Sunday, September 30, 2007

This week's video game releases

Plenty of great titles to choose from, which is a bit surprising to me, since if I was making a game I would make sure to release it a few weeks before or a few weeks after Halo. Still, for those who don't love first person shooters, there's a nice selection of titles here.

October 1:
The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass (DS)
NBA Live 08 (Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PSP)
Popx3 (Wii)
Aircraft Power Pack II (PC)
Telvesky (PC)
Monopoly 2008 (PC)
Seven Kingdoms: Conquest (PC)
The Chosen — Well of Souls (PC)
Experiment 112 (PC)
Race (PC)
Hoyle Casino 2008 (PC)
Hoyle Puzzle and Board 2008 (PC)
RACE 07 — The WTCC Game (PC)
Ultimate 3D Pinball (PC)

October 2:
Spider-man: Friend or Foe (Xbox 360, PS2, Wii, DS, PC)
Project Gotham Racing 4 (Xbox 360)
NBA 2K8 (PS3)
Dave Mirra BMX Challenge (Wii)
Crash of the Titans (Xbox 360, Wii, PS2)
Ninjabread Man (Wii)
MLB Power Pros (Wii, PS2)
FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage (Xbox 360)
Holly Hobbie & Friends (DS)
Master Jin Jin's IQ Challenge (DS)
The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night (PS2, DS)
Hot Pixel (PSP)
Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow (PSP)
Biker Mice from Mars (PS2)
Chibi-Robo: Park Patrol (DS)
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (PC)
Ghost in the Sheet (PC)
Next Life (PC)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Saturday in the Poughkeepsie Journal's Gaming page

Let's put it this way. If Saturday's Gaming page (in the Poughkeepsie Journal's sports section) were a woman, you would want her phone number. AND, she would be so hot that she would soooo be out of your league.

It's gorgeous. Simply put, we have not one, but two reviews of Halo 3, one of which written by local fan Joseph Lalli, who did a nice job on his first video game review. Both reviews are packaged together in a centerpiece so sweet you'll get a cavity.

Plus, as always, fantasy football news, and our weekly look at which games will be out this week.

So pick up the paper -- all the cool kids are doing it!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Buy Pile Report

OK, we're going to make it quick this week. For one, I'm tired from getting my butt kicked by 12-year-olds on Halo the last two days, and for two, there really wasn't much to speak of today.

Justice League #13 did nothing to alleviate my fears that Dwyane McDuffie's Justice League was going to be re-hashed stuff we've seen before, only done worse. A small portion of the "Injustice League" beat up on a small portion of the Justice League, and then a small portion of the "Injustice League" got beaten up by a small portion of the Justice League. Meanwhile, there is no feeling yet of any grand scheme being hatched or anything, these villains are just together for no apparent reason. And, to add insult to injury, Oliver North made an appearance in this issue, kissing Dinah, as if he wasn't just killed. DC, get your stories straight!!!

There are two ways to do a future-is changing storyline. Either, a change to the past immediately alters the future, or it creates an alternate timeline. Sean McKeever chooses neither in Teen Titans #51, opting instead to say that the future is very slowly changing, giving the future the time to go back in time to change it. It makes NO SENSE! But, I'll forgive it, since we got a few quality moments, like when Cassie watched future Connor and future Cassie happy together, or when Tim PULLED A GUN ON HIMSELF at the end, just to get the upperhand on future Tim. We have the makings of a very good story arc here, even if the premise is ridiculous.

Finally, I'm sad to report that the natural order of things has resumed, and Ultimate Fantastic Four #46 was really really bad again. The storyline was still pretty good, but the ending was much too rushed and too much was left unexplained. The narration was choppy in the climax, and the art did absolutely nothing to explain any of it. How exactly did Reed suddenly know how to transport the whole population of New York City back to NYC? Just telling me "He's Reed, he's a fast learner" doesn't cut it, Mike Carey.

That's it from me today, told you it would be fast. I miss Brad Meltzer.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

This week's comic expectations

As I said in the last post, this is a relatively slow week on the shelves. Still, it may be an important week for DC to show what they're made of.

With all this "Countdown" hoopla, DC has been taking it on the chin for having absolutely no control over their universe's (or should I say, Megaverse?) continuity. Everything is just a mess, and this is after a whole Crisis and 52-part mini-series that was supposed to clean up continuity. This week there are a few books that can either show that DC has a handle on this continuity, or not:

1 - Justice League of America #13: After last week's horrible piece of writing in the Green Arrow/Black Canary Wedding Special, in which Ollie was killed for seemingly no damn reason just because of DC's mandate that they wanted one of those two characters to die, there really should be a big chunk of this issue devoted to the team mourning him. Especially since their leader is Dinah! However, with this new "Injustice League" story just beginning (which doesn't look promising), I'm guessing the JLA is going to basically ignore Ollie's passing.

2 - Wonder Woman Annual #1: Supposedly, this is the final chapter in the "Who is Wonder Woman" story, and it's guest-starring Donna Troy and Wonder Girl. I'm hoping that DC does something clear to either explain how Donna is with Diana and in the Multiverse at the same time, or something clear to show that this is a flashback story. Otherwise, there are just going to be a lot of confused readers.

3 - Teen Titans #51: The second part of the "Titans of Tomorrow" features a future team of Titans coming back to the present, with Connor and Bart Allen on the squad. Now, not that I've been the biggest fan of every issue tying into Countdown, but I am really hoping that the explanation for how Connor and Bart are alive somehow ties into this big climactic "Final Crisis" we've heard so much about. Otherwise, we have yet another giant DC development (like Sinestro Corps War) happening outside of this ever-so important Countdown storyline.

There you go, DC, there's your test. Pass it, please.

There's not much to speak of on the Marvel side. The Immortal Iron Fist drops twice this week, with the Annual and issue #9, which goes to show how much faith Marvel has in this book's ability to sell in big numbers. But, the stories have been strong, with Ed Brubaker making Danny Rand a readable character, and issue #9 marks the beginning of a fun-looking storyline, featuring an all-immortal fighting tournament.

Sub-Mariner #4 comes out this week. It's a book I remember being very high on, but it feels like it's been forever since issue #3, so I don't even remember why I like it so much. This is what happens when you read as much as I do... much too much!

I'm also excited about Ultimate Fantastic Four #46, a book that I still think is pretty irrelevant, but was very strong last issue. The FF (as well as all of NY) is caught in a Utopia built by Psychoman, and only Reed Richards and the Silver Surfer know the truth and want to be saved. It was a five-part arc that was only really good last issue, but still I hope for a strong ending.

Wednesday's comic release list

Overall, a quiet week this week, so if you're hurting to catch up on your reading, or if you're hurting in the wallet, this is a good week to take a deep breath and save some money. However, there still are some very good titles coming out worth your time and money — just not necessarily the big-name books.

52 Aftermath The Four Horsemen #2
All Star Batman And Robin The Boy Wonder #7
American Virgin #19
Astro City The Dark Age Book Two #4
Batman #669
Blue Beetle #19
Cartoon Network Block Party #37
Countdown #31
Countdown To Adventure #2
Crossing Midnight #11
Deathblow #7
Green Arrow Year One #5
JLA Classified #43
JSA Classified #30
Justice League Of America #13 Cvr A
Spirit #10
Supergirl And The Legion Of Super Heroes #34
Superman Confidential #6
Supernatural Origins #5
Teen Titans #51
Teen Titans Go #47
Uncle Sam And The Freedom Fighters #1
Wetworks #13
Wonder Woman Annual #1

Annihilation Conquest Star Lord #3
Avengers Initiative #6
Cable Deadpool #45
Captain America Chosen #2
Criminal #9
Franklin Richards: Monster Mash
Immortal Iron Fist #9
Immortal Iron Fist Annual #1
Iron Man #22
Marvel Adventures Iron Man #5
Marvel Illustrated Last Of The Mohicans #5
Marvel Spotlight Thor
Marvel Zombies Book Angels Demons & Monstrosities
Punisher Max Annual #1
Sub-Mariner #4
The Order #3
Ultimate Fantastic Four #46
Ultimate Spider-Man #114
X-Men #203
X-Men First Class Vol 2 #4

Archie Digest #238
Army Of Darkness From Ashes #2
Astounding Wolf-Man #3
Bart Simpsons Treehouse Of Horror #13
Betty & Veronica #230
Brit #2
GI Joe Storm Shadow #4
Highlander #11
India Authentic Shiva #5
Killing Girl #2
Savage Dragon #132
Sonic The Hedgehog #180
Tarot Witch Of The Black Rose #46
Terminator 2 Infinity #3
Uncle Scrooge #370
Walt Disneys Comics & Stories #685
Wizard Magazine #193
Xombie #4

Halo 3 impressions for new players

At the all-too early hour of 10 a.m. today, I dragged myself out of bed, got in my car and somehow managed not to crash in a half-awake state on my way to Best Buy, where I picked up my copy of "Halo 3."

