Friday, August 31, 2007
So, to make it up to you loyal Gaming readers, here is what the centerpiece to this week's page would have been — a review of recently released "BIOSHOCK." Enjoy.
Bioshock offers chills and thrills
The Associated Press
“BioShock” is indeed shocking, just not in the way you might expect. It’s a rare first-person shooter that transcends the genre’s action and forces players to think about what they’re doing, and why.
Taking down foes like a “Big Daddy” is hard enough; dealing with this game’s moral dilemma can be an even greater challenge.
“BioShock” (Rated M, $59.99 for Xbox 360, $49.99 for Windows) begins with a jolt as you find yourself the sole survivor of a plane crash in the middle of the ocean. Flaming wreckage burns in all but one direction, and it’s here you see a gleaming tower in the midst of the floating destruction.
The sheen of this game’s art-deco magnificence quickly gives way to dread upon entering the tower and riding a bathysphere into the depths of a grand undersea city called Rapture.
This is no mythical Atlantis, however. Rapture is a devastated place, an anarchist’s social scientific experiment turned into a seeping urban dystopia.
And it’s filled with rival packs of genetically mutated freaks and all other sorts of horrors.
The denizens (all of them bent on your death, of course) are split between Splicers, vile former humans who’ve amped themselves up on too many gene-altering chemicals; and Little Sisters and Big Daddies.
It’s the former foe who you’ll encounter the most, almost to a fault by the game’s conclusion.
The latter duo, however, share a special bond that represents some of the game’s most thrilling moments. Big Daddies are clad in metal diving suits that shake Rapture’s infrastructure as they plod around. They are extremely difficult to eliminate and given to quick bursts of speed.
Little Sisters, meanwhile, are young girls with a bioengineered curse: within them is a substance called Adam, and it’s the lifeblood of a growing arsenal of genetic powers you’ll obtain.
So the question becomes, do you kill the girl and harvest more Adam, or do let her live and extract far less? It may not seem like a huge philosophical dilemma, but these are heady issues for a video game.
Regardless of your decision, “BioShock” is loaded with combat and opportunities for creative decision making. You could kill that pack of Splicers standing in a pool of water with a pistol, but then again, it’s far more efficient to shoot electricity from your left hand and zap them all at once.
Likewise, you could ignore the broken robots lying around, or you could hack them, turning them into powerful allies that fly around and shoot enemies on sight.
So what will you do in Rapture? It all boils down to how you want to play. There’s ample flexibility in the game’s linear story line that makes a second run through Rapture’s unique brand of madness an exciting prospect.
And you’ll find yourself pondering the notion of “self-improvement” with genetic mutations that give you electricity, fire and other super powers through the ingestion of “Gene Tonics” and “Plasmids.”
“BioShock” is a gamer’s dream, but it’s not particularly hard. The lack of any real death penalty exacerbates the issue: losing your life simply means you respawn nearby and continue fighting.
But so rare is a quality title like “BioShock,” so compelling is its story, that you’ll hardly notice. It’s been a while now since I solved the mystery that is “BioShock,” but I still can’t get it out of my mind.
Four stars out of four.
I've gotta say, I've always tried to stand by NBA Live through the good times and bad... but 2K8 sure sounds like it will be getting my money this year.
1: The Good News is that EA has FINALLY implemented Online Leagues. And while the league option in NBA Live seems a bit lackluster, it is better than nothing and shows that EA has finally caught on that people want this. I'm sure it will be developed more fully in the future. However, this option is too little too late (Why wasn't it in Madden?!?)
2: The Bad News is THIS:
"Interestingly, if the opposing team passes the ball, Live 08 will automatically switch your player control to the player closest to the ball. Although there's no option to turn this feature off that we could find, you can go into the menu system and choose to control one position for the entire game if you like."
Seriously? I mean, I won't cast final judgement until I try this out myself, but if this option is actually in the game and cannot be turned off, it would turn me off from the game altogether.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
IGN.com is reporting at THIS LINK that stores have received the OK from Sony to start selling "Lair" on FRIDAY.
That's right, the game Sony has been making PS3 owners wait for patiently since launch is going to be ready Tomorrow. Heck, the story at the link said that some stores have sold a few copies already.
"Lair" is one of the more pivotal games of the young new generation. Since the hype over the PS3 launch began, the Dragon-riding action game has been the posterchild for PS3 graphics and six-axis controls. If this game delivers on its promise, then maybe some skeptics will be won over to PS3's side. However, if the game flops, it could mean curtains...
Meaning, that by the time the Christmas rush hits, the only PS3 around will be the $599 80-gig models (the biggest ripoff in gaming).
If you are dying for a PS3, now is the time to Leap on this $499 price. Personally, I think keeping the Ps3 price point at $599 is one of the biggest mistakes Sony has made in a folly of errors, but that's just me.
If any of you were waiting to buy Amazons Attack in TPB form, I bow to your wisdom. You needn't spend any money after all. I kept waiting for this event to get better, or at least for something to happen. As the issues went buy, I kept waiting for the moment when it all made sense, and I figured out how DC could green light such a storyline.
But, six issues and several tie-ins later (including some really pointless Wonder Woman issues), no sense has been made, and no grand battle has been drawn. it all just ended with a thud.
Oh, and because I am begging you not to give DC any more money they don't deserve on this storyline, I'll spoil the big twist at the end — "Athena" was really Granny Goodness in disguise. Ooooh, a Countdown tie-in. That gets me interested after all! Wait, strike that, reverse it.
I also need to do a little bitching over Teen Titans #50. I thought the issue was fantastic, another tribute to Bart Allen serving as the thread tying together several fun flashbacks and setting up the next "Titans Tomorrow" arc. BUT, also included in this issue was six pages of last week's Blue Beetle #18. And I mean, identical pages and dialog.
What's the need for this? Since when is crossing over a story so that one title's events lead into another title's such a new idea that we really needed to see this story twice? Part of the fun of comics is that a butterfly flapping his wings in comic 'A' is often felt in comic 'D' or comic 'G'. There is no need for panel-for-panel retelling, especially when the price of a comic is bumped up do to increased pages.
I'd also be remiss this week if I didn't mention the Fantastic Four. FF #549 was the best issue of the title in over a year. While the pacing made a NASCAR race feel like golf, I have never been one that minded a hectic pace in a comic filled with action. Also, you just knew that McDuffie was trying to wrap things up as swiftly as possible for the upcoming 550th issue.
And, Sue's torturing of the Wizard was the most terrifically badass Mrs. Storm-Richards moment in my memory, not counting her days as Malice. It cannot be done justice without you reading it for yourself.
However, the long-awaited Stan Lee Last Story of the Fantastic Four left plenty to be desired. Don't get me wrong, if you're really a fan of Stan the Man's writing and not just a fan of nostalgia, this issue is for you. It's classic Stan. The premise hits you fast and from out of nowhere. The villain is on a grander scale than even Galactus himself. And, the conclusion comes out of nowhere and is fun.
But, for modern comic readers, those are all downsides. The issue really didn't make too much sense if you take it too seriously. Part of me was really hoping that Stan had brought his 'A Game' for his last FF story, but I guess this is as good as his 'A Game' ever got. If you read this issue expecting to get EXACTLY what 1960's FF was, you won't be disappointed.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Oh, you better use stealth
and hope you don't die
and load up your guns, I'm telling you why
Master Chief is coming to town.
He sees you when you're creeping
he knows which gun to take
he wants to kick some covenant ass
so aim good for goodness sake.
Oh, you better use stealth
and hope you don't die
and load up your guns, I'm telling you why
Master Chief is coming to town.
Yes, "Halo 3" has gone GOLD. Meaning, of course, that the game is polished and sent to the manufacturers, and also meaning that all of you waiting patiently for Sept. 25 don't need to worry about the game getting pushed back.
So get ready for banshees and energy swords and little star-fish looking coward aliens that are as much fun to listen to as to kill. Get ready for deathmatches and trash talking and Master Chief Goodness.
Gentlemen, get ready to "Finish the Fight."
