Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Buy Pile Report: Messiah CompleX

Everyone, let's have a round of applause for Ed Brubaker and Marc Silvestri.

(pauses for applause)

Sure, the first issue of an event is always the easiest, but Messiah CompleX #1 succeeded in every way.

And, it did it in such a way that makes me optimistic for the rest of the crossover. While previous dynamite first issues really try to hit you over the head with larger-than-life moments (see Captain America's Civil War fighter jet ride, for example), this first issue simply builds to momentum.

That's not to say there was no excitement here, either. Immediately we're dumped into a warzone, the result of a battle between the Marauders and the Purifiers just an hour ago. We watch the X-Men scramble to first diagnose the situation and then save the lives that can be spared, all the while a good tone for how the X-Men work as a team is established.

And really, the X-Men team working their way around this warzone has the closest feel to the X-men teams of the '90s that we've seen in a while, because there is that tone of teamwork. Cyclops is calling the shots, and all the other mutants are being utilized as a team, not simply working as lots of individuals by themselves but calling themselves a team. This re-established sense of teamwork is my greatest wish for the X-Men books of the future.

The only downside (which won't even be a downside when re-reading this as a complete event) is that this issue simply sets the table for the storyline with details we already knew thanks to all the promotion for this event. The X-Men are chasing after the first mutant birth since M-Day, which both the Marauders and Purifiers also want, and one of those two now have the kid.

Now let's all just hope that this story lives up to its potential. And let's all hope that Bachalo's and Ramos' art doesn't kill the story after Silvestri did such a magnificent job with this opener.

Oh, but there was one little issue with Silvestri's art... and kids, close your ears... there is one panel in which Emma and Scott are alone on the Blackbird and Emma is kind of sticking her butt out toward Scott as she asks him "And what about us, Scott, No orders for me?" ... does that seem wrong to anyone other than me? Do I just have the imagination of an eighth-grader?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

This week's comic expectations

Pay no attention to the thin list of Marvel Comics releases this week, we're getting some quality out of the "House of Ideas," even if the third installment of "One More Day" was pushed off.

Leading the way is, of course, Messiah CompleX #1, the one-shot that kicks off the first true X-Men crossover in a decade. Being a huge X-Men fan (who lived and died with each of those yesteryear crossovers growing up), I could not be more excited about this release. Sure, I'm nervous about it, since Marvel doesn't seem to have a clue lately on how to write the X-Men. And Sure, I'm not too happy that Chris Bachelo and Humberto Ramos are penciling about half of it. BUT, my man Cyclops is playing a central role in a story that promises to reset the direction of the whole X-Men line, so you better believe I'll be reading.

By the way, while I would also recommend New X-Men #43 after last issue was so strong, you should know that this is NOT a Messiah CompleX book, just an issue that was pushed back a week.

Now, if not for Messiah CompleX's debut, Justice Society #10 would be the ace of most any week of releases. Geoff Johns' JSA is the most consistently great book on the market, and the addition of one of my favorite heroes of all time, Kingdom Come Superman, the book is sure to be interesting at worst and phenomenal at best. Sure, this book has been pushed back for a while, most likely because we have a few Alex Ross painted pages inside, but it's better late than never.

Speaking of painted pages, I'm kind of interested to see Mythos: Fantastic Four. Marvel's line of painted origin re-tellings are typically pretty good, and I'm interested to see how the Fan Four's first meeting with Mole Man looks as real artwork.

Batman #670 kicks off the "Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul" storyline with a "prelude" issue. Generally, prelude issues end up as a giant recap of any recent contact between characters, in this case Batman and Ra's, so this is likely the perfect issue to pickup if you're a casual Batman fan simply looking to jump on for this one big Batman event.

Another big issue to begin a storyline this week is Action #858, the start of Geoff Johns' Legion of Superheroes arc. Personally, I was never too knowledgeable on that original Legion before the "Lightning Saga," but I've been dying for more info ever since. I wouldn't be surprised if this is the surprise hit arc of the year.

Wednesday's comic release list

Halloween isn't just a day to steal candy from younger kids and egg houses, this year it's also the home to a terriffic list of new comic books on the shelves. With titles like Messiah CompleX #1 and Justice Society #10 out, you'll have plenty to read while you, in the words of my 12-year-old cousin, "chunk up."

DC:
52 Aftermath The Four Horsemen #3
Action Comics #858
American Virgin #20
Batman #670
Cartoon Network Block Party #38
Countdown Lord Havok And The Extremists #1
Countdown To Adventure #3
Countdown To Final Crisis #26
Countdown To Mystery #2
Crime Bible The Five Lessons Of Blood #1
Crossing Midnight #12
Dc Infinite Halloween Special #1
Death Of The New Gods #2
Jack Of Fables #16
JSA Classified #31
Justice Society Of America #10
Midnighter Armageddon #1
Robin Annual #7
Supergirl And The Legion Of Super Heroes #35
Superman Confidential #8
Supernatural Origins #6
Teen Titans Go #48
Trials Of Shazam #9

Marvel:
Anita Blake Vh First Death #2
Annihilation Conquest Quasar #4
Daredevil Annual #1
Iron Man #23
Mythos Fantastic Four
New X-Men #43
Sub-Mariner #5
Ultimate Power #8
X-Men Messiah Complex One Shot

Others:
Apocalypse Nerd #6
Army Of Darkness From Ashes #3
Betty & Veronica Digest #179
Betty & Veronica Spectacular #80
Brit #3
Consumed #4
Dynamo 5 #8
Forgotten Realms Halflings #2
GI Joe Data Desk Handbook Coll A-M
GI Joe Storm Shadow #5
Haunted Mansion #7
Johnny Delgado Is Dead #2
Jugheads Double Digest #135
Kade Shivas Sun #0
Kiss 4k #4
Last Blood #3
New Battlestar Galactica Pegasus One Shot
Tales Of The Fear Agent 12 Steps In One
Sabrina Vol 2 #89
Sadhu The Silent Ones #3
Savage Dragon #133
Slow News Day
Special Forces #1
Sword Of Red Sonja Doom O/T Gods #2
Tales From The Crypt #3
True Story Swear To God Image Ed #9
Wasteland #13
Witchblade #111
Wizard Magazine #194

Monday, October 29, 2007

Heroes Report on "The Line"

Now that's the Heroes that I know and love.

Don't get me wrong, I don't need the show to revert back to past themes, like the whole "New York is in Danger" thing that we apparently got a glimpse of this episode. But what I do need is for the characters to act in character and the tone to resemble that of the first season.

And the tone of this episode was fantastic. HRG's interrogation scenes with Ivan didn't just say you should feel tension, you felt it. Mohinder's scenes didn't just tell you he was conflicted, you felt it. And Sylar didn't just tell you he is evil, you knew it (even if I do still think Sylar undergoing a change of heart would be interesting).

And most important to this re-established tone was a veil of mystery, something that was missing from the first five episodes of the year. Sure, there was the whole "Nightmare Man" mystery, but we knew that was coming. And there was the whole "what does Maya do?" mystery, but who gives a damn about her?

Plenty of new mysteries were all lumped on to us in this episode:
- A new mystery of New York's perilous future (again). And while I'm not sure that endangering New York is the right way to go once again, I am interested in going down this path again.
- A new mystery of who Adam Monroe is, and how does he know Peter?
- A new mystery revolving around Nikki and what role she will play with the company as Mohinder's partner/babysitter.
- A new mystery with Hiro saying he "fractured time" by kissing the Japanese girl -- how will that come into play, especially now that Kensei has turned to the darkside?
- A subtle little mystery when Ivan mentioned a "liquid man" to HRG. Who is this man? Oh, and was I the only one who wanted Ivan to ask HRG where the rent was? You know, from Spider-man?

These mysteries made this episode the best of the young second season. I haven't been this interested since last season. I really cannot think of any complaints this week, only positives:
- HRG and the Haitian have never seemed more imposing, even now that we know they have soft caramel centers.
- Claire was reckless with her cover again, but this time in a fun-loving and adventurous way, not simply poorly written... only shouldn't there have been blood on those steps?
- Mohinder stayed a pure-hearted character, despite my lack of faith in the writers to do so.
- Hiro was FINALLY the Hiro we know and love, a mixture of geek and lovable goofball.
- and finally, Maya was FINALLY INTERESTING, being tainted by Sylar.

Heck, even that goofy framing device with Ando reading Hiro's story didn't bother me as much this week.

I have no complaints, for the first time this year. Which is nice, since I have plenty of complaints for my fantasy football team, watching this Packers/Broncos game. You said Deshawn Wynn was going to carry the load, Mike McCarthy!

