Sunday, March 30, 2008

This week's video game releases

A pretty boring week this week for video game releases, click THIS LINK and see for yourself.

It's so boring that "Toy Shop" for the DS looks somewhat appealing. I know, I know, I think I just need some fresh air.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Half of Superman now owned by the Siegels -- here's why:

OK, so by now I am sure you've heard, and if you haven't, scroll down to see my last post. Half ownership of Action Comics #1 is now returned to the estate of Jerry Siegel.

I've spent some time reading through the 72 page legal opinion, and spent some time talking with my District Attorney sister, and here's how it breaks down:

1) Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created a Superman comic strip in the mid 1930's and began trying to sell companies four weeks of it.

2) In 1938, after the pair had done other work for DC, Detective Comics asked the pair to fill up a new book called "Action Comics." The pair showed DC the Superman strips, and was told to re-cut them into comic book page form.

3) Upon it's completion, DC sent the pair $130 dollars and a contract that basically said By accepting this money, you sign over all legal rights to Superman to DC, and you will be paid by the page for all subsequent work. They took the money and signed.

4) In 1948, after Superman's popularity took off, the pair failed in their attempt to sue for legal rights back. After the ruling in their favor, DC offered the pair another deal: Sign another contract saying DC owns the rights to Superman now and forever, and they will be paid $94,000. They took the money and signed.

5) In the early 1970's, following a New York Times article showing how impoverished the pair had become, DC made a PR move and granted the pair and their wives each a monthly pension, with the proviso that DC had no legal obligation to do so. Again, they took the money and signed.

Here's how we are where we are:

6) In 1976, A new copyright law was passed saying normal copyrights last 19 years longer than they used to. Instead of 56 years they now last 75 years -- And because of this, any inventor who signed away the rights to their creative content has the right to negate their contract, since the rules have changed. (My D.A. sister said told me how common this is when I told her how I thought the law was ridiculous). The Estate of Jerry Siegel filed plenty of motions to negate the contracts under this new law. If the invention was a "Work for Hire" contract, the inventor would have no rights.

7) After years of legal negotiations and posturing, a judge on Friday night released a 72 page opinion saying:

- The Siegels own half the copyright to Action Comics #1 (presumably when Joe Shuster's estate is eligible in 2013 they will own the other half) and all aspects of Superman detailed in Action Comics #1, because they wrote the strip long before DC ever hired them for anything.

- The Siegels only own half these rights after 1999, due to the legal timeframes established by these laws.

- This ruling makes note that the Siegels have no right to the aspects of Superman created after his initial appearance (heat vision, X-Ray vision, flying, ice breath, Krypton, Krytonite, Lex Luthor, The Fortress of Solitude, Etc.). This makes the amount DC must pay the Siegels highly in question. The biggest thing the Siegels own is the general idea, names and images of Superman and Clark Kent, the later of which is highly profitable.

- DC still has controlling interest in the character, so (at least until 2013) 'ole Supes will still be appearing in as many places as he has before. DC will just have to figure out how much royalties they have to pay.

- This ruling can and will be appealed.

- The rights to Superboy are a separate matter.

You can read another FAQ page at THIS LINK.

Whew! A lot to swallow, huh? So, nothing will change for now except DC will have to pay even more in legal fees trying to negotiate contracts with the Siegels.

Ready for my take on it?

Legally, the Copyright Law of 1976 makes the right to Action Comics #1 belong to Siegel and soon Shuster. That doesn't mean that law is right. I am normally all for protecting what a creator creates, and looking out for creators in need of assistance, but the fact is that these guys sold away the rights to the character not once but twice, and were paid for it. They were even given a pension DC did not have to give them. Their decision to sign away rights to Superman in 1938 was a horrible decision, but it was still their's to make, and they made it.

In the meantime, DC has spent the last 70 years building up the mythos to this character, giving him more of a backstory, a supporting cast, villains, a philosophy, and generally made him the centerpiece of their entire universe. While Siegel and Shuster created the character, DC has taken their original idea and made it a legendary figure -- with the idea that it was theirs to build and reap the benefits.

Now, this legal loophole created in 1976 is taking away some of those profits. While I am not saying we should all cry for DC or parent company AOL Time Warner -- there's money there to spare -- they still shouldn't have to be paying off the estate of two dead creators for the fourth time.

