Thursday, January 31, 2008

Buy Pile Report

This week was a true rarity. I bought nine books (it would have been ten, if the store I had to go to in Northeast Massachusetts had Black Adam #6), and ALL of them were at least Good.

And, a couple of them were downright Great.

I have to start with Captain America #34. Not because the book debuted Bucky as the Star-spangled Avenger, but because this was quite possiblly the best non-event comic book that has come out in years. You head me, YEARS.

The pacing was perfect. The art, as always with this series, was clear and sharp. The storyline has not stopped moving forward since issue #25. And, in the span of 14 pages, Ed Brubaker clearly defines Bucky's fighting style, feelings about wearing the costume, duties as Cap, and establishes him as a potentially iconic replacement for Steve Rogers.

My worries were that Bucky wearing Cap's costume would be much like Jason Todd wearing Robin's -- he may look the part, but the character just isn't right. Instead, Bucky immediately established himself as a character that I wouldn't mind reading for at least a few years. Sure, Steve Rogers' return my be eventually inevitable, but Brubaker is making the wait a breeze.

This is a MUST READ.

Oh, and did I mention a troop of SHIELD Agents opened fire on American Citizens?

Over in the DC camp, Green Lantern #27 was pretty darned strong too. Geoff Johns' answer to the question of who the Alpha Lanterns are was downright Chilling.

In a nutshell, the Guardians, who were drawn looking like Oompa Loopas, choose a few Lanterns to be the Corps' Internal Affairs. Only, in order to give them such power to enforce the new laws of Oa, they turned the Lanterns into a GL/Manhunter hybrid. You heard me, GL Manhunters. They even said "No Green Lantern escapes the Alpha Lanterns." This is NOT GOOD for the DC Universe. Honestly Guardians, am I the only one who remembers the "Millenium" crossover?

Swinging back across town to Marvel, X-Men Emperor Vulcan #5 made me a very happy man. Remember back when Vulcan was first made Emperor, I raved about how this could be the next great X-Men villain? And I hoped and hoped that he would still be in power by the end of Brubaker's 12-part Shi'ar story? Well, not to spoil things for you, but Vulcan is Stronger Than Ever at the end of this mini-series.

In all, this five-parter really wasn't the greatest thing to read, so I am not advocating buying the TPB when it comes out (not that I am discouraging it either), but the status-quo at the end of the story is as follows: Vulcan leads a united Shi'ar empire with the Royal Guard's full allegiance, Havok, Polaris and plenty of Starjammers are in Vulcan's custody, and Lillandra and Marvel Girl are out in space.

Forget all this "Messiah CompleX/Divided we Stand" crap, THIS should be the next huge X-Men event!!!

But I just read so much good stuff this week, I don't want to leave any out. So, here's a quick recap to encourage all of you to go to the comic shop and share in my joy:

Action Comics #861: This Legion of Superheroes future adventure has been too good for you to pass up. We're about to see an all-out brawl next issue, and we were teased to a few "Lightning Saga" answers in this one.

Countdown #13: Superman Prime takes down Monarch! You heard me!

Death of the New Gods #5: Finally some answers, and lots of good Superman vs. Kalibak action.

Fantastic Four #553: A confusing at times future-characters story concludes in satisfying fashion, and I find myself sad to see McDuffie's Fan Four run end.

Project Superpowers #0: The beginnings of an interesting story and solid art (even though Alex Ross is not doing interiors) make this $1 comic a book you should give a chance.

Ultimate X-Men #90: A nice twist on the character as Apocolypse makes his first appearance. However, I'm a bit peeved to see that Angel dies in this issue, just before A-Poc shows up. I mean, come on guys, be original!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

This week's comic expectations

This is another one of those weeks when there is almost too much going on... There's never truly too much going on, as long as you have time to read it, but you know what I mean.

And, unlike many weeks when it's a big day for DC comics or a big day for Marvel, this week has a little something for both sides of the camp. So, without further ado, let's get to the lightning round version of the weekly expectations!

Action Comics #861: The best Action arc continues, as the "Justice League of Earth" has the Legion of Super Heroes rebels under siege, included a de-powered Superman. I'm not even a regular Superman reader, but am loving what Geoff Johns is doing with this book right now.

Black Adam: The Dark Age #6: Don't let the solicitation-typo fool you, this is issue six-of-six, meaning we get to see the last link in between his search for Isis' Amulet and his appearance in "Countdown." Will Teth Adam save his dead wife?

Captain America #34: This is a must-read for any fan of the Marvel Universe -- Bucky's first action as Captain America, going after the Red Skull. One word: CLASSIC.

Countdown to Final Crisis #13: Superman Prime vs. Monarch... DUN-DUN DUN!

Fantastic Four #553: Dwyane McDuffie's final issue on the book will hopefully be a satisfying conclusion to the current storyline, featuring a future Dr. Doom claiming Reed's post-Civil War plans cause future troubles. Enjoy this issue while it lasts, who knows what we get out of Mark Millar's 16-issue run!

Green Lantern #27: OK, the fallout from the "Sinestro Corps. War" is now officially over, but I'd stay with this book for a while, if I were you. This issue explains who are the "Alpha Lanterns"? They seem to be the GL Corps.' version of internal affairs...

New Avengers Annual #1: Required reading for Avengers fans, as the annual promises to tie-up plenty of plot threads. Personally, I am not a fan of an annual having such pertinent material, but I guess Marvel had to do SOMETHING to draw readers in...

Project Superpowers #0: The first part of Alex Ross and Jim Kruger's latest epic drops this week, and it only costs $1! To be honest, I don't have any expectations for this book, other than great art and great story, no matter what that story is.

Spider-man: With Great Power #1: Hey! Finally a story about Peter Parker unencumbered by marriage and grown-up problems, and carefree and -- what? You say Marvel just made their mainstream Spidey like this? Wasn't he married? And didn't they already have Ultimate Spidey? Huh? Well, I guess I won't be buying this mini-series after all.