This week's video game releases

A little game by the name of Guitar Hero III has already come out today, so I'm willing to bet the rest of this week's releases won't matter since you'll be shredding for at least the next seven days... But, since there are those of us who don't love playing a glorified game of Simon, here's the rest of this week's games:

Monday:
Manhunt 2 (PSP, PS2)
Stanglehold (PS3)
Cars Mater-National (Xbox 360, PS3, DS, PS2, PC)
Honda SBK-07: Superbike World Championship (PS2)
Battalion Wars 2 (Wii)
El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera (DS)
Ratatouille Food Frenzy (DS)

Tuesday:
TimeShift (Xbox 360, PC)
Virtua Fighter 5 (Xbox 360)
The Simpsons Game (Xbox 360, Wii, DS, PS3, PS2)
Naruto: Rise of a Ninja (Xbox 360)
Viva Pinata: Party Animals (Xbox 360)
High School Musical: Sing It! (Wii)
Hooked! Real Motion Fishing (Wii)
Ben 10: Protector of Earth (Wii, DS, PS2)
Shrek: Ogres and Dronkeys (DS)
Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey (Wii)
Barbie as the Island Princess (Wii, DS, PS2, GBA)
Showtime Championship Boxing (Wii)
Napoleon Dynamite (DS, PSP)
Power Rangers: Super Legends (PS2)
Super Collapse 3 (DS)
O.M.G. 26 - Our Mini Games (DS)
Panzer Tactics DS (DS)
Bee Movie Game (DS)
Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness (PSP)
The Office (PC)
NBA Live 08 (PC)
Tabula Rasa (PC)
World Series of Poker 2008: Battle for the Bracelets (PC)
The Command & Conquer Saga (PC)
The Witcher (PC)
Sega Rally Revo (PC)
Fashion Designer (PC)
Zoo Vet 2: Endangered Animals (PC)
Chessmaster: Grandmaster Edition (PC)

Wednesday:
Manhunt 2 (Wii)
Super Air Zonk (Wii)
Samurai Ghost (Wii)
Dementium: The Ward (DS)

Thursday:
Garfield Gets Real (DS)
Dr. Suess: How the Ginch Stole Christmas (DS)
Enchanted (GBA)
Hellgate: London (PC)
The Lost Crown: A Ghost-Hunting Adventure (PC)

Friday:
The King of Fighters XI (PS2)
Ed, Edd & Eddy: Scam of the Century (DS)
Culpa Innata (PC)
SunAge (PC)
Barbie at the Island Princess (PC)
FlatOut: Head On (PC)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Saturday's Gaming in the Journal

It's Halloween... or at least it will be in five days. Either way, for the Poughkeepsie Journal's Gaming page, that means it's time for the now second-annual Halloween Costume Suggestions Column!

You can read the 2006 costume suggestions column at THIS LINK.

Among the suggested Gaming-specific costumes this year are Master Chief, Hevad Khan and King Koopa. Hopefully you all get a kick out of it.

Also on the page is a story about poker players banding together to try and repeal the Internet Gambling Ban, as well as the weekly fantasy football column.

Oh, and don't forget to check the page for information on a poker tournament at the Spotty Dog book store in Hudson, taking place on Saturday.

So, go out and make sure to buy the Poughkeepsie Journal on Saturday and read the Gaming page in the Sports section!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Assassin's Creed goes GOLD

In the words of Mike Myers, "I Love Goooooooooold!"

The game I've been drooling over since E3 is becoming a reality. Pay no attention to those stories about Ubisoft having late problems with the game, "Assassin's Creed" has officially Gone Gold.

On Nov. 13th, we can all rejoice in the sweet sweet gaming goodness.

Buy Pile Report

The hardest part about writing a major comic book war has always been the ending. It's an impossible task to tie everything together and deliver a finish worthy of the event's opening chapters -- case in point, Marvel's "Civil War." And this week, I think we saw Geoff Johns start to struggle with the ending of his could-be-masterpiece, the Sinestro Corps War.

Johns penned the long-awaited Tales of the Sinestro Corps Presents Superman-Prime this week, a decent book that didn't quite live up to expectations but does succeed as a half-brawl, half-biography over-sized issue. While the biography is needless to most everyone that read Infinite Crisis, the brawl is just plain fun with good moments, brief moments like Cassie mentioning Connor and the Super-family all attacking Prime at once.

We also see another solid instalment to the war plotted by Johns and written by Dave Gibbons in Green Lantern Corps #17 which, for the most part, was all predictable stuff. Lanterns fighting Sinestros on Earth, Sodam Yat becoming Ion, few surprises. Not bad by any means, just not anything shocking.

Here's the problem though... these two books, which came out on the same day, don't quite fit together. And what's worse is, you can start to see seams in the story forming caused by too many major players being too many places at once. Throughout Superman-Prime, we watch all of the DCU battle Prime to a standstill. Throughout GL Corps, we watch a group of Lanterns fly head-first toward Sinestro and Anti-Monitor, before Yat is turned to Ion. At the end of both books, for no real reason whatsoever, all of a sudden Prime and Ion are attacking each other. Where did that come from? Now, I'll give this story the benefit of the doubt for now and eagerly await the next installments, but this week did worry me that Johns' masterpiece may be turning a bit sour.

The pleasant surprise award for the week goes to X-Men #204, the immediate precursor to "Messiah CompleX." Now, I'm a huge X-Men-world fan, but I admit that despite a decent start to Carey's run, I stopped reading this title after "SuperNovas" simply because Bachalo's and Ramos' art bothered me that much. Mike Choi's pencils in this issue, though, were like an open invitation to me as I thumbed through this book, deciding whether or not to buy.

And boy was I glad that I picked up the issue. I don't know when Carey got to know these characters so well -- but he hit the nail on the head with plenty of the characters he doesn't normally handle, namely my man Scott Summers. This one issue was THE BEST CYCLOPS I have read in a long time, better even than Joss Whedon's Cyclops. Where Whedon has made Cyclops cool again by turning him into something that he isn't, Carey simply brought out the best in Cyclops that was always there, his strong and decisive leadership. And that alone really set the tone for me as we head into "Messiah CompleX."

Oh, and "Endangered Species" finished in this issue, and, as expected, nothing happened. Hope you didn't go and buy each issue just to have all 17 parts, you would probably be pretty pissed right now.

Finally, I'm not quite sure of what to make of Superman #669. We meet the "Third Kryptonian" in this issue -- and we REALLY meet her. I mean, this broad immediately tells Supes her entire life story, right down to when she lost her first tooth and the first time a boy punched her on the monkey bars which meant he actually liked her. While this all was pretty informative and a fresh look on Kryptonian history before the big boom, I found myself wondering when the backstory was going to end and the resolution was going to begin. Finally, at the end of the issue, someone attacks Superman and Ms. Third, so we'll get some action in #670. Until then, this issue is only for those of you who are into Kryptonian History Lessons.

Oh, and Countdown #27 was horrible. 'Nuff said.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

No Millar-written Superman

Check out THIS POST at MillarWorld for the sad sad news that the next Superman movie will NOT be written by Mark Millar.

Basically, DC doesn't want Warner Bros. to hire him, since Millar is a Marvel-exclusive guy and each time Millar is given praise for the would-be movie, his other Marvel projects would inevitably be mentioned.

Now, I'm pretty bummed about this. And I've never been that big of a Millar fan, heck, I downright hated issues 4-7 of "Civil War." But, he's a quality writer with a real passion for Superman, and that gave me confidence that the movie would have been done right. Oh well.

Ratchet scores for PS3

Gentlemen, Sony is back in the race.

Visit THIS LINK to read IGN.com's sterling review of this week's PS3 release "Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction."

As I've said before, this is the one PS3 game that looked like it was going to really make me want a personal PS3, and Insomniac delivered on what sounds like a classic game.

Finally, a PS3 game that delivered on its promise. Sony fanboys, enjoy your day in the sun.

This week's comic expectations

Listen, I'm tired, I just finished writing a Halloween column for this week's Gaming page, and I'm due in the office in just a few hours, so do you really need me to tell you what's good this week?

OK, I guess I should. But remember to take a good hard look at the whole list of this week's releases (two posts down, right under the "One More Day" post) since I'm going to be brief.

Two issues dealing with the Sinestro Corps War comes out with Green Lantern Corps #17 and Tales of the Sinestro Corps Superman Prime (a.k.a. Anti-Monitor), and you should be buying both and reading this whole event, it's that simple. Blue Beetle #20 also ties-in, but it looks unnecessary.

In Superman #669 we're going to get to meet the long-awaited "Third Kryptonian."

Gotham Underground #1 kicks off a good looking nine-part mini looking at who is taking control of the Gotham crime scene, and who are the heroes other than Batman looking to stop them.

X-Men #204 will be a precursor to next week's "Messiah CompleX" kickoff, and more importantly, the final chapter to "Endangered Species"

And Daredevil #101 is the second-part to yet another strong looking arc from Ed Brubaker.

As I said, brief. I'm tired, give me a break, you'll thank me when you read the column in Saturday's Poughkeepsie Journal Gaming page.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

One More Day Delayed

Oh God, Marvel is at it again.

The "House of Ideas" (I used to not put that Moniker in quotes, but nowadays it needs it) announced today that the third and fourth installments of the Spider-Man "One More Day" storyline are delayed. BIG TIME.

Where part three, Sensational Spider-Man #41, was to be shipped on Nov. 8, It's now the Nov. 28th.

Where part four, Amazing Spider-Man #545, was to be shipped Dec. 6th, It's now Dec. 27th!

Wow, apparently the true meaning of "One More Day" is actually that you'll keep on waiting One More Day for the darned issues to come out, much like their last few major story arcs.