And while I won't be writing a full review of the game (I'll be relying on you loyal readers and the Associated Press wire for that), I'll offer some impressions — especially for those of you who are new to the game. Now, keep in mind that for a gaming journalist, I'm a bit of a spazz when it comes to first person shooters. Not only that, but I never really spent too much time playing the previous Halo multiplayers, opting instead to stick with campaign mode.

But, since my co-op campaign partner isn't available to play until Friday (the little sister, who is sadly much better than me at FPS's, is at college), my only choice was to give the multiplayer a try. And I'm talking to all the other newbies out there when I say this — "Halo 3" is accessible to EVERYONE, not just the hardcore fans of shooters. The multiplayer servers do a great job of grouping like-talented players together, making for competitive matches even if you're not good enough to win any tournaments. Also, the different games like King of the Hill and Capture the Flag offer ways to win and succeed even if you're not the king of all snipers. As I said, I really never spent too much time with the multiplayer modes before today, but it can really be as addictive as advertised.

Again, I'm sure these are things most of you hardcore gamers already know, I'm just putting it all out there again for any of you who are still on the fence deciding whether or not to give the game a try.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Heroes Report on "Four Months Later"

Much like the series premiere, the first episode of season two began the year relatively slow (in relation to the rest of the series), simply resetting the playing field while offering a couple of "wow" moments to keep people glued to the television. And, when you think about just how much information it tried to cover, this episode was a success.

One of the bigger revelations of this flash-forward episode was that we found out who is in charge of the company now with Linderman gone -- and it's a guy that looks like he could get a paper cut from a napkin... and then cry. This guy has been in so many different shows and movies, and he has never looked imposing -- a far cry from Linderman's Malcolm McDowell.

But there's so much to cover, we can't harp on one pencil-pusher. Instead, let's talk about my favorite pencil pusher, HRG. Yes. Noah Bennett is now a pencil pusher, an assistant manager with "Copy Kingdom." And, I don't know which part I liked better -- that he is still working in paper, that he is still working to take the company down, or that he just owned his snot-nosed, kiss-up, college dropout of a manager. Years ago during College when I worked at Toys R Us, I worked with guys like this, and this is proof that HRG fights on the side of good. That said, it sure doesn't look like he or Claire are going to have the self control to stay under cover, especially with her new flying guy friend.

With "the bomb" storyline done, the next big mystery was laid on the table -- who are these other older special people who want Daddy Nakamura and Momma Petrelli dead, and what do they have to do with the man who can see Molly in her dreams? By the way, I'll be shocked if Mr. Sulu stays dead so soon in this season, at a time when Hiro isn't even around.

And speaking of Molly, I loved the idea the writers had, basically having Mohinder and Parkman take joint custody of the kid. After all, one devoted cop or one evolution-spouting kook can't raise a young girl alone, "Three Men and a Little Lady" taught us that. But, you do have to wonder how long it will be until one of Parkman's psychic hunches or Molly's disturbing pictures lands this group in hot water with the mainstream world.

Now, the one thing that confused me about the premiere is, there's no virus facing facing special people? I sure hope there isn't, because they already tried that storyline in X-Men (it was called the Legacy Virus, and it was a poor metaphor for AIDS), and it really sounds more like a season six or seven storyline rather than season two. I am hoping that when Mohinder told HRG that the company "took the bait," it meant there is no virus at all.

Whew, still so much to cover!

Hiro's Hero is, in fact, a Gaijin. And, for those of you who don't love the movie "Mr. Baseball," that means White Guy. Not only that, but he's a scuzzy white guy. The problem with this storyline is, it can only go one of two ways -- 1) Hiro teaches his Hero how to be Heroic, or 2) Hiro actually is his own Hero. Either way, I'm not so interested. I'm more interested in this than this new character Maya, but still not so interested. Hopefully Masi Oka's quality acting carries this storyline.

What I would have liked to have seen from this four-month break is Nathan Petrelli's downfall. Because frankly I don't buy how the world just allows a Congressman disappear. How soon did he come back from wherever he was? If he was unharmed, then wouldn't he have come back to NY immediately? Shouldn't he, then, BE A CONGRESSMAN? I just don't buy his character suddenly falling to pieces and wanting to resemble a hobo. Oh, and I'll be real disappointed if we don't get to see his wife, Rena Sofer, anymore. It's bad enough that we didn't get to see Candice in this episode.

Finally, Peter. If I were anymore of a geek, I would have stood up and applauded the idea to give him amnesia (Haitian-induced amnesia, no less). Sure, it only delays the main problem that Peter (and Sylar, for that matter) is MUCH too powerful, but for now we get what promises to be a great story of Powerful Peter falling into the Wrong Hands. Think about it -- the Heroes' biggest foe may become Peter for a while! And, does this lead to my initial big prediction for the year, that Sylar turns good?

Either way, We have another real strong season (at least this "volume") of shows on our hands, and you have to applaud Tim Kring for resetting the chess pieces so fast.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Questions for Heroes' second season

Last week, I finished re-watching the first season of Heroes on DVD, and anyone that tries to tell you the show isn't as good the second time through is lying to your face. The second time was another great experience, with the dramatic irony of knowing all the secrets changing the way each moment is perceived.

But that was last week, and that was last year. Monday night at 9 p.m. the season season begins, with an all-new story (actually two all-new "volumes" of the show this season) and plenty of new secrets to be revealed.

And, I'll reiterate what I wrote here when we first started talking about these superhero shows, I don't read spoilers for either show I blog about, "Heroes" or "The 4400." I don't know why anyone would want to be spoiled. So if you are looking for inside info on "Heroes," my blog is not for you. If you are just looking to read the thoughts each week of an enthusiastic fan just like you, then this is place to be each Monday night after the show.

Now as we enter the second season, some questions come to mind that I'm hoping get answered in the first few weeks. You know, other than the obvious ones about this new villain and how Sylar does what he does...

1) How does somebody go from being a world-saving hero back to a normal schlub? I've always wondered exactly what happens to a normal-person turned super-human after the movie fades to black, and I am hoping Heroes doesn't simply go the two-dimensional route and claim everyone is hunky-doory back in their normal lives.

2) Where did the Haitian go? After he was in Peter's apartment with Momma Pettrelli when Claire arrived, the man vanished. I'm hoping he was off doing something important that we get to see, and he wasn't just a final-act no-show for no reason.

3) Will Peter/Sylar still be so damned powerful? I said this last year, for as great a character as Peter is, I wanted both him and Sylar dead after season one, because they are just too powerful. It's no fun to know that no matter how bad something gets, a character can just say "Oh, we'll get Peter!" like in the "Five Years Later" episode. It's also no fun to have a villain that is too powerful for most to go near. OH, and, don't both characters still have the ability to EXPLODE?

4) Can Sylar become... good? It's very common in a show or a comic to have an early villain to become an eventual ally, and the longer the season went on last year, Sylar became more and more human, almost a sympathetic character. He's beyond forgiveness, but maybe not beyond trying to earn it.

5) Who are the other artists? Mr. Linderman collected MULTIPLE psychic artists, not just Isaac. He said so himself and we saw some of their work in his gallery... so who are they?

6) What does the older generation do? I'm guessing we'll get this answer since the first volume of the season is called "Generations," but we still don't have an answer as to what Momma Pettrelli, Daddy Nakamura or Daddy Deveux does... or did, in Deveux's case.

7) Who's Molly's Daddy now? I'm guessing Molly will be back, for as great a little actress as she is and as great a power as she has, so the question is, who got custody of her? Matt Parkman and Mohinder are her "heroes," the Hawkins family was protecting her during the fight as well, and HRG has a stable home and experience protecting those with powers. I'm hoping it's the Bennetts.

8) What is Hiro's Legacy? When Hiro's dad revealed himself for knowing all about everything, he told Hiro it has been destined that a Nakamura arise and fulfill their Legacy... So what is it? Is it powers in general? Or time-traveling powers specifically? Or is it that Kensei is, in fact, George Takei, and his power is immortality, so he knew a Nakamura would come back in time someday? Wild theory, I know.

9) Who is in control of Linderman's business now? When a billionaire dies, it's not like someone won't step into his place — especially when that billionaire is a mobster. So will we find out that Linderman had an understudy who will take his place? And... wouldn't that person also be keeping "The Company" alive?

10) Is Ando special? At the end of last year, Sylar sparked my interest when he asked Ando incredulously "What would I want with your brain?" ... What indeed, Bogeyman. What indeed.

11) Can the show possibly maintain it's high quality? For as many problems that I had with last year's finale, last season was pretty close to flawless, while the cast and crew were still unsure of how the show would be received. Now, Heroes is all the rage, complete with a six-episode spin-off from the show (Heroes: Origins) and a novelization deal. Will the show's popularity get the better of it? Will NBC milk the show just a little bit too much? I'm actually kind of thinking that this show will die sooner than it should, for these reasons.

