Wednesday, February 27, 2008

This week's comic expectations

So, we're going to make this short and sweet, because I really should not have to tell you why you want most of these books this week -- and there are PLENTY of them.

From DC we have Justice Society #13 leading the way, the next installment of the "Thy Kingdom Come" arc, which has featured new Society members (including Kingdom Come Superman) and a mysterious killer that seems to be Gog. Look for A LOT more action in this issue than we've seen in a while. Geoff Johns is much too good of a writer to let so many low-key issues pass before having an absolute explosion of action, and this should be it.

DC also features Action Comics #862, the penultimate (geek word) chapter of the Legion of Superheroes arc. Basically, the evil Justice League of Earth, which has turned the original Legion into outlaws by convincing people Superman was actually from Earth all along, has the remaining Legion members (plus Supes) under siege -- which means we should see a little bit of a comeback from the good guys in this one.

Marvel also has two very good books coming out, and the first of which has been an absolute juggernaut consistently for the past few years: Captain America #35. Bucky has officially taken over the mantle of Captain America, and last issue's debut was honestly one of the greatest singular superhero comics I've ever read. But, now that the debut has been made, Buck still has to handle the Red Skull, who, when we last left him, had just commanded his brainwashed SHIELD soldiers to open fire on America Citizens. Not cool, Skull. Not cool.

The second book I would highly recommend this week is Ultimate Fantastic Four #51. Yes, I know, Ultimate books should never really be suggested -- but this story features Ultimate Thanos, and Mike Carey has done a great job so far letting this confrontation cook slowly. I'll be the first to admit that this series is a mere shell of what it could have been, but last issue's first part of this story arc was simply the start of a great Fantastic Four story, not an Ultimate Fantastic Four story alone. And who can turn down a great story with Marvel's First Family?

Oh, and to be perfectly honest with you, I still don't exactly know what to expect out of Project Superpowers #1, even after reading the special #0 released a couple of weeks ago, but don't forget that that title is coming out this week too. The Indies can so easily get overlooked, after all.

Wednesday's comic release list

Visit THIS LINK for the listings (with pictures!) of this week's releases. LOTS of good stuff to peruse.

That's right, I just used the word "Peruse," you wanna make something of it? So, I didn't want to use the term "look at," so I wanted to be fancy for a change. Sometimes you need Dijon instead of classic yellow. Get off my back!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Justice League: The New Frontier on DVD

Just reminding everyone that today's the day the new "Justice League: The New Frontier" DVD is out.

Of course, the movie, which comes in both one and two disc sets, is based on Darwyn Cooke's outstanding series depicting the Justice League's (and other heroes') origin against a 1950's and 1960's backdrop.

If you haven't read it, I would definitely suggest reading it before the movie.

I just got back from best buy, where the two-disc set is packaged with a little two-inch Green Lantern figure in the mold of the DC Direct New Frontier GL figure. I'll cherish it always.

Later on after I get a chance to watch the film, I'll have a review up. Plus, I'll also have the regular buy pile report and whatnot. For now I'm off to Northeast Massachusetts for Merrimack College women's basketball!

Turning Point: Fall of Liberty Demo

So, as embarrassing as it is to admit, I did not even know Xbox released a demo for "Turning Point: Fall of Liberty" until today. Actually I found out in, of all places, a Barnes and Noble. There was a demo disc attached to one of the Xbox magazines promoting the demo and I said to myself "Wait a minute... if there's a demo on this magazine, then must there be one on Xbox Live???"

Well, there is, so I just now downloaded the 1.2 gig demo, pulled myself away from "D2: The Mighty Ducks" on HBO (Ducks Fly Together!), and gave the game a whirl, in preparation for the game's release tomorrow (or for most of you readers, today... I stay up too late...)

And I noticed two things immediately about this game.

1) Even though the graphics are not quite what you would expect from a current first-person shooter, the game does a great job depicting the German invasion of New York City. Bombers, Hindenbergs, Nazis spouting off real live Nazi talk -- and you, as a lowly construction worker without a gun, are caught in the middle of this invasion. Its fantastic.

