Monday, September 21, 2009

"Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2" review

As promised, HERE'S YOUR LINK to the "Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2" review.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

'Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2' review coming

Did you miss me? Sorry to be away for so long, other responsibilities at the PoJo made this last week a busy one...

OK, it's not only that. With the release of "Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2" this week, all of my free time was spent standing alongside Cap for a civil war.

Now, I could tell you more about my experiences as an anti-registration fighter right now, but I'd rather just write up a full review. So look for that either tonight (if I can carve out a little time) or Monday afternoon.

In the meantime, let's all just hope Fred Jackson can help out my fantasy team with a repeat performance from last week.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

This week's video game releases

Gentlemen. We're about to embark on one of the biggest release days of the year, stacked with something to like for just about every taste. Check out the full list at THIS LINK.

"Scribblenauts." "Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2." "Wet." "Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story." "NHL 10." "Need for Speed: Shift."

The question is not what you will be doing this week. The question is, what will you be playing?

I just hope you all are finished defeating the Joker and solving the Riddler's puzzles, because it's officially fall release season.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New 2D Sonic in HD: "Project Needlemouse"

"Project Needlemouse."

Check out THIS LINK for an interview with Sega's Ken Ballough which spills the beans on some downright thrilling news: Sega actually listened to your pleas for mercy. Sonic the Hedgehog will be granted relief.

Gone are the 3D trainwrecks Sega has been trying so hard to make work with the mascot. They've tried everything, it's just not working for Sonic. So instead, the company is working on an old-school 2D Sonic adventure with high-def graphics.

I don't know who to thank for this, but someone is due a big fruit basket and a nicely-worded Hallmark card.

Actually, when I heard the description of the project, the first thing I wondered was if the beauty that was "Shadow Complex" helped encourage Sega's developers to explore this route we've all been clamoring for.

Either way, we have a long way to wait. The game is scheduled for 2010, which likely means we won't see this game until the winter of 2010, and that's without delays. Still, this is the sort of news that makes a good day even better.

Warners create DC Entertainment

Check out THIS LINK to read the news for yourself: Warner Bros., DC's parent company, is taking firmer control of their comic-creating pals by folding the publishing division under a new division called "DC Entertainment."

This news has a two-headed impact.

1) You know, last week when discussing the Marvel/Disney merger, I used the 40-year-old DC/Warner Bros. partnership as an example of a parent company leaving a comic publisher alone to do what it knows best. Well, I guess the Warners didn't realize they were the example of the right way to do it.

It seems to me this is a move based out of fear, a knee-jerk reaction to compete with Disney's acquisition. And normally I would think this restructuring was just a cosmetic sort of move made just to take away some of Marvel's headlines. But the Warners did something the Mouse did not — remove the publisher.

The fact that Paul Levitz was demoted worries me. Again, I am taking the same opinion I had when Marvel went through this — that we're going to have to wait and see before making judgements — but Levitz's removal is like firing a warning shot, so all of this talk about simply trying to maximize properties seems more hollow now than it did when Disney said it.

The best we fans can hope for is that Levitz was not "fired" like many of us are assuming he was, but rather he simply wanted to make a change, as he said in THIS STATEMENT.

2) Levitz is the man taking over "Adventure Comics." While I stick by the words I used last night, as it does seem DC tends to use Johns' name for nefarious reasons at times, this is very, very good news.

The man was responsible for the Legion of Superheroes' best stories for most of the 1970s and 80s, so if anyone is going to take the reins from Johns, and be given the proper respect and time to develop stories, it's Paul Levitz. And while you may argue the Legion is a team built for a younger writer to handle, I argue the team's complexity makes it necessary for only the most detailed and DC-knowledgeable writer to handle. Writing the Legion is all about juggling a large cast, all with their own specific personalities, and making stories flow back and forth from the 31st century to present-day DC.

What is unclear right now is whether "Adventure" will turn into a Legion-dominated book with Superboy taking a backseat or if we're going to have to wait longer for full-on monthly Legion. Still, no matter what DC has planned for the immediate future, this is the best-case scenario in Johns' absence.

If you'd like to read a fantastic recap of Levitz's career so far, head to THIS LINK.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nothing new on the shelves today

Just a friendly reminder from your friendly neighborhood Gaming Geek, thanks to the holiday, Thursday is the day for this week's new comic books.

Johns leaving "Adventure Comics"

Buried in a DC Source Blog post at THIS LINK you will see some rather troubling news — Geoff Johns is leaving "Adventure Comics" after six issues.