And really, I've read the first two issues, this junk has not been worth waiting for.

Wednesday's Comic Release List

Wednesday will be a rarity. Normally, when there's a huge release week impending (like, say, Oct. 31st!), the week before it kinda drags. But not this time. Two more installments of the Sinestro Corps War highlight a surprizingly not-horrible pre-storm week.

DC:
Action Comics #857
Authority Prime #1
Blue Beetle #20
Countdown #27
Countdown Special The Flash 80-Page Giant
Countdown To Mystery #2
Flash #233
Gen 13 #13
Gotham Underground #1
Green Arrow Year One #6
Green Lantern Corps. #17
Hellblazer #237
Jla Classified #45
Legion Of Super Heroes In The 31st Century #7
Loveless #20
Robin #167
Scooby Doo #125
Superman #669
Superman Batman #41
Tales Of The Sinestro Corps Superman Prime #1
Teen Titans #52
Uncle Sam And The Freedom Fighters #2
Wetworks #14

Marvel:
Annihilation Conquest Wraith #4
Black Panther #31
Cable Deadpool #46
Daredevil #101
Foolkiller #1
Magician Apprentice #10
Marvel Adventures Iron Man #6
Marvel Illustrated Man In The Iron Mask #4
Marvel Spotlight Marvel Zombies
Moon Knight #13
She-Hulk 2 #22
Thunderbolts #117
Ultimate Spider-Man #115
What If Planet Hulk
X-Men #204
X-Men Die By The Sword #2
X-Men First Class Vol 2 #5

Others:
Bart Simpson Comics #38
Beowulf #4
Betty #169
Casanova #10
Crawl Space Xxxombies #1
Criminal Macabre My Demon Baby #2
Cromartie High School Vol 12 #12
Fear Agent Last Goodbye #4
Glister #2
Hack Slash Series Crank #5
India Authentic Vishnu #6
Into The Dust #2
Invincible #46
Jellyfist Jughead And Friends Digest #24
Lone Ranger #9
Pals N Gals Double Digest #116
Pvp #35
Savage Tales #4S
Star Wars Dark Times #6
Sonic The Hedgehog #181
Transformers Megatron Origin #4
Velocity Pilot Season #1
Walking Dead #43
Witchblade Shades Of Gray #3

Heroes Report on "Fight or Flight"

What a coincidence... This week's episode of "Heroes" was the first of the second season that didn't include a segment with Maya and Alejandro... It was also the first episode in a while that was really solid all the way through... funny how that works, huh?

Now, that's not to say that I particularly like where the storylines are going in this episode... but at least they're starting to get somewhere.

For instance, I was really looking forward to seeing how Peter's character developed in Ireland and with whats-his-name owner of the bar. Unfortunately, Veronica Mars went and melted whats-his-name, effectively ending Peter's stay in Ireland. As I said, not exactly what I was hoping for, but at least Peter's story now has a direction, apparently traveling around with Ms. Irish Accent.

We also are really getting somewhere with Parkman and Nathan's pursuit of the Nightmare Man. Unfortunately, that big bald schmuck Parkman's father is definitely the Nightmare Man (the most unimposing villain this side of The Mole Man). The good news is, he has an incredible power for illusion, and we got one of the best scenes of the young season watching Parkman and Nathan unwittingly beat each other up.

By the way, I think darkness is needed for Daddy Parkman to use his powers. He needed Matt to go into the dark to set the illusion. When Nathan entered the dark, he entered the illusion. Momma Petrelli's insanity began when the lights turned off. Molly Walker, well, that's obvious. Oh, and Daddy Nakamura may have only thought he was fighting with someone when he went over the roof, due to an illusion set at night time.

This also opens up a giant can of worms -- just how powerful can Parkman become? And in the short term, does he possess the ability to wake up Molly, like he woke up from the dream himself?

And speaking of cans of worms -- where exactly is Mohinder's character arc leading? He's relying on the company, he's doing their bidding by bringing in a young girl, and on the other hand he's trying to break Nikki free. Right now he's being written as a real conflicted character, and it will be interesting to see where it leads.

We also got a fleeting glimpse of the Dynamic Duo of HRG and the Haitian in Europe, which was only a highlight because the Haitian looked freezing and miserable, it's hilarious. Go back and watch for yourself if you missed it.

The only true waste of this episode was the Hiro storyline. I'm really getting tired of this framing to the story using Ando, just to keep Ando in the picture. The first time they used it, it was a cute little interlude. But all this junk with the ancient-scroll restoration expert is just a waste of time that could be spent on other storylines -- or, better yet, more of Hiro in Japan instead of simply overviews.

Well anyway, a solid episode all around. And the capper to this solid episode was another incredible looking preview to next week's show. Which, by the way, is a disturbing recent pattern with this show... it seems like the teases to next week's show are a heck of a lot more exciting than the actual show, leading to inevitable disappointment. Oh well, HRG shoots someone next week, so I'll be happy.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

This week's video game releases

Folks, this is one of the biggest weeks in the history of the PlayStation 3. With their exclusive "Ratchet and Clank" game hitting shelves, Sony badly needs this game to not only reach expectations but be good enough to sell some consoles all by itself. And, speaking as a fan of the series, I really think this can be the closest thing Sony has to a console-moving game.

Monday:
EA Playground (Wii)
Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights (PS3)
The Sims 2: Castaway (PS2, PSP, DS)
Escape from paradise City (PC)
Deal or No Deal: Secret Vault Games (PC)

Tuesday:
Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (PS3)
Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots (Wii, DS, PS2, GBA)
Dancing with the Stars (Wii, PS2)
Luxor: Pharaoh's Challenge (PS2, PSP)
The Sims 2: Castaway (Wii)
Ed, Edd & Eddy: Scam of the Century (DS)
Backyard Football 2008 (DS, PC)
Puppy Luv (Wii)
SpongeBob's Atlantis Squarepantis (DS, PS2)
Zoo Hospital (DS)
Imagine Animal Doctor (DC)
Ratatouille (PS3)
Conan (Xbox 360, PS3)
Clive Barker's Jericho (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
Balloon Pop (Wii)
Naruto: Path of the Ninja (Wii, DS)
Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation (Xbox 360)
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trials and Tribulations (DS)
Tomb Raider: Anniversary (Xbox 360)
Chessmaster: The Art of Learning (DS)
High School Musical: Sing It! (PS2)
The Eye of Judgement (PS3)
Namco Museum Remix (Wii)
Mega Man ZX Advent (DS)
The King of Fighters XI (PS2)
Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles (PSP)
Imagine Babyz (DS)
Napoleon Dynamite (DS, PSP)
EA Playground (DS)
Spanish for Everyone (DS)
Rhythm 'n Notes (DS)
Super Collapse 3 (DS)
MotoGP '07 (PS2)
Warriors of the Lost Empire (PSP)
World Series of Poker 2008: Battle for the Bracelets (PC)
Assault Heroes (PC)
Panzer Killer (PC)
Imagine Fashion Designer (DS, PC)
Cake Mania 2 (PC)
Flight Simulator X: Acceleration (PC)
Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties (PC)
Dawn of Magic (PC)
Battlestar Galactica (PC)
Culpa Innata (PC)

Wednesday:
Battlestar Galactica (Xbox 360)
Solitaire Overload (DS)

Thursday:
M&M's Kart Racing (Wii)
Campus (PC)

Friday:
Hannah Montana: Music Jam (DS)
Power Rangers: Super Legends (DS)
Interactive Storybook Series 2 (DS)
Interactive Storybook Series 3 (DS)
Painkiller: Overdose (PC)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Console "Analysts" need to shut it

OK, I am officially sick of these "Analysts say" this or "Analysts say" that stories.

First the analysts predict a big PS3 win. Then Wii is all the rage. Then PS3 will rebound and beat Wii. Then Xbox is good. Then Xbox is bad. Then I take too much cold medication just to pass out and not have to listen to these damn "Analysts" anymore!

There's another of these stories up at Gamasutra at THIS LINK today.

Apparently Analysts are saying that, despite Xbox 360's strong September, Wii will still likely beat them in the coming months.

I believe I speak for everyone when I say "ANALYSTS, SHUT IT!" Honestly, They are wrong way too much of the time to be able to call themselves "Analysts." All this September proved was that which ever console has the better games will win the console war. AND THAT'S ALWAYS BEEN THE CASE!

It's not Wii's price point that made it so popular, it's it's library (albeit a thin library) of easily accessible games. It's not PS3's price point hurting it, it's the total lack of games. And it's not Xbox 360 selling consoles, it's Xbox's exclusive games selling them. Stop analyzing and just use logic, for once!

Saturday's Gaming in the Journal

Get ready for another pretty Gaming page in Saturday's Poughkeepsie Journal (page 5C!).

This week, we have a review of "Project Gotham Racing 4," writen by the Poughkeepsie Journal's own Keith Schultz. We also have a review of the massive game release 'The Orange Box," writen by the Associated Press.

Oh, and we also have our weekly fantasy football column, as well as news on Sony's PS3 price cut.

It's a packed pretty page, folks, so pick up Saturday's Journal.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sony slashes PS3 price - at your cost

Yes folks, it finally happened. Sony has not only introduced the long-awaited $399 40-gigabyte PS3 (with no backward compatibility), but it also said the 80-gig version would now cost $499!