2) I was reminded of just how horrible I am at shooters. This demo can only be played on the Easy and Normal levels, and let me tell you, I struggled like hell to play the Normal level. In part, this is because of the game itself. While new enemies will more times than not appear in the same spots each time you play a scene, once they enter the fray they act unpredictably. You cannot take your time handling the enemies, because before you know it they will advance on you and gang up.

Now, is that enemy activity all that original? Nah. Are the graphics that hot? Not too much. Still, you have to love the storyline. And, generic shooter + great storyline = a good game in my book. I'm pretty excited for this title -- now if only I could improve above marginal skill at shooters in general, I'd be all set.

On a related note, I'm reminded right now of just why the "Halo" games are so damned popular -- because even talentless schmucks like me can muddle their way through a campaign and feel somewhat accomplished. I don't think the Nazis are going to be as forgiving to me.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

This week's video game releases

Click on THIS LINK to see the weekly list of video game releases... Am I the only one excited for "Turning Point: Fall of Liberty"?

Free XNA games available — until Tuesday

Don't miss your chance in the next couple of days to sign on to Xbox Live and download the "XNA Creators Club Game Launcher." Microsoft is only allowing users to download the "Game Launcher" until Tuesday, and you will need to download it before you can play any of the FREE XNA games Microsoft is offering.

Just in case you missed the original news, as part of the new XNA user-created games initiative that will kick off in a few months, Microsoft uploaded SEVEN FREE XNA games to Xbox Live that you can download and play until March 9 — but you'll need to download the "Game Launcher" first. SO DOWNLOAD BY TUESDAY!

And let me tell you folks, I was skeptical about the kinds of games I would see available — after all, an amateur game is an amateur game, even if you're using the XNA software, right?

Wrong. Some of these games are pretty darned good, and most are more original than anything you're going to find behind a plastic case at Wal-Mart. The only game I've really played a lot of so far is "Dishwasher" (a 2-D game in which you are a samurai dishwasher who has to chop up an INSANE amount of bad guys) — and I love the game. Picture "Viewtiful Joe" with more blood.

In Saturday's Gaming page, I am likely going to have a full review on all the games, which you should try and which you shouldn't. Until then, make sure to DOWNLOAD the GAME LAUNCHER BY TUESDAY so you can enjoy these games like I am.

No more HD DVD Xbox 360

Wars don't end cleanly, there's always an aftermath. This is one bit of that:

We just heard over the 'ole wire that Microsoft will stop producing HD DVD players for the Xbox 360.

For a couple of years now, the company has offered an HD DVD peripheral to hook up to your Xbox 360, but with blu-ray now the definitive winner of the next-gen DVD wars, even Microsoft is packing up shop.

What's funny about this is, it was only a few weeks ago that Microsoft dropped the price on the player in an effort to boost sales of the whole line of HD DVD products. Well, apparently that was a last-ditch effort.

Now, rumor mill, I officially proclaim you can start churning out those Blu-Ray 360 rumors.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Spore on DS

I warned you all that I would be picking and choosing which of the MOUNTAIN of GDC 2008 info I make mention of, and since I am on a major Nintendo DS kick of late, I wanted to pass along THIS LINK. has a look at the DS verison of Will Wright's "Spore," and the handheld version looks to be everything we could have asked for.

A much smaller-scale game than the impending PC Goliath, in "Spore: Creatures" you play as a singular tiny little creature making his way across the wilderness of one very crazy planet. It's kind of like Lemmywinks... you know, the South Park hamster who ventured into that guy's you-know-what. OK, it's a lot cleaner than Lemmywinks...

Anywho, you venture across the planet, fighting some creatures along the way and befriending others. And, in a very Legend of Zelda-sounding way, when you accomplish certain tasks, you evolve into a higher-level creature.

As I said, I am STOKED for this game, supposedly dropping in September. I think it will be closer to December, given "Spore's" inability to hit its target dates, but as along as it is out in the next 12 months I'll be happy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Buy Pile Report

Remember how I said this week's crop of books was solid, without any heavy hitters? Well the solid books all seemed to take a step up this week.