I know I am probably in the minority there, as big business is always the bad guy, but one loophole is really robbing DC of what they purchased several times over, and that's not right either.

Either way, it should be very interesting to see how these (I'm sure to be) Many appeals play out, as well as what happens in 2013 when the Shusters get to take their piece of the rights back. This fight is only just beginning.

Happy 70th Birthday, Superman!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Rights to Action Comics #1 returned to Siegels

Click on THIS LINK for the full story on the court decision to give the heirs of Jerry Siegel the copyright to Action Comics #1.

I've been reading the 72 page legal document trying to discern exactly what this means, and when I do, I will post more of my own feelings on this.

For now, all you need to know is this gives the Action Comics #1 trademark back, and I believe the rights to Superman, but definitely not yet the rights to Superboy. It's a legal mess, especially with all the appeals that will get filed. But I will have more on this later. Feel free to download that legal document and try to make sense of it yourself, Newsarama (the link) has it linked.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Brian Wood, Cliff Chiang coming to Upstate Comics

On Free Comic Book Day, May 3, Upstate Comics in LaGrange will be host to a signing with DC Comics' writer Brian Wood (DMZ, Northlanders) and artist Cliff Chiang (Green Arrow/Black Canary).

As far as I can remember, this is the biggest talent to come to the area since J.M. DeMatteis came to the Dragon's Den in Poughkeepsie.

Now, I know that Free Comic Book Day is normally worthless to most readers of this blog, since most of us could take or leave the free stuff offered. BUT, this news really makes for an exciting event, so I would strongly encourage fans to get out there and support it.

And frankly, if you come out and support it, the worst thing that happens is DC is encouraged to send more talent to the mid-Hudson Valley on a more regular basis. Not to mention the fact that this Free Comic Book Day initiative, which is really a pretty good way to get kids reading, will keep going strong.

Visit Upstate Comics' site HERE for more details.

So, yeah. May 3, Upstate Comics, Wood and Chiang, Be There!

Buy Pile Report

OK, it's too late to do anything about it now, but before we say anything else about this week's comics it must be said — Countdown to Final Crisis #5 was one of the most horrendous comics I've ever had the displeasure of buying.

After 45 issues leading up to this "Great Disaster," the last two issues have shown us the disaster through only one set of eyes — Buddy Blank — a character we did not even see until 44 issues into the story. And his one set of eyes are only off doing his own thing, telling us his own story of peril through narration. I think the boys at DC have been watching too much "Cloverfield."

Check that, I think the boys at DC are scrambling as much as any time since re-writing Monarch's identity in "Armageddon 2001." They found out halfway into their story that it really kind of blew. Fittingly, they decided to separate "Final Crisis" from "Countdown to Final Crisis" and needed something to count down to — enter this ridiculous virus' importance. And from there, the poorly conceived story (seriously, the animal-people is like a crappy 1980's movie) led to a poorly written story.

And just when Countdown was starting to feel exciting. Oh well, with so little left to the story, we're all stuck with it.

Two issues were really pretty good, though. The first was X-Men Legacy #209, the second issue since adding "Legacy" to the title. What really works in this issue is the ending, the dialog between Magneto and Xavier (yes, I spoiled it, Prof. X wakes up already). The pair are written realistically as two down-and-out former icons who are now forced to face some harsh realizations about their place in this world nowadays.

The buddy comic of Xavier and Magneto has been tried before, namely one of the incarnations of "Excalibur," with only marginal results. But from the last couple of pages in this comic, the humility shown by Erik and Xavier, I really feel like Carey's story may not only work, but may lead to these one-time icons returning to prominence in an entirely different way than we've seen them before.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #52 was equally strong. I know, I've been pedaling this book for a few months now, but for good reason. Ultimate Thanos is a certifiable badass, and while the whole "alien tried to takeover Earth" thing has become ho-hum, this villain is doing enough to make the threat seem as real as possible. He's turned many of the Earth's heroes into his slaves, and still possesses the cosmic cube.

This issue also featured a fun way of detailing his backstory — his daughter explains it to Ben Grimm while she has kidnapped him to go on a date. Yes, a date. It sounds ridiculous, but it felt right when dealing with creatures of such prestige and power, they don't realize how crazy their demands are.