X-Men: Emperor Vulcan #5: The conclusion to the surprisingly strong mini-series, as an all-powerful Vulcan now turns his wraith to the Starjamming-X-Men, led by Vulcan's brother Havok. I am actually looking forward to this book as much as any this week.

Wednesday's comic release list

Here is YOUR LINK to this week's comic book releases.

LOTS of great stuff going down tomorrow, so the comic shop I know of where I'm headed tomorrow in Northeast Massachusetts had best be stocked!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Quesada answers fans on "One More Day"

Just got finished reading the Joe Quesada's question and answer interview with fans on at THIS LINK.

And, most of the questions were asked that I guessed would be asked, and most of Joey Q's answers are what you probably think they would be...

But there is one question I would love to see answered. It's clear that Joe wants Spidey staying single for a long, long, long time so we can read him as a carefree bachelor. Well, if we're sure Peter Parker is not going to settle down when the right girl comes along, then where is the interest in watching bachelor Peter?

Even if readers really latch on to a new girlfriend, we know Marvel is not going to let Peter get too serious, so why bother?

How many television shows lasted for years and years, just because viewers kept asking "Will they get together or not?" Well, now imagine that the show's creators, in the first season, said "These two characters will never stay together." Would there be any point in watching anymore?

Then, is there any point in reading anymore?

120-160 gig PS3s?

OK, daily PS3 rumor coming at you:

Follow THIS LINK to a rumor that, not only will there be new 120-160 gig hard drive PS3s on the way, but they will be bundled with DualShock3 Rumble controllers.

To be perfectly honest, this may be the most believable of all the rumors we've heard so far, even if it is a fanboy's wet dream, only because Sony loves putting out bigger-and-better than Microsoft, and this machine would finally trump the Xbox 360 Elite.

Still, rumors are rumors...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

This week's video game releases

Click on THIS LINK for all of this week's video game releases. To be honest, it's kind of a lack-luster list. You'd be better off buying a Pancake Puff Pan for entertainment.

"Resistance" 2 screens! has a load of screenshots from the upcoming sequel to "Resistance: Fall of Man" at THIS LINK, and they're pretty enough to make any PS3 fanboy drool.

Sure, the first "Resistance" really only took off like it did because it was the ONLY PS3 game worth playing for a while, but it was still good enough that it may be leading to a killer sequel on the high-powered Sony machine.

Wolverine and Fantastic Four Crossing Over?

This was new news yesterday, but I have not had my chance to give my two cents until now.

Follow THIS LINK to to read an interview with Mark Millar in which he not only talks about how he is jumping back to the "Wolverine" writing duties, but that he will also be Crossing Over his "Wolverine" run and his upcoming "Fantastic Four" run.

Now, am I the only one who is not happy about this? I know I seem to be the only one that cares that Millar spent all of "Civil War" writing Sue and Reed Richards all wrong, and now he is doing their book, so maybe I am the only one unhappy about this crossover, who knows?

But, I just keep thinking back to Dwayne McDuffie's run on Fantastic Four (which is actually quietly still going on!) and how he just had to use Black Panther and Storm with Ben and Johnny. Now, we have Millar planning to crossover the FF with Wolverine. Am I the only one who simply wants a good Fantastic Four story?

Millar's first FF arc, beginning in a couple of weeks, has nothing to do with Logan, so luckily we'll be able to judge his take on Marvel's first family un-tainted. Still, I am more nervous about Millar now than ever.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Saturday's Gaming in the Journal

This week in the Poughkeepsie Journal's Gaming page (Page 5C!) we have an interesting story about plenty of unhappy "Second Life" players, who have lost buckets of real-life cash when their virtual banks went kaput.

We also have a special guest fantasy sports column -- on fantasy hockey! Just the second fantasy hockey column we've ever run in the Journal, and both have been written by Phil Strum (who is also our Pro Wrestling blogger).

Oh, and rounding out the coverage, we have a good story on how the World Poker Tour is creating a statistical database to define pro poker players. Yes, that's right, the Gaming page, which deals with fantasy sports, video games and poker, actually has all three topic on the page at the same time! This is like getting a rare glimpse at BigFoot!

So checkout the Journal's page 5C (in the Sports section) for all the goodies.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

80-gig PS3 going away?

And now, your daily PS3 rumor! has a bit up at THIS LINK about the 80-gigabyte PS3 being discontinued.

The site claims it was sent a Best Buy memo claiming the model will be phased out, leaving only the stripped down 40-gig model on the market.

I'm calling bullshit.

Still, if this is true, then you would have to think the rumors about the White PS3 coming to America are also true. Which would mean that in the first year and a half of the PS3's life, there have been FIVE DIFFERENT MODELS. The original 20 and 60 gigs, followed by the 80 and the cheaper 40 gig, and now finally a ?-gig White one.

Honestly, Sony doesn't exactly understand the value of stability, do they?

Buy Pile Report

So, what was the biggest book of the week, as far as I am concerned?

Ultimate Fantastic Four #50.

Yes, you heard me correctly. I may be the biggest fan in the world of Joss Whedon's work on Astonishing X-Men, but Ultimate Fantastic Four was just too good this week.

The issue is the first part of a three-part Ultimate Thanos storyline, continuing an idea planted in an arc months ago. But don't let that detract you from picking this book up, everything you need to know is explained in the first couple of pages, so this is a story EVERYONE should read.

I think the reason why I liked this book so much was, because bitching over the decompressed "Messiah CompleX" story in my last post, this first issue of the arc didn't just set the table for a good story, it also took the bird out of the oven and called everyone for dinner. The art is sharp, and enough happens in the story (Thanos is coming to claim the cosmic cube he mentally coerced Reed into creating) to make you drool over waiting for next month.

I'm not endorsing Ultimate Fantastic Four as a great book at all times, and I am not even saying you should be reading it past issue #53, but for now, this is a quality Fantastic Four story Mike Carey is weaving.