Everyone, enjoy the premiere tonight, and remember to come back for a review of each show late Monday nights!

This week's video game releases

On the eve of the eve before the release of the most anticipated video game this side of Super Mario Bros. 3, here is the list of ALL the games due out this week, not just that certain title starting with an "H" and ending in an "alo."

September 24:
Skate (PS3)
Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights (PS3)
Bratz: The Movie (Wii)
Math Play (DS)
Hour of Victory (PC)
Spelling Challenges and More! (DS)
Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts (PC)
Rubik's Cube Challenge (PC)

September 25:
Halo 3 (Xbox 360)
World Series of Poker 2008: Battle for the Bracelets (Xbox 360; PS3, PS2, PC)
Dragon Blade: Wrath of Fire (Wii)
Dave Mirra BMX Challenge (Wii)
NBA 08 (PS3, PSP)
Balls of Fury (Wii)
Mercury Meltdown Revolution (Wii)
Ninjabread Man (Wii)
Blazing Angels 2: Secret Missions of WWII (PS3)
Bratz: The Movie (PS2)
Dewy's Adventure (Wii)
Ghost in the Sheet (PC)
Soul Nomad & The World Eaters (Ps2)
The Settlers: Rise of an Empire (PC)
Jackass the Game (PS2)
Stranglehold (PS3)
Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights (PSP)
Hot Pixel (PSP)
Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA 2 (PS2)
Race Driver: Create & Race (DS)
CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder (PS2)
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Hard Evidence (Xbox 360, PC)
Crayola Treasure Adventures (DS)
Animal Genius (DS)
Cocoto Kart Racing (DS)
Puppy Luv Adventures (PC)
Cabela's Big Game Hunter 2008 (PC)
Dora the Explorer: Candyland (PC)
Go Diego Go: Safari Rescue (PC)

September 26:
Backyard Football 2008

September 27:
Chocolatier (PC)
Kurupoto Cool Cool Stars (DS)
Mystery of Shark Island (PC)

September 28:
Loki: Heroes of Mythology (PC)
Billy the Wizard: Rockey Broomstick Racing (Wii)
ArmA: Queen's Gambit (PC)
Arctic Tale (DS)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

More Drawn to Life Coverage Coming?

I just received an e-mail from Steve Chiavelli, the Our Lady of Lourdes High School graduate who helped created the new Nintendo DS game "Drawn to Life," and Steve thanked me for the coverage we gave the game at the Journal and on this blog.

Well, I just had to respond to Steve, because I didn't know our coverage of the game was over! I told him, we still want to hear HIS story, what it was like to help develop this game at 5th Cell! So I invited him to write us a first-person account of exactly what it was like, or simply tell me about it and I can write the story.

If and when Steve wants to tell his story, I'm hoping it can be our centerpiece for the October 5th Gaming page in the Poughkeepsie Journal.

What do you say? Do you want to hear his story?

Link to Local Halo 3 preview

Hey kids, follow THIS LINK to read the local mid-Hudson Valley preview of the Halo 3 release.

As you can see in the box on the right of the story, I also included a list of which stores are open to sell the game at midnight, as well as a box listing ALL of the Achievements in the game.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Saturday's Gaming in the Journal

What do we have in Saturday's Poughkeepsie Journal Gaming page (page 5C)? Halo, Halo and more Halo.

We have a full feature on how local fans are looking forward to the release on Tuesday.
We have a list of all the local area places that will be open to sell the game at midnight on Monday night.
We have a complete list of all 49 achievements one can win in the game.
And we also have a beautiful centerpiece, created by yours truly.

BUT, that's not all! We also have a brief story on Poughkeepsie's poker star Hevad Khan joining Team PokerStars, as well as a fantasy football column.

This is one issue you don't want to miss, True Believers! ... Wow, I just channeled Stan Lee just then... oh well, EXCELSIOR!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Superman/Doomsday DVD Review

I watched Superman/Doomsday on DVD last night. I'm trying to forget it today.

Now, before you go labeling me a fanboy who cannot take deviation from a comic's original story, I'll make it clear that I knew going in that the story had changed drastically and was ready for it.

What I wasn't ready for was changes that didn't need to be made — like Lois Lane dating Superman, but Superman's INTIMACY ISSUES keep him from admitting he's Clark Kent. Like Jimmy Olsen having a whole cheesy character arc in which he shies away from hard-hitting news in favor of being a paparazzi. I also wasn't ready for Doomsday to make his final exit from the show in the first 25 minutes. Yes, I know Doomsday dies in the story, but I thought that if they were titling it Superman/Doomsday and since Cyborg Supes was not involved, that maybe we would get another Doomsday fight at the end.

No, we didn't even get a stripped-down version of the "Death and Life of Superman" story, what we got was a Doomsday fight fit into a Superman Clone story. Instead of wasting all that time talking about Superman and Lois' intimacy, we could have better set up Doomsday's slow progression toward Metropolis (one of the best parts of the original story in my mind.) Instead of bothering with Jimmy Olsen, we could have gotten a quick story involving John Henry Irons helping Metropolis. Or -- and this is a novel concept -- they could have made the movie longer the 78 minutes to fit in some of this stuff!!!

It was just a great big pile of trash. I would have much preferred spending 80 minutes re-watching an arc from the 1990's Superman cartoon than this DVD. Why did they even attempt to make this storyline if they were going to change so much???

I am now not so optimistic for DC's next release, "The New Frontier," another of my favorite stories. In the words of Mr. T, you better "Treat Her Right," DC!

Buy Pile Report

Believe it or not, this week we're going to open with Countdown once again. AND, this time it's for GOOD reasons!

Get this -- Countdown #32 actually Got Somewhere! Mary Marvel has FINALLY met up with Eclipso. We've known this was going to happen for four months, we've been waiting, and waiting and waiting, and Finally, we got somewhere! Meanwhile, Jimmy Olsen is actually somewhere intriguing -- Cadmus. If anyone can get to the bottom of Jimmy's little problem, it's those kooks at Cadmus! OK, most of the time those people are useless. Either way, it's an interesting development. If all that isn't enough, we also got to watch Piper defeat a Mummy by playing a tune on a cell phone!

Countdown #32 wasn't perfect by any means -- the art is still sub-par (I think we're just going to have to endure that each week), and all that ridiculous underage drinking stuff was, well, ridiculous (honestly, Wonder Girl and Supergirl have both been drunk already, you know they have) -- but it was actually good this week, for maybe the 5th or 6th time in it's first 20 issues.

The best issue of the week was likely Captain America #30. I predicted some sort of twist in this issue, and Brubaker delivered better than I could have hoped. It's been a slow enjoyable ride to this point, but now the wheels are finally turning in this post-assassination story. Sharon Carter has fallen back under Dr. Faustus' spell. Tony Stark now knows what Sharon has done. And, the Winter Soldier is about to be brainwashed. Who needs Steve Rogers?!?

And the biggest revelation of the issue (which was speculated by some for months) was that Steve Rogers apparently told Tony Stark he wants Tony to find a new Captain America. And, given the character moments Bucky showed in not killing in this issue, all signs point to him. I doubt it, but all signs point to him.

Tales of the Sinestro Corps presents Parallax was a little bit from column A and a little from column B. On the one hand, it was clearly an excuse for DC to milk the Sinestro Corps War for more of your money. The issue really has no ramifications on the War, and has no meaningful resolution. On the other hand, it is a nice story about Kyle Rayner, and if you are not the biggest Kyle fan or don't know too much about him, this issue will teach you all about who he is and why he's a pretty cool character. These one-shots certainly aren't necessary to buy -- but they might not be the worst needless tie-ins ever.

And speaking of wars, Green Scar is still waging his in World War Hulk #4. It's another solid issue, with plenty of more Hulk Smashing, another instance of Hulk saving, but most importantly, Hulk follows through on making Black Bolt, Mr. Fantastic, Dr. Strange and Iron Man battle in the Gladiator Ring.

The story and art both remain solid, and it is interesting to see that, as the gruesome torture wears on, some of Hulk's "warbound" are starting to ask him if it is enough and can they stop the violence. It would all be touching and a natural progression to the story -- if we didn't also see the Sentry finally jump into action at the end of this issue. Frankly, I cannot stand the Sentry. He's a useless whiner of a character. So, if he is the man to take down the Hulk in this next and final issue -- when bombs and giant monsters and interdimensional demons could not -- I'm going to be pretty unhappy with Marvel. Here's hoping that natural progression toward a peaceful ending continues, and Sentry gets his butt whooped.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't make special mention of New X-Men #42. The art in this book, as it has for the last few issues, is horrendous. Despite that, this issue is one of the most understatedly great pieces of reading that you'll come across. Frankly, I don't think I could do it justice to describe it. Simply put, these children have been through hell for the past two years of issues, and in this issue we see these children trying to work through those feelings of despair.