Now, on the one hand, this is pretty good news for Gamers on the whole. Had the 80-gig PS3 remained at $599, the console would have continued to fall farther and farther back in the console wars, creating a situation where third-party manufacturers shy away from making PS3 games.

On the other hand, though, Sony swore up and down that the 80-gig model would stay at $599, creating a rush to snatch up $499 60-gig models before they were made obsolete. In essence, Sony TRICKED Plenty of PS3 fans into purchasing a model when they could have gotten 20-gigs more for the same price. If I was one of those who hurried up to find a 60-gig model a couple of months ago, I'd be pissed right now.

Good job looking out for your bottom line, Sony, even when you are cutting your price. You all make the BEST decisions. Really, you do.

Buy Pile Report: Everything but New Gods

You know that song "Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places"? No? Well, you know that Eddie Murphy sketch where he's Buckwheat and he sings "Wooking por Nub in all de wong pwaces"?

Well, either way, this week's comics were a whole big ball of unexpected. The first of which was our earlier Buy Pile Report, on the pleasant surprise Death of the New Gods #1 was.

The next surprise came in Justice League of America #14... well, I wasn't totally shocked, since I haven't been too high on Dwyane McDuffie's JLA, but still, this issue missed the mark big time, again. While on the one hand, McDuffie's Injustice League has succeeded at capturing all of the Justice League except Supes and Black Lightning, this whole story just has no sense of a grand scheme. All these super villains assembled to do... what, exactly? Piss of Superman? There is no sense of danger or tension in this book -- no feeling that the JLA has to actually stop this Injustice League.

All we get in this issue is Lex Luthor harrassing Superman, while the JLA is trapped and the Injustice League stands around twiddling their thumbs. All this evil assembled and the best they can do is trap heroes and confine them, not even kill them. And the only Hero they choose to torture -- Geo Force -- is the only hero readers have been begging to leave this book!

I want to make a new rule in comic books -- no more assembling super villains into one team unless they are going to pose a MAJOR Intergalactic threat. Cough cough - Sinestro Corps - cough cough.

Brave and the Bold #7 was surprisingly poor also. I had high expectations for this issue, after Mark Waid's first six-issue arc was so impressive, but this issue was a complete waste of time. The majority of the issue simply goes back and forth from Wonder Woman telling Power Girl to use patience to Power Girl telling Wonder Woman she just wants to punch things. And while this characterization would have suited Kara 15 years ago, she's grown into a level-headed leader (The Justice Society's Chairwoman, for God's sake) since then. With this issue entirely dependant on the give-and-take between the two women, Kara's poor characterization made this issue pointless.

But enough disappointment. The pleasant surprise of the week was Ultimate Fantastic Four #47. While I've still come to the conclusion that this series has become irrelevant, everything about this issue worked for me. Reed under alien control, neglecting Sue. Thing and Johnny standing up for Sue, trying to pound sense into Reed. Sue, being the strong character that she is, heading off on a mission without neglectful Reed, and finding a whole lot of danger in Russia from an organization led by the Ultimate version of the Red Ghost. It all worked for me -- and best of all was the art. I've hated most of the UFF artists for the last two years or so, but Mark Brooks' pencils were spot-on for how this book should be drawn.

While I'm still unsure of whether or not Mike Carey has turned a corner and is ready to make this series worth Reading again, this issue seems like a promising start to a good Fantastic Four story, and who can turn that down?

Another surprise -- this one I'm kind of indifferent to -- was X-Men: Emperor Vulcan #2. While this second issue provided an intriguing new wrinkle to the rich X-Men/Shi'ar history books (Now the M'kraan Crystal is, in fact, stolen by the Shi'ar and their 1,000-years ago owners want it back), it's clear that this series won't be what I want it to be. With Alex Summers and company out in space looking to take down Gabriel Summers, the Shi'ar Emperor, I was really looking forward to some good brother-brother conflict and some good Starjammers-Shi'ar conflict. However, it's looking like this is going to be a "let's re-write the history of an alien race" story" instead.

While I am not complaining by this change, these first two issues have been solid, it's still not exactly what I signed on for. Hopefully after Gabriel and Alex's little truce, we'll get to see the knock-down-drag-out brawl we paid to see.

And we've saved the best book of the week for last, which was no surprise to us -- Captain America #31. While this issue wasn't big on plot development (Brubaker hasn't exactly been rushing through), what we got was a step by step account of exactly what Dr. Faustus had to do to brainwash Bucky -- and it wasn't easy! What I liked about it was, so often in comics it's just "Oh, the bad guy brainwashed him," or "Oh, you must be under mind control," but rarely do you see exactly what the villain does to the hero's mind to put him in such a mental state.

The last shocker of the day was, of course, the big reveal at the end of the issue -- a reveal so big that I wouldn't dare spoil it for those of you who haven't read this book yet. Go out and buy it, darn it! And for God's sake Brubaker, hurry up with issue #32, it's been 4 hours since I read issue #31 and I've waited too long already!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Buy Pile Report: Death of the New Gods

Yes, I never got around to typing up a list of this week's Comic Cook expectations. So sue me.

I'm making up for it by coming on here early and imploring you all to go out and pick up a copy of Death of the New Gods #1.

If you've ever had interest in the New Gods, Mister Miracle, or simply think that Darkseid is the man, you're going to love (or love to hate) this first issue.

In the span of one slightly-oversized issue, this first part of the story not only brings you up to speed on the New Gods' origins, New Genesis' religion, Darkseid's ambitions, but all the while it also (for the first time since "Countdown" began) sheds light onto the real mystery of the New Gods' death and the Source.

I, for one, am thinking that this eight-part story will not only be the best of the "Countdown" tie-in stories, but also possibly better and more relevant than "Countdown" itself!

The only downside to this great story written and drawn by Jim Starlin is that, well, look at the title. A WHOLE LOT of Great Characters are going to DIE. And a HUGE Death occurs in this issue, which redefines one of my favorite characters of all time, Scott Free. And yes, you Dan Didio haters are going to be pissed again.

But while you're pissed at the death, you will LOVE this actually Relevant story.

Wednesday's comic release list

Some interesting choices out on the shelves this week, like the first issue of the "Death of the New Gods" series, to go along with monthly favorites like Captain America.

DC:
Aquaman Sword Of Atlantis #57
Army @ Love #8
Batman Strikes #38
Birds Of Prey #111
Brave And The Bold #7
Cartoon Network Action Pack #18
Catwoman #72
Checkmate #19
Countdown #28
Death Of The New Gods #1
Dmz #24
Ex Machina #31
Fables #66
Highwaymen #5
Justice League Of America #14
Metamorpho Year One #2
Programme #4
Shadowpact #18
Superman Confidential #7

Marvel:
Avengers Classic #5
Captain America #31
Captain America Chosen #3
Daily Bugle November
Marvel Adventures Avengers #17
Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four #29
Marvel Adventures Two-In-One #4
Marvel Comics Presents #2
Marvel Illustrated Treasure Island #5
Marvel Zombies 2 #1
Mighty Avengers #5
New Excalibur #24
Penance Relentless #2
Powers #26
Spider-Man Family #5
Terror Inc #3
Ultimate Fantastic Four #47
Ultimate X-Men #87
Wolverine Origins #18
X-Men Emperor Vulcan #2

Others:
Archie Double Digest #183
Beowulf #3
Boys #11
Conan #45
Devi #14
Elephantmen #11
GI Joe Americas Elite #28
Grimm Fairy Tales Return To Wonderland #3
Into The Dust #2
Invincible #46
John Woos Seven Brothers Series 2 #2
Jungle Girl #2
Killing Girl #3
Lazarus #1
New Battlestar Galactica Season Zero #2
Nicolas Cages Voodoo Child #4
Pvp #35
Ramayan 3392 Ad Reloaded #2
Red Sonja #26
Rex Mundi #8
Ride Halloween Special One Shot
Simpsons Comics #135
Snakewoman Vol 2 Tale Of The Snake Charmer #4
Suburban Glamour #1
Sword #1
Trailer Park Of Terror Color Sp #7
Umbrella Academy Apocalypse Suite #2
Veronica #184
Witchblade Takeru Manga #9
Wizard Anime Insider #50
Wonderland #5

Monday, October 15, 2007

Heroes Report: "The Kindness of Strangers"

Let's all thank Matt Parkman for providing tonight's excitement, for without him we would have fallen asleep.

Don't get me wrong, tonight's episode wasn't the worst thing we've seen out of this show, but it certainly was predominantly a plot-mover.

My problem, I think, is that there are too many groups of people who, right now, I really have no interest in seeing.

For instance, Maya and Alejandro. Finally this week these two became relevant -- and only because Sylar showed up and joined their little gang. He was lying in the road, said he had been walking for three days (and I guess that's the writers' idea of explaining where he was last week?). They're all on their way to NY to see Mohinder.

And really, Sylar has caught my interest only because he seems more conflicted now than ever. On the one hand, I really believe that we will see Sylar fighting on the side of good this season, especially with how he was talking in this episode. On the other hand, he killed his second person in as many weeks. So we'll see where that goes.