Oh, and yeah, Astonishing X-Men #24 came out this week. The downside in this book was, nothing was really resolved. Whedon is saving a whole lot for April's Finale (yes, we have to wait THAT Long). But, the pieces are all set for a killer final issue, with an enormous bullet -- yes, a bullet -- careening toward Earth, and the Breakworld in a state of upheaval. Colossus is near the planet's core, Cyclops is being mysterious about his powers, and oh, did I mention Kittty Pryde is stuck inside the bullet???

My prediction -- and this is a bit of a spoiler if you believe me -- my prediction is that Kitty phases the WHOLE BULLET, stopping it from hitting Earth, but also rendering herself caught on a runaway bullet. It is kind of reminding me of the old 1980's cartoon "Pryde of the X-Men," only instead of Nightcrawler making a sacrifice, it's Kitty.

Last but not least (for a change) was Countdown #14. Once again, we saw inconsistent characterisation and shoddy storytelling in this book. But, since I am coming to expect that of the book, it didn't detract too much for me from a decent storyline of the war on Earth 51.

Red Robin makes his debut. Donna Troy over throws Belthra and uses the word "skank" (comic code, anyone?). Superman Prime goes straight at Monarch. We actually have a lot of good stuff brewing here. I've said it before, I'll say it again, this is far from the best book out there, and really isn't even a good book. But, it's telling a story big enough and important enough that, at this point, if you are a fan of DC, you SHOULD BE READING THIS.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Buy Pile Report: Messiah CompleX

So, the X-Men's "Messiah CompleX" event has ended today with X-Men #207, and I am not amused.

This was supposed to be the event that conjures the ghosts of crossovers past. Marvel's X-Offices were talking about this event in the same breath as "X-tinction Agenda," "X-ecutioners Song" and "Inferno."

Well, I beg to differ.

Those events took story arcs that had been building for years and ended them in a blaze of glory.

"Messiah CompleX" took a couple of ideas that have been building, but didn't end them at all. Instead, it spins the event into other newer books.

Now we have the next X-Men event/imprint called "Divided we Stand," which includes a new direction for "Uncanny X-Men," a new direction for "X-Factor," "X-Force," "Cable," "X-Men Legacy" and "Young X-Men."

"Cable," X-Men Legacy," and "X-Force" are all entirely new ideas born out of "Messiah CompleX."

And why do we need all these new books, you ask? Because the finale of "Messiah CompleX" didn't answer a damn thing!!!

Question #1: Who is the baby? Answer: We don't know, but speculation that it is Jean is fueled a bit, read "Cable."
Question #2: How will Cyclops stop Cable from taking the child? Answer: Scott has a random change of heart and gives the baby to him, after all that fighting.
Question #3: What will happen to Bishop? Answer: Well, he gets his head bitten by Predator X, but he lives, and might now still be alive after doing a bad bad thing (no spoilers here yet!).
Question #4: What will happen to Layla? Answer: Read "X-Factor" and find out!
Question #5: When the hell will Marvel fire Chris Bachalo? Answer: They better do it now, because his art was HORRIBLE in this issue.

There were no definitive answers at all in this book, which will forever make it simply wasted money.

I will sum up this event right here and now, to save you hours of reading. 1) a baby is born that might cause a mutant utopia or doom mutant kind forever. 2) There is a race to get the baby. 3) There is a fight over the baby. 4) The baby is taken into the future, presumably not impacting the Marvel Universe for a while.

Decompressed storytelling, thy name is "Messiah CompleX."

And what I want to know is, if this baby is being taken into the future to grow up safely, then why can't we get the fully-grown girl back into present continuity immediately?!? That would have at least made for a fun new twist in this post-"Messiah CompleX" world. But no.

Year end comic sales numbers

OK, normally I don't post sales numbers from video games or comic books, since normally I could give a darn.

But, THIS LINK to Diamond's yearly sales numbers caught my eye.

Obviously, you can see in this Newsarama story that Marvel dominated this top 100 list, with DC taking just 19 of the 100 spots and Marvel taking a whopping 75.

But, here's what really caught my eye...

DC's first book came in at #13, Justice League of America #7. Their second was #27, Justice League of America #12. DC's first non-JLA book doesn't show up until #64, All-Star Batman & Boy Wonder #5.


Further, Another JLA book shows up below that (the lone one on this list not written by Brad Meltzer), in addition to Justice #12 and the two Justice Society books that crossed over with JLA.

So, apparently without Brad Meltzer, DC would have taken even more of a bath on this year. Do I think this is right? No, of course not, because plenty of the Green Lantern books and JSA's and Booster Gold's belong on this list too, if consumers had taste.

But, since this is the sad truth, DC had better think long and hard about who they really want driving the bus on their top-selling franchise.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

This week's comic expectations

This week, there's no question which part of the comicbook universe is taking centerstage. The question isn't whether or not the X-Men are in the spotlight, it's which X-Men comic is the biggest one?

In the left corner, weighing in at 202 pounds, the finale to the "Messiah Complex" crossover, X-Men #207.

In the right corner, weighing in at 215 pounds, representing the penultimate chapter in Joss Whedon's run on the title, Astonishing X-Men #24.

(crowd cheers)

Listen folks, at this point for both of these titles, I shouldn't have to be selling them to you. Either you've read them or didn't, and now is the time for the payoff.

Over in X-Men #207, we're waiting for a slew of answers, from what Cable will do with the baby to who the baby is to what will happen of Bishop to what will happen to Layla to where Professor X will stand now to how the X-Men become "divided" -- need I go on? This whole crossover has been one unanswered question after the other, mixed with a lot of fighting and crappy artwork. In order for this event to deliver, I am going to need to see one doozy of a finale.