I've said it before, I'll say it again, even if you hate the Ultimate Universe, this is simply a GREAT Fantastic Four story, any way you slice it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wednesday's comic release list

I'm still recovering a bit from my weekend, which included a trip to Massachusetts as well as a trip to Niagara Falls (the Canadian side). So, if you've been wondering where I've been on this blog, I've been a bit busy.

But, HERE is your link to the comic book release list for this week, and I promise soon I'll have more stuff up on this space, including (obviously) the weekly list of what to expect out of your comics and my own personal gaming update -- I finally broke down and bought a Wii for my own personal use, in preparation for the April 27 release of Mario Kart.

Smell ya later.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

This week's comic expectations

You know how in many of the past few weeks I've been saying that it's a deep week but not a big, heavy-hitter week?

Well, this week isn't very deep, but there sure is a lot of big things goin' on.

Let's start with Marvel, since there is less going on there (in fact, I think there are more "second printings" out this week than new issues).

The two big hitters from "The House of Ideas" has to be The Immortal Iron Fist #13 and Captain America #36. I don't think it a coincidence that both books are written by Ed Brubaker.

Danny Rand is in for a world of pain this week, with lots of brawling and maybe even a few more clues looking at Danny's past. We often talk about which books really deserve a bigger readership (see "Booster Gold," "Brave and the Bold," etc.), and this book certainly falls into that category.

Meanwhile, Captain Bucky and the Black Widow are still trying to unravel the Red Skull's plans in Cap #36. This has got to be considered the best superhero book of the past year, and the 11th issue since Steve Rogers' death certainly seems no exception. The true greatness of this book, though, may just be that we still have yet to see the Red Skull's end game. And where does Steve Rogers' unborn child fit in?

Looking over at DC, there's a bit more depth.

Death of the New Gods #7 is the penultimate issue of this strong miniseries. While it may be a bit too late for you non-readers to start picking up the series now, those who have enjoyed it all the way through are likely on the edge of their seats wondering how Scott Free will turn out and who, of the Fourth World New Gods, if any survive the series.

Justice League of America #19 is hoping to build on a strong 18th issue that ties in to "Salvation Run." The full strength of the JLA is about to travel across the universe to that perilous planet, and it should be interesting to see what happens when the villains see the good guys. As far as I am concerned, though, I will just be happy if this JLA tie-in doesn't ruin the ending of the main "Salvation Run" series.

Batman and the Outsiders #5 isn't exactly a heavy hitter, but in a lighter than usual week, you may want to pick it up. In the fourth issue, we were given a clue that a certain re-incarnated couple was back from the dead and ready to help out the team. Would it be a STRETCH to think they may become regular members on the book?

Anyway, enjoy the light but big week.

Wednesday's comic book release list

Here you go, the list of what comes out this week. Follow THIS LINK.

We have some big things coming out this week, including more of that sweet sweet fallout from the Death of Steve Rogers.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Big Nintendo news at E3

OK, despite how THIS LINK to Gamestop makes it sound, E3 2008 is really not coming up that soon.

But, when E3 does come around in JULY, Reggie Fils-Aime is already claiming Nintendo's got BIG news to tell and BIG games to start promoting for the holiday season. He says:

We're going to have great new content maximizing all of our key franchises, it's going to be a good second half.

So, what does that mean exactly? When I think key Nintendo franchises I think Mario (which just had "Galaxy, "Party" and "Kart" come out in the past year), The Legend of Zelda (which had "Twilight Princess" and the bow and arrow games come out already), and Metroid (Which had "Corruption" come out six months ago).

What exactly are we looking at here with "Key Franchises"? My guess is two games: 1) "Mario Tennis" and 2) "Kid Icarus," which will be promoted for December but pushed back to February.

I don't know, what other big Nintendo franchises for mainstream gamers are there that has not already been done in some capacity? I guess we'll just have to wait for the hype machine to push out more info.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

This week's video game releases

The only way we could be more pumped for the release of "Sega Superstars Tennis" is if it was called "Mario Kart Wii." We'll take it!