Meanwhile, I still can't stand Stalker-West. And now that she's falling for him, I can't stand Claire lately. After all that she's gone through, she has to be one of the dumbest girls in the world to keep on lying and endangering her family by hanging out with this creep. Tonight, he took her flying again, she told him more about herself, and the two kids kissed a whole bunch -- all while she lied through her teeth to HRG. It's just such a dumb move that I want to throw things at the screen to try and get her to wise up.

The saving Grace of the Bennett family's story, though, is that the Haitian showed up at the end, and the Dynamic Duo are about to go on another Most Excellent Adventure.

I've never been the biggest fan of Micah, either... but in this episode we did get to meet his cousin, and you do have to be intrigued by her ability. It seems she can learn how to do anything instantly by seeing it on TV. And while it resulted in a cheesy wrestling scene in this episode, in which she used a Ray Mysterio move to stop a thief, it should make for interesting moments in the future.

And you can blame Phil Strum for my knowing that was a Ray Mysterio move. I'm annoyed with myself.

Oh, but I wasn't a fan of being hit over the head with the whole Hurricane Katrina angle with this cousin. It felt forced, unoriginal, insincere, and frankly I don't want this show to start lecturing me. But that's just me.

Finally, Parkman. In an episode with no Peter, no Hiro and little HRG, Parkman provided a little punch to the week.

Jaw dropping moment No. 1: Molly's bad man is Parkman's Daddy.
Jaw dropping moment No. 2: Parkman coerced Molly into finding him, and she now seems to be mentally trapped by his Daddy.

Wow wow wow. These two moments saved this episode from being possibly the weakest in the show's two seasons.

The only downside is -- THAT guy is the man who can see into Molly's dreams? Seriously? That guy looks like a used car salesman!!! Put him together with Bob and you have two of the lamest looking bad guys in the history of superheroes. Lex Luthor looks like the Incredible Hulk next to these two.

Anyway, the preview for next week looks especially strong. I just hope we get to see more of Molly's story and I'll be happy.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

This week's video game releases

A quiet week with a couple of fringe highlights, like Beautiful Katamari and Smash Court Tennis. In other words, you're going to keep playing Halo or Half Life for a while longer.

Monday:
Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground (PS3, PS2, Wii, DS, Xbox 360)
Smash Court Tennis 3 (Xbox 360)
Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis (Wii)
Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure (Wii, DS)
Flash Focus: Vision Training in Minutes a Day (DS)
Fullmetal Alchemist: Trading Card Game (DS)
The Bee Game (DS)
Seven Kingdoms: Conquest (PC)
The History Channel: Great Battles of Rome (PC)
Spellforce Universe (PC)
Flight Deck 5 (PC)
Deal or No Deal: Secret Vault Games (PC)
Mahjong Garden Deluxe 9PC)

Tuesday:
Beautiful Katamari (Xbox 360)
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion — Game of the Year Edition (PS3)
Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Burning Earth (Wii, Xbox 360, PS2)
Guilty Gear XX Accent Core (Wii)
Victorious Boxers: Revolution (Wii)
Power Rangers: Super Legends (DS)
Spider-man 3 (PSP)
Hannah Montana: Music Jam (DS)
Word Jong (DS)
SWAT: Target Liberty (PSP)
SBK '07 — Superbike World Championship (PS2)
Daisenryaku 7 Exceed (PS2)
Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey (PS2)
Disney Princess: Magical Jewels (DS)
Crash of the Titans (PSP)
Fish Tycoon (DS)
Sega Rally Revo (PC)
Trainz Railwayz (PC)
Fury (PC)
Zoo Tycoon 2: Extinct Animals (PC)
Dawn of Magic (PC)
Heroes of Might and Magic V: Tribes of the East (PC)
Warmonger — Operation: Downtown Destruction (PC)

Wednesday:
Ultimate Duck Hunting (Wii)
Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe (Xbox 360)
Prism: Light the Way (DS)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Saturday's Gaming in the Journal

I know what you're wondering right now. You're saying to yourself, "Gosh, I wonder what's in the Poughkeepsie Journal's Saturday Gaming page (page 2C) this week?"

Glad you asked!

This week, I wrote a column on why we should all be pretty darned fed up with Nintendo postponing their Wii games, the Associated Press wrote a comparative review of the two NHL games on the market, "NHL 08" and "NHL 2K8," and we also have our weekly fantasy football advice column.

Some good stuff in there, so more than worth your time and money...

Oh, and one quick update on a future Gaming story. Remember I told you I was talking to Our Lady of Lourdes High School graduate Steve Chiavelli about his experiences helping create "Drawn to Life" for the Nintendo DS? Well in the next couple of weeks, I'll have a Q&A with him on the Gaming page for all of you to enjoy.

So I've got that going for me. Which is nice.

Brubaker on Messiah CompleX

Newsarama has a good Q&A with Ed Brubaker on the upcoming X-Men Crossover "Messiah CompleX" at THIS LINK.

I, for one, could not be more excited about this event... and no, it's not because I have any faith in Marvel for knowing how to do crossovers anymore.

This is why I am excited:
"I don't want to spoil too much, but I will say, this is when we'll see Cyclops really step up and that this is a lot his story. It shows what he thinks the stakes are, and that this new mutant could be the first tiny piece of hope for the future."
Who's been telling you for years that Scott Summers is The Man?

Assasin's Creed problems all around

Hey folks, follow THIS LINK if you can take some bad news today. If you're already having a horrible day and just need the pain to stop, then Don't Click!

Apparently, both the Xbox 360 and the PS3 versions of Assasin's Creed are having separate but equal memory problems. The most glaring one does seem to be that Ubisoft, much like several companies lately, is having problems fitting the entire game onto one Xbox 360 disk. Frankly, it seems in this day and age that could be easily solved with either two disks or simply a couple of gigs of downloadable content, but Ubisoft sounds concerned.

The PS3 problem is unspecified, but it regards memory issues also, just not of the PS3's Blu-ray discs.

I, for one, am blaming The Grinch, because if the game is pushed back Christmas will surely be ruined.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The New Captain America


I'm a little late getting this up there, but this morning Marvel released images of a new Alex-Ross designed Captain America, which will debut in Captain America #34 (Steve Epting drew this cover and is still the series' artist, don't worry).

Marvel made it clear that the man in this image is NOT Steve Rogers.

The question then becomes, who is this? All signs have always pointed toward Winter Soldier taking over the Red-White-and-Blue, and this costume, with the gun and the knife certainly points toward that. Still, this Cap's face doesn't strike me as Epting has drawn Bucky.

We do know that the rumors over Falcon or Sharon taking the Reins can now cease. And if Clint Barton was going to change his mind, I would think Cap would have a bow of some sort on his body.

Other guesses? My guess is this IS Bucky... but a Bucky under Red Skull's mind control...

"Heroes" coming to G4

Follow THIS LINK to read the official announcement from G4 — starting in November, you will be able to watch reruns of each week's new episode of "Heroes" on G4, Saturday nights at 10 pm.

That's right, if you miss it on Monday night and don't want to watching the show on NBC.com, you can now tune in to G4 on Saturday night. The network also acquired the rights to Season One of the show.

Now, the part that I don't get is, at 11 pm on Saturdays, they'll have a "Heroes" post-game show to discuss the episode... by Saturday night, isn't all the discussion for the week completed? I don't know, you know, I like G4, and even Kevin Perriera is growing on me, but this seems like a waste of our time and their money. Live post game shows are for NEW events, not 5-day-old events.

Still, I'm excited because now the pressure is all off of possibly missing an episode on Monday.

Super Smash Bros. pushed back!

Yesterday, it was "MarioKart."

Today, it's "Super Smash Bros."

Were you one of those that had been eagerly awaiting it's Dec. 3 release? Try Feb. 10 now, buddy. That was the news out of Nintendo's Media Summit today.

February 10th. Remember folks, there's no crying in Smash Bros.

Buy Pile Report (I know, I'm late)

If you're wondering why the final Buy Pile Report for the week is so late, well then that's none of your business. You're so nosey!

No, actually I was sick yesterday, and the thought of turning on my computer and writing at 2 a.m. when I was finished reading was really unappealing.

But I am back now to give you the scoop on this week's comics... or at least what's left of the scoop after the first two reports, "One More Day" and "Angry over Countdown."

Green Lantern #24 provided the next installment to the Sinestro Corps War, and there was plenty to like here -- even if it wasn't the best issue we've seen yet. For one, the "Tales of the Sinestro Corps Presents Parallax" issue became more relevant when that painting Kyle fixated on in the issue was used to help bring his consciousness back to the forefront. It certainly makes that previously irrelevant issue a more important issue in the grand scheme. Secondly, not that I am the biggest fan of this whole Parallax = Yellow Entity thing in the first place, but you have to love Geoff Johns bringing Hal's story full-circle in this one. In the "Rebirth" storyline, it was the Specter that had to find Hal and lead him out of Parallax. This time around, it's Hal on the inside helping Kyle find his way out.