Over in Astonishing X-Men #24, (if you remember what is going on), things have reached a fever pitch on the Breakworld, as we're still wondering which X-Man won't make it back (my money is on Kitty), still wondering if Colossus will take down the whole planet, and wondering if my boy Cyclops is going to get his visor back (let's hope!). While this is billed as the finale to the six-part arc, remember that Whedon is still penning the double-sized issue #25, in which the breakworld invades Earth, so the story isn't going to end quite yet. Oh, and did I mention that last issue is scheduled for APRIL?!?

Other highlights this week include Countdown #14 (for as crappy as it's been, we're going to see Prime vs. Monitors!), Teen Titans #55 (fallout from the future Titans in the last arc), Ultimate Fantastic Four #50 (Ultimate Thanos invading Earth!), and Ultimates 3 #2 (let's keep giving Loeb the benefit of the doubt for now).

Wednesday's comic release list

Here is your weekly Comic Book release list, hitting the shelves on Wednesday, highlighted by ASTONISHING X-MEN #24! (Yes, Marvel didn't forget about it!)

Follow THIS LINK to the Upstate Comics listing.

X-Men: Divided We Stand Clues

So, everything's been kept super hush-hush surrounding the X-Men's "Divided We Stand" fallout from "Messiah Complex," and things have been pretty hush-hush around Warren Ellis' upcoming Astonishing X-Men run.

Well, this is a clue for you. Or at least, it could be.

This is a poster solicited for April, drawn by Greg Land, with no explanation as to why this lineup, and only this lineup is included.

My guess? This is the new Astonishing cast.

Heath Ledger's death

So, there's obviously much to be said over the death of Heath Ledger, I am am not knowledgeable enough to even come close to be the person who should be reporting anything. However, I did find this excerpt from an AP story to be very interesting:

Ledger told The New York Times in a November interview that he ``stressed out a little too much'' during the Dylan film, and had trouble sleeping while portraying the Joker, whom he called a ``psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy.''

``Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night,'' Ledger told the newspaper. ``I couldn't stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going.'' He said he took two Ambien pills, which only worked for an hour, the paper said.

Obviously, nobody should be drawing any conclusions here, I just found this to be an interesting tidbit.

PS3 cheaper real soon?

Get a load of this rumor from Destructoid...

We could be seeing the 40 gigabyte PS3 for $299, as soon as January 29th!

Check THIS LINK for the full rumor.

This would be a huge coup for Sony to get their machine (complete with blu-ray player) down to such a low price point, just as some of their longer-awaited titles are set to roll (Metal Gear, LittlebigPlanet).

Stay tuned, PSfans!

Monday, January 21, 2008

This week's video game releases

Not too much coming out this week to be excited about... but for those of you who are just HUGE Bomberman fans, here's your weekly release list at THIS LINK.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Surgeons love Wii

Get a load of THIS LINK to Gamespot, which has a story about doctors who perform better in surgery after warming up with a Wii.

Personally, I would believe this all to be true, only because any hand-eye-coordination warm up would probably improve your performance... still, it's always cool to see something like the Wii applied to the real world.

What I want to know, though, is if all these surgeons are loving Wii, then why have we yet to see an adequate surgeon simulation for any system since the PC's "Life and Death"???

Don't even try to tell me "Trauma Center" or "Life Signs" are adequate simulations, either. I just started playing "Life Signs" on my DS and I am currently escorting a Japanese pop star around the hospital, evading his crazed fans. That's not surgery, Bub.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Saturday's Gaming in the Journal — NONCON

We're four weeks away from NonCon VIII, the Vassar College gaming convention.

In preparation for the weekend-long event (starting Feb. 22), we got a Vassar student named Dave Dunne to write a story on exactly what it is like for the students pulling together this gi-normous gaming, comic and anime blowout.

There's lots of pretty art of last year's NonCon too.

Oh, and we also have plenty of national video game news. Sorry poker and fantasy sports fans, this just isn't a busy time of year for you.

Buy Pile Report

You know how I was looking forward to Booster Gold #6's return of Ted Kord? Well, I wasn't disappointed. Ted is back (even though it's likely not for long) and, except for how shady future-Beetle is acting, it was a delightfully predictable issue.

In fact, it was the only thing predictable that I read this week

New X-Men #46 marked the penultimate installment of the "Messiah Complex" storyline... and I'm just not there with it. Sure, there were a couple of twists along the way (first Cable seemed bad, then Bishop seemed bad, then we took a trip to the future) ... but not too much has happened, outside of a giant group of mutants clashing on Muir Island -- oh, and Predator X was there too.

I want some answers, and fast. It all just feels so half-assed right now, a bunch of decent ideas (except for Predator X) all tossed together and sold as a whole story. I don't even truly feel like this battle is as enormous as it is made out to be, because the art has been horrendous. And I really don't yet see how all these writers were claiming this crossover would re-establish my boy Cyclops. A great last issue can definitely save "Messiah Complex" for me... but I don't quite see it happening.

Justice League #17 was surprising too -- and in a good way. One of the few interesting things to happen thus far in the endless string of "Countdown" crossovers has been "Salvation Run," so I don't mind at all that the Justice League is sticking their noses into it. In fact, I am now dying to see how Batman goes after Amanda Waller. As long as DC has given Alan Burnett enough jurisdiction to tell a story with DC-wide repercussions, this arc should be promising. And, if you are reading "Salvation Run," then you really should pick this book up.

And, for as much as I don't like Dwayne McDuffie's work, I have to admit that the Vixen backup story has me intrigued. I mean, damn, she is using Green Lantern power with no ring, how can you not be intrigued??? Of course, my opinion of McDuffie's work has always been grand ideas with no ability to fully realize them -- so hopefully he can break that mold.

By the way, Countdown #15 was surprising too. And yes, it did suck. But what surprised me was that, despite the suck (the fact that Val Armorr makes an appearance, the misleading cover, the lack of any illustration in the war between the Monitors and Monarch's Army), despite the suck, there were still enough good parts (Jason Todd, Donna Troy's fanboyish punchout, Mary Marvel on Paradise Island, Ray Palmer) to make me look forward to next week's issue. Three months from a climax, after all!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Upstate Comics' site is up and running

I dropped in on Upstate Comics on Route 9 in Freedom Plains today to pick up the weekly pile (I was in North Andover, Ma. yesterday with no comics store in sight!) and I found out that the store's Web site at THIS LINK is now fully functional.