Check out THIS LINK for the rest of this week's releases.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Finally playing 'Assassin's Creed'

Finally finally finally after looking at the game sitting on my shelf for nearly three months, the last few nights I've started playing "Assassin's Creed."

It's not that I didn't want to play it — because I was really anticipating its release for months — but the combination of a lack of free time and some poor reviews really killed my will to clear time for it.

And, since I have yet to weigh in on this game officially, I figured I would give my impressions for those of you still yet to pick it up.

Unfortunately, though, this is not one of those cases where the reviewers exaggerated the problems in a game. The wrap I read on "Assassin's Creed" was that it gets repetitive. There are nine official missions (plus a shorter training mission), and so far they do all seem exactly the same.

You enter an enormous chunk of a city and climb a tower to get a bird's eye view of what's going on. Your surveillance will then reveal other towers to climb for additional views of the city. With each tower you climb, you see more of what's going on, like citizens that need saving (and will help you in return). Your surveillance also reveals places where you can get information on your mark, like people to eavesdrop on, people to pickpocket, people to roughup, or people that may serve as informants.

Personally, I don't see how you can tell all this just by climbing a really big tower, but I'll believe it for the sake of the game.

Now, as I said, the wrap on this game was just how repetitive it is. Every time you save a citizen, it's roughly the same number of thugs attacking, and in the same formation. So after you've learned it's easiest to sneak up on a rough and kill one of the thugs early with a concealed blade, everything is easy. Every time you pickpocket, it's the same sort of pattern. Every time you need to rough someone up, they turn down the same type of dark alleys. And every time you eavesdrop, you always just sit down on a bench.

And on my fourth time eavesdropping from a bench, I thought to myself, why do I have to be on a bench? Why can't I perch on a roof and listen in? Or why can't I turn my back to the conversation and look at a merchant's shop, while listening to the conversation behind me? Why do I have no freedom of how I personally prefer to eavesdrop?

That's the true problem with this game. There's no Grand Theft Auto-esque freedom. Every time you execute a task, you have to do it the same way. The game's nine missions would not have such a been there-done that feel to it if you could do it your own way. There are plenty of ways to rough up a scumbag. There are plenty of places to listen in. But not in this game.

And it's a shame, really, because I am loving the freedom of movement in this game on rooftops and walls, as well as the stunning visuals. I am really loving walking around a town and just plugging guards in the back left and right with my concealed blade.

But despite all I'm loving, I sincerely doubt I'm going to bother making it to the end of this game. I think this is the first RPG-type game I've ever played that I know I probably won't care about finishing it. And that's the sign of a failure game.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Buy Pile Report

OK, give me a minute to collect my thoughts. I just finished Fantastic Four #555, and boy does Mark Millar throw a whole bunch at you at once.

His second issue on the title with artist Bryan Hitch proved to be just as strong as the first, answering some questions while bringing up others and even invoking a little bit of Stan Lee-ish ghosts. The answer we get is that the big bad threat facing Earth is -- are you ready for it -- environmental disaster. Yes, I should have guessed it with how high and mighty Millar likes to be sometimes, but that's the truth. No Galactus-esque demon, just plain old greenhouse gases.

What keeps me interested in this story, though, is the hint that this environmental disaster may not be as bad as Reed's former GF has made it out to be. Ben reminds Reed of what kind of a hold the woman can have on him, and mentions that this may all simply be a ruse to get Reed back in her life. And while that's just crazy considering the dollars that are going into this Nu-Earth project, it's plausible in that this would still be a political statement from Millar — that our environment is not too bad off.

Fantastic Four has given me a lot to ponder, which is why I felt it was the strongest book of the week. Oh, and Johnny's new super-villain girlfriend kind of reminds me of a 21st-century version of the original story featuring Johnny dating Crystal, which I love.

OK, I spoiled a lot of Fantastic Four right there. If you're not in the mood for spoilers, you shouldn't read this next section, either.

In Salvation Run #5, we finally learn who those mysterious onlookers were in the first issue, and we learn exactly what planet the villains are on. The onlooker? DeSaad. The planet? The area where DeSaad sends prospective Para-Demons as a final exam. In the words of a former co-worker of mine, DAMN!