" DC COMICS ANNOUNCES NEW TITLE FOR TALES OF THE SINESTRO CORPS PRESENTS: THE ANTI-MONITOR #1
TALES OF THE SINESTRO CORPS PRESENTS: THE ANTI-MONITOR #1 (AUG070223) will arrive in store with the title TALES OF THE SINESTRO CORPS PRESENTS: SUPERMAN PRIME #1. This issue now will run 48 pages and feature a cover price of $3.99 U.S. "
So, apparently the way DC is getting around the Superboy lawsuit is by letting SB Prime change his name to be what he has always wanted to be — SuperMAN.
If this is true, it may be the best, simplest, and most creative way a company has ever circumvented a lawsuit. It all makes sense in the business aspect and storytelling aspect.
We'll see in just a couple of weeks when the Sinestro Corps. War approaches its end.
But, there are some very big books coming out today, like the conclusion to Amazons Attack and the first issue of the long-awaited 52 spinoff series "The Four Horsemen," just to name a couple. So make sure you get out to your local shop today and get in on the action.
Also, on Tuesday, Heroes: Season One came out on DVD at HD DVD, which I made sure to stop at a Circuit City on the way home to buy. The new season is just a month away!
There was also plenty of news breaks that happened, and I'll get to those through the day, as I get a free pocket of time here and there in the office.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
This whole episode I was just waiting for Diana and waiting for Diana and waiting and waiting -- I mean, they showed the whole "Sleeping with the enemy" line in the commercial for next week, we knew it was coming!
The only real redeeming parts of the episode were A) Burkoff's abduction with subsequent Shawn badass moment, B) The mystery of Maia's parents, and why they are trying to get her to love Promise City, and C) The revelation last moment that the Marked plan to inhabit Collier.
Here's a Crazy Theory, though: What if, inhabiting a person with a 4400 ability would cause a Marked to die? Not only would Collier stay in control of his body, but then Tom Baldwin would be able to be fixed -- by getting the Shot!
Other than that, there really was nothing good about the past hour of my life. Easily, this was the weakest episode of the year.
Random thoughts, shall we?
1) Diana really didn't know Tom and Megan were sleeping together? Seriously?
2) If the Marked inhabit Collier, they could possess Collier's 4400 ability to take powers away (barring my theory)... that would possibly make a possible Fifth Season a whole lot more interesting...
3) And can we now agree that Cassie is evil? She orchestrated Isabelle's re-powering, and if Collier becomes Marked, she orchestrated a Marked leading the 4400 movement
4) Tess scenes make the best scenes... can't wait for the next episode in two weeks!
5) I gotta hand it to the writers for continuing to write creative promicin takers. This year we've had an autistic boy, a woman that stayed alive as a promicin power after her death, and now a man on life support!
6) I've a new favorite character, and you can guess who she is. Way to go Marco!
7) Kyle and Isabelle finally kiss. Another moment in this episode that was a foregone conclusion.
8) Isabelle is far more interesting without powers.
9) Why in the world do the people of Promise City keep trying to entangle Maia? I'm clueless!
10) My new theory on whether or not "the future" is actually the good guys... I think The actual future is not the 4400-laden Utopia we are supposed to believe it is. Rather, the future is still an ongoing 4400 vs. Human war, and the two sides have now made the past a second front in that war. And, if the show were to be allowed to run its course, the show would conclude in the not too distant future, with this war in full swing, and we would see the genesis of people being abducted into the future, as well as the genesis of the Marked going into the past to combat them -- and the show would come full circle. It's just a theory.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Wii)
Carnival Games (Wii)
Moto GP 07 (Xbox 360)
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 (Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, PS2, PSP, Nintendo DS)
Blue Dragon (Xbox 360)
Stranglehold (Xbox 360)
Stuntman Ignition (Xbox 360 PS2)
Brunswick Pro Bowling (Wii, PS2, PSP)
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Heroes (PSP)
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam (Xbox 360, PS3)
Medieval II: Total War Kingdoms (PC)
Guild Wars: Eye of the North (PC)
Wild ARMs 5 (PS2)
Monster Hunter Freedom 2 (PSP)
Friday, August 24, 2007
Anyway, since I need to wake up at 6:30 a.m. today to drive out to a Wedding, I'll be drinking a whole bunch of Mountain Dew: Game Fuel.
But, that's not all this week's Gaming has to offer. I also wrote a column on several tips you fellow Gaming Geeks need to know before going off to college for the first time. I'm hoping I will be a help to you new freshmen!
We also have a fantasy football column. All in all, it's a damn good page, more than worth your time and money. Hopefully you enjoy the tips, some of them are actually true stories! (But not many).
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Yesterday the rumor broke that the Justice League movie could be a motion-capture flick, ala the Polar Express.
How many different rumors have we had surrounding this movie already? First Brandon Routh rumors, then the postponing "Man of Steel" rumors, then Christian Bale, then Ryan Reynolds. I'm not getting hooked on any idea until we have evidence.
But, this particular rumor makes sense and confuses all at once. On the one hand, this would help the problem of this movie's budget exceeding 4 billion between the star actors and special effects.
On the other hand, would a motion-capture movie satisfy what Warner Bros. wanted out of this movie? They wanted to have their movie to compete with the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises, a live-action team super-flick. Also, if they made this movie, would it really be THAT MUCH different or THAT MUCH better than a whole lot of the Justice League Animated cartoons that are already out there?
I don't think this rumor will turn out to be anything more than one theory currently being kicked around by Warner Bros, a theory that will be shot down.
I've said plenty of times that I'm no fan of Wiimote controls, but all of these games do sound interesting, and you know at least five or six more events are on the way.
Archery especially has caught my attention -- But, if the Wii can acurately be controlled in the way they describe, pressing down the A and B buttons and pulling back the Wiimote like a real arrow, I would be shocked. My knock on the Wii has always been that their grand ideas are bigger than their Wiimote's capabilities. But, we'll see.
Between this game, Super Smash Bros. Mario Galaxy, and Mario Kart in the first quarter of 2008, there will soon actually GOOD reasons to buy a Wii.
" - Ultimate Fantastic Four #43 introduced us to an Ultimate Silver Surfer (a real one, not the one from "Ultimate Extinction") and after reading, I have never been closer to saying there is no point to having an Ultimate Fantastic Four anymore. "
Well, here's a shocker for you: Ultimate Fantastic Four #45 was the best thing I read this week.
My knock on the Ultimate Universe in recent years has been a lack of originality, as well as decompression. My knock on Mike Carey's writing has been grand creative ideas that just don't end up working properly. In this singular issue, all those past problems were alleviated.
In this issue, we're dropped into the middle of a utopian-looking world, in which the Fantastic Four (as well as all of humanity) have been brainwashed to believe they all belong. In truth, as we saw in past issues, the Silver Surfer came to Earth, called Psycho Man, and Psycho Man brainwashed and transported everyone. In this one issue, we're introduced to the utopia, watch how each member of the team is treated and how each member acts, and by the end of it we're already at the point where Reed is figuring things out. It was paced perfectly, and gave just enough information about the world to make you want to see more, but know enough.
In fact, my only knock on this issue is that it was not the FIRST issue of this story arc. What if we readers were to have been dropped into this world without warning? If mysteriously Reed, Johnny, Sue and Ben were just here, and we had no idea why? Then, over the course of the story, we could discover about Surfer and PsychoMan just like the team. This story really reminds me of an arc of the original X-Factor series, and that started similarly. Still, despite my opinions, this issue was fantastic (no pun intended). Now if only this series keeps this up!
I guess this is a week of surprises, because Blue Beetle #18 was also pretty good. I'd heard plenty of good things about this title, but only just now gave it a shot, due to the crossover with Teen Titans #50 (next week). All in all, it was an enjoyable read -- a fun one-and-done adventure that pitted the Titans' new and improved lineup against Lobo (a.k.a. The Man). Best of all, it organically explained how Jamie got his introduction to his new Titans team.
The issue offered nothing especially new and nothing Earth-shattering, just snappy dialog, good action and a fun story. And isn't that what we really want, at the end of the day, from a title like Titans or Blue Beetle?
Lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Green Lantern Corps. #15 ... This was just more good old fashioned fighting, an all-out scrum on top of Mogo, and again, the Lanterns weren't fairing too well. If there is one singular problem with this event, it may be that the fight is too one-sided. I know at the beginning of these things, the bad guys are supposed to have the edge -- but this is a little ridiculous.
Still, that one problem is not enough to change the Sinestro Corps War from being the top event of the past year, and this comic has done nothing to change that. As always, if you want to see Hal Jordan fighting, you buy Green Lantern. The Green Lantern Corps was again a raucous all-out military affair, concerning everyone other than Hal, and you could not ask for any better writing in that genre than what Johns gives us.
All I wonder now is, with Mogo about to be compromised and Kyle Rayner Parallax and Superboy Prime still yet to do anything -- how does this get wrapped up anytime soon with the good guys winning?
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
If we can remember back to everything that happened in the last four issues or so in the last year, basically, the X-Men are on the Breakworld, a faction on the planet wants to kill Colossus, a faction thinks he is a savior, and Kitty thinks he's the Cat's Meow. And, apparently, "More than she could have imagined" (Ewww).
Meanwhile Emma is revealing that Danger cannot kill a fly, while powerless Cyclops is getting kicked around, but just as badass as ever. The teams were all broken up into two-person teams, for reasons that seem a little unnecessary now that they've reconvened in this issue.
So what was new in this one? And how did this issue end, you ask? With Scott taking a one-man ship by himself to save everyone else, diverting enemy attack away from the main ship. And, as the cover to this issue would indicate, he was shot out of the sky, left to drift in space. So for the second time in two issues, it appears Scott is dead.
Since the promos for "Messiah Complex" feature Cyclops, I'm reasonably sure that they don't let Whedon kill my guy in this series. Still, Badass Cyclops looks cooked. My prediction? Emma succeeds at re-opening the channels to his powers, and somehow Optic Blasts save him in space. God only knows how that is possible, maybe he opens his eyes and they catapult him toward a ship he can enter.
This is a series that definitely will play best as a TPB, but for now I'm enjoying the little by little story telling we're getting. With only two issues left, you can be sure we'll finally get a whole lot of action.
One of those is Mountain Dew Game Fuel, a product I have been swimming in for the last week, so I asked our photography department to take some photos of the product to pair with the story.
Long story short, my man Karl Rabe took some GORGEOUS shots of this product. And since this photo to the right is his favorite, but I unfortunately had no place good I could put it on the page, I figured I'd post the pic for you all to enjoy.
Anyone who wants to buy this photo and hang it on their wall should contact Karl Rabe of the Poughkeepsie Journal.
And so, the ongoing wrestling match for my soul continues between the reigning champ Dragon's Den and the challenger Upstate Comics.
Either way, between the two stores, I picked up all I wanted this week, and the first Buy Pile Report (the early one will likely be on Astonishing X-Men) is coming shortly.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Yes, Astonishing X-Men #22 FINALLY comes out this week, ending nearly a quarter of a year of wait. Still, this story so far has been worth it. Colossus and Kitty are together, in the palace of a people who claim Piotr to be a savior. Emma is telling Danger to kill her, after Scott crashed to the ground unconscious. AND, most of the people on the breakworld want to blow up Earth and Colossus. These past 21 issues have ranked among the best isolated stories in X-Men history, and if we can ever get an ending, I'm guessing it won't disappoint.
But, "Astonishing" is not the only book out worth buying. Amazing Spider-Man #543 leads directly into the highly anticipated "One More Day" story, with Peter still reeling from his most recent disaster and deadset on going after ole' Wilson Fisk. Marvel has been promoting this as if Spidey is going to cross the line and kill somebody at the end of this story -- and considering how stupidly Marvel has handled the character in recent years, Peter very well may cross the line.
Also from Marvel is Halo: Uprising #1. Now, we all know that comic book tie-ins like this are historically horrible. Still, the Halo brand has been spinning gold wherever it goes, and you just know that no matter how bad the comic is, the fanboy nation will keep this book's sales high, so you may as well give this one a try early.
We also have a pair of "World War Hulk" tie-ins this week in World War Hulk Gamma Files #1 and World War Hulk Gamma Corps. #2. I'm hoping you've realized by now that all the tie-ins for WWH (outside of MAYBE Incredible Hulk) are a complete waste of time and money. These two are not worth your time.
From DC, the Sinestro Corps. War continues in Green Lantern Corps. #15, in which the Yellow Ring-Slingers attack MOGO. I don't even know how you kill a living planet or fight a living planet, but, damnit, we're going to find out together!
Other solid DC picks include Green Arrow Year One #4, the next part in the highly-underrated Oliver Queen mini-series, and Blue Beetle #18, a tie-in with next week's Teen Titans #50 (in which the team reboots with Beetle as a member).
Wait a minute, strike that last one, this is a family show.... anyway, among the rarest of the rare — a new issue of Whedon and Cassidy's ASTONSHING X-MEN. Don't miss out on reading it in all it's rare and beautiful glory.
Batman Lobo Deadly Serious #1
Birds Of Prey #109
Blue Beetle #18
Crossing Midnight #10
Green Arrow Year One #4
Green Lantern Corps #15
JSA Classified #29
Outsiders Five Of A Kind Week 4 Metamorpho Aquaman
Scooby Doo #123
Supergirl And The Legion Of Super Heroes #33
Texas Chainsaw Massacre By Himself #1
Amazing Spider-Man #543
Annihilation Conquest Star Lord #2
Astonishing X-Men #22
Cable Deadpool #44
Daily Bugle September
Fantastic Five #4
Halo Uprising #1
Immortal Iron Fist #8
Iron Man #21
Marvel Adventures Avengers #15
Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four #27
Marvel Adventures Iron Man #4
Marvel Illustrated Last Of The Mohicans #4
Mystic Arcana Scarlet Witch
Sensational Spider-Man #40
The Order #2
Ultimate Fantastic Four #45
World War Hulk Gamma Corps #2
World War Hulk Gamma Files
X-Men First Class Vol 2 #3
Bart Simpson Comics #37
Betty & Veronica Double Digest #154
Betty & Veronica Spectacular #79
Big Bang Comics Presents Agents Of Badge #6
Bomb Queen III #4
Captain Canuck Unholy War #4
Final Destination Spring Break #5
Grimm Fairy Tales #1
Hiding In Time #2
In Her Darkest Hour One Shot
Johnny Delgado Is Dead #1
New Battlestar Galactica Season Zero #1
Ramayan 3392 Ad Reloaded #1
Savage Tales #3
Se7en Envy #6
Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic #19
Surreal Adventures Of Edgar Allan Poo
Terminator 2 Infinity #2
Uncle Scrooge #369
Vampirella Summer Special #1
Vogelein Old Ghosts
Walking Dead #40
Walt Disneys Comics & Stories #684
Witchblade Takeru Manga #7
Monday, August 20, 2007
" My guess, unfortunately, is Richard only sees her as a 4400-induced delusion, possibly during an Isabelle recovery mission. "
Sadly, I wish this time I was wrong, but it seems I'm just never wrong on this show. OK, I am wrong more than I am right, I admit it, which is why this show always has me on the edge of my seat.
And before we get off the topic of Richard and Lilly's "reunion" -- I want to know exactly what that illusionist's powers are? Because he didn't seem like a normal illusionist, he knew what Richard was seeing, but not putting words or thoughts into Lilly's mouth, and Lilly sure seemed genuinely sincere thinking she was she.
It's either this character can facilitate communication with the dead -- not resurrect them, since Lilly was clearly an apparition, but communicate, OR he can simply make people view memories as if they are real. I hope I hope I hope it is the former.
Oh, but we haven't done the quick recap of the show, yet. In a nutshell, Tom got assimilated into the member of the Marked that was implanted into him (and it turns out he was the one who impregnated Lilly with Richard's seed), and he promptly captured Richard and the recently re-aged Isabelle. Meanwhile, Shawn and Jordan clashed again, as Jordan believes the shot needs to be a 50/50 chance sort of thing in order to prevent a haves vs. have-nots war.