The site has all the modern conveniences other online comics sites have, so go and check it out.

JLA Movie postponed

Yesterday, Variety reported the official news we were all expecting — the Justice League movie has been postponed. Check out the story HERE.

Personally, I am relieved for a number of reasons. First, I was no fan of some of the casting choices, and hopefully now we'll see a couple of the parts recast (i.e. Flash, Green Lantern). Second, this production was already sounding very confused, between the hush-hush casting and the fact that a good deal of people are under the impression that this film was going to look like live-action animation (like the Polar Express) and another good deal of people are denying that.

And third, because they HAVE NO SCRIPT!!!

Since when can you make any movie good with no script? I don't care how many special effects you have, if there's no script there's no quality. And don't you dare try to tell me that X-Men: The Last Stand was anything short of point-proving crap.

I'm dying to see a Justice League movie just like many of you are — but I want the RIGHT Justice League movie, not a franchise-killing wrong movie.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

This week's comic expectations

There's some real good stuff out this week. Still, there's only one book I'm anticipating like a kid on Christmas -- Booster Gold #6.

The first arc of the best book not enough people are reading comes to a close with this sixth issue, and it will feature Booster saving his best buddy Ted "Blue Beetle" Kord with the help of three other Blue Beetles from different times in history.

As much as I know this Resurrection is too good to be true, and it eventually will only serve to be a lesson for Booster in why not to mess with history, I am still eagerly awaiting more "Blue and Gold" old school action.

The other huge book out this week is New X-Men #46, the next part in the "Messiah Complex" event. This is a pivotal book, because right now this event is dangerously close to being a mess. There is so much going on, and most of it doesn't really feel like it's going anywhere important. Either that, or it just doesn't feel like it fits together. Either way, this issue will hopefully serve to answer some questions and bring the Bishop mystery or the Cable mystery or the Mystique mystery of the baby mystery or the "why the hell is Predator X here" mystery together.

On an unrelated X-Men note, New Exiles #1 comes out on Wednesday as well. This is a series that has been consistently good, featuring some of the more popular alternate reality mutants hoping from one reality to another fighting crime and having an overall good time. (I know, that's an overly simple description). If you're looking for a new series to jump on board from the start, give this book a try.

Finally, Justice League #17 comes out. And this book badly needs to get good soon. Since Brad Meltzer's departure and Dwayne McDuffie's taking the reins, this book has fallen off a table. The "Injustice League" arc was rushed and too cartoony. Issue #16, featuring the tangent universe, just felt like filler. We need a good issue, and fast. Good thing Alan Burnett is writing the main story this issue, we may finally get our wish!

This week's comic book release list

Vist Diamond Shipping at THIS LINK for this week's list of comic book releases...

What the hell, Spidey geeks?

OK, I just learned that the first issue of Spider-man's "Brand New Day" -- the first issue since the breakup of Peter Parker and Mary Jane cracked the Web world in half -- has sold out and will get a second printing.

To which I just have to ask, What the hell, Spidey geeks?

You bitch, you moan, you threaten Joe Quesada's life -- and then you go out and run their sales numbers through the roof? I know there was a curiosity factor with this issue, but all Marvel cares about from you is your wallet, not your opinions.

Speaking of which, get a load of THIS FICTIONAL GEM from ComicBookResources' "Comics Should Be Good!" blog.

You Lose, Spidey Geeks.

Debut of new X-Play

So, I don't think I've made any secret of my nerd-love of Morgan Webb or my guy-love of Adam Sessler. Ever since discovering Tech TV back in my sophomore year of college, I've been watching the dynamic duo of gaming deliver on-target, unbiased reviews with a humor normally lacking in the genre.

I've watched as Adam escorted his fish-friend around San Francisco and hated on Aquaman. I've watched Morgan chew out an intern for not saving after leveling up on Final Fantasy. I've even watched both of them perform in that horrible but hilarious X-Play Musical.

So, when I learned the show would be drastically changing its format, I was curious, but concerned. Not too much that G4 has changed about old-school Tech TV since the merger 4 years ago has been a change for the better. I still prefer "The Screen Savers" to "Attack of the Show" and still prefer "Call for Help" to anything else G4 has provided.

Still, I have to admit that the first episode of this new, live, five-day format was not too shabby. Clearly, there is a learning curve here, because transitions from one segment to the next were very choppy. And, we didn't exactly see any reviews.

But remember that this is not the time of the year when many new games are coming out, let alone worth reviewing. Also, remember that in the past, we only received three episodes a week, with new episodes for maybe 30 weeks out of the year. In this new format, we're bound to see less reviews per show, but I am guessing it will all even out.

And many of my fears for this new format were certainly alleviated after the "Mass Effect"/"The Office" spoof. It told me that we're still going to get much of the old humor we've come to know and love from the show -- even if its not as campy as it used to be (I miss the fat Canadian!).

All in all, I'm not sold on this new format just yet, but I have a very open mind to see how good this show can now become.

Another 'Smash Bros.' delay

So, I've been out all day, and am just now getting around to catching up on the days' gaming news and watching my Grizzlies host the Cavaliers (Juan Carlos Navarro is my new hero), and I came across this piece of troubling news:

Long awaited Wii title "Super Smash Bros. Brawl" has been delayed another month, this time to March 9.

What the hell, guys? How long does it take to add new controls and Internet play to the same game you made 10 years ago? It's not like this game is all that different than it ever was.

By the way, LeBron James is good. Mighty Mike Miller better D-up.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

IGN Retro

Big News that I'm only just now getting around to posting. A couple of days ago,, one of the best gaming sites out there, launched a new section to the site called IGN Retro. You can find it at THIS LINK.