Throughout the first part of this book, one of the kids is popping her head in and out of each room, asking everyone how old they are. By about the mid-point of the book her reason is discovered -- some of the kids are trying to find out who the youngest mutant left alive is, believing that the youngest of them really doesn't have too much of a prayer of surviving too much longer. Maybe I'm just in an overly-sentimental mood, but I think this issue really hit the right notes.

Monday, September 17, 2007

This week's comic expectations

When last we left the Hulk, he had imprisoned many of Earth's heroes in the bowels of Madison Square Garden, taken the roof off the building, and let plenty of well-wishers inside to watch his gladiator-style fights between the heroes. So, when World War Hulk #4 comes out Wednesday, be ready for some more Hulk-Smash fun.

While the series has not exactly lived up to the promise established in the first issue, I have a feeling there are still a few turns up Marvel's sleeve. We know that those heroes are going to make it out of this event alive. We know that, somehow, the Hulk is going to get beaten, and it is increasingly looking like he's going to be the one to beat himself. If that is the case, then I would guess that these next two issues of the event will have to be on-par with that spectacular first issue, with more feeling than smashing.

And for God sakes, keep staying away from the tie-in issues from this event, both WWH: Front Line #4 and WWH: Gamma Corps #3 come out on Wednesday, and neither are worth your money.

The event that has been worth your money is the Sinestro Corps. War. This week we see the first in a series of one-shots that tie-in to that event, Tales of the Sinestro Corps. Presents Parallax. Now, before you get too excited about getting more Sinestro Corps fun, you should remember a few things. 1) Geoff Johns will not be writing these one-shots. 2) These were not planned until the Sinestro Corps war was so well received. Which means, these one-shots are likely DC's attempt to cash-in on their surprise hit.

Now, these one-shots might be welcome additional information fleshing out more about these titanic super-villains from the war. I, in fact, strongly recommend you pick up this comic and give it a shot... just treat it with a short leash, it could simply be a money trap.

In Captain America #30, ole' Bucky is set to have it out with the Red Skull. Frankly, I'm not surprised, since Bucky has been itching to pick a fight with the Skull or Stark for a while now.

What I am looking for out of this issue is the twist we all see coming around the corner. Brubaker is too good a writer to let these characters run around like this for so long without a twist, and with Bucky in the Red Skull's clutches, I am guessing that Bucky might become the next to do the Skull's bidding, whether he wants to or not.

Oh, and finally, we have the Green Arrow/Black Canary Wedding Special. But, does anyone really give a damn? No? Didn't think so. OK, I'm calling it a day early.

Wednesday's comic release list

World War Hulk is back this week (hey, remember that?) with its fourth issue, highlighting a medium-traffic week on the shelves. Other highlights include the first "Tales of the Sinestro Corps" book and Captain America #30.

Oh, andremember Superman/Doomsday comes out on DVD on Tuesday... while I don't have high-hopes for the DVD, it still should be entertaining at least.

Aquaman Sword Of Atlantis #56
Army @ Love #7
Batman Lobo Deadly Serious #2
Birds Of Prey #110
Catwoman #71
Checkmate #18
Countdown 32
Countdown To Mystery #1
Ex Machina #30
Flash #232
Green Arrow Black Canary Wedding Special #1
Hellblazer #236
Highwaymen #4
JLA Hitman #1
Legion Of Super Heroes In The 31st Century #6
Programme #3
Robin #166
Scooby Doo #124
Shadowpact #17
Superman Batman #40
Tales Of The Sinestro Corps Parallax #1
Testament #20


Annihilation Conquest Quasar #3
Avengers Classic #4
Captain America #30
Irredeemable Ant-Man #12
Jack Kirbys Galactic Bounty Hunters #6
Marvel Adventures Avengers #16
Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four #28
Marvel Adventures Two-In-One #3
Marvel Comics Presents #1
Marvel Illustrated Treasure Island #4
New X-Men #42
Penance Relentless #1
Spider-Man Red Sonja #2
Terror Inc #2
Wolverine Origins #17
World War Hulk #4
World War Hulk Front Line #4
World War Hulk Gamma Corps #3


Apocalypse Nerd #5
Betty & Veronica Digest #178
Buzzboy Sidekicks Rule #3
Consumed #3
Criminal Macabre My Demon Baby #1
Dynamo 5 #7
Ghosting #2
Gutsville #2

India Authentic Shiva #5
Johnny Hiro #2
Jugheads Double Digest #134
Madman Atomic Comics #4

Repo #4

Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic #20

Sabrina Vol 2 #88
Sheena #3
Simpsons Comics #134
Umbrella Academy #1
Wasteland #12
Xombie #4
Zero Killer #2

Man dies after Gaming for THREE DAYS

Get a load of THIS LINK to a story about a man in Beijing dying after three straight days of Internet Gaming. Apparently he was so exhausted from the Gaming that he just fell over.

Now, two things get me about this story.

1) The story does not say what game the man was playing -- and I want to know what game could possibly be so engrossing that he would need to play for 3 days without a sleep break??? I mean, the longest I've gone is maybe 20 straight hours. I really want to know what it was, and if he was mentally ill.

2) He played for three straight days at a CYBER CAFE? Really? What cafe is going to let some guy just sit there for three days playing non-stop? Can you imagine being a waitress, serving this man for eight hours, going home, and when you come back in the next day -- it's the same guy! And it's the same guy the next day? And the next! And the poor guy could not have smelled too good either. Too bad he probably stiffed her on the tip.

Report on the 4400: "The Great Leap Forward"

After two sub-par weeks, and a sub-par first 3 minutes to this week's episode, the Season Finale of The 4400 returned to the fantastic form it showed for most of this season, and reminded me why I love this show so much -- because anything can happen.

In order to adequately tie-together all of the different plotlines opened up this season, this finale had to pack in a lot -- and for the most part, the show was able to do so, establishing a heart-pumping frenetic pace in the process.

And while I enjoyed this finale immensely, now that the season is over the question I pose is, did the writers try to fit in too much this year? While each plotline was being opened, one at a time, I could not be more excited at the prospects each represented. But, after seeing them all closed, I wonder if there should have been less stories and more depth to them.

The Marked came along, and already, the marked have been vanquished. Tom became marked, and in a flash, he was healed (which, by the way, was the one part of this finale that was done poorly, in my opinion, there was little to no drama). Collier became marked, and before he even manifested it, he's healed. Isabelle became good, Isabelle became bad, Isabelle became good again, Isabelle became dead. It all just happened so fast.

I feel like this season, as exciting as each episode was individually, suffered from a lack of focus. And at no time has this been more evident, than with the finale's namesake, the "great leap forward" of Danny exposing all those people to promicin.

After all year watching the growth of the "White Light" religion, and watching the Marked plot against the 4400's, it is all just rendered null and void thanks to a freak circumstance of Danny's powers. The religion had no effect on Danny. Danny was not Marked. Danny was just an unlucky schlub who was dealt a damned hand -- and because of it, all of the past season is kind of meaningless. It's been great episodes along the way, but still, it's meaningless.

I would have much rather that the person who could infect you with promicin came from Promise City, as a part of the "White Light" plan, that would have at least given the season balance.

The biggest mystery of the season was whether Cassie is good or is she bad -- and it did not even need to be resolved yet because Danny's power changed everything.

And, as long as we're talking about Danny's power, I don't know if I've ever been more uncomfortable watching TV than while watching those random people just start coming down with promicin death left and right. It was just done so well that I really had that feeling of despair and "who's next to fall?"

Danny's scenes with Shawn were equally touching, for the same hopeless reasons -- go inside Sean's head for a moment -- how many people are going to die in front of him?

And now, everything in the show has changed, just like it did at the end of Season 3. The writers have very carefully positioned the pieces again, and I am especially intrigued by the fact that Diana cannot become promicin positive.

The problem is, at this point last year, we were already sure that another 13 episode season was on the way. As of yet, USA Network has not bought a Fifth season -- and with the ratings as they are, I really doubt it is going to happen. This finale really was a "Great Leap Forward," and I will be truly disappointed if we don't get to watch where that leads.

Would you like some season-ending Random Thoughts?

1) If Tom takes the shot, and Diana cannot take the shot, does that put them on opposite sides, eventually?

2) I'm glad Isabelle is dead, if only because a character that powerful should not be running around.

3) Two Garritys! Twice the amount of people who can get sick, or hurt, or whatever else since he's always the first guy to get affected by anything at NTAC.

4) Megan can change Pens into Flowers? Watch out Bic!

5) Marco is a teleporter now? He and Hiro Nakamura should have contests to decide who the nerdy-er teleporter is.

6) Kyle did a pretty good job in a leadership role... and was it just me, or does he have more on-screen chemistry with Megan than Tom does?

7) Where does this leave Shawn? If there is a Fifth Season, is he the opposition to Collier? But he did just heal Collier and help him stop being Marked, right? I cannot see him become the real hardcore opposition if he's always helping Jordan...

8) I still want to know if Cassie is evil, damnit!

9) Maia telling Diana "We're in Charge Now. It's better that way" was just plain creepy.