My favorite part of this show, though, actually involved Kyle, who is starting to get sick and tired of doing Cassie's dirty work. You loyal readers know I have always been skeptical of whether or not Cassie and this White-Light religion are legit, and I really enjoyed watching Kyle start to see the light... no pun intended.
And now that Cassie has asked Kyle to silence Shawn, I'm hoping that Kyle comes to his senses some more.
But, back to Tom for a minute, the one misstep I think the writers made in this episode was letting Diana know immediately that Tom is a bad guy. I think they should have let Tom's take over breathe for one week, before Diana is tipped off (and that line Tom said "I heard the gunshot" when she hadn't shot her gun, you know it tipped her off).
But anyway, time to share some random thoughts...
1) I wonder if "Marked" is sexually transmitted? Megan better make Tom wear protection!
2) All along I thought Megan was a member of the Marked -- It's still possible, but it's looking doubtful. But, I was right that a boss from the government would be...
3) And, I thought Megan being a Marked would be the payoff to the tension between Diana and Megan -- well it seems that tension is going to be paid off with both of them having to work together to save Tom..
4) "I heard a gunshot" when there was no gunshot is Sooooo Cliche, you just knew Diana was going to see the truth in that scene
5) I'm going to miss Lilly, again
6) Kyle is learning the unfortunate truth at a young age -- women are always in charge.
7) What exactly would happen to Kyle's "power," though, if he rebelled and joined Shawn? Would she just drive him insane?
8) How bad will Shawn look if Burkoff's Theory suddenly proves false?
9) I wonder... does Isabelle have the ability to separate Tom from her former nemesis Matt Ross?
10) Last week I thought Burkoff's research might eliminate the division of Shawn and Collier... well I agree it makes much more sense that the two think completely opposite ways on this... and, to be perfectly honest, I kinda see Collier's point of view...
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day (Nintendo DS)
Super Metroid (Wii)
Bioshock (Xbox 360, PC)
Two Worlds (Xbox 360, PC)
Brunswick Pro Bowling (Wii, PS2, PSP)
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (PS3, PSP)
Jeanne D’Arc (PSP)
Dragoneer's Aria (PSP)
Dave Mirra BMX Challenge (Wii).
The Settlers (DS)
Metropolis Mania 2 (PS2)
Turn it Around (DS)
Destination Treasure Island (PC)
Panzer Killer (PC)
Combat Mission: Shock Force (PC)
Apparently EA is now telling the New York Times that as a release date nears, they favor the Xbox 360 version of a title, making sure it has the final coat of polish on it, because of the large disparity in the number of people owning a 360 vs. PS3.
The ratio of 360 owners vs. Ps3 owners is still 7 to 1, so it is only logical that a company would favor a system with a bigger audience, especially since the 360 is a little easier to program for.
However, the question becomes this -- Yes, it makes sense now, but in doing so, does this discourage future consumers from buying a PS3? If they know they can either buy a PS3 or an Xbox, wouldn't they go for the console that gets more polish in their games? And isn't this a major blow for the PS3, since their major selling point has always been SUPERIOR Games, eventually?
This strategy is a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy, helping to keep Xbox's large number of owners advantage constant.
Friday, August 17, 2007
BUT, this week, if you go to page 2C in Saturday's Sports section, you will see a comprehensive review of Madden NFL 08 for the Xbox 360, written by yours truly. It's informative and entertaining, if I do say so myself. You can read an excerpt from it a few posts below this one. I'll throw a link up to it as soon as the story is on the Journal's Web site.
We also have a fantasy football advice column worth reading. All in all, it's a good way to spend a Saturday morning.
I'll tell you, though, one part of "Madden" that I did not get to touch upon in the main review is the advertising within the game. I think EA Sports has gone too far — at least too far if they still intend on charging us full price for the game.
As you wait for games to load, you see a Snickers sign with their slogan "Why Wait?" When you get to the Red Zone, a big advertisement for Reebok's Under Armor pops up, complete with a picture of the guy who screams "We must protect this house!" on the commercials. The popup is big and inconvenient and BRIGHT RED. It would almost be comical, if only they included an audio file of the guy screaming "WE MUST PROTECT THIS HOUSE!" everytime it pops up — but no such luck.
I don't mind the subtle product placement along the facing of a stadium or small on a scoreboard — but this bigger advertising is going a little far for a game I'm paying $59.99 for. I pay for HBO too, and they don't give me ads. Why does EA?
OK, it's not a real interview, it's partially written by Geoff Johns. But still, it's pretty darned funny, so if you are familiar with Booster and have 10 minutes to kill, give it a read.
Well, today, before coming into the office, we beat the game. And I'm pissed. I never knew that "Halo 3's" slogan of "Finish the Fight" was only there because nothing got finished in "Halo 2!"
How do you have a story mode in which the main character doesn't take part in the final fight, and instead is just shown in a quick cut-scene promoting the cliff-hanger for the third game?!? My sister thought we were all done as soon as we killed that Chewbacca-knockoff and I said "No way, the last fight has to concern Master Chief."
BUT NO. I'm pissed. And since the sis will be spending most of the next 8 months playing college basketball, we won't get to "finish the fight" on "Halo 3" until summertime.
Am I alone on this?
Myself, I'm partial to "Madden 2000" or whatever the 2000 edition was called on the PS1, but that's simply because I was a little better at football games in the pre-PS2 days. This is one damn fine game, though.
And while I won't post my whole review here yet (you'll have to wait for Saturday's Gaming page in the Poughkeepsie Journal, or the online link Saturday), I will post an excerpt:
" That’s not to say there isn’t room for improvement, though. For one, every player in the game needs to visit a doctor and get a vaccine for fumble-itis. Honestly, it seems like ole’ John Madden went down to Ace “the helpful hardware place,” bought a few quarts of 10W-40 and doused the ball before the kickoff.
In one game playing with the San Diego Chargers, LaDainian Tomlinson fumbled twice, Eric Parker fumbled twice (including a punt return) and Quentin Jammer fumbled after making a pick. That’s a few too many for a five minute quarter game.
I wish I could make these guys carry a football around at all times, including when at class, so all their classmates can poke the ball away from them and they learn their lesson. But I can’t. They should consider that as an addition to next year’s “Superstar” mode. "
Thursday, August 16, 2007
The best book this week (other than Booster)? Brave and the Bold #6. Waid concludes his first storyline with a climax that's equally unexpected as it was exciting, bringing in the Challengers of the Universe to be the men who walk outside of destiny. If there is one nit to pick about the issue it's the strange interaction between GL and Supergirl, but as I said, it's a small nit. This issue, as was this whole arc, is a must-read.
Coutdown #37, while still not quite an even read, once again had some high points as well. Not the least of which was the climax (did I just use "climax" twice in two paragraphs? let's change that second "climax" to simply "finish"... where was I...) Anyway, Jimmy Olsen knows who Clark Kent is! The odd part is, the knowledge seemed to randomly come to him... This issue also had a couple of good Mary Marvel and Rogues scenes.. as I said, many high points.
Other long awaited issues, like Captain America #29 and Sub-Mariner #3 were to be expected -- decent stuff but nothing special, mostly moving the story along. But, at the end of Cap, Winter Soldier was trapped by Red Skull, adding to the anticipation of #30.
This week had a couple of big disappointments, though too. Amazons Attack #5 was again pretty crappy, and I've come to the conclusion that there is nothing wrong with this story, it's simply poor writing. I mean, looking back on the war (as it seems we've reached the final act, with everyone grouped together), there have been some fun developments. Circe's faked death, Supergirl and Wondergirl's confusion, and the reveal of a second faction waging war -- but it was all just handled horribly. All along, Will Pfeifer has tried to play everything close to the vest, but he's been doing it so poorly that this event has become a convoluted mess. Thank God we're finally up to the final fight.