Not the least of which was Justice League of America #18. Alan Burnett absolutely knocked his main story in this issue out of the park, making the issue the best one since Brad Meltzer left the book. Honestly, Burnett's first two stories as fill-in writer, dealing with the JLA's reaction to finding out about the 'Salvation Run' planet, have been a thrill and have felt like a seemless transition from Meltzer's great run.

Well, seem-less if you forget about the four horrific issues regular writer Dwayne McDuffie wrote in-between. Speaking of McDuffie, after Burnett's main story dealing with the JLA giving villains asylum and the Suicide Squad invading the JLA Watchtower, McDuffie wrote a short backup story that completely changes the Red Tornado's character forever.

In the space of eight pages, McDuffie makes it so Reddy will essentially be a super-powered robotic human, who can feel and touch just like anyone else, only repairs himself when he gets hurt. Umm... isn't the thing that makes Reddy unique the fact that he is a robot living as a man and NOT A MAN? Oh, and he also discusses the dangers in doing this with his wife for about 2 panels. Real heartfelt. It felt like the kind of fast-food level storytelling you would find on a cartoon. Oh wait, isn't that where McDuffie came from?

Honestly, DC, can you just fire McDuffie already and let us have Alan Burnett full time?

Even better than JLA, though, was Countdown to Final Crisis #10. YES, COUNTDOWN! There are just so many moments that will drop your jaw — from Mary Marvel's return, to Karate Kid's "death," to Granny Goodness' demise, to Brother Eye becoming Apocalypse! Now, I cannot stand Brother Eye, but seeing him become a planet is awfully neat.

To be perfectly honest, I am loving Countdown now. In fact, my only nitpick with it nowadays is that it's looking like this cast of characters from Countdown is not going to impact "Final Crisis" one bit — and really, what the hell was DC Counting down to with this cast in the first place if they are not involved with the finale?

Also hitting the ball out of the park this week is Death of the New Gods #6. The penultimate chapter features some awe-inspiring artwork to go with the titanic death of Orion (come on, you knew it was coming!) and the revelation (finally!) of who the killer is.

Next month's issue should be a satisfying conclusion — and the best part is that I really still have no idea how it will all wrap up. I know we've heard that only one New God will survive, and I know Darkseid has been our narrator for some time — but I just have the feeling that DC has something up their sleeves on this finale.

Finally, the only Marvel book I picked up this week was Ultimate X-Men #91, because Ultimate Apocalypse debuted. And the question was, would the coolness that is Apocalypse translate into an actually readable Ultimate X-Men story?

Well, X-Men fans, jump on board to this story now. It's not perfectly done, but Ultimate Apocalypse is pretty sweet. He has the ability to control mutants' minds and powers, and through controlling one mutant, he can control all other mutants that that mutant has come into contact with (Yeah, I know, it doesn't make much sense... still it's cool! ... oh, and doesn't that sound like those old AIDS adds?)

Next issue Professor X and Cable will be taking a swing at ole' A-Poc, so you may want to pick this book up, at least for the next few issues.

Pregnancy and spousal murder in FABLE 2

There is way too much great news to blog about everything coming out of the GDC this week, but this really caught my eye today from at THIS LINK...

Hands on impressions with FABLE 2, which go into hefty detail on what you can and cannot do in the game.

You can get knocked up as a female hero, or do the knocking as a male.

You can, apparently, eat food in front of your starving children, and leave you starving spouse home alone caring for the kid while you go out and carouse.

You cannot kill your spouse... But your hired muscle can.

This is shaping up to be one screwed up and incredible sounding game!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

This week's comic expectations

So, it should be a solid week, with several strong titles, but nothing really looks like it will blow us away.

From Marvel, I'm looking for two titles in specific:

1) Hulk #2: Listen to this news on Red Hulk, from writer Jeph Loeb in a USA Today story: "The Red Hulk is the kind of Hulk we haven’t seen before — a thinking, calculating, brutal weapon-toting kind of Hulk. Everything the Green Hulk isn’t, the Red Hulk is."