10) At what point do the people of Promise City remember that communism only works in a small city, not in a giant country? The more Promise City grows, the less it will work...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

This week's video game releases

Plenty to like this week, including a game that has intrigued the heck out of me, Eternal Sonata. PS3 owners finally get to play Stranglehold, while Wii owners can use Mii-style characters on MySims.

Sept. 17:
Eternal Sonata (Xbox 360)
Stuntman Ignition (PS3)
AniMates (DS)
Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights (Xbox 360, PS2, DS)
The History Channel: Great Battles of Rome (PC)
Big Buck Hunter (PC)
Experiment 112 (PC)

Sept. 18:
MySims (Wii, DS)
Stranglehold (PS3, PC)
Cosmic Family (Wii)
Fishing Master (Wii)
Warriors Orochi (Xbox 360, PS2)
Blazing Angels 2: Secrets of World War II (Xbox 360, PC)
Sonic Rush Adventure (DS)
Namco Museum DS (DS)
SingStar Amped (PS2)
SingStar 80’s (PS2)
Master Jin Jin’s IG Challenge (DS)
Super Collapse 3 (DS, PSP)
Backyard Basketball (DS)
Nancy Drew: Deadly Secret of Olde World Park (DS)
Digimon World Data Squad (PS2)
Digimon World: Dawn (DS)
Digimon World: Dusk (DS)
Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror (PS2)
Growlanser: Heritage of War (PS2)
Coded Arms: Contagion (PSP)
Agatha Christie: Double Murder Mystery Pack (PC)
Neopets Codestone Quest (PC)
Death to Spies (PC)
Fantasy Wars (PC)
World in Conflict (PC)

Sept. 22:
Campus (PC)

Barbara Gordon to walk?

Take a look at this solicitation for Booster Gold #5:

" '52 Pick-Up' continues! Booster Gold has been tasked with preventing the origins of the world's greatest heroes from unraveling. Next up is his greatest challenge yet: preventing one of the most horrific wrongs that's ever befallen a hero in the DC Universe.
Leaping into the pages of BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE, Booster attempts to stop a tragedy that he discovers never should've happened — the Joker shooting and paralyzing Barbara Gordon, Batgirl.
Plus, what dark secret is Rip Hunter keeping from Booster?
On sale December 12 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US "

I am loving Booster Gold's title, and think it has enormous promise, but I don't think it should be used as DC's new way to Retcon things. I am hoping that this "wrong" doesn't get fixed, or else we're going to be seeing plenty of things that happened suddenly be tabbed as "wrongs" -- and it doesn't help my paranoia that Geoff Johns is exactly the guy DC would trust to reshape their Universe.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Halo-themed Xbox 360 out today

Today is the day, MasterChief-wannabees!

No, "Halo 3" isn't out until next Monday night at midnight. What is out tonight is the Halo inspired Xbox 360's! Wooooo! OK, to be perfectly honestly, I could give a damn what color my Xbox 360 is. It could be pink for all I care, as long as I can play "Halo" in a week.

Still, if you wanted to buy your specially-colored Spartan Green Xbox 360 with a 20-gig hard drive, you can get it, starting today, at $399.99.

The Halo 360 pack actually also comes with a play-and-charge kit for your wireless controller, so the $399 price tag is not a bad deal. What it doesn't include, though, is the ACTUAL GAME.

Think about it -- how many of these packs would they sell if they released "Halo 3" a week early as a Halo-console exclusive pack? Maybe up the price to $450? I bet there are well over 100,000 out there who would jump at the chance to overpay for an early week of play.

Spider-man: Friend of Foe Demo

I just downloaded and played the Demo for "Spider-man: Friend or Foe," and let me tell you, this may be a must play game for comic book fans.

The basic story of the game is, as Spider-man, you're fighting your way through levels, beating major villians, and those villians end up joining you as your teammates in a common goal. So Spidey and any number of villains/allies (one at a time, of course) fight as a two-man team. Some teammates include Venom, Green Goblin, Harry Osborn and Iron Fist.

I just played the Demo, which is available for FREE on Xbox Live, and it's pretty darn fun. There's nothing complicated about it, just an old-school 3D side-scroller, with lots of punching, jumping and powers. But still, it's got some fun action and combos, which only bolster a great central game idea.

The game comes out of Oct. 2, so you'll likely miss out on it in the "Halo 3" afterglow, but still, if you are a comic book fan, you should at least download the Demo and see if this Spidey title is for you.

Friday, September 14, 2007

If you're buying Halo 3 at launch, send me an e-mail!

As most of you readers that live in the mid-Hudson Valley know, I am not only then Poughkeepsie Journal's gaming and comics blogger, but I am also the Gaming editor for the paper.

Well, in next week's Gaming page, I will be writing a story on the local launch of Halo 3 -- and I need to talk to mid-Hudson Valley Gamers about it.

So, if you are one of the millions who will be buying Halo at launch, send me an e-mail at . Heck, if you are one of the few who have no interest in Halo, you too can send me an e-mail at

The only requirement is that you live in the Poughkeepsie Journal's coverage area.

In the e-mail, be sure to include a way for me to get in touch with you, preferably a phone number.

Saturday's Gaming in the Journal

I'm out of the office today, so I don't know exactly what page in the Poughkeepsie Journal Sport section the Gaming page will be this week, but before I left the office I made sure another killer page was laid out and ready to go.

This week, we have a roundup of all the best titles coming out for every gaming platform in the next two months, preparing you for the beginning of the Holiday shopping season. And let me tell you, there are a LOT of top titles to be bought. Why companies feel the need to leave us starving through the first 7 months of the year and then flood us in August-November I will never know.

We also have a review of the pivotal PS3 game "Lair," which really let PlayStation owners down.

On top of that, we have both a fantasy football and a fantasy baseball column for all of the sports nuts out there.

It's a full page of fun, so check out Saturday's Poughkeepsie Journal!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Buy Pile Report: Everything but JSA

Well, I picked a poor week to stand up for Countdown. Before we get to all the good stuff that came out this week, I need to get the bad out of the way -- and the worst was Countdown #33.

I have so many problems with this issue I cannot even organize my thoughts. the artwork was atrocious. There was not a single character that maintained their shape from one panel to the next. Kyle Rayner's introduction was equally horrible. No explanation why he is there, no explanation how he got to the Palmerverse on his own, he's just there helping to NOT go after Dr. Choi when he's abducted. Think about it -- a Monitor needed The Atom's help to get to the Palmerverse, but a GL can just pop in and out. But at least we got that great confrontation between Wally and the Rogues. What's that? Wally believed their story and left them alone? What's that? Wally actually gave them a safe house to stay in? What's that? The morons are leaving the safe house? MAKE SOME SENSE!!!

UGH, this issue made me want to hit something really really hard! Um, like Thor does to Iron Man in Thor #3! If there is one downside to this story, it's that too many people are kicking Iron Man around like he's a Newbie. The upside? So many people are kicking Iron Man around! And while I enjoyed seeing Thor get in his licks, I also appreciated the brief length of the interaction. After all, Thor has a brand new series and his own exploits to explore, there's no need in spending any more than an issue on this butt-kicking.

But if you want to read a story with someone that can really kick some rear, read Green Lantern #23. You know, when I saw the cover to this issue in the solicitations, I thought Hal was wearing all those rings because he had been brainwashed. No, Hal is in fact wearing all those rings because he's using the Sinestro Corps' own weapons against them. This is one of the more badass moments we've seen in comics in a while -- probably since Captain America hijacked that fighter jet in Civil War #1. This is a John Wayne moment. And the rest of this issue is as tight as tight can be, providing some great action mixed with comic relief. At one point Hal and John start ripping on Guy for his yellow ring-wearing era, right in the middle of a scrum. Quality stuff.

Believe it or not, Alex Summers also showed a badass side in X-Men: Emperor Vulcan #1. This first issue was pretty good, or at least as good as I hoped for, as Christopher Yost jumps right into the fray from the first pages. He also does a nice job of slipping in character moments to immediately introduce these characters to new readers, without hitting you over the head with exposition. While this series is not for everyone, as it looks to be a self-contained tale with B-list characters, it seems that it is a series most X-Fans will appreciate, if only for the clear juxtaposition of Alex and Gabriel Summers.

Justice League of America: Wedding Special serves as Dwayne McDuffie's debut on the title, and while it wasn't the worse first issue I've read, I am not so optimistic. McDuffie, of course, gained acclaim for writing Justice League Unlimited cartoon episodes -- and unfortunately, this issue felt a little bit like one of them.

For no apparent reason, Lex Luthor has gathered together a new Injustice League, and he's invited every villain you can think of to join at their home base -- the old Legion of Doom base in the swamp. You know the place -- the building that looks like Darth Vader's head. By the end of this issue, after the Injustice League has attacked a few Justice League members, just about every hero you can think of is set to jump into action, because they were all present at Ollie's bachelor party. That's right, it's everyone against everyone. Yay.