This is troubling on two levels. The first is, obviously, Johns is enormously talented, so he was the guy I was thrilled to have handling both Superboy and the Legion.

But the second reason is, this is the second time in the last year that DC and Johns have seemed to use the writer's popularity for a bait-and-switch. For almost a year DC has been hyping "Adventure Comics" and Geoff Johns as a package deal. As far as the content goes, Johns has been including the Legion in several projects over the last few years, teasing us on a possible Legion ongoing, which was to be "Adventure." He then shoehorned Kon-El's return into "Legion of Three Worlds," in a distracting move which could only be deemed acceptable because of the promise of Johns writing Kon-El in an ongoing again. Johns then proceeded to give interview after interview on how much he cherishes Superboy and the Legion.

And yet, now he's leaving. All of that buildup, only to have Johns move on and another (yet-to-be-name) writer step into his place. That's not even mentioning the fact that DC let Johns completely reshape Legion into his own image, despite its fairly-successful "Threeboot."

All of this only about a year after we were teased non-stop on Johns' "New Krypton" idea, only to have Johns leave the Superman world right when the buildup ended and the event began.

I love Geoff Johns' writing. If the man said he could write an ongoing based on the phone book, I would believe him and buy it. But all of this teasing has to stop. For every "Justice Society" there's a "Booster Gold." For every "Green Lantern" there's an "Adventure."

And sure, this may not be DC's doing. The company may not be deliberately teasing us with Johns' ongoings, maybe Johns legitimately just keeps getting offered projects he doesn't want to pass up.

Well, that's not flying with me. When you tell your fans all about the marvelous ideas and plans you have for a comic, you don't duck out on that promise just because a slightly more attractive book opens up. Johns is a great writer, he'll have those opportunities again down the road. For now, he should be working on keeping his promises.

This week's video game releases

Yes, yes, THIS LINK to this week's video game releases is highlighted by the game everyone, including my Mother who's never played a music game in her life, is excited by — "The Beatles: Rock Band."

I, however, am more excited by the release of "Mini Ninjas," a game which blends cute graphics with some in-depth combat tactics. You can take a look at the whole list and judge for yourself.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Buy Pile Report

I shouldn't have to sing the praises of The Mighty #8 and Irredeemable #6 this week. Both books were again must-read material for anyone who loves a good anti-hero, and both added a lot to their respective storylines. Alpha-1 hinted heavily at an extraterrestrial background while Cole flirted with insanity. The Plutonian reveled in what seemed to be his childhood, and later found his former allies hiding place. If you haven't been reading these series, I doubt I will ever get through to you.

So I will simply move on to a couple of very pleasant surprises. The first of which is Justice League: Cry For Justice #3. Yes, nobody has criticized this book more than I have, so there is a better than even chance I am confusing mediocrity for quality, given how low my expectations were going into this third issue. Still, despite three pages opening the book which reached new depths of crapiness, the rest of this issue actually managed to stop throwing the word "Justice" long enough to get a coherent storyline flowing (I know, three issues in and we finally get plot -- a miracle!).

Writer James Robinson who, by my estimation, encountered a talent-sucking alien during his time off from writing comics, manages to somewhat salvage his monumentally bad mini-series in two ways. 1) While everyone (literally everyone) except Green Arrow is written in the most cliched and out of touch way possible, Oliver Queen is as entertaining and genuine as ever. 2) Robinson actually manages to paint Prometheus in an impressive light here, even managing to catch me very off guard.

This series is still in serious danger of joining the ranks of the historically awful minis of all time (I don't think I'm ever going to get over two whole issues of characters simply saying they want "justice" over and over again, and Supergirl's motivation here is ridiculous, given the events of her own book), there was enough positive in this issue to give us some degree of hope. James Robinson just better pray there are a lot of Blue Lanterns left out there to keep buying this crap.

The second pleasant surprise in my Buy Pile this week is Magog #1. Keith Giffen wastes no time painting a clear picture of who, exactly, Magog is for us readers. The entire issue is spent inside of the former David Reid's head, as Giffen explains swiftly his take on Magog's current motivations, his relationship with the JSA, his cast of supporting characters, his new hometown, and, most importantly, his system of values. This issue is a masterpiece in entertaining exposition and characterization, something which is invaluable to making a new character catch on.