Umm... Jeph... Hulk has been like that before. He's been all sorts of things, smart, dumb, gray, weapons user... I respect you and all, man, but that's really one of the dumbest things any creator has said in a while, unless you plan on backing your talk up with a truly unique issue this week.

2) Ultimate X-Men #91: For as useless as the Ultimate Universe has been lately, you still have to get stoked at the idea of Ultimate Apocolypse. He just made his first appearance last issue, and we also have th Ultimate Phoenix that might rear her head, so this new storyline might be worth reading. Or, it might be crap. It is the Ultimate Universe, after all.

DC actually has a lot more than Marvel to like this week, including the Brave and the Bold #10, which is always solid, and Countdown to Final Crisis #10, which has just been heating up more and more. Still, two books in particular stand out for me with them as well.

1) Death of the New Gods #6: This mini has just built bigger and bigger since that jaw-dropping first issue that killed off Big Barda. In No. 5, Orion was accused of being the murderer, Mr. Miracle went absolutely nuts and is all set to fight Superman — and, oh, did I mention the ACTUAL killer was already found by Metron and he is pretty darned confident?

2) Justice League of America #18: For as horrible as this title has been since Dwayne McDuffie took the reins, this current story arc (not coincidentally not written by McDuffie) about the JLA finding out about the 'Salvation Run' Island and being none-too-happy about it is not only an interesting idea, but also its been pretty well executed so far.

Wednesday's comic releases

HERE is your list for this week's comic book releases.

Some very strong DC titles this week, to go with RED HULK in Hulk #2.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

This week's video game releases

Click THIS LINK for your weekly video game release list.

The big title this week? "CABAL Online," The MMO where you pretend to be Madonna, converting everyone to your kooky religion.

What? That's Kabbalah? Then what the hell is Cabal?

Screw it, just buy "FIFA Street 3."

Friday, February 15, 2008

Guitar Hero: Aerosmith

Umm... yeah... apparentlty "Guitar Hero: Aerosmith," is coming out in June.

The game will not only be a "Guitar Hero" game, but also a role-playing game, as you ride the band's road to the top. I'm hoping they show the part where Aerosmith guest-starred on "Wayne's World," that was hilarious. We'll have a full story in Saturday's Gaming page.

But, am I the only one who think we've had just about enough of the same game? Granted, this one adds a certain RPG aspect to the mix, but after "Guitar Hero," "Guitar Hero 2," "Guitar Hero 3," and "Rock Band," do we really need yet another rhythm music game? And one that has only one band's songs, no less?

Maybe it's just that this game was dirt cheap to produce given it looks like it just uses the same old "Guitar Hero 3" programming, but is there really THAT BIG of a Market for this game?

Maybe I'm just an old fart who spends too much time with a DS and not enough time with an axe. All I know is, I aint' buyin'!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Grant Morrison spills beans on "Final Crisis" has a GREAT interview with Grant Morrison up at THIS LINK, talking about the upcoming "Final Crisis."

Get a load of this quote from Grant, who I still hold a little grudge against for the whole Cyclops/Jean Grey breakup thing:

Well, for me, the great thing about this story is that the New Gods themselves are out of the picture. The idea is that the war between the gods has been won, and evil has won, and evil has now come to Earth to enact its revenge against every living thing. So it’s essentially good versus evil, and that’s what the story is all about.

In previous cases where the heroes of the DCU have faced Darkseid, they’ve had the powers and the technology of the New Gods to help them…this time they’re alone against absolute overwhelming cosmic evil.

So from there, it’s quite easy to get into the mind of characters like Darkseid and Granny Goodness and Desaad, because they represent human potentials for nastiness taken to the extreme. You know, we’ve all got a little bit of that in us, but the evil gods are mainlining the bad stuff. So it’s just kind of ramping that up to the max and letting them loose.