Sadly, the other really poor book I read this week was Justice League #12. The attempt at building suspense, wondering who was talking about the League all along, it just didn't work. For one, if J'onn J'onzz wanted in, he would have been in the league. And Arthur doesn't want in either -- and on top of that, how did they get all that info and footage? To make matters worse, the conversation between the two points toward this 12th issue finishing Meltzer's run with a nice bow on top. BUT, the stories the two are talking about in the conversation are all new story threads being opened up for the first time. It all just had a confusing tone to it, and a big disappointment in my book.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Why Booster, you ask? Because I just read it and have not been this excited over a first issue since "Justice Society #1," and that title hasn't disappointed yet. Not coincidentally, both were written by Geoff Johns.
If you are even the least bit fond of Booster or the Justice League International era, RUN out and start picking up this book. Even if you don't like the character, though, if you like alternate universe stories like Marvel's "Exiles" you should also start reading.
The premise of the book, which was already pretty clear before the release, is simply that time is broken, and Booster and Rip Hunter have to go from wormhole to wormhole healing moments in history, before a yet-to-be named Bad Guy can get to those moments and exploit them. All the while, Booster is going to have to bite the bullet and try and work without grabbing any attention for himself. Booster, of all people.
If that black-and-white synopsis doesn't grab you, though, I'll tell you that this book is written with about as much natural feeling humor as you will find in any book on the market today -- at least that's how the first issue was written, let's not get ahead of ourselves, of course.
To give you a for instance, there was THIS from Rip Hunter on how time became broken: "Everything in history predating the re-creation of the multiverse has gone malleable. Thanks mostly to Mr. Mind and that Kryptonian Boy's Tantrums, which I still find ridiculous to believe. Punching History. PLEASE."
On top of all that, it seems Johns and partner Jeff Katz are writing this as one big love letter to the Justice League International days, which, if you are a fan of that era, you will love.
The big reveal on the last page of the issue? That Booster is doing all this, in return for eventually getting to break the rules and change history and save Ted Kord. Of course, probably by the time he gets to that point, he will have learned the importance of not changing history and he will wimp out and we will get no Ted. Still, it's a nice and believable premise.
What I would love to see is, if around the 24th or 36th issue they do save Ted -- I would love it if Ted takes Rip's place on these missions from there on out. Booster would be the new time-traveling wiz, while Ted is the one needing to learn. That is simply one fanboy's wish, though, it more than likely won't come to pass.
I got a little wordy with you here, I'm sorry, I'm excited, this book is looking like a new fixture in my buy pile.
Well Microsoft fans, you still have to unwrap your gift. You'll find it HERE.
It seems EA Sports is admitting just how much worse the PS3 version of Madden 08 is, compared to the Xbox 360 version. And, to make matters worse, they say it is simply because they can create good games easier for Xbox than PS3.
Isn't that the same thing many third-parties have been saying about the PS3? How the time and money that would be needed to unlock the potential of the system is pretty darn expensive?
360 fans, happy Maddenoliday.
Oh, and Marvel has some good titles coming out as well.
In fact, there's such a depth of comics coming out that I'm itching for, that we're going to have to do this post lightning-round style this week.
- Amazons Attack #5: Thank God this event is almost over, as much because it has been a disappointment as because now SOMETHING has to happen, right? It's the penultimate chapter, after all, something cool has to happen!
- Booster Gold #1: The breakout star of "52" (I've loved the guy for years) finally gets his own comic again, this time surfing around alternate universes with Rip Hunter -- all plotted by Geoff Johns. Jump on board!
- Brave and the Bold #6: Mark Waid's enjoyable first story comes to a head, with the Lords of Destiny or somethingerother in control of both the Destiny book and the probability gun. or whatever those things are. The point is, a fight is coming this week, and a resolution. If you haven't been reading, I strongly recommend picking up the TPB.
- Captain America #29: Winter Soldier is coming after Tony Stark while Red Skull is coming after everyone. And Falcon and Sharon, in her Natalie Portman Star Wars Episode II outfit, begin their investigation into who killed Cap. I think Sharon has a few ideas on that, though. Just a hunch.
- Countdown #37: It's Countdown, I know, by this point either you're buying or you're not. Still, this week shows promise if only because the Rogues are on the cover getting harassed by Pamela Eisley A.K.A. Poison Ivy.
- Flash #231: The first issue of Mark Waid's return to numbering for his Wally West Flash. Did that sentence make any sense? You get the jist, right? Either way, Wait + Flash + revenge for Bart's Death = good stuff!
- Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #23: I'm not a regular Spidey reader, but I may check this one out -- J. Jonah Jameson and Parker meet for the first time since the unmasking. Sparks Flying, kids!
- Justice League of America #12: Brad Meltzer's final issue is another one-shot, and for my money that's what he does best lately. This one seems to be featuring Red Tornado and the lesser characters (again) which, again, is what he is good at lately. I've enjoyed his run.
- New X-Men #41: The final issue in the "Quest for Magik" arc will bring a final showdown in Limbo and perhaps a return of Illyana Rasputin to Earth... though I doubt it.
- Robin #165: I know I've trumpeted Beechen's Robin before, but this story is just about taking the cake. Robin is currently trapped in a hospital with a team of villains all looking to off him for good (when are they not?). Again, this is another book that I recommend the TPB for those not reading, especially since Beechen's run is almost finished.
- Sub-Mariner #3: One of the most surprisingly good mini-series of the year continues as Wolverine comes after Namor, who is simply trying to uncover the truth of who is trying to start a war between Atlantis and America.
Whew! I think that's more than enough for one week! Enjoy!
There's too much going on to even mention any one thing right now, let's just get with the list!
Action Comics #854
Amazons Attack #5
Aquaman Sword Of Atlantis #55
Army @ Love #6
Black Canary #4
Booster Gold #1
Brave And The Bold #6
Friday The 13th Pamelas Tale #2
Grifter Midnighter #6
Justice League Of America #12
Legion Of Super Heroes In The 31st Century #5
Outsiders Five Of A Kind Week 3: Thunder Martian Manhunter
Superman Batman #39
Annihilation Conquest Quasar #2
Captain America #29
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #23
Marvel Adventures Hulk #2
Marvel Adventures Two-In-One #2
Marvel Illustrated Treasure Island #3
New X-Men #41
Red Prophet Tales Of Alvin Maker #10
Spider-Man Family #4
Super Villain Team Up Modoks 11 #2
Terror Inc #1
Ultimate Spider-Man #112
Wolverine Origins #16
Bomb Queen III #4
GI Joe Storm Shadow #3
Hiding In Time #2
In Her Darkest Hour One Shot
Killing Girl #1
Ripclaw Pilot Season #1
Simpsons Comics #133
Walking Dead #40
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
OK, "Maddenoliday" is just a stupid promotional name for the release date of Madden that EA came up with, I know it's not a real holiday. But still, it has a fun ring to it.
And yes, I picked up my copy for the Xbox 360 at 3 a.m. at Fishkill's Wal-Mart last night, and promptly played for about 5 hours straight. I was one of only 2,000 people on Xbox Live last night -- a number that won't be so low for at least the next year.
I'll have a full review of the game in Saturday's Gaming page in the Journal.
But, hey, you haven't opened up your Maddenoliday gift, yet! This gift is addressed to the PlayStation 3 fanboys out there, especially my loyal reader "Kyle" who likes to argue with me when I say PS3 is a sinking ship -- this gift backs up your arguments:
This is the list of top-selling video games this week from Amazon.com:
1. “Madden NFL 08, “ Xbox 360
2. “Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3,” PS2
3. “Madden NFL 08,” PS2
4. “Madden NFL 08,” PS3
5. “Madden NFL 08,” Wii
Notice that, yes, the Xbox 360 outsold every other console -- but did you see that PS2 outsold PS3? That means there are THAT MANY PS2 owners out there who have refused to buy a 360 so far, presumably waiting to buy a PS3. By next year, those PS2 buyers will have needed to find a new console... maybe there's hope for PS3 yet.
So, Marvel went and released this Alex Ross painting on Sunday with news that Ross would be co-plotting and doing covers for a Cap-centric mini-series in 2008.