Now, so far this site does not have all too much new content. It has wrangled all of the IGN "History of..." articles and plenty of game reviews from the Wii Virtual Console reviews or the XBox Live reviews — but just imagine the possibilities a site like this could hold for Retro Gaming lovers like myself.

... OK, I can't really think of much other than posting some cheats, videos and plenty of nostalgia... but still, I am excited for this site's birth.

Keith Gifffen's One More Joke

If you've spent any time reading this blog, you know I've loved Keith Giffen's work since his JLI days.

Well, head this THIS LINK at to read his latest gem, a take on Spider-man's "One More Day."

Other than having just a few too many impotency jokes for my taste (we get it, Keith, Girls don't like guys with that problem!), this is one damn great list.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Saturday's Gaming in the Journal

On the topic of "Better late than Never" (see last post) this week's Gaming page features a review of a game that actually was out at the end of October, but it's an interesting enough title that I thought a review was still interesting: "EA Playground." Yes, as it sounds, it's a mini-game collection with schoolyard games like Dodgeball and Tetherball and Volleyball.

We also have a column on where the future of Xbox is headed.

All of this is on page 4C in Saturday's Journal, so pick it up!

Buy Pile Report

Yes, the Report is a little late this week... OK, a lot late. And, frankly I have no good excuse. So take it or leave it, haha.

And that marks the first time in the history of this blog that I have resorted to the use of typing "haha." I won't go into what I really wanted to type, haha.

There I go again, damnit.

Anyway, Despite all the hubub surrounding 'Brand New Day," Tomasi on Nightwing and the newer, redder Hulk, it was a light week for me. Don't get me wrong, this was a real deep week, but plenty of the books that intrigued me (The Twelve #1, Nightwing #140) is the stuff that'll I'll buy and read as a TPB if I hear it was any good. Maybe that's why I've been so lackadaisical putting up this post? Who knows.

Anyway, Green Lantern Corps. #20 led my list this week, and while it was good and while it does setup what promises to be a killer Mongul storyline (which we have to wait three issues for), this book was mostly a very solid character driven issue examining Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner's current mental states and their future plans. While not the most exciting book of all time, it is a welcome respite from the hectic war that we just witnessed. And for someone who grew up reading Guy Gardner in the old Justice League International days, it's always interesting to read an older, more mellow Guy.

Salvation Run #3 also did not fail to disappoint, with two factions of villains splitting off, one led by Joker and one led by Lex Luthor. This book is nothing but entertainment, especially when you consider that, even Joker is not dumb enough to decide to go off on his own instead of help Luthor try to escape the planet, but it is so entertaining you really don't care. This mini is three issues in and four to go, there is still time to jump on board!

Finally, X-Factor #27. More and more, I don't know what to think of "Messiah Complex." I'm still digging it, but this issue, once again, got deeper and deeper into the idea of the future people knowing what needs to happen regarding this baby. And it just isn't working for me. For one, Bishop's future was supposed to have been erased, and even if it wasn't, we're supposed to believe he went this entire time since "M-Day" without telling anyone something was going to happen? And Cable, his future was just so much different than Bishops, how could he too know all about what has to happen with this kid? Oh, and on an unrelated note from the Future -- what the heck is "Predator X's" role in all of this? I am quickly losing faith in this event having an acceptable resolution.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

This Week's Comic Expectations

With so much going on this week -- and so much of it simply being first issues of something with no real expectations -- we're going to use the lightning round format this week for the Expectations...

And there is no more perfect book to begin with than...

Amazing Spider-man #546: It's the start of Peter Parker's "Brand New Day," and the start of this thrice monthly shipping schedule. Personally, I am opposed to this book and refuse to pick it up, simply based on the fact that I don't Marvel to be monetarily rewarded for shoddy storytelling. Even the mysteries and curiosities of Peter's current situation are not appealing to me, because I feel like Marvel has set themselves up with the ability to do anything they want in Spidey's life right now, and just blame magic. But, if you're a fan of the Web Head, you don't have too much choice in this matter, do you?

Hulk #1: Another Brand New Day of sorts, as nobody really knows why Hulk is now Red or what is going on since "World War Hulk." With Jeph Loeb writing, the story probably won't be horrible, but that's about all we know right now.

X-Factor #27: "Messiah Complex" rolls on, and now the question is, what is Cable's true motivation and how is the Professor going to help. The better question is, why the hell is Predator X in this damn story? But I digress. I'll be picking this up, no doubt.

The Twelve #1: J.M.S. writes the first part of a maxi-series, placing some of World War Two's greatest heroes in the 21st Century, struggling to find their way. Personally, this not only sounds exactly like Alex Ross' upcoming Avengers series, but it also sounds a lot like the main backstory of Captain America. Give it a shot, or, if you're like me, wait to hear if it is good or not, and then buy the Hardcover.

Green Arrow/Black Canary #4: It sure does look like Connor Hawke is going to die in this one. More than that, it looks like his death may be tied in to Countdown (what isn't?). If you are a fan of the Arrow-slinging family in the DCU, this is a must-read for you.

Green Lantern Corps. #20: The "Sinestro Corps. War" may be over, but this book may be worth hanging around for this month, since Mongul has himself a brand-new ring (and no, his longtime on-again, off-again girlfriend Christina Aguileria has not proposed). I am sticking around in the Green Lantern World from here on out, or until the stories start to stink again.

Nightwing #140: Much like the Hulk this week, all you really need to know, or can know, about this issue is that Peter Tomasi makes his return to the series, and everything that man writes has turned to gold lately.

Salvation Run #3: This is a great great great mini-series, folks. Almost on Par with the Black Adam mini. A deserted and dangerous planet full of villains -- anything can happen and often does. Trust me on this one.

This Week's Comic Book release list

Again, we thank our friends at Diamond Shipping for this week's release list, CLICK HERE.

And, boy oh boy, after a slow week last week, the comics world is back with a vengeance.