And I have to admit, I really like the world Giffen is painting. If the veteran scribe set out to write the story of who Magog was 10 years before "Kingdom Come," I believe this would be spot-on. And I really like the sort of tagline this character has adopted for himself:

"Where are all the Heroes? Give Them an Alien World in Need and they're there in a flash. Give them a country in need and they turn a blind eye, start bleating about national sovereignty and exerting undue influence ... basically the same tired litany of excuses for not doing what they know is right. Sorry ... not my style."

OK, that was much more than a tagline, but you get what I mean. This is a man on a definite mission, a human mission, and he does seems to have a chip on his shoulder regarding the meta-human population. I was sold even before a brilliant piece of characterization when Giffen showed us how Magog deals with a friend's abusive boyfriend (you can read it for yourself, I don't want to spoil ALL the story beats).

That said, my biggest question right now is how much discussion Giffen had with JSA writers Matt Sturges and Bill Willingham because, as far as I can tell, this isn't the same character I have been reading for the past year or so. In these pages, Magog is openly hostile toward the JSA, whereas in the team book, he loves the squad but wants to improve it. And while this Magog stinks of "Kingdom Come," I thought the Magog in "Justice Society" was supposedly on a different path, especially following the events of "Thy Kingdom Come." I sincerely wonder if these two takes on the character are going to mesh, because it sure seems Magog will be playing a central role in the JSA for a while to come.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

This week's comic book expectations

This week, the list of comic book releases is bereft of A-list titles. What saves the week are a few strong niche books and a couple of sleepers you may want to give a try. Check out the full list at THIS LINK.

The book I'm most looking forward to this week is Irredeemable #6 which, while unfortunately costs more than the 99 cents it cost last month, is 5-for-5 in quality so far, as far as I am concerned. Every month Mark Waid seems to find new and frightening ways to use Superman's -- er -- The Plutonian's powers. I hope by now you've heard me rave enough about this title for you to be buying it by now.

And, I might add, Waid has yet to be late with this book. How many titles have kept to a monthly schedule over a six-month span in the last few years?

Another anti-hero book is also out this week, The Mighty #8. And frankly, given the events of last month and who Alpha-1 killed (was I the only one genuinely sad that you-know-who was murdered?), this title is quickly gaining ground on "Irredeemable" in terms of shock value. The series has taken a disturbingly dark turn after writer Peter Tomasi established a likable and complete cast of characters in the first couple of issues, only to turn the world on its ear just as quickly. My main question left, though, is how this first run of 12 issues is going to play out, since DC is talking about giving the story another 12-issue run soon after?

DC also has a pair of No. 1s out this week, the first being a new ongoing, Magog #1. I am anxious to see what Keith Giffen (one of my favorite writers since the JLI days) is going to do with this character and how closely it actually ties into the main JSA mothership. As I detailed previously, I am finding it very difficult to watch Magog's current exploits without the influence of his "Kingdom Come" past. It would be an enormous tribute to Giffen's talent for characterization if, six months from now, Magog's tainted past (or should I say future) has been forgotten.

Another No. 1 you may find interesting is Red Tornado #1, the first in a six-part mini-series which is going to delve into Reddy's robot "family." I'm not quite sure what to make of this idea for a couple of reasons. 1) Red Tornado's gimmick has always been that of a robot trying tragically to convince himself of the humanity everyone else sees in him. Making him suddenly want to look into his robot roots undermines the depth of the character. 2) Does anyone really care to learn about these other robots? Isn't that kind of the Metal Men's schtick?

Also of note this week from DC is Supergirl Annual #1 (dealing with Kara and Thara's thorny relationship), Solomon Grundy #7 of 7 (which ties at the end to "Blackest Night," apparently), Batman #690 (continuing Judd Winick's solid Penguin-centric storyline) and Justice League: Cry for Justice #3 (which, from the looks of the preview pages, is even worse than the previous horrendous issues).

From Marvel, Cable #18 has to be considered one of the top issues of the week, especially considering the strength of the two post-"Messiah War" issues which have led Cable and Hope to flee into space. And when is going to space ever a good idea for X-Men? Honestly, between Jean's possession by Phoenix, Professor X's brood experience, Kitty's sacrifice and Havok's ongoing war with Vulcan, Cable should have known to just take his chances on Earth. But, this development does drastically change the landscape of this book and the situation with Bishop in pursuit, so it should be interesting how this advances the storyline.

The only other Marvel book which may pique your interest this week is The Torch #1. Now that Toro is back, Torch can't be far behind, right? Apparently that's what Marvel is thinking with this eight-issue mini-series in which, apparently, the Mad Thinker plays a central role. It may just be a cooky idea enough to really work.

And with that, I am off.