From the start, we knew Salvation Run would have to tie-in with "Countdown" in some fashion, and I have to say that I surprisingly love where this is going. Not only do we get to see a big ole Villain Brawl next issue, but by issue seven we'll get to see them all fight off Para-Demons! It's like a Fourth-World Wet Dream.

Finally, it should go without saying that you should go and pickup Booster Gold #7. Maybe I just love it so much because I grew up with this era too, but the whole book is like Geoff Johns' love letter to the Justice League International era. We get to see just how bad the OMAC rule is in this issue, and revisit a couple of memories from the 1980's.

This issue also hints at a much larger plot in time, hatched by a team of villains — one of which (as expected) is the Black Beetle. The only downside to it all is Ted Kord's final fate is looking increasingly bleak. I love the guy, and if there is any way for him to stay alive, I am wishing with all my fanboy heart for it.

Anyway, I know it was a short buy pile report today, but those three really were the very best to hit the shelves. Enjoy!

Official Mario Kart Wii release date

APRIL 27th!

Click THIS LINK for the official press release, as posted by G4.

Time to go request April 27th off...

Smashtastic site up and running

Click on THIS LINK to get to, a "Super Smash Bros. Brawl" site that allows you to upload your own user-created maps and download others that other gamers have made.

This is going to become one of the most important places for you Brawlers to go on the net, so jump on board the Smashtastic maps bandwagon early.

This week's comic expectations

There's not too much to speak of this week, and most of what is out there, you likely already know about. So we're hitting you short and sweet with the expectations this week.

Avengers: The Initiative #10: Part three of a pretty strong so far arc, "Killed in Action," promises, in Marvel's words, "More Death! More Mayhem! No Mercy!" Ah, you have to love the Marvel hype machine.

Booster Gold #7: Part two of the "Blue & Gold" arc promises more Booster and Beetle hi jinx in what seems to be a parallel future spawned from Ted Kord staying alive. This is a book not NEARLY enough people are buying.

Countdown to Final Crisis #7: The apocalypse bunch has returned to Earth -- Or Have They?!? Look for some good Justice League vs. Challengers action in this one, and possibly the big reveal of Earth-1.

Fantastic Four #555: In Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch's first issue, we were introduced to a space colony where humans will go when the Earth is destroyed. You should know two things from this: 1) Millar is bringing his 'A' game ideas to this title, 2) At some point in his run, there will be an ENORMOUS threat to Earth. I am hooked with curiosity, if not confidence in Millar's abilities to write the Fan Four.

Green Lantern Corps #22: The second-part of an Alpha Lantern back story... part one was good, and I wouldn't discourage you from picking this up, but don't expect the normal GL Corps cast in this one.

Salvation Run #5: The best mini-series currently in comics, and probably ties for the best in the past three or four years with the recently concluded "Black Adam" mini. Lex Luthor and the Joker are still fighting for control of the criminal planet, while a third group has apparently found the fabled "safe zone."

Superman #674: Part one of Kurt Busiek's farewell arc (before he moves over to "Trinity" after #675). Look for him to continue leaving his mark on the Man of Steel, as he introduces another new villain, Paragon.

X-Factor #29: I wasn't so nuts about the first issue of X-Factor after "Messiah CompleX," so I am hoping the title gets a little more on track this time around. Peter David's title was one of the strongest X-titles, month in and month out before the big event, so it would be a shame to see so many other X-books bloom at X-Factor's expense.

Wednesday's comic book release list

Click THIS LINK for this week's list of comic book releases.

A lot of mid-level books this week. Still "Booster Gold" and "Fantastic Four" should keep you all happy.

The Mario Kart Wii mystery

If you're anything close to a regular reader of this blog, you know that I would sell my first born for a shot at playing an advance copy of Mario Kart for Wii, like some bigger video gaming news organizations get to. I just could not be waiting for this game with any more anticipation.

"Mario Kart 64" ranks among one of my favorite all-time games, boasting the best and most addicting battle mode. "Mario Kart: Double Dash," was a bit of a disappointment at the time, but right now playing it again (because I cannot wait for Kart Wii that badly) it's a pretty darned strong game itself. And heck, "Mario Kart DS" is the second best game for that system in my book.

In short, I heart Kart.