This Week's video game release list

Here we go with another subtle change in 2008... instead of me typing in all of these new releases every week, I'll be linking you to an equally reputable site's list of new games, GameSpot.

So, CLICK HERE for the release list.

But, honestly, is anyone really looking to buy anything new so soon after the Holiday Season's Gaming binge? Thought not.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

My Beef with American Gladiators (the new one)

I was none too happy about what I saw on the premiere of NBC's new "American Gladiators." However, since that subject really doesn't fit on this blog, my buddy Poughkeepsie Journal Pro Wrestling Blogger Phil Strum invited me to guest blog on his.

So go to THIS LINK to read my rant. I miss Mike Adamle.

Texas: Don't mess with Xbox Live

OK, I just found THIS on and frankly, you should be ashamed of yourself, Texas.

Three Texas residents filed a lawsuit against Microsoft for all the Xbox Live troubles of late — and the total sum sought is OVER FIVE MILLION.

Boys, boys, boys. Come on now. This is a subscription service that costs as low as four bucks a MONTH and it was out for THREE DAYS. Meaning that for a problem that cost each of us about FORTY CENTS, these Texans want FIVE MILLION.

I guess everything really is bigger in Texas.

There I was hoping for some simple compensation like a free month of service. I was OK with this "free game soon" junk. Guess us Northerners just think too small.

Friday, January 4, 2008

In Saturday's Gaming page

So, this week it's a good news/bad news situation with the Gaming page (Page 5C in Saturday's Poughkeepsie Journal Sports section).

The good news is, we have a full page, with a column on the best games to look forward to in 2008, news on Xbox Live's free game offering, and a 2007 fantasy football season wrapup column.

Great stuff, right?

The bad news is, the page is in black and white. In fact, the page will be in black and white for the foreseeable future. If you have a problem with that, contact your local congressman. I wish I could fix it, but I cannot.

Happy reading!

McDufffie must be replaced on JLA

I'm going to give you all an excerpt from a ComicBookResources interview with Dwayne McDuffie on his upcoming JLA run, and I don't even know what to say about it since it's just so damned confusing.

"The writer said that like his work with the hero Vixen, it's great to tell stories of villains like Ultra-Humanite, Despero and Per Degaton, who are not household names like Lex Luthor and the Joker. "I think, again, what's fun is, we haven't seen those three come up against the Justice League and certainly not together, and rarely at all. I don't think people know what to expect from them. Certainly, their motivations are very different than anything we have seen before from Justice League villain. I think this will surprise people," explained McDuffie, who added that he had no discussions with the book's former writer Brad Meltzer in terms of what his plans were for the three-headed monster.

"I had no idea where he was going with those guys," laughed McDuffie. "I just picked up stuff where it was and kind of decided where to go. You'd really have to ask Brad. There's a lot of stuff, he didn't get to in his run. People were fans of the characters showing up in the book, so I felt I owed it to them and to Brad to pick it up and run with it."

And what of the trio's recent reveal in "Booster Gold" #5?

"I actually haven't read that yet so I better," laughed McDuffie. "Oh, I better check and make sure that meshes because I didn't know that." "

Honestly ——— What the Hell? Pick up a phone, Dwayne!

Buy Pile Report

So, as I said, I wasn't picking up much today. In fact, I think this is the first time in two years that I was able to pay in cash instead of my old friend Mr. Plastic.

Come to think of it, the only two books I bought were the two weeklies I read, Countdown (yes, I am a glutton for punishment) and Messiah Complex (which is weekly for another four weeks).

And Part 10 of Messiah Complex, Uncanny X-Men #494, certainly ups the ante, which I don't mind at all. Frankly, I had started to feel like there were no twists up Marvel's sleeve at all in this event, so seeing that last week's final page surprise of Bishop shooting Cable was not simply a final page stunt certainly piqued my interest.

Not only is Bishop now the renegade factor in this series, for some reason wanting to off Li'l Baby Genejoke, but we also see that he's around in that desolate future Jamie and Layla are stuck in. Does this future actually mesh with what we already know of Bishop's future? I don't know. But, I am not going to geek-out and examine that until after I'm done enjoying this crossover.

You also have to be intrigued by Professor X's new part to play in this whole fiasco. Here's hoping the writers are not going to pull a "Professor knows best" ending. All in all, this event is chugging along nicely.

Countdown #17 was not quite as smooth as Uncanny was this week. Don't get me wrong, it was not a bad issue, it certainly had a lot of action and a lot of plot development — in both the Palmer plot and the Mary Marvel story — but the entire time I was reading it I just kept asking myself "Where the hell did this stuff come from?"

I don't mind at all this whole Bob-the-Monitor double-cross, I in fact find it to be rather creative... but it all just happened so abruptly and confusingly. The entire scene I was wondering if that villainous Monitor was Bob or Solomon. I guess that's the problem with using soooooo many characters who look exactly alike.

I also don't mind the idea of all these monitors having to deal with Monarch's Bleed Army — but this entire idea was built up in a Countdown spinoff miniseries, not at all in Countdown proper. This had better not be a large part of this "Final Crisis," because if I am going to shell out $156 for all 52 issues of Countdown, I better damn well get all the important facts in it.

As I said this was not such a bad issue, but if you've read the first 34 of these things, you're going to wonder why some of this stuff is going on. You'll probably enjoy this issue more if you are one of the smart ones who only started buying Countdown recently, with the "Final Crisis" now just around the corner.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New comics release list

Remember when I said I would be making some small changes to the blog? Well here's one of them — instead of retyping the list of comic book releases each week, I'm just going to link you to them through Diamond Shipping.

So, here it is at THIS LINK.

There's not too much to read this week, but a little later I'll come back with a look at what I'll be buying.

The Beef on Spider-man's 'One More Day'

The conclusion to Marvel's four-part Spider-man "One More Day" storyline ended last week, erasing Peter Parker's marriage to Mary Jane Watson from the history of the Marvel Universe. Peter made a deal with the devil — literally — and the couple decided that in order to save Aunt May's life, they were willing to have their relationship erased from history.