They’re very easy characters to work with, because they just represent something so primal and so basic that it’s classic. It’s pure evil, and how often do you see pure evil in comics these days? Things have gotten so gray – the lines between heroes and villains have gotten so blurred and ambiguous. We thought, “let’s take it all back to what superhero comics are all about and go big.”
My jaw literally dropped when reading this. It's like the old "Super Powers" series — only Badass.

Buy Pile Report

Life and work intruded keeping the Buy Pile off of the 'ole Gaming Geek blog up until now, but the post waits no longer.

OK, in all honesty, I'm exhausted right now, so I'm going to do this short, sweet, and to the point, in no particular order.

First off — remember all that good stuff I had to say about Tiny Titans? Well forget it. Tiny Titans #1 proved to be nothing like what I was hoping for. This wasn't Mini-Marvels, it was Nick Jr. Check that, Nick Jr. is too grown up for Tiny Titans. I don't know what age group DC was aiming for on this, but they missed.

Fantastic Four #544 was a mixed bag. I am intrigued by the storyline. The idea of Reed getting involved with this second Earth, "where we will go when the Earth dies," is LOADED with possibilities, and I would expect nothing less from Mark Millar. The subtle touches Bryan Hitch brought to this issue were great too. At the same time, Johnny Storm was nothing but a stereotype, Reed was nothing like the evolved man of the 21st century he has turned out to be, and I don't know how a writer that claims to be such a huge fan of these characters can continually try so hard not to write them accurately.

I actually re-read all of the Justice League International issues right up and through "Zero Hour" recently, so reading Booster Gold #0 was a little thrill. I do stress little. For a "crossover issue," this had very little "Zero Hour" in it. What it did have was great interpersonal writing from Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz, and not so good storyline writing. The whole time-travel thing got a bit confusing in this one, and I don't know why anyone would be surprised that time changed so drastically now that Beetle is alive.

I was pleasantly surprised by X-Force #1. I don't like Wolverine. I don't like the 1990's blood/action-first style that this book seems to belong to. But Wolverine seemed like a three-dimensional character in this one, and the art style was perfect for a book like this one. I don't at all agree that Cyclops would ever make this team or treat Laura (X-23) like he is treating her, but for now I'm giving this book the benefit of the doubt.

Green Lantern Corps. #21 really was not a bad book. — a story about the most prominent of these new "Alpha Lanterns," showing how the humanity has been stripped from her. However, this fill-in-writer story came at the wrong time for the series. It had just used that post-Sinestro War popularity to push the book into a higher-echelon in the DCU, and now they risk losing those new readers. Hopefully the newbies don't stop buying the book waiting around for Guy Gardner and Kyle to come back into the fold.

That's it for me this week! I'm sleeeeeepy.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

This week's comic expectations

I think there are just two books that have really caught mainstream attention this week, and they couldn't be more different.

The first, and most child-friendly book I'm pretty sure I've ever previewed, is Tiny Titans #1.

Yes, the Tiny Titans, you heard me. Call me crazy, but I don't think I am the only one who is really expecting this book to be a light-hearted smash hit.

Remember the Mini-Marvels? Those Peanuts-esque Marvel heroes you just can't get enough of, since they only have about one strip a month? Well that's what this is, only Titans-centric and MUCH more of it.

I'm not sure if this idea is going to get old fast, but I really am looking forward to seeing what this first issue will do. From what I've read, each issue has several different 4-6 page stories, so we'll get a good sense of what to expect from this series in a hurry.

At worst, this will be a great book to buy your first-grader just learning to read. At best, I really think this book might appeal to all ages.

The second book everyone has anticipated is Fantastic Four #554, the first by the creative team of Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch.

I'm torn on this one. I love Hitch's art, but have not quite been won over by Millar. His characterizations of Marvel's "First Family" were way off base during "Civil War," and I'm not nuts about his already-announced idea to crossover Fantastic Four with Wolverine sometime soon, just because he is writing both.

Still, you cannot deny that Millar has had his share of great comic book ideas, and he seems to have a lot of enthusiasm for this project. Here's hoping he can return the book to its latest greatness, under Mark Waid.