Which is why I am so confused lately waiting for the official announcement on when the game will hit shelves stateside. Nintendo has been silent on a North American release date, while Europe, Japan and Australia all are slated to get the game in April. Meanwhile, IGN claims the game is coming out June 30 (boo!) while Gamespot says we're getting it on May 1 (yay!).

So, which is it, Nintendo? I'll expect your response in writing on my desk by Friday morning.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

This week's video game releases

Check THIS LINK for the new video game releases this week. "Pro Evolution Soccer" headlines the week... You know, except for "Smash Bros."

Thursday, March 6, 2008

New Rhinebeck arcade looking for suggestions

I have been trading e-mails with Bill Olson, the new owner of "Chelsea Video Center" in Rhinebeck, and I just got off the phone with him.

Mr. Olson bought the store's whole inventory and has re-rented the space on Spring Brook Avenue, but he has big plans to improve the store and make it all his own once it reopens.

In addition to the DVD rentals and video game rentals the store had before, Olson is planning on installing video game rooms. I called it an arcade in the subject line of this post but in truth, what Olson wants to put in is special gaming rooms for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii consoles.

That's right, an arcade full of consoles. I think it's a pretty darned good idea.

So his question to me was, what needs to be included in these rooms in order to make the idea work? I had some ideas for him, but I obviously don't have all the answers.

That's why I am now asking that same question of you, the mid-Hudson Valley gamers. What do you want to be included in these console video gaming rooms? What sort of features should Mr. Olson include that would make you want to visit his store?

Either post your suggestions here or e-mail me at

Buffy, in the buff, with another lady... doin' stuff...

OK, so apparently there was something big on the shelves this week that I missed...

Follow THIS LINK to a Newsarama interview with series creator and head writer Joss Whedon on why this week's issue of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season Eight" features the titular character doing the dirty (yes, I'm that immature that I have to use a term like that) with another female slayer.

If you'll notice when Whedon finally gets to the subject about two-thirds of the way down in the interview, he says Buffy is not gay, just lonely and experimenting.

I wonder how Luke Perry feels about this?

Frankly, I don't care one way or the other, but with the exposure "Buffy" has gotten over the years in mainstream media, I'm sure this is going to crack the Internet in half and CNN is probably going to get all long-winded over it.

And if any of you don't believe me when I say I'm indifferent toward it, you all should know that in two weeks I'm driving to Canada to be at a friend's lesbian wedding. So BLAM!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Buy Pile Report

Well, I've finished reading through my pile (with the exception of Uncanny X-Men #496, check the previous post for why), and nothing really stood out for me.

The best thing I read this week was probably the Justice League: The New Frontier Special, simply because it piggybacks on a Fantastic older story without completely missing the point of the original (see the 10th anniversary of the Age of Apocalypse mini-series for an example of the all-too often mistake companies make in this situation). We get three tales in this book, two of which would have fit perfectly into writer Darwyn Cooke's original world.

The first story is far and away the best, showing the first brutal meeting between Batman and Superman. The second story was just a nice little tale of Robin and Kid Flash's first teamup, two characters barely touched upon in the original story. The third story, showing Wonder Woman and Black Canary crashing a stag bar in an effort to stand up for women's rights was just plain awful, but hey, you should happily take two out of three in a book like this. Personally I think that third tale was Cooke trying much to hard to touch on the one part of that era he didn't have a chance to originally. In the mini-series, he deals with race relations, the space race and communism, but not women's rights. Apparently he shouldn't have tried.

Green Lantern #28 was also solid this week. Geoff Johns continues to reveal the chilling lack of humanity possessed by the "Alpha Lanterns," as an indignant Laira is put to trial. Johns also introduces us to the very first Red Lanterns (the angry ones), and you can guess why he did this in the same issue as Laira's trial.

Personally I think the best part of this issue — and what will be the best part of the Green Lantern books for the next year or two — was the dialog between Hal Jordan and Sinestro. By halfway through the "Sinestro Corps. War" it was kind of obvious the Guardians were playing right into Sinestro's hands. The question now becomes, how far along has he orchestrated, and how far along past that will the Guardians go? Frankly, I am thinking we may be looking at a someday storyline of Sinestro re-joining the GLs, because they will have become what he always wanted them to be. Or Hal will intervene. Either way, it should be fun watching these two go.