While the Internet was set ablaze, I trust all you knowledgeable Gaming Geek fans saw the arms at Steve Rogers' sides and know how Marvel is, so we all knew this was a Red Herring.
Today, a Newsarama Interview with Alex Ross HERE reveals that the project is actually a current continuity time-travel piece in which the 1942 Invaders come to the Marvel Universe.
Clearly not the return that some people wanted, but frankly, I'm happy that if Cap is dead, he is going to be staying dead at least through 2008. Ed Brubaker's post-death stories are fantastic, so I'm glad he has all the time he wants to bring the story to a slow boil.
And then I want Cap back.
But, about the Alex Ross mini-series itself, I love Ross' work, but it sounds awfully kooky to me. I mean, of the five invaders, two, Bucky and Namor, are still alive. And are we supposed to believe these five heroes seeing a not-so distant future they will be a part of, will have no effect on the future itself?
It will certainly make for some interesting moments, like when Johnny Storm meets Torch and Toro, and when Winter Soldier Bucky meets bright-eyed bushy-tailed Bucky -- but still, it all is quite kooky. A little Mysterious. Maybe even Spooky. Really, it's all-together ooky. Is that the right lyric? I never understood how something could be All-Together ooky.
But I digress.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Oh where have you gone, sensible ex-military pilot Richard Tyler? Once a quiet, peaceful guy, Richard is now, apparently a Diesel murdering kidnapping badass. I don't really think that what Richard went through in seasons 1-3 would lead him to such a change, but he sure is an interesting character now!
I've always loved telekenetics, and seeing Richard apply his talents on screen was a treat. Sure, he threw around his kitchen utensils a couple of times last season, but seeing him pin people to walls and cutoff bloodflow was something else.
But, oh yeah, there was a storyline in there too. And you have to love the idea of Isabelle becoming a kid again... although you know it won't last. Grownup Isabelle is a regular on the show, and more than that, she's an attractive young actress, something networks like in a show they possibly pickup for a sixth season. Still, I'll enjoy it while it lasts.
And, I am dying to know whether or not Lilly's return is for good! Speaking of young attractive actresses, for my money, Lilly was always the best. My guess, unfortunately, is Richard only sees her as a 4400-induced delusion, possibly during an Isabelle recovery mission.
This episode also had a nice little typical story featuring Tess and her Schizophrenia. She goes nuts, she uses her power in a harmful way, Kevin and Shawn cure her, its all old hat.
Still, the revelation that Kevin "The father of 4400 technology" Burkoff is beginning to make "The Shot" safer was a major development.
All in all, this episode just opened up more and more plotlines. Honestly, this season we've gotten the 4400 religion, promise city, Shawn running for city council, the Marked, Isabelle de-aging, and safer(?) 4400 shots.
So then, how about some Random Thoughts?
1) With how Richard was acting, I wonder if that horrible future Shawn saw after smoking that Cigar last year actually comes to pass?
2) I still find it suspicious that Cassie is so eager for Kyle to find Isabelle... I still am not sure about her and this White-Light book...
3) I've said it before, I'll say it again, Tom's flirting with Megan just looks awkward.
4) Oh, and the more we see Megan, the less we see Diana. I'd rather Diana.
5) I missed the first 10 minutes... Did Tom lose his Mole and then get it back at the end? Really?
6) Just call 1-800-LOV-SHWN for the assistance of Shawn, the Love Doctor
7) I guess at some point between last week and this week either Tom or Jordan broke down and hung up on each other.
8) I'm DYING to see how Lilly is back next week. Because, you know they could pull that "Isabelle's youth = Lilly's youth" thing they did to kill Lilly in the first place...
9) Tess is now staying with Shawn, a person who needs people to choose to vote for him... see where I'm going with this?
10) Would Kevin's safe way of taking the shot effectively end the conflict among Shawn and Jordan? and for that matter, would the U.S. Government start to be OK with 4400's? Would it be the beginning of the end of conflict in the show?
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Madden NFL 08 (PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, Nintendo DS, GameCube, Xbox, Xbox 360, PC, MAC)
Metropolis Mania 2 (PS2)
Operation Vietnam (DS)
Heroes of Mana (DS)
High School Musical: Making the Cut (DS)
Fatal Fury: Battle Archives Vol. 1 (PS2)
1914 Shells of Fury (PC)
Billy The Wizard: Rocket Broomstick Racing (Wii)
Mystery Solitaire: Secret Island (PC)
Book of Mysteries (PC)
Prank TV (PC)
Seven Wonders of the Ancient World 2 (PC)
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 (PS2)
Dungeons and Dragons Tactics (PSP)
Luminous Arc (DS)
Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon (DS)
ATV/Monster Truck Mayhem (DS)
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Well, in a few months, Millar (and Bryan Hitch) will be taking over the Fantastic Four full-time.
Good to see Marvel is paying attention.
Honestly, I don't know how to feel about this. Millar is a highly-acclaimed player in the comic book game nowadays, but as far as I can tell, the man is majorly hit-and-miss. I still haven't read anything from him that I really loved.
But, if you read an interview he gave Comic Book Resources (LINK HERE) he seems genuinely excited to be working with these character and this universe, which is always a plus. The way he is talking in this interview, it reminds me of how Mark Waid was talking before taking over Marvel's "First Family," and his run was right up there, in my book.
I also am a fan of Hitch, even if his work takes months and months to complete sometimes.
Still, it's pretty funny to think that this man Reed Richards fans wanted to hang will now be the man controlling Mr. Fantastic full-time.
Friday, August 10, 2007
This week I got a little bored on Sunday night, which meant I got a little creative when designing this page. This week we have a full Fantasy Football preview section, all shaped to look like a football field. It's the bomb... that is, it would be the bomb, if this were 10 years ago and the phrase "the bomb" was still in style.
What's that? You say you fellow Gaming Geeks don't care much for the fantasy sports portion of the page? Well, to satisfy you gamers, Intern Travis Miller composed us a column on three of the best indy games that you can find for free on the net.
It's all good in the hood, check it out in all its full-color glory, page 2C on Saturday.
Well, as I am sure you already know, he's currently with Fifth Cell helping to create the Nintendo DS game "Drawn to Life," a game where you use the Nintendo Stylus Pen to drawn your main character and other things like boats and cars and Whales.
Sound interesting? Well G4 has a VIDEO PREVIEW of the game up at their site! Just visit THIS LINK to watch the video and support our local buddy Chiavelli.
I was just reading G4's news update, which referred me to THIS LINK ...
In bars in Germany, an auto racing video game is being installed in the Urinals that you play by using your URINE.
I know I may be showing off just how immature I can be by saying this, but this is the greatest invention since the Microwave.
Screw the Wiimote! I want a home gaming console that can be controlled by moving my stream to the right or left. It's what I've always dreamed of! Honestly, I want to fly to Germany just so I can go racing with my Pee-orsche.
I wouldn't even get drunk before hand, I'd just pee, and then chug a few glasses of water so I could play again. And the best part is, everyone's a winner!
All kidding aside, this game is actually there so that they can flash numbers for taxis and anti-drunk driving messages before you hop in your actual car and make your passengers wet themselves.
Click on the link to go to the main Web site for this glorious glorious invention. You can also play a simulation of the game ... just make sure not to make your keyboard sticky.
And let me tell you, if these games never come to America, I'm going to be pissed.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Apparently, for him and a couple of friends of his, when he plays "Strikers" with a Wireless connection, it lags like a tired old dog. He bought the Wired adapter and tried that connection and the lag was fixed.
He also said when playing people that use wireless he suffers through the lag, but playing wired foes the gameplay is fine again.
This sounds like a potentially major flaw in the Wii's construction.
I have not yet experienced this myself, but I am wondering if any of you out there have experienced similar Wireless Wii problems?
Unfortunately, this week was not so hot. Fortunately, Black Adam: The Dark Age #1 made the week well worth it.