It was only a few months ago that Alex Ross already did the Injustice League vs. Justice League thing, and I guarantee this will not turn out as good. McDuffie really should have began his first arc on new ground, or with some giant cosmic opponent, not the same old tired cartoony stuff. Still, I'll stick around a few issues hoping he improves.

Last but not least -- Black Adam: The Dark Age #2. I wondered where Peter Tomasi could possibly go to top all the glorious horror he gave us in the first issue. Well, in this issue we see Isis slowly decay before our eyes, we see Adam disembowel a Yheti and then use his intestines for rope, and we see Adam regain his powers -- but each time he uses the power, the chances of bringing Isis back slowly decrease. This was one of the best issues of the week, one of the best of the month, and I ask again, How Can Peter Tomasi Top This Next Issue?!?

This was possibly the best week that the comic industry has had all year. So much Good Stuff! ... and Countdown...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Buy Pile Report: Justice Society

I'm going to do some complaining here, so before you read the rest of this, you should know that I really liked Justice Society #9, it was on par or just under par with the average issue of this series.

But, due to DC's need to promote and tease the life out of things, this issue could have been so much more. We knew everything about the climax of this issue before it was even printed. This issue was to be the precursor to the "Thy Kingdom Come" arc, featuring the return of Kingdom Come Superman. We even knew how it was going to happen, thanks to Starman's past ranting about needing to open black holes.

So, at the end of this issue, when Starman has made a black hole and a shadowy figure finds his way out of it, we all knew exactly who it was going to be. But, imagine if we didn't know Kingdom Come Supes was coming?

This could have been the biggest final-page shocker since Colossus' return in Astonishing X-Men #4! Marvel actually managed to keep C-Loss' return a secret, teasing to possible returns of other characters instead, and when Kitty Pryde turned around to see Piotr standing there, my jaw dropped right along with her.

In Justice Society #9, Dale Eaglesham plays Supes' return in a similar way, and yet, we are robbed of the 'wow' factor thanks to DC's teases and promos.

But, if you don't count that missed opportunity, this story is more of the same good wholesome family-oriented superhero stuff Johns has provided throughout this young series. Up until Superman's return, it's a nice relaxed story featuring the whole gang at a Fireman's Pancake breakfast. And while not much happens at all for the first 20 pages, it's still just well-done character-driven stuff.

So anyway, this issue is a big thumbs up, but it could have been two.

Musing on Countdown - Why we had our hopes too high

You know, I was thinking about Countdown earlier today, and I ended up discussing it with the good people at Upstate Comics today when picking up the weekly buy pile.

When Countdown was launched there were three definitive things that DanDi and DC had to tell us about it. 1) Like 52, it would feature B and C list characters. 2) Unlike 52, it would not be allowed to evolve into lots of tiny self-contained stories, it had to Countdown to an event. 3) it would serve as the "Spine of the DCU."

Well, what are the flaws we've all found with Countdown? 1) Nobody cares too much about the characters. 2) Not enough is happening, the stories are just chugging along. 3) It ties in too closely with other books in the DCU.

Now, I'm not loving this book. But, weren't we all warned of these flaws in advance? Don't those three flaws match up with what we were described? Now, granted, if the writers were doing a better job of skewing the balance of some issues so we could flesh out some characters like 52 did, we would all probably have more interest in the individual stories -- but can there really be that many 52-esque revelation moments along the way in those stories if we are definitively going somewhere with this? Isn't the very nature of this series that it will be slow and then gradually pick up steam once we get close to the "Great Disaster?"

Don't get me wrong, again, I'm not loving this book, I think the writers could be handling these stories better, and I think the story is being stretched to go a full 52 issues. But, in hindsight, I think Countdown is exactly what we were told it would be, we just didn't want to listen in the afterglow of 52's glory.

Heavenly Sword out today

Another big release for the PS3 comes out today, "Heavenly Sword." As was the case with "Lair," Sony desperately needs this game to hit on all cylinders because of the amount of hype the game has already gotten.

Unfortunately, my boss, Mr. Jim Sheahan, has been on the injured list this week, meaning much more in-office work for me, and much less time to try out games, so I have no review of my own for this title. Instead, THIS LINK will take you to IGN's less than sterling take on the game.

By the way, I've been plowing through my season one DVD of Heroes in the past few days, and I didn't remember at all that in episode 16 Nikki/Jessica and Micah play "Heavenly Sword" in their home. That was an episode that aired in March! Do you think Sony might be having a problem with delays?

This week's comic expectations

As I said in my last post, this week is, in words of Will Ferrell, Gi-normous. It's the Andre the Giant of weeks. If other weeks are a mini-cooper, this week is a Chevy truck. If other weeks are a triceratops, this week is a tyrannosaurus. No, tyrannosaurus is too cliche, this week would be a brontosaurus. If other weeks are Katie Couric, this week is Oprah. You know, when Oprah's been binging on Twinkies and other assorted Little Debbie snacks.

This week is so huge that we're going to use the ever-so-rare Lightning Round format for this week's expectations. Rod Roddy, put sixty seconds up on the clock!

Black Adam: The Dark Ages #2: So, in the first issue, Adam climbed a mountain, ate his willing followers and brought his dead wife to the Lazarus pits. Need I say any more to get you interested in this second issue? Can these next seven issues possibly live up to the expectations?

Booster Gold #2: Every one's favorite 1980's DC superhero (other than Blue Beetle) has officially became an A-list hero with Geoff Johns co-writing this series. This week, the time and universe hopping hero meets Sinestro -- before he became evil.

Daredevil #100: Sure this anniversary issue is a little late, but its triple-sized! That's three-times the good stuff Ed Brubaker gives issue in and issue out. If you're not reading Brubaker's Daredevil, this might be the time to discover what you're missing.

Green Lantern #23: Amazingly, the Sinestro Corps. War has still not disappointed, and this issue featuring a face off between Hal and Parallax Kyle looks like a must-read for any following the war.

Justice League Classified #42: A J'onn J'onzz 5-part arc begins, and while I have no expectations that this will be a good series, it will be interesting to see if the series actually succeeds at writing the character well -- because God knows it seems nobody can anymore.

JLA Wedding Special: While I could really give a damn about seeing Ollie and Dinah's wedding, this event not only marks Dwayne McDuffie's debut as JLA scribe, but also seems to tie-in with Countdown events... still, what doesn't, these days?

Justice Society of America #9: I don't think I've waited for a comic with more anticipation since Astonishing X-Men #6. Justice Society has been nothing but top-notch writing each and every issue, and this issue kicks off an arc featuring the return of Kingdom Come Superman, one of my favorite heroes ever.

New Avengers #34: Yes, yes, the Avengers are fighting amongst each other. Yes, yes, they all think each other may be Skrulls. Yes, yes, I should be interested. But frankly, I've yet to see anything worth reading yet. This issue is mostly on this list because of the title's popularity, for some unknown reason.

Superman #667: Camelot Falls has an under-rated arc in my book, and this issue begins the two-part finale of the story. And, if the story itself doesn't pull you in, take a look at the cover -- its just some good Superman Smackdown time with a big ole' monster.

Thor #3: Thor died. Tony cloned Thor. Cloned Thor killed Thor's friends. Cloned Thor died. Real Thor came back to life. Guess who the first person he goes to smite is? Yes, in this issue, we get to see yet another of Marvel's A-List Beat Down Tony Stark.

X-Men Emperor Vulcan #1: I spent 12 issues waiting for X-Men in space to get good, and I am still waiting. Still, the idea of a mini-series devoted to a team of Havok, Rachel Grey, Polaris and others going after Vulcan, the Summers brother who now rules the Shi'ar Empire, just gets me pumped up.

This week is just that big. Enjoy it, people!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Wednesday's comic releases

Folks, this week is not just big, it's prehistoric. Where other weeks are Allen Iverson, this week is Yao Ming. Where other weeks are White Castle Sliders, this week is the Double Whopper.