But those two are not the only anticipated books out this week, just the two that dwarfs the others. We also get Booster Gold #0, the best book not enough people are reading, a crossover with the 12-year-old event "Zero Hour." There is also X-Factor #28, the first issue after "Messiah CompleX," setting this series up with its new direction. And let's not forget Countdown to Final Crisis #11, which has really picked up steam in the past few issues.

It's a something for everyone kind of week, so enjoy it!

Wednesday's comic releases

Click THIS LINK for the full list of everything you can spend money on this week.

My wallet is cringing.

Geek Valentine's Day

Follow THIS LINK to read a Valentine's Day story that gives us Geeks a bad name.

To quote Ogre... "NEEEERRRRDDDSS!!!!!"

'Spore' on Sept. 7

Better Laettner than never.

Oh, I'm sorry, I was up late watching an ESPN Classic presentation of a 1990 Duke basketball game. What I meant to say was, Better LATE than never. At least, we hope.

After years upon years of development (I feel like this was originally a Colecovision title), Will Wright's "Spore" has a release date, September 7th.

Follow THIS LINK to the Gamespot story with the details, including news that the PC/MAC/DS game will actually be developed for Next Gen Consoles.

And while this news that I may someday not need a suped-up PC to play Spore is certainly encouraging, you just know it will be another two years until we see Next Gen Spore. So I'm not holding my breath yet.

Still, if there was ever a game that made me want to pour money into a new gaming PC, this is it.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Discussing "Wii Fit" with the creator has a new feature up on its site in its "Iwata Asks" section: "Iwata Asks: Wii Fit."

You can get there at THIS LINK.

In this feature, Satoru Iwata, President of Nintendo, discusses "Wii Fit" with the man who came up with the idea and helped create it, Miyamoto.

For anyone interested in the upcoming game, the interview covers everything from how the idea first came about to what we should expect from the game.

And no, contrary to popular belief, the game was not inspired by the move "Gung Ho." Although, I would play a game featuring George Wendt exercising.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

This week's video game releases

Here ya go, follow THIS LINK to the list of this week's new video games. Personally, I am kind of intrigued by the "Professor Layton and the Curious Village" game, but mostly because I've been on a major Nintendo DS kick, lately.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

DC announces "Trinity" weekly

It's official. After weeks of speculation, DC announced that their next weekly project following "Countdown" will be a Superman-Batman-Wonder Woman story called "Trinity."

Follow THIS LINK to a full interview with Dan Didio from

Personally, I'm torn on this. On the one hand, I'm kind of sick of DC forcing this "big three" down our throats. It seems like everything, lately, has to revolve around them in some way, even though DC's biggest hits in the past two years ("52," "Justice Society," "Checkmate," "Green Lantern") has excluded them (not counting Justice League). And speaking of Justice League, don't we get enough of those three in that book?

I would be more than happy to let Clark Diana and Bruce have this weekly book, if it means they take a hike from the Justice League. I'm more of a Booster and Beetle leaguer, anyway. That was an era that featured Bruce as too busy to be in the league, Clark as too individual to be included, and Diana joined but was too unsure of herself to lead. And the league really didn't NEED them. Neither did the DC Universe.

So I sure sound ready to not pick this book up, right?

Wrong. I'm intrigued. We may be seeing too much of this "Trinity" lately, but the fact is that DC is going to want to support their Golden Children with the best storylines possible. And the talent they brought in to do this, Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley, are dynamite choices.

So, the first issue is set to come out in June. We all have plenty of time to decide to save 52 weeks of $3.00 per, or take the plunge.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Final season of The 4400 coming out on DVD

Good news, everyone!

On May 6 the fourth and final season of "The 4400" will be released on DVD.

The show, which was recently canceled by USA, follows the story of 4400 missing persons returned to Earth abruptly with special powers. By Season four, the chemical that has made them special has been discovered and distributed to hundreds of thousands of other people.

As loyal readers of this blog can tell you, I am/was a huge fan of this show, and highly encourage you to not only pick up season four, but also seasons one through three. You won't be sorry.

Saturday's Gaming in the Journal

Bad news, troops.