There I was thinking this mini-series was going to be nothing but milking Teth-Adam's newfound 52 fame, especially after his Countdown Cameo. Boy was I wrong. Peter Tomasi takes Adam down one ugly road -- an entirely different ugly road than we've seen before. He has his followers beat him mercilessly so his face becomes unrecognizable. He is being chased by several groups and searched for everywhere. And despite it all, Adam manages to ROB ISIS' GRAVE and take her to the LAZARUS PIT. Did I just get you interested? The second issue of this eight-parter cannot come fast enough.
Speaking of DC, have you checked in on Countdown recently? Countdown #38 was just as good as the series has been in a while -- and unfortunately, that still wasn't all that hot. Parts are interesting: Mary Marvel is becoming pretty darned power hungry. The New Gods just keep on dying. Darkseid makes an appearance. All good things, right?
Well, in this same issue, we have a couple of goofy pages with Jimmy Olsen getting turned down for the Teen Titans. We have The Question letting the Rogues get off scott free because her gut tells her they couldn't have done it (in the process, wasting one of last week's jaw-dropping moments of the rogues meeting Batwoman and the Question). Oh, and did they actually called Damage Atom Smasher? Just because they have the same mask, the editors let that one slip past the goalie? Poor poor job, editors!
Countdown is a mixed bag. But if you can wade through the crap in this series, some aspects are redeeming.
Incredible Hulk #109 made me wonder why #108 exists. Oh wait, I said last week that it felt like a junk filler issue. Issue #109 proves me right. The action picks up from where #107 leaves off, with Amadeus Cho and his band trying to get through to Hulk. They manage to do it, by proving themselves worthy in combat, helping the Warbound fight off the military. Some great stuff, great fighting, and great writing, convincing the readers that these puny humans could earn the respect of the Warbound.
It only got better late in the issue, too, as we get a good look at the dungeon Hulk is keeping the "heroes" in. I've said it before, I'll say it again, none of the tie-ins are necessary to love World War Hulk... but if you're going to read any of them, read Incredible Hulk only.
One other note before I go... I have a love/hate relationship with Ultimate X-Men. I keep teetering on the fence of whether to drop the book or not... well in Ultimate X-Men #85, the long teased to Phoenix entity was actually visible for the first time, again harassing the near-insane Jean Grey... looks like I'm stuck buying this for a bit longer... not that this month's was any good... at all...
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
It wasn't bad by any means, it was a darned good cog in this Big Ben sized clock. But, not too much happened. There was a lot more talk of fear, some real good Rayner vs. Jordan fighting, and we got a little bit of development for the relationship of Hal and the Lost Lanterns.
Still, all that really happened was that the Lost Lanterns saved Hal from certain doom fighting so many yellow-lighters, and the group is now in the bowels of Qward, looking for Guy, John Stewart and Ion.
The most interesting part of this book — though — we get to see what the big hitters are planning... kinda. We get a page with Superboy Prime staring at the Earth. We get a page with Anti-Monitor plotting with Hank Henshaw, and we learn that all ole' Cyborg wants nowadays is to die.
It was good overall, certainly worth reading... but just not jaw-droppingly good.
I'll be back in a couple hours with the rest of the Buy Pile... you know, after I do my actual job and layout Thursday's Sports section.
Clearly, I, an they, were mistaken. After numerous web reports on how the issue was out, I just sprinted over to the Dragon's Den to see for myself, and sure enough, Kyle Rayner's smiling face was right there. (Don't tell my bosses that I just left in the middle of my shift without telling anyone, just to get a comic...)
I dunno exactly what Upstate Comics was thinking, but this issue is certainly on the shelves Some Places.
Mind you, don't take this as a reflection on the new store located on Route 55 in Freedom Plains. The store is nice, the selection is great, and it's a good little shop that will only get better with time. This was an honest mistake on their part and mine, so don't hold it against the store when it comes time to buy your pile next week.
AND, to make it up to all of you, I'll have a review of this next step in the Sinestro War real soon.
The two must-buys? Green Lantern #22 and Incredible Hulk #109.
Geoff Johns' Sinestro War has been the best written and biggest event of the year (despite a relative lack of publicity or buzz), and it will only escalate more in GL #22. If you haven't been following too closely, the GL books have focused on Hal Jordan's part in the war, while the Corps. books have focused on everyone else. Hal is basically stranded on Qward, stuck in the same place as most of the Sinestro Corps' heavy hitters, and is currently stuck in a bit of a mental fear-induced breakdown... sounds like fun to me!
I'm holding out hope that Johns actually manages to deliver a satisfying event, from beginning to end, for the first time in the industry's recent history.
Speaking of which, World War Hulk has been up and down -- but the last issue, World War Hulk #3 was up, so here's hoping Incredible Hulk #109 keeps up the up. It seems the Incredible Hulk books are being used to tell side stories from Hulk's allies (last issue was a so-so Rick Jones story) -- and according to solicitations, this issue will be about Amadeus Cho's changing perception of the Hulk. Amadeus will be one of this event's biggest players, so this is a must-read.
I'm still not sure what to think of Black Adam: The Dark Age #1 of 8. Following 52, Teth Adam was one of the hottest and most intriguing character in the DC Universe. It seemed whatever series next featuring him and his return to power would be instant gold. That IS, until he made a brief cameo in Countdown two months ago, with his powers, killing a whole bunch of momentum the character (and the mystique of this series) had. Still, in a slow week, it wouldn't hurt to see if Adam can redeem himself in this series about his redemption.
As we've said plenty of times, slow weeks are good weeks for trying out solid series that you just haven't given a chance yet. One of the best bets this week is Exiles #97. In their last issue, the Exiles visited a world governed by Victor Von Doom, who has Sue Storm and Johnny Storm on his side -- the side of good -- while Reed Richards is an underground rebel. Exiles is a fantastic read for any fan of alternate reality stories, and if you are ever going to give the book a chance, this is a great story to jump on to.
That about does it! One note, though... while DC is still claiming on their Web site that Countdown to Adventure #1 begins this week, Diamond Shipping doesn't have the book listed. Don't expect to see it in stores on Wednesday, with a new likely release date of August 29.
Batman Confidential #8
Batman Strikes #36
Black Adam The Dark Age #1
Cartoon Network Action Pack #16
Devil Does Exist Vol 11
Gen 13 #11
Green Arrow Year One #3
Green Lantern #22
Jack Of Fables #13
JLA Classified #41
Outsiders Five Of A Kind Week 2 Katana Shazam
Amazing Spider-Girl #11
Annihilation Conquest Wraith #2
Avengers Classic #3
Civil War Chronicles #2
Fantastic Five #3
Ghost Rider #14
Hedge Knight 2 Sworn Sword #3
Incredible Hulk #109
Marvel Illustrated Man In The Iron Mask #2
New Avengers #33
New Avengers Transformers #2
New Excalibur #22
Omega Flight #5
Punisher War Journal #10
Ultimate X-Men #85
Wolverine Origins #16
World War Hulk Front Line #3
Army Of Darkness From Ashes #1
BPRD Killing Ground #1
Kiss 4k #3
Nicolas Cages Voodoo Child #2
Red Sonja #25
Ripclaw Pilot Season #1
Sadhu The Silent Ones #1
Star Wars Legacy #15
Star Wars Rebellion #9
Uncle Scrooge #368
Walt Disneys Comics & Stories #683
This image was released with the caption "The End of An Era: Amazing Spider-Man #545"
It sure looks like Marvel is finally going to break up their marquee couple, after years of Joey Q openly saying how much he hated that Spidey was married.
Joe has said numerous times how you can tell so many more single Peter Parker stories than married Peter Parker stories. Personally, I think that's just a damn lazy thing to say, and reflective of the lack of imagination the "House of Ideas" has nowadays.
Now, first off, I'll say that I doubt this will come to pass, simply because it is being teased to so openly.
Second, I'll say that, while we may get some quality stories out of this breakup (if it comes to pass), it will be kicking sand into the face of every Spider-Man fan under the age of 25, and every big fan of the movie. While Peter Parker may have been a darned interesting teenage single hero back in the 1960's and 70's, he has now been a happily married mid-20's character for decades.
And plenty of readers love this older Peter just as much as the older fans love younger Peter. Plenty of readers love Mary Jane as much as the older fans love Gwen Stacy, too.