Both of the superpowers are bringing their big guns this week, from Daredevil #100 to Justice Society #9 to Green Lantern #23. There are too many top-tier releases to mention them all here (after all, that's what my next post is for), so let's just get to the list:

100 Bullets #85
All Star Batman And Robin The Boy Wonder #6
Batman Confidential #9
Batman Strikes #37
Black Adam The Dark Age #2
Booster Gold #2
Cartoon Network Action Pack #17
Confessions Of A Blabbermouth
Countdown #33
Dmz #23
Fables #65
Friday The 13th Summer Vacation #1
Gen 13 #12
Green Lantern #23
Jack Of Fables #14
JLA Classified #42
JLA Wedding Special #1
Justice Society Of America #9
Stormwatch #11
Suicide Squad Raise The Flag #1
Superman #667
Trials Of Shazam #8
Un-Men #2
Welcome To Tranquility #10
Wonder Girl #1

Amazing Spider-Girl #12
Civil War Chronicles #3
Daredevil #100
Fantastic Five #5
Ghost Rider #15
Heroes For Hire #13
Loners #5
Marvel Adventures Hulk #3
Marvel Illustrated Man In The Iron Mask #3
Moon Knight #12
New Avengers #34
New Avengers Transformers #3
Nova #6
Punisher War Journal #11
Spider-Man Fairy Tales #4
Thor #3
Ultimate Power #7
Ultimate Spider-Man #113
Ultimate X-Men #86
X-Factor #23
X-Men Emperor Vulcan #1

Age Of Bronze #26
Archaic #9
Bad Planet #3
Betty #168
Blade Of The Immortal #129
BPRD Killing Ground #2
Castle Waiting Vol II #8
Casanova #9
Compass #1
Drafted #1
Fear Agent Last Goodbye #3
GI Joe Americas Elite #27
Johnny Hiro #2
Jughead And Friends Digest #23
Lone Ranger #8
Killing Girl #2
Maintenance #5
Miriam #1
Noble Causes #31
Pals N Gals Double Digest #115
Parade With Fireworks #1
Sonic X #24
Star Wars Legacy #16
Star Wars Rebellion #10
Thirteen Steps #1
Walking Dead #42

Drawn To Life out today

"Drawn to Life," the groundbreaking Nintendo DS game which Poughkeepsie's Steve Chiavelli had a hand in creating at Fifth Cell, is out today, and has an in-depth review for you all to enjoy at THIS LINK.

I still haven't have a chance to try out the game myself, by IGN gives it high marks in at least the area where "Drawn to Life" was trying to succeed — innovation.

Monday, September 10, 2007

New Zelda game with Wii Zapper

Over at the "Opposable Thumbs" Web Journal at THIS LINK you can read all about the rumored pack-in game with the Wii Zapper "Legend of Zelda: Crossbow Training."

While, yes, this may sound a goofy idea to pack a crossbow game with a plastic gun, you have to love the idea of firing a crossbow with Link. A gun does not fit (and should not be fit) into Hyrule, but a crossbow would.

And while it would also seem more logical to package a new "Duck Hunt" or a new "Hogan's Alley" or "Gotcha!" with this throw-back peripheral — I'm willing to bet Nintendo isn't, because they are going to market a Zapper-collection game for an extra $20 bucks or so. Wait and see.

For now, I'm excited at the prospect of another new Zelda game, even if the thing only lasts 30 minutes long and can only use a crossbow.

Report on the 4400: "Tiny Machines"

Maybe it's just that I've watched 9 episodes of "Heroes" in the last two days. Maybe I'm just still in a bad mood over how poorly my fantasy team played this week. Either way, this episode of The 4400 just didn't grab me -- it just felt very cheesy to me.

And this is the only area that Heroes has The 4400 beat -- the budget. I've said several times, if The 4400 had Heroes' production budget and advertising budget, I feel like it could have been just as much of a hit as Heroes. Unfortunately, the show can look like a public-access production at times, despite the fantastic script and acting.

And this was especially evident during the climax of this episode. If you haven't seen it yet, basically the main story of the episode was Diana, Megan and Marco discussing how to fix a marked, and at the end Diana chases Marked Tom down. But, the locations for the chase (a cheesy hotel and a Wal-Mart knockoff) combined with poor editing of the scene (plenty of violations of the Axis of Action laws) just took me right out of the scene.

By the way, Diana shot Tom in the gut a couple of times. Shawn Farrell, come on down!

The rest of this episode, to me at least, was equally disappointing, only because it feels like the writers have let so many cats out of the bag that they know have to scramble to get all of them tied back together as quick as possible.

The awaited Shawn/Tess siege of Promise City lasted all of 3 minutes, with no resistance from Collier. In one swoop, Isabelle finally got with Kyle and abducted Collier in about 4 minutes total.

The saving grace of the episode was the scene in which Diana confronts Tom, calling him out as a Marked. Again, this is where the show was able to shine through some great acting, without any nice scenery or camera shots.

The only truly surprising part of the episode was regarding Shawn's Mom -- She took the shot? Really? What exactly are the writers going with this one? To kill off Shawn's Mom at the second-to-last episode? Is this something to do with Danny's power? I don't know.

But, long story short, this season began with such a bang and only picked up steam -- these last two episodes have felt just forced and predictable (I know, that's heresy). Hopefully we'll get a strong finale, especially since it may prove to be the SERIES finale.

So. Random Thoughts:

1) This show is horribly inaccessible to a casual viewer already -- now we're bringing in nanites? Can you get a geekier, more inaccessible topic?

2) Maybe that lack of accessibility is why we still haven't heard anything about this show getting renewed...

3) Have we just completely abandoned the whole Shawn running for City Council thing?

4) I feel ripped off by the lack of a badass "Tess rescuing Kevin" scene

5) I love it when Maia lies about visions for a tactical purpose

6) If Collier knows what The Marked are planning to do with his body -- wouldn't it be in Collier's character to kill himself before he loses control?

7) I wonder if Danny uses that "I have a very prominent Corpus Collossum" line to pick up women?

8) Why did Megan not just shoot Tom with the tranquilizer instead of talking?

9) I cannot picture a way that next week's finale can possibly be sufficiently satisfying

10) The more I think of Cassie and this White Light religion -- I was the first to question if they were actually the "good guys", but lately it's just looking more and more obvious that they are the "bad guys" -- How much of a great surprise would it be if it turns out they were always the "good guys" after all? Nobody is expecting it anymore!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

This week's video game releases

Huge week in the virtual world, folks.

First off, we have the release of "Drawn to Life," the Nintendo DS title which was created by Poughkeepsie's Steve Chiavelli (among others at Fifth Cell). Then, we have both NHL games coming out this week, which I know Wrestling Blogger Phil Strum is excited about. Finally on Wednesday, we have another pivotal PS3 release, "Heavenly Sword."

Last week's "Lair" release was underwhelming at best, which did not bode well for the PS3, so Sony desperately needs "Heavenly Sword" to hit it out of the park.

September 10:
Drawn to Life (DS)
NHL 2K8 (PS3, PS2, Xbox 360)
DK Jungle Climber (DS)
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Game of the Year edition (Xbox 360, PC)
Professor Brainium's Games (Nintendo DS)
Galactic Assault: Prisoner of Power (PC)

September 11:
NHL 08 (PS3, PS2, Xbox 360, PC)
Kengo: Legend of the 9 (Xbox 360)
Skate (Xbox 360)
Fatal Inertial (Xbox 360)
DiRT (PS3)
Guilty Gear XX Accent Core (Wii)
Konami Kids Playground: Toy Pals Fun with Numbers (PS2)
Konami Kids Playground: Alphabet Circus (PS2)
Konami Kids Playground: Dinosaurs Shapes and Colors (PS2)
Konami Kids Playground: Frogger Hop Skip and Jumping Fun (PS2)
Aircraft Powerpack II (PC)
Zoey 101: Field Trip Fiasco (DS)
Jam Sessions (DS)
Spelling Challenges and More! (DS)

September 12:
Heavenly Sword (PS3)
Seven Kingdoms Conquest (PC)
Anacapri - The Dream (PC)

September 13:
I Love Puppies (DS)
I love Kittens (DS)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Saturday's Gaming in the Journal

So, I had a nice centerpiece for this week's Gaming page all created on Wednesday, with an interesting feature on Gaming Addiction -- and then the Gannett Wire delivered me pure Gold -- a "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08" review, complete with an accompanying interview with Tiger on what how he feels about the game.

So, I scrapped my previous centerpiece (I'm actually saving it for a few weeks down the road), and ran onto EA Sports' media-only site, grabbed me some Tiger Woods Screenshots, and voila! We have plenty of Tiger in this week's Gaming page (page 5C in Saturday's Journal).

We also have a fantasy football column and a fantasy baseball column.

It's all good in the hood, so pick up the Journal on Saturday, Yo.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Buy Pile Report: Everything but One More Day

Well, this week wasn't much to speak of... but I guess I have to anyway, huh?

The upside is, I saved Incredible Hulk #110 for last, and the issue managed to cushion the disappointments of the week. This was, far and away, the best tie-in issue to World War Hulk we have received yet, and I would venture to say the best we are going to get. If you are one of those claiming WWH has too much smash and not enough emotion, this is the issue to pick up.

While this is not a tear-jerker by any sense of the term, it does serve to further flesh out Hulk's character, the most development we've seen since World War Hulk #1. Basically, Amadeus Cho calls Hulk's bluff, and puts his theory that the Hulk won't kill to the test, passing with flying colors. And while some of the logic is faulty (How could hulk have NEVER killed a soldier?!?), it does serve to both show just how heroic the Hulk can be, and provide some glimpse of hope that Hulk will end his madness at some point soon.

In many ways, "Incredible Hulk" and "World War Hulk" are operating in the same fashion as the Sinestro Corps War is with "Green Lantern Corps" and "Green Lantern." The titles are almost exclusive of each other, yet when combined they give you the full scope of their respective wars.