Still, this issue seems a little rushed, with not enough attention paid to the surrounding war, even though we get to see hordes upon hordes of forces descending upon Earth. I will forgive this issue of all it's ills if this problem is fixed in the next issue of "Green Lantern Corps," but for now I'm feeling a little unfulfilled. Overall, though, if you're following the war (and you should be!) this is a must-buy.

Black Adam #3 takes a step backward this month, not necessarily in quality, but in shock value. There was no cannibalism in this one, or resurrecting bones, or disemboweling anything. What we do get is a good deal of introspection on Teth Adam's part, a good showdown with a former ally (as Hawkman serves to represent how all of Adam's former friends will react to his pleas for help), and a cliff-hanger ending in which human Adam is shot. A good transitional episode in this eight-part story.

If you were as curious as I was for this "Third Kryptonian" storyline, which begins in Superman #668, then you were also as disappointed as I was that by the end of this issue Supes is no closer to finding this person than he was in issue 667. We get a detailed description of how he is searching and how Batman is helping him, which does serve to bring casual readers (like myself) into the fold quickly, but for an issue that's received so much hype, there needed to be more of a reveal. On the upside, watching Superman's relationship with his new foster son really saved this issue for me. I like this kid a heck of a lot more than the little kid in "Superman Returns."

Now, as I said, I was sick last night, with dizziness like you would not believe. Fantastic Four #550 did not help this at all. As quickly as the Fan 4 went into space, they're back. In one issue, they went to space, diagnosed the problem, found Doc Strange already there, brought Gravity from Earth to space, summoned the Silver Surfer, and all together they "performed surgery" on reality. Oh, and they created a pocket universe so they could trap a horde of mindless creatures who are sure to die there. None of this made anymore sense reading it than it does for you, reading my description. It's just a whole lot of "Why does this make sense? Because Reed says so." Only it's not charming like in a 1970's Stan and jack issue, it's just plan confusing.

All of that done in one issue? It smells to me like Marvel dropped the hammer on Dwyane McDuffie sooner than he would have liked. Sure, he's writing one more arc before Mark Millar takes over, but it's almost like he said to himself "I'd rather do my next arc than this space stuff, I'd better nip this in the bud."

Also, with so many guest stars, on top of the Black Panther and Storm, who are temporary members of the Fantastic Four until the end of this issue, it just feels like McDuffie got the job writing the Fan 4 and then said to himself "Crap, I'd rather write the rest of the Marvel Universe instead of these four characters!" Thing and Johnny have had nothing to do with this run, and Sue only made a difference when kicking the Wizard's ass in the one real good issue of McDuffie's run.

Just thinking about this issue has made my dizziness return, I'm out for now.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Angry over Countdown: Buy Pile Report

Oh man am I tired of standing up for DC's Countdown. Weeks ago, I wrote a whole post saying why we shouldn't be mad at Countdown because we were warned of what it would be like, and then the next issue tanked. Then, two issues in a row go alright, and I start saying how we should all think about jumping back on board of Countdown soon, since issue #26 is approaching. But this week's issue, Countdown #29, has made me hate this series again. There are so many problems with it, I can't even get it out in paragraph form, my anger has made bullet-points necessary.

- The Cover: "Blinding Brother Eye?" Brother Eye attacks Karate Kid and company, telling them they'd be staying with him forever! Oh, and Val Armorr looks more like old-school Hank McCoy -- he wears big goofy boots, you know!

- Capturing the Challengers: That looked like some fight the Challengers had with the Extremists, good thing it happened off panel!

- The Newsboy Legion: Really? Can Jimmy Olsen's story fall any farther? Really?

- They were sharks... : One issue Holly is fighting sharks, the next we have a sea full of mythic green scaley monsters? Doesn't DC have an editorial staff to check on these things from week to week? And I like how what Harley killed was back to being gray.

- Super Villains at a diner: REALLY? I know this is the DCU, but COME ON!

- Mary Marvel: I know she's supposed to be in a character arc, a downward spiral, but I haven't seen anything near the amount of evil she showed here. It was out of the blue. And who's power, exactly does she possess, that she can turn cows to fish? Teth Adam can't do that.

- Jokester dead already: What the hell? They finally inject some life into the Challengers' story but including an Earth-3 heroic Joker, a character with great potential, especially since learning that Duela is his daughter, and HE DIES? Why don't you just make a machine that will suck the fun out of everything, DC?

- Cross promotion: We got pages upon pages of wasted space, just so DC could promote their next two tie-ins, "Countdown: Arena" and "Lord Havok and the Extremists." Nobody wants your drugs, DC, so stop pedaling your crap around my schoolyard! If I want a book, I'll buy it, I don't need half an issue of wasted space just so I can spin-off.

Oh man am I hot over this junk.

Buy Pile Report: One More Day

The second issue of the Spider-man "One More Day" storyline is on he shelves with Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man #24, so I can' think of a better issue to use for this week's early Buy Pile Report. Well, that and I've only had time in the office to read two issues of anything thus far.

Anyway, by the end of this issue, we're finally at the point where things become unpredictable, so if you've been waiting for when this series becomes worth your money, it's the next installment, Sensational Spider-man #41, on sale on Halloween.

For now, we get a solid, but predictable issue in which Peter takes a couple of mystical journeys (one without Doc Strange's permission) trying to change the past. Now, did we all know we would have an issue between Spidey and Strange? Sure, it was a necessary part of the story. Was it done well? Sure, just about as well as a predictable issue can be done. Does it make it worth your money if you're not the biggest Spidey fan? Nope.

Long story short, Strange doesn't want to mess with the natural order so he won't help Peter. However, there is an orange bird following Peter around throughout this issue, and at the end the bird turned into a little red-headed girl who tells Peter she can help him. All signs are pointing toward this being Mephisto, which means the fun is right around the corner.

Nintendo is ruining MarioKart again

"MarioKart 64" is still one of my favorite games ever. It was fantastic. The courses were not too challenging, but not easy. The battle mode would kill dozens of hours at a time.

I got my hopes up for another fantastic game back when "MarioKart: Double Dash" was coming out — but my hopes were quickly dashed (pun intended). The problem was that instead of giving "MarioKart 64" a fresh coach of paint, Nintendo tried to re-create the game with two-man cars.

I held a grudge for a long time — but when Reggie Fils-Aime announced MarioKart for the Wii at this past summer's E3, my hopes soared again. I thought "OK, they've learned from their mistakes, this is going to be a return to greatness, and a reason to finally purchase a Wii!"

BUT then I read this on Kotaku today. Not only is the game pushed back to the spring, but the game will now feature bikes. BIKES! Tell me, how the heck is a bike a kart??? What happened to a return to greatness? What happened to learning from mistakes? I'm already sick today, this news has just put me over the edge, I need a nap.

Oh well, guess it's just me and my N64 for a while longer.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

This week's comic expectations

On the rarest of occasions here on the Gaming Geek blog, we've come across a week so huge that paragraph form just wouldn't do it justice... well, it might do it justice, but it would take me too long since I get crazy wordy... of course, you know that already...

Anyway, with a week this big, we're going to go to the lightning round format!

- Booster Gold #3: The best new book that not enough people are talking about takes a trip to visit Jonah Hex.

- Black Adam: The Dark Ages #2: Teth Adam has his powers again, and everytime he uses them, his chances of resurrecting Isis decrease. If canabalism and deisemboweling yhetis doesn't do it for you, nothing will.

- Fantastic Four #550: Dwyane McDuffie's fun run continues as the FF (plus the Black Panther and Storm) do what they do best, venture into space at the start of a new arc.

- Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man #24: The second part of the supposedly universe-shattering "One More Day" storyline.

- Green Arrow/Black Canary #1: Pissed at the death of Ollie Queen? Well, I don't think it will last long, and this issue kicks off Dinah and Connor's quest to solve the mystery behind the death.

- Green Lantern #24: If I really have to tell you why you want to be reading this issue of the Sinestro Corps War, then you haven't been paying attention lately.

- New Avengers #35: "The Hood" storyline continues, which I'm no big fan of, but there is always the chance of seeing a little advancement in the "Skrull Invasion" story.

- Punisher War Journal #12: Frank Castle getting involved with Hulk's World War. Need I say more?

- Superman #668: The "Third Kryptonian" arc kicks off, as the Superman family is getting bigger again. Is it just me, or is the sudden burst in Kryptonians (Clark, Powergirl, Supergirl, KC Supes, Chris Kent, etc.) a sign of Countdown's coming?

- Wonder Woman #13: Yes, I thought Amazons Attack sucked just as hard as anyone, but GAIL SIMONE takes over the series with this issue! Give it a shot.

Wednesday's comic release list

Well, my wallet is going to be much lighter at this time tomorrow. Booster. Black Adam. Spidey. Green Lantern. The heavy hitters are on the shelves, and your local comic shop owner is going to be a happy man tomorrow. You'll be happy too, you'll just be a 25 bucks poorer or so.