Due to space issues, there is no Gaming page on Saturday in the Poughkeepsie Journal. Which stinks, mainly because I've had the page laid out and ready to go since Wednesday... come to think of it, if I wasn't doing that on Wednesday, I could have gotten to reading comics much faster that day!

But still, the features on that page will run in the near future, depending on what else is going on. There is only one piece of info from that page that I would really like to relay, though. This, from the Associated Press:

Yes, Billy Mitchell is still the king of Kong.
In the first “Gamer’s Edition” of Guinness World Records, due out March 11, Mitchell, of Hollywood, Fla., ranks as the top-scoring player of the arcade version of “Donkey Kong.”
Mitchell’s score is 0.1 percent ahead of Steve Wiebe of Redmond, Wash., whose quest to unseat Mitchell was the subject of the 2007 documentary “The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.”
Other highlights of the Gamer’s Edition 2008:
— The biggest-selling video game of all time is “Super Mario Bros.,” released by Nintendo Co. in 1985. It sold 40.2 million copies (though some were bundled with Nintendo systems).
— The highest one-day gross for a game is $170 million at the U.S. “Halo 3” launch on Sept. 25, 2007.
— The controversial crime-adventure series “Grand Theft Auto” has the most guest stars in a video game series. Its 339 voice actors include Dennis Hopper, Samuel L. Jackson, Ray Liotta and Ice T.
— The largest virtual beer festival takes place once a year in “World of Warcraft.” The online game’s two warring factions share a truce along with the brews.
Anyway, sorry for depriving you of your weekly Gaming fix. The page will be back next week!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

-sigh- Marvel teases to Phoenix... again

Remember just how perfect the original Phoenix/Dark Phoenix storyline was in the mid-70's? The 40-issue long story of power, corruption and sacrifice? The story that made Jean Grey one of the most poignant characters in comics?

Well, the legacy of that storyline is about to get dumped on again. I was alright when they brought Jean back to life the first time — in fact, that first "X-Factor" series is my favorite run of any comic ever. But then 10-years-later they made her start to show signs that she was still Phoenix. Then Grant Morrison came and completely perverted the Phoenix mythology. Then came "Phoenix: Engsong" and then "Phoenix: Warsong."

It was all enough to want to burn my copy of Uncanny X-Men #137.

Oh, and that's not even to mention all the times Marvel has tried to tease fans with resurrections that were never to be.

Well, today Marvel released this image with a caption of "Stay Tuned..."

Yes, it's either another crappy storyline or a crappy tease to a Phoenix Resurrection. When are you boys at Marvel going to learn?

Buy Pile Report

As I said before, this was a week of substance, not depth. I myself picked up just three books... but frankly, the three I read felt like six or seven on a week full of ho-hum titles.

Let's kick things off with Uncanny X-Men #495, the first part of the "Divided We Stand" imprint. And let me tell you something — some of Ed Brubaker's characterizations in this book are off and it was a bit hokey. Let me tell you something else — the book works so well that I could give a darn.

I was hoping for a complete 180 from the drab art and crappy storytelling of "Messiah CompleX," and this book delivers. It's a very decompressed story, simply showing what the main cast has been doing with their time off (Cyke and Emma in the Savage Land, Peter, Kurt and Logan touring Europe), but that simply works for a story following such tense moments. Mike Choi's art is bright and light and clear too, unlike SOME people -cough, cough- Ramos and Bachalo- cough, cough.

And while the dialog between Shanna and Emma is pretty goofy, considering how primitive life is in the Savage Land and how little contact she and Emma have had in the past, I can certainly forgive it amidst one of the best one-page characterizations of Scott Summers that we've seen in years. It's clear that Brubaker is going to return him to his roots, not simply make him into a cool character -cough cough- Whedon- cough, cough.

You know I am not the biggest fan of Marvel lately, but this does seem to be a good jumping back on point for any of you looking to rejoin the Mighty Mutants.