Other than Hulk, nothing else really stood out for me this week. Countdown #34 was more of the same -- literally. More Jimmy Olsen confusion. More Mary Marvel magic mayhem. More rogues about to get pummeled, but we all know they won't. And worse, this issue wasn't even smooth while revealing nothing -- it was choppy. How hard is it to make an issue revealing nothing smooth?!?

Also, if you were thinking that the combination of Batman, J'onn J'onzz, Metamorpho and Catwoman would equate to a good read -- think again. While I am not ready to exactly write off on this title just yet (I'm close), Outsiders #50 was just a goofy ill-conceived story with the team trying to earn "villain cred" by fighting the Suicide Squad in a villains-only bar. As if nobody would already know these people are GOOD GUYS!!! And worse, we got no proper characterization from any of these solid personalities.

It was just a poor week all around... well, except for Hulk. Either way, we can all rest easy -- next week we get Justice Society #9 and Booster Gold #2.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Buy Pile Report: One More Day

Could the Early Buy Pile Report be anything else this week? The first issue of One More Day brings us readers One More Issue of the same. Sure this storyline is supposedly going to spell the end of Peter's marriage to Mary Jane — or possibly Aunt May's death — or possibly Mary Jane's death — but for this first issue, we just get more of the same:

Spidey's in a bad place, crying over his dying Aunt, crying over being duped into unmasking by Tony Stark — it would all be very touching — if we didn't just get a whole "Back in Black" arc that now was obviously just a mix of space-filler and movie tie-in, because we saw this exact same stuff.

If this story turns out to be as good as hyped, I guarantee this first issue will serve as a great first cog in a Hardcover collection someday, the primer that allows this story to stand the test of time on its own.

But, since we're in the here and now, all we have is a whole bunch of recap and rehash.

Yes, Peter will go to any lengths to save May. Yes, Peter is mad at Tony Stark and too proud to ask for his help. We've seen it already, even if it was done extremely very well in this issue.

For a four-issue arc that is supposed to be Earth-shattering for Peter, this issue was amazingly pointless. If you are just a casual Spidey fan who is only buying this arc due to the gravity of it (like me) then PASS THIS BOOK UP! Go ahead and buy the other three issues if you like, they couldn't be as uneventful as this one, but for now, One More Day is One More issue of the same.

The rest of this week's Buy Pile will be up soon, depending on how much ACTUAL work I have tonight in the office.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

This week's comic expectations

It's all about Marvel and One More Day this week, as the only blockbuster title DC would have had running this week, Justice Society #9, was pushed back a week.

Amazing Spider-man #544 kicks off the four-part One More Day storyline, which Marvel promises will turn Spidey's world upside down. While all sorts of rumors have been flying about this event, from Mary Jane dying or Aunt May dying to Peter and MJ getting a divorce to the truly outrageous de-aging of Spider-man, all that Marvel is about to put Mr. Parker even deeper into the torture chamber.

Frankly, Marvel and Joe Quesada have been going on and on for years about how much better a character Peter Parker was when he was single and carefree, with the exception of a little teenage angst. What those morons haven't either realized or refuse to acknowledge is that Grownup Married Peter would be a damn great character too, if they would stop torturing him! Honestly, in the last year he's found out that his first love was a bit of a whore, he's been forced to unmask, forced to go underground, and had his Aunt shot! Leave the guy alone instead of giving him "One More Day" of this crap!

Still, I'll be buying... it should be noted that the guys at IGN's comic department have claimed to know the plot to One More Day and have been vaguely warning people not to waste their time on it...

Marvel is also offering Captain America: The Chosen #1 this week, a six-part series depicting the "final days of Captain America." This whole mini-series confuses me, because on the one hand, Marvel is claiming this is a Marvel Knights series (out of continuity) and on the other, they promise to tell the tale of Cap picking his successor. I don't understand how this series could be both, unless it is in fact a tale from World War Two. Still, Cap fans are probably going to drool over another Steve Rogers story.

We also have Incredible Hulk #110, pushed back from last week, continuing the tale of Amadeus Cho's attempts at helping the Hulk. And while I have enjoyed most of these Incredible Hulk/World War Hulk tie-in issues, and while Amadeus is a fun character to read, the fact remains that Cho and his band of Hulk-helpers have not made an appearance yet in World War Hulk proper, leading me to wonder exactly how pivotal this character and this storyline is in the grand scheme of the war.

The only truly interesting DC title this week would have to be Outsiders #50. After a horrible set of one-shots that showed which characters Batman selected for this team (which was spoiled by a promotional poster showing the team before the first one-shot ran), we are left with a decent set of characters, highlighted by J'onn J'onzz and Metamorpho. I'm not so crazy about how either of these characters have been written as of late, but team books can often return characters to the root of their personalities, and classic J'onn and Rex on the same team could be pretty fun. I'll be picking this title up on a very short leash.

Thursday's comic releases

Unfortunately, due to the holiday on Monday, we all have had to wait One More Day for our comics this week. Get it? One More Day? That's right, the (supposedly) Earth-shattering One More Day storyline begins on Thursday, headlining a strong week of action.

All New Atom #15
Black Canary Wedding Planner
Countdown #34
Detective Comics #836
Exterminators #21
Faker #3
Infinity Inc #1
Jonah Hex #23
Justice League Unlimited #37
Looney Tunes #154
Metal Men #2
Midnighter #11
New Line Cinemas Tales Of Horror #1
Nightwing #136
Outsiders #50
Scalped #9
Supergirl #21
Y The Last Man #58

Amazing Spider-Man #544
Annihilation Conquest Wraith #3
Captain America Chosen #1
Daredevil Battlin Jack Murdock #4
Exiles #98
Fantastic Four And Power Pack #3
Incredible Hulk #110
Iron Man Enter Mandarin #1
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #31
Marvel Two-In-One #3
Ms Marvel #19
New Excalibur #23
New Warriors #4
Shanna She-Devil Survival Of The Fittest #2
She-Hulk 2 #21
Super Villain Team Up Modoks 11 #3
Uncanny X-Men #490
White Tiger #6
Wolverine #57

Action Philosophers #9 The Lighting Round
Archie #578
Archie Double Digest #182
Bad Planet #3
Boys #10
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #6
Castle Waiting Vol II #8
City Of Others #4
Dark Xena #4
Dust #2
Eva Daughter Of The Dragon One Shot
Frank Frazettas Death Dealer #4
Lions Tigers & Bears Vol 2 #4
Lobster Johnson The Iron Prometheus #1
Lucha Libre #1
Madame Mirage #2
Miriam #1
Painkiller Jane #3
Sorrow #1
Steve Niles Strange Cases #1
Strange Embrace #4
Transformers Megatron Origin #3
Veronica #183
Zombie Proof #1

Best of August

The voting is closed and the results are in, here are three of my favorite blogs from August:

Two bad guys in Superman 2?

End of Spidey and MJ?

Urine Video Games!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Beer Pong on Wii

As if the Wii wasn't already a staple of every dorm across the country, now we have THIS.

Wii Beer Pong.

Yes. Beer Pong. Don't believe me? I'll say it again. WII BEER PONG!

As part of the upcoming title "Game Party" (Yes, it's another Wii party game collection, as if we don't have enough... anyway) as part of the November release "Game Party," you can play a game called Ping Cup, in which you toss ping pong balls into cups, which are arranged in a pyramid formation. Which, if you've ever attended a single party in your life, is BEER PONG (kids, you'll learn in time... hopefully not too soon for you toddlers).

Now, while I don't think anyone is going to buy this game as an alternative to actual Beer Pong, you still have to love that Midway had the balls (no pun intended) to take a shot (pun intended) at putting a drinking game into a Wii title. Hell, most Wii games have already been Turned Into drinking games! And you just know that half the dorms across the country will own a copy of the game, just for the novelty of it.

The only question now is, will we actually see those cute little Miis chug the cups after a shot is made? Can midway actually slip that past the censors? Let's Hope!

The game will be released on Nov. 5, and will include seven mini-games in all, including SkeeBall. Unfortunately, your Wii won't spit out tickets when you win on SkeeBall. Cheap Bastards.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Report on the 4400: Off week

As I said in the last post, U.S. Open coverage this week pushed The 4400 back a week. But, with only two episodes left, God only knows what is going to happen to wrap this season up. So, to keep your appetite whet for next week, here is USA's synopsis on next week's episode "Tiny Machines":

" In the premiere of "Tiny Machines," Meghan and Diana discover a way to extract the future entity out of Tom, which could cost him his life. Meanwhile, Shawn recruits a small band of Promicin positives to bust Kevin out of Promise City. And Isabelle delivers Jordan Collier into the hands of The Marked. "

So, judging by the first bit there, my theory from last week seems off. Oh well, it was a nice theory while it lasted. Also, I could not be more excited to see Shawn and Tess' small army in action.

Anyway, that's about all to talk about this week. Now go home.