DC Comics:
Batman Confidential #10
Black Adam The Dark Age #3
Booster Gold #3
Captain Carrot And The Final Ark #1
Countdown #29
Exterminators #22
Friday The 13th Summer Vacation #2
Green Arrow Black Canary #1
Green Lantern #24
Jack Of Fables #15
JLA Classified #44
Justice League Unlimited #38
Simon Dark #1
Stormwatch #12
Suicide Squad Raise The Flag #2
Superman #668
Un-Men #3
Wonder Girl #2
Wonder Woman #13

Marvel:
Amazing Spider-Girl #13
Civil War Chronicles #4
Fantastic Four #550
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #24
Ghost Rider #16
Heroes For Hire #14
Marvel Adventures Hulk #4
New Avengers #35
New Avengers Transformers #4 (Of 4)
New Warriors #5
Nova #7
Powers #26
Punisher #51
Punisher War Journal #12
Runaways #28
Spider-Man Red Sonja #3
Wolverine #58
World War Hulk Front Line #5
X-Factor #24
X-Men Die By The Sword #1

Others:
Archaic #10
Archie #579
Beowulf #2
Blade Of The Immortal #130
BPRD Killing Ground #3
Brawl #1
Clockwork Girl #1
Deadlander #1
Drafted #2
Drain #5
First Born #2
Gargoyles #6
Gi Joe Storm Shadow #4
Graveslinger #1
Grimm Fairy Tales #17
Grimm Fairy Tales Annual #1
Hiding In Time #3
Holiday Fun Digest #12
Into The Dust #2
Jughead #185
Living With The Dead #1
New Battlestar Galactica Season Zero #2
Ps238 #26
PvP #35
Sonic X #25
Sorrow #2
Sword Of Red Sonja Doom O/T Gods #1
Tales From Riverdale Digest #24
Toyfare Alien Vs Predator 2 #124
Witchblade #110
Wonderland #5
Yearbook Stories 1976 1978
Zig Zag #2

Heroes Report on "Kindred"

Let me get this straight, Tim Kring. In the span of one-hour you not only killed off one of my favorite characters, Candice, but then foreshadowed the death of the best character the show has to offer, HRG.

And despite these annoyances, the third episode of Heroes' second season was pretty darned eye-popping great.

And really, two fo the three major developments of this episode revolves around those two moments...

We learned who dragged Sylar's near-dead body away from Kirby Plaza -- Candice -- which does help to explain how nobody realized he was being dragged away before it was too late. However, I do have to question the motivation behind saving Sylar, since it seemed she was working for "the company" and they only wanted to study Mr. Brain-eater, not save him... but I digress...

Anyway, Candice, who changed her name to Michelle and changed the actor playing her from Missy Pegrym to some random red-head, saved Sylar and watched over him as he recovered. The big shocker here is that it seems Sylar has somehow lost his powers -- a plot development that really makes no sense to me, unless the area that he's being kept in is suppressing his powers.

And when Michelle wins the Genius of the Year award by trying to seduce Sylar and offer her help in re-acquiring his powers, he predictably kills her to take her powers. However, he still can't access even this new power. And, as far as I'm concerned the show would have been making a mistake if nobody will be the show's illusionist anymore, since the power is just too cool to waste.

Meanwhile, Stalker-West took Claire for a ride in the sky, seducing her in the process... PG-13 rated seducing, mind you, perverts! The revelation here was that she found his two neck marks, meaning he can be tracked by the company. Not only that, but he then went about telling Claire the harrowing tale of the "Man with Horn-Rimmed Glasses" who abducted him.

Afterward, we get a short scene in which Claire just stares at her father, obviously meaning she is seeing him in a whole new light.

And this pisses me off. What the hell, Claire? You now know this truth that your father has put his life at risk time and time again just to save your invulnerable ass, and yet, the first boy who does a Brandon Routh impression around you can immediately turn you against HRG? You're really that stupid?

And, we're also treated to a painting of the future in this episode, depicting HRG shot through the eye while a blonde (presumably Claire) kisses some tall dark figure. As far as I can quess, this means that Stalker-West is, in fact, going to become a company operative and come after HRG.

Personally, I would also guess that this painting won't come to pass, especially since the future should have shifted from what Isaac was seeing due to the bomb's not going off, but for now it seems our man HRG is in jeopardy, thanks to Claire's hormones.

Elsewhere... did we see the beginnings of an EVIL PETER? Pinning a man against a wall, Peter took on a Sylar-esque smile as he strangled him and nearly killed him! How great is this turn of events? Who could have predicted it? Oh, wait, I did. And I'm thrilled about it!

By the way, speaking of Hormones, Peter chose to stay in Ireland and not learn about his future, and it seems he did so simply because he has the hots for a girl with an Irish Accent. I can't blame him, I can't turn down the accent either, but still, at least open the box, man!

Oh, and just to wrap things up with those other stories going on, Maya and Alejandro are still making their way toward the US and they're still boring, Hiro is still teaching Kensei to be a hero and he still has the hots for Kensei's destined girl, and Nikki and Micah make an appearance, sans a dead DL, only to split up and be irrelevant so far.

That about sum it up? A great episode, despite sad sad events.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Church embraces Halo ... you know, other than the type of Halos dead people have over their heads...

I just read this story on New York Times.com from yesterday, and I'm floored. Follow THIS LINK and read about how Churches are attracting young people to their building, using Halo 3 as the bait.

Now, I'm not going to go into my own religious beliefs or anything here.... but can you can any more hypocritical than attracting people to a peaceful way of thinking by promising sniper shots and beat downs? Sure, Halo is popular, but so is porn. I don't see any churches having porn nights to put people in the seats... plus, I don't think I'd want to see the porn that churches pick out to watch, that's just a little too creepy.

Of course, I'd take all this criticism back if there was a priest in attendance for these Halo nights constantly trying to stop people from killing in the game, claiming the christian thing to do is to exist in the game without killing, to set a good example. Check, that, I wouldn't take back the criticism, I'd laugh. Hard.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Bungie/Microsoft split

Follow THIS LINK to an IGN story saying that Bungie has left Microsoft's nest. The former subsidiary is spreading it's wings into a third-party publisher as well as developer, which would theoretically pave the way for their next game to be multi-platform.

However, as you can see in the story, Bungie isn't flying all that far from the Momma bird, as Microsoft now has some equity in the company and the two plan on maintaining a long relationship.

Now, as far as I'm concerned this could only mean two things: 1) Bungie is going to keep being MS exclusive for platforms and produce other games for handhelds (like that Halo DS that surfaced), or 2) Bungie told MS they would no longer be MS exclusive and MS is looking to cushion the blow by gaining equity in the company.

Only time will tell if PS3 owners get to Finish the Fight too.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Big week for comics around the corner

If you're like me and you're a bit disappointed with the slim pickings on the shelves this week, then you're going to enjoy this.

I took a look at next week's comic book release list, and there are more than a few heavy hitters:

- Black Adam: The Dark Age #3
- Booster Gold #3
- Green Lantern #24
- Superman #668 (beginning the third Kryptonian storyline)
- Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man #24
- New Avengers #35

Light is at the end of the tunnel, my friends. Heck, I'll have 8 comics in my buy pile. Not a record, but not too shabby.

PGR4 Review

Lost in the Halo-mania is this week's release of quite possibly the best auto racing game ever, Project Gotham Racing 4.

To read a sparkling IGN.com review, click THIS LINK.

I, for one, will be picking up this game as soon as I can pull myself away from my Spartan Mark VI armor.

Buy Pile Report: The Rest

Well, there's not much more to say this week, after the special buy pile reports for Green Lantern Corps and Tales of the Sinestro Corps.

One pleasant surprise this week was Countdown #30. The book has been slowly improving, as you could only hope it would since the "Great Disaster" is coming soon, but this week was especially strong because a good portion of it stayed with one group of people (cough, cough, like 52 did, cough cough). And on top of that, that one group of people, the Challengers, found themselves on an Earth in which they achieved their professional desires. Jason was Batman, Donna was Wonder Woman and Kyle was, essentially, Hal Jordan.

I also enjoyed The Jokester's presence in this story, acting as a representative of a third Earth in one scene, and catching the wraith of not just Jason Todd's clown-hatred, but also Jason as Batman's clown-hatred. And personally, I'm very interested in this Earth 15.

Uncanny X-Men #491 was also alright, serving as a solid conclusion to a solid five-part arc for Ed Brubaker. Storm kicks some ass with weather, Warpath kicks some ass with his fists, and we even get to keep this prophecy book around after this arc, thanks to Skids giving the book to Magneto himself. I'm certainly interested to see what his role, and the book's role, will play in the Messiah Complex crossover.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Buy Pile Report: GL Corps

It's been slow here in the office thus far, so in addition to picking up chinese food, I had the time to read Green Lantern Corps #16.

Now, this issue needs no real review, after the past few issues you know that if you're enjoying the Sinestro Corps War, you'll enjoy this book, if not, then you won't enjoy it, since this book is more than on-par with the others.

But, what this issue did do was spark my imagination on the topic of the Green Lanterns' new ability to use Lethal Force. We got to see the Corps in action using that Lethal Force in this issue, and immediately the tide of the battle over Mogo was turned. The Sinestro forces were repelled, Sodam Yat blew up Ranx, lethal force did the job... right?

Well, I think I see where this newfound ability is going to lead the Lanterns. Because, in addition all the winning, we also were hit over the head with the idea that once the rings of deceased lanterns find new hosts, it will be months until they are trained. That means that these unexpecting people will suddenly be given the most potent weapon in the universe — and the ability to kill with it.