Possibly the most important book to come out of "Messiah CompleX" debuted this week in Cable #1. First, the bad: 1) This first issue was very decompressed. Hopefully that's only because it was a first issue, but not too much happens here. 2) The idea of Cable getting into gunfights with a baby strapped to his chest is just too ridiculous.

Now, if you get past those negatives, there are so many mysteries surrounding this book that I am going to stick with it. Obviously, the first two of these mysteries is who is the baby? and who is right, Cable or Bishop? While I don't think we'll get the answer to either of those anytime soon, there are other questions I have, after reading this first issue. 1) Why did Cable only bring them 35 years into the future? (writer Duane Swierczynski had to have done this intentionally) 2) Is the Bishop attacking Cable a 35-years older than we know Bishop, or a likewise time-traveler? 3) Why is Cable trying to get to New York with the kid? 4) What was on Muir Island he was there to see?

Plenty worth sticking around for on this book.

X-Force #2 was also pretty good. I am curious to see where this book is going, since it seems the idea is unraveling already. Angel is learning Scott's secret, and Wolverine is clearly not going to keep on taking Scott's orders forever. Also, how many missions are really worth this team's intervention, anyway? But overall, we're getting a real interesting look at these characters.

And I don't mean looking at "Oh, Wolverine doesn't like leading!" again. It's been done. But the line from Warpath, asking Laura and Logan how they are unaffected by all that blood was a particularly strong scene, and a particularly strong idea. And frankly, watching what Laura has done in this series is pretty tragic to me and should be to anyone that read the two X-23 mini-series. This character has been shown to have the potential for so much more than simply a human killing machine, and yet here she is again. I am really looking for Christopher Yost and Craig Kyle (X-23's creators) to payoff her story here.

That's about it for this week. Here's the part where I would think of something snarky to close the post.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

This week's comic expectations

We're going to get a little outside the box this week. Obviously, you all know that Green Lantern #28 will be more shenanigans with the "Alpha Lanterns." You know Countdown to Final Crisis #8 Will continue the freight train of momentum this series now has, as it rumbles toward the finale. And, you of course know That if you pick up X-Force #2, you're going to get some of the most beautiful gore you can picture.

That out of the way, here's four things that you might not know.

1- You don't want to pickup Uncanny X-Men #496. I'm just as eager as you are to read it, but according to Brian Bendis (on his Web site's blog), he claims this book contains MAJOR "Astonishing X-Men" spoilers. I don't know how much it spoils, and I don't want to know. I already have a pretty good guess of who is "not coming back" and how Joss Whedon will do it, but I've invested too much time in "Astonishing" to be spoiled now.

2- Cable #1 comes out this week, and for the first time in over a decade, I am now interested in this character. No, that's not what you might not know. What you should realize is that this book is now a crucial part of the X-Men mythology. Nathan Summers has the would-be savior, and his ability to grow that baby into the mutant it could be will be, I'm sure, the difference between the X-Men living or dying in a crossover a few years down the line. But other than the long-term implications, this simply looks like a good cat-and-mouse story between Cable and Bishop, two badass characters.

3-If you've read "DC: The New Frontier," you'll want to pickup the DC: The New Frontier Special that comes out on Wednesday. If you haven't read the original series, then you should pick those TPBs up first, and then buy the special. I love this story. It's simple, but intelligent and creative in its re-imagining the history of the DC Superheroes in America. This Special out on Wednesday will simply feature more of the heroes that Darwyn Cooke had to leave out the first time around, and so far he's hit the ball out of the park with all the heroes he touched in this series. I have complete confidence that this will not be some waste of time grab for money by DC in an effort to tie-in to the DVD release.

4-Raven #1 comes out this week. It's the first part in a five-issue miniseries, taking a closer look at the Teen Titans' mystical hero. Of all the characters in the Teen Titans, she certainly has the deepest and most confusing back story, but if you are at all interested in the mystical side of comics, she is just as powerful a character, especially for a female hero, as the far more publicized Zantana. And best of all, it's written by legendary Titans' scribe Marv Wolfman.

Wednesday's comic book release list

This week's list of comic book releases can be found at THIS LINK.

Of note -- the DC New Frontier special is out this week!

Monday, March 3, 2008

This week's video game releases

HERE is your link to the new video games.