Why is it that Marvel cannot let any married folks just be happy, and bring havoc into other parts of their lives instead? They broke up Scott and Jean, they're giving Reed and Sue hell, and now this.
You don't see Lois divorcing Clark. Hell, Justice Society #8 just made me fall in love with the married couple of Liberty Belle and Hourman.
If MJ and Peter's breakup comes to pass, it would just be damn lazy writing, and that offends me as a writer and as a fan.
Monday, August 6, 2007
Unfortunately, that's all I could think about while watching this week's episode of The 4400.
By the end of the show, when all the secrets were out in the open, it wasn't AS BAD as I first thought. It was interesting at best. At worst, it may have been a shark-jumper.
Basically, everyone in the cast wakes up randomly in NTAC, with no knowledge of how they got there. By the end, they find out they are only there in virtual reality (possibly deadly virtual reality), brought into a "game" by a promicin positive.
And I mean, EVERYONE you know from the show was brought in. Collier, Kyle, Isabelle, Shawn, Maia were all there, in addition to the NTAC regulars Tom, Diana, Megan and the three theory room musketeers.
As it turns out, one of the two theory room guys that's not Marco took the shot and brought everyone there in an effort to bring peace. Which did answer the question of why, all of a sudden, were we seeing all the theory room guys often and not just Marco.
To make a long story short, Tom and Jordan sacrifice themselves together to win "the game," gaining a newfound respect for one another.
It all just felt very forced (which I guess is fair, since the group was forced to be there) and cheesy that only the characters we know were brought together for this little game.
I dunno, maybe I'm missing something. But this does just feel like a filler episode, and an excuse to have Shock Moments, like Shawn and Isabelle waking up in bed together and Megan "dying."
Here we go, RANDOM THOUGHTS!
1) Remember a couple of weeks ago when I said THIS: "And I'll give you one prediction right off the bat on this subject -- New NTAC Head Megan IS A MEMBER OF THE MARKED. I'll give you one better -- Tom is going to be the one to find out, after she and Tom get very chummy, if you know what I mean, and he gets real close to her ear."
Well in the preview for next week, Tom and Megan are kissing, and she's reaching for his EAR... be ready for an "I told you so" in 7 days!
2) And speaking of Megan, I'm hoping she's purposely trying to seduce him for evil purposes, because otherwise she's just been pathetically throwing herself at Tom.
3) Oh, and Richard's back next week! Hells, yeah!
4) Now that we're rid of the big theory room guy, we need to get rid of the smaller one. That guy annoys me.
5) Why is Isabelle acting like killing someone with a scalpel is so unsavory, when just last season she was slaughtering people left and right?
6) I wonder if Jordan or Tom has hung up yet?
"No, you hang up, Tom!"
"I'm not going to hang up, you have to hang up first, Jordan!"
"OK, we'll hang up on three. One, Two, Three!"
"You didn't hang up!"
"You didn't hang up either!"
"Well I'm not hanging up first, Jordan!"
7) Kyle's acting when approaching Tom after Shawn's death was pretty tight.
8) Why is Maia so concerned with Marko? She's a Ben fan... and for that matter, what does Marko want with Diana's meatloaf if she's not going to cook him dessert?
9) I was just about to say how funny I found one of the Sonic Restaurant commercials, when I realized I just last week said how they were growing on me. What is it with me and Sonic? I've never even been to one!
10) I wonder if my girlfriend knows how to hotwire an armory room?
Sunday, August 5, 2007
OK, I know, I stole that from a T-shirt... which stole it from Scarface, anyway. The point is, this week we get plenty of Mega Man, three games in all, for the Nintendo DS.
Personally, I don't think the little guy has been the same since making the jump from the 8-bit world, but if you're still looking for a little Mega action, either buy the "Captain N: The GameMaster" DVD set, or pick up one of these three releases.
Pet Alien (Nintendo DS)
Mega Man Star Force: Dragon (DS)
Mega Man Star Force: Leo (DS)
Mega Man Star Force: Pegasus (DS)
Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars (PSP)
Tomb Raider: Anniversary (PSP)
Combat Mission: Shock Force (PC)
Attack on Pearl Harbor (PC)
-cough, cough - one week until Madden - cough, cough
1) Sony drops price on current PS3, announces new model
2) He want to be your SLEDGEHAMMER
3) Teen Titans/Comic Con
I'm going to go out on a limb and say one of them is Lex Luthor. It's just a hunch. It's not like Lex is the ONLY villain anyone ever wants to use or anything, making it terribly predictable or anything. Nope, it's just a hunch.
Who the second one is is still anyone's guess. I doubt Brainiac, or Darkseid, or Mr. Myxleplik since Bryan Singer likes sucking the fun out of things.
In fact, since this is Bryan Singer we're talking about, he's probably just going to bring back Zod, and movie two will bomb, hard.
If you ask me, though, the biggest villain in the second movie will be the fact that they GAVE SUPERMAN A KID!!! How do you not have the damn kid not be a big part of this movie after having him at the center of the last one? And if you give him a big part, then how can the movie be any good?
I'm a li'l cranky today.
OK, know that's not entirely true, as I just played Mario Strikers and there wasn't quite a party mode in that, but still, most Wii games are party-centric.
Case in point: Madden NFL 08 on the Wii. visit IGN.com at THIS LINK to read all about the 23 different mini-games that come packaged with Madden on Wii. Some sound fun, some sound repetitive, but overall it sounds like a nice trade-off in return to giving up the traditional Madden experience in buying it on Wii.
But, the one point that really stands out to me... You can use your Wiimote as a Telestrator! I've been wanting a telestrator video game since 1991!!! Hell, I may buy two versions of Madden just so on one I can telestrate. Eat your heart out, Mike Fratello!
Saturday, August 4, 2007
So, on Saturday in the Journal's Gaming page (page 5C in the Sports section) I have written a full review of the surprisingly addictive Mario Bros. soccer title. I loved it, but read the story to see why.
We also have reviews of NASCAR 08 and Forza Motorsports, as well as the weekly fantasy baseball advice column.
So pick up a copy and enjoy!
I love this news for two reasons:
1) One of my favorite goofy basketball games ever was 1992's Dream Team basketball for the Sega Genesis, which featured the World Championships and the Olympics with real International rosters and players like Toni Kukoc and Aryvidas Sabonis.
2) Finally, Pau Gasol and Spain can teach the world what basketball is all about! Viva Espana!
Of course, with the NBA news we got today about Juan Carlos Navarro coming to the Grizzlies, we'll basically get to see the Spanish National team 82 games a year anyway. All we need is for the Raptors to trade Jose Garbajosa to Memphis and we'll be set!
That's a right, a whole side-scrolling single player game. You can read the story HERE.
As if the fans of this game needed any more incentive to buy, this just puts the game over the top.
While Rockstar has been tight lipped on the reasons for the delay, saying simply that the game is not quite polished, you really have to wonder what the problems are, when the Xbox version of the game looked complete a couple of weeks ago.
Regardless of the reasons, though, this will only help Sony and their fledgling PlayStation 3. Microsoft already has bonus episodes in the game that the Sony version will not have -- the October release date, with Xbox owners outnumbering Sony owners 4 to 1, would have been a landslide in Microsoft's favor.
Now, with the delay, GTA will be released into a world that has already gone through the Holiday season, when plenty of people are projected to pick up a $499 PS3 while they last. Sony's version of GTA will stand a much better chance against this Microsoft GTA in February.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
The marathon begins at 9 a.m. -- the perfect jumping on point if you've been intrigued by the idea of this show, but have not felt comfortable jumping on in the middle.
Personally, I got involved with the show during one of these marathons in Season Two, and I haven't looked back.
One curious note, though, I wonder if the starting time of this marathon is indicative of USA's lack of trust in the show's ability to win ratings? Previous marathons have started at like 1 p.m. and run up until prime time. This one will be done at 3 p.m. Curious... I mean, it was around this time of last year that we heard the show was picked up for another season... hopefully we get that announcement again soon...