Not only that, we have a panel in this issue of a Lantern incinerating a BABY. An Evil baby, but a baby, nonetheless.

I fear a storyline of Lanterns inciting fear is coming around the corner.

Buy Pile Report: Cyborg Superman

So, remember how high on today's release of Tales of the Sinesto Corps presents Cyborg Superman?

Yeah, scrap that.

The issue is alright, certainly not bad by any means, but it doesn't deliver on really giving anymore insight on the truly intriguing character in the Sinestro Corps event. Maybe I'm looking for more than what is actually there. Maybe I was looking for a resolution to his story, which we'll instead get down the line.

Either way, 75% of this issue was simply Hank Henshaw's backstory. And while this would be, I'm sure, a helpful resource for any young fans unfamiliar with ole' Cyborg, most of us who were on the edge of our seats throughout the "Return of Superman" arc know all there is to know about him already.

The other 25% of the issue was solid, though, with the Sinestro Corps and Henshaw making first contact on Earth and attacking the JLA Watchtower, which seems to be trashed already. Henshaw even knocks Superman around pretty good, setting up a situation in next week's Green Lantern #24 in which "Earth's Mightiest" are already beaten down.

One issue that does concern me, however, is the amount of landmarks getting destroyed already. The Watchtower is blaster. The Statue of Liberty is beheaded. While I am not a continuity buff, I prefer a good story over all else, do we really need to bust up these landmarks in one book, when we know they will likely be intact in every other book?

Here's hoping the rest of this week's short Buy Pile improves on a so-so start.

This week's comic expectations

You know, I wish I had more to recommend this week, since we all need our weekly reading material, but I don't see much worth buying this week.

Everyone should be buying Green Lantern Corps #16. Hell, if it wasn't such a slow week, everyone still should. The Sinestro Corps war is still in full swing, with the bulk of the war being fought in the pages of Green Lantern Corps and the Hal Jordan story being told in Green Lantern. If you remember back to issue #15, the battle over Mogo is still raging, while War World is zooming toward Earth...

Which brings us to our second must-buy book of the week, Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Cyborg Superman. While the previous "Tales" book told a very nice but unnecessary story about Kyle Rayner's inner turmoil, this "Tales" tale promises to tell a heart-breaking story of a man who simply wants to die, and how he got to that point. Sure, this story is likely just as unnecessary, but since the beginning of the war, one of the most intriguing points has been the involvement of Hank Henshaw and his request to die. I, for one, am on the edge of my seat.

But, other than the Sinestro Corps War there isn't much at all on the shelves this week. And there's literally nothing to speak of from Marvel, other than perhaps Uncanny X-Men #491, the conclusion to a solid Morlocks-centric storyline. But, if you haven't already read the first four issues of this story, could I recommend you purchase this issue? Of course not.

An interesting DC title debuting this week is Metamorpho: Year One #1. On the one hand, the "Year One" stories have almost uniformly been fantastic. On the other hand, it seems DC is scraping the bottom of the barrel a bit with Metamorpho. I mean, I like the character, but he's not exactly an icon like the other "Year One" subjects. It's only a six-issue mini, so if you're interested it won't cost too much all-told.

There's also Countdown #30, which I only bring up because we're inching closer and closer to that magic issue #26, which promises to shake up the whole DCU. A lot of other DC issues are ruined this week dues to Countdown, however, like Detective Comics #837 and Supergirl #22, which are both purely Countdown-tie-in-garbage.

Enjoy what you can, and remember to come on back later on for the weekly Buy Pile Report.

Wednesday's comic release list

Really not much to speak of this week, but, once again, the Sinestro Corps War is saving us. This week, the "Green Lantern Corps" and the latest "Tales of the Sinestro Corps" continues the year's best event so far.

DC:
Action Comics #856
All New Atom #16
Countdown #30
Countdown Search For Ray Palmer: Crime Society #1
Deadman #13
Detective Comics #837
Faker #4
Green Lantern Corps #16
Infinity Inc #2
JLA Hitman #2
Jonah Hex #24
Looney Tunes #155
Metal Men #3
Metamorpho Year One #1
Midnighter #12
Nightwing #137
Scalped #10
Supergirl #22
Tales Of The Sinestro Corps Cyborg Superman #1
Vinyl Underground #1
Welcome To Tranquility #11

Marvel:
Exiles #99
Fantastic Four And Power Pack #4
Howard The Duck #1
Iron Man: Enter Mandarin #2
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #32
Marvel Max Sampler 2007
Marvel Two-In-One #4
Ms. Marvel #20
Omega Unknown #1
Shanna She-Devil Survival Of The Fittest #3
Super Villain Team Up Modoks 11 #4
Uncanny X-Men #491
Wolverine Annual Deathsong #1

Others:
Archie & Friends #113
Beowulf #1
Betty & Veronica Double Digest #155
Black Diamond #4
Bomb Queen IV #2
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #7
Buzzboy Sidekicks Rule #3
Conan #44
Eat The Dead One Shot
Futurama Comics #33
Gamekeeper #5
GI Joe Storm Shadow #4
Igor Fixed By Frankensteins
Kashimashi Manga Vol 2
King Lear
Lobster Johnson The Iron Prometheus #2
Parade With Fireworks #2
Paul Jenkins Super Summer Sidekick Spectacular #2
Roadkill Zoo #5
Sadhu The Silent Ones #2
Snakewoman Vol 2 Tale Of The Snake Charmer #4
Strange Girl #18
Suburban Glamour #1
Weapon #4

Top 50 Marvel and Top 50 DC Characters

Over at ComicBookResources.com's "Comics Should be Good" blog, they had readers vote on who the top DC and top Marvel characters of all-time are, male or female, hero or villain.

Well, the results are in, some which may surprise you, and you can see the list at THIS LINK.

Some of the more shocking rankings?

DC:

- First-place Batman nearly doubled the number of votes second-place Superman got, and five of the top ten characters were from the Batman Universe (Bats, Joker, Nightwing, Robin, Oracle).

- Four Green Lanterns made the list, Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, respectively, while constantly-pushed John Stewart is nowhere to be seen.

Marvel:

- My Main Man Cyclops, disrespected by everyone, namely Fox Studios, is ranked 10th, with two more first-place votes than Wolverine.

- While Spider-man was ranked #1, Ultimate Spider-man garnered enough votes to rank 26th, higher than guys like the Sub-Mariner, Nick Fury and Storm.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Heroes Report on "Lizards"

You know, I was a little disappointed in this week's episode of Heroes... right up until seeing who showed up at Copy Kingdom.

The Dynamic Duo is back together. The Haitian, yes The Haitian, the man who has been MIA for the finale of Season one and the premiere of Season two, is BACK. Not only that, but he is back with HRG.

Overall, though, the second episode of season two was still a bit slow. Not only that, but there were a couple of downright concerning moments in the beginning. I'm talking Jump-the-Shark moments. For one, You have head NYC detective guy jokingly asking Parkman if he's ever met a man who can fly? You have Mrs. Bennett say "There are seven more -- what's in the other paintings?" ? Again with the Paintings?

The show was a little too self-aware for my taste, something you could never say of the first season.

Not only that, but we actually have this virus crap? As I said last week, this story seems a stretch, with just three cases total and a real convenient way of explaining where the Haitian has been, but also it's been done in X-Men!

Oh, and is anyone enjoying the Maya/Alejandro storyline at all? She bleeds from her eyes, making others bleed from their eyes? Can that even be considered a power?

Still, not everything about this week was bad. In addition to the HRG/Haitian reunion, Claire's cutting off her toe downright made me cringe, and you know that her newfound regenerative powers will play a major role soon enough.

That said, am I the only one who cannot stand this boy who keeps talking to her? He's an annoying judgemental smug smartass, who, apparently, has nothing better to do than stalk a girl he just met. Fine if you want to peer into her window at the end of one episode, but two in a row? The only thing I liked about that scene was that Mr. Muggles was the only one smart enough to look to the sky.

And what was up with Claire's "grandma," Momma Petrelli? She can scream Parkman out of her head? And who was that trying to kill her? And, more importantly, what was up with those camera shots?

On another note, I've decided that Hiro simply makes men look bad. I mean, first he creates 1,000 cranes for Charlie, and now he makes it rain Cherry Blossom petals for some Japanese girl. Can any actual guy top Mr. I-Stop-Time?

Actually, I really did enjoy Hiro's story this week, despite the fact that it went pretty much exactly like I figured it would -- just because Masi Oka's acting for this character is that strong. You have to especially like how he played Kensei as if Kensei was a superhero, laughing with his fists on his hips.

Finally, Peter. Yes, he's still kickass. Yes, he's still the man. But he's really being blackmailed by these panzies? Why doesn't he just stop time and take that box? Why doesn't he throw his captors around with telekinesis? He's really going to rob someone just to get to the box, which has likely been tampered with already?

If there wasn't a girl with an Irish Accent involved in those scenes, they would have been worthless. Oh, and doesn't Peter still have the ability to EXPLODE? Why is that not a worry anymore?

Overall, not as strong of an offering as last week, but hey, every episode cannot be gold. Let's just be happy HRG has his buddy back.