All I have to say is I LOVE Baseball video games.

Very Late Buy Pile Report

OK, so I've had my hands full for the past week dealing with the Section One basketball playoffs. I know, I know, comic books are far more important than silly old high school basketball, but with the amount of blogging I've been doing from the Westchester County Center, I just haven't had the opportunity to get over here and write on the week's issues.

I did, however, find time to read right after the games, and I did notice some very interesting things worth commenting on. Because of that, this Buy Pile Report will be a little different from the others. I'm guessing you all have already bought what you're going to buy this week anyway.

So, other than stating the obvious, like how much Captain America #35 kicked ass, here we go with three important reflections on the week:

1) The value of a good penciler vs. a decent one:
Fernando Pasarin served as replacement penciler for Dale Eaglesham on Justice Society #13. I was actually happy with his first few pages, because he was obviously making an effort to emulate Eaglesham's style, which always looks nicer when you go back and re-read a whole arc all at once.
But then came the part where Superman met Superman... again. With Superman-22 stuck gazing at Lois Lane, the first time he's seen A Lois Lane since his died, Superman of New Earth finds him and says "Are you spying on my wife?" Now, when reading the text, in the context of the situation and the context of their conversation immediately after, I would think this line would be Clark poking fun at Superman-22, seeing as they are the same person and were married to the same person. He couldn't have actually been trying to mark his territory, could he?
But Pasarin's faces in this sequence are so nondescript that I have absolutely no idea how this scene actually played out. And, with the right art, this could have been a classic sequence. His art, especially during the action scenes, only gets worse from there, obviously rushing to meet his deadline as a fill-in artist.
This was a great script, with only marginal art, and it really makes you think twice about complaining when a good artist ends up making a book miss its shipping date by a couple of weeks.

2) Geoff Johns is re-building the whole DC Universe in his image:
And, this is NOT a bad thing. In his penultimate issue of the "Superman and the Legion of Superheroes" arc in Action Comics #862, which was brilliant again, by the way, Johns makes use of the "Legion of Substitute Heroes," the rejected Legionaries who former their own super team.
While I applaud this story point, as it provides a mirror to the now evil Justice League of Earth, I noticed he included a Rainbow Girl on this team that isn't actually Rainbow Girl. The original Rainbow Girl had the ability to split herself into colored versions of herself; Blue was cold, Red was heat, Yellow was bright light, and Green was kryptonite.
Johns' Rainbow Girl utilizes the colorized emotional spectrum, making Red anger, Blue hope, Purple love, Yellow fear, Green willpower... hmn... where have I seen this before?
I am a big fan of Johns, I am more than willing to let him re-shape parts of the DCU as he choses, I trust his ideas. That said, the man clearly has the keys to the castle to do whatever he likes.
He dreams up this idea for use in his Green Lantern stories — and alone it is just a story point — but by including it in his other books, like this one, he legitimizes the idea. Suddenly it's not just the Green Lanterns that have this emotional spectrum, it's also in the 31st century! I'm sure we'll see it pop up in other books too, and before long, Johns will have used his influence to turn this idea he had into continuity fact.
And again, that's a good thing.

3) Alex Ross backs winners:
You want to pick up Project Superpowers #1. You also want to go back and pick up the cheaply priced Project Superpowers #0 from last month.
You may have been skeptical about this book, since Ross decided not to do the interiors after all. And you might have been skeptical about picking up this story of golden-age heroes only your grandfathers have heard of. What's the use in reading about characters you don't care about, you probably asked yourself.
Well you want to read this book. In one and a half issues, Ross and co-plotter Jim Krueger have already established two intriguing and likable heroes, as well as one awfully shady family of villains and a world that clearly has something wrong with it.
There's a great mystery waiting to be read here, and there aren't enough good superhero books on the market lately to pass this up.
This issue also features one of the best short first-page dialogs, which immediately introduces you to a character: "Dynamic Man" says "I made them you know," before giving a speech about how he has secured this whole society. His assistant says "What do you see when you down on them?" Dynamic Man responds "That's simple. I see that it is good."
If ever there was a perfect way to introduce a God complex, that's it.

OK, that's it for the late Buy Pile Report. I promise not to be tardy two weeks in a row.