The other enormous book this week was Justice Society #12. And what's funny is, especially after reading 'Uncanny,' is while the story sputters a bit in this issue, Geoff Johns' characterizations save the day. For the fourth issue in a row, we're really only teased to the next storyline with this murderer. Instead, the interactions between Superman-22 and the other new characters is what takes centerstage.

And while I really don't mind this sort of storytelling, as the back-and-forth between Starman and the Thunderbolt was priceless, bringing in all of these new characters has really slowed the momentum of this title. Especially because I've yet to become interested in ANY of these new characters. Hell, Who knew Black Lightning had a second daughter, let alone a son and a wife?

Still, I trust where Johns is taking the story, and as long as his dialog is so entertaining, I don't mind the wait.

The only other book I picked up this week was Countdown to Final Crisis #12. Yes, Virginia, Countdown was a winner again this week. Action exploded on Paradise Island, with Granny Goodness being chased back to Apokolypse and our three heroines following her there, where, coincidentally, Jimmy was headed to and and "Challengers" are already. Everything is finally coming to a boil in the world of Countdown, which is why you have to say, once again, that this book would have worked MUCH BETTER as a six-month weekly rather than a whole year.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Drawn to Wii

Has everyone taken the time to play "Drawn to Life" on the Nintendo DS, yet?

I see some hands aren't raised. Well, if you're one of the unlucky few who still don't own a DS and could not previously take part in the fantastic game, you're now in luck.

The game, which Our Lady of Lourdes graduate Steve Chiavelli had a hand in creating at Fifth Cell, is going to be ported to the Wii.

The game is a natural choice to be ported, following in the footsteps of games like "Trauma Center," which translated surgery with a stylus pen to surgery with a Wiimote. For "Drawn to Life," your Wiimote will be the tool you use to draw your main character for the game and other items you encounter.

We're going to try to find out as many details about this port as possible, and keep you posted.

This week's comic expectations

Well, I hope you enjoyed last week's bonanza, because this week certainly does not have the same depth.

What it does have, though, is heavy hitters.

From DC, Justice Society #12 hits shelves. I've said it before, as far as I am concerned, this is the best monthly book in all of comicsdom. And while Geoff Johns' decision to write a story arc all about new characters, when so many great new characters on this team still haven't been fully fleshed-out, would not have been my choice, you cannot argue with how the story is going. If you remember, Kingdom Come Superman (or Superman 22) is now with the team, and they've already picked up one new kid, the silent Judomaster. In this next issue, we get to see several more new characters, plus the return of Jakeem Thunder. Pick this book up!

DC's other top book this week is, believe it or not, Countdown to Final Crisis #12. Yes, you heard me, COUNTDOWN! Why? Because last issue, we learned that Darkseid is in cahoots with Solomon the Monitor, and we watched as Superman Prime tore apart Monarch! While you should expect to see a little more from the ancillary storylines in this book, after several straight weeks spent exclusively on Earth-51, the buzz around this title is now starting to get real noisy.

The big title from Marvel is Uncanny X-Men #495, the start of the "Divided We Stand" stories. I made no secret of how much I didn't like "Messiah CompleX," but there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic for the future. For one, it seems Uncanny is going back to being a title for the A-List X-Men, with several of the new kids dispersed into the grown-up teams. Second, I LOVE Mike Choi's art. OK, it may not quite be on par with John Cassady or Dale Eaglesham, but after enduring Chris Bachalo and Humberto Ramos, Choi's art is looking like a masterpiece on every page.

If you're getting set for the "Secret Invasion" storyline, you may also want to pickup Ms. Marvel #24. Something strange is going on for Carol Danvers, as she is mysteriously reaquiring her Binary powers. For a character who has been tied closely to the Skrulls thus far, this may be an important issue to read.

Wednesday's comic release list

I'm a little late getting this up here, as it's only barely still technically Tuesday night, but click THIS LINK for our weekly comic book release list.

Of course, as far as I am concerned, all that really matters is we're getting a new Justice Society this week!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

This week's video game releases

Click on THIS LINK to see the list of new video games out this week.

Oh, and by the way, I'm no big Giants fan... but I sure to love watching Tom Brady eat Turf!!! It's like Christmas!