The story is over... but the drama isn't, and there is no end in sight.

Before I give my thoughts, here are a couple of interesting links: Read Marvel Editor in Chief Joe Quesada's thoughts on the whole matter at THIS LINK , the third part of a five part interview on (parts one and two are also on the site, with four and five on the way). In response to Quesada's third interview, writer J.M. Straczynski sent his thoughts to at THIS LINK. JMS, of course, made public his desire to have his name removed from the series' third and fourth parts, and he's still not happy with how Marvel treated him and treated the story itself.

And frankly, I agree with what JMS is saying on Newsarama 100%. Regardless of whether you wanted MJ and Peter together forever, this story is much much too sloppy. Particularly, this is what I mean, taken from his post on Newsarama:

JMS: "How do you explain that?"

Marvel: "It's magic, we don't have to explain it."

I was just in Upstate Comics today in Freedom Plains, talking with store owner Brian DiStefano, and I was telling him how this storyline reminded me of that Simpsons episode where Lucy Lawless tells Bart and Lisa that when something in Sci-Fi doesn't make sense, you just say "A Wizard did it."

It was ridiculously funny on the show, and for years my friends and I would use that when watching really stupid Sci-Fi stuff. Well, today JMS told the world that Marvel didn't give a damn about making their story make sense, they were happy to have "a Wizard do it."

The story makes no sense.

The motivation for the story makes no sense, because May is an elderly lady who would want her nephew to be happy, and Peter is a bright enough guy to know that May could die of old age any minute.

The execution for the story doesn't work, because if May was hanging on for so many days, Peter would have ample time to find a healer (there are hundreds in the Marvel U!) to save her. Just because Marvel showed Peter going to desperate lengths, it doesn't mean he was going to the right desperate lengths.

The resolution to the story doesn't work, because there are too many loopholes. If Peter wasn't with MJ, then EVERYTHING in the Marvel Universe would have been different from the moment changed forward, since Spider-man has been involved with damn near every major event ever.

This "Brand New Day" for me, doesn't work, since this whole "One More Day" story spent so much time telling us the absence of his marriage would keep Peter deep-down miserable emotionally, and Mephisto would get what he wanted... Then how are we going to believe the newly single Peter Parker in "Brand New Day" is the happy-go-lucky character of his youth??? The devil wouldn't make this deal if Peter was now going to be happy.

Oh, and Joe Quesada's defense also doesn't work for me. He says in one of these ComicBookResources interviews that he felt justified changing Peter and MJ's marriage because the Wedding was only ever a publicity stunt Marvel pulled, to scoop the Newspaper strip's plan to marry the two. That part is true. BUT, if that is your justification, then why did you just spend four issues going on and on and on and on with the Devil constantly talking about how Peter and MJ's love is the most pure kind in the universe??? That doesn't sound like a publicity stunt to me, it sounds like bad storytelling.

All this story was, was a means for Joe Quesada to use his authority and get what he wanted so publicly for so long — a single Peter Parker swinging through Marvel's pages once again. Apparently Joey Q doesn't read the Ultimate Universe titles.

The 4400 - DEAD

Nobody likes returning to work after a vacation. My buddy Michael Woyton, of the PoJo's Pets Blog fame, didn't make it any easier today when he alerted me that "The 4400," a favorite show of both of ours, is now officially canceled.

Here on the Gaming Geek blog, we of course chronicled each episode as it came out last summer and were eagerly awaiting (hoping for) a fifth season. I then hit the 4400 message boards for the first time in a while and found THIS MESSAGE from Ira Stephen Behr (the show's showrunner).

So, yes, it's official. Unfortunately, as I told Mr. Woyton, I'm not real surprised. For as excellent as the show was, it was losing viewers for the last two seasons, and its serial nature did not encourage any new ones.

I highly encourage anyone that never saw this show to go out and pickup the DVDs (I'm hoping Season Four's is released at some point). I don't say this because I'm one of those dreamers hoping against hope for the show to suddenly get picked up again, I'm saying this because its simply a great show that anyone would enjoy if given a chance.

A Gaming Geek Christmas

So, while I was on sabbatical (I'm calling it a sabbatical since I don't want to admit to just being damn lazy), the holidays happened. And yours truly doesn't just celebrate Christmas, he loves it like a newborn puppy.

And, of the many video games exchanged during the holiday (12 games in all among the three gamers in my family, not to mention the DS I bought for the Li'l Sis), there was one in particular I wanted to make mention of here.

And no, I'm not going to talk about the joys of Curling on Wii's new "Winter Sports" game.

The game that was actually enjoyed most by my family was "Smarty Pants," the first true trivia title for Wii.

It's not the most polished game you can ask for, with no Mario Party-esque game board or cartoony game show presentation, but the trivia itself is the perfect mix of easy first-to-buzz-gets-it questions and more difficult you-gotta-know-your-stuff questions.

All in all it made for 3 hours of cut-throat trivia between my siblings and soon-to-join-through-marriage family members. And, not that I really need to brag about it, but I did win four of the five games.

Honestly, "Smarty Pants" is a fantastic addition to the Wii's library of party games, and can be found for as cheap as $30 at this point. It sure beats some other Wii titles — "Game Party," that means you!

Dedicated in 2008

OK, so I'll make this short but meaningful, much like a Gummi Bear or Verne Troyer.

I was away for a month. I'm back now.

As you likely know from reading this blog religiously, being the Gaming Geek is part of my job at the Poughkeepsie Journal. Unfortunately, that means that when things get busy for me here, other things get neglected. And once you start to neglect something, it's easy to completely forget about it when the choice you have at 3 a.m. is sleeping or blogging.

Anyway, it's 2008, and though I'm not one for resolutions, I'm back and am going to try to be better than ever. Some things will be different this time around, others will be the same, so stay tuned if you want to talk comics and video games.