who is getting a taste of living the popular life for the first time. That doesn't change the fact that Peter's actions are NOT LIKABLE. With some of the things he did, I was cheering against him being with MJ.

Once he does get the suit, he's 100% asshole. And in another goofy move -- They actually had him change his hairstyle almost immediately after getting the suit, dictating that he has a new prerogative. Instead of parting his hair, he wears his hair down. It reminded me of cheesy shows where someone has an evil twin, and you know which one the evil twin is because the evil one is wearing a Goatee.

Again, on the whole I don't think this is bad writing --it's just hard to cheer for a guy that is such an asshole.

I really have to refrain from giving more specifics on this, or else it would really Spoil a lot, so I will simply move on.

Oh, but one last thing on Peter -- at least we know he could get a role in West Side Story. You'll see what I mean. Ridiculous.

Conclusion: I feel like I've been bashing this movie, and maybe I am, but that does not change the fact that I still feel that Spider-man 3 is enjoyable. Taken on a scene-by-scene basis, there was some jaw-dropping stuff here. As I said, I will be seeing it again soon.

However, it is just kind of sad to think about just how great this movie could have been if it didn't have the extra character of Sandman slowing things down. Nothing was able to be as fully developed as it could have been, and consequently we are not given as three-dimensional characters as we were given in the first two movies.

This really should have been two separate movies. And there was more than enough material for it to be.

This sequel was not as bad as other sequels with too much going on, like "X-Men the Last Stand" and "Batman Forever," but it unfortunately is not on par with Spidey 1 and 2. Still very fun, just not on par.

On a side note, I would have much preferred for the black suit symbiote to be created in much the same way that it was in the "Ultimate Spider-man" comics -- it could have been an experiment of Dr. Connors' that Peter accidentally gets a drop or two of his blood into, which is what initially would give the symbiote life and make it attracted to Peter. Much more realistic, dontcha' think? Plus the experiment could have been one that might lead to a certain Lizard coming out to play in a sequel...

One last thing -- while I've been writing this I've been listening to the Spider-man 3 Soundtrack, which I picked up this afternoon. It isn't bad, some fun tracks, but it isn't quite as good as the Spider-man 2 soundtrack, which I loved. Sounds kinda familiar...

So I am sure you all have thoughts on both this review and the movie -- So what